“One Arm Bandit” War

Local operators of the so-called “One Armed Bandit” slot machines are up in arms against a Canadian outfit that is allegedly trying to buy them out of the business.

An industry official told THE NEW TODAY that one of the main players in  a Canadian Gaming Company, met with several of the Slot machine operators across the island and tried to entice them to sell over their machines to his operations and instead to work for them.

He said the Canadian boasted of striking a deal with the two-year old Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government that allows for his company to become a dominant player in the gaming business in Grenada.

According to the official, the meeting was dominated by heated exchanges between the foreigner and a former government minister who owns and operates several of the “One armed bandit” slot machines especially in the rural areas.

He said the Canadian put a proposal on the table to purchase all machines operated by locals at a set price and for the Grenadians to take machines from his company to put at their places on specified terms and conditions.

He spoke of the meeting becoming very heated with the ex-government minister eventually walking out of the session, accusing the Canadian of being “too rude”.

He told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that the local operator felt that the Mitchell-led government should meet with the Machine Operators if they want to regulate the industry and not give the task to a non-national.

The ex-government minister pointed out that all Machine operators paid large sums of money to government to import the “One Armed Bandits”  into Grenada to ply their trade and the issue of compensation ought to be part of the discussion.

This newspaper understands that Economic Development Minister Oliver Joseph has been given the task by Cabinet to regulate the Gaming industry on the island.

The source noted that several Machine owners who are known to be strong supporters of the NNP regime attended the meeting but remained extremely quiet.

“Not one of them opened their mouths to say anything. I know they are hurting but they (are) afraid to speak out. They are afraid to speak”, he remarked.

Grenada has seen a proliferation of slot machines in the country since the February 2013 election victory at the polls by Dr. Mitchell’s NNP.

Other sources believe that the administration might have entered into a deal with the Canadians on  running of the state-controlled Grenada National Lottery Authority (GNLA) which operates several money games on the island.

There are unconfirmed reports that the Canadian output might be willing to guarantee a multi-million dollar loan for the cash-strapped Mitchell government which cannot borrow huge sums due to the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) that is being closely monitored by the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF).

THE NEW TODAY understands that the Gaming industry is a lucrative business on the island with Grenadians spending approximately EC$135, 000.00 a day on the various games run by lotto.

Sharing with the public

PART TEN

The Integrity Commission (IC) shared with representatives of the Committee of Experts of the Follow-up Mechanism on the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption (MESICIC), during a visit last year and also recently with a visiting overseas official from the Department for International Development (DFID), based in Jamaica, that the Integrity Commission has fashioned a phased approach to its work; through the establishment of methodologies and structures.

Details of those methods and structures and copies of supporting documents were shared with MESICIC. One Phase comprised training of Commissioners and staff. The Commissioners received some training from a visiting overseas Consultant, Binder, Dizker, Otte (BDO) Forensic Accounting Ltd. (One Commissioner received training in Singapore, during the life of the first Commission and the information gleaned by that Commissioner was shared with the other Commissioners during a Workshop in 2014).

Compliance Officers, on being appointed, were exposed to the functioning of a number of Government Departments (Accountant General’s Department, the Audit Department, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the Registry of the Supreme Court and the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office).

One Compliance Officer attended a Workshop in an OECS country (Antigua), on the subject of Asset Disclosure in Small Island Jurisdictions, December 04 to 05, 2014. She presented a written Report to the Commission and verbally gave information on the deliberations of the Workshop.

With Commissioners and colleague Compliance Officer, she also indicated that she had shared at that workshop “…..that the Commission is currently disseminating a series of documents called “Sharing with the Public” through local newspapers, in which information such as what are the responsibilities of the Commission, how are these responsibilities carried out …..”.

She also shared that the moderator (Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer attached to the Corruption and Economic Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was impressed with this effort by Grenada, and had encouraged the other participating countries from within the region, who all indicated that they had no such initiative in place, to consider doing the same.

