NDC monitoring NNP operations

Joseph Andall – demands repayment of the money used to bail out Call Centre

Joseph Andall – demands repayment of the money used to bail out Call Centre

The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is taking a keen interest on a number of developments taking place in the country by the governing New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.

Political Leader and former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas who was addressing party faithfuls at a rally on the Hermitage Government School Grounds last Sunday indicated that the mandate given to the NNP was not one to undermine the Constitution of Grenada and to victimise people.

The NNP swept the polls in the February 19 General Elections by winning all of the 15 Parliamentary seats.

Thomas said there is now a trend in society where the rights of citizens are being restricted, the Constitution disregarded, and the people victimised.

The former Prime Minister spoke of the recent victimisation that was meted out to Judy Benoit as Supervisor of Elections for standing up to questionable directives handed down to her by the Cabinet of Ministers that is chaired by Dr. Mitchell.

Thomas said he has always identified with those who uphold and promote the Constitution, but in that case he cannot identify with Dr. Mitchell and his Cabinet in their subversion of the Constitution.

The NDC Political Leader said his party will continue to defend the rights of the people of Grenada as it is the only political party that embraces the aims and aspirations of the Grenadian people.

“We are a party that is committed to the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique,” he told the gathering.

NDC’s Deputy Political Leader, Senator Nazim Burke also took a swipe at the NNP Administration since it came into office eight months ago.

Sen. Burke summoned the Grenadian people to stand up and resist what he termed as the “bad habits” of the Mitchell administration.

He felt that seven months ago the people of Grenada made a grave mistake by electing the NNP back into office.

“We pointed out during the campaign that it would be a terrible mistake to take us back to the years, 1995 to 2008. Unfortunately. The people were sold a lie,” he said.

The NNP was aided in the election victory by a group of rebels from Congress that included expelled government ministers Peter David, Joseph Gilbert and Karl Hood, as well as self-styled media consultant, Hamlet Mark.

In addressing NDC supporters at the public meeting, Sen. Burke indicated that all of the promises Dr. Mitchell and the NNP made in the election campaign have now changed to calling on the people to make sacrifices.

Some of the key promises included the building of a new economy, the provision of thousands of jobs in the construction industry, and unveiling a list of investors who were ready to come into the country to do business ventures.

Sen. Burke charged that the eight-month old Mitchell government is laying the foundation to turn Grenada into a tyrant State.

He said the operations of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) is being interfered with as some members of the leadership are being removed, while some persons who have been convicted of various crimes are being brought back into the ranks of the force.

However, Burke said Congress is not intimidated nor shaken by the tactics of the Mitchell government.

“Grenada belongs to Grenadians. Grenada does not belong to Dr. Keith Mitchell and the New National Party. We must make it clear that while you are given a mandate to run our country, you remain accountable to the people and you must answer to the people,” he remarked.

The NDC Deputy Political Leader disclosed that in the past month, the party has been engaging the people including various bodies on the island informing them about what has been happening in the country.

He said the mission will continue and that meetings are planned with other groups that will include farmers, fishermen, bus drivers, taxi drivers, the Grenada Bar Association, and the Grenada Medical Association.

The public gathering was also addressed by NDC Caretaker for St. Patrick’s West, Joseph Andall who touched on the critical economic and financial crisis facing the country and the announcement by government that it intends to embark upon a series of austerity measures which it is hoping to get endorsement from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

According to Andall, if Grenadians are to make sacrifices as a means of salvaging the economy then certain demands have to be made of the NNP Administration.

He recalled that during the previous NNP regime, dividend monies earmarked for the State from Cable and Wireless was used to finance a failed Call Centre venture at the Simon Industrial Complex in St. Andrew’s that was started by close relatives of Prime Minister Mitchell.

When confronted by the former Opposition Leader Michael Baptiste on the monies owed to the state by his family members, Dr. Mitchell told a sitting of the Parliament that the millions owed will repaid. However, the promise was not kept.

According to Andall, a demand must be made for “the Call Centre money be repaid to the National Treasury before we make any sacrifice”.

