Kirton Fined $100,000 for Drugs

A fine of $100,000 was imposed on a 50 year old resident of Grand Anse, St George after he pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine in June 2014 at the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA).

Terrence Kirton appeared before Magistrate Tamara Gill on Monday at the No.1 Magistrate’s Court in the company of his lawyer, Peter David who put forward a case for him not to be sent to prison.

Kirton was nabbed at the airport while attempting to leave the country with 1.7 kilos of Cocaine for England that carried a street value of $170,000.

The court was told that the drugs were found in a rectangular shape package which was stuck to the bottom of a suitcase wrapped in blue carbon paper.

Police Prosecutor Godfrey Victor informed the chief Magistrate that when arrested, Kirton was very cooperative and explained to law enforcement officers the reason for being in possession of the cocaine.

According to Victor, the suspect told arresting officers that “things were hard” and he was seeking to make some money as he was expected to get a large sum of money from the buyer of the illegal drugs.

Attorney David, asked the Chief Magistrate not to send his client to prison because he was very cooperative from the beginning with the police.

David said that Kirton, a husband and father of two, ages thirteen and sixteen tried his best to lead a lawful life but was struck by hard times.

The lawyer indicated that the accused owned two buses, a bar and is an interior decorator by profession, and has the ability to make money.

Even though the accused has been in trouble with the law before in 2001 for obscene language, David asked the Magistrate to treat him as having no prior convictions.

“Society is better served, if he (Kirton) is to pay a fine,” he said. “He is able to pay a (substantial) fine,” the lawyer added.

Chief Magistrate Gill decided to fine Kirton $100,000 but not without making it known to him that it was a very serious offence to use the airport to traffic drugs.

Kirton has been given 10 months to pay the fine and in default spend 4 years in prison.

KFC Employee in Court For Stealing

KFC boss Joseph Ross would like to see a former employee behind bars at the Richmond Hill prison after she was allegedly caught red-handed stealing monies from the cash register by a fellow co-worker.

Amelia Andall – appeared in court for stealing

Amelia Andall – appeared in court for stealing

The suspect, Amelia Andall, who was employed with KFC for just over a year, has been slapped with 2 counts of stealing by reason of employment.

Andall pleaded guilty to the charges Tuesday before Chief Magistrate Tamara Gill at the No.1 St. George’s Magistrate Court.

She was arrested and charged by police investigators on July 19 after a co-worker observed her pocketing monies received from a customer for the sale of a food item.

The charges slapped on her related to theft of approximately EC$1,200 from KFCs Granby Street and Melville Street fast food outlets in St. George’s sometime during the month of July.

According to the Police Prosecutor in the matter, Andall, a resident of New Hampshire, (Willis) St. George admitted that this was not the first time she had stolen from her former place of employment and that others were also involved in doing the same thing in KFC.

During Tuesday’s hearing, it was revealed that the accused woman provided police investigators with the names of other workers who she claimed were also involved in stealing monies from the company while on duty.

Joseph Ross – would like his ex-employee to be sent to prison for stealing

Joseph Ross – would like his ex-employee to be sent to prison for stealing

However, owner/manager of KFC Joseph Ross who was on hand for Tuesday’s hearing told the court that Andall indicated to Police investigators that she will not disclose any more names as she has been threatened by at least one other person.

Ross expressed his desire to find out the names of the other perpetrators and to have Andall locked up for the crime she committed.

He felt that she should be made an example of as the company has noticed a change in its cash flow figures in recent times.

However, Attorney-at-Law, Peter David stepped in Pro-Bono to assist Andall, who faces a total of 5 years behind bars on each count.

Attorney David requested that the court consider a non-custodial sentence, as Andall is a first time offender, and suggested the imposition of alternative punishments, including counseling.

Taking into consideration all that was said on the both sides, Chief Magistrate Gill adjourned the matter to October 8 to allow further police investigations into the KFC issue.

Democracy prevailed in TNT!!!

THE NEW TODAY would like to first of all commend the people of Trinidad & Tobago for the peaceful manner in which they conducted last Monday’s general elections to help maintain our reputation as a region in which the expressed will of the people can be expressed not only free and fair but free from fear.

Hundreds are gunned down every year in Trinidad due to the illicit drug trade but the elections were relatively peaceful and not marred by any slaying.

