Republic Bank staff volunteerism

In a strong show of volunteerism, Republic Bank’s management team teamed up with approximately 40 staff members from Republic House on September 3 to refurbish the St. David’s Community Library, as part of their annual Branch Community Projects (Staff Volunteerism) programme, launched in 2014.

rbl_stdavids-library-beforeThrough the efforts of the management and staff, St. David’s Community Library received a much-needed makeover.

The scope of work included replacement of windows, doors, protective mesh and wrought iron bars; refurbishment of shelves and desks, and, repainting of the entire lower level as well as the exterior of the building.

Republic Bank contributed $20,000.00 towards the project.

Additionally, the Staff, through its own efforts, commissioned a special luncheon to raise funds to tile the floor of the building.

An elated Library Assistant, Cindy Francis, expressed her elation on the refurbished building.

“The physical structure has been in a terrible state of disrepair for many years and I prayed for someone to come to our aid. The number of users has noticeably dwindled over the years, but now, I know they will return”, she said.

rbl_stdavids-library-71aBranch Community Projects Grants (BCPG) provides funding to help establish or expand service projects that address critical and diverse human and social needs around the country.

This initiative is closely aligned with the Bank’s corporate social responsibility programme “The Power to Make a Difference”.

The objective is to assist the branch network and specialists units, in improving the quality of life in their communities, by meeting essential needs such as poverty alleviation, education, culture and literacy.

It is also meant to engender an increased sense of camaraderie and teamwork amongst the staff throughout the Bank’s network.

According to Valentine Antoine, Manager – Commercial Credit: “Volunteerism is not new to Republic Bank; but what’s unique about this event is that the entire management team and staff are actively participating together in the execution of this project.

“While we often provide financing for community projects, we also see it as important and necessary to give hands-on support and work together with community activists on projects like this that will benefit so many”, he added.

In keeping with the spirit of community volunteerism, the St. David’s arm of the SSU Fitness Club, chipped in to assist with the skilled labour, to repair/replace the broken windows, doors, bookshelves and furniture and the Bank expresses its appreciation and commendation to the participants from the St. David’s Community.

Republic Bank is proud of its management team and staff, for volunteering their time, away from the office, to this community project.

These activities, while benefitting communities at large, afford the staff a sense of individual satisfaction and creating powerful connections with community-based organisations at the same time.

Burke: Vote with your conscience

“The people are not ready for a referendum”.

That’s the view expressed by Political Leader of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Senator Nazim Burke, during a special press conference at the party’s headquarters in St. George’s last week Thursday.

Sen. Burke told reporters that “the proposed changes to the Constitution have not been sufficiently explained to the voting population and the majority of Grenadians still do not know or understand what they are being asked to vote for or against on referendum day”.

The Congress leader accused the ruling Keith Mitchell-led government of “failing to adequately explain to the voting population and the nation as a whole what changes are proposed to the Constitution, what the changes will mean for our democracy and our country and what is expected of them on referendum day”.

“We (NDC) know for a fact that Government of Grenada has received a substantial sum of money from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to educate the people about the Constitution reform and the referendum”, he said.

Out of concern that “we do not adapt a position inconsistent with the wishes and aspirations of the Grenadian people”,  Sen. Burke said the NDC commissioned an opinion poll conducted among “about 800 people” by Don Anderson from Jamaica who specialises in Market Research, Polling and Analysis Political Electoral Polling Field Surveys, to assist in determining what the Grenadian people wanted.

He pointed out that “the poll results, which were received only Tuesday last indicate that while 5% of those polled said they supported all of the changes proposed and 6% said they did not support any of the changes proposed, 13% said they were not sure about their position and 43% said they did not know much about the changes to offer any comment”.

“The poll therefore revealed that 56% of the threshold were either confused or did not know or understand what is going on and what is expected of them on referendum day.

“Furthermore, when asked whether they intended to vote on the issues on referendum on Referendum Day, 34% indicated they intended to vote, 16% indicated that they did not intend to vote and 49% indicated that they were not sure if they would vote.