The Call Centre venture along with the failed Garden Group of hotels project in the south of the island, along with the millions of guarantees given to the abandoned Marketing & National Importing Board (MNIB) project in the Lagoon contributed $EC250 million to the national debt.

 

DIGICEL dispenses with roaming rates across the Caribbean

Digicel has dispensed with roaming charges across its Caribbean markets, effective October 1st, 2013.

A release from the company said the move which applies to voice, SMS and data roaming charges sees customers being able to communicate for the same “great rates” that they pay at home when they travel in the Caribbean.

According to the release, Digicel customers will not be charged an activation fee when roaming in the Caribbean.

It said: “As the first operator in the region to dispense with roaming rates, Digicel is reaffirming its commitment to customers and to ensuring that they always benefit from best value”.

The release quoted Patricia Maher, Digicel Country Manager, as saying, “We have done extensive research across the globe and what we are offering with “Roam Like You’re Home” is quite simply the best roaming plan in the world as it gives customers the freedom to use their phones abroad as they do at home without having to worry about the cost.

“We are thrilled to be revolutionising the world of roaming and to be rolling this out across the region. In doing so, we are ensuring that our customers can use their Digicel phones while roaming without being afraid of high charges”, she said.

The release stated that this move by DIGICEL “comes on the back of the fantastic customer reaction to Digicel’s “Same Rates a Yaad” plan launched in Jamaica which has since been mirrored in markets like Barbados, Panama and Trinidad and the company’s ongoing mission to ensure that customers get more for less”.

Brian Finn, Digicel Group Commercial Director, comments; “At Digicel, we are always looking for new ways to drive value to our customer base and to keep people connected. We are proud to be the first operator to be making this move and to be ensuring that our valued customers can communicate easily and economically wherever they are in the region.”

He continued: “This is all about giving our customers the freedom to communicate as they wish when they travel without the fear of running up high bills.”

 

The move which applies to voice, SMS and data roaming charges sees customers being able to communicate for the same great rates that they pay at home when they travel in the Caribbean.

It will be in place across the region by 1stOctober 2013 and Digicel customers will not be charged an activation fee when roaming in the Caribbean.

More questions than answers

Brian FrancisBy Dr. Brian Francis

 

The global financial and economic crisis has brought the world economy to its knees, leaving even some of the most powerful countries with problems such as increasing unemployment, declining growth rates, rising fiscal deficits, and mounting public debt.

Given the increasing integration of economies worldwide, the problems encountered in the advanced countries rapidly spread across the globe, resulting in widespread negative consequences for small, developing economies like Grenada and others in the Caribbean.

The unravelling of the global economy was a clear reflection of the limitations of existing policies and inherent weaknesses in the economic paradigm of the day. But perhaps the most striking legacy of that episode is the recognition of all and sundry that it cannot be business as usual.

In short, many questions have now arisen in relation to the appropriate response mechanisms to not only prevent a re-occurrence of recent events, but more importantly to get the world economy back on a sustained growth and development path. The challenge, thus far, seems to be that there are simply more questions than answers.

In the United States, for example, the Obama Administration continues to advocate higher spending as the major instrument of economic change. That policy clearly does not receive the blessings of the Republicans who prefer to limit Federal spending and instead lower taxes as an incentive to stimulate private sector investment.

Ideology aside, the fact remains that so far the economic policies pursued are having little effect on the overall fiscal and debt situations in the country and on peoples’ confidence in the local economy.

Here in Grenada, the experience is not dissimilar. Despite all the efforts of the Government, the economy continues to remain depressed with many of the major macro-economic indicators showing little signs of recovery. Without doubt, the most alarming situation remains the huge deficit on the Government’s fiscal account.

Even though there is some optimism that the economy will return to positive economic growth following the passage of a structural adjustment programme with the IMF that by itself will not resolve the Government’s fiscal problems any time soon.

At this critical juncture, Grenada needs a complete overhaul of its economy. New strategies have to be developed to, among other things, bring the cost of living down, raise the level of capital inflow, create employment opportunities, lower the public debt, grow the local economy, boost consumers and investors’ confidence, and reduce the Government’s fiscal deficit.

The accomplishment of these objectives requires the right mix of fiscal and general economic policies along with a targeted set of socio-economic goals.

