Murder Accused Pleads Guilty

John Redhead - pleads guilty to murder

John Redhead – pleads guilty to murder

After pleading not guilty to murder in May 2014, 26-year-old former school teacher John Redhead has changed his mind and threw in the towel for the 2012 murder of his former girl friend, 18-year-old Akera Lalgie of Bay Road, Upper La Tante St. David.

The accused who was represented by the law firm of Ciboney Chambers pleaded guilty on April 15 to the charge of murder before Madam Justice Paula Gilford at the Number 2 high court.

Grenadians went into deep shock when the torso of Akera was found in 2012 in a plastic garbage bag hidden inside a shopping bag with its head, arms and legs missing, by a scavenger who was in search of food.

Her dismembered body was discovered in an area known as Simmons Alley within the town of St. George’s on 26th July 2012.

The discovery was made just moments before Rainbow Janitorial Service came around to make its regular garbage collection for the day.

The head and legs of the deceased have never been recovered.  Police reports indicate that the murdered teenager was on an errand for her mother but after not returning home, a missing person’s report was filed with the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF).

The very next day a vagrant who was searching the garbage bins in the Woolwich Road sent out an alert of what he had seen and the torso of Akera was discovered.

Redhead who lived at Requin in St. David’s was identified as a person of interest and was taken into custody by members of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for questioning.

An active member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, the ex-boyfriend of the deceased was taken in for questioning and “confessed” to the lawmen to his role in the incident.

THE NEW TODAY spoke with State Prosecutor,  Howard Pinnock, who was leading the case on behalf of the Crown before High Court Judge, Justice Madam Justice Paula Gilford at High Court No. 2.

Pinnock said that because of the nature of the crime, Redhead will most likely receive a custodial sentence rather than death sentence when the judge hands down the sentence on May 4.

He referred to some of the past cases from the British Privy Council on the death penalty that would have some bearing on the Redhead verdict.

“The Privy Council had reported in a number of cases that for the death penalty to be applied, it must be the worst of the worst and this (case) has not reached that category. It wouldn’t be a sentence of death, more than likely it would be a determinative sentence meaning it would be a number of years,” he said.

According to Pinnock, there are many factors that will have to be taken in the Sentencing and Justice Gilford would have to take them into consideration.

He identified them as: “What would have motivated that individual to commit this offence? Was it a premeditated sort of murder?

He went on to say: “The judge will be taking into account the circumstances of the offender. He (Redhead) has no previous convictions. For example, what the community says about him? There would have been a Probation report done by the Probation Department and this would find out in the community what sort of person he is. It (Pobation Dept) would have interviewed the mother of the deceased to find out the impact of the crime on her”.

Although the State Prosecutor could not tell THE NEW TODAY the results of the Psychiatric Evaluation which took place in 2014, he said that this report among others would be considered in determining a suitable sentence for the murder accused.

“The judges over the years have laid out certain principles that would guide a sentencing judge and the judge has to consider what are the aims of the sentencing, punishment for example, deterrence, rehabilitation and retribution … so the judge (Gilford) will take into account those four aims of sentencing in deciding what is the appropriate sentence in this case”, he said.

“…A psychological assessment was in fact provided by Dr Fleming. The court would also take that into consideration because in offences of murder, the courts have ruled, certainly the former Chief Justice, Justice (Hugh) Rawlins he would have ruled that in cases of murder, it’s mandatory that the judge order a Probation report and a Psychiatric evaluation to assist in the sentencing process because you want to assess the individual,” he added.

Pinnock was also high in praise for the members of CID for engaging in what he called a thorough investigation into the murder of Akera.

“Based on my perusal of the file, the officers from the RGPF, specifically the CID Department did an excellent job in this investigation, aided and abetted of course with fortune because had the Garbage Disposal Unit come a little earlier to the Garbage bins, crucial evidence would’ve been lost.

“…The surveillance cameras from the bank (Co-op) were also checked so the police did do an excellent job in terms of investigation and bearing in mind that we were somewhat handicapped because up to now, the head and the limbs were never recovered, it was just the torso, so this unfortunate young lady, she was decapitated, no arms, no legs, no head… But still the body was positively identified and the surveillance camera from Co-op bank was examined also and persons would have seen the now convicted man walking in the vicinity of Woolwich Road with what appeared to be a Trinidad suitcase (a large bag) and he appeared to be sweating profusely and the bag appeared to be heavy and the person who discovered the torso in the bin would have said it was in this Trinidad bag (the torso was seen)”.

