The baggage handlers at MBIA

My wife and I visit Grenada twice each year usually in early autumn and again in the spring and naturally on both occasions we do a bit of local shopping for some of the local products such as the local produced rum, wines, De La Grenade products, pepper sauces; mauby and various spices to take back with us to England mostly to give as gifts to family and friends.

I must make the point that we don’t drink spirits. In the case of spirits (rum and wines) we find we can get much better deals/value for money by shopping around in selective supermarkets in St George’s rather than waiting to purchase them on departure at duty free at Maurice Bishop International Airport.

We also believe that these products are likely to get to our destination safer when properly packed in a suitcase.

Our aim is to always support the local economy of Grenada in any way we can and in some cases we purchase things we don’t really need such as spices from different local vendors just to give them some business.

We even purchase sea shells that are displayed as trophies at our home on the island. One gets a proud feeling when one finds products that are marked: “Made in Grenada” or “Produced in Grenada”.

On return flights we usually get to the airport pretty early to get ahead of the queue to try and book selected seating if possible. Most of the time on arrival at the airport we find it is a long wait before booking staffs arrive – this is normal for us as we do experience a similar situation on outward flights from London.

Our problem and frustration if one can call it that is the behaviour of the baggage handling staff and we would really like to know what the hell is going on at the airport with these workers.

Every time we are departing within about 20 minutes to boarding my name is called up on the public address system requesting that I go to a particular gate but when I get there I am asked to accompany a member of staff to the baggage handling area to open up my cases.

One might say there is nothing wrong with that, they are only doing their job, but are they? What we don’t understand is why us? And why it is every time we travel through that airport?

The routine is the same; something we don’t experience on our way out from London. Staff to go through the contents, unwrapping bottles one by one and examine the label. Every damn time it’s the same – so what the hell are they looking for?

The x-rays as far as I understand clearly shows bottles of liquids for which we are not allowed to go through customs with but can be purchased as duty free.

We do understand for security reasons that random checks are carried out at international airports however; one would expect for a proper record to be kept of the passengers for whom their cases have been checked also the findings so as not to have repeats in short spaces of time except under exceptional circumstances or if there are suspicions or doubts relating to certain people’s movements.

Do these people check their records? Or do they keep a proper record in the first place? Why harass people who have been sitting around the airport for up to four hours waiting on a flight out the country? Could the reason be that they have little or nothing else to do or is this to discourage people from purchasing these products other than at duty free?

The last time we travelled through the airport was in March and I have to confess I lost my temper. First with the last minute call for me to report to the gate and secondly, the bold face attitude of one particular baggage handling member of staff (young and arrogant).

I must apologise to the young woman who took me round to the baggage handling area because I was rather abrupt with her; she was merely doing her job. However, when I got to the baggage area, quite a number of mostly men were just standing around. One of them who was at the end of the conveyor nearest the runway pointed out one of our suitcase (the one they wanted to check) but as I went to use my key to unlock the suitcase a young cocky chap at the other end of the conveyor where a table or cupboard was shouted: “bring it over here.”

So I told him in no uncertain terms: “you want to check it you take it over there, I don’t want to check it all I am prepared to do is to unlock it.” His reply was “if you don’t bring it over here to be checked it will not be loaded.” My reply was quick and precise, “When I get to London if all our cases were not on the flight I will report exactly what you just said to me to Virgin Atlantic Customer Service and you will have to explain to them why our suitcases were not loaded;” and immediately started walking back towards the waiting room.

Just then I was told by another member of staff I needed to be accompanied. He then took the suitcase to the other end of the conveyor. I unlocked the case and the cocky young chap carried out the usual checks making a right mess of our packaging. He also questioned the alcohol content of a couple bottles of Clarke’s Courts rum but was told by a colleague they were ok.

On our son’s first visit to Grenada he experienced the same problem. He was bringing a few bottles of spirits back to the UK in his suitcase and that appears to be a problem sadly, whenever he leaves Grenada now on his return flight he doesn’t travel with spirits. It is not his lost; he doesn’t drink spirits; it is the producers; retailers and revenue department of Grenada’s lost. If it is one thing I learn it is if you treat people badly they soon get the message and act appropriately.

If the message from the baggage staff at Maurice Bishop International Airport is buy your spirits at duty free if you don’t want your baggage to be searched, then I think the Grenadian producers, distributors and retailers must be made aware of this because they are the ones who would loose a hell of a lot of retail sales in their outlets, not the short sighted workers at Maurice Bishop International Airport.