Another phase: The Integrity Commission is proceeding with receipt of declarations of Income, Assets and Liabilities from persons in public life. It is vital for those declarations to be kept safely, as the Integrity Commission must be in a position to satisfy a Court of Law (if that is required) that the declarations have not being tampered with, and that the chain of custody of the envelope with the declaration has been adhered to by Officers within the Commission.

A chain of custody is the noting of physical movement and location of a document or thing from the time of receipt to the time it is presented as evidence in Court.

(Submitted by the Office of the Integrity Commission)

Hoodwinkers at work!!!

Thirty-two years after the demise of the Grenada Revolution, the restless activists are still trying to hoodwink a large cross section of the population into believing that ideological differences were not responsible for the bloody carnage that took place on Fort Rupert.

“Project Grenada” has apparently provided a platform for the once feared Central Committee (CC) members of the New Jewel Movement (NJM) who were aligned to Bernard Coard, to prance about and try and peddle the line that the two top leaders in the party had the same ideological genes.

This is a whole lot of hogwash and need to be exposed at every turn and corner so that the young generation do not fall for typical classic communist propaganda.

At the height of the political crisis back in 1983, those CC members who identified with Coard used the then Radio Free Grenada to brand Bishop as someone who was not able to make the transition from Socialism to Democratic Centralism – a principle that is the hallmark of a true revolutionary communist.

After the executions of Bishop and three government ministers on the fort, the radio station blasted the late Prime Minister as a counter-revolutionary who had joined up with his bourgeois and petite bourgeois friends to try and liquidate the true People’s Leaders (The Coard Gang of Prisoners).

However, thirty-two years later the same elements who were responsible for mass murders in Grenada are trying to raise their ugly heads due to a perceived political vacancy in the ranks of the opposition.

A man in jail will do or say anything to obtain his freedom and the written words by some CC members at the Richmond Hill prison will continue to haunt them.

THE NEW TODAY is urging all Grenadians especially the young people to run far from any of the leaders of the 1979-83 Grenada Revolution who are now seeking to push the line that there was no ideological differences between Bishop and Coard and to see the perpetrators as having some kind of a sinister plan.

“The Missing Link” which was written from behind the bars at the Richmond Hill prison by CC Member John “Chaulkie” Ventour paints a picture of an ideological battle being waged for the correct path to be pursued by the Grenada Revolution.

It is clear that a majority of CC Members who were aligned to Coard preferred the Soviet line of Democratic Centralism involving majority rule of a small clique within the party as opposed to the Cuban brand of Communism which was centered on One-manism in the person of Fidel Castro.

Writing back then, Ventour said the following: “… Without FC’s (Fidel Castro’s)  interference in our party’s affairs the dark clouds of tragedy which descended over and engulfed our country on October 19, 1983, would not have occurred. The Grenada Revolution would probably be alive today”.

Ventour pointed at what he called Cuba’s “petty hegemonic aspirations/design” on “our process” was aimed at trying to get the Grenada Revolutionaries to become “very dependent on them.

Anyone who is still in doubt about ideological differences should read this extract from that particular NJM CC member.

“In very improper ways, also … they (the Cubans) tried to change the way in which decisions were historically made by our P(arty) leadership. Our P(arty) had always, from its inception …stressed collective leadership, with Maurice being the first among equals. In that context the strength of all our leaders came to bear; and the weakness of Maurice in making decisions, in strategy and tactics, and in guiding and supervising the work of the P(arty), and later the Revolution, were overcome. (Maurice himself, on more than one occasion, openly admitted to all these weaknesses).  In that context (of our collective Leadership), while Maurice was clearly perceived as the Leader, the first among equals, Bernard, because of his particular strengths in the areas in which Maurice was weak was looked toward for leadership, and in practice, therefore, it was Bernard who led the P(arty) in those areas, before and during the Revolution. So it was an informal arrangement; one based on the years of experience in our struggle; and an arrangement which led our P(arty) to glory.

