“Tug Life” Remanded for Maiming

Andre "Tug Life" LaTouche - charged with maiming

Andre “Tug Life” LaTouche – charged with maiming

Park Lane, St. George’s resident Andre LaTouche who is known locally around the city as “Tug Life” has been remanded to custody at the Richmond Hill prison on a charge of maiming.

LaTouche is accused of inflicting a wound on the right wrist of St. Paul’s resident, Seon Calliste on January 31.
The court was told by a Police Investigator that Calliste who is warded at the St. George’s General Hospital may not have further use of the hand.

“Tug Life” who has had a number of previous convictions of a similar nature, appeared before Chief Magistrate, Her Honour Tamara Gill on Monday at the St. George’s No.1 Magistrate’s Court without legal representation.

Police Prosecutor, Sergeant Vah Lambert objected to bail being granted to LaTouche indicating that the accused allegedly committed the crime while on bail for two other similar matters.

Sgt. Lambert also informed the presiding Magistrate that LaTouche has a history of previous records of committing crimes of grievous harm, and wounding, the last of which was committed in 2013.

LaTouche who responded to the bail objection raised by the female Prosecutor acknowledged that he had violated the law in the past, but told the court he has begun to change his life around.

The accused who lost his left wrist some years ago said he is now operating his own business by selling items such as cigarettes.

“Tug Life” is due back in court on March 4th.

Grand Mal Man Charged for Drugs and Firearm

The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) is continuing with its relentless war to clamp down on illegal activities on the island.

Joseph Sylvester – got in trouble with the law for drugs and firearms

Joseph Sylvester – got in trouble with the law for drugs and firearms

The Drug Squad of the force has swooped down on Grand Mal resident, Joseph Sylvester who has been identified as a Yachtsman by profession.

Sylvester was charged with possession of a Smith and Wesson pistol, and a nine-millimeter Beretta pistol, and 24 rounds of ammunition, and possession and trafficking of marijuana.

The suspect was taken into custody last week Wednesday after police raided the house where he was residing and discovered 35.6 pounds of marijuana which the Police Prosecution Department estimates to have a street value of $80,000.

The lawmen also discovered the two firearms and ammunition locked in a safe.

Joseph appeared before Chief Magistrate, Her Honour Tamara Gill last week Friday at the St. George’s N0.1 Magistrate’s Court and was placed on bail in the sum of $70,000 with two sureties.

As part of the bail condition, the Chief Magistrate ordered the accused man to surrender all his travel documents, and not to leave the jurisdiction without permission from the court.

Joseph who is due back in court on April 18th also has to report to the Central Police Station on the Carenage, St. George’s every Monday and Friday between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

However, Counsel for the accused,  Peter David believes reporting, as part of the bail condition, is becoming too repetitious, stating that the RGPF should open a Department of Reporting for accused persons.

The court learnt that police are looking for another suspect in the matter whose name was given as Glenroy Andrews of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

A source associated with the matter told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that Joseph claimed when he was picked up that Andrews who is currently on bail gave him the marijuana to hold for safe-keeping.

Also charged for possession of illegal firearm and ammunition this past week is Gianna Pompey of Green Street, St. George’s.

The 24-year old Pompey who was described as a Businesswoman was granted bail in the sum of $25,000 with two sureties and will appear in court on March 15th.

Committal Warrant executed on “Riley”

A small businessman of Woburn, St. George’s, Shankiel “Riley” Myland has been served with a committal warrant for failing to pay a $65, 000.00 fine imposed on him by a city Magistrate.

Shankiel “Riley” Myland - remanded to the Richmond Hill Prison

Shankiel “Riley” Myland – remanded to the Richmond Hill Prison

Myland failed to pay the fine for the offence of conspiracy to traffic cocaine after he was found with the illegal substance on November 1, 2013.

The court ordered that the drug suspect pay that fine within eight months, and in default spend one year at the Richmond Hill prison.

The sitting Magistrate also imposed a confiscation order in the sum of $24,000 on Myland to be paid in four months, and in default one year behind bars.

The police only managed to execute the committal warrant on Myland when he was caught by members of the Drug Squad of the Royal Grenada Police Force for having in his possession one round of a 9 millimeter-ammunition.

A high level source told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that the ammunition was allegedly found in Myland’s van on the Carenage, St. George’s.

He appeared at the St. George’s Number One Magistrate’s Court last week Thursday and was placed on bail by Chief Magistrate Her Honour, Tamara Gill in the sum of $5,000 with one surety.

