China and Grenada celebrate 10 years

The diplomatic relationship between China and Grenada which soured somewhat nearly two weeks ago on the Taiwan loan issue is on the amends.

This was stated by both Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and resident Chinese Ambassador Ou Boqian on Tuesday night at a function held to mark the 10th anniversary of the re-establishment of ties between the two countries.

The local Chinese Embassy reportedly took objection to a statement made by PM Mitchell that relations between Grenada and the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan has been “normalised” following agreement reached between the two on an outstanding loan deal.

China regards Taiwan as a renegade province and objects to countries that treat Taiwan as an independent nation.

The ties took a further nose dive when Ambassador Ou walked out of the Grenada Trade Center at a media Awards ceremony when Parliamentary Secretary for Information, Senator Winston Garraway was addressing the gathering and praised Taiwan for agreeing to a 50% haircut on the outstanding loan payments.

Prime Minister Mitchel retaliated by scolding the female Chinese diplomat on the question of Grenada’s sovereignty and for there to be mutual respect between the two states.

St. George’s and Beijing re-established diplomatic ties in January 2005 under a former New National Party (NNP) government headed by Dr. Mitchell.

The Grenadian leader decided to fracture the relations with Taiwan after Hurricane Ivan created widespread destruction on the island in September 2004 and in the face of a more lucrative offer from Mainland China which included the rebuilding of the cricket stadium at Queen’s Park and promises to construction thousands of houses for the poor.

Prime Minister Mitchell told reporters at the ceremony on Tuesday night at the Raddison Grand Beach Resort that the two countries have moved passed the squabble that took place in the last two weeks.

“With good friends there are sometimes misunderstandings and clearly that has been corrected. We recognise relationship is bigger than any one incident and therefore we have moved passed this.  The Ambassador and myself have had very good discussion on this whole issue and as far as we’re concerned that is over and we are going forward as the relationship dictates,” he said.
Political leader of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Senator Nazim Burke told reporters that he was pleased with the comments made on the China-Grenada standoff during the celebrations.

“It’s an important milestone for Grenada. As you know the relations were restored 10 years ago and the relationship is building. As far as we can tell, you know there has been a sustained programme of co-operation between the two countries – China has been doing a lot for Grenada. Grenada has benefited significantly as you heard tonight in terms of its relationship and we believe it’s important for Grenada to continue to build on that relationship and not do anything that might compromise that relationship,” he remarked.

In addressing the gathering, Ambassador Ou Boqian said Grenada and
China have witnessed comprehensive developments in bilateral relations over the past decade and thanked PM Mitchell for his foresight in re-establishing the ties and his commitment to Grenada.
“The collective effort from all forms of life in both countries has strongly pushed the relationship moving forward smoothly. Thanks to Prime Minister, thanks for your cooperation and encouragement. Your strong sense of historical responsibility to this nation, you and your Government made a strategic decision to establish diplomatic ties with the Peoples Republic of China”, she said to applause.
“…History has proved and continue to prove that this is a wise and brave decision. (The) strong relations and friendship with Chinese
leaders and importance that you kept on this relationship since then have always been dynamic (in) pushing the relationship (and) growing from strength to strength,” she added.
Ambassador Ou noted the amount of scholarships offered to Grenadians over the years and the help in other areas of the economy and that China is willing to share opportunities for livelihoods with Grenada.
Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen who also addressed the Raddison function said the bonds between China and Grenada have grown stronger over the last 10 years.
“On January 20th 2005 when Grenada re-established diplomatic relations with the Peoples Republic of China, we joined with the vast majority of countries around the world which have embraced the “One
China” policy and at the same time made a conscious effort to advance
(our) foreign policy aimed at improving the socio-economic (development) of our people”, she said.
“… Ten years later it can be said that the relationship between our two countries have progressed to the extent that the seeds of our collective efforts have already begun to blossom – indeed in many instances they are certainly bearing fruits,” she added.
Minister Modeste-Curwen made specific mention of the cricket and athletic stadia that have benefited from Chinese assistance.
It was disclosed at the function that China and Grenada recently signed an agreement covering $20 million dollars to undertake repair work at the cricket stadium.

There have been reports in recent months that the stadium is showing serious signs of disrepair since it was built by China to facilitate Grenada’s staging of some cricket matches at the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup held in the Caribbean.