The former teacher was 23 years-old at the time of the dreadful killing of his ex-lover.

Just over a year ago, Police discovered a decomposed human head in a plastic bag on H.A. Blaize Street and suspect that the head could be that of Akera.

On the day following his detention, Redhead who confessed to the murder took investigators to the crime scene where an offensive weapon and personal belongings of the victim were recovered.

THE NEW TODAY was also told by law enforcement officers that the suspect confessed to using a saw and a cutlass to commit the crime.

Lalgie’s dismembered body was discovered, with her arms, legs and head missing. The torso of her body was found in a plastic garbage bag inside of a shopping bag, by a homeless man who was in search of food.

A subsequent autopsy report revealed Akera died as a result of hypovolemic shock and that the teenager was partially strangled.
Hypovolemic shock is an emergency condition in which severe blood and fluid loss make the heart unable to pump enough blood to the body.

Redhead will be sentenced on May 4 and the time served on remand at the Richmond Hill Prison will be deducted by Justice Gilford.

Sitting on a time bomb!!!

The last five years or thereabouts have driven home the point that Grenada is sitting on a time bomb when it comes to serious crimes including murder involving persons of school age.

The latest killing at Windsor Forest in St. David’s on Tuesday should serve as a serious warning to our political and community leaders that it is time to seriously address the issue of youth violence in Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.

This country has seen in recent years, several children of school age committing acts of murder even on the school compound.

Most of the children who are involved in these acts come from troubled homes and households that are affected by growing levels of poverty.

Too many children are making children of their own and are badly lacking in the wherewithal to bring up these babies and mold them into sound minds as the future generation.

Several of our villages are littered with young mothers who are not yet 30 years of age but having to fend on their own with four and five children.

In most cases, these babies are forced to grow up fatherless and have to start looking for food at a very early age since the mother is not in a position to do her rightful duties to her loved ones.

Our political leaders keep talking about measures being put in place to tackle unemployment but a casual walk through a typical rural village on the island would reveal the level of unemployment and poverty especially among the young mothers.

As for the young men, several of them are engaged mainly in gambling and drug pushing and other forms of illegal activities.

This vicious cycle has to be broken and all hands should be on deck to tackle the problem – political leaders, churches, civil society and non-governmental bodies.

If this situation is not turned back and is allowed to deteriorate, Grenada would pay dearly in the next 20 years.

The new government has been talking about the Grand Bacolet facility that should have been completed by now to help arrest the problem of young offenders and to keep them away from the Richmond Hill prison.

This project seems to have gone off the boil and the powers-that-be are not keeping the nation abreast of what is happening right now with the project.

It is time for the relevant Minister in government to come forward and inform citizens on the status of the facility.

THE NEW TODAY would also like to express some concerns about the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) and the solving of serious crimes on the island.

The police will often make the boast of having a good crime-solving rate when compared with the other islands in the English-speaking Caribbean.

It is our contention that this success centers mainly around crimes that are literally solved for the lawmen by members of the community who would have seen something and provided the relevant information that leads to the culprit being apprehended.

This newspaper is not convinced that the police are doing a good job at cracking and solving cases that require good investigative work on the part of the relevant police department.

A case in point is the person from Marian who was living at Calivigny and reported missing a few weeks ago.

The relatives have complained to us about the lackadaisical response from the police to their pleas for assistance in finding the man and to determine what might have happened to him.

There are aspects of this case involving the police that we do not wish to bring into the public domain.

The hierarchy of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) need to relook things and start to place some more emphasis on finding officers who are always on the ground and have a good knowledge of what is happening on the streets in terms of picking up the relevant information that can lead them into the right places to effect some more positive arrests.

Mr. Commissioner, it cannot be said more simple when we ask to put “some more police boots on the ground” and not only having good looking and well-dressed officers sitting in offices..

As taxpayers, Grenadians need value for money given the massive budgetary allocation for the police.

One suggestion for those in charge of the police force – please tap into those excellent retired police officers and bring them in from time to time to give pep talks to your crime fighting units so they can pass on vital tips on how to make them become more effective officers on the job.

GRENLEC donates $10,000. to maroon

Ms George flank by members of the Maroon committee accepting cheque from Mr Collins

Ms George flank by members of the Maroon committee accepting cheque from Mr Collins

The Grenada Electricity Company (Grenlec) has remained loyal to the annual Carriacou and Petite Martinique Maroon and String Band festival.

