Grant reacts to “Pure Grenada” issue

Public pressure has forced tourism officials in Grenada to relook the controversial “Pure Grenada” Brand marketing tool and to include the popular tagline “Isle of Spice” as it seeks to sell the island internationally.

According to Chief Executive Officer of the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA), Rudi Grant the body has heeded the concerns expressed by many Grenadians on the issue and was taking a second look on the “Pure Grenada” concept that is already in use.

Grant also said that GTA would soon embark on a campaign to educate the public about the “Pure Grenada” brand.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference, the Barbadian-born CEO of the local tourism authority said that the brand “Pure Grenada” must not be misinterpreted as “perfect Grenada.”

The “Pure Grenada” Logo was launched in February during a cocktail reception in which many media houses on the island were not invited.

During the reception, Tourism Minister Alexandra Otway-Noel showcased the new face for Grenadian products to promote the destination.

The senior government minister told the specially invited guests that the new Logo “Pure Grenada” will form the underpinning for the island’s new marketing focus, and to position the destination as “off the beaten path” and a heaven for the discerning travel explorer.

The new “brand” has attracted a barrage of criticisms from all sectors of the population especially on call-in radio programmes.

The single most issue raised is about the logo, which many felt does not identify with anything of Grenada and its traditional spices.

Grant admitted that after listening the concerns of Grenadian and calls for the removal of the “Pure Grenada” brand as the new face for the island especially on social networks such as Facebook and other mediums, the authority was compelled to adjust the logo.

The former Barbados Government official who is spearheading the GTA transformation from the Grenada Board of Tourism, which ceased operation in January, was asked about the creation of the new brand/logo and the cost of creating the new face for marketing Grenada’s tourism.

Grant said the new Logo/Brand was “inherited” by GTA based on the selection of a committee that was set up by Parliament.

The CEO was also asked to comment on the recent dismissal of two staffers within the GTA Marketing Department including the head, Sheldon Keens-Douglas and Marketing Executive, Marcus Christopher.

According to Grant, there is no relationship between the decision to end the GTA relationship with the two individuals and the “Pure Grenada” Logo/Brand controversy as alluded to in many quarters in the country.

Some persons on the social network media have claimed that Keens-Douglas and Christopher were axed as the fall guys for the GTA bungling on the rebranding issue.

Grant said the two, who were on probation, lost their jobs after an evaluation and performance appraisal was done of all employees by the authority.

“After our assessment and overall evaluation we felt that in building the type of organisation we need to build, we felt it was necessary for us at this stage to not have a relationship with the former Marketing Director and the Marketing Executive,” he remarked.

Grant said the decision to part ways with Keens-Douglas and Christopher was done primarily with the objective to build a strong organisation in order to strengthen and build relationships with stakeholder partners, niche market activities and focusing on engaging smart partnerships.

He told reporters that despite the recent issues that surfaced, the local tourism body remains strong and the moral within the organisation is very good.

He disclosed that the GTA marketing functions have since been delegated to Christine Noel-Horsford who is qualified and experienced in the area of tourism management, sales and marketing and a team of eight employees.

THE NEW TODAY contacted Keens-Douglas for comment on his dismissal but although he confirmed the reports, he said he preferred Grant to do the explaining.

The launch of Spicemas in Trinidad

Grenada Delegation at Spicemas 2014 Media LaunchA taste of Grenada was brought to Trinidad& Tobago on Friday 9th May, 2014 with the launch of Spicemas 2014 at the Radisson Trinidad Hotel.

Senator Brenda Hood, Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, and Culture lead the Grenada delegation.

The Spicemas launch this year had two components, these being a Travel Agent Expo and a Media Launch.

The Travel Agent Expo was attended by in excess of sixty (60) travel agents who represented more than forty (40) travel agencies across Trinidad & Tobago.

The Exposition commenced with an interactive session which provided the opportunity for travel agents to meet one-on-one with officials from the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA), the Spicemas Corporation (SMC), True Blue Bay Resort, Radisson Grenada Beach Resort, Spice Island Beach Resort, Blue Horizon Garden Resort and Caribbean Airlines.