Sen. Burke said the poll” shows beyond doubt that the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique are not ready for a referendum on the reform of the Grenada Constitution.

“We are not going to play politics with this process and have said before that we will prefer to approach the reform of the Grenada Constitution on the basis of consensus. Instead the government wishes to employ strong hand tactics”, he said.

“We will not be bullied into submission on this issue”, he added.  Sen. Burke stated that as the main opposition in the country, NDC has an obligation to ensure that all that is done in relation to changing the Constitution, which is the supreme law is done properly.

It is the duty of congress, he said to ensure that “the procedures and practices that are adopted are correct and do not violate established laws conventions, norms and standards”.

Sen. Burke encouraged the voting populace to “not sit on the side” but exercise their rights to help decide whether the Constitution should be changed in the manner now proposed by the NNP administration.

“In the end your vote for or against in the referendum must be an informed one – in the best interest of our country as a modern democratic state – we respect the right of the people to vote with their conscience”, he added.

Last month, a Congress spokesman indicated that NDC would give support to those pushing a “vote No” campaign for the October 27 Referendum.

Voting opens for People’s Choice Award of GCIC Business Award ceremony

LIME under its new consumer brand Flow continues to support the People’s Choice Award category of the Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce (GCIC) annual award ceremony.

Marketing Manger of Flow, Kelly Mitchell and Executive Director of GCIC, Petipha Lewis Smith

Marketing Manger of Flow, Kelly Mitchell and Executive Director of GCIC, Petipha Lewis Smith

Launched last Friday at the Grenada Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) training room, the People’s Choice Award is now open for nominations.

The launch was facilitated by Flow’s Marketing Manager, Kelly Mitchell together with Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, Petipha Lewis Smith.

Mitchell explained that this category is just for the public to chime in and give their say on a company, which, they think, should be awarded.

“All of us would have admired some company or some business or the other, whether it is in terms of the way they handle their customer service, whether it is the range of products and services, we would have admired some company out there and this is your chance to vote for that company under the people’s choice award category,” he said.

He stressed that this will be done through texting through the Flow platform where patrons can get a chance to win prizes.

“Using short code 8683, you can text the name of the company to that short code and their location of operation. For example, if the company that you would like to see receive that award is James Brown and Associates located in Belmont St. George, you text that to us, using short code 8683 and just like that you would be nominating or voting for that company under the People’s Choice Award sponsored by Flow”, he said.

According to Mitchell, each text will cost one dollar and persons can text as many times as they would like to do so.

He also said that persons could vote for more than one company but only through individual texting.

“For the patrons who are texting, there is something in it for you because once you text you stand a chance to win some fantastic prizes.

We gonna have (a) first prize of a smart phone – all compliments Flow and we’re going to have two additional prizes of 6 months free high speed broadband from Flow, in addition to 6 months of free cable service,” he added.

Voting started on September 16th and will close on November 22nd.

The 28th annual Business Awards Ceremony will be held on November 26th at the Grenada Trade Centre and Categories up for awards are : Business of the year, Corporate Social Responsibility, Employer of the Year, Environmental Excellence, Excellence in Agricultural Services, Excellence in the Application of Digital Technology, Excellence in the Tourism Industry, Exporter of the Year, Manufacturer of the Year, Manufacturer of the Year (Agro Processing), Rising Star, Service Excellence and Small Business of Year.

Republic Bank Financial Holdings Ltd President makes Official Visit to Grenada

President and CEO of Republic Financial Holdings Limited, Nigel Baptiste

President and CEO of Republic Financial Holdings Limited, Nigel Baptiste

Republic Bank (Grenada) Limited on September 13 welcomed President and Chief Executive Officer of Republic Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL), Nigel Baptiste, on his first official visit to Grenada, since assuming office on February 11.

Republic Bank (Grenada) Limited is one of five (5) subsidiaries of RFHL, whose operations Baptiste oversees.

During his 2-day stay, Baptiste met with the Bank’ management team, as well as staff of the various branches.

In commenting on his visit, Baptiste said: “It is a great feeling, meeting and getting re-acquainted with the staff and the customers again.”