Manager of the company’s Carriacou and Petite Martinique branch, Wallace Collins on Monday handed over a cheque valued at Ten Thousand Dollars  ($10,000.00)  to acting Chairperson of the committee, Faithlyn George.

Collins said that Grenlec has always recognised the important role culture plays in the natural evolution of the residents of the sister isles.

He pointed out that an experience as the Maroon and String and Band festival only goes towards epitomising Grenlec’s commitment towards the growth and preservation of the festival for future generations.

“As we celebrate heritage month we recognise the importance of the cultural sustainability of the festival and the need for its longevity. So that those coming after would be able to maintain the tradition”, said Collins during the presentation at the main office in Hillsborough.

Acting Chairperson of the committee, Faithlyn George described the gesture as timely and adds that Grenlec is not only about lightening up the nation  “but this donation will go a long way towards lightening up the 2015 Maroon and String band festival”.

The budget for this year’s festival which runs from April 24-26 is $184,480.00.

Grenada has best performing economy in the OECS

Despite defaulting on a whopping debt of EC$2.5 billion, and its Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) laced with severe austerity measures, Grenada has the best performing economy in the member states of the sub-regional grouping known as the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

That’s the verdict of  Minister of Economic Development, Oliver Joseph who was addressing members of the local media at Tuesday’s weekly post-Cabinet Press Briefing held at the Ministerial Complex.

The Member of Parliament for St. David said that high performance in Agriculture, Tourism and Medical Education contributed to growth in Grenada’s economy, enough for the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) to brand the island as the best performing economy in the ECCU.

“Last year tourism was 16.8%, this is the highest in CTO (Caribbean Tourism Organisation) and now it is showing trends that it would grow higher than 16.8%. Agriculture, we have seen increase in export, through the Marketing and National Importing Board,” he told reporters.

According to Minister Joseph, there was a decline in the economy between 2009-2012 when the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was in power and the island registered growth in the 2014/2015 period under the Keith Mitchell-led administration.

“To compare the negative growth between 2009 to 2012 to what we are seeing now and the best performing economy in the region, we are very proud to have taken the economy in that state to where it is today… that is what the IMF was complementing Grenada for,” he said.

He boldly stated that unemployment is on the decline as measured by the Labour Force Survey, which was conducted in 2013 and 2014.

Minister Joseph pointed out that the current Government inherited a 40% rate of unemployment when it came into office in 2013 and by 2014 it was down to 29.5%.

“You would recall that when we came into office in February (2013), the Government was selling assets to pay salary, that is the worst situation you can ever reach in – we have to sell our assets to pay salaries. That is what we inherited, and a deficit of 18 million dollars … the (NDC) Government was collecting an average of 35 million and spending 53 million… that is really unsustainable, no economy, no household, no business could continue like that,” he remarked.

The senior government minister stressed that Grenada, under the NNP regime,  has been recognised for its ability to collect taxes from citizens.

“We were at 19% in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union in 2013. Now we’re at 21% and that is expected to grow this year, so we are collecting more money in taxes due to the Government. The monthly shortfall, which I mentioned, was 18 million, for the first quarter that went to 6 million dollars.

“…In 2014 for the first time in a long long time …the Government collected more revenue than was projected in the budget and so because we are collecting more money we still have a fiscal deficit so we are not in a situation where we want to be yet. We (have been) able to pay salaries on time every month since coming into office, pay up to 15 million dollars in back pay to public servants and pensioners.

“…We were able to maintain all public officers in their position – in other words no retrenchment has taken place. Income tax (was) removed from persons receiving NIS pension so that they can have more disposable income.

Minister Joseph emphasised that the austerity measures taken by Government were done to ensure that the economy is on the right track.

Since taking office just over two years ago, the Mitchell-led administration has introduced a number of taxes including a widening of the income tax, as well as doubling of the Property Tax, and significant increases for government services.

After defaulting for two years on debt payments to U.S bond holders, the regime signed off on an agreement to start paying on the outstanding millions from early next year.

Parliament approves new Banking Bill amidst major concerns

Political Leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Senator Nazim Burke has said he does not agree with the passing of legislation in Parliament and making changes later, even though the House agrees that there is a fault when the bill is deliberated upon.