One of the major highlights of the night was the display put on for Grenadians by a visiting group of Chinese cultural performers.

China and Grenada celebrate 10 years

Ambassador Ou Boqian and PM Mitchell in conversation at 10-year anniversary celebration

Ambassador Ou Boqian and PM Mitchell in conversation at 10-year anniversary celebration

The diplomatic relationship between China and Grenada which soured somewhat nearly two weeks ago on the Taiwan loan issue is on the amends.

This was stated by both Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and resident Chinese Ambassador Ou Boqian on Tuesday night at a function held to mark the 10th anniversary of the re-establishment of ties between the two countries.

The local Chinese Embassy reportedly took objection to a statement made by PM Mitchell that relations between Grenada and the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan has been “normalised” following agreement reached between the two on an outstanding loan deal.

China regards Taiwan as a renegade province and objects to countries that treat Taiwan as an independent nation.

The ties took a further nose dive when Ambassador Ou walked out of the Grenada Trade Center at a media Awards ceremony when Parliamentary Secretary for Information, Senator Winston Garraway was addressing thegathering and praised Taiwan for agreeing to a 50% haircut on the outstanding loan payments.

Prime Minister Mitchel retaliated by scolding the female Chinese diplomat on the question of Grenada’s sovereignty and for there to be mutual respect between the two states.

St. George’s and Beijing re-established diplomatic ties in January 2005 under a former New National Party (NNP) government headed by Dr. Mitchell.

The Grenadian leader decided to fracture the relations with Taiwan after Hurricane Ivan created widespread destruction on the island in September 2004 and in the face of a more lucrative offer from Mainland China which included the rebuilding of the cricket stadium at Queen’s Park and promises to construction thousands of houses for the poor.

Government Officials stand with Chinese Cultural group after delivering astounding performances

Government Officials stand with Chinese Cultural group after delivering astounding performances

Prime Minister Mitchell told reporters at the ceremony on Tuesday night at the Raddison Grand Beach Resort that the two countries have moved passed the squabble that took place in the last two weeks.

“With good friends there are sometimes misunderstandings and clearly that has been corrected. We recognise relationship is bigger than any one incident and therefore we have moved passed this.  The Ambassador and myself have had very good discussion on this whole issue and as far as we’re concerned that is over and we are going forward as the relationship dictates,” he said.

Political leader of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Senator Nazim Burke told reporters that he was pleased with the comments made on the China-Grenada standoff during the celebrations.

“It’s an important milestone for Grenada. As you know the relations were restored 10 years ago and the relationship is building. As far as we can tell, you know there has been a sustained programme of co-operation between the two countries – China has been doing a lot for Grenada. Grenada has benefited significantly as you heard tonight in terms of its relationship and we believe it’s important for Grenada to continue to build on that relationship and not do anything that might compromise that relationship,” he remarked.

In addressing the gathering, Ambassador Ou Boqian said Grenada and China have witnessed comprehensive developments in bilateral relations over the past decade and thanked PM Mitchell for his foresight in re-establishing the ties and his commitment to Grenada.

“The collective effort from all forms of life in both countries has strongly pushed the relationship moving forward smoothly. Thanks to Prime Minister, thanks for your cooperation and encouragement. Your strong sense of historical responsibility to this nation, you and your Government made a strategic decision to establish diplomatic ties with the Peoples Republic of China”, she said to applause.

“…History has proved and continue to prove that this is a wise and brave decision. (The) strong relations and friendship with Chinese leaders and importance that you kept on this relationship since then have always been dynamic (in) pushing the relationship (and) growing from strength to strength,” she added.

Ambassador Ou noted the amount of scholarships offered to Grenadians over the years and the help in other areas of the economy and that China is willing to share opportunities for livelihoods with Grenada.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen who also addressed the Raddison function said the bonds between China and Grenada have grown stronger over the last 10 years.

“On January 20th 2005 when Grenada re-established diplomatic relations with the Peoples Republic of China, we joined with the vast majority of countries around the world which have embraced the “One China” policy and at the same time made a conscious effort to advance
(our) foreign policy aimed at improving the socio-economic (development) of our people”, she said.