Prior to assuming his new position, Baptiste served on the Board of Directors of Republic Bank Grenada, for approximately 10 years, until 2011.

He expressed optimism about the future of Republic Bank, as a major player in the banking sector in Grenada, likening the Bank’s presence to that of a “marathon, and not a sprint”, solidifying the Bank’s commitment to the people of Grenada “for the long run”.

RFHL, in a recent bid, successfully acquired 70% of the shareholding in Grenada, which, Baptiste said further strengthened the company’s commitment to working with the people of Grenada to build a successful society.

Public Washrooms constructed in Petite Martinique

Residents and visitors to Petite Martinique will now benefit from recently constructed public washrooms located near the community playing field, where a number of major festivals and other events are held.
The project was constructed under the Grenlec Community Partnership Initiative (GCPI), and officially handed over on September 10.

Representatives of Grenlec, with officials of the Ministry of Carriacou & Petite Martinique Affairs

Representatives of Grenlec, with officials of the Ministry of Carriacou & Petite Martinique Affairs

Members of the community, representatives of Grenlec, and various officials from the Ministry of Carriacou & Petite Martinique Affairs attended the ceremony.

Among them was Senator Norland Cox, Parliamentary Secretary who stated, “The installation of the washroom is a social asset to the community that holds important value to the way of life in Petite Martinique. It will be very useful during festivals, in particular for visitors who come to the island.”
General Manager of Grenlec’s Carriacou and Petite Martinique Operations, Wallace Collins, thanked the various community members who played a role in the completion of the project.

In commenting on the company’s GCPI programme, he said: “Grenlec engages with our communities to identify their needs and useful projects that will improve the lives of community members.”

Grenlec officials are grateful for the assistance of Geotechnical Investigation Services Inc. for the design of the washrooms and consultation on the project, as well as Sky Construction Co. Ltd. for constructing the building.

Grenlec’s Community Partnership Initiative supports initiatives in sport, education, health and general community enhancement.

The company looks forward to continuing its partnership with the community, which positively impacts the lives of many throughout Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

GTM continues to support children of policyholders

Since 1991, GTM group of Insurance Companies have been providing support to students throughout their secondary school life under its bursary awards programme and this year is no exception.

The 2016 awardees with parents and GTM officials

The 2016 awardees with parents and GTM officials

Three students who were successful in the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA) have been selected out of many applicants to be aided by GTM insurance throughout their school life.

A short ceremony was held at the GTM, Grand Anse office last Thursday to present awards to the students who are children of policyholders with the insurance company.

According to GTM’s Acting Branch Manager, Delon Felix, the company is partnering with parents to provide the necessary support for the children.

“…Kids, that should act as an incentive for you all to work much harder to make your parents proud. Today we have three awardees for the 2016 qualifiers…it’s something that GTM will continue to do. You get that benefit once you maintain a good average throughout your five years of secondary school life…”, he said.

“…I just want to encourage you all to keep working hard, keeping making mommy and daddy proud and GTM will forever be here to continue to support you once you keep performing at average in school”, he added.

Assistant Branch Manager, Jassel LaTouche who also addressed the recipients pointed out that the assistance provided to the students is all part of the company’s annual social responsibility.

“Additionally GTM offers a school plus policy for all the bursary awardees for the five years in the secondary school …it covers the child medical bills caused by accidents, accidental deaths and dismemberment with maximum coverage of $10,000. The GTM group of insurance companies is proud to assist the children of the nation,” she said.

According to LaTouche, the company is using the opportunity to fulfill its role as good corporate citizen and to give back to its valued customers.

“We currently have a total of 13 awardees within the programme. These awardees are a true representation of hard working and articulate young people. It is through programmes like ours that we are able to support and commit to their future development”, she said.

“…You have been chosen out of many outstanding performances, you therefore has a responsibility to maintain those standards during the course of your secondary school studies. I implore that you work hard and inspire to be exceptional students with leadership character,” she told the recipients.

PM Mitchell: “…I want to support a responsible LIAT”

The Prime Ministers of Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago and St. Lucia are looking to create an additional airline that might provide competition to LIAT, the regional island-hopping carrier.