Myland is due back in court on April 5.
However, the Woburn man will have to serve time at Her Majesty’s Prison for defaulting on the previous fine of $65,000.

Mechanic Accused of Committing Fraud

A Mechanic from the Parish of St. Mark’s has been arrested and charged for having in his possession a massive number of different Identification Cards.

Leroy Andrew – a track record of License fraud

Leroy Andrew – a track record of License fraud

Leroy Andrew is alleged to be involved in a nationwide driver’s license scam.

According to and Head of the Police Prosecution Department, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Godfrey Victor, police were able to confiscate over 77 ID Cards from the accused.

The 48-year old Andrew who is from Duquesne, St. Mark’s appeared before Chief Magistrate, Her Honour Tamara Gill at the St. George’s No.1 Magistrate’s Court last Friday on two counts of fraud by false pretense, and one count of pretending to be a public officer.

It is alleged that as part of his illegal activities he pretended to be a Sergeant of Police.

Andrew has also been slapped with three additional charges of fraud by false pretense – two of the charges will be heard at the Gouyave Magistrate’s Court, and the other at St. David’s Magistrate’s Court.

ASP Victor said there are other matters involving Andrew which are still under investigation.

He told the court that statements have already been collected to use against him and that Police

Investigators are in the process of putting together the charges.

The offenses were allegedly committed between July and December 2015.

THE NEW TODAY understands that a police operation in November 2015 at the home of Andrew led to the confiscation of a number of items including Grenada and other foreign driver’s licenses, NIS and national identification cards, driver’s license examination slips, and a quantity of passport size photographs.

The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) is appealing to persons who may be victims in this driver’s license fraud to contact the Criminal Investigation Department at 440-3921, Traffic Department at 440-2267, police hotline at 444-1958, or the nearest police station.

Andrew has 18 previous convictions, nine of which are for similar offences of which he has been brought to court.

The court was reminded that convictions were handed down against him in 1987, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2010, 2011 and 2014.

Among the convictions were obtaining money by false pretense, threatening language, and fraud by false pretense.

ASP Victor told the court the last of the offences committed by Andrew was on March 3rd 2014, for which he was convicted and sentenced to six months in prison.

However, Defense attorney, Peter David informed the court that the last occasion his client had a matter of a similar nature was in 2013.

Magistrate Gill remanded Andrew to Richmond Hill Prison to reappear in Court on March 3, 2016.

NDC speaks out on police transfers

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has been called upon in his capacity as Minister of National Security to address the issue of what has been labeled as the malicious and unfair transfer of some officers within the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF).

NDC caretaker for the St. George’s North West constituency Ali Dowden not pleased with transfer

NDC caretaker for the St. George’s North West constituency Ali Dowden not pleased with transfer

Caretaker for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Ali Dowden issued the call last week Wednesday as he questioned the transfer of Sergeant Adrian Peters, who is attached to the RGPF Police Training School, which is located on the compound of the Special Services Unit (SSU) at Point Salines, St. George.

“We ask the Minister for National Security to speak out on this matter and to take the corrective steps and measures to solve the problem that is now taking place within the RGPF,” Dowden said as he addressed the issue last week Wednesday, during the weekly NDC press conference at NDC headquarters in St. George’s.

Sgt. Peters was removed from the Training School with effect from February 9, days after he spoke out publicly against the decision of Acting Commissioner of Police, Winston James to deny three police officers leave to take up studies at St. George’s University (SGU).

According to Dowden, who is the Congress Caretaker for the St. George North-west constituency of Prime Minister Mitchell, the main opposition party is concerned over the unfolding events in the police force.

“…What message is the RGPF sending out (to) the public and the officers within the Force…what is the reason for moving the only trained educator in the Police School to the Grenville Police Station at this point in time, as soon as he came out in the media and spoke out in defense of the three police officers looking to go out and study,” he told reporters.

Pointing to Peter’s credibility, Dowden said: “This gentleman not only developed programmes for the Royal Grenada Police Force, but has also been working along with the Regional Security System (RSS) developing training programmes.”

He charged that Sgt. Peters’ transfer was done in an act out of “spite and victimisation.”

There has been no official comment from the Police High Command on the issue.

Dowden said he had information from ‘”a well placed source” that when Sgt. Peters went to take up his new posting “there was absolutely nothing to do.”

“He was given a desk and told to sit there and he will be a part of the team…if this is not spite and victimisation happening within the Force I ask you what else is it? He asked.