Ventour went on: “In Cuba, however, the form leadership takes in their P(arty) is obviously different: Their circumstances are different; their history is different; and FC (Fidel Castro) is FC (Fidel Castro). In Cuba, FC is the Maximum Leader in all areas.

“In short … Leadership in Cuba was always more personalized, more individualistic, it appears, and to a great extent this is due to the incredible ability of FC. But in Grenada, leadership had always been more collective. This was due to the tremendous qualities of Maurice and Bernard in different areas; and also due to their specific weaknesses. So the emphasis on collective leadership was based on our history, and rooted in our history. “Yet from 1979 and onwards, with ever greater intensity, they (the Cubans) attempted to influence Maurice into adopting FC’s style of leadership; into becoming a FC. But Maurice was never, and could never have been, FC. They were different persons”.

“That interference by Cuba, again in many improper ways, for example FC sending down persons to Grenada to tell Maurice that certain decisions are his prerogative; and that the NJM CC could not take certain decisions, etc., etc., made for and naturally did lead to friction”.

“So Maurice, obviously convinced by those around him that the JL (Joint Leadership) decision was some kind of “conspiracy” to ultimately renounce him as leader, was therefore in the correct psychological state to make a complete break with the historically based collective leadership, and to place himself above the leadership and General Meeting of the Party’s decision”.

These reborn NJM CC members who are once again looking for space on the political stage through “Project Grenada” will never tell the Grenadian people that their leader Bernard Coard was a student of the Jamaican political ideologue, Trevor Munroe of the now defunct Workers Party of Jamaica (WPJ).

It was Munroe who was Moscow’s man in the English-speaking Caribbean and espoused the “Democratic Centralism” principle that was blindly adhered to by Coard and company as opposed to the Maximum Leader cult of Castro and his political son in the Spice Isle, Maurice Bishop.

The October 1983 tragedy in Grenada was a battle between the so-called real revolutionaries of Coard, Liam James, Ewart Layne and John Ventour against the so-called washed out Socialist Maurice Bishop whom they believe could not take the process to the next stage as perceived by those who were in favour of “Democratic Centralism”.

The Coardites will forever hide the truth from the Grenadian people about the true role played by Trevor Munroe, the Moscowite in the 1983 crisis.

TUC celebrates 60 years

TUC members are very proud of their achievements over the years

TUC members are very proud of their achievements over the years

The Grenada Trade Union Council (TUC) and its seven affiliates will this year celebrate 60 years of struggle and successes in fighting for workers’ rights.

The TUC anniversary is being held under the theme: Maintaining the flames of our founding fathers while restructuring in the face of economic challenges”.

President of the trade union umbrella body, Madonna Harford, told reporters that the council has not only fought for the rights of unionised workers but also for non-unionized workers in the country.

Harford who is not seeking re-election for another term in office cited the case of Security Officers in the 2010/2011 period when TUC put forward a case on behalf of these non-unionised persons.

“…We championed (their cause) and we were able to ensure that they got just wages,” said the female trade unionist.

Harford noted that over the years the body has supported various legislation geared at improving the status, working and living conditions of workers and resisted those legislation that would have affected the interest of workers in the country.

She recalled that one of the legislation rejected was the National Reconstruction levy (NRL) that was introduced by the 2003-08 New National Party (NNP) administration of current Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell after the passage of Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.

“The TUC felt at the time that in 2005 soon after the destruction of
Grenada when every worker would have lost their house or their roofs on their houses, we felt at that time workers were not able to pay a 5% reconstruction levy. TUC resisted that and we gained in the long run – workers had to pay 3%, a reduction from 5%,” she remarked.

According to Harford, a former Permanent Secretary in the Public Sector, the council has also fought for the Maternity Leave law of 1980, which is being utilised by many mothers today.