LIAT cuts one flight to Grenada from its daily schedule

LIAT cuts one flight to Grenada from its daily schedule

Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell gave the hint on Wednesday at a Press Conference held in St. George’s.

Dr. Mitchell told reporters that there needs to be more transport for the Caribbean region without depending on LIAT and indicated that talks are taking place between Grenada, Trinidad and St. Lucia to have additional air transport as well as charter services in the region.

“We can’t sit down and wait for LIAT to get its act together”, said the Grenadian leader who has repeatedly vowed not to pump money into the airline unless some fundamental changes are made.

“… We (will) continue to do whatever we can to support LIAT but not at the expense of the travelling public in the region as a whole,” he added.

Prime Minister Mitchell charged that over the years enough subsidies have been given to LIAT by the various governments for it to serve the region as it should.

“The thing (Liat) is supposed to serve the regional people; therefore, decisions that are made, these decisions must be based on the people, not any and any one government or a Prime Minister or couple Prime Ministers.

“…It has to be based on the service of the people. We can’t be talking about freedom of movement, Single Market and Economy and the people can’t go from one place to the next – nonsense. These are just words and we have to give teeth to the words otherwise it makes no sense repeating it.

“…We can’t have a situation where it cost you more money to go to Barbados from Grenada as compared to going to Miami. So people prefer to go to Miami instead of going to Barbados or St. Kitts and any event it’s not just the money, it’s the ease of travel.

“You step in a plane at 8 o clock and you land in Miami at 11:30, leave Grenada to go to St. Kitts and you losing a day …the frustration and stresses you have to go through…”.

Only four shareholder governments in the region – Antigua & Barbuda, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Dominica and Barbados, currently finance LIAT.

Prime Minister Mitchell also addressed the issue of calls in some quarters in the region for governments to drop the tax on airline tickets in order to give a boost to intra-regional travel among the people.

He said if the issue is the monopoly service or the imposition of taxes on tickets, something should be done about it.

“It is no point that Grenada for example would impose some taxes on a ticket, Barbados does it, Trinidad does it and when the pile goes up it makes it difficult to travel. So, it makes logical sense that we all should reduce the taxes that each government get and you know something, we’ll get more money because a lot more people will travel…right now we are charging ourselves out of the market”, he said.

Prime Minister Mitchell is adamant that he is not taking millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money in Grenada and pump into LIAT while not getting the services required.

“Give me a service and I am prepared to pay”, he quipped.

The Grenadian leader also took a swipe at those regional leaders who have been seeking to block other airlines coming into the region that can provide competition for LIAT.

“We limiting the question of route rights and still not giving open skies…open skies should be a policy that we should all adhere to…open the skies create the competition – you’ll find we won’t lose business.

There is this thing where we’ll lose tax revenue, that’s nonsense, we don’t believe this…”, he said.

The Prime Minister confirmed that LIAT has backed off from its recent decision to cut some of its five daily flights into the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) and will only remove one.

Leave the doctor alone!!!

Sitting here in Brooklyn and hearing of the pressure that some people are allegedly putting the tennis doctor through is unbelievable.

Do you guys ever stop to think of the invaluable contribution that he is rendering to the youths of Grenada, and not one day thinking of colour, financial background, school that they are attending, or where they are residing?

With so much cartoon characters walking the streets holding down laughable positions and thinking that they are big shots, making foolish and senseless demands and decisions, it’s about time that some of you sit back and begin to think of what you are doing, and I mean fast too.

Caught up in the “me, me”, syndrome dropping the bone and grabbing the shadow, I must reach out and ask where have all the good folks gone?

President Kennedy said speak not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country, and the motto at St George’s Methodist AKA Wesley Hall where some of us sat in class, was NOT SELF BUT SERVICE.

The doctor is a very dedicated individual, always looking out for the interest of his student players, but for some reason some parents and their Charlie’s Angels friends just don’t appreciate what he is doing.
With so many chicken hawks occupying positions in organisations for the perks and some allegedly prying on the young and innocent chicks, the doctor is not into that dumb and foolish mental sickness and is steadfastly working to mold them into being model citizens.