It is only right and fitting that consumers including our visitors to our shores be given the freedom to shop for their choice of goods and services wherever they are on the island.

Also; in the economic climate, people the world over have been experiencing value for money is a major contributor to consumers departing with their hard earned money. I love my country and I really want to see it succeed but we have a long way to go in some respect to make people feel welcome and want to visit our shores again.

Winston Strachan
Northampton
England

KFC gets compensation

 Amelia Andall - fined EC$500 for stealing

Amelia Andall – fined EC$500 for stealing

A St. George’s Magistrate Court has awarded compensation to owner of KFC, Joseph Ross in the sum of $1, 170 for monies that were stolen from the company by a former employee in July.

The defendant Amelia Andall, was also fined EC$500 Monday on 2 counts of stealing by reason of employment by Chief Magistrate Tamara Gill, presiding over the St. George’s No. 1 Magistrate’s Court.

The New Hampshire (Willis) resident pleaded guilty to the charges last September, giving indication to the court that there are other employees engaged in the act of stealing monies from the fast food company.

Andall 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.

She was accused of 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.

Joseph Ross – to be compensated for monies stolen from KFC

Joseph Ross – to be compensated for monies stolen from KFC

During their last court appearance, KFC boss Joseph Ross expressed a desire to find out the names of the other perpetrators as well and to have Andall jailed for the crime committed.

However, Attorney-at-Law, Peter David who was sitting in the court stepped in Pro-Bono to assist Andall, who faced a total of 5 years behind bars on each count of stealing.

In mitigating on Andall’s behalf, Attorney David requested that the court consider a non-custodial sentence, as Andall is a first time offender, suggesting alternative punishments, including counseling.

Monday’s court hearing revealed that a sum of approximately $280 was recovered from Andall on the day she was caught in the act of stealing.

In handing down the judgment, the Chief Magistrate noted the negative implications of the crime on Andall’s reputation and urged her to stay away from trouble.

Andall has up to three months to compensate KFC and to pay the EC$500.00 fine but in default spend 6 months behind bars at the Richmond Hill prison.

US Visa Scam Burst Wide Open …Lester Smith and Nigel “German” Mc Kie Caught in the Net

Police have made a significant breakthrough in cracking a major ring involved in human trafficking with the United States being the primary destination.

Two well known nationals – Lester Smith and Nigel “German” Mc Kie were arrested and charged in court on Monday with the operation of a Visa scam in which a number of persons were allegedly charged a fee to assist them to gain entry into the United States.

German – police suspect that he was the mastermind behind the scam

German – police suspect that he was the mastermind behind the scam

A well-placed source told THE NEW TODAY that the scheme might have started sometime in 1991 and the evidence seems to indicate that some persons were charged between EC$300 and in some cases as much as EC$3, 000 to get into the U.S.

Smith and Mc Kie appeared in court Monday before Chief Magistrate, Tamara Gill in the St. George’s N0. 1 Magistrate’s Court on indictable fraud and forgery related charges and granted bail in the sum of $50, 000 each.

It is alleged that Smith, in his capacity as Technical Director of the Grenada Football Association (GFA) took advantage of his authority by using the company’s letterhead to assist persons in obtaining United States visas.

The 46-year-old Tempe resident, is facing 5 counts of forgery, 4 counts of possession of forged document and 1 count of conspiracy to forge, while Mc Kie, a 56 year, Basketball Coach from The Carenage is charged with 1 count of conspiracy to forge and 1 count of possession of forged document.

The two are also jointly charged with 5 counts of conspiracy to utter a forged document.

Lester Smith – could be left abandoned by GFA

Lester Smith – could be left abandoned by GFA

Police detained Smith and Mc Kie last week Wednesday following the findings of an ongoing investigation by the US Embassies in St. George’s and Bridgetown, Barbados into what was identified as false into what was identified as false declarations in some visa applications by applicants who were attempting to travel with the women football team to Puerto Rico last August.

Due of the seriousness of the offences brought against the two suspects, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) is leading the Police Prosecution in the matter.

Acting DPP Howard Pinnock did not object to bail for the defendants as request by their defense counsel, Attorney-at-Law Peter David; however, he suggested that the bail granted reflect the seriousness of the allegations brought against them.