“… Ten years later it can be said that the relationship between our two countries have progressed to the extent that the seeds of our collective efforts have already begun to blossom – indeed in many instances they are certainly bearing fruits,” she added.

Minister Modeste-Curwen made specific mention of the cricket and athletic stadia that have benefited from Chinese assistance.

It was disclosed at the function that China and Grenada recently signed an agreement covering $20 million dollars to undertake repair work at the cricket stadium.

There have been reports in recent months that the stadium is showing serious signs of disrepair since it was built by China to facilitate Grenada’s staging of some cricket matches at the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup held in the Caribbean.

One of the major highlights of the night was the display put on for Grenadians by a visiting group of Chinese cultural performers.

Canadian Nabbed At Airport With Cocaine

Canadian Michael Davis – is facing drug charges in the Spice Isle

Canadian Michael Davis – is facing drug charges in the Spice Isle

A 40-year old Canadian man, Michael Davis has found himself on the wrong side of the law in Grenada.

Davis was arrested by police on January 13 at the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) for allegedly being in possession of 10 pounds of cocaine.

Represented by local attorney-at-law, Peter David, the suspect made his first court appearance last week Thursday before Magistrate Tahira Gellineau.

Despite strenuous efforts made by David who pleaded for bail on behalf of his client, it was denied by the Magistrate and Davis was sent to the Richmond Hill prison to be kept in safe custody.

The Canadian national has been charged with trafficking and being in possession of controlled drug.

An official police report said that the accused was awaiting an outboard flight to Canada at MBIA when a search of his luggage revealed ten pounds of cocaine hidden in a compartment.”

During his court appearance, the Police Prosecutor told the Magistrate that an on-site testing was done which confirmed that the substance found in his possession was 10 pounds of cocaine with a street value of $454,545.40.

However, attorney David called for a retest to be done of the alleged drugs since “on-site testing” can be considered as unreliable and that a retest is needed to confirm that it is actually cocaine.

The lawyer tried to convince Magistrate Gellineau to grant bail to his client on the ground that he is a Commonwealth citizen and is eligible to vote in elections.

Police Prosecutors agreed for the investigating Police Officer in the case to do a retesting of the substance but the Magistrate decided to dismiss the request for bail on the grounds that a serious offence was allegedly committed by the accused.

Davis was ordered to return to court on January 23.

“CSME in the classroom” training for Grenadian teachers

CSME TeachersGrenadian teachers at the CXC and CCLC level got the opportunity to build on their skills to bring the Caribbean Single Market and its opportunities to life for students at a workshop held last week Tuesday.

The session was made possible under the Improving Information Flows within the CARICOM Single Market for Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines Project being spearheaded by the CARICOM Secretariat.

The Project aims to increase the number and types of information channels promoting the CARICOM Single Market to CARICOM nationals.

It falls under component 300 of the CARICOM Trade and Competitiveness Project (CTCP) which seeks to widen the scope of participation by stakeholders and beneficiaries in the process of decision-making, implementation and operation of the CARICOM Single Market.

Teachers’ workshop is an empowered Grenadian graduate sector equipped to exploit their rights and privileges as CARICOM nationals.

Teacher training is one of a number of similar capacity building activities to better equip influential sectors like the media and public officers whose work is to implement the nuts and bolts of the CSM Regime: The Free movement of Skills, Goods, Services and the Right of Establishment

The need for this type of workshop has been highlighted through research efforts within the CARICOM Community that has revealed the need for public education to be more enhanced, focused and specific to targeted audiences.

Insight has also been gleaned from feedback from CAPE and CSEC teachers and students that indicates that while resource material on CSME is becoming more accessible, there is still a perception among many stakeholders in the educational environment that regional integration, the CSME and related topics are still viewed as primarily academic concepts, to be studied for examination purposes, but not very exciting and barely applicable to their everyday existence.

The goal of the workshop therefore is to facilitate educators to enhance the scope and depth of students’ understanding of the essential concepts related to regional integration and, no less important, to engender learners’ curiosity, interest and excitement in CSME and regional integration.

Dr Gordon N. Harewood, a regional specialist in education development designed and facilitated the training on behalf of consulting firm Right Angle Imaging which is implementing the Information Flows project on behalf of the CARICOM Secretariat.