Sgt. Peters, who is also the Chairman of the Police Welfare Association, reportedly stated that since the officers were remaining on island their studies would not affect their jobs.

However, information has been circulating that Commissioner James did not grant study leave to the officers because they did not go through the right process in obtaining the scholarship.

Dowden described this as a “lame excuse” expressing the view “whether the officers went through the right channels to get permission or not, the point remains that they got the scholarship and the force needs this sort of training in psychology to handle the issues that are affecting this country at this present time.”

“They can study and work as all other officers, even as the son of the Commissioner of Police, who remained here and studied at the SGU and also continued to do his work at the Fort,” he said.

“It is my understanding that the son of the Commissioner of Police (recently completed studies at SGU and) is presently on a government scholarship over in China doing his Masters,” he added.

Dowden painted a picture of favouritism within RGPF.

“So here it is, you have the son of Commissioner James getting to move up the ladder in terms of his educational pursuits and you have many officers who have not had the opportunity to do their first degree as yet, who want to go and study Psychology, and these three officers did not get the (Commissioners’) approval to go on to study even though they already got through with the scholarship”, he told reporters.

The NDC Executive member stressed that having qualified persons in the field of Psychology “is only going to rebound to the benefit of the Force in addressing the many challenges being faced today.”

Dowden spoke of another “young (Police) Constable, who has served the Force for over 18 years, trained many other younger officers that came under his watch and to date has not even received a promotion”.

“He is attending SGU and is always being transferred from one part of the island to the next, making it extremely difficult for him to attend classes.

“The officer had to purchase a vehicle so that he can travel from all the way in Grenville at times to get to SGU even though he is actually staying in St George’s.

“I ask you if that is not spite and victimisation happening within the RGPF what else. There is a tense atmosphere taking place within the RGPF and that it is a national security concern for the NDC and for Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.”

According to Dowden, “within the past three years 1500 transfers took place within the RGPF, which is only made up of just over 900 police officers.”

“It seems that the tools being used in the RGPF are one of transfer or no promotion as a means of silencing officers within the force,” he added.

The Congress Caretaker disclosed that NDC as a party believes that police officers “must be promoted based on merit and not loyalty to the political directorate of the day”, adding that, “we remain grounded and steadfast in this belief.”

Dowden sent a clear message to police officers that “the NDC stands firm in solidarity with them.”

“I want to reassure them that a better day is coming very soon when the NDC will once again resume the office of governance in this country. And police officers can be assured that promotions will take place based on merit and not on loyalty to the political directorate,” he remarked.

Government to acquire the Grenadian by Rex Resort

It’s been made finally official –  the Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government in St. George’s is moving to acquire the privately-owned Grenadian by Rex Resort at Point Salines.

Word of this has been circulating on the island since notice of acquisition of the hotel was first published in the Government Gazette earlier in the month.

Speaking at the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing held at the Ministerial Complex on Tuesday, Minister of Health, Nickolas Steele, who is the Member of Parliament for the Town of St. George’s confirmed to reporters that the acquisition is in process.

Speculation is rife that the operators of the Canadian based Sunwing Airline are engaged in discussions with the Mitchell administration to lay its hands on Rex  that was built in the early 1990’s under the former Congress government of Sir Nicholas Brathwaite.

Jamaican hotel tycoon, Butch Stewart has also expressed interest in the past of purchasing the hotel from its owner.

Minister Steele told reporters that discussions are currently being held between government and the Grenadian by Rex Resort aimed at arriving at an “amicable” solution to the issue since the State is serious about acquiring the property.

He said government holds the view that the Grenadian by Rex Resort, which has been operating in Grenada for over 20 years, is “not serving the public-at-large as best as possible.”

“Our intention is for an amicable solution right now. In our opinion, the property isn’t serving the public as best as it can. If a solution can be found with any party there, then we would be happy we have an amicable solution to it”, he said.

“That’s the discussion that is being held right now. Government has many options but we are not going to be taking any one of those particular options or any one particular option,” he added.

The senior government minister hinted that government’s move to acquire the hotel is aimed at sending a message to the owners that “we are serious, that time is of the essence and we want something done”.

He said the effect is that the owners of the hotel have come “to the table” for discussion in light of the fact that “government has many other cards that they can play in terms of a way forward”.

If the acquisition goes ahead, the owners of the hotel are guaranteed payment of millions of dollars in compensation most likely from the new operators and not the cash-strapped Mitchell administration.

Sexual Harassment Bill for CARICOM countries

As a result of the heightened reports of sexual harassment in work places and institutions throughout the region, a Sexual Harassment Bill has been drafted for consideration.