As part of their bail conditions, Smith and Mc Kie have been ordered to report to Central Police Station on the Carenage every Monday and Friday between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

The two will also have to surrender all travel documents to the court; have no contact with the Prosecution witnesses and not leave the state without the consent of the court.

The Acting DPP also indicated that the State will move to have a paper committal in the matter in the interest of saving judiciary time since the charges against Smith and Mc Kie are all indictable.

THE NEW TODAY understands that the police are focusing attention on the Grenada Olympic Association (GOA) where information seem to suggest that the organisation was used to help facilitate human trafficking into the United States.

Speculation is rife that officials within the island’s major sporting bodies will approach the U.S for visas for team members to travel to the United States and will slip in the names of several human traffickers.

A source confirmed to this newspaper that the police have unearthed that those involved in the scam were recruiting persons mainly in Happy Hill, Gouyave and St. George North-east.

The NEW TODAY understands that a total of eight witnesses have been lined up by the Prosecution including an official from GFA to give evidence in the court matter.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the local Football association affirmed that in keeping with its professional integrity and mandate, it will seek to assist law enforcement in whatever way possible regarding investigations launched into allegations of US visa fraud against its Technical Director.

The GFA expressed concern about the Association’s integrity and its professional work noting that such allegations, whether true or not, often tend to detract from the good work that the organisation is involved in to promote and develop football in the country.

The Association avoided making any statement as it relates to Smith’s employment with the sporting body, stating that “as the matter is now in court, it was unable to make any detailed public comment and await the outcome of those proceedings.”

The GFA gave assurance that it will advise on its own internal steps in due course.

Both Smith and Mc Kie are facing a minimum of 5 years to a maximum of 15 years imprisonment and are due back in Court on December 8.

Maduro came calling in St. George’s

(L - R): Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell accompanied by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro along with workers at PetroCaribe's Queen's Park location

(L – R): Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell accompanied by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro along with workers at PetroCaribe’s Queen’s Park location

Grenada and Venezuela have reached agreement for the return of the Miracle Eye Programme later this year.

The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the re-establishment of the programme was one of the areas of cooperation reached during a brief visit to the island Saturday by Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro.

Local health officials have indicated that more than 200 persons are already listed for specialised surgical procedures under the programme.

The new arrangement was signed by Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen and the visiting Minister of  Foreign Affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Dr. Delcy Rodriguez Gomezs.

During the official signing ceremony at Queen’s Park, St. George’s, President Maduro lamented on his country’s contributions towards the development of healthcare in Grenada, and singled out the Miracle Eye programme as a social one that has the elements of stability and integration of the people of both countries.

This newspaper understands that the Miracle Eye programme will be executed from the redeveloped Eye ward at the General Hospital, which was funded by the Venezuelan Government under phase 2 of the General Hospital project.
Officials have said that the refurbished eye ward will have its own operating theater, a male and female ward, nurses’ station, kitchen, sluice, and visitor’s waiting area, among other stations.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell described Venezuela’s contribution to Grenada as “extraordinary,” pointing out that the agreement for the provision of eye care to Grenadian nationals by Venezuelan doctors would be “free of cost,” noting that Venezuela is also funding the construction of the new wing at the General Hospital.

“…What a noble feet indeed,” Dr. Mitchell declared.

President Nicolas Maduro also used the visit to Grenada to reiterate his country’s position on the setting up of an economic zone for the Caribbean and Latin American.

The Venezuelan leader said the economic zone should be part of a production and economic plan aimed at curbing the region’s high import bill.

He also advocated the need for the establishment of a commerce and purchase agreement with Caribbean countries.

“I insist that we need to create an economic zone in the region. We need to produce locally,” President Maduro was quoted as saying during a bilateral session with Dr. Mitchell last Saturday.

“We need to have a production and economic plan. Venezuela, with all its challenges, we are still importing billions. We need to curb this”, he said.
President Maduro suggested that the Caribbean and Latin America should work out transportation arrangements to facilitate the movement of goods and services.

“We have to establish a commerce and purchase agreement with our Caribbean friends, where we have a production planning of what products we need and what each other can supply. Let us look inward to support each other in production,” he said.

“Let us also work in transportation arrangement so we can move our goods and services in region,” he added.

The delayed arrival of President Maduro into Grenada resulted in a late start of the official MOU signing ceremony, which was scheduled to commence at 4.00 p.m. but got started just after 6.00 p.m. with a tour of the Petro Caribe Plant at Queen’s Park.