Dr. Harewood has provided over twenty years of service to the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), developing a deep understanding of the educational environment in all of the countries served by CXC.

He has led teams that have designed, implemented and evaluated syllabuses and assessment programmes throughout the Caribbean, and has been directly involved in several of the innovations successfully launched by CXC during his tenure, including the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), and the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC).

The CSME in the Classroom Teacher Training Workshop is expected to enhance Teachers competence in designing interesting, student-centred activities, through a project-based learning approach, leading to more effective learning and teaching of content and concepts relevant to regional integration and CSM.

Similar teacher training workshops are scheduled to be held in upcoming weeks in Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Educators are just one of the various stakeholder groups being targeted throughout the CARICOM Member States for training in facilitating communication on CSME as part of the consultancy.

Pay up or face court action!!!

The Fort Jeudy Association (JDA) plans to take a tough line with owners of land and other property in the well-to-do area who are delinquent in payment of dues for the upkeep of the community.

According to well-placed sources, a number of letters would be sent out this month to several persons who are in default with their payments for a number of years.

He singled out for special mention a current top official of the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell who has not paid his dues for a number of years.

He said the person “is owing a few thousands well” for about three lots of land he purchased some years ago in the Fort Jeudy Area.

THE NEW TODAY was told that the named person owns “Lot 239, Lot 240 and Lot 240R at Fort Jeudy.

According to the official, these lots total 46, 853 sq.ft of land and if sold at the current rate of EC$30 a sq.ft can fetch the owner something like EC$1.4 million.

“No one has any special favours inside Fort Jeudy. It does not matter who the person is or their status in society. It is normal for the association to go after all the persons who are in default with their payments. As far as I know letters go out every January to persons reminding them of their dues”, he said.

The source pointed to a recent incident in which a current senior member of the NNP-led Cabinet of Ministers was owing the association approximately EC$12, 000.00 in non-payment of dues for years on his ownership of nearly one-acre of land in Fort Jeudy.

He said the government official was not meeting his payment schedules for years and was written to on a number of occasions to address his outstanding arrears.

He added that it had reached the stage where the association was about to take legal action when funds were eventually sent by the individual known to be a mufti-millionaire to take care of his outstanding arrears.

The government official reportedly owns Lot #98 at Fort Jeudy which has a current real estate value of EC$1 million.

The arrears were paid off after the change of government in February 2013 in which the NNP won all fifteen seats.

This newspaper understands that the conduit with the funds for Lot #98 at Fort Jeudy is a current member of the Upper House of Parliament.

There are also reports that the association was forced to take legal action against one of the country’s top medical official who invested in a mufti-million dollar house which is currently rented out at Fort Jeudy.

The matter was sent for Mediation before the local courts with the medical official agreeing to pay a monthly sum of money to clear off his arrears with the association.

Several of the lots in Fort Jeudy are currently owned by persons who can be described as the “Who is Who” in the Grenadian society such as lawyers, doctors, dentists and hoteliers.

About four years ago, a top official in the main opposition National Democratic Congress reportedly sold his lot at Fort Jeudy for approximately EC$700, 000.00 and invested in another property at Westerhall Point.

The real estate market in Grenada is said to be very lucrative for a number of locals.

THE NEW TODAY understands that home owners in Fort Jeudy pay in excess of one million dollars each year to government in Property Tax.

Residents unhappy with state of roads in Fort Jeudy

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAResidents of the well-to-do Fort Jeudy area in St. George’s are appealing to Public Utilities Minister, Gregory Bowen to urgently come to their rescue to help tackle the state of disrepair of their roads.

THE NEW TODAY was approached by a few homeowners in the multi-million dollar commune to undertake a visit of the area to see the terrible state of the road network.

One of the residents told this newspaper that government used to help maintain the roads in Fort Jeudy but stopped giving assistance since 2007.

She expressed alarm at government’s inaction since the homeowners contribute in excess of one million dollars a year to the coffers of the Treasury in the form of Property Tax.

She pointed out that most of the residents, approximately 97 percent of them are also known to be strong supporters of the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell and voted heavily for the house in the last general elections.

She added that even a top member of the near two year old administration purchased nearly one acre of land in the upscale residential area.