“I do not believe that as a general rule it is good practice to say let’s pass the law and then change it…I believe that if problems or defects are determined or are discovered in legislation before it is passed by the House, it is the responsibility of the lawmakers to hold and say let’s change it because we recognize it’s a problem before it even gets on the law books”, he said.

Burke made the remarks as part of his contributions in the Senate to deliberations on the Banking Bill, which was passed without amendment during the last sitting of the Upper House on April 29.

He branded this posture by government as “a very lazy attitude to legislation and to law making”.

The Keith Mitchell-led government has reportedly recruited former House Speaker, Dr. Lawrence Joseph to help in drafting legislation to be taken to Parliament.

High level sources told this newspaper that the two year old administration is not happy with the quality of the legislation prepared for Parliament by the Office of the Attorney-General.

The controversial Banking Bill that was agreed upon by the eight member state of the OECS currency union to create one economic space and seeks to remove the powers from the Ministers of Finance in the individual states and placing it in the hands of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB).

Sen. Burke said that while in principle, he supports the Bill and believes that “it can serve to strengthen the resilience of the financial system in the Currency Union”, he expressed the view that “a happier medium could have been found in determining the role that the Ministers of Finance could and should play in the granting of licenses.”

Under the Bill, a financial institution has to make an application for a license to the Central Bank, which would then inform the Ministers of Finance that an application has been made and and to take whatever decision is deemed necessary.

According to Sen. Burke,  the Ministers of Finance should at least be afforded the chance to make submissions as to why they support or do not support the application put before the ECCB.

“While we understand the benefit of having that regulatory control by the Central Bank…I do believe that there could have been some opportunity for the Minister of Finance to be allowed to make submissions to the ECCB once an application is made…not that the government would get to decide but its input may be relevant”, he said.

Sen.  Burke affirmed his belief that “it is not enough to simply say that the Ministers of Finance by virtue of being members of the Monetary Council would have some say in what is going on”.

He asserted that “the criteria that the Bank will use to determine whether to approve or not approve a license is not the criteria that will be considered by the Monetary Council when it sits,” and that “the Monetary Council would not be sitting as a screening committee deciding to approve any particular application.”

He said while the “criteria set out in the law is predictable and certain” the fact remains that  “the peculiarities that may exist in a particular country, the relationship or the history that might exist between a particular financial institution and a singular government may be relevant considerations that a government may wish to submit in assisting the Central Bank in making the right decision.”

Private Sector Representative in the Senate,  Christopher De Allie said he supports the idea of the Bill but expressed the view that it is “over-reaching in some circumstances,” and also pointed out that the additional cost to financial institutions that must also be addressed.

“I think the ECCB is adding again another issue in terms of cost for the financial institutions in order to meet the requirements under the Act…the cost of compliance, securities, dealing with systems on the virtual realm and IT (Information Technology) that are coming, but a major part of the cost structure has to deal with compliance”, he told the Senate.

The “appointment of external auditors every six years “is one of the issues which Sen. De Allie felt would result in additional costs for financial institutions.

He noted that “it takes time for an external auditor to learn the environment of a new bank,” and also pointed out that “in our country even within the Union the scope of external auditors to choose from is limited so you would have thought that probably instead of reducing the time from (9-10 years), they would have kept the original time and look for another mechanism, probably rotate partners that do the audits for these banks to save them time on the issue of having to look for a new auditor.”

“And then we have the complication of the standardisation of how we do these things,” De Allie advanced, noting that there are banks in the region and in Grenada that are part of a larger group of banks…”.

“…When you are asking a separate entity in a separate country where that bank is located different from another country to change that process and have a different auditor from the one for the group, it makes it difficult and complex…so it poses another burden and cost to the institution”, he added.

The “extra reporting required under the Act” is something that should not be overlooked, Sen. De Allie said, adding that “financial institutions are already burdened with a number of issues” in this regard.

“The ECCB through this Bill is now going to require further reporting, deeper reporting and that is going to take away from the time of the officers in the banks to meet officers in the banks to meet these requirements and increase the cost”, he said.

“We have complained in this region from an ECCB level that we need to reduce the transaction cost for these institutions for our customers but here we are adding another layer that is going to possibly increase the cost to the consumer because the transaction cost is obviously going to go up”, he added.

The private sector representative also questioned the implications of the “expanded definition of a bank officer” as it relates to “indemnity” and “insolvency” for the workers.

Labour Representative Sen. Raymond Roberts commended the bill but took issue with government for a lack of consultation on the legislation and its implications claiming that the “workers movement and civil society have been denied the right to properly scrutinize the bill”.