Christine Noel-Horsford, Manager of Projects & Reporting delivered a detailed presentation on Grenada as a destination and its niche markets. This included reference to the new brand Pure Grenada: The Spice of the Caribbean which was well received by the Trinidadian travel agents.

Many of the travel agents present communicated to the Grenadian delegation that they were confident that Trinbagonians would travel to Grenada for carnival while also indulging in the serenity of the tri-island state.

The general response from the travel agents was that Grenada offers an experience that Trinbagonians crave.

The Media Launch delivered an authentic Grenadian cultural experience to a number of influential media outlets, travel agents, and specially invited guests.

Former President of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, Professor George Maxwell Richards along with his wife Dr. Jean Ramjohn-Richards were in attendance along with Dr. Lincoln Douglas, Minister of Arts & Culturalism and Senator Emmanuel George, Minister of Justice.

Senator the Hon. Brenda Hood, in the Feature Address emphasised the importance of regional tourism to Grenada, particularly from the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago.

She spoke of the strong familial, cultural, and historical ties between the two countries. Boyzie, the current Soca Monarch and Road March King injected pure energy into the event, performing his latest hits.

There was also a showcase of costume and traditional masqueraders which included Vieux Corps, Jab Jab, Wild Indian, and Shortknee.

The GTA will continue to work with its stakeholder partners on similar initiatives which will have a positive impact on tourism development in Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique.

NDC to assist the distressed

The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is looking at ways in which it can provide support to the poor and venerable in the country.

Although not being able to provide much detail about what form the support will take, the NDC political Leader Nazim Burke told a radio talk show program that at present one of the things they are looking at is what concrete ways they can come up with in assisting those that are in distress.

“Our hearts go out to those families who simply cannot make ends meet,” he said.

Burke believes that the quality of life of a number of people has significantly deteriorated in the last 15 months since the New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell came into office following the February 2013 poll.

He also said the standard of living of the population has gone down drastically as their incomes have remained steady but their disposable income has been reduced.

As part of the austerity measures taken by government to correct the island’s grave fiscal imbalance, workers earning above $3000 monthly now have to pay income tax.

Burke said the economic situation in the country has gotten worst under the Mitchell government.

“On one level some people have lost their jobs so they have no income, on another level those people who have kept their jobs have much less disposable income to spend at the moment, and then on the other side because of the Customs Service Charge (increase) on all goods, the price of the goods have actually gone up,” he added.

The NDC political Leader gave a broad over view of the current state of the economy.
According to him, government debts to the local private sector currently exceeds $100M for the very first time.

He expressed fears that if businesses collapse as a result of the high level of unpaid claims, this can results in a deterioration of the unemployment situation in the country.

He made reference to RBTT Bank having to write off $22M of government bonds as an impairment cost of loans and advances which came up to $14M

Burke who is a former Finance Minister believes that additional taxes being faced by the people which include the doubling of the property taxes are having terrible consequences on their standard of living.

He said the commitment receive by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of US$21.9M over a three year period would hardly make a dent to the economic wooed facing the people.

The NDC boss indicated that when converted this is merely EC$20M per year, and the government monthly wage bill is close to $26M.

“So the money that will be received from the IMF for one year will not even pay the government’s wage bill for one month,” he said.

Quoting figures which he said have been released by Prime Minister Dr. Mitchell himself, Burke said the unemployment among young people now stands at 52.6%, while the official unemployment figure is 32%, and the poverty rate is in excess of 37%.

Burke made reference to the regular debushing program which last took place in December 2013.

He noted that this form of short-term employment is looked forward to by the less fortunate in the country.

“If the government cannot provide anything for these folks what are we left with?” he asked.

Burke has been tasked by Congress with rebuilding the party following its humiliating 15-0 defeat at the hands of the Mitchell-led NNP at the polls.

