Financial Sense…I quit – Take this Job and Shove It!

By Judy M. McCutcheon MBA

Really, that’s how you want it to end? This article is a little bit different from my other articles, but I am writing it based on repeated requests from a friend that’s very near and dear to my heart.
He has expressed to me on many occasions, that he does not understand why people just walk out of a job without giving any notice and not having any other job lined up.

Talk about burning your bridges. Things happen yes, you have the boss from hell (Check), the hours are nothing short of ridiculous (Check) and what about those crazy co-workers. With all those reasons in hand, you are very tempted to quit – don’t. Unless of course you are a good saver and you have enough money to tide you over until you find another job in maybe 3-6 months or even 12 months, no problem.

And if you must quit because your health is in danger or some other pressing reason, then there is a right way and a wrong way to do so and I am sure you do know that there are consequences attached to every action – just ask your kids.

There is that little issue of references, if you are still employed, most prospective employers won’t contact your current employer, but what about if you have already left. What would you have your past employer say about you? Do you really want them to be your most important reference?

Because your last place of employment is your most important reference. And what about money – you remember that; not having money coming in when you have your bills to pay is a real bummer. Unless you are independently wealthy, have a sugar daddy or a sugar mammy, then you need to have money coming in.

I remember my first job interview after not having worked for about 3 years and one of the first questions that I was asked when I got to the second stage was “What have you been doing since you last worked”.

I hope your answer to that won’t be watching re-runs of Law and Order (my favourite TV show); there are companies that will not employ you if you are unemployed.

When I worked for one of the largest Insurance Companies in the region, one of the senior executives told me, he would think twice before hiring someone who’s unemployed – so I know there are bosses out there who will not hire you, depending on the circumstances surrounding your unemployment. That being said, let’s look at some of the ways to quit with grace:
Be professional – it’s your last day, you’ve gotten paid and you want to tell your boss what to do with the job. However tempted you might be, don’t do it. In my early working years, I worked with a young lady that overturned the boss’s desk and walked out.

Even if you are itching to deck your boss (because of course to you they deserve it), it won’t turn out well in the end for you. Instead, thank them and wish them well and genuinely mean it.
Watch what you say – I know you are upset and want to vent your frustration, please do that off site. Better yet don’t do it, things have a way of going where we don’t want them to go. You know that saying “make your words soft and sweet, because you never know when you will have to eat them”, well that applies here, as well as “the walls have ears”, be careful.

Don’t burn your bridges – Whatever you do, don’t do this. I know someone who walked off their job, as a matter of fact they phoned off the job – they did not even have the courtesy to do it in person and then when they were not able to find another job, they went to ask for their job back. Really? Have a long -term view of things, you never know where you might end up.

Make your exit interview count – I am sure you would have some negative feedback to give, don’t make it personal. Be as positive as possible and keep your emotions at bay.

Help with the transitioning – If you must train someone to do what you were doing, then do so with grace, no grumbling, no bad attitude.

Don’t go on a systematic go slow, work your best, be your best until the very last day.

Quitting your job may turn out to be the best thing you’ve ever done for yourself, however, you need to weigh the risks, rewards and your financial situation. When thinking of quitting your job, give your employer the required time, they can only do one of two things – pay you in lieu of time or let you work out the time.

Look at various way to network, figure out exactly what you want from your next workplace or maybe you can figure on starting a business (careful consideration here), but you can do it. Whatever you do, don’t panic and take the first offer that comes your way – I did and let me tell you, it was a very bad decision. Transitioning could be difficult and it takes time, go easy on yourself.

(Judy McCutcheon is a partner in the firm Go Blue Inc, a Human Development Company)

Shortpree: Promoters should show more respect to local artistes

At least one entertainer has spoken out about what he feels is one of the biggest challenges facing local artistes – the unprofessionalism often dished out to them by local promoters.

Three-time National Groovy Monarch Shortpree, accompanied by one of his dancers

“I think it’s a mentality of promoters getting more professional with local artistes. It’s like they are professional towards everybody (other artistes) they bring in (to perform on the island) except the people (artistes) that (are) here already and it’s very difficult”, said three time National Groovy Monarch, Finber Shortpree Andrews.