“The GTUC was instrumental in laws, legislation as the Maternity Leave law of 1980, which provided three months leave for mothers on the birth of a child. Before, mothers had to either take no pay leave or whatever vacation leave they would have had. It was (an) initiative of the TUC and on dialogue with the People’s Revolutionary Government at the time that we were able to see mothers getting three months maternity leave,” she said.

Second Vice president of the TUC, Kenny James told reporters that every thing achieved by the TUC came through struggle.

“No employer willingly wakes up one morning and just bestowed a benefit on the worker. As the workers of this generation, the onus is on us to remember that we need to fight today for greater benefits, that in the next 60 years those who would be sitting around this table can say that we have fought a good fight, that we have done well in terms of adding to the foundation set by the founding fathers,” James said.

The TUC is the umbrella body for the Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU), Public Workers Union (PWU), Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT), Commercial and Industrial Workers Union (CIWU), Bank and General Workers Union (BGWU), Seamen and Waterfront Workers Union (SWWU)and the Grenada Manual, Maritime and Intellectual Workers Union (GMMIWU).

The affiliates represent workers in the commercial, industrial, agricultural, essential services, public services, hotel sector, banking and other financial services.

The celebrations of the anniversary began with a church service on March 8th at the Bethel Methodist Church in St Paul’s and will end with a dinner and award ceremony.

St George’s University – Ten Years Setting the Pace for Future Successes!

It’s an accomplishment that many did not expect; the St. George’s University (SGU) Knowledge Bowl – the most stimulating academic event known to third through fifth formers on the island – has turned ten!

Over one decade ago – the year 2003 to be precise – a SGU staff member  had a dream, a dream for the university to host an inter-secondary school competition that would serve as a tool to prepare students for exams at the Caribbean  Examinations Council level.

But without partnership and shared vision, it would not be done. So for the rest of 2003 into 2006, much dedication was placed into getting the ‘green light’ from the Ministry of Education and securing as many partners  as necessary  to make  this dream come true.

Colin Dowe, Assistant Dean of Enrollment Planning for Caribbean Admissions at the SGU, was that dreamer and he recalls how Flow’s Community Channel 6 (CC6) became part of the picture.

“Community Channel 6 was airing the School’s Challenge Quiz in Jamaica,” he recalled.

“And they approached the St. George’s University to sponsor the quiz but we said “we don’t want to sponsor a quiz; we want to put on a quiz’,” said Dowe laughing.  It was from then that the SGU-CC6 partnership began to strengthen, until it created what we know as the SGU Knowledge Bowl.

Today, this dynamic duo, together with a number of faithful sponsors, has successfully produced nine seasons of the Knowledge Bowl and is currently working on its tenth.

Columbus Communications (Flow) Country Manager and co-founder, Gail Purcell, says it has not been without its fair share of hurdles.   “We had to visit every school personally and explain our vision to each school to get them on board and some were a bit reluctant” she also recalled.

In spite of the initial hiccups, the Knowledge Bowl fever eventually caught on and continues to spread, and this is worthy of recognition, says Mrs. Purcell.

“This is our tenth anniversary and we think it’s something to celebrate”, she said.

For the past 10 years, the “Intercol of Academia” has been bringing students from over 17 secondary schools around the island to test their knowledge of the secondary school curriculum as well as current affairs, topics to increase their examination preparedness and assist in their development as well rounded individuals.

The co-founders say although it is satisfying to see the champions’ faces as they receive their prizes, what  is and continues to be most rewarding to them is the impact the competition has been having in  the students’ academic performance at the Caribbean Secondary School  Certificate (CSEC ) Exams.

“The results can be seen,” Mr. Dowe said, as he referred to the various success stories reported by past Knowledge Bowl contestants over the years, “…they would all say that the early start, in terms of revising, that was forced them to prepare for the SGU Knowledge Bowl was a huge contributing factor to their success”.