“It seems to us that the architect of this bill or perhaps th state has chosen an elite group to treat with that bill. I have spoken to workers, middle management in the banks, clerks, other persons in financial institutions and they don’t have a sense of what is written in this bill…”, he said.

“…Here in Grenada we have recorded a long list of blunders -Capbank is a perfect example,” he said recalling that “our government gave a license to CapBank and we all know the consequences…and the Treasury ended up paying the cost.”

“We need to involve the wider society. The little man in Grenada Carriacou and Petite Martinique could have contributed to governance in this bill. And we ought not to ignore that”, added Sen. Roberts.

The Trade Union representative went on to say that the little people of this country and the wider Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) are being “treated with scant courtesy” and as such too the decision to abstain from voting on the bill.

According to Sen. Roberts, the workers movement cannot “just blindly support” the bill.

In response to Sen. Roberts’ comment, Leader of Government Business in the Senate Sen. Simon Stiell said consultations were held among the banks and acknowledged that much greater communication could have been held.

Tevin Andrews elected NDC Caretaker for Sister islands

In a dramatic change, the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is looking to a youngster to take charge of its business on the sister isle of Carriacou & Petite Martinique.

Kevin Andrews – elected as NDC Caretaker for Carriacou & Petite Martinique

Kevin Andrews – elected as NDC Caretaker for Carriacou & Petite Martinique

The NDC Constituency branch of Carriacou and Petite Martinique has elected Tevin Andrews to replace cultural activist, Randolph Fleary as its Caretaker for the constituency which has been in the hands of the ruling New National Party (NNP) for the past 16 years.

Fleary was Congress’ candidate in the February 2013 general election and his stint at the helm came to an end on March 30.

In an exclusive interview with the New Today newspaper on Monday, Andrews said he would continue the trend that Fleary started during his reign as Caretaker.

He committed himself to “building on what he (Fleary) would’ve started and to ensure that the NDC brand is a force to be reckoned with and that the NDC brand is built back in such a way that people would be attracted to the National Democratic Congress here in Carriacou and Petite Martinique”.

Deputy Prime Minister Elvin Nimrod has been in charge of Carriacou & Petite Martinique Affairs since 1995.

Although the seat was won in the 1995 poll by Joan Purcell of NDC, the NNP won the national election and appointed current member of Parliament for St. George North-east, Tobias Clement as the Parliamentary Secretary for Carriacou & Petite Martinique.

Nimrod had ran as an independent candidate in the election and came second in the poll.

A New York-based barrister-at-law by profession, Nimrod was a member of NDC and was expected to contest the seat on the party’s ticket because the then incumbent, Prime Minister Nicholas Brathwaite had indicated that he would not seek re-election for a second term in office.

Amidst alleged disagreements with Brathwaite’s timing to make the announcement about a possible successor, Nimrod broke ranks with Congress and decided to contest the seat as an independent candidate.

NNP tried to woo him to run on the party ticket in the 1995 poll but Nimrod rejected the offers that were made to him by at least three envoys who were dispatched to meet with him.

Within months of winning the June 1995 general elections, newly elected Prime Minister Mitchell was able to get Nimrod to join the government and take over as Parliament Secretary for Carriacou & Petite Martinique as Clement was sent on a scholarship to study overseas.

He has maintained a stranglehold on the seat with victories in the 1999, 2003, 2008 and 2013 general elections.

Andrews, being a youth himself said he would use that to his advantage in an effort to create a larger support base in Carriacou and Petite Martinique for Congress.

“Sixty four percent of the electorate is made up of young people and since I have youth on my side of course I’m going to use that influence to influence the young people in the community and in my constituency to get on board to rally round the National Democratic Congress,” he told THE NEW TODAY.

According to the newly elected NDC Caretaker, it is time enough that the Sister isle had a good representative once again from  the NDC banner and that is what he is trying to bring about.

He said the people on the sister isle need “someone that would stand for the people of Carriacou and Petite Martinique, someone that would demand more for the people of Carriacou and Petite Martinique, someone that would stand up in Parliament and would bring across strong arguments so that Carriacou and Petite Martinique will indeed get its fair share”.

Andrews said he has already started that process, adding that the
change in caretaker is being welcomed by NDC supporters on the two small islands.