“I realise (the need) for local promoters or business people to have their local artistes on a high rating as the other regional stars that they bring in”, Shortpree stated in an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY on Tuesday.

The entertainer, who hails from Belmont on the sister isle of Carriacou cited a need for artiste to “wise up (and) realise their worth and their strength.

He felt that “a lot of artistes give the promoters a lot of leeway by performing a lot of free events.”

He expressed the view that “there should be more respect and royalties given to local stars because they bring out the people to the events, their performances are always on point and a lot of regional artistes are brought in by promoters (to perform) and their performances most times are not even up to par with the local artistes and they still get that respect.”

Shortpree was speaking with this newspaper hours before travelling to New York to work on some of his upcoming releases for 2017.

The artiste said he is “not saying do not give regional and international artistes respect; or to not bring them, but definitely the respect that you give an international artiste you should be giving a local artiste the same.”

The entertainer started performing in 2001 and was one of the first soca artiste to be copyrighted with the Eastern Caribbean Collective Organisation for Music Rights Inc. (ECCO).

He is preparing to open the ‘Spring Break’ in Brooklyn, NY at the T.A.T.T. Entertainment (tatt.nova), ‘jab jab soca versus power soca’, paint and powder fete, carded for May 6.

T.A.T.T. Entertainment is a Brooklyn-based entertainment company that is managed by a group of individuals from Caribbean islands, including Grenada.

“We (are also) going and do some work with Brooklyn-based music producer, Grenadian-born Shawn Mitchell aka ‘Roots’ at (his recording studio) WIZ Records…he is one of the (top) producers in the Caribbean, who has done a lot of work for (Trinidadian recording soca artiste) Machel Montano and other Caribbean artistes”, Shortpree added.

So far for the year, the entertainer has already released 5 singles entitled: ‘She want to come,’ ‘Sweetest Whiner’, ‘All night’, ‘Another Episode’ and ‘No rum again,’ which he said, will be included in his soon to be released 2017 album dubbed, “Another Episode”.

According to Shortpree, he is currently working on 3 more songs, which are expected to be out within the next two months or so, after which “we will be putting out the album with the release of the last single.”

Shortpree has been able to land several international and regional bookings with agents in London, New York and within the Caribbean and has moved up a notch with music label providing global distribution, Fox Fuse, a leading digital music label for Caribbean music, which he said, has been helping to put him on the international market.

“I have a lot of international bookings around June and July,” said Shortpree, who is hopeful that he will be available to compete in national competitions that are associated with the Carnival Season this year.

“It depends on how it’s going,” said the entertainer, who has taken the decision to incorporate dancers into the mix for enhanced performances to ensure that it’s not reoccurring.

“My line of music differs from most Grenadian artistes,” he said, pointing out that he is “more powerful on the groovy and if I do a power soca, it’s more of a rich power soca with more melodies and everything. So, definitely, the international market is where I make more money to keep me going through the year”.

“Right now, Shortpree is all over Pandora, which never used to happen. My music is being sold at a very good rate on itunes, which never used to happen,” he added.

When asked how he feels about his accomplishments, Shortpree, who has been a Digicel Brand Ambassador since 2012 said he is “very happy,” with where he is at today.

“To be honest, I am happy, but not satisfied,” he added as he disclosed plans to take things to another level by starting up a “live band” with a group of individuals on the sister isle of Carriacou.

NHI is right around the corner

The Keith Mitchell-led government is hoping that health care will become more accessible and affordable to Grenadians through the National Health Insurance (NHI), which is soon to be launched on the island.

National Health Insurance team at media conference

According to Minister of Implementation with responsibility for Health Insurance, Emmalin Pierre, the insurance plan is intended to provide an opportunity for all persons in Grenada to have free and easy access to whatever health care they might need.