Mrs. Purcell said the SGU – CC6 team’s hopes are big for the competition in the future.  “The tenth for us is a marking of where will be going ten years from now” she said. “It is really about future planning, development and setting ourselves on a track that is going to guide how this competition continues to grow. We have a vision where we see this academic performance at the Caribbean Secondary School  Certificate (CSEC ) Exams.

“The results can be seen,” Mr. Dowe said, as he referred to the various success stories reported by past Knowledge Bowl contestants over the years, “…they would all say that the early start, in terms of revising, that had forced them to prepare for the SGU Knowledge Bowl was a huge contributing factor to their success”.

Mrs. Purcell said the SGU – CC6 team’s hopes are big for the competition in the future.  “The tenth for us is a marking of where we will be going ten years from now” she said. “It is really about future planning, development and setting ourselves on a track that is going to guide how this competition continues to grow. We have a vision where we see this competition going beyond local to see a spin-off in every island”.

At this point it is quite fitting to say congratulations to all the winners from 2006 to 2014 – St. Joseph Convent St. George’s (2006,2009 and 2013); Grenada Boys Secondary (2007); Anglican High School (2008); Westmorland Secondary (2011) and Presentation Brothers College (2010, 2012 and 2014).

Grenada is anxious to see which school will emerge as champion in 2015.

In the meanwhile we will continue to tune into CC6 on Tuesdays and Thursdays to root for our favourite contestants and shout out answers in a game-show like frenzy.

Problems on Airport Board

All is not well at the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA).

Informed sources told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that the Chairperson of the Board of Directors, Joan Gilbert has submitted her resignation and could be replaced by a local attorney-at-law.

A well-placed source said that Gilbert decided to call it a day amidst reports that Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation, Yolande Bain-Horsford was about to change the composition of the board.

He spoke of relations between the head of the board and Bain-Horsford
deteriorating to the point that the female government minister issued instructions to torpedo a board meeting being called by Gilbert to allegedly discuss the work performance of a senior person at the airport.

THE NEW TODAY understands that Gilbert was stunned when reports reached her that the planned meeting was called off on instructions from the minister.

“I heard that Joan asked if the minister gave any reason for calling off the meeting and was told that the minister said that she was in charge and did not have to give her any reason for calling off the meeting”, said the source.

He cited one of the contentious issues at MBIA as being related to an apparent move being contemplated by Gilbert to address alleged flaws within the Accounting Section of the state-controlled body.

According to the source, there were allegedly many errors of a financial nature in reports sent before the board for consideration.

He said that Gilbert was pointing a finger at a newly recruited member of staff who joined MBIA after being embroiled in a controversial matter involving salaries at another state-run body.

Like Gilbert, the individual is perceived to have strong political affiliation with the ruling New National Party (NNP) administration.

Speculation is rife that the constant errors made by the Accounting Department were impacting on the airport’s ability to submit its annual report to Parliament in keeping with the laws of Grenada.

The source challenged this newspaper to find out from Parliament why no annual report for 2013 has been presented to Parliament on the operations of the Airport authority unlike others like Gravel & Concrete and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).

A source familiar with the operations of the airport told this newspaper that a local accounting firm headed by Rupert Agostini has been retained to handle the annual report of this particular state body but cannot properly do its work in the absence of critical relevant information that ought to prepared and handed over by the Accounting Department at MBIA.

THE NEW TODAY understands that the smooth operations of the governing Board at the airport is also being affected to some extent by “petty internal squabbles involving some of the NNP operatives appointed to serve on the corporation.

The source said that some Board members of the MBIA will not make comments on certain issues in the presence of others for fear of their contributions being reported to certain individuals within the upper echelon of the party and government.

Anglican Community looking for $2.1M

St George’s Anglican Church under renovation

St George’s Anglican Church under renovation

The Anglican Community in Grenada is still in search of a further $2.1M for the rebuilding of its main church on Church Street, St. George’s that was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.