Recently, we have had inputs from several sources in relation to issues pertaining to the Government’s social programme and the relative importance of the real sectors to the Grenadian economy. Dialogue on these as well as other relevant matters must continue to raise awareness and stimulate action. That is important since no individual or entity has a monopoly on knowledge or ideas.

However, the exchange of ideas alone will not generate workable policies to transform our economic landscape. That outcome requires strong leadership from those in authority in the public and private sectors, our trade unions, and other social partners.

Left with lots of questions but little answers, the country will be no better off any time soon!

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).

Redemption Time opens at The Spice Basket

By Francis Urias Peters

 

After fourteen weeks of intense rehearsal sessions, Francis Urias Peters and his cast of six have finally arrived at “deliverance day”; Friday October 18. That’s the date for the opening of the epic drama, REDEMPTION TIME, written and directed by Francis Urias Peters.

The premiering of REDEMPTION TIME at the Spice Basket Theatre will also mark the 30th anniversary of Urias’ involvement in Theatre in Grenada and “REDEMPTION TIME is a special celebratory gift” says Peters.

“This play has taken me ten years to complete and it’s indeed a special milestone in my career as a playwright.

Thirty years ago, on October 19, 1983 Grenada became an explosive and destructive grenade. Thirty years after I want to use this play as a grenade that will being used for illumination, hope and honesty.

Thirty years ago we had a revolution that imploded and self destruct. Thirty years after we need a new revolution where the creative arts can be used as a torch to light the way forward for the future generation. This is what the play REDEMPTION TIME is all about” says Peters

REDEMPTION TIME can be best described as an action packed drama with never a dull moment and patrons can expect a production as never seen before on this island.

Peters is full of praise for his cast which includes Agatha Alexis (Miss Audrey) Kareem Alexis (Winston) Samuel Ogilvie (Steve) Earl McLeish (Police) Terrence Walters (Joseph) and Dale Bhola-Wilks (Rachael) who will be performing in what can be described as the most challenging production they have had to embark on.

Caribbean theatre is proving to be a very expensive venture and it is important to recognize those who have been most instrumental in ensuring the success of this production.

Grenada Co-operative Bank Limited, Flow, Grenada Broadcasting Network, Wee FM, Hubbard’s, Sissons Paints, Grenada distillers Limited, Mecca Trading, Netherlands Insurance Company Limited and St. George’s University and Spice Basket Limited have all played major supporting roles as partners and Peters, cast and crew wish to express their heart felt gratitude to these corporate partners for their support ;especially in these tough economic times.

REDEMPTION TIME runs for two weekends from Friday, October 18 to Sunday, October 27. However a special Secondary Schools performance will be held on Monday, October 28 at 10:00 a.m.

Friday and Saturday performances start at 8:00p.m and Sunday’s at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets are available at all Gittens Pharmacies, Licks and Bites in Gouyave and St. David’s Pharmacy.

Burial delayed

Two of the children who want their father buried in Grenada

Two of the children who want their father buried in Grenada

A disagreement among the children of local politician, Winston Frederick over his final resting place has ended up in court.

Frederick’s burial was due to take place at the River Sallee Cemetery in St. Patrick’s last week Friday following a Funeral Service at the Mt. Rose Seventh-Day Adventists Church.

However, it was halted when the Undertakers of the body, were served with a court injunction.

Mourners at the funeral only became aware of the situation when one of the Funeral Directors of Otway/Bailey Funeral Home announced during the Service that the internment will not go ahead as planned.

THE NEW TODAY was told a few days before the burial that there was a problem among the different set of children fathered by “Winty” with two different women.

One side is insisting that their father be buried in his homeland, while another group of children want Frederick to be buried in New York close to his deceased wife.

During Friday’s funeral service, former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas was among those specially invited to pay tribute to his one-time political opponent.

Frederick had defeated Thomas in the 1990 general election to win the rural St. Patrick East seat on a ticket of the Grenada United Labour Party (GULP) of late Prime Minister, Sir Eric Matthew Gairy.