The female Government Minister gave details of the scheme at last Tuesday’s post-Cabinet press briefing held at the Ministerial Complex in the Botanical Gardens.

Minister Pierre said the ruling New National Party (NNP) government is making sure that every child, man, and woman in Grenada has access to a basket of health services that they do not have to pay for at the point of service.

“When we go to the doctor currently, except we are accessing a medical doctor from a medical centre or from the hospital, we have to be certain that we have the fee for the doctor in our pockets before we leave home, and we are saying whether you go to a private doctor, whether you go to a health clinic, whether you go to the hospital, if you are in need of a health service that forms part of that basket of services, we speak about, you should not have to be concerned”, she told reporters.

She sought to assure Grenadians that the issue of whether or not to access a health service will no longer be a problem for persons on the island.

She explained that persons must register for health insurance and after doing that will receive a health insurance card, which can be used to get access from health service providers in Grenada.

Minister Pierre announced that there will be no restriction as it relates to a person’s medical condition.

It will not, she said be limited to sex or age as it is done with many health insurance companies who cut off benefits to persons at the age of 70.

The female government minister disclosed that NHI will be under the auspices of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) and that some legislative changes are needed to facilitate it.

“We are concerned that you do not want to do anything to interfere with Social Security funds, so, there is going to be some legislative changes to cater for two separate funds – one for Social Security and one for National Health Insurance,” she said.

Persons will be expected to contribute to the successful running of NHI, but Minister Pierre said the method of payment has not been decided upon yet.

“We do not want to say Method A, or Method B, or Method C – we intend to let the consultative process inform that but very interestingly I don’t think we have done any consultation thus far where the sentiment expressed that it should be payroll based”, she added.

“People seem to be saying very clear, please nothing that goes into my salary. We are listening to the people…when you go to the people on that currently to buy food you pay a contribution in the form of VAT. I am not saying it has to be that but what I am sensing is that people are saying let it be something similar in that I don’t want to see deduction NHI on my pay slip,” she said.

Medical Director in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Francis Martin expounded on the need for preventative health care and the benefit package under the NHI.

“Being able to do the preventative health care has an issue so under the NHI, the matter of primary health care visits, visits to the doctor in the primary health care setting will be something that’s easily accessible and it will be preventative in the sense that doctors will now be able to do their annual investigations for patients without patients having (to) worry where they getting the money to pay for these things.

“Screening will become easier, diseases will be caught very, very early because patients will now be able to access the investigative services that they need and so that in itself is preventative.
Secondly, as it is now, if you visit a doctor in the communities and you need to see a specialist, you again will have to wait and get that money to see the specialist.

Dr Martin explained that under the proposed health insurance scheme persons will be able to access specialist care without having to dip into their pockets.

“For diabetics and other persons who have complications out there, veins or vascular system as you may call it, they will be able to see their Vascular Surgeon or their Dermatologist very earlier so that they can prevent these things from happening.

“As it is now, if you go to the General Hospital and your diagnosis requires you to have a very highly sophisticated scan…even if you are in the hospital, you still have to find the money to pay for that scan. Under NHI, once there is a bilateral agreement between us and that service provider you will be able to access your care.

An official date for the launch of NHI has not yet been announced but it is expected by the end of April.

NHI is expected to be used as a major campaign platform by Mitchell’s ruling New National Party (NNP) administration in the upcoming general elections expected by some analysts to take place as early as June.

Heritage Committee takes a bite out of slavery for Heritage month

One of Grenada’s heritage sites will be used to re-enact 18 century Grenada, the time when slavery was at its peak, to give tourists and locals a reminder as to where Grenada’s heritage stemmed from.

Members of the Head table at media conference in which the focus was on Heritage month

The River Antoine Estate will be transformed into the days of slavery, with song, dance, and real life enactment of what the days of slavery were like.

Member of the Heritage Committee, former Cabinet Secretary, Gloria Payne-Banfield gave an idea as to what they estate will look like during a recent press briefing.