“People are actually gravitating, people are actually satisfied, people are happy that a youth has been elected as Caretaker and is getting involved in politics. Over the years we’ve seen that Pensioners and JCBs being the caretakers and politicians and when you can have a young person, someone who actually grow up here in Carriacou and taking the bull by the horn, people are gravitating to that,” he remarked.

“…Our membership has dramatically grown …my parents who were NNP supporters are now NDC supporters and what we are finding is persons who were NNP supporters are now boldly coming on board with the NDC – actually becoming members of the party,” he said.

The NDC brand that is being built in Carriacou, according to Andrews, should help propel the party forward on the two islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique in time for the next general elections.

Although general elections are not constitutionally due until 2018, speculation is rife that PM Mitchell will call the poll in either late 2016 or early 2017 to coincide with the end of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) that has seen his regime impose sweeping tax increases on the population.

GUT not happy with temporary teachers issue

The Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) and the 27-month old government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell are once again heading on a path of collision as the bargaining body expresses concerns over the status of temporary teachers in the profession.

GUT President, Lydon Lewis has sent a message to government that the union will do whatever is necessary to ensure that its members do not continue to be disenfranchised by their temporary status as teachers.

Lewis who was recently re-elected to the post in a battle in which he beat back the challenge of past President, Marvin Andall warned that if an update is not given soon on the issue by the relevant authorities then the union will be forced into some form of action.

He told reporters at a press conference that the temporary teachers situation is a long standing issue and there has not been an update in recent times from the Ministry of Education as to what is happening.

He pointed out that the Union’s data shows about 620 temporary teachers in the system while the authorities are talking about a smaller figure of around 185-200 positions.

“If there are only 185-200 vacant positions, then where are the teachers, are they home? It means that they’re there in the schools – the temporary position does exist”, he said.

“As it stands now, we know that a process has started, we were informed that a process has started. We were given a deadline of September where the first batch of teachers will be appointed but as to how the process is unfolding and what is happening now, since February or March we have not had an official word,” he added.

The Mitchell-led government is under mounting pressure from the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) to cut back on its monthly expenditure on wages and salaries.

The new rulers have committed to a process of attrition in which only three of every public officers who leave the system will be filled.

However, knowledgeable experts have said that this will not have any significant bearing on the wage bill and what is needed is a much more far-reaching retrenchment programme to bring the wage bill to within manageable levels.

Lewis said he is hopeful that the next meeting with the Ministry of Education would be fruitful enough and the officials will provide an update to GUT on the issue.

“We are wondering as to why the Union is not being kept abreast of what is happening with the temporary teachers and where the process is at now and it’s of deep concern to us because we have said and will continue to say (so) once this matter is left hanging”, he said.

“We are aware of what the Labour Code says in terms of persons acting and we believe that it’s time that the Union gets an update, otherwise we may just have to wait and when September comes do what we think is necessary to ensure that our members do not continue to be disenfranchised by their temporary status,” he remarked.

Teachers have often used the start of the new school year in September to threaten industrial action on the island in order to get the sympathy of the public.

Parents are often weary of an industrial impasse involving Teachers since they will have to face the burden of  having to find alternative places to leave their children if the school is affected by strike action.

According to Lewis, the acting School Principals in the system is another issue of concern to GUT and although it has been addressed to an extent, there are two Principals that the Union is extremely concerned about.

He said GUT is pushing for the acting Principal at St John’s Christian Secondary School, Anthony Wellington and the one at Green Street Pre-Primary, Carol James to get the recognition that they deserve.

He stated that Wellington is due to retire very soon and the Ministry has shown no consideration for him to be appointed as the substantive holder of the post after more than 10 years  serving as the acting Principal in the institution.

“The union has made it clear that we do not intend to allow this to happen but so far we have been met with stiff resistance from the Ministry in appointing Mr Wellington and Sister James”, he said.

“We are going to continue to push for those two persons. As it relates to the others we are aware that they are given one year appointments to most of (the) acting Principals and we are hoping that come September this year, these persons will be recommended for permanent positions and so we have very little acting principals,” he added.

The promotions being sought will impact positively on the gratuity payments to be made to these Acting Principals when they retire from the service.

Court ruled on Ghanaian native

A $2,000.00 fine was imposed on Ghanian national, Awal Abdul Sharif, who was charged with assisting other persons to unlawfully enter Grenada.

Chief Magistrate Tamara Gill fined him EC$2, 000 to be paid forthwith or to spend four months in prison for the offense.

