Vehicular Smash-up at Hope

BikeA vehicular accident at Hope, St. Andrew’s last Sunday involving two cars and a Quad Bike has left the Biker in a critical condition at the St. George’s General Hospital.

 

Kev Charles, an employee with the Government of Grenada, found himself entangled between the cars that were allegedly racing on the public road.

 

All three vehicles had just come from the Drag Race at Pearl’s Airstrip in St. Andrew’s.

 

smash uo carTHE NEW TODAY Newspaper was reliably informed that the cars actually bumped into Charles’ bike causing him to summersault into the air before he landed on the ground.

 

During the mishap, a blue-coloured car reportedly ran into a white Toyota Corolla Car registration number PN 992 pushing it into some nearby bushes. The other car landed on its hood on the roadway.

 

There are reports that the helmet, which Charles was wearing, smashed.

 

The young man who resides at Happy Hill, St. George’s had to be rushed to the Princess Alice Hospital at Mirabeau, St. Andrew’s before he was later transferred to the main hospital at St. George’s.

 

This newspaper learnt that Charles suffered some head injuries, and as a precautionary measure, a scan was done on him Tuesday.

 

The injured man also lost some teeth, and suffered injuries to his jaw and one of his knees.

Speed Zone receives timely gift

Members of the Speed Zone team in London, England

Members of the Speed Zone team in London, England

Grenada’s premier track and field club, SpeedZone is in receipt of a timely donation of EC$6,958.21 from U.S.-based Friends of Grenada Inc.

The sum represents contributions made by Grenadians and friends of Grenada in the Washington D.C. area and beyond, during an event, held under the auspices of Her Excellency M. S. Bristol, Ambassador to the United States and Mexico and Staff of the Embassy of Grenada, to honour Grenada’s 2012 Olympic Team and to celebrate Grenada’s first Olympic Gold Medallist, Kirani James.

SpeedZone, at the auspicious event, was duly recognized for its contributions to the athletic training and development of three members of the 2012 Olympic Team, namely: siblings, Joel and Janelle Redhead, and the World number-one ranked quarter-miler and Grenada Sportsman of the Year (2012), Kirani James.

Giving high praises to SpeedZone, Her Excellency Ambassador Bristol in her communiqué to the club said, “The enclosed cheque in the amount of US$2,606.07 represents a vote of confidence in your steadfast commitment and endeavours to assist young Grenadians in exploring their talents and excelling in athletics.”

President of Friends of Grenada Inc., Dr. Valencia Bartholomew expressed similar sentiments.

Dr. Bartholomew further stated, “We are especially proud of the emphasis that you place on academics as the foundation for success, even in the area of sports. This is evident in how well Miss Janelle Redhead, Mr. Joel Redhead and Mr. Kirani James represent themselves and all Grenadians to the entire world.”

All three athletes, who originate from Gouyave, St. John’s were trained by I.A.A.F.-certified Elite Coach Albert Joseph, before moving to the United States on sports scholarships to further their education while fulfilling their sporting passions. Coach Joseph was also the Team’s Coach for the Grenadian squad at the 2012 London Olympics.

On receipt of the donation, SpeedZone’s President, Coach Jimmy Mathlin spoke warmly of the appreciation shown to all the Olympic athletes and about the acknowledgement of the significant role played by SpeedZone in the fundamental grounding of the three member-athletes who represented Grenada at the 2012 Olympic Games.

In response, Coach Mathlin said, “I, hereby, express our deepest gratitude. The contributions made by the Grenadian community, friends of Grenada and your organisation, Friends of Grenada Inc. are very encouraging. To us, it represents your appreciation of the dedicated work that we have done in preparing our athletes for the wider world and towards bringing Olympic glory to our islands. It also represents your organisation’s confidence in our ability to continue doing so; and for that we are humbled to see the proof of your assistance.”

In other club news, SpeedZone’s annual invitational meet was cancelled due to the elections frenzy; however the SpeedZone Fore-Day Morning Walk and Street Sprints will be held on Sunday, March 30th in Gouyave, St. John’s.