“What we have in Grenada is a number of sites which we call heritage sites and they are what they are heritage sites…what we are trying to do is to animate these sites and so we are going to put people in them, we going to put music in them, we gonna put dance, we gonna put food and everything that goes with animation and we are thinking of these sites all around the island,” she said.

According to Payne-Banfield, the intention is to allow people to use the occasion to live and breed 18th century Grenada once again.

“This year what we want to highlight would be the River Antoine estate which is truly a heritage site dating back to the 18 century when sugar was king and slavery was there. A lot of people perhaps will like to deny the existence of slavery but we must remember that those people who did not wish to come here were not really invited but of course they were not guests, they were visitors, they were here to work whether they like it or not and we would have an appreciation of what was slavery…”, she told reporters.

“…We are thinking not only for the tourists but for our children and school that they should come to a place where we could re-enact of what it was like to work, what it was like to be forced to work, and we gonna show them how our ancestors overcame…the meal of the day…”, she said.

Minister of Culture and Heritage, Senator Brenda Hood who also addressed the press conference endorsed the slavery re-enactment event at River Antoine Estate.

She said it is an opportunity to spread awareness “whether it’s in the schools and communities, it is to go out there and educate”.

“So I believe that the re-enactment that Mrs. Gloria Payne-Banfield spoke about, I think that it is very very important and I want to encourage as many persons as possible to come out there to have that experience because our forefathers were enslaved in Grenada and other parts of the Caribbean.

“As she (Payne-Banfield) said, the rich culture that we have today is because that was the way they found themselves surviving; they had to find a means of coping and that was their form of coping mechanism to survive. So, whether it’s the music, whether it’s the dance, the food, all that they experienced is what they were doing.”

With the theme for the observance of Heritage month being “Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Tourism, the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) will be an integral part and will be making presentations to different schools to show the link between culture and tourism.

Product Development Manager at GTA, Kirl Hoschtialek sees the event as part of the authority’s observance of 2017 as the year of sustainable tourism.

“It’s really important to be able to share with the community and with the children the link between cultural tourism, community tourism and of course heritage tourism. So, the powerpoint presentation that will be shared with the schools and will look at those two components, how we are able to see the two and identify the different assets that we actually have in the different communities and for the preservation and conservation aspects of what we hope to achieve”, she told reporters.

“…As the tourism sector and industry continues to develop, of course the whole aspect of cultural heritage, heritage history is a big component of what we want to share with our visitors and being able to share this with schools and being able to move that aspect of our tourism awareness forward is really important for us,” she said.

National Heritage Day was observed on April 18th.

FATCA bill passed in Upper House with concerns

Under pressure from the United States, legislators in Grenada have passed the Foreign Account Tax Compliance bill 2017, which provides for Washington to obtain information on the bank accounts of its citizens in the Spice Isle.

The United States of America, Grenada Foreign Account Tax Compliance bill 2017 was tabled last week Thursday at a sitting of the Senate held at the Grenada Trade Centre at Morne Rouge in Grand Anse.

Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Sen. Simon Stiell stated that Grenada does not have a choice than to follow through with the FATCA Bill as presented by the Government of the United States.

This bill will allow Washington to obtain financial information on its citizens with financial accounts in Grenada and who have tax obligation to the United States.

This will be done through the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) within the Ministry of Finance and the United States’ Inland Revenue Service (IRS).

The bill allows for the two entities to monitor the financial transactions and financial movements of U.S citizens that are taking place internationally in an effort to combat money laundering, terrorism financing among other related activities.

The action taken by the Grenada Parliament now provides the US with a much greater opportunity to look at the movement of monies around the globe.

Part of the obligation is for Grenada to ensure that persons are fulfilling their tax obligations to the US whether with funds held in local commercial banks, credit unions and other financial institutions.

Grenada will have to report on an annual basis to the IRS the accounts of those persons with tax obligations in the US.

According to Sen. Stiell, the passage of the controversial bill is not a matter of choice for Grenada or the rest of the region as there are consequences if they do not comply with the directive from Washington.