Secondly, we would like to congratulate the opposition People’s National Movement (PNM) and the new Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley for their victory at the polls.

It is our suspicion that most Grenadians were “hooting” for the PNM and not the outgoing United National Congress-dominated Peoples Partnership coalition government of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for obvious reason.

It was the PNM under then founder leader and its first Prime Minister, Dr. Eric Williams that opened the doors for large numbers of Grenadians to live and work permanently in the neighbouring twin island republic.

It is generally accepted that most Black Trinidadians can boast of having some family member back in the Spice Isle or their roots deep inside Grenada.

The hills of Laventille and the deep south are noted for large pockets of persons who originated from Grenada but are now full-blown nationals of Trinidad & Tobago.

There is also a sense that a PNM victory might be more sympathetic to resolving issues surrounding millions of dollars owed to Grenadians from the CLICO and British American insurance debacle.

Events in Trinidad and Tobago were largely responsible for the demise of these two major insurance companies that resulted in thousands of policyholders being placed in a very uncomfortable situation with their life savings.

It is our understanding that several locals, especially members of the Seamen & Waterfront Workers Union (SWWU) are now hurting as pension payments due to them are being withheld as a result of the BA and CLICO problem.

From information obtained, it appears that SWWU, which is considered to be pro-NNP of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell had been making overtures to the regime to do something to help them get their millions tied up in the two regional insurance conglomerate.

The authorities in Grenada seemingly sent signals that it did not want to be seen as taking sides in the TNT election and would await the results before making approaches to the powers-that-be in Port-of-Spain.

It is clear to us that the new administration in Trinidad & Tobago will be forced to concentrate on domestic matters before turning its attention to regional and other matters of interest.

PM Rowley has already hinted on the night of his election victory that the road ahead for the country will not be an easy one.

That is for sure. The oil boom of yesteryear is virtually over and recent drop in oil prices on the international market is not good news for Trinidad & Tobago.

The new regime needs to rake in millions and millions in revenue to meet the expectations of those who voted for change last Monday.

Mr. Rowley will also be very mindful that although he controls 23 of the 41 seats in Parliament, he might be in charge of a minority government as the Partnership got the popular vote over the PNM.

The opposition will take comfort from the fact that more persons in Trinidad & Tobago voted for them as opposed to those now in charge of the affairs of their nation.

PM Rowley has his work cut out to try and maintain the popularity of his government as a very formidable opponent is lurking in and around the corridors of power and ready to get back into the driving seat.

His position is not like Grenada’s NNP which won both the popular vote and the expressed will of the electorate that gave the current rulers in St. George’s all fifteen seats in the 2013 general elections.

Mr. Rowley would also understand that if Trinidadians lose faith in PNM that he could also become a one-term Prime Minister as his predecessor, Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

In recent times, a trend has been emerging in the Caribbean in which the electorate is prepared to punish any government that is deemed to be non-performing in terms of meeting their needs and expectations.

The voters seem to be in a no-nonsense mood and will give only one-term in office to those politicians who soon lose face with them by engaging in trickery and mamagism to coerce them to vote in their direction.

As such, new PM Rowley will be conscious of the fact that if he fails to deliver then Trinidadians will quickly come to the conclusion that he lied and deceived them to win the elections – and he will have a serious price to pay at the right time.

Despite all that have been said above, THE NEW TODAY is hopeful that Trinidad and Tobago continues to have a strong government and economy because that will redound to the benefit of the people in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Youth Pulse 2015

Beausejour, St. George was the venue for the second installment of Youth Pulse, hosted by the Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Religious Affairs along with partners Digicel.

Digicel 1Members of surrounding communities as well as persons from beyond came out to partake in the day of activities planned for the “Back to School” edition of Youth Pulse.

Persons arriving at the Beausejour playing field were greeted by the sound of pan music being performed by the Digicel Florida All-Stars.

There were several events for participants including football, cricket, volleyball, cards and domino tables, even games such as moral and hop-scotch and more.

Tents and stalls were set up for information as well including back to school specials on school supplies and handset and credit specials from Digicel.

Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell was present along with Minister for Youth, Sports and Religious affairs, Emmalin Pierre, both of whom addressed the youth and other patrons present with words of encouragement, and also commending individuals and sponsors on their contribution toward the event.