DPP Nelson: Police Officers Can Still Be Charged

DSC_0055Systems are being put in place for a Coroner’s Inquest to be held into the circumstances that lead to the death of Grenadian-born Oscar Bartholomew who has become a Canadian Citizen, but Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Christopher Nelson is determined to challenge the decision that paved the way for the inquest.

Last week Friday Justice Septimus Rudd who is based in Antigua ruled that the Manslaughter charge that was laid on five Police Officers in connection with Bartholomew’s death be quashed to give way for a Coroner’s Inquest.

748 Kenton Hazzard and 649 Edward Gibson – had the charge of manslaughter hanging over their shoulders

748 Kenton Hazzard and 649 Edward Gibson – had the charge of manslaughter hanging over their shoulders

Justice Rudd’s ruling in effect paved the way for the Police Officers, 649 Edward Gibson, 675 Shaun Ganness, 237 Ruddy Felix, 748 Kenton Hazzard, and Rural Constable Wendell Sylvester to be reinstated and be given retroactive payment for the loss of income.

The men who were given bail in the sum of $100,000 with two sureties to be secured by the deposit of original land title deeds, were suspended from the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) and placed on half month’s salary.

The 39-year old Bartholomew who was at the time visiting Grenada with his French-speaking Canadian wife, Dollette Cyr Bartholomew was allegedly beaten at the St. David’s Police Station at Petit Esperance on December 26, 2011, and died the following morning at the St. George’s General hospital as a result of the injuries he sustained.

237 Ruddy Felix – was the Diarist at the time of the incident

237 Ruddy Felix – was the Diarist at the time of the incident

A post-mortem conducted by Pathologist, Dr. Nicholas Redhead concluded that he died from trauma to the head with multiple skull fractures, subdual hemorrhage, and increased intracranial pressure.

In a media briefing on Tuesday, DPP Nelson said Justice Rudd’s decision is alarming since his ruling seems to indicate that the investigative and prosecutorial authority in Grenada cannot proceed with a criminal charge when they feel it is appropriate to do so.

He said although he is yet to see the written judgement and the full reasons advanced by Justice Rudd, he is very concerned about that particular development.

“I am prepared to challenge at every opportunity that decision,” he added.

The DPP said while the judge’s decision can and should be challenged, the Coroner’s Inquest must go ahead.

Oscar Bartholomew – met his untimely death while visiting his homeland

Oscar Bartholomew – met his untimely death while visiting his homeland

It is scheduled to commence on April 5 at the St. David’s Magistrate’s Court.

DPP Nelson said because it is a civil matter that arose out of a criminal matter and the need for expedition, the Supreme Court Act does not permit for multiple appeal.

“I will be formulating a challenge in the aspect of the judgement that says that my charging of these five persons was premature,” he told reporters.

According to DPP Nelson once he has studied the written judgement, he will proceed to have a constitutional challenge that would get the court to declare that the orders of Justice Rudd prohibits him from carrying out his constitutional functions as DPP.

If the challenge succeeds, it can result in the criminal charges against the five Police Officers being reinstated with the DPP and Magistrate being at liberty to continue with the prosecution of the five suspects.

At the stage of the matter being halted, Bartholomew’s wife was the only witness to have given evidence in the Preliminary Inquiry.

The State Prosecutor indicated that Justice Rudd’s decision does not mean that the five Police Officers can never be recharged.

“This is not an acquittal of anybody,” he quipped.

DPP Nelson said the Coroner can only determine whether any person is liable for murder or manslaughter.

Legal officials have said that a Coroner’s Inquest is only an inquiry into the circumstances that lead to deaths that have occurred in a public place.

Justice Rudd took carriage of the Judicial Review of the Oscar Bartholomew incident that was filed by a high-powered team of defense lawyers including Dr. Francis Alexis and Anselm Clouden last October for the actual hearing of the application.

 

Fiscal prudence

By Dr. Brian Francis

By Dr. Brian Francis

As often as possible, we are told that governments are elected to serve the best interest of people and countries and that our politicians ought to be seen not as our masters but as servants of the people. But how exactly should this broad vision be executed? How has it been executed?