“Mr. President, we have no choice but to comply with (it). It is a reality of this global community, this global financial operations that Grenada is part of and it is important for us to comply not only at a regional level, at a national level but also at an institutional level”, he said.

“The consequences of non-compliance, if Grenada was to refuse to comply with this, if St Lucia was, if Dominica was, if financial institutions within our jurisdictions were unwilling to comply, then Grenada would be blacklisted”, he added.

Sen. Stiell warned that if Grenada failed to adhere to this dictate of the United States then it could have a serious effect on corresponding banking relations.

“This will have a negative effect, not just on Grenada but it will also impact us as a region. The global flows of money, international banking, the need to maintain strong financial status through correspondence banking, our ability, our relationship with international banks to be able to transfer funds in and out of the region is all dependent on Grenada, on the region as a whole, having a clean bill of health with the likes of the United States to enable this to continue,” he told the Upper House.

Private Sector representative of the Senate, Senator Chris DeAllie, was uneasy about the bill and likened it to an act of slavery.

He said that apart from the cost that will be incurred by financial institutions to act in accordance with what the US is requesting, the uneven playing field that is needed cannot be seen.

“The Leader of Government business said we have no choice in the matter, that bothers me as a sovereign state but I understand where (it) is he coming from…. when you look at the context and the threat of removing corresponding backing relations for our banks, it’s a kind of Massa situation.

“We all understand the world we live in but it is unfortunate that here we are being asked to put in this, incur additional costs to do something that resounds to the profit of the US government because they are trying to capture more taxes from people who are trying to evade their tax system and we’re helping in that at our cost.

“Then they are still threatening us on the other side to remove correspondent banking relations – something just can’t be right about that and how we negotiate as nations. You (are) supposed to be helping me to ensure that I lose no corresponding banking relations when it comes because I have to help you to get additional revenues into your coffers. We can’t have a negotiation that looks so one sided.

Sen. DeAllie noted that what Washington is requesting of small island states is more than what is actually required in the United States to handle financial business.

“When it comes to blacklist and who have to go on blacklist, it is a fact Mr. President that if you come in Grenada to open an account in any one of our financial institutions, they put you through a rigor of information. I could go to a US bank in Miami and open an account in one day with one piece of ID…”, he said.

“…I’m saying that to say what good for one is good for the other and we have to get some sort of evening of the playing field because you can’t pressure these little islands who trying to do things and get some investments and so on and on the other side, you are doing what you want”, he added.

DeAllie went on to say: “When they talk about corresponding banking relations and removing it, they say our banks and our internal systems and processes may be exposed to money laundering and AMTL and all these kind of things but when you look at their system compared to us we are far more regulated…to ensure that we are not caught napping in the event that we have some sort of illicit funds coming through our system. When you look at theirs, they are far more relaxed than ours”.

According to the private sector representative in the Senate, this kind of slavery approach by the U.S is not fair.

“…I say this to say, we are putting in FATCA, we have no real choice as the Leader of Government Business is saying but we don’t seem to have an even playing field when it comes to the financial institutions and how money moves across borders. They want all theirs in theirs, that’s fine, we want all ours too but you can’t have laws and systems put in place that tend to employ the same slave mentality of the massa big stick approach,” DeAllie said.

Kites in the sky!!!

The Easter holiday period is noted for kite flying all around the island.

Flow Kite Flying Competition

And the 4th Annual Flow Kite Flying Competition was held at Pearl’s in St. Andrew’s and attracted about 3000 patrons and 115 registrants.

According to the company’sMarketing & Communications Executive, Chrislyn Lashington, the Kite Flying Competition is bills as “a family-affair for kite-enthusiasts island-wide.

She said at Flow, the company believes “in the preservation of the Easter kite-flying tradition in Grenada, and this event is part of our promise to build, connect and serve our communities.

“The Flow team thanks all 115 registrants and 3000 patrons who were in Pearls on Easter Sunday. We know that everyone, especially the young children had a special treat with the launch of our Flow Kids mobile app for education and entertainment”, she remarked.