Lydia Elliot – drafted the bill and made it more modernised

Lydia Elliot – drafted the bill and made it more modernised

This Bill also comes to the fore after the region recognised that the CARICOM Sexual Harassment Bill of 1996 is not wide enough to cover all the areas in which sexual harassment occurs.

The draft bill is a product of IMPACT Justice, a project funded by the Government of Canada and designed to address deficiencies in the Justice sector in CARICOM member countries.

Sexual Harassment is the first issue that is being looked at by the committee as requested by many Attorney Generals in the region.

According to Project Director, Velma Newton, it involves finding alternatives for persons to use to try to address any grievances they have without going to court, hence the reason why the project will be focused on Mediation.

“We firmly believe that if we can train Mediators to assist persons to solve (the problem) at the community level, it will deflect a lot of cases from the court ….”, she said.

The draft bill was put together by member of the committee, Lydia Elliot of St Lucia.

The promoters held a workshop earlier in the month at the Radisson Hotel at Grand Anse to further refine the document to ensure that a proper project is being brought forward.

The workshop was attended by participants from almost every CARICOM member state.

Velma Newton – Project Director of Impact Justice

Velma Newton – Project Director of Impact Justice

It is the hope of the promoters that the refined bill will provide for the prevention of sexual harassment and the introduction of remedies in circumstances where a person makes a sexual harassment complaint.

According to Elliot the draft bill contains six essential elements.

“A clear definition of sexual harassment which identifies that types of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment and to remove any uncertainty as to what is intended by sexual harassment. The bill will set out the circumstances to be satisfied in order for an act in sexual harassment to be constituted and it identifies the types of conduct that would amount to sexual harassment.

“…Another essential element to the draft bill is the provision imposing an occupation and every employer or a person in charge of an institution to issue or formulate a policy statement concerning sexual harassment in the workplace. That now would also include a clear stipulation of what should be in that policy statement. If that policy statement is not formulated by the employer or the person who is in charge of the institution, the law provides a schedule policy statement which may be adopted by the employer or the person in charge of the institution.

She also explained the information that should be incorporated in the policy statement, saying that it should provide for every person to be in an environment that is free of sexual harassment.

She added that the draft document will also outline how an employer would deal with sexual harassment complaints and also protection for visitors or third parties.

It is the hope of parties involved that the bill will become law by 2017.

Under the draft, it is proposed that if the perpetrators are found guilty for sexual harassment, there will be compensation and damages awarded to the victim as it will be treated as a civil matter.

Can Sanders trump Trump?

SAUNDERSIn the United States, particularly in Washington DC, the nation’s capital, it is impossible to escape the current elections by the Republican and Democratic parties to choose a candidate to represent them in the contest for a new President later this year.

Today, in a DC restaurant, I could not help but overhear the conversations around me. At three tables between which my table was sandwiched, the conversations turned at some point to the election primaries that are now being conducted, and in every case, alarm was expressed about the possible choice of Donald Trump not only as the Presidential nominee for the Republic Party, but as President of the United States.

Washington DC of all areas of the US is the most political. And, the political discourse is informed. DC after all is the home of the White House and Congress. Every day it is invaded by lobbyists, representing all manner of companies. It is also abuzz with journalists, broadcasters, political pundits, diplomats and academics – all of whom regularly analyse and speculate on political developments.

It seems that they have all become extremely worried over the popularity of Donald Trump, the fact that he had the second largest number of votes in Iowa and that he romped to first place in New Hampshire. Their worry is that the domestic agenda he advocates is rooted in repulsive anti-Muslim, anti-Mexican, anti-immigrant policies, and that these policies fly in the face of traditional US values; those that proclaim the country as “the land of the free” and prides itself on being “the home of the brave”.

Indeed, it is difficult to discern what Trump’s domestic agenda is beyond his anti-almost everything policies. On the economic front, he has been most vocal against China and more recently, Japan, as the
cause of decline of the US economy. The fact that the economy is today better than it has been for decades and that unemployment is reduced simply gets in the way of his argument that the country is being given away to China especially.

As for his foreign policy, this seems to comprise “victories”, building a wall on the border with Mexico, carpet-bombing ISIS, unilateral action against other states, and marginalisation of the United Nations and other multilateral organisations. He encapsulates all that in the phrase he shouts most often:

“America will be great again”, as if it has stopped being “great”.