Anyone following political and economic developments throughout the world over the past few decades would be left with little choice but to conclude that generally our politicians tend to over-reach not only in terms of the things they promise to win control of governments following a general election but also in relation to the policies, programmes and plans they actually implement while in office. It is generally within this context that financial and economic troubles begin for most countries.

You see, the roles of governments vary from country to country depending on several factors including political and economic philosophies, the level of resource endowments, the size of the local population and market, the type of institutions in place to foster growth and development, and the strength of the private sector.

Irrespective of how one sees the functions of governments, it is clear that fiscal matters are usually among the top priorities. In short, governments can only fulfill their mandates (undertake extensive spending) if appropriate levels of taxes are collected. It is for this reason that fiscal prudence ought to be the guiding principles in everything that governments do. Why?

One conceptualisation of the term suggests that fiscal prudence refers to “whether a country’s fiscal policies are appropriate to support economic growth and achieve other social objectives without causing a fiscal crisis. The focus is on the fiscal stance within the control of the government – usually proxied by the primary fiscal balance (that is, the fiscal balance net of interest payments).”

In a nutshell, therefore, fiscal prudence dictates that governments ought to generate a surplus on their current account by simply ensuring that current expenditures never exceed current revenues. In rare cases, a small deficit can suffice.

As simple as this may appear, a quick glance at the fiscal accounts of several countries around the world (large as well as small economies, wealthy as well as poor countries) tells quite the opposite story.

Given the far-reaching negative effects that poor fiscal policies can have on economic growth and development and the accumulation of public debt, it is virtually inconceivable to conclude that a government that does not adhere to fiscal prudence is serious about looking after the needs of people and country and indeed putting those needs first.

Yet, most of the governments that continue to run huge deficits on their current accounts as a result of increasing the rate of growth of public expenditure will argue that such behaviour is consistent with looking after the needs of the society, especially those of the most vulnerable among us.

And that is typically how the broad vision of putting people and country first has been executed.

Hence, rather than serving the best interest of people and country though wise decision making, particularly on the fiscal side (precisely how the vision should be executed); many governments resort to massive increases in public services – a phenomenon that results in excessive growth in current expenditure in circumstances where there is little scope for raising current revenue.

The net effects of such actions are debt accumulation and the choking off of economic growth and development. And so the downward economic spiral continues!

(Dr. Brian Francis, the former Permanent Secretary in the local Ministry of Finance, is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics at the Cave Hill Campus in Bridgetown, Barbados of the University of the West Indies)

All is not lost!!!

The Oscar Bartholomew issue was put back on the front burner this past week in light of the recent decision handed down by a high court judge.

If anything the Media and in particular the radio stations helped to

fuel the ignorance of the population on the exact nature of the decision and its ramifications for all those with an interest in the final outcome of the Oscar Bartholomew case.

The message which seemed to reach Grenadians based on what came out from some of the media houses was that the high court judge had handed down a decision which brought a final end to the case and that the five policemen were now totally free of any charges.

Unfortunately, many in our midst quickly concluded that the case had come to a premature end without the Preliminary Inquiry being concluded, much less allowing a judge and jury to preside over the case at the high court level.

Armed with so much misinformation, all kinds of persons throughout the country took to the airwaves to express their views on a matter in which they were so grossly ill-informed.

The end result of this free-for-all is that all sorts of wild allegations were made about our justice system as one that was unfair, bias and stacked against the poor and powerless, and that the policemen as protectors of the law were also above the law themselves.

Nothing can be further from the truth given the amount of police officers who have been brought before the court in recent years on

various charges. Yes, a few police officers might have fled the jurisdiction after being charged for serious criminal offences but this is not the norm in our country.

It was rather very unfortunate that our people were led down the road of ignorance by some of our media houses because some of the very on-air persons were themselves very ignorant of the actual decision of the judge.

One report even suggested that the decision that was arrived at came from one of our female high court judges. This was not true. The judge was merely reading out to the court the decision that was made by one of her own colleagues who heard the various arguments of the State and the Defense lawyers and arrived at his own deliberate judgement.