Two attractive kites

“Special thanks to the Lion’s Club of St. Andrew who willingly volunteered in large numbers and to all our sponsors: Grenlec, Real Value IGA Supermarket, Grenada Breweries Limited, SPs International Trading Limited, Glenelg, Geomax Gym, Movie Palace, Body Image Health Club, Grenada Co-operative Bank, Go2fete, and George F. Huggins and Company Limited”, she said.

The various prize winners were:

Largest kite-Marvin Joseph (29 feet)

Smallest kite -Kadijah Jeremiah (1.5 inches)

Best Flow –themed kite -Fran Richard

Most innovative kite -Brian Lyons

Best patriotic kite – Chris Julien

One of the entries in the Patriotic Kite Category

Most colourful kite -Gerald Paul

Most creative kiddie kite – Chelsea Hosten

Best traditional kite -David Charles

Best box kite – Jermya George

Best Kite (Flow Employees) – Portia Burke

Children’s experiences:

There were photo booth with animated characters, face painting, storytelling with Robert Whyte, book reading, and bouncing castle for children.

In addition, Flow Commancheros, Dj Taz of Sound System Saturday, Boogie B, Sonika McKie, Luni Spark & Electrify, and the lead vocalist of the Fahrenheit Band were on hand to provide entertainment for the large crowd in attendance.

Kimani Sent to Prison on Sexual Offence

The dream  of 26-year-old Kimani Telesford, to establish a small business, bar and eatery, somewhere in the St. George’s area, has come to a standstill, as the aspiring chef has been ordered to spend the next 7 years and 11 months of his life behind bars at the Richmond Hill prison for the indictable offence of unlawful carnal knowledge.

26-year-old Kimani Telesford – found guilty of unlawful carnal knowledge

The sentence was handed down on the Beaulieu, St. George resident last week Thursday by Madam Justice, Paula Gilford, at the No. 2 High Court on The Carenage in St. George’s, following the return of a guilty verdict by a 9-member jury panel on March 27.

The incident allegedly occurred 6 years ago, on September 10, 2011, at Beaulieu, at the home of the now convicted man’s grandparents.

According to the evidence presented in court, on the day in question, the victim was making one of her regular visits to the home of Telesford’s grandparents.

The accused reportedly pulled the victim into a room, forced himself on top of her and had sexual intercourse with her.

However, from the onset of the case, Telesford maintained his innocence and denied ever being at his grandfather’s house at the time in question.

The now convicted man, who was 20 years old at the time of his arrest, was also facing a rape charge.

However, he was acquitted from that offence as the jury felt that even though the victim was only 12 years old at the time when sexual intercourse occurred, it was consensual.

Under the Criminal Code, 16 is the age of consent.

The first time offender was represented by Defense Attorney, Ruggles Ferguson, who was assisted by Attorney Sabina Gibbs.

In mitigating his case, Attorney Ferguson pointed to the overwhelming positive views reflected in Telesford’s Social Inquiry Report (SIR).

He also highlighted the remarkable improvements his client has made from the boisterous boyhood character he was while attending the Boca Secondary School, to an aspiring chef, who up to being found guilty in March, was employed as an assistant Chef at Le Phare Bleu Holiday Resort.

Ferguson told the court that Telesford also received high praises in the report from two of his former employers, who described him as being a very courteous, punctual and hardworking individual with great potential.

He felt that the report highly commended his client for the improvements made over the years.

The lawyer noted that some members of the Beaulieu community had pointed out that the now convicted man is not known to interfere with young girls and begged the court for leniency.

According to Ferguson, it was his view that his client be sentenced under the pre-amended Criminal Code, as the incident occurred before the law was amended in September 2012.

In handing down the sentence, the Guyanese-born Justice pointed to the Victim Impact Statement, in which the victim relayed the horrifying impact that the incident has had on her.

Most significantly, the court noted that the general perception of members in the community is that the allegations were fabricated, that the victim has and still may be ostracised by community members, has lost interest in school and as a result, attempted to commit suicide on two occasions.