It is precisely because the US is great and is powerful that people all over the globe are anxious about who is or could be the President of the country. The US President, despite all the doubtful rhetoric, is still the world’s most powerful single person and can affect the fate of the entire world.

That is why Donald Trump fills people in Washington DC and across the US and the world with consternation and trepidation. He seems to stand for America with a big stick abroad and a big truncheon at home.

Among the Republican contenders he is the most extreme, but Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are not far behind. The main difference is that where Trump’s utterances are blunt and sometimes vulgar, they dress their policies in less obnoxious though no less confrontational packages.

These three are so extreme that they make Jeb Bush appear reasonable, level headed and mature. Many people may never have thought that they would welcome another Bush as a Republican Presidential candidate, but as Trump, Cruz and Rubio escalate their rhetoric, Jeb Bush looks increasingly appealing.

On the other side of these election primaries, the Democratic Party is now focussed on Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Of the two, Hillary is clearly the most qualified and capable to be President of the United States. She has experience, knowledge and politically savvy. The policies she has been advocating, both domestic and foreign, are attractive. Most of all, they speak to a steady America responsible abroad and caring at home.

And then there is Bernie Sanders. He is a phenomenon. Seventy-four years old, he will be 75 if he is elected President. Yet, despite his age he is the firebrand of these elections. His policies, remarkably, have attracted the youth of America, leaving Hillary Clinton and her campaign team scratching their heads for ways that would bring more young people into her camp.

Sanders has taken on Wall Street and big business fearlessly, unmoved by the large sums of money that could be invested in crushing him. He has made it clear that they will be taxed not only to pay back the middle class for their tax dollars that went into bailing out the bank bosses in the financial crisis, but to pay for the social welfare schemes he would implement.

“The top one-tenth of one percent”, he declares “owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent”. No one has disputed his figures.

He also wants to change income inequality, pointing out that: “The real median income of male workers is $783 less than it was 42 years ago; while the real median income of female workers is over $1,300 less than it was in 2007. That is unacceptable and that has got to change”.

He has promised that he will raise the Federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour by 2020 and to expand social security benefits by raising the cap on taxable income beyond the $250,000 per annum at which it now stands. He has also pledged to make College tuition free and debt free.

Sanders’ well-articulated social and economic policies have found resonance throughout the US, and there is a courage and fearless in him that people seem to admire and trust as demonstrated in his popularity ratings.

He is the opposite of Donald Trump. Between them they represent the extremes of American society, but from an outsider’s point of view Bernie Sanders is a better choice.

If the Presidential election ends up as a contest between Sanders and Trump, the rest of the world will wait to exhale.

(Sir Ronald Sanders is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London and Massey College, University of Toronto. The views expressed are his own).

THE ISSUE OF Victimization WITHIN RGPF

Words cannot express the hurt and disappointment I feel with the manner in which this noble institution is being managed under the “figure head” of Mr. Winston James O.B.E.

After reading an article in the Grenada Informer newspaper, dated February, 5th 2016, under the caption, “CONCERNS OF VICTIMISATION in the RGPF, ” the article speaks of the transfer of two Sergeants from the Police Training School as a result of standing up against the Commissioner’s refusal to sign documents allowing officers to be considered for government scholarships.

The force is governed by regulations, standing orders, policies and of course the supreme law, the Constitution. Policies are policies and must be respected but my biggest problem is the inconsistency and the convenient way in which they are enforced and become applicable.

They must not be applicable for some police officers and applicable to others. Ironically, this “uncalled for” transfer comes about just as the RGPF “begins the process of reviewing standards”.

There is a transfer policy that should be followed. It is not; instead, police officers are transferred at the whims and personal fancies of the Human Resource Department which on most occasions make it looks as if it is done by the Commissioner of Police.

The term “figure head” is used in the first paragraph purposely, due to the perception across the force, that the present Commissioner is just a rubber stamp and that there are persons behind the scene calling the shots.

It is hard to conceptualise the fact that a man who came through the ranks and with such a long distinguished service in excess of four decades, he would allow himself to be used to allegedly victimise others.

Then again, for those of us who came through the service with the acting Commissioner, we would know that he was not much of a leader!

He was a very good Investigator and Intelligence Officer but never possessed the charisma nor traits of a good leader.

With that in mind, it is not difficult to believe that the issue of victimisation due to poor leadership would occur right before his face, if not him in some cases but by a few of them around him.