Thankfully, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Christopher Nelson through his public pronouncements would have totally cleared up by now the status of the Oscar Bartholomew case in the interest of all but more so for the family members of the deceased.

The world is looking on closely at Grenada and its handling of this case given the fact that Mr. Bartholomew became a naturalized Canadian citizen.

Last Friday’s ruling was all over the Canadian press within minutes of the decision being read out to the court. This should give us a clear indication about the public interest in Canada concerning the eventual outcome of the case.

Despite what we might think as a people about our legal and justice system, nothing must be done to give the outside world the impression that Grenada is a place where the rights of individuals to a free and fair trial are not guaranteed.

This is not to suggest that some people especially public figures are not bent on using the judiciary to achieve their own objectives and ends. It will always happen.

Not all persons in the legal profession – and more so judges – can be easily bought and sold for a few peanuts in order to deliver a judgment that might have been bought by someone whose sole intention is to pervert the justice system.

Our media houses and more so the radio stations could have learnt a vital lesson from their handling of the judge’s decision in the Oscar Bartholomew case: Do not open up their lines of communication for people to air their views on a subject matter that they do not understand.

This is even the more important when not even those in charge of the various on-air programming were themselves in a very good position to lead and guide the discussions on the issue at hand.

As judges would often say: Ignorance of the law is not an excuse for breaking the law no matter how good is the intention of the law-breaker.

It is not the intention of this newspaper to comment in any way on the correctness or incorrectness of the decision handed down by the high court judge on the Oscar Bartholomew matter.

The system that we inherited from the British has provided for all the relevant checks and balances on decisions handed down at the levelof our Magistracy or High Court and even the Court of Appeal.

As the DPP indicated, he is not in agreement with the decision of the learned high court judge and would most likely go before the Court of Appeal to test the judgment.

As a matter of fact, the State has since announced a date in early April for the start of the Coroner’s Inquiry into the death of Mr. Bartholomew in keeping with the decision of the judge.

Mr. Nelson also hinted that based on the findings of the Coroner, the same charges can be laid by the Office of the DPP against the said police officers.

Let us as a people allow the law to take its own course in the Oscar Bartholomew case in the interest of justice for all five suspects who happen to be policemen, and also for the grieving family members of the deceased who would like to bring final closure to this unfortunate incident which happened inside a police station.

Grenada default has negative implications for ECCU

NEW YORK, United States – A major international credit rating agency says the liquidity crisis leading to Grenada’s default on its US and Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollar bonds is “credit negative” for the country and elevates the risk of distress spilling over to member countries in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).

The newly-elected Dr. Keith Mitchell administration in Grenada said it would default on the bonds due 2025 because it was unable to secure financing to make a coupon payment that was due last Friday.

The Wall Street-based Moody’s Investors Service said Grenada’s default has “systemic implications for the ECCU through two channels, financial and institutional”.

It said Grenada’s default will elevate short term financing costs for its peers that issue local currency (EC dollar) bonds and treasury bills on the ECCU’s Regional Government Securities Market (RGSM).

Moody’s said sovereign defaults have also weakened the balance sheets of banks and institutional bondholders in the region.

On institutional, it said pre-emptive debt restructuring, primarily targeting external, foreign currency bonds “has become a more acceptable option for policymakers in the region, indicating a diminished willingness to service sovereign debt”.

Moody’s said the default is Grenada’s second since 2004, mirroring wider distress in the ECCU.

It said that St. Kitts and Nevis defaulted on its debt in 2011, and Antigua and Barbuda restructured its debt in 2010.

Moody’s said both countries have active International Monetary Fund (IMF) stand-by programmes “with embedded conditionality and structural reform requirements” while all six ECCU members, which also include St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia and Dominica, “rely on emergency IMF credit facilities for financing reconstruction following the impact of hurricanes”.

The credit rating agency said government debt in the ECCU is “high,” adding that the regional average was 94 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2012, putting it “on par with distressed Euro area sovereigns”.