Dr. Mitchell was able to sway the electorate with his promise of massive job creation and the building of a new economy.

Tessanne Chin for Grenada’s Naniki Jazz Safari

The Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari returns to Grenada at the end of this month with a stellar line up of international, regional and local performers headlined by winner of the NBC TV show The Voice, Jamaican, and Tessanne Chin.

Chin takes to the stage at the Grenadian by Rex Resorts on Saturday, May 31st, with a dynamic show, The Voice of Tessanne Chin featuring the music that has made her our newest global Caribbean star.

The opening action that night is local singer and dancer Emily Rapier performing with her own band.

The Safari continues on Sunday 1st June, with the legendary Calypsonian, Relator. The former National Calypso Monarch of Trinidad and Tobago is considered one of the best extempo calypsonians on any subject, who also has a long series of outstanding compositions to his credit.

Joining Relator in a show called The University of Calypso is long time collaborator and world renowned master of the steel pan, Andy Narell (USA).

He is widely credited as the person who took the steel pan out of the steel band and brought it into the jazz band.

Together, they’ll perform classic tunes by Lord Kitchener, Lord Melody, Mighty Terror, Roaring Lion, and Spider, supported by a group of world-class Latin-jazz cats who can swing the calypso and blow jazz.

Also on Sunday, the young, and revolutionary string ensemble, The Alternative String Quartet from Trinidad bring their unique musical experience to the Safari line-up. The talented and trendy musicians have thrilled jazz audiences in Barbados, St Lucia and Tobago in recent times.

In a new initiative begun in Barbados this year, the NCJS will partner with local schools for an Open Sound Check Workshop.

There will be 36 students from selected secondary schools, who are interested in a career in music and entertainment.

The workshop aims to provide hands-on guidance, experienced advice and valuable developmental resources.

NCJS has invited Tessanne Chin and Andy Narell to share some of their time with the students during the sound checks.

Water problems in some areas

NAWASA’s P&Q supervisor Juan Lambert surveys the Cocody Dan

NAWASA’s P&Q supervisor Juan Lambert surveys the Cocody Dan

The National Water and Sewerage Authority (NAWASA) says despite some recent rains it remains severely challenged to supply customers with an adequate supply.

Already a number of communities are under valve regulation and even with this implementation it continues to be a headache for the Authority.

Four of the Authority’s water systems are currently under valve regulation, with some recording over 60% decline in production, which speaks to the impact that Climate Change is having on the island’s water supply.

In St. David, the two systems that are feeling the brunt of the dry season are the Petite Etang, which feeds from the Cocody Dam and Les Avocat, while in St. George the Vendomme and Bon Accord Water Systems provide limited supply.

The Petite Etang Water System which produces 250,000 gallons of water per day has not exceeded 150,000 per day for the last month.

Les Avocat also had a production decline from 400,000 gallons to 200,000 gallons per day. Areas such as Morne Delice, Mt. Airy, Marian and La Borie have been receiving intermittent supply.

Bon Accord Water System which produces 45,000 gallons of water per day now sees residents receiving less than a 12 hour supply daily, while residents of Mt. Moritz served by the Vendomme Water System receive water twice per week.

The Authority has been integrating its water systems, continues daily monitoring of production levels island wide and maximising efficiency through system assessment. However the need for adequate storage at this time is very important. Consumers are encouraged to ensure their storage extend from three days to one week.

The Authority advises consumers in valve regulated areas that their schedules will remain in place until otherwise advised by NAWASA.  It is highly possible that other water systems can be added to the valve regulation listing in the coming days.

(The above was submitted by NAWASA)

Lawrence Lambert quits Flamboyant after 25 years at the helm

Lawrence Lambert CBE, retires

Lawrence Lambert CBE, retires

After more than 40 years in the Tourism and Hotel Industry and 25 years in charge of Flamboyant Hotel, General Manager, Lawrence Lambert has decided to call it a day and go into retirement.