One of the children who wishes to have Winty Frederick buried in New York

One of the children who wishes to have Winty Frederick buried in New York

He served in Parliament as Deputy Speaker but did not contest the 1995 poll as he fell out with Sir Eric.

Frederick migrated to the United States but returned to the island to form the People’s United Labour Party (PULP) and contested the February 19 elections as its only candidate but did not create much of an impact in the St. Patrick East seat.

The matter of Frederick’s final place of burial came up on Monday before Madam Justice Margaret Mohammad at High Court Number Three.

However, after spending just about one hour in the judge’s Chambers, the warring parties emerged without arriving at an agreement.

The matter was sent for Mediation on Wednesday, and both parties were expected to report back to Justice Mohammad yesterday (Thursday October 17).

One of the lawyers, Gerard Douglas who is representing four of the children who are seeking to have their father buried outside of Grenada, guardedly told reporters when it comes to where Frederick would be finally laid to rest that would be a private family decision.

The Month of October and Evil

Foremost in the minds of the Grenadian people is the occurrence several years ago of the slaughter on the hill overlooking St. George’s town – Fort George – where a murderous rage was orchestrated and delivered by an evil-minded Grenadian man and an equally evil-minded Jamaican woman; and while Grenadian citizens will continue to die in whatever circumstances, the story of this terrible and atrocious occurrence will live on.

Suffice it to say that while these dastardly murderous acts occurred in the name of political chaos, the average citizen would agree that the worst place to foster evil would be in the church or churches. Evil-doing under the pretext of doing God’s work could have tumultuous consequences.

It is said that in the word “church” the “us” represent the people of God, without whom there could be no church. Abomination whether carried out in St. Paul’s, or Archibald Avenue or Church Street, for example, is a worst case scenario and Grenadians must take responsibility for the fall-out by failing to rid the church or churches of evil-doers. Of course, there will always be simple-minded or just plain stupid people who, not knowing right from wrong, will support evil-doers.

Grenadians, be always aware of moral or any wrong doing by men who are in fact heaping burning coals on people’s heads.

Finally, everyone is called upon to be a God-fearing citizen and not just pray but to take action to avoid evil necessary.

Mary B. Charles

Problems at the Market

I would like to bring to the attention of the public the mis-management of the Market in the Town of St. George.

No vendor in the Market knows where he or she is going in the new phase. It seems, like booth and space are being given out in the Ministry and Parliamentary offices.

The last administration had a criteria which is the proper and correct way. It appears that political affiliation gets you your space in the market.

We are calling on the Permanent Secretary and Minister of Works to let the vendors know what is the criteria for space in the market or is it for NNP supporters only.

Since the next phase of the market is almost ready we would like to know what is going on. We need someone from the Ministry to come forward and have a meeting to let us know what is happening.

We need a smooth transition for the moving of the vendors which should be within the next week.

The President of the Vendors association has no idea what is going on right now. Please, we need someone who will follow the criteria of vending in the market.

Let there be “Fairness and Transparency”

 

CONCERNED VENDOR

 

Abolitionists clamour for removal of death penalty

DEATH PENALTYA group calling itself, “The Greater Caribbean For Life”, is calling for the removal of the death penalty that still remains on the Law Books of several Caribbean Countries.

The call was forcefully made last week Thursday in observance of “World Day Against The Death Penalty.”

While there has been no State execution in Grenada since 1978, the death penalty remains on the Statute Books.

However, Local Attorney Anselm Clouden who is a member of the group believes that the maintenance of the death penalty does not diminish crime.

Clouden, who addressed members of the media at his Grenlaw Chambers on Lucas Street, St. George’s, said crime has to be attacked in a more comprehensive and organised fashion by way of other punitive actions.

“State execution is just as bad as the other form of execution,” he said.

“Execution does not solve the problem, there will always be murder,” he added.

The group member stressed that attention must be placed on re-habitation, reform, re-adaptation and compensation for the victim.

Clouden argued that crime is a symptom of other things than mere premeditated murder.

He is suggesting that those who commit acts of murder should be made to work while being incarcerated and their earnings should be forwarded to the relatives of the victims as a form of compensation.

“I think philosophically that people are re-adaptable, they could be rehabilitated if we get rid of the symptoms of crime,” he said.