Moody’s said regional GDP contracted at an average rate of 2.1 percent between 2009 and 2012, adding that it expects “only a modest recovery in 2013”.

In addition to the debt overhang, it said ECCU sovereigns face elevated risks stemming from twin current account and fiscal deficits.

“Absent a currency devaluation or exit from the union, which are both unlikely options at this time, policy levers for addressing these imbalances and repairing sovereign balance sheets are limited to a severe domestic adjustment through fiscal consolidation and structural reforms to stimulate growth.

“For a number of sovereigns in the region, these reforms may not materialise fast enough to arrest rising sovereign financing needs, leading to liquidity crunches,” Moody’s said, adding that a sustained reduction in debt in the region over the next decade will require “some combination of aggressive fiscal consolidation and an improvement in growth”.

However, it said both of these goals are increasingly out of reach, stating that budgets are “largely inflexible, limited by high and rising interest costs and expenditure on wages and social benefits”.

Moody’s said diminishing returns to the Caribbean tourism-centered growth model, combined with depressed public sector investment in infrastructure, have resulted in a “ratcheting down of trend growth that will be difficult to reverse”.

Moreover, it said growth in the ECCU is “acutely vulnerable” to volatility in external demand and weather-related shocks and that it views more indirect approaches to reducing the debt burden as less feasible in the ECCU.

It said monetizing domestic currency debt through inflation is not a viable option under the current quasi-currency board arrangement, and that the ECCU lacks the “fiscal firepower” to finance an emergency lending facility along the lines of the European Stability Mechanism.

Moody’s also said IMF financing remains the sole source of emergency external liquidity support for the ECCU.

It said debt mutualisation within the currency union “a potential long-term solution to the liquidity pressures facing issuers in the Euro area, is far from becoming an economic reality in the ECCU since all of the sovereign member states currently carry unsustainable debt loads”.

Moody’s said the region’s upper middle-income status disqualifies it from multilateral and Paris Club debt relief that is afforded to over-indebted but poor countries.

“This dearth of options has elevated debt restructuring as a tool for reducing government debt. However, the history of sovereign default in the Caribbean is instructive,” Moody’s said, noting to date, restructurings in the region have done little to address the threat of insolvency posed by unmanageable debt burdens.

Instead, Moody’s said most countries have received only temporary liquidity relief, “which has only increased the frequency of sovereign default”.

Local Artistes encouraged to protect their work

ECCO’s Licensing Officer Linda Straker – they will get left out

ECCO’s Licensing Officer Linda Straker – they will get left out

Local Licensing Agent of the Eastern Caribbean Collective Organization (ECCO), Linda Straker has accused certain agents of artistes of persuading them against copyrighting their work

Straker who was addressing concerns about the Copyright Legislation from members of the media last week Friday said there are companies that are not encouraging artistes to protect their work.

She charged that this is done through selfish means as these companies whom she declined to identify know how they can benefit in a selfish manner when the artistes work is not protected.

The Licensing Agent claimed that once a number of local businesses hear that an artiste has his work protected, that individual’s work is dropped from performing and giving them any public display.

Although she was reluctant in giving figures, Straker said there are a lot of local artistes who are protected through the ECCO arrangement.

According to Straker, the persons who gain more from the copyright legislation are the songwriter who gets fifty percent of the royalty, and the musician.

“If we have an artiste who is singing and he is not protecting his performance, the writer of the song may have protected that song. So the person who did the performance will get nothing, but the person who write will get everything, and that is the situation in Grenada where a lot of the song-writers have protected their music,” she said.

Straker pointed out that even though artistes who would have submitted their music for protection and they are not being played, ECCO still has an obligation to offer a small payment to them.

Straker disclosed that Gospel Artistes have now taken over calypsonians in terms of the number of artistes who have taken step to protect their work.

She said last year ECCO distributed more than $600,000.00 to registered members in the Eastern Caribbean.

The local Licensing Agent made it clear that artistes who decide not to protect their music “will get left out.”

Is SGU for sale?