The leader in Caracas was travelling with a delegation that also included his Health Minister, Henry Ventura, and Finance Minister, Rodolfo Marco Torres.

The Queen’s Park ceremony, which climaxed his visit to the island saw a symbolic handing over of gas cylinders to the Ministry of Education for several schools in the country.

Like the recent visit to the island by British Prime Minister, David Cameron, the Maduro trek to the Spice Isle was again marred by poor media accommodation.

A huge tent was set up outside the gas plant to facilitate the ceremony and to provide a form of shade for invited dignitaries from the scorching sun, and THE NEW TODAY was told that all seats within the enclosure was reserved for special invited guest.

There was no specific arrangement for the media and THE NEW TODAY was directed to go to the back of the tent by an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where some rows of chairs were situated in the hot sun.

Further inquiry made by this newspaper revealed that arrangements were made only for the Government Information Service (GIS) to carry the proceedings live on national television.

During the recent visit of Prime Minister Cameron, the local media was invited to provide coverage but again it was marred by poor accommodation with only GIS getting priority treatment.

Tourism Sector aims to reduce 50% waste

By calling itself ‘Pure’, Grenada’s tourism sector indicated that it is ready to walk the talk.

IMG_2318This is the reason the ‘Go Pure Action Group’ invited two experts to teach members of the Grenada Hotel & Tourism Association (GHTA) how to turn close to 50% of their waste into an opportunity that’s good for them and good for the environment.

Composting is a critically important skill for tourism businesses because it not only reduces waste going to the landfill; it also reduces the pollution that leaks out of the landfill once the garbage is there.

If you’ve ever seen food rot, you will know that it creates liquids. The liquid from rotting food and organic material leaks out of landfills and pollutes the environment around it for miles.

When composting is done using the techniques taught at the workshop, the end product of what was once waste is high quality soil that can be used to support the landscaping demands of the hospitality sector.

IMG_2288Fourteen persons attended the workshop, from gardeners to environmental managers employed in the industry and their feedback indicated that they were very satisfied with the outcome.

Most stated that they now feel more confident about what they are doing and know how to improve their own systems.

The GHTA is grateful to Environmental Engineer, Silke Rothenberger and Mr. Augustine from the Ministry of Agriculture for their volunteered assistance in providing technical training to Members to help Grenada’s tourism sector to ‘Go Pure’.

Honours for Sandals Resorts International

Sandals Resorts International (SRI) was honored with prestigious recognition at the 22nd Annual World Travel Awards’ Caribbean & The North America Ceremony, held on October 17 at Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis & Spa Resort.

(From left to right: World Travel Awards model, Gary Williams, General Manager of Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island , Jeremy Mutton, General Manager of Sandals Emerald Baya Spa Golf, Tennis & Spa Resort, Ramel Sobrino, General Manager of Sandals Ochi Beach Resort and David Latchimy, General Manager of Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa)

(From left to right: World Travel Awards model, Gary Williams, General Manager of Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island , Jeremy Mutton, General Manager of Sandals Emerald Baya Spa Golf, Tennis & Spa Resort, Ramel Sobrino, General Manager of Sandals Ochi Beach Resort and David Latchimy, General Manager of Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa)

The Luxury Included® Resort Company collected 17 awards, demonstrating the continued success and evolution of the brand and its resorts.

In addition to this distinguished accomplishment, SRI once again received the notable recognition of Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand, thus earning this title for 22 consecutive years.

New to the winners’ circle was Sandals Barbados, which was awarded Caribbean’s Leading Resort after recently opening this past January.

“We are honoured to be continuously awarded by the World Travel Awards,” said Adam Stewart, CEO of Sandals Resorts International.

“These outstanding recognitions validate the hard work of our staff and their constant commitment to providing our guests with the best possible experiences each and every day.”

With a total of 17 trophies from this year’s awards ceremony, Sandals Resorts International rose above other highly acclaimed hotel brands.