A ceremony was held last Friday night to celebrate the accomplishments of Lambert and it attracted many leading figures in the industry including Tourism Minister, Alexandra Otway-Noel and Vice-President of the Grenada Hotel & Tourism Association (GHTA), Russ Fielden.

The hotelier said that his decision to retire followed medical problems which affected his knees over a year ago.

However, he made it clear that his retirement will not be one of sitting at home doing nothing.

“There’s still a lot to be done,” he told guests, “a new beginning for me…. a time to enjoy the new lease on life”.

Lambert’s desire is to enjoy his flower garden while continuing to provide yeoman support to the hotel he help to improve, expand and upgrade once his expertise is required.

He also made an impassionate plea to Government to adhere to an ongoing agreement to sell to the owners of Flamboyant the state-owned lands on which the hotel sits to ensure the security of jobs of the employees.

Like most hotels in the south of the island, Flamboyant presently operates via a lease agreement.

Lambert recalled his journey, which began in 1971 when he migrated to Antigua as a trainee in management at the Jolly Beach Hotel.

When the business was closed one year later, Lambert received a scholarship from the Canadian Government to study Hotel and Restaurant Management in Canada and in 1972 he departed Grenada to pursue a three-year study course at the Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology.

The hotelier also had a stint with the Canadian Government at the Department of Revenue and Taxation where he remained for four and a half years while doing a part-time job at Harbour Castle.

Lambert returned to Grenada towards the end of 1989 with the hope of starting his own business in the hotel industry and he partnered with a small group of investors to purchase Flamboyant Hotel, a nine unit property overlooking the internationally acclaimed Grand Anse Beach.

One year later the hotel expanded to 26 rooms and seven years later multiplied to 41 and now 68 with Lambert at the helm.

During his 40 years of dedicated service to the tourism and hospitality industry, Lambert served as GHTA President, a Director on the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, a member of the GHTA Training and Culinary Committee and a member of the Grenada Airlift Committee.

Lambert’s departing request of Government is to treat local hoteliers/investors with the same level of respect extended to foreign investors.

Chairman of the Grencan Board that looks after  the Flamboyant hotel, Hugh Dolland, said in his remarks that Lambert has never received the respect he deserves.

According to Dolland, the retiring manager was his friend from since school days and can recall the special treatment he often gave to locals since he was always warm and open, and that the hotel can be considered as “a home away from home”.

“He was always ahead of his time, a Grenadian to his core,” Dolland said before congratulating the new retiree on his accomplishments.

GHTA Vice-President Fielden stated that it is amazing that after more than 12 years of disappointment in the industry the 9-11 events in the US, two hurricanes and the great economic recession, Lambert was able to keep his hotel open for business.

He referred to Lambert as one who was naturally generous, a born giver and his mentor in the industry and wished him continued success despite his retirement.

Tourism Minister, Alexandra Otway Noel assured the retiree that better days are ahead.
“You are calm, kind, generous and constant. Your service to the sector is appreciated”, she told Lambert, as she encouraged him to continue living by his standards.

Lambert was made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2000, won the prize “Hotelier of the Year” from GHTA in 2006, and one year later in 2007 received the insignia of Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE).

Despite his retirement, Lambert will remain a member of the Board of Directors of the hotel.

Where are we heading

Lloyd NoelThere is so much ole talk and promises coming out of the corridors of power and control in these trying times that a whole lot of people are confused, and many very concerned about where we heading and how we getting wherever.

As one listens to the various ministers, and read the news they publish on different aspects of the people’s business, it leaves many to wonder whether the group as a whole ever bother to discuss those issues, before the individuals go public.

And lately matters pertaining to our very Constitution and the Laws of the state, are also being tossed around as though they have no relevance while at the same time there is a Constitution Reform Committee, looking into the 1974 Independence Constitution, so as to advise on changes and or additional provisions after forty years as an Independent Nation State.

Almost six months now we do not have a Supervisor of Elections in that position, and no one appointed to act as such – even though the Constitution so provides.

The little people up and down the Countryside are being taken before the courts for minor offences while those in control and their associates are in serious breaches of the highest Laws and the Constitution of the nation and nothing said or done to them.