The female high court judge held the view that the incident was premeditated and described the now convicted man as a “cunning individual,” whose actions were “deliberate.”

Among the aggravating factors in the case was Telesford’s lack of remorse for the incident, the age of the victim and the prevalence of sexual crimes in the country.

The accused was led away from the court by Police escorts to make his way to the Richmond Hill prison.

Tanteen Bullets strike gold again

After three days of intensive competition in track and field at the National Athletics and Football Stadium, the Anglican High School (AHS) and the Grenada Boys Secondary School (GBSS), regarded as the ‘Tanteen Bullets’ captured the championship titles of the premier sporting event last week Wednesday.

Anglican High School athletes displaying their trophies

The athletes jubilantly celebrated their success with a motorcade dominated by singing and chanting last week Thursday.

GBSS was jubilant as the Tanteen boys dethroned the 2016 Champions, St. Andrew’s Anglican Secondary School (SAASS) in finishing on 472 points.

SAASS had to settle for second place on 453.50 points.

The athletes of Carriacou stepped up their game this year with Bishop’s College copping the third place spot on 210 points, while Hillsborough Secondary placed fourth with 163.50 points.

The once powerful St. David’s Catholic Secondary School (SDCSS) placed fifth on 154 points.
AHS managed to hold onto the title they won in 2016, finishing with 374.50 points, some 58-points clear of  their nearest rivals, St Joseph’s Convent in Grenville which ended on 316.50 points.

The SDCSS girls came third with 253.5 points, followed by Hillsborough Secondary (218.50 points) and then SAASS on 203 points.

A total of 23 records were broken, with SAASS accounting for 7 and GBSS 5, during the games, which for the first time were held over 3 days at the National Stadium at Queen’s Park.

The final day of the event was witnessed by the island’s track star, Olympic gold medalist Kirani James and Silver medalist in the 2016 OECS Track and Field championships, Kanika Beckles.

They were joined by regional athletes including Kittitian track and field sprinter Kim Collins and his wife, Jamaica track and field sprinters Veronica Campbell-Browne and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

A new co-ed award was introduced for the school that accumulated the most points in both divisions.

Proud GBSS boys

That award went to SAASS, which accumulated a total of 656.50 points over the three days.

Back in 2014, the Tanteen-based AHS and GBSS captured both titles in the Intercol games and were undefeatable in 2015.

In 2016, GBSS lost the title to SAASS, which have in recent years been their closest rivals.

WHAT TOWN SAY!!!

Many people are of the sound opinion that we will see the usual suspects in action in the “Town of St. George” in the upcoming elections.

After all, it is no secret that the political parties only talk about, New and Fresh Ideas, when really, all they are doing is trying to teach old dogs new tricks.

Over the past few years we have been saddled with the reject, recycle, repetitive, rubbish of the old school thinking.

It came as a breath of fresh air to me when one local newspaper a few weeks ago, listed about four names as possible candidates for the “Town of St. George” for the NDC. I was elated, surprised, but elated to see there is now some thinking outside the box.

I have my bias to one of the names listed, for a number of reasons. Not that I have anything against the others, because, I am confident anyone of them will do a sterling job.

All the folks listed have very strong and similar qualities, and have a very strong family base and roots in the town. They are all outspoken, firm believers in human rights, justice, and a genuine fighter for the poor man, and the country, and all have served the country in one way or another.

Having said that, my bias will be for Ms. Claudette Joseph. I don’t know her personally but I have seen her, interacted with her in a professional environment, have also been privileged to see her when she is not on official business, and I honestly like her temperament.

We the people in town will do well to have someone like her.

* I do not see her as a smooth talker to gain your trust as she calls it as she sees it.

* I do not see her as a vacillator – she holds on to a position until you can convince her otherwise.

* I particularly appreciated the way she was able to dissect and bring to light many of the issues surrounding the recent constitutional reform and she was very articulate and convincing.

* It was also told to me and confirmed that she came from very humble beginnings, walking to and from school, knowing what it was like to sell fudge and sugar-cake to help her mom provide for the home.