When the accused appeared at the No. 1 Magistrate’s Court, Gill also granted the law enforcement officers an immediate removal order against the thirty-five year old man.

The Court also discontinued the human trafficking charge that was laid against Sharif subsequent to his arrest and the money-laundering charge that came following his first court appearance April 27.

This was done at the request of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), which was approached for assistance to find a summary offense against the Ghanian national since the matters was an indictable one to be sent up to the high court for trial.

During his court appearance, the Chief Magistrate read the charge to Shariff that he was assisting other persons to unlawfully enter Grenada.

The accused was represented in court by Attorney-at-Law, Peter David who now serves as a Senator in Parliament with the ruling New National Party (NNP) administration.

Shariff, a security officer, who was residing in neighbouring Trinidad, pleaded guilty to the charge and was entitled to 1/3 deduction of the $2, 000 fine.

Sharif was charged in connection with the illegal entry into Grenada of seven Nepalese nationals (six males and one female), who have since been repatriated to St. Lucia.

According to an official police report, the Nepalese were picked up by the Grenada Coast Guard on the night of April 30.

Andall: NNP creating an atmosphere of fear

Deputy Political Leader of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Joseph Andall has accused the ruling New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell of trying to rule the country by instilling fear in Grenadians.

In an exclusive interview with the New Today Newspaper, Andall spoke out against the notion of a party having political power but should not be using it to instill fear on the population which they are elected to serve at the national level.

According to Andall, the NNP which enjoys a 15-0 majority in the Lower House after its massive victory in the 2013 general elections, has a mindset of creating a one party state, which is instilling much fear in the minds of many Grenadians.

He charged that Grenadians who are not NNP supporters are currently living in fear of not being recognised by the regime and made to feel a part of national development.

“You do not live in fear of being physically attacked but you live in fear of not being able to get a debushing job, of your daughter not getting into the IMANI programme, of you not getting a little contract work on a little concrete road, of you not being able to get two sheets of ply to repair your houses – everything is being done (on) a strictly partisan basis,” he said.

Andall stated that such an act on the part of the two year old regime should never be done in Grenada, and called on the Mitchell government to desist from such practice on the island.

‘You campaign as the New National Party, you are now the Government of Grenada and the resources of the country must be used for the benefit of all the people as limited as the resources may be”, he remarked.

It is too obvious, according to Andall, the fear and intimidation that is plaguing the people of Grenada.

“People are afraid to engage in political activity that is not emanating from the NNP because many people are afraid to attend a public meeting. People were hiding in Sauteurs the other night, hiding in alleys because they were afraid to be seen by NNP activists attending an NDC public meeting and we have to stand up against that,” he added.

“…This one party state that these guys are trying to implement, this is not a figment of anybody’s imagination. If you look at all of the actions that they have been taking since coming into power and especially that marriage with their new friends – everything points towards the total elimination of political opposition to the New National Party so that these guys can have a free ride to implement their workers paradise or whatever kind of state they have visualised for us,” he said.

Andall was fearful that if the NNP trend of creating fear in the country was allowed to continue, the time will come sooner rather than later when the people will decide that enough is enough.

Former NDC General Secretary, Peter David is now a card bearing member of the ruling party.

David along with another expelled Congress member, veteran trade unionist Chester Humphrey has been engaging the NNP under the platform banner of “Project Grenada” which is to be fully explained to the population.

In the aftermath of the NNP victory at the polls, David had floated the idea that Grenada needed a one party State for the next 15 years and for the NNP to be allowed to govern the island peacefully without any opposition.

During the 1979-83 Grenada Revolution under the marxist-oriented New Jewel Movement (NJM), David, now a qualified attorney-at-law, served as the Deputy Minister of State for Information in the left-leaning People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG).

The NJM had ruled the island with an iron fist, as the revolutionary leaders had imprisoned most opponents or forced some of them to live in exile including current Prime Minister Mitchell.

Grenada was returned to democratic rule of law on October 25, 1983 when U.S and Caribbean troops stormed the island to put down a group of military leaders headed by General Hudson Austin that had seized power in a bloody palace coup in which then marxist Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and three Cabinet Ministers were executed following bitter internal party feuding.

Austin along with several other officials including former deputy Prime Minister, Bernard Coard, the suspected mastermind of the plot to unseat Bishop, received lengthy prison sentences for the bloody events of October 1983 on Fort George which was then called Fort Rupert.