That state of affairs cannot be right for any organisation, or nation of independent people, and those with the power and authority at their disposal, should take some positive steps to make amends and remedy the situation.

It was very noticeable how the people in the Trades Union and Labour Movement reacted and responded to the longstanding Union Leader of TAWU, at the national Stadium.

It was clearly not because of his support or alliance with political comrades, in the last NDC Government that brought about the clean sweet Victory of the existing NNP Rulers, for the second time in our political history.

The reception or rejection by the Union members of that longstanding Trade Union and workers comrade was a very clear indication of how the workers must be feeling, about what is on-going in the country now-a-days.

Many of those with jobs are finding it very difficult to make economic ends meet along the way and the thousands who are unemployed are even more desperate and hopeless, as they see and listen to what is happening and being said by those in control of the nation’s affairs. The struggle is very rough and getting worse, but the Controllers are going about their business as though things are not so bad and will improve with time.

The promises made to help win those now in control another clean sweep victory remain mere promises and now we have a Structural Adjustment Program to cope with for the next three years, to enable those in charge to get loans of just over a hundred Million Dollars, but no one is really telling the people what is truly involved in that SAP, nor how it will help our economic problems down the road.

It is obvious that social and economic reliefs will not be improving from the Government side because the funds are not available and nothing in sight to make amends anytime soon. So that for the three years of the SAP, which has been agreed upon to be able to get the hundred Millions, in those years it will be a straight case of making sacrifices to make economic ends meet in the hope and expectation that things will improve, and outside help will somehow be persuaded to come to our assistance.

It is not going to be easy or smooth sailing, and conditions may very well get very much worse off before getting any better.

Additional Taxes cannot be the answer – whether on wages or property – and ways and means will have to be found from outside sources to aid our recovery.

The situation could very well get much worse before beginning to get any better but those in control have to be prepared to deal with the crisis on a national basis, and do not relegate it to any party political melee.

Some public servants and Teachers who have been waiting on backpay for some time now, have at long last been paid so at least they can deal with their increased Property Taxes; but those unemployed daily paid workers in the maintenance gangs, are not so lucky and they have to keep on waiting indefinitely.

Funds for that type of work are not easy to come by and there are a whole lot of them who are depending on that type of employment, and have large families to support.

Overall, therefore things are rough for loads of families and wherever we are heading, and for how long it will take to get us there remains a national problem.

Things are very quiet overall as the waiting game continues but we cannot continue to wait indefinitely and some means must be found, or measures put in place to assist the recovery, because to leave the situation to go its own merry way could lead us to uncontrollable disaster, that will take many more years to overcome and that must be avoided.

Wherever we are heading and how we planning to get there as a people cannot be left to chance and wishful thinking by those in control.

Time is of the essence, and positive action must be taken now if we are serious about moving the nation forward.

Small states in danger of losing a strong advocate

SAUNDERSThe 53-nation Commonwealth association is an important instrument for the promotion of the interests of small states including those in the Caribbean.

But, it is facing troubling times and requires strong, visionary and knowledgeable leadership to regain a place of respect within its member states and the international community. If it fails to do so, the Commonwealth will limp into oblivion and the greatest losers will be its 31 small member states – 12 of which are in the Caribbean.

The importance of the Commonwealth to small states lies primarily in the access its Summit meetings give leaders of these small countries to leaders of some of the world’s major powers on an equal basis.   No other international or multilateral organisation affords such an opportunity.

The ‘retreat’ of Heads of Government at their meetings is a particularly beneficial mechanism if it is used as it was intended. When the idea of the ‘retreat’ was presented in 1973 by then Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau, its purpose was to gather Heads of Government – along with only the Secretary-General – for a ‘no-holds-barred’ discussion on issues within the Commonwealth and the global community.