The Caribbean resort company’s top honors included:

*Caribbean’s Leading Adventure Tour Operator: Island Routes Caribbean Adventures

*Caribbean’s Leading All Inclusive Family Resort: Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa

*Caribbean’s Leading Conference Hotel: Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis & Spa Resort, Great Exuma, Bahamas

*Caribbean’s Leading Honeymoon Resort: Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa

*Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand: Sandals Resorts International

*Caribbean’s Leading Luxury All-Inclusive Resort: Sandals Whitehouse European Village & Spa

*Caribbean’s Leading Resort: Sandals Barbados

*Caribbean’s Most Romantic Resort: Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa

*Caribbean’s Leading Private Island Resort: Fowl Cay Resort, Bahamas

*Antigua & Barbuda’s Leading Resort: Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa

*Bahamas’ Leading Spa Resort: Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island

*Grenada’s Leading Resort: Sandals LaSource Grenada Resort & Spa

*Jamaica’s Leading All Inclusive Family Resort: Beaches Negril Resort & Spa

*Jamaica’s Leading Resort: Sandals Ochi Beach Resort

*St Lucia’s Leading Resort: Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort

*St Lucia’s Leading Spa Resort: Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Resort & Spa

*Turks & Caicos’ Leading Resort: Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa
The World Travel Awards were established in 1993 for the express purpose of acknowledging and celebrating achievements in all areas of the world’s travel and tourism industry.

This year’s voting campaign reached a total of 183,000 travel professionals worldwide in more than 160 countries.

Nominations for this year’s World Travel Awards were based on the previous year’s voting.

The World Travel Awards will culminate with the Grand Final Gala Ceremony taking place this December 12th in Morocco.

FORT GEORGE – GRENADA’S PREMIER TOURISM SITE

As a result of a statement made recently in the Senate by its President, Hon. Chester Humphrey, that the police headquarters at Fort George be relocated in order to restore and develop the site as the premier tourist attraction which it could be; the Willie Redhead Foundation would like to inform the public of a document entitled PORTCULLIS which was prepared by a U.S. Heritage Company which specialises in FORTS restoration.

The document was prepared in 1999 and accepted by the then Government. For the record it must be mentioned that the statement made by Senator Humphrey was expressed many times in the past by the Foundation. A new location for the police HQ could be at Mt. Wheldale where the late Maurice Bishop resided.

The following EXECUTIVE SUMMARY by the Willie Redhead Foundation is provided hereunder for public knowledge and information:
Executive Summary of the Portcullis Report on the Development of Fort George for Heritage Tourism Purposes.

1.    The Report

The Portcullis Report on Fort George was prepared by an American business group led by Mr. J. David Zimmerman and initially submitted to the government in late 1996. A letter from the Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell dated 26th June 1997 endorsed the proposal and suggested going ahead with the necessary fund-raising drive. The report was revised and updated in 1999.
The objective of Portcullis Limited was to secure an exclusive licensing agreement from the Government of Grenada to operate Fort George as an historical-cultural tourist site complete with guides, interpreters, a military-naval museum, a library, local crafts, commercial outlets and more, for an initial period of fifteen years. Their stated purpose as a non-profit organisation, was to ‘absorb tasks usually performed by government, such as operating and staffing forts but pay for those tasks through income producing activities.’

Main Points

Some of the more noteworthy points in the report include:-

*The introduction quotes a CDB report supporting the view that the tourism industry is fast changing from a ‘passive-fun’ experience to one of ‘active-learning’ whereby the maturing participants want to take home knowledge of the culture, the history and the lifestyle of the inhabitants of the places visited.

*The original Fort was constructed by the French during their second occupation between 1705 and 1710 and remains fundamentally in fair to good condition today. Subsequent modifications to accommodate advances in armaments were few.

*Of the three forts in the immediate area, Fort George is in a prime location for development as a tourist attraction and needs to be made ‘attractive to tourists’.

*The report estimates that only some 3,000 tourists (being only 1% of annual visitor arrivals at the time) actually go up to the Fort, mainly to use the panoramic viewing platform, with little encouragement to visit the historical and cultural monuments that surround them.

*The proposal requires the relocation of the RGPF Police Station and the removal of the non-historical facilities built to accommodate them. There is no direct suggestion of any alternative location for the police station although it appears to assume at the time that all staff will be absorbed into the central police facility at the Fire-station.

*There would be need for significant capital expenditure to remove the non-relevant buildings, to refurbish and renovate the original fortifications, create a safe environment for workers and visitors and more. The cost of demolition and removal of the historically non-relevant buildings, the restoration of the 18th century fortifications, termite treatment, utilities, landscaping and more, was estimated at US$895,626. In addition, start-up expenses and training costs would be US$456,511 bringing the total initial pre-opening cost to US$1,352,147 to be expensed over a duration of 18-24 months. This sum is equivalent to some US$2.3 million at today’s prices.