The Youth Pulse program continues with events in different villages/communities every month through 2015 and Digicel will be working hand in hand with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Religious Affairs  providing technical and logistical support as well as special offers for patrons who attend.

Digicel Marketing Executive, Aaron La Grenade addressed the audience saying, “We are grateful to the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Religious Affairs for once again allowing Digicel to be a part of such an Event”.

“This sort of initiative is directly in-keeping with Digicel’s philosophy to give back to the communities in which we operate, while also supporting the development of the youth and country…”, he added.

NDC set to unveil Cecelia Ann John

With a snap election possible in Grenada, the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is planning to unveil one of its newest candidates in the coming weeks.

Cecelia Ann John – set to become the NDC Caretaker

Cecelia Ann John – set to become the NDC Caretaker

According to a top party official, social worker, Cecelia Ann John will shortly be introduced to party supporters as the Caretaker for the rural St. Patrick East seat in the next general election.

He said the party is planning to hold an indoor to officially introduce John as the person who will take over the leadership of Congress in the constituency from former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas.

NDC has been without a Caretaker for St. Patrick-east since the ex-Prime Minister decided to call it a day from frontline politics following the party’s crushing 15-0 defeat at the hands of the New National Party (NNP) in the February 2013 general election.

A party insider told this newspaper that John is considered as “an excellent” replacement for Thomas given her links in the constituency.
She is originally from the River Sallee area, the biggest polling division in the constituency and considered a major stronghold of  NNP over the years.

The source pointed out that John served as a nurse in the village for several years and is very familiar with the problems and issues facing residents in the area.

The St. Patrick East seat is set to become a battle of the females as NNP is said to be leaning in the direction of a female, a head mistress of a secondary school in St. Andrew as its candidate for the next national poll.

The prospective NNP candidate is set to replace the incumbent, Clifton Paul who defeated Thomas to win the seat in the last election.

Speculation is rife that Paul has agreed to work with “the new candidate” to be selected by NNP to contest the seat the next time around.

Congress is said to be confident of taking back the two St. Patrick seat from NNP in the next general election.

Its Deputy Political Leader, Joseph Andall is the Caretaker for St. Patrick West, which is under the control of Minister of Education, Anthony Boatswain.

Although general election are constitutionally due in 2018, there has been talk in recent weeks about a snap elections as early as 2016 as PM Mitchell believes that Congress is far from ready for a national poll.

Another amendment to Passport selling scheme

The Keith Mitchell-led government in St. George’s is making moves to amend the Citizen by Investment Bill No. 15/2013 to remove the requirement for an applicant for permanent residence or citizen by investment or residence to pay the contribution into an escrow account before their application is processed.

This is the third major amendment that the administration is seeking to make to the Bill since it was originally passed in Parliament in August 2013.

The first amendment saw the deleting of one of the requirements in the report – the giving of the names, addresses and nationalities of applicants and dependents.

The second change gave the Minister of Finance the authority to grant citizenship to an applicant who makes a significant investment in Grenada.

The latest amendment would give the Minister power to regulate how applicants under the CBI pay their investment monies to the state.

In presenting the proposed amendment to the Lower House of Parliament last week Friday, Economic Development Minister, Oliver Joseph noted, that the principal Act requires the applicant to pay all the fees up front, whether the investment is approved or not.

Minister Joseph provided a reason for seeking to make the change as he told the House that an investor “would have to have great confidence in a programme like that (the CBI) to pay all the monies upfront and then wait to see if you (they) will get approval (of the project).”

“So we decided to ask for the processing fee to be paid upfront and for the investment amount to be paid after approval,” he said.

“So you (the investor) would apply through the local agent, it would be submitted to the CBI committee, then to the Minister for approval and after it has been approved then you will pay the remaining amount of money,” he added.

Minister of Implementation, Alexandra Otway-Noel who stood up in support of the Bill brought before the House for consideration, expressed great confidence that the proposed amendment would ensure the country’s competitiveness in the global environment.

“We live in a competitive world…The amendment that we are making will make us (Grenada) more competitive as most of the other jurisdictions have this already – where they do not ask for the investor to put the money into an escrow account beforehand in full,” said Minister Otway-Noel.