NEW YORK – (Reuters) – Grenada’s St. George’s University, which came to prominence in 1983 when U.S. President Ronald Reagan sent in troops to evacuate American students following a military coup, is up for sale, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

A high level official of the American-run St. George’s University (SGU) has brushed aside as “a joke” reports circulating in the international media that the learning institution is up for sale.

The official who would not like to be identified said that any sale of SGU would be rather complex including the necessary approval from the Grenada government headed by new Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell.

He told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that the school was set up under the former government of late Prime Minister, Eric Gairy through an act of Parliament and it would take a similar action to bring about the sale to other investors.

In addition, he alluded to the contracts signed by SGU with thousands of students across the globe to turn them into doctors and the university would not like to find itself getting involved in an issue in which it has no control

This newspaper reproduces an article published by the well-respected Reuters News Agency about the proposed sale of SGU:

An aerial view of SGU

An aerial view of SGU

The university is speaking to private equity firms about a deal and is hoping to fetch more than $1 billion, said the four sources, who spoke

on condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential.

A sale could end more than 36 years of independence for the university, one of the largest medical schools in the world.

Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN.VX) is advising St. George’s University on the sale, one of the people said. Last year the bank helped arrange a $250 million loan whose proceeds were partly used to pay the university’s founders a special dividend.

St. George’s University, founded in 1976 by Charles and Louis Modica, Edward McGowan and Patrick Adams, generates annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of over $100 million, the sources said.

Representatives of St. George’s University and Credit Suisse did not respond to requests for comment.

In 1983 a Marxist coup led to the overthrow of Prime Minister Maurice

Bishop and the United States launched Operation Urgent Fury in which about 6,000 American troops invaded Grenada to evacuate nearly 1,000 Americans, mostly medical students attending St. George’s University.

The students returned to the United States unharmed but 19 American servicemen lost their lives in combat. Temporary classes took place in New York and New Jersey and another campus was established in Barbados

before the Grenada campus re-opened in 1984, the same year democratic elections were held on the island.

Charles Modica serves as both chancellor and chairman of the university’s board of trustees. Louis Modica and Patrick Adams, also sit on the board.

RGPF reports significant increase in drug peddling

Bags of marijuana – confiscated this year

Bags of marijuana – confiscated this year

Grenadians are being assured that the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) is resolute in its fight against illegal drugs.

According to Head of the Drug Squad, Superintendent Rodriques James, no effort will be spared in ensuring that Grenada remains as drug-free as possible.

The senior police officer who was at the time briefing members of the local media last week Thursday at the Special Services Unit (SSU) Base at Camp Salines, St. George’s about the success story of his unit from last year said that they have noticed in recent times a significant increase in illegal drugs entering the country.

In 2012, the Drug Squad seized 2,264.15 pounds of marijuana with an estimated street value of $5m.

“This is the largest single annual seizure that has ever been made in the history of fighting drugs in Grenada,” Supt. James said.

Marijuana Plants – showcased as part of the exhibition

Marijuana Plants – showcased as part of the exhibition

He added that the quantity of drugs seized in 2012 has more than doubled the annual seizure for any year in the past, and that it is significant both from a success stand point and from the magnitude of drug trafficking in the country.

Through the efforts of the Drug Squad, 517 males and 32 females were arrested in connection with the illegal drugs that were confiscated.

Of the total number of 549 who were arrested, 13 were non-nationals.

Supt. James indicated that most of the non-nationals who were arrested had in their possession cocaine.

The Head of the Drug Squad also released figures for this year. This included 1,433 pounds of seized marijuana that was put on display for the media that had a street value of approximately $3.5m.

In the month of January, 330 pounds of marijuana were seized by the lawmen on a small island just off Petite Martinique, which is known as Petite Dominique.

The latest seizure of marijuana took place on March 9 in which the lawmen stumbled upon 440 pounds of marijuana that was contained in bags hidden in an area in Grand Etang, St. Andrew’s.

One week earlier, during a joint operation that was carried out by the Grenada Coast Guard, Special Services Unit and the Drug Squad, the lawmen confiscated close to four hundred pounds of marijuana that has an approximate street value of just over $890,000.00.