During last Sunday’s weekly service, the congregation was informed that as of March 1st the balance on the rebuilding account stood at $440, 000.

The estimated cost of the repairs and refurbishing of the church is $2.5M.

As a means of securing the additional funds required for the rebuilding process, a special appeal has gone out to all Anglicans in Grenada to contribute to the process.

The rebuilding committee has already distributed pledge forms to Anglicans and are appealing to everyone who received the documents to offer whatever financial assistance they are able to give as they all need to work together for the success of the project.

Since the passage of Ivan, Anglicans have been worshipping at the St. George’s Anglican Senior School (Hindsey) on Church Street, St. George’s and have been making use of the nearby Roman Catholic Cathedral for Funeral Service for their members.

The rebuilding committee has stepped up its fundraising efforts and announced plans to hold an Easter Luncheon on Sunday, April 12th at the Anglican High School in Tanteen, St. George’s.

The luncheon will cost each person $30.00, with the targeted sum to be raised set at $10,000.

The rebuilding project was launched August 24th, 2014 and it was estimated that work on rebuilding the church will take 18 months to complete.

It is anticipated that work will begin soon on the ring bean to prep the roof, and the roofing material that has been sourced out of Guyana is expected to arrive on the island shortly.

Meanwhile, persons wishing to have their children attend the Anglican Junior School on Church Street, St. George’s for the new school year in September are informed that registration will take place on May 8.

The death of a revolution

Grenadians always tend to shy away from the truth when it comes to the Grenada Revolution which was led by the marxist revolutionary leader. “our beloved Maurice Bishop”who was born in Aruba of Grenadian parentage.

He was the son of Rupert and Alimenta Bishop, both deceased. Maurice was hailed as a hero when he overthrew the then Prime Minister, Sir Eric Matthew Gairy, leader of the GULP (Grenada United Labour Party).

I have always seen Sir Eric as being the Stalin of Russia, the man that embraced communism that professed equal treatment for all but yet behind it, he committed many terrible atrocities against his people.

Stalin had secret police and Sir Eric had the Mongoose Gang. Stalin was the one who defeated Adolf Hitler in battle, he was hailed a hero by his people and he got all the recognition worthy of any great hero.

He was loved by his people but he turned that love into hatred – that’s how he repaid them. He was no different than his predecessor, Lenin the man who started the Russian Revolution and who turned on the very said people who were hailed as heroes of the revolution.

The sailors who were always at the forefront of battle when called upon they were always on the frontline and yet they were brutally executed by the very said leader they fought for.

Sir Eric was no saviour as he was hailed by the people. Grenadians have canonised him by making him a saint. He came on the scene in a period when Grenadians knew not better because they had  endured enough hardship under colonial rule from Britain and her loyal subjects.

The word that was out then was, “that the little black man from the east will appear to save them”. How laughable! It’s amazing to see how brainwashed we all can be when we allow others to play tricks on our minds with their idiotic ideology and that took manifestation in the minds and hearts of Grenadians.

Messengers were sent out to proclaim his coming and many Grenadians took the bait and grew on it but latter down the road they felt the weight of what real dictatorship meant.

Grenadians were fooled by the little man from the east’s concept – how gullible we can be. It was only meant to keep persons under subjection while he established himself as dictator of Grenada.

His idea and concept came from his friend and best buddy Augusto Pinochet, the dictator of Chile who ruled with the iron fist, Pinochet himself assumed power through a coup, he overthrew President Salvador Allende, the very said man that made him Commander-in-Chief of the army.

A few years aback, Pinochet was charged for crimes against humanity but unfortunately he was never put on trial because he died in custody.

It is always said that birds of a feather flock together. I’m sure many of you remember the ruthless Mongoose Gang that reined terror on many Grenadians so don’t play you all forget unless you want history to repeat itself.