There were no Ministers or officials present.  Consequently, leaders could speak openly and frankly to each other and what came out of the ‘retreat’ was far better understanding and much greater commitment to a shared agenda.  Often frank talk with leaders whose policies bordered on violating Commonwealth values served to pull them from the brink or to encourage their departure from the ‘Club’ if their offending policies persisted.

For small states, the most valuable outcome of the candid discussions in the ‘retreat’ was that they could build friendships with the leaders of more powerful countries such as Britain, Canada, Australia, India and Nigeria.  The development of such personal friendships resulted in contact and co-operation for problem solving beyond Summits.

Regrettably, since 2005 when Ministers and officials began to participate in Heads of Government Conferences and ‘retreats’, the value and importance of the ‘retreats’ particularly have been severely eroded.  The measure of the erosion is the continuous decline in the number of Heads of Government who attend the meetings or go to the ‘retreat’.

Heads of Government have made it clear that they do not travel long distances to attend what is billed as a ‘Heads of Government Meeting’ to talk to Ministers and High Commissioners.  At the ‘retreat’ in Sri Lanka in November 2013, less than 20 Heads of Government were in the room, hence no frank and personal discussions took place and the objective of consensus – built on understanding and appreciation – was lost as was the worth of what came out of the meeting.

Small states cannot afford the devaluation of meetings of Heads of Government, particularly at the ‘retreat’.  Their battles in the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Trade Organisation and in the G20 are much more effectively fought with the support of larger and stronger countries.

That’s why frank and persuasive conversations in the ‘retreat’ are vital to small states.  When the Prime Ministers of Britain, Canada, Australia, India and South Africa (all G20 members) have a deeper appreciation of challenges facing small states and are willing to champion them, the interests of small states have a much better chance of being advanced.
If the Commonwealth delivered nothing more than the unique opportunity for forthright dialogue between Heads of Government that results in joint action within their grouping and in the international community, it would have done enough in a world that is increasingly divided and polarised.

And, for small states, if all they got from the Commonwealth are readiness and resources to advocate their interests, they would have improved their situations meaningfully in a world where they exist in the margins of global consideration.

The Commonwealth is a network of global networks. Its 53 member-states come from every continent, they are big economies and small ones, and they represent every colour and creed – that in itself is a vital network for multinational dialogue.

The network is greatly enhanced by the involvement of Commonwealth members in almost every other multinational organisation, including the OECD, the G7, the European Union, the African Union, ASEAN, NATO, NAFTA, and the OAS.  A shared Commonwealth position taken into all these fora has the real potential to make a difference not only for Commonwealth countries but for the world.

However, for the Commonwealth to play this role for member-states, its current challenges have to be overcome and its leadership revitalised.  Among its challenges is the importation into its councils of regional differences that are played out in many of the UN organisations.  Instead of the Commonwealth being utilised as a means to resolve the differences, officials have reproduced them in Commonwealth discourse and so are derailing the unique opportunity that the association presents.

The differences have become so stark, and the absence of leadership to provide a healing touch so pronounced, that the most ardent supporters of the Commonwealth fear that the association will not long survive.  More recently, the division within the association has widened by an empty argument over whether its focus should be development or democracy.

Indeed, the two values are inextricable and, in the past, the Commonwealth has pursued them on parallel tracks with the greatest portion of its resources dedicated to development. What the association now needs is leadership that will promote the intimacy

Commonwealth Heads of Government should give that leadership.  They meet again in Malta in November 2015 under the Chairmanship of the Maltese Prime Minister, but ahead of the Summit it would be beneficial for a preparatory meeting of Heads of Government – one Head from each region – to recommend how best to make the Commonwealth meaningful to its members and relevant to the conduct of international relations in the 21st century.

In January at a Conference on the Commonwealth at Cambridge University I had suggested that such a meeting might be convened by the Maltese Prime Minister.

One thing is for sure – if the Commonwealth goes, its small member states will lose their most important advocate. None of them can afford the loss.

(Sir Ronald Sanders is a Consultant, Senior Fellow at London University and former Caribbean diplomat)

What! Pure Grenada?