Nine out of ten times, seven days per week, he can be seen on the court in Tanteen. The cool and dedicated mentor should be receiving the full support from the general public, and not having to deal with parents and their friends pressuring him to do things individually for their own sons and daughters while they are not making a vital contribution in helping to organise the raising of badly needed funds.

Based on information, it’s easy to feel that if hefty donations got deposited things can get legally out of hand. Because of the doctor’s dedication Grenada is doing well in the Caribbean and some students over time secured scholarships from Universities in the USA.

More can be achieved if some of you now pressuring him just play your part and give one hundred percent support instead of playing the southern end of a north bound horse.

Do you think if the doctor should walk away today or tomorrow, that you could find a dedicated individual to take over? What has the association done to promote the discipline in the last two or so years?

Over and over I am hearing of having to write to sponsors for donations to send players to tournaments in neighbouring islands, so it’s obvious that you the parents, your friends and the association members are not in-sync except to be allegedly pressuring the doctor to push your sons or daughters to the head of the line.

Fussing to allegedly wanting to go on a tournament trip to Portugal with your son or daughter is not like jumping on the Osprey and sailing up to Carriacou or Petite Martinique for a day or two.

What happened to the suggestion that was forwarded for the steel orchestra to “record an album” to raise funds that James Clarkson was ready to assist with, and to write to the US and Canadian Universities kindly requesting that they allow the student orchestra to be part of it?

Was that too difficult asking that you write a simple letter to request some vital assistance? If it’s your desire to see your sons and daughters having a chance to be like Arthur Ash or Serena Williams there must be harmony with the doctor, so just leave him alone to do his work on the court be it in Tanteen or around the country including Carriacou, and Petite Martinique, and you do what sensible parents, friends and associated members should be doing.

Mike Raffie Knowles Mc Quilkin

Make them pay!!!

A few weeks before ending his term as Prime Minister of the UK, David Cameron said that more teachers should be trained to teach children about the Jewish holocaust.

This should be welcome news for Africans who should see it as an opportune time to include the teaching of the African Holocaust in which tens of millions of Africans were “ripped from the bowels” of the African continent during events unparalleled in human history.

They suffered, not only physical, but also mental and economic destruction on a scale not seen since human beings evolved on this planet!!

Apologists for these crimes usually tell us of the time scale between the two events, however, as a prominent Jewish commentator said a few years ago”: “There can be no statue of limitation for genocide”.

What followed the African genocide was centuries of segregation, brutal exploitation and deprivation, the social and economic consequences of which continue to affect the life chances of Africa and its people!!

As Brother Randall Robinson said in his famous book: “The Debt” for twelve years Nazi Germany paid. It paid Jews individually. It paid the state of Israel. For two and a half centuries, he said, Europe and America inflicted unimaginable horrors upon Africa and its people.

Europe not only paid nothing to Africa in compensation but also followed the slave trade with the remapping of Africa for further European economic exploitation.

European governments, he continued, have yet even to accede to Africa’s request for the return of Africa’s art treasures looted along with its natural resources during the century long colonial era”.

Africans must never give up the fight for compensation for 246 years of unpaid labour and the cultural genocide inflicted on our people.

As I write, the Greek Government and its people are requesting a sum of 270 billion dollars from Germany for the slaughter of its people during World War Two!!

The report in the “New African” of August/September of the $58 billion plundered by British Companies from African countries is a sad reminder of the continued pillaging of the resources of the “Motherland”.

C.M Rogers

Take the referendum seriously!!!

The world is ever changing. Intense development in science and other fields of technology usher new knowledge almost daily challenging how we think.

Children and young adults in the 21st century exposed to infinitely more information than the average adult of yesteryear think differently. Medical breakthroughs in DNA and more in-depth understanding of the inner workings of the human brain now better explain human biological differences and psychological behaviours hitherto thought to be unnatural or deviant.