Checks made by this newspaper reveal that the person holds one of the most senior positions in Cabinet and is the owner of Lot #98 which entails 37, 004 sq. ft of land.

According to the homeowner, the residents have been forced to go directly to Minister Bowen for assistance since the Member of Parliament for the constituency, Alexandria Otway-Noel, newly appointed Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister has apparently
abandoned them.

“Before the elections (February 2013) the lady used to be inside here all the time to meet with residents to get their votes but she no longer comes around. If she does come inside Fort Jeudy it’s being kept a big secret. I certainly am not aware of any visit by the MP since the election”, she said.

This newspaper was able to obtain the copy of a letter that was prepared by the unhappy Fort Jeudy residents to send to Minister Bowen on the situation with their roads:

Minister of Public Utilities and Works,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am writing on behalf of the Fort Jeudy Residents Association to ask for your assistance with the Fort Jeudy roads, particularly Sunset Drive, which are currently in a terrible state.

We have previously requested and received assistance from the Ministry with repairing the roads in Fort Jeudy, but unfortunately this assistance was brought to an abrupt halt in 2007, leaving Sunset Drive in a state of disrepair.

The situation on Sunset Drive has become so bad that there are sections of road where ordinary cars can no longer drive. While the Association has been devoting a portion of maintenance dues collected from Lot Owners towards road repair, the amount of work required on Sunset Drive is beyond the Association’s financial abilities at this time.

Fort Jeudy has been designated one of the points of interest for Tour Operators as well as other Visitors to Grenada, and we do get quite a lot of tragic on our roads, particularly Sunrise Drive and Sunset Drive. I am sure that you will agree that it is unfair to the residents of Fort Jeudy to be paying for the road repairs when the public as well as the residents are using the roads in Fort Jeudy.

In light of the current situation we are again appealing to the Ministry for help. We would like to ask whether you can use your good office to restart the government assistance that was abruptly terminated in 2007 in order to complete the resurfacing of Sunset Drive.

In light of the foregoing, we are appealing to you as Minister of Works, to please address this problem we have with our roads, and we look forward to your response.

G’da Sailing Week announce new one design class

By Louay Habib

Island Water World Grenada Sailing Week is proud to announce a new one design class for this year’s regatta. The J/24 class has more than 50,000 people sailing 5,300 boats worldwide in 40 countries with well over 150 active fleets and is still considered the ‘gold standard’ for modern one-design keelboats around the world. It is the world’s most popular One-Design keelboat as measured by hulls produced and there are a number of teams racing J/24s in the Caribbean.

'Dr Robbie Yearwood J24 IWW Die Hard at IWW Grenada Sailing Week - Island Water World Grenada Sailing Week 2015'    Grenada Sailing Week/Derek Pickell

‘Dr Robbie Yearwood J24 IWW Die Hard at IWW Grenada Sailing Week – Island Water World Grenada Sailing Week 2015’ Grenada Sailing Week/Derek Pickell

Marc DeCaul, chairman of the IWW Grenada Sailing Week spoke about the news. ‘A group of J/24 owners from various islands spoke to us about having their own class and separate race course with a number of short sharp races per day. The Board of Grenada Sailing Week is always keen to listen to ideas from sailors and we thought it was an excellent idea. J/24s are already in Grenada and they will be joined by competitors who will sail their boats from Barbados, St. Lucia and Trinidad. So there will be some intense inter-island rivalry going on. We hope that the number of boats racing in the class will continue to grow and we will actively support that and if there are other one-design sailors out there or groups of similar yacht owners who want to talk to us, we are very happy to listen to your ideas. Preparations for this year’s regatta are going well, with challenging courses out on the water and some great parties after racing.’

So far, yachts from eleven different nations will make up this year’s entry for IWW Grenada Sailing Week. Caribbean boats include: Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Martinique, St. Lucia and Trinidad and overseas yachts will be competing from Austria, Canada, France, United Kingdom and the USA.

One of the largest and most elegant yachts competing will be Mat Barker’s British 1930 cutter rigged sloop, The Blue Peter, which is racing across the Atlantic before the regatta. ‘We won the Classics Division last year, so we had to come back to defend our title.’ commented Mat. ‘On top of that, Grenada is such a fantastic place to sail and ashore the whole country seems to want to welcome you. Grenada Sailing Week fits in very well with our busy schedule in the Caribbean and I know the whole crew are looking forward to returning this year.