Leader of Government Business in the Lower House, Gregory Bowen also rose to give support to the Bill and reiterated the importance of the country being competitive in the passport selling scheme.

He said the move giving the Minister power to regulate how payments are made is aimed at “protecting investments and Grenada.”

The ruling New National Party (NNP) which controls all 15 seats in Parliament used its majority position to pass the Grenada Citizen by Investment (Amendment) Bill, 2015.

This Bill is now subject to scrutiny by the members of the Upper House (Senate) when it sits on a date to be announced by the Office of Parliament.

The cash-strapped Mitchell government is looking to the CBI to bring in millions of additional revenue to the Treasury.

CEO for SGU

Dr. G. Richard Olds

Dr. G. Richard Olds

St. George’s University has announced the appointment of Dr. G. Richard Olds as President and Chief Executive Officer.

A school release said Dr. Olds brings a breadth of experience to his new role, having served as an educator, physician and administrator during a distinguished career spanning more than 30 years.

According to the release, his appointment will enable St. George’s to continue its nearly 40-year tradition of academic excellence and further advance the institution’s mission of providing high-quality medical education for students from the United States, Canada and around the world.

Dr. Olds was most recently the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Founding Dean of the School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside (UCR).

In 2010, Dr. Olds joined UCR to lead the creation of a new school of medicine – the first LCME-accredited medical school in California in more than four decades – which was intended to address the severe doctor shortage in Inland Southern California.

His vision, creativity and drive led to a school with the unique mission of bringing more diversity into the medical profession while helping to improve the health and quality of life of medically underserved communities.

Chancellor and Chairman of the Board and co-founder of St. George’s University, Dr. Charles R. Modica, in commenting on the recruitment, said: “We are extremely excited to welcome Dr. Olds as President and CEO. Dr. Olds has dedicated his career to the same ideals that have made St. George’s an important contributor to the delivery of health care in the U.S. and around the world – a passion for providing high-quality education and a commitment to helping talented students from diverse backgrounds become excellent physicians.

“The fact that Dr. Olds has received outstanding teaching awards at every institution he has served is a testament to his dedication to educating and mentoring future physicians. I look forward to working closely with Dr. Olds in the coming years to ensure the continued success of our students and graduates”, he added.

In reaction, Dr. Olds said: “I am thrilled to be joining St. George’s
University, an outstanding education-focused institution that has been committed to excellent student outcomes since its founding almost 40 years ago.

“The unique combination of programs at St. George’s, including medicine, veterinary medicine and public health, has attracted bright and talented students eager to make a contribution to global health.
Today, graduates of St. George’s, many of whom serve critical roles as primary care doctors in disadvantaged or medically underserved communities, are helping to address the shortfall of physicians in the United States.

‘As the school that has placed more doctors into U.S. residency training than any other medical school over the past five years, I believe St. George’s is extremely well-positioned to continue to help communities meet their health care and physician workforce needs over the coming decades.”

Dr. Olds is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

He served as full professor of medicine, pediatrics, molecular, cell and development biology at Brown University, and professor and chairman of medicine at the MetroHealth Campus of Case Western Reserve University.

Dr. Olds is a tropical disease specialist with extensive experience working in Asia and Africa.

He has served on the World Health Organization expert committee on schistosomiasis and has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and reviews, primarily focused on international health issues.

Review of School-Leaving Exams

Plans are in the making to conduct a reassessment of the School-Leaving Examination.

Minister of Education and Human Resources Anthony Boatswain told the House of Representatives last week Friday there is need to determine whether the exam that is done by students who are in the last stage of the primary school level is worthwhile.

Out of 42 students writing the School-Leaving Exams in 11 subject areas this year, only two students secured passes.

Minister Boatswain disclosed that the person topping the list was an inmate at the Richmond Hill Prisons who had a mark of 75 percent.

The Education Minister, who provided the House with recent statistics of the School-Leaving Exams, said that in 2014 only eight students secured passes.

The exam is administered to primary school students who did not secure passes at the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA).

Minister Boatswain also addressed the thorny issue of the temporary schoolteachers, which is of major concern to the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT).

He said a Cabinet-appointed committee, which at the regularisation of temporary teachers has recommended the permanent appointment of 205 teachers into the system.

The Education Minister pointed out that this has to be passed onto the Department of Public Administration for final endorsement.