The local attorney stressed that crime must be addressed from a sociological and economic standpoint rather than a punitive punishment.

The murder toll for the year stands at six.

The ultimate goal of the Greater Caribbean For Life is to achieve a permanent abolition of capital punishment in each and every country of the Greater Caribbean, and the creation of a culture of respect for the right to life and the inherent dignity of all human beings.

 

FIFA asked to intervene in GFA affairs

Football in Grenada seems to be heading for another crisis.

Former national goal-keeper, Paul Roberts has written to the FIFA bosses in Switzerland asking them to intervene and sort out some contentious local issues affecting the sports.

Roberts, a former Vice-President of the Grenada Football Association (GFA) wrote the letter dated October 13, 2013 to FIFA’s Secretary General.

In the letter, Roberts raised concerns about the leadership style of the President, Chenny Joseph, citing the Management-methodology of the President and his penchant to spend money on items outside football development.

 

Following is the full text of the letter:

 

The Secretary General

FIFA

FIFA Strasse 20

PO box 8044

Zurich

Switzerland.

 

 

Dear Mr. Valcke:

 

I write to you as former Vice-President of the Grenada Football Association – a position I resigned from, due to the President’s inability to focus on the building of the Inheritance of a well oiled Football environment left by the interim Committee led by former Speaker of the House, George Mc Guire which followed some three or four targeted visits by FIFA teams.

Unfortunately and since my resignation, the deterioration has continued at such a pace that it has become critical for me to request again and for the second time, some form of remedial intervention by FIFA.

Notwithstanding FIFA’s intervention and a subsequent correction of the then “dysfunctional” management of Football within the GFA, I have no alternative to again press the panic button and request an SOS intervention at this time for the following reasons:

 

(1). The total abandonment of the “Barbados Resolutions” – the result of the FIFA sponsored Management workshop for Members of the GFA Executive which laid out a Road map of development for Grenada Football.

 

(2). Some 1.5 million Dollars FAP funds received which has not impacted on the game in Grenada.

 

(3). Thousands of dollars not accounted for by way of reports:

 

Gold Cup 2011

 

Super League 2011

 

Heineken League 2011.

 

(4). Lack of communication between members of the Executive Committee resulting (in) serious absenteeism becoming almost dysfunctional as it relates to collective decision-making.

 

2. (1). Pre-emptive removal of the former General Secretary without due process and without re-numeration, a matter which resulted in the GFA being taken to court; a matter which the Vice-President took up with the President, causing a serious conflict, which again resulted in another Court matter, this time between the Vice-President and the President.

 

(2). Huge spending on non-budgeted items.

 

 

(3). Non-support for Parish football development – a key element of the Barbados Declaration.

 

(4). A mounting debt of some $450,000.00 with no clear vision for servicing of such debt.

 

A myriad of other mis-management items could be tabulated but the most telling one is that the newly appointed General Secretary has, after only a few short weeks in office, voluntarily handed-in his resignation to the President citing a dysfunctional GFA.

Again the dysfunction of the GFA is continuing while the President calmly prepares for next year’s election of a President; which he hopes will re-elect him.

The reason for my resignation as Vice-President two years ago protested the Management-methodology of the President and his penchant to spend FAP on items outside football development.

No amount of coercion on my part changed his style of dismissive leadership; and alas I had to resign.

There was an intensification of this style over the past two years which culminated in a reluctance by members of his own Executive Committee to attend meetings; and by the low morale of staff, resulting in the General Secretary’s pre-emptive and immediate resignation.

I suggest that, as was done last time, a FIFA fact-finding team be sent to Grenada soonest in order to correct this dire situation.

 

Yours in football,

 

Paul Roberts

 Former GFA Vice-President/General Council Member

 Springs,

 St. George’s.

Grenada

 

Cc: Gregory Englebrecht & Primo Corvaro

Where are we – 30 years since?

Lloyd NoelOur tiny Tri-Island State of Grenada, which was the first of the OECS State to receive its Independence from Great Britain in 1974 – and then went on to create worldwide history in March 1979, when the (NJM) New Jewel Movement seized Political power from Eric Gairy’s (GULP) Grenada United Labour Party, only to destroy itself with mass Killings on the 19th October, 1983, which opened the door for the U.S.A. forces to invade the Island on the 25th October to restore peace, and to safeguard the U.S. Medical Students at St. George’s University.