Last year, Jason Fletcher’s Grenadian Albin 36, Apero was pipped for the CSA Cruising 2 title by fellow Grenadian, Robbie Yearwood racing J/24 IWW Die Hard, but this year IWW Die Hard will be racing in the J/24 Class. ‘My crew are all workers from Grenada Marine and I think they really enjoy shouting at me for a few days!’ laughed Jason Fletcher. ‘Make no mistake there will still be plenty of close racing even though Robbie won’t be racing in our class. There will be some tough competition. The boats will be all different, but the variety of courses and boat rating system tends to even out the advantages. The regatta is a good way to unwind with work colleagues and also a time when we meet up with old friends from outside Grenada, so we will be mixing it up on the race course and back on dry land with a few cold beers as well.’

IWW Grenada Sailing Week is one of the friendliest regattas in the Caribbean. The racing is competitive, but that doesn’t spoil the fun of it and Danny Donelan, skipper of Petite Martinique Sloop, Savvy, is often found at the heart of the action, on and off the water. ‘Savvy is a boat that should be enjoyed and I try to get as many people to come and sail on her as possible.’ explains Danny. ‘Last year, there was a group from the Scottish Islands that were in Grenada, but didn’t have a ride, so I welcomed them on board Savvy. To be honest with their thick Scottish accents and my Grenadian lilt, we found it pretty hard to understand each other, but they must have had a good time because they are coming back this year and racing on Savvy for the whole regatta.’

One new comer to IWW Grenada Sailing Week is Ossie Stewart, the British Olympic medalist and International Dragon world champion, who sailed his Dufour 45 Island Girl to the Caribbean in this year’s ARC. ‘I sold my business and decided to cross the Atlantic and enjoy the Caribbean.’ said Ossie. ‘I have probably done no more than a couple of days cruising in my life and Grenada Sailing Week has had some great reports, so I decided that this was the regatta for me. Also there are a lot of boats similar to Island Girl, so we should have a great contest on the water and I am looking forward to some fun ashore after racing.’

Fooling the fools!!!

THE NEW TODAY is calling for changes to be made to the Integrity in Public Life legislation that is now part of the laws of the country.

The unsuspecting public was made to believe that the legislation will put Grenadians in a better position to uncover and expose public figures who engage in corrupt and illegal activities while holding public office. This is so far from the truth.

The legislation in its current form is badly lacking and can best be described as toothless.

A number of persons – including government leaders and civil servants – went before the Integrity Commission, headed by retired high court judge, Monica Joseph to make declarations about their assets.

These declarations have now been put under lock and key in a building occupied by the commission in Archibald Avenue, St. George’s.

Does the Commission have the means to investigate the thousands of asset declarations that were filed by these people?

The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) can at best handle a few cases because it is lacking in manpower.

In recent days, credible reports have been circulating in the country about a nice piece of real estate property owned by one of the top leaders in the ruling New National Party (NNP) government.

This individual went public about three years ago and tried to sell the nation the notion that all he owned in this country was the little house that he had built in the 1980’s in a small village just outside the capital.

The same person who holds one of the highest offices in the island was constantly attacking the then Minister of Finance, Nazim Burke and current Political Leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for building a mansion in the well-to-do area of Westerhall Point.

The propaganda that went against Mr. Burke is that he did not only build a second home but five other houses in Grenada.

Information has now surfaced to indicate that the person leading the accusations against Mr. Burke is the owner of nearly one acre of prized land inside the well-to-do community of Fort Jeudy.

This newspaper has been told that the senior government leader did not buy what is now known as Lot #98 in Fort Jeudy in recent times but sometime back in the 1980’s.

The question that immediately arises is this– was he engaging in tomfoolery of the nation when he said that all he owned in this country was the little house that he build just outside the St. George’s capital city and was hiding the fact that he was a big player inside Fort Jeudy?

Did this government leader declare the close to 40, 000 sq.ft of land that he owns in Fort Jeudy to the Integrity Commission of Justice Monica Joseph?

The Integrity in Public Life legislation prevents the public from seeing these declarations of assets and John Public is no where wiser in knowing if Tom, Dick or Harry made a false declaration to Justice Joseph and her small team.