Speculation is rife that Grenada has over 500 temporary teachers in the system.

Drop in fish export

Grenada has seen a reduction in the number of fish exports during the past year.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Alvin Da Breo informed a sitting of the House of Representatives last week Friday that the reduction in fish exports last year amounted to $24M, and so far for 2015 it is $21M.

Minister Da Breo said the reduction in fish exports is largely due to
the drop in the Grade A quality of fish due to the processing stage.

He explained that by the time fishermen get back to the areas where they have set their lines, the quality of the fish has started to deteriorate.

“That has caused a reduction in the exports and the dollar value that
we could get, because the higher (is) the grade, is the more money that you (could) get,” he said.

Minister Da Breo spoke of the importance of Grenada maintaining a high standard in its quality of fish.

He told Parliament since 2005 Grenada has been granted the status of exporting fish to the European Union, which has enabled the country to export its fish and fishery products to other international markets.

“Grenada has developed a brand… for export of quality fish and it’s currently enjoying a niche market in the USA and Canada for its fresh yellow fin tuna,” he said.

Minister Da Breo said the Fisheries Division is currently engaged in the execution of the Caribbean Fisheries Home Management Programme geared at enhancing the operations of the fisherfolk.

It is a five-year project which commenced in 2013 with funding coming from the Government of Japan at a cost of EC $6.8M.

Minister Da Breo said the advent of the sargassum seaweed is another factor affecting the fishing industry.

He said the seaweed, which has covered a number of beaches, especially in the St. Andrew’s area, has caused some of the species of fish to relocate out of the reach of the local fishermen.

However, Da Breo spoke of some benefits being derived from the seaweed.

According to him, it is providing a feeding ground for important species of fish including juvenile sword fish, the dolphin, and various species of tuna.

He said the seaweed also serves as a nursery for a number of endangered species such as the hawksbill turtle.

Rape charged dropped against schoolteacher

 Denroy Anthony Charles – is now a free man

Denroy Anthony Charles – is now a free man

Police have decided against pursuing a rape charge brought in August against a schoolteacher who has represented the island in cricket.

Denroy Anthony Charles of Tivoli, St. Andrew was arrested in early August as the mother of his 6-year old child complained that he had raped her.

The arrest of Charles sparked off a war of words between leading Executive members of the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) including President Lyden Lewis and his deputy Findley “Scholar” Jeffrey and journalist Hamlet Mark, the Senior Media Advisor to Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.

Mark who has denied having a personal relationship with the victim was identified as the person who drove the complainant to the Grenville Police station to file the report and then drove her down to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) who took charge of the probe.

The victim has often been seen in Mark’s company and allegedly drives his vehicle on a regular basis.

A top police source told this newspaper that the matter was withdrawn based on representation made by the complainant.

He spoke of the woman taking the decision not to proceed with the rape charge since it was “having a great toll” on the families of both parties.

He said the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions was forced to intervene and requested a meeting with the woman in order to determine on whether to proceed or drop the case.

He pointed out that since the matter did not involve a minor but an adult it was decided that it was better to drop charges and allow the concerned parties “to go on with their private lives”.

“The woman said she did not want to go to court with the matter since she and the man (Charles) had been involved in a relationship for the better part of ten years and had a child together and if she went ahead with the case that it would have too much negative impact on the child and the two families”, he said.

The official said that Charles can consider himself “very lucky” since he has now been provided with an opportunity to return to the classroom in light of the shortage of qualified and skilled teachers in the nation.

The spokesman denied reports circulating in some quarters that the complainant did not use the word rape in her statement given to the police about the incident.

He said he had seen a copy of the statement and what the woman claimed is that she had not consented to what happened between them on the night of the alleged rape.

The State took the unusual step to call a special sitting of the St. Andrew’s Magistrate court on a Saturday to commit the accused to the Richmond Hill prison on remand for the alleged crime.

The 31-year-old national T20 cricketer walked out of the same court last Thursday a free man as the case was discontinued by the State.

If convicted, Charles could have faced 35 years behind prison bars.

Meanwhile, GUT Boss Lyden Lewis confirmed to this newspaper that he had spoken to his lawyer to look at possible defamation proceedings against Mark in connection with an article he wrote in connection with the rape charge in which he made certain references to him.