Victimisation can take several forms and can be seen in all its forms in the RGPF, under the present Regime. The sore issue of promotion is another factor. Never in the history of the RGPF, have so many police officers taken the Commissioner of Police to court and moreover, came out victorious.
There is also a promotion policy based on the Police Regulations and for the senior ranks, the Public Service Commission Rules and Regulation.

The issues of seniority, merit, performance, discipline etc. are things of the past. The high levels of maliciousness, self-preservation and abuse of authority that exist in this noble institution have led to a total defilement of good sense of fairness those in authority.

One of the most glaring examples is where a senior ranking officer was suspended by the Public Service Commission, was almost charged criminally for domestic abuse, had to undergo counseling and within a couple months after resuming duties was promoted.

Another example is where a senior Sergeant has been in charge of a department; excellent all round police officer, was overlooked whereas others whom he was in charge of, were promoted.

The RGPF has very qualified and competent police officers who can take this Organisation forward but these are the police officers who are marginalised and overlooked.

Committed and competent officers, such as Superintendent Belfon, Superintendent Curwen, ASP Lee, Sergeant Peters, Sergeant Glen Charles and Constable 204 John, to name a few.

Why is Adjunct Don McKenzie, a senior ranking officer not part of the Administration of the force at Police Headquarters? Why did it take over seven years so he could have been given a badge of rank?
The Prime Minister and Minister of National Security with others are proud to beat their chest and say Grenada is still one of the safest places in the Americas. This is so now because of the legacy left behind by past Commissioners like Mr. Nestor O’Gilvie, James Clarkson and to a lesser extent Willan Thompson.
If we are not careful, soon, this will be a thing of the past. A clarion and honest call is made to the public and private sector, NGO’s and all concerned citizens to take a careful, objective look into the affairs of the administration of the RGPF.

This call also goes out to the Chief Personnel Officer and the Public Service Commission to carry out their functions according to law and exercise fairness and sound judgements in their consideration for police who are recommended for promotion.

The call is also made to the Commissioner, to do the noble and right thing while he still has the opportunity. Doesn’t matter how long you rally, sir, the time must come when you must leave and go home on retirement.

It is the view that the Force is worst off now than when you first left. Stop the victimization and the abuse of power and treat people with dignity and fairness.

“People are central to anything you do…….”, those were the words of Deputy Commissioner, Franklyn Redhead.

Ex Superintendent of Police

Farmers receive training on Climate Smart Agriculture Practices

As part of a programme on Integrated Climate Change Adaptation Strategies (ICCAS), the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) designed a training programme on Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA).

Hand-over of the composting factsheet to the Ministry of AgricultureThis Capacity Development and Dissemination program for CSA, engaged agricultural technical officers in the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Ministry of Carriacou, Petite Martinique, Marketing and National Importing Board (MNIB), Grenada Co-operative Nutmeg Association (GCNA) and the Grenada Cocoa Association (GCA).

The first phase of the training programme, which was implemented in co-operation with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) came to an end with the closing ceremony on February 10.

The objective of the training was to disseminate knowledge on CSA within the agricultural sector through the GIZ developed Modules of Sustainable Agriculture.

The training also included a demonstration on how to build a compost bin over a 10 week period, using Winston Ottley’s farm in Mt. Cassell, St. Andrew’s as the pilot.

The knowledge gained will be transferred to farmers and other stakeholders through the advisory work of the agricultural technical officers, but also through exchange between farmers, which will also be supported by ICCAS.

The closing ceremony of the first phase entailed viewing Ottley’s use of the compost on his short crops and corn.

“I want to leave the soil much better than I met it – and I want to save costs on artificial fertilizers. Both can be done with compost, and I can only recommend that other farmers do the same thing”, said Otley.

The agricultural technical officers were also very happy to see that the crops were responding well to the compost and were quite animated when sharing the results with other farmers.

Technical Officer with GIZ, Ntaba Francis urged the officers “to not only share composting with farmers but also inform them about many climate smart practices as possible such as rainwater harvesting, soil conservation practices and others.”

As part of the ceremony activities a composting factsheet “How to Build a Compost System Using Locally Available Farm Material” was presented by Mr. Troy Augustine, Agronomist in the Ministry of Agriculture and produced by GIZ-ICCAS to support the officers in training farmers in the process of composting.

Currently the integration of CSA practices into the 2016 work plans of the Ministry takes place, in order to institutionalise CSA into the officers’ standard advisory service to the farmers. This is part of the dissemination phase of the training program.

The ICCAS is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) under its International Climate Initiative (IKI), and is implemented jointly by the Environment Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, GIZ and UNDP.