Vincentian National Elconado Sergeant and Albert Henry from Telescope, St. Andrew’s were caught carrying a fine bag and two backpacks that contained 12 pounds of the marijuana.

Supt. James said based on their intelligence, they believe that the marijuana that gets to Grenada in a compressed state originate from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and that a large number of the illegal drugs do not remain in the country.

According to him, Trinidad and Tobago has a lucrative market for marijuana and those involved in the trade might be targeting that particular market.

“Based on our intelligence and our investigations, we know for a fact that some of these drugs eventually find its way to Trinidad via the trafficker boats, and sometimes via the normal fishing boats,” he said.

The High Ranking Police Officer spoke of a large number of people who have been entering the country illegally through fishing boats with large quantities of drugs and stashing same on some of the small islands around Grenada.

At Hog Island, over 150 pounds of marijuana were seized so far for the year, while at Sandy Island there was a seizure of 194 pounds,

Additional success came this year on Marquis Island where 199 pounds of marijuana were seized.

The lawmen were also able to destroy 13,432 marijuana plants in 2012 as compared to 4,028 trees in the previous year.

Last year, two new Coast Guard vessels were given to Grenada as a gift by the U.S. Government, which Superintendent James believes had been able to significantly contribute to RGPF’s maritime security.

Supt James also indicated that the lawmen have seen a slight decrease in the trafficking of cocaine.

In 2012, 10.5 kilograms of cocaine were seized, unlike previous years when the seizure was just over 50 kilos.

The Head of the Drug Squad commended the men and women who fall under his command for their work in helping to combat the drug trade.

He warned that fighting drugs is no easy task as there are instances where the Officers do not get to sleep for two days as part of surveillance.

“There is a deep amount of passion within the men as far as fighting drugs is concerned,” he said.

Supt. James made a special appeal to the wider community to get on board in assisting law enforcement officials to help prevent illegal drugs from reaching the shores.

He said people can access the police hotline number 444-1958 to make reports anonymously, which he said would be treated confidentially.

The senior police officer indicated that a fight against illegal drugs is a fight to keep Grenada as a Paradise.

The Drug Squad was awarded in 2012 as being the most proactive department within RGPF against crime in the major awards category.

MWAG Elects First Female President

Shere-Ann NoelThe local media fraternity has created history by electing its first female president.

Producer, Presenter and News Reporter at CC-6 Television, Shere-Ann Noel was nominated unopposed to the top position with the Media Workers Association of Grenada (MWAG) last week Saturday during a meeting that took place at the Presentation Brothers College.

Top of the agenda was the election of officers to serve for a two-year period.

Noel replaces Rawle Titus who has held the position for two terms.

Under MWAG’s Constitution Titus who is now the Director of the Government Information Services (GIS) was not eligible to seek re-election.

Blossom Alexis-Welsh – elected to serve as Secretary

Blossom Alexis-Welsh – elected to serve as Secretary

The first Vice-President is Digicel’s Marketing Manager, Kirk Seetahal.

That position was left vacant since the passing of radio personality Anthony “Jericho” Greenidge almost two years ago.

The position of Second Vice-President has been retained by Mickey Hutchinson of WEE-FM Radio.

The Secretary is Blossom Alexis-Welsh, News Reporter at CC-6. She will be assisted by Bernadette Baptiste who is employed with GIS.

Taking charge of MWAG’s finances is camera operator at CC-6, Yuri Marryshow.

In an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY Newspaper, Noel said her first priority is to unite the media fraternity on the island.

She described her biggest challenge as one of getting media persons working in all arms of the media to come together as one so as to chart the way forward.

According to Noel, the love for the media motivated her to come forward at this time to serve at the top position with MWAG.

She spoke of having been urged by media colleagues who saw the leadership qualities she posses to step forward to serve at the helm.

The female president previously served MWAG as its Treasurer.

She said that now being at the helm of the association means a lot for women in the media and for those who are contemplating making it a career.

Females currently outnumber the males in the local media.

Noel said she is now looking forward to acquaint herself with the Media Policy, and find out at what stage it is at and how MWAG can move forward with it.