I am not saying Sir Eric did not do any good, he did but the saint Grenadians made him out to be he was not so because when it comes to the Grenada Revolution you get so much negative comments.

I have always believed the revolution had to happen because Sir Eric was too comfortable in his own skin – he was on a charade thinking he was the Grand Marshall of Grenada hence a shake up was needed because when elections were held it was not fair and square.

There was always allegations that he cheated and it is always said, “that all actions have consequences”.

I guess that the Revo had to come because he (Gairy) did not play the game right. I always viewed coup d’état as being Divine intervention from God – that was Sir Eric’s punishment for his stubborn ways.

Under the marxist revolutionary leader Maurice Bishop and the (NJM) New Jewel Movement, Grenada’s future was bright and fulfilling because Maurice had vision for Grenada – lots of infrastructure, industries and Community Development projects were in place.

Under Maurice, Grenada prospered in so many ways-  he represented us abroad like a true statesman, his eloquent speeches marveled all and to me he was the MLK (Martin Luther King) of his days. Maurice had a purpose to fulfill and he did for he served with distinction.

Comrade Maurice was a pioneer and advocate for all Grenadians unlike a few that hated him like poison but that hatred never stopped him from being who he was.
It is sad to see the way he was taken out from this world – assassinated by his own people within his ranks.

I have always believed that the US had a hand in his assassination because of the countries he associated with – USSR and Cuba who were not allies of the United States.

The Americans saw Maurice as being too darn intelligent for his own good and he was too much of a treat to the US as Grenada being a small island state might have become the hub for the Soviet Union and Cuba in this part of the world.

I often wonder what were they afraid of. Do they think the Russians were going to come and occupy Grenada and form alliances with Cuba to wage war on the U.S.?

I think that was laughable. There was no need for them to be so insecure and even think that way. Is that the real reason why they invaded after Maurice’s death?

I saw no need for the invasion because Caribbean forces could have come in to restore law and order. We did not need all the bombardment the US forces came with.

The truth behind the killing of the revolution would never be known because the person and persons responsible will never be man or woman enough to come forward and tell us the truth.

We have been hearing so much twisted untrue stories, it will take many more years before we can finally change that and finally put closure to that chapter.
Many longed for healing, reconciliation and closure but every year that time comes around it’s more pain and anguish and bitter sentiments and words throwing at each other because someone keeps blaming the other.

I really wonder when will we ever be serious about it and let the truth be known – we have allowed his mom to die going to her grave and never knowing where her son’s body is.

There are too many lies and deceit from those who should be helping us heal and they are not doing so but rather creating more conflicts amongst our people.

How long can we keep this charade up? How long will it continue?
There is a younger generation of revolutionists who need to know the truth. Why and who killed the revolution?

Many hated Maurice for the coup d’état but on the other hand Sir Eric embraced a man that did the same thing in Chile and he ruled for 25 years as a dictator and he was a close friend and confidante. That is what you called double standards right in your face – “show me your friends I will tell you who you are”.

And yet you hate Maurice and embraced Sir Eric who embraced revolution in another man’s country. This situation my friends is food for thought. We really need to do some soul searching and see who the real enemies are.

Please examine yourselves and see who really helped cause the death of the Revolution. We are in a constant state of stupor and exhaustion – from so many lies and untold stories. When will the truth ever be told?

These are the words of our beloved Maurice Bishop and I quote, “All revolutions involve temporary dislocations and, for a period, it is always necessary to restrain the abuses and excesses of a violent or disruptive minority in the interests of consolidating the revolution and bringing concrete benefits to the long-suffering and formerly oppressed majority.”

Brian Joseph

TUC: No taxes on pensioners

President of the Grenada Trade Union Council (GTUC), Madonna Harford is calling on Government to put measures in place to ensure that pensioners earning up to $5000.00 be exempted from paying income taxes.

Harford told reporters in St. George’s that this request is coming directly from the Pensioners association, which is not a unionised body in the country.