* Passionate about the rights of women, and the rights of the child.

I cannot see any reason why the NDC will not choose her to be the candidate for the ‘Town of St. George”.

I think she is a much better fit, and a genuine person, and someone who is very apt to the needs of people (cannot say that for the current MP for town, and the NEW NATIONAL HOP SCOTCH In House CHAMPION. Those two men have abused the privilege and power, which were given to them.

– I hope the political Leader and the powers-that-be in the NDC will see the needs of the people and give us something to look towards.

– A young woman with a bright future in politics

– A woman of class and substance

– A woman who is selfless and passionate to the needs of others

Ms. Joseph, I will love to see you on the slate, and for Town. Town is calling for something real… !!!!!!

Town Youth

The time is coming!!!

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has given a clear signal that his New National Party (NNP) is getting ready for the next general election.

The party has announced the first batch of five persons to be officially recognised as NNP Caretakers with a view to installing them as the defacto candidates.

The five did not take anyone by surprise and put to rest once and for all the status of Peter David as a possible candidate for NNP in the general election.

The Peter David factor once again reminds us that there are no permanent friends or enemies in the game called politics.

The former Congress General Secretary who was brutalised by the NNP and its Political Leader, Prime Minister Mitchell the most is now sitting among his once sworn and bitter enemies.

The NNP announcement about the five Caretakers brings closure to the guessing game as to whether former Minister of Tourism, Alexandra Otway-Noel will be retained to contest the South St. George seat.

With David now earmarked to run in the town, the incumbent, Health Minister, Nicholas Steele is being switched to the south of the island to replace Otway-Noel as the likely NNP candidate in the upcoming election.

As the NNP prepares for the battle, the only constituency of the remaining ten that will be of interest in terms of change of candidate is St. Andrew North-east where the incumbent is Youth and Sports Minister, Roland Bhola.

The word coming out of the NNP camp is that Mr. Bhola is not keen to remain in frontline politics and has been spending a lot of time lately at home and not in the Ministerial Complex on the job in order to take care of a sick and close family member.

A certain name has surfaced as a possible replacement in the constituency and is said to be getting support from key activists of the ruling party.

The main opposition National Democratic Congress would be taking careful note of the NNP moves and crafting out its response.

NDC should recognise that the NNP’s war chest for the elections cannot be compared and that its candidates will have to employ a different strategy and method to go into the battle.

THE NEW TODAY understands that Congress has virtually selected all of its 15 candidates for the upcoming poll and would be unveiling  the remaining two within the next few weeks for the Town of St. George and South St. George.

Two high profile candidates are being mentioned – one is a trade unionist and the other is an attorney-at-law.

This newspaper is predicting a poll within the next four months and sometime before the carnival season in August.

The NNP has given some little hints about the timing of the poll.

Prime Minister Mitchell is sitting pretty comfortable at the moment due to the recent agreement reached with two public sector unions on the one-off payment for their membership.

The agreement calls for the negotiations to resume in July and the Prime Minister would not like any more further distractions with the unions in the face of a looming general election.

It follows quite naturally that he would like to call the poll before mid-July to avoid any unpleasantness with the Public Workers Union (PWU) and the Grenada Technical &  Allied Workers Union (TAWU).

The NNP is very cocky and seems confident that it can hold onto all 15 seats for a third time in the country.

It has been boasting of the progress made with the IMF-supported Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) that brought so many taxes on the backs of the people.

The NNP also seems to be pouring scorn on the recent outcome of the Referendum vote on Constitutional Reform in which the electorate rejected all of the seven government-sponsored bills.

THE NEW TODAY suspects that the outcome of the upcoming poll will be determined by the youth vote as was the case in 2013.

Can the NNP get the youth to once again rally to its call of “jobs, jobs and more jobs” to be created and the building of a brand new economy to solve all the ills in the society?

What about the just over 5, 000 civil servants who abandoned Congress in 2013 and took a ride on the NNP ship that promised so many just over four years ago?

The Grenadian electorate will be giving answers to all these questions in the not-too-distant future.