THE NEW TODAY is not questioning the individual’s right to buy or own property in the land of his birth but is pointing to a much wider issue of deceit, mamagism and tomfoolery of the public.

This newspaper is calling for all those who hold public office especially our political leaders to open up their books for public scrutiny. It is the same old khaki pants story being played all over again of fooling the fools in Grenada.

Related to this issue of “fooling the fools” is the legislation introduced in Parliament by our government leaders to impose high taxes on idle lands that falls into the category of lands for agricultural purposes.

These same politicians and their cronies own several acres of lands inside the well-to-do communes of Fort Jeudy and Westerhall Point and clearly some of them fit the bill of being Speculators.

Why not pass a law to impose heavy fines on Speculators? Do you expect Politicians to go into Parliament and pass legislation that will personally affect them? Why target only the poor and vulnerable farmers in the rural parts of the country?

Is the public aware that these same politicians who have been fooling them and keeping them poor, in a state of ignorance have been the ones who bought lands in Fort Jeudy and Westerhall in the 70’s and 80’s at rock bottom prices back then and today these same lots are now selling for $EC25-30 per sq.ft given the current market price.

The owner of Lot #98 would have paid in the vicinity of $EC40, 000 for his lands but today that property is valued at EC$1 million and upwards. Why is our Parliament not passing legislation to deal with those Speculators who are sitting and doing nothing with prime real estate property for the last 35 years?

And the situation gets more sickening because these are the same people who are doing nothing with these idle lands but calling on theordinary Grenadians to invest in the construction industry and other areas in order to help us build this so-called New Economy to help transform Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

It boils down to the simple phrase – fooling the fools.

GUTCU moves in the direction of the youth

Another major initiative is being undertaken by the Grenada Union of Teachers Cooperative Credit Union as it seeks to ensure most of the nation’s youth have a financially sound future.

GUT Credit Union officials are all on board for its new initiative to meet target of engaging the nations children

GUT Credit Union officials are all on board for its new initiative to meet target of engaging the nations children

The GUTCU Junior Financial Literacy Cooperative Society that is targeted at students at the Secondary School level was launched last week Tuesday at the Horizon Plaza on St John’s Street.

The aim of the project is to create an environment where young people will acquire hands-on experience in financial transactions and thereby gain skills that are necessary to navigate the financial world.

The progamme will be piloted in three Secondary Schools – Anglican High School, St Andrew Anglican Secondary School and St Mark’s Secondary School – before it is extended to 14 other secondary schools on the island.

President of the GUTCU, Kim Parris said the programme is one that seeks to engage students in practical, real life financial transactions so as to ensure the continuity of the credit union movement.

Parris said that they have discerned through observation and interaction with a number of persons that these people often develop poor money management habits and are usually uninformed about financial institutions and the product that they offer due to limited experience and lack of knowledge.

In this regards, she said the Junior Financial Cooperative Society will seek to engage “our young people in real life financial matters such as opening an account, budgeting, the use of credit, the importance of saving and responsible spending and understanding that interest accumulates and money grows”.

According to Parris, all students of the participating schools can become a member but the management of the operations will be put in the hands of students from forms three to five and that the co-operative will be opened three days per week at the initial stages.

Deputy Manager of GUTCU, Retesha Boyd-Smith stressed that the Credit Union is committed to the development of young people as it seeks to nurture the next generation of savers, entrepreneurs, educators and cooperators.

“We anticipate that through this venture, students will develop good financial habits that they will put into practice through out their lives. It is hoped that a new generation of informed consumers would emerge who will make more informed financial decisions”, she said.

“…We are in the process of getting the permission from our regulators and hope to commence the programme ….once all of this is satisfied, hopefully within the first quarter of the year,” she added.

The Grenada Cooperative League has given full support to the GUTCU on its initiative with its Manager Chanda Davis declaring  that she is familiar with the programme and knows first hand the benefits that can be derived from it.

“…I am a product of such a programme”, said Davis, who added that she was exposed to the scheme “many many moons ago in St Vincent where that programme was very thriving and it’s a similar type of programme to what GUT has here”.

“…I must say it gave me a sense of community, a sense of self to be a better responsible person among other good characteristics,” she remarked and commended the GUTCU for deciding to undertake the programme.