“Government recently would have passed the legislation exempting pensioners from NIS taxation on NIS pension but (in) TUC ….we’re still calling, we have made that proposal that pensioners who were not paying income tax before when the threshold was $5000 and above, we still feel that pensioners should not pay income tax at all because they would have already paid taxes on their wages and salaries, that they would have worked for over the 30 and 40 years that they would have worked for the nation already,” she said.

“We feel it is unconscionable to ask them at the later part of their years, their twilight years to pay taxes because we feel strongly that this is the time they need more support because you may find at that age a lot of sicknesses will come unto the pensioner or those retired persons and we’re still calling on Government to take a look at it again and make sure that those persons be exempted up to $5000 for pensioners,” she added.

Harford said the TUC recently called for an amendment to the legislation so workers could take home their severance pay packages.

“We felt strongly that when you are being retrenched from a job it might be very difficult. You may never get any employment for quite some time and especially in (this) economic situation we felt that it was something that we need to advocate and we were able to ensure that there was a law in place for no income tax on severance pay,” she remarked.

The two-year old Keith Mitchell-led administration in St. George’s has not made any public pronouncement on the issue.

Statutory bodies under structural reform

State-owned enterprises in Grenada have been mandated to adopt new measures to ensure the success of the three-year Home Grown Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), which is supported by the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The country is now into its second year under the programme and according to Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, financial commitments of state-owned entities are included in the new measure to calculate the country’s overall national debt.

The Prime Minister met last week with the Chairpersons and Chief Executive Officers of the statutory bodies on the island.

He used the occasion to outline several procedures to be implemented
under the Public Finance Management Bill of 2014, approved by Parliament in 2014.

This Bill provides for the proper financial management and control of the money, property and other resources of the public sector – including the Consolidated Fund and other public funds under the Consolidated Fund.

It is also aimed at strengthening the overall fiscal framework for the economy as well as to provide proper procedures for transparency and accountability.

Under the Bill, which was recommended by the IMF, state bodies would not be able to make certain decisions without government’s approval.

Dr Mitchell, who is also Minister for Finance explained that the 25 operating state bodies in Grenada will now have to comply with performance monitoring indicators as well as seek directions in writing from the Central Government prior to all wage negotiations.

These bodies are now mandated to take immediate steps to reduce non-personnel expenditure consistent with government goals and provide monthly reports on progress.

They must also put forward a clear plan to deal with all pension liability and provide financial statements and annual reports.

Prime Minister told the statutory bodies that when they default or run into financial problems, taxpayers are affected and government feels the pressure.

“We are the parent…these debts by statutory bodies and state-owned enterprises are a government liability and if anything goes wrong government must pay,” Dr. Mitchell told the meeting, which was held at the National Stadium, St George’s.

“So as we meet every quarter we will have information on those particular variables,” he added.

The Prime Minister also attempted to debunk what he suggested to be “myths” that statutory bodies are independent; that they are well run; and created for the benefit and enjoyment of management and staff.

Dr Mitchell acknowledged that there has also been some mismanagement among the state-owned bodies.

“All these bodies are not ours as government. It’s the people’s property and we have to report to them,” he said pointing out that statutory bodies work in the interest of taxpayers whom they are answerable to.

Dr Mitchell told the meeting that the issue of unnecessary traveling would also be dealt with as he pointed to abuses by government officials, public servants and others in the use of tax payers’ money to fund overseas travel over the years.

“In many cases the real benefits could not be traced to that of the interest of the tax payers…that’s why I am including all of us, from captain down to cook,” he said..

Dr Mitchell announced that a committee comprising representatives from both the private and public sectors will be appointed to oversee proposals from statutory bodies.

A report submitted to government last year by CARTAC, an affiliate of the IMF suggested that several state-owned bodies should  either be privatised or closed and specifically identified for privatisation Gravel & Concrete and the Government Printery.