As Grenadians we feel raped and stripped of our true identity by the “vulgar and foreign depiction” Pure Grenada. We have been violated and contaminated, by a putrid nauseating stench, having been brutally bedded by an unwelcomed intruder – “Pure Grenada” – that we must prosecute and reject with every drop of National Pride that runs through our veins.

Pure Grenada stands as an “Impure” characterisation of who we are. As a people with a rich and unique culture, the generic term, Pure Grenada, at best, places us as an undistinguishable daffodil in a field of daffodils.

A Grenada “Brand” must be the people’s Brand. It must have the heart and soul of the nation; we must feel it, breathe it and sleep with it; be inspired by it, we must embrace it and it must embrace us; it must have the unmistakably sweet aroma of the Spice Isle; it must tell the world who and what we are, they must want to discover us as a very special experience.

We must be proud of our Brand if we must sell it. The Brand that was foisted upon us is reminiscent of the Branding on our “backsides” that established ownership; not ownership of ourselves, but ownership by others, ownership to which we never consented. We did not consent then; why should we consent now as a free people?

The analogy may be stark – extreme – but this is intended to awaken our indignation to not so subtle manipulation for financial gain.

The most casual observer would have known that we have had a brand for decades, saving time and money, keeping tens of thousands in the pockets of Grenadians.

From the backlash, it is more than obvious that a majority of Grenadians are not only unhappy with the brand “Pure Grenada,” but also totally reject it as an assault on our national sovereignty.

Branding to us is not a formally or for that matter legally registered document, it emanates from things or events of special significance and value to rank and file Grenadians that bring substance and value to our being. We know it when we feel it!

Do we feel Pure Grenada? Hell no!!!!

Kit Stonewalling

CCG speaks out

Fr. Sean – spoke on behalf of the churches

Fr. Sean – spoke on behalf of the churches

The Conference of Churches Grenada (CCG) has once again made known its position on the current economic situation facing the country as a result of the implementation of numerous taxes by the Keith Mitchell-led administration since taken Office one year ago.

Lead spokesman of the CCG, Fr. Sean Doggette told a radio talk show program that following a workshop in which the church body participated in May 2013, it adviced the government against increasing taxes in the country.

However, he said the churches recognise that many people who could and should pay taxes are not doing so and indicated that tax compliance and tax enforcement are things the religious community will support.

“The tax burden should not hit the lowest heavily, it should be equally and equitably distributed,” he told the programme host.

Since the start of the new year, government has widened the tax net to include more people into the income tax bracket by lowering the ceiling from $5000-$3000 per month, and has also doubled the property taxes as part of the austerity measures contained in a three year Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) which government says is being supported by the Washington-based International Monitory Fund (IMF).

Fr. Sean said the CCG has realised that the government is under pressure from the IMF to restructure the Grenadian economy.

The CCG spokesman also addressed the unemployment situation in the country especially as it relates to the young people.

He felt that the youth unemployment situation is at “a dangerous level” and is resulting in untold damage to the young people by undermining their self confidence and their sense of purpose.

According to Fr. Sean the key to the economic development of the country is agriculture, and questioned why the country is importing so many food items that can be produced locally.

The clergyman recalled that during his time spent in Grand Roy, St. John’s he often saw people coming from the neighbouring village of Mt. Plasair with their nutmegs to have them sold at the nutmeg station in Grand Roy and would receive immediate payment for their produce.

He also recalled the days when the banana industry was flourishing through the export trade to England.

“I am longing to see something like that come along. It could be in some form of food production or food processing,” he said.

Throughout the discourse Fr. Sean defended the accusations being leveled against the churches for not openly commenting on various social issues facing the country.

Fr. Sean who is a Roman Catholic Priest said the umbrella church body that represents the Roman Catholic Church, Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist and the Salvation Army is always under pressure to make public statements on issues facing the country.

He indicated that in their view public statements are not the best way to bring about changes in behaviour.

He said rather than issuing public statements the CCG has been having meetings with those concerned including the government to voice their concerns.