*Annual running expenses and maintenance costs were estimated at US$539,184 (US$890,000 at today’s prices) with annual income ranging from US$700,000 (US$1.1 million) to US$900,000 (US$1.5 million) over the first three years, based on an entrance fee of US$9 per person (US$15/EC$40 today).

*The report suggests that some 40 direct full time permanent jobs would be created once the Fort is restored back to its former glory including, tour guides, interpreters, actors, museum staff, retail assistants, etc. There will of course be additional secondary benefits to the local tourist economy as a whole.

(The above reflects the views of the Willie Redhead Foundation)

Theocracies, Legacies, and Lessons

A theocracy is an unholy union between the church and the state, two notoriously incompatible bedfellows with diametrically opposed agendas.

From earliest times church-state collusions have created the destructive forces that the world is witnessing today. In 2014 President Obama drew parallels between these collusions and current Islamic State atrocities and was criticized, but the historical track record is damning.

In 1st century theocracy the Roman Emperor declared himself a Deity and beheaded, burned at the stakes, crucified, or had eaten alive thousands of Christians refusing to worship him.  For survival of the Church, the Catholic hierarchy drafted an orthodoxy of Canon Laws almost carbon copy of the pagan Roman system. Then for centuries the diabolical “marriage of convenience” between the monarchies and the Papacy unleashed Holy Inquisitions slaughtering millions of heretics and apostates across the European continent.

From the 6th century, Islamism was conquering the Middle East under the indomitable leadership of Mohammed the “Prophet” and Koran Sharia Laws ruled country after country. This theology rigidly controls every single facet of followers’ everyday life – the social, the political, and the economic – by extreme violence whenever necessary.

With Middle Age Crusades of Knight Templars, the Pope launched political and military warfare to rescue the Holy Lands of Jerusalem from Islamic captivity.

Today, radical extremist jihadists of Islamic State (ISIS) commit the most barbaric acts of savagery in a nihilistic throwback to the Dark Ages.  Its doomsday doctrine spreads “apocalyptic” terror and anarchy by ruthlessly exterminating all “infidels” in the name of Allah.  The ISIS caliphate ultimatum is absolute, uncompromising church state oneness.

Caribbean politicians often claim divine, God-ordained rule proclaiming “what God puts together no man sets asunder”. In the sixties “Papa Doc” Duvalier reigned as Supreme High Priest and “Chosen One of God” over the Haitian nation. With mass voodoo indoctrination enforced by the dreaded Tonton Macoute, the Duvalier dynasty reduced Haiti to “failed state” ignominy.
In the homeland Grenadians were bamboozled by paranormal spiritualism, mysticism, and obeah worship.  The end result was Marxist revolution, mass murder, and war in the Spice Isle.

In stark contrast, the Founding Fathers of the United States of America mandated separation of church and state in the Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land.  In the First Amendment the Bill of Rights states, “Congress shall make no law respecting establishment of religion or prohibiting its free exercise”.

The separation of the secular from the religious is neither an atheistic nor agnostic doctrine of America.  The United States is a Christian nation and the U.S. dollar proudly proclaims to the world “In God We Trust”.

The rationale is to encourage religious pluralism and recognise that states cannot legislate boundaries on religious freedom of conscience nor can the church put limits on political freedom.

The principle of church-state separation enshrined in the U.S. Constitution is based on John Locke’s philosophical concept of a “social contract” between government and people. Government is entrusted with the fiduciary responsibility to provide the material needs of the people and the church takes care of their spiritual needs. Thus, separation avoids the destructive conflicts of interest that historically have arisen between these two powerful social institutions.

Moreover, the Bible advises “one cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16:13) so “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s” (Mathew 22:21).  Even the great Pontifex Maximus of Roman Catholicism now acknowledges the wisdom of church/state separation.

In a 2008 Papal dictum Pope Benedict stated, “the distinction between church and state is a specific achievement of Christianity.” Yet, notwithstanding hypocritical Papal proclamations, the Vatican remains the all-time, quintessential epitome of Church/State collusion.

In A.D. 313 Roman Emperor Constantine appointed himself Protector of the Church and four hundred years later collusion reached its pinnacle with the infamous “Donation of Constantine”. This document (A.D. 774) granted the Pope and his successors total “dominion of the vast Roman Empire, all nations of Christendom, and all lands and territories of the New World, discovered or not yet discovered in perpetuity” (forever).

In effect, church/state collusion gave the whole planet to the Papacy.