That very short description of our Tiny Islands political history, dating back Thirty years ago when Grenadians in their Thousands had left the Islands to seek employment in England, and later on improved themselves educationally, while assisting their relatives and families back in Grenada – that state of affairs was the main cause of our people surviving the chaos and confusion of October 1983.

But the people survived, and the happenings as well as the political and Legal circumstances that unfolded thereafter – took their natural courses.

The presence of those thousands of U.S.A. and Caribbean forces on the Island, as well as those on the U.S. ships just offshore – made a lot of difference to the happenings thereafter; and that scenario was greatly assisted by the dispatch of all the Cuban and other leftist comrades on the Island during the Revolutionary period.

It must not be forgotten that in the rescue mission by the U.S. forces, seventeen of its Soldiers lost their lives on our Island, and a monument in their memory is prominently displayed on the St. George’s University Medical School Campus at True Blue in St. George.

Now we are celebrating Thirty Years, since the rescue mission of those dark and terrible days of our revolutionary experience in the Seventies and Eighties – and the question begs itself, what have we achieved in all those years?

True enough we have gone past those days of terror and brutality by the Mongoose Gang of the Gairy days, and the PRA soldiers of the NJM revolution, and the law has been allowed to take its due course – as far as arrests and charges and detention are concerned.

And while we have since gone back to Government under our Constitution, and our Parliament has been in operation with the members thereof duly Elected and Nominated subject to that Constitution – the economic conditions and living standards of our people leave a whole lot to be desired, after all those peaceful years.

Political parties have come and gone, and Governments have changed over those years – based on the candidates they put up, and the campaign promises they make leading up to the Election day – but our bitter experiences have been that those promises were nothing more than mere nice-sounding words and phrases, and the majority fell for them by voting those candidates into Parliament and Government, but the promises made to get them there remain just that.

And in this our Thirtieth Year since those dark and dismal days of killings, and brutality, and detention without trial by those in control of the guns and bullets – we also had another Election in which two main parties put up fifteen candidates each, and the Current Controllers won all the seats.

And here we are, eight months since that clean sweep victory, and the Voters who made that possible are waiting patiently and hopefully that some benefits will come their way – sooner rather than too very much longer.

This disappointment by those now in control thus far, is even more embarrassing to their members and supporters, who fell for the promises and gave them total control of the Nation’s affairs – only to realise that all the nice-sounding thousand jobs, to be provided by the ready and waiting Foreign Investors with millions to dish out, that was as empty as the Treasury they inherited.

 

So now that the damage has been done, with nothing to fall back on to relieve the situation – it is a straight case of trying to find some available alternatives to help cushion the resulting disappointments.

The news from the Government Information Service last week, was that the P.M. left for the U.S.A. and England, to meet with different sources in an attempt to raise some Three hundred Millions of dollars, so as to get various projects up and running, to help provide some needy job opportunities for the many thousands of unemployed waiting and hoping.

Where and from whom those Millions will be coming from, only the P.M. and goodness knows – but it is no secret that things are so bad, and getting worse with no relief in sight anytime soon – that everyone desperately hope some good Samaritan will turn up, somewhere on the journey overseas, to come to the assistance of our people.

We are also waiting for the Budget and Estimate provision, due to be delivered by the P.M. and Minister of Finance in Parliament on December Sixth.

And no doubt whatever figures he provides, will be accepted and voted for in Parliament – because there is no opposition to say or question otherwise.

But the dollars will have to come from some where, because we cannot raise them here at home anytime sooner or later.

We heard recently of the Government plans to lease its Four Agricultural Estates to local Investors – so that they can provide the needy jobs, and revive our once very productive Nutmeg, Cocoa and Banana crops for exports.

Where the Local Investors will be getting the funds from to Lease those Estates – that is anybody’s guessing game.

But we are in desperate need of so many things – and after Thirty years of return to normal behaviour, we should be seeing some better days ahead.