Roger Lewis found guilty of fraud

Local Businessman Roger Lewis could be facing years in prison for defrauding his siblings

Local Businessman Roger Lewis could be facing years in prison for defrauding his siblings

Owner of Seaport Restaurant and Bar on the Kirani James Boulevard, Roger Lewis was found guilty of Fraud, Uttering and Obtaining property illegally last Wednesday after a jury trial at the No. 2 High Court in St. George’s.

The presiding judge, Madam Justice Paula Gilford remanded Lewis, the son of late popular mechanic, Allan Lewis to the Richmond Hill prison until sentence sometime in February.

Investigations into the young Lewis began in 2012 by the Financial Intelligence unit (FIU) after he was accused of defrauding his siblings of right to his father’s estate on the grounds that he allegedly forged the will of the deceased Allan.

Several other brothers and sisters claimed that their brother paid them a certain sum of money and ended up as the owner of the multi-million dollar estate left behind by the father.

One of the brothers told this newspaper that he accepted EC$15, 000.00 from Roger but was forced to act against his own brother when one of the persons whose name appeared on the Will as a Witness said he knew nothing about the document.

He spoke of reporting the matter to the FIU in order to probe the alleged Will of the father.

After hearing the Preliminary Inquiry into the charges against Roger, Magistrate Tamara Gill committed him to stand trial at the High Court because she determined there were sufficient evidence presented against him.

The case against the suspect began on November 8, 2014 and was completed on January 14, 2015.

Speaking with reporters last week Thursday, Crown Counsel in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Howard Pinnock indicated that Roger was found guilty by the jurors after a trial that spanned several weeks.

“He was indicted for Forgery, Uttering and obtaining property on the forged will. The trial concluded on Wednesday and he was found guilty by the Jury on all three counts. His (Legal) Counsel asked for a Social Inquiry report or a Probation report and sentencing is set for sometime in February”, Pinnock said.

“…The judge did indicate that the Probation report ought to be presented on or before the 14th of February and having received that report then a definitive date will be set for sentencing,” he added.

Pinnock also made some passing remarks about civil proceeding that were instituted by some of the other brothers against Roger in connection with the father’s property.

He noted that the civil proceedings were stayed by the High Court pending the outcome of the criminal case and the verdict delivered by the jurors in the criminal matter will definitely be affected.

“My understanding is that there were civil proceedings in relation to the property but the finding of the criminal court is that the will was forged so it would have some impact. I’m not a civil lawyer, I don’t have any expertise on civil law… a lawyer were retained by the family to deal with the civil issues and other issues, so they will now do what they have to do but certainly the ruling of the criminal court is that the will of Allan Lewis was forged and that it is the accused who forged it”, he told reporters.

“That is the substance of the verdict, that he is the one who forged it, the one who uttered it, meaning that he presented the said will to Mr (Anselm) Clouden’s Chambers to be probated and furthermore he obtained properties as a result – that is the finding of the jury, so certainly it would have an impact on the civil proceedings,” he said.

Stating that Fraud is a very serious criminal offence in Grenada, Pinnock gave some insight into the years that Roger can spend in prison when the matter comes up for the actual sentencing by the trial judge.

“Sentencing is a matter entirely for the judge. We the Prosecutors, we can’t say the likely sentence that the accused obviously would get but the maximum penalty for all of the offences – for forgery the maximum penalty is 15 years, for Uttering the maximum penalty is 15 years and for obtaining properties the maximum penalty is 15 years. The maximum on each penalty is 15 years,” he said
According to Pinnock, the issue of consecutive sentence is not likely to be given in this matter but the Judge may consider a number of things in arriving at a decision including the fact that Roger is a first time offender before the court.

“…In terms of the Principles of Sentencing, the judge will take into account a number of factors prevalent in determining the length of the sentence, the prevalence of the type of offence in the jurisdiction. For example the record and antecedents of the convicted man, does he have any previous conviction? For example the impact of crime on the victims for example in determining the length of the sentence and whether it would be a custodial vs a non-custodial sentence,”he remarked.

The State Prosecutor was also asked about the status of the property, which was obtained by Roger which once belonged to his late father.

He said it is something that the civil court will have to handle because “as things now stand there is no will…”