In March 2010, this writer raised “red flags” on the clear and present dangers of creeping clericalism in the corridors of our authoritative powers, political and economic. Since then, a number of “Men of the Cloth” have joined forces on both sides of the political spectrum and opportunists practice political rhetoric from pulpits while awaiting their chance to “jump ship”.

From holy platforms they launch campaigns splitting congregations into vitriolic opposing factions.

In 21st century Grenada, flirtations with alliances of religion and politics, cloaked in whatever guise, is a dangerous game to play in these troubled times.

Wise politicians would take a page from the United States, a country we admire and try to emulate in so many ways, and put distance between the church and the state.  For it is written: “those who forget history is doomed to repeat it”.

Jay Bruno

The thinking behind the suspension of Coach Simmons

How could such a decision benefit W.I cricket?

The only argument I have heard in support of the decision, or indeed can be made in its support, is the preservation of the institutional integrity of the governing body of W.I cricket, the W.I C.B.

Quite apart from the frequently expressed opinion that the W.I.C.B is dysfunctional, and not worthy of preservation in its current form, it seems clear that the crux of the issue is whether there were other means of demonstrating the W.I.C.B’s disapproval of Mr. Simmons’ conduct, than a suspension at a time when it would be obvious to any reasonable observer that such a decision would have an immediate negative impact on the team’s preparation, and performance, in the short run, and likely also to have long run undesirable repercussions.

Clearly there were several alternative means of demonstrating the board’s disapproval, including, denunciation, a fine, extracting a promise of future “good behaviour” and things of such a nature.

A distinguished cricket observer has offered other suggestions.
When one considers the board’s willingness over a period of some two years, that includes the recent World Cup, to not appoint a head coach, it is difficult not to conclude that this board does not consider a head coach as an essential component of a modern international cricket organisation.

If that is in fact its belief, the board owes a duty to the W.I cricket community to publicly state its position and invite other views, as the record is clear that the W.I.C.B management has been wrong on so many fundamental issues.

Romain Pitt

Nutrition throughout the life cycle

The young and the old celebrate during the month of October! It is child’s month and the month of the elderly. What an opportune time to focus on nutrition throughout the life cycle.

Energy and nutrients needs change over the life cycle being greatest during the body’s period of growth (pregnancy, infancy, and adolescence). The need for energy declines after growth spurts while some nutrients may increase or decrease. In older adults the need for some nutrients (e.g Vitamin D) increase, while others like iron or energy decrease. Compared to adulthood, the need for nutrients are higher relative to body size during infancy.

Food choices also vary across the life cycle being influenced by social, economic, psychological, physiological and leisure changes. For example children may be influenced by the foods advertised on the television and ask their parents to purchase these foods.

A teenager on the other hand may be more concerned with the opinion of their peers and body image, while adults are more likely to make choices based on their health needs.

Pregnant women should ensure that they eat well to guarantee positive birth outcomes. Since the critical periods for the development of important organs like the central nervous system, occurs even before a woman may know she is pregnant it is important to start well.

Lifestyle and poor nutrition habits during pregnancy can lead to low birth weight babies (less than 5½ pounds) that are more likely to have medical complications.

Generations ago, breast milk was the preferred feeding method for babies. As formula became readily available, and more mothers work outside of home, formula seem to have replaced breast milk. Research shows that breastfeeding benefits both mother and baby.

Child month, is a good time to return to exclusive breast feeding. Breast milk is custom made to meet your baby’s nutrient needs in the correct proportions.

As the child grows older introduce a variety of nutritious local foods. Respect the small stomachs and feed them small frequent meals, with snack between long breaks. Encourage good eating habits and avoid using food as a reward.

Poor or inappropriate eating habits during adolescence increases the risk of obesity, and obesity related conditions, like diabetes and cardiovascular disease as well as micronutrient deficiencies like iron deficiency anaemia. So it is important to make wise food choices during those years.

Overall health does not depend on a single food or meal, but on making good nutritional choices at every stage of the life cycle. At each stage in the life cycle it is important to adjust diet and physical activity to meet these changing needs. Remember

*eat a variety of nutritious foods with plenty of vegetables;

*limit the amount of fat, salt, and sugar in the diet; and exercise regularly.
Celebrate this month by investing nutrition. Help your school-aged children and adolescents make right choices by being a good role model. Be mindful of the choices you make and how those choices affect your health both now and in the future.

Grenada Food and Nutrition Council