Unfortunately many people in prominent positions of leadership adhere to 19th century values, languish in dated knowledge and outmoded stereotypes and, yes, witchcraft to explain natural phenomenon.
This leads me to the Grenadian constitutional referendum. A common thread by, the opposition, NDC, that the people have not been properly informed – sufficiently educated – to make the “right decision” – whatever that means – places the onus on government.

The NDC’s claim that the Mitchell government has not done the on-the-ground work to carry the message to the citizenry is well known. One would therefore think that a nationalistic and shrewd political party having lost credibility at the ballot box (15-0) and recognising the shortcomings of government would seize the opportunity to use the party apparatus, taking the bull by the horns, to fill that void and gain political mileage.

If educating the people on the merits or demerits of constitutional reform is a true concern, the bedrock of the party’s opposition to the referendum, why has no evidence surfaced that the NDC has an effective campaign to educate the people on a matter so important to them in making the “right decision?” Why are they still waiting on the government?

Criticising has thus far brought no resolution to the NDC’s concern and sending mixed messages: abstain from voting, vote no to all amendments, vote your conscience – reminds me of “The Donald,” certainly not in keeping with sound and thoughtful leadership decisions that have plagued the NDC and seem to be escalating again.

Those ill-advised leadership decisions also play out in the Senate where the Leader of the Opposition openly declared his time was better spent on his personal business. It appears that the people’s business from that perspective has been put on a low priority by the Opposition Leader.

Clearly, to a rational and reasonable person Senators must possess some magnitude of patriotism, that country before self means undying commitment to country and if circumstances change, as sometimes happens, the honorable thing to do is to demit, and as political leader, who obviously has the wisdom, recommend a trusted and committed disciple to continue the term of office.

Disappointing but not surprising is the politicising of an extremely important constitutional process that equally impacts every political party – advantages and disadvantages rub all in the same direction.
It is dishonest to posit that proposed constructional reforms favour one party over another, the pendulum in

Grenadian politics, the most casual observer will note, swings freely.

Protection from discrimination against individuals or particular groups, and minorities conspicuously absent in the constitution – a throwback from the dark ages of entrenched imperialism – must now change in concert with the realities of contemporary Grenadian society.

Standards of morality, the impact of globalisation and human rights which the referendum must address as a member of the international community: LGBT, gays, lesbians, freedom of religions, and violation of human rights, must stand as guiding lights to the process of change.

The opposition is well aware that the critical constitutional balance of rights played out on the world stage can draw condemnation and have a negative effect on visitors, donors and trading partners.

Why a no vote, especially on item six (6) on the constitutional referendum ballot that would protect fundamental universal human rights as set out by the U.N. guaranteeing Grenadians and visitors alike the comfort of equal protection under law?

Grenada does not and cannot stand in isolation from the international community that dictate, more and more, as our citizens travel, live abroad and return, the inescapable realities of new found morals and youthful liberal thinking that filter back to our country.

Amendments to our constitution must foresee the aims and aspirations of generations far in the future and not the narrow views of today.

To say no to changes that would impact the lives of future generations while hiding in the comfort of our own constricted and outdated self-serving views history shows, conflict with the liberalisation of social norms to which our children and our children’s children will adapt.

We must live for the future not the present and past – future generations cannot be expected to conform to the old ways – the dynamics and evolution of human behaviour of the 21th Century has not in any manner reverted to any period in past human history – constitutional change will similarly weave its way.

The constitution endowed with immortality will from time to time revolutionise to reflect changing times; what is proposed now may have little relevance in 50 years – take small bites of the apple and chew well lest we choke, others will certainly follow.

The task is not to do it all in one full scoop – overly ambitious – but be mindful that coming generations with fresh ideas may be bogged down by the havoc we have created.

Grenada enjoys democracy, free speech and the right to vote, a powerful weapon for change. Millions of people world over have died and are still dying to safeguard that inalienable right.

We can disavow – by not voting – the tremendous sacrifice and cause for which our forefathers and mothers laid down their lives – voting rights we now take for granted – or hold our heads high as proud and patriotic women and men of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique casting our vote in honor of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Kit Stonewalling