A Story of Sacrifice and Betrayal

My name is Jay Joslyn Bruno and this story is going to sound like conspiracy theory but sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

Driven by misplaced loyalties I struggled with cognitive dissonance and ambivalence over this issue for years. I have finally decided that putting it in the public domain is the right thing to do.  There are lessons to be learnt.

In July 2005, while gainfully employed as Economics Lecturer at T A Marryshow Community College (TAMCC), I was approached by Oliver Joseph, the incumbent Director of Trade, with documents offering the Masters degree (M. Sc.) scholarship in International Trade Policy (MITP) at the University of the West Indies (UWI).

The MITP background information is posted on the website of the Shridath Ramphal Institute of Cave Hill University. In essence it states that severe human resource shortages of trade policy experts were identified in OECS/CARICOM countries and the scholarship was the collaborative effort of the European Union (EU), US Agency for International Development (USAID), and Canada’s International Development Agency (CIDA), spearheaded by the Organisation of American States (OAS), to assist regional governments in building capacity in this area.

In recognition of my scholastic aspirations and desire to contribute to national development, Mr. Joseph persuaded me to seize the opportunity for formal training.

The rules of engagement were clear and straightforward.  A multilateral collective was financing a government scholarship specifically for the purpose of training a cadre of trade policy specialists.  Given the implicit contractual imperatives of the award, the common sense logical pragmatism for its application, and the fact that only governments administer trade policy laws and regulations – not the private sector – you expect government to contract/utilise the selected national to apply the trade policy expertise gained from the program.  This is the norm in every Caribbean country under the MITP dispensation – Grenada the exception.

As the only Grenada candidate selected for the program I anticipated no complications going forward.  The Article 340 facilitation is regularly invoked to define individuals’ work relationship with government.   Moreover, the trade specialist function is apolitical transcending government, party, and politics to prioritise national interest.

With receipt of proper instruments I decided to quit my job, dropped everything, and travelled to Barbados for two years intensive study.
One caviar to the rigorous training was an all-expense-paid, educational tour to France, Geneva (Switzerland), and Brussels (Holland) for real time, functional observation and learning-in-action the modus operandi of institutions like the World Trade Organisation (WTO), World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), and United Nations Conference for Trade Development (UNCTAD).

Significantly, I found the foreign university environment a fertile breeding ground for the “brain drain” phenomena that plague developing countries like Grenada. On campus and associated fora international organisations use “ambush marketing” recruiting foreign students to defect and work in the diaspora.  Interfacing this temptation I opted to return home to help develop my own country rather than somebody else’s.  Some call my choice naive; I call it duty to country.

In 2007 I did my internship/thesis under auspices of the Ministry of Trade supervised by Mr. Joseph, Dr. Patrick Antoine and Dr. Wayne Sandiford providing academic advisory input.  By early 2008 all protocol requirements were fulfilled and with my prestigious university credentials I was ready to render my services to government.

I was stunned by the reception I got.  As I graduated the program Mr. Joseph immediately raised “red flags” indicating I had to apply for the job since my “employment was not a given”.  It seemed disingenuous considering government had a moral and ethical obligation to honour the mandates and conditions of the scholarship agreement.

Anyway, I did the formalities – and thus began the biggest fiasco of my life.

During the following years unemployed, desperate, broke, I made formal and informal representations to every conceivable relevant authority in Trade and Finance taking my case to the highest echelons of power in NDC and NNP administrations. I confronted walls of silence or prohibitive bureaucratic “red tape” simply stonewalled me everywhere.

NDC Finance Minister, Nazim Burke, suggested I get a job with the private sector – a complete absurdity. With the new NNP administration I made a final bid to bring some semblance of sanity to the situation.
On his request I presented Mr. Joseph, currently Minister of Trade and Economic Affairs, the findings of a cumulative 25-page project paper with an in-depth quantitative economic analysis of Grenada’s sour sop industry researched over a ten-month period island-wide.

For this challenging task I received no feedback, no remuneration, no thanks, nothing. All my sacrifice and training were going down the drain and I had to do something. So in a meeting with Prime Minister Mitchell I volunteered my services to government, free, no strings attached.  Unbelievable as it sounds even this genuine, goodwill offer failed to impress.

I had sacrificed all – career, a lucrative foreign job, time, money – for the sake of country and became pariah, collateral damage, sacrificial lamb on the altar of political exigency.  Peters was right:  in Grenada “No good deed goes unpunished”.

Jay Bruno