The Maltese assassination!!!

It’s more negative publicity on the global scene for Grenada with the assassination last week of prominent Maltese journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia.

There are reports in two media outlets that a firm associated with Grenada and several other Eastern Caribbean islands in the billion-dollar passport selling scheme known as Citizenship By Investment (CBI) could be linked to the killing of the journalist.

Criminal elements planted and detonated a car bomb that took the life of Galizia who has been engaged in exposing many of those involved in shady dealings.

There is no positive information on who ordered the assassination but fingers are pointing in the direction of some powerful political figures in Malta along with a well-known international passport selling firm.
Galizia had access to the “Panama Papers” and was involved in an anti-corruption campaign which targeted those involved in underhand dealings.

She became a target of those who felt that the best way to deal with the journalist was to silence her in a most brutal and cowardly attack.

THE NEW TODAY has noticed the deafening silence in the corridors of power in Grenada to the news reports which mentioned agents of the government as having possible links to the killing.

Even the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has locked down its mouth and not prepared to utter a single word on the issue and with clearly obvious reasons.

It was the 2008-13 Congress government that had engaged the CBI agent to put together a passport-selling scheme for the island and the NNP on coming into office in 2013 followed through on the initiative.

The NDC has to keep its mouth shut tightly because Prime Minister Mitchell would waste no time in linking them to the group for the sale of Grenadian passports.

The assassination of the Maltese journalist is a reminder once again of the dangers faced by small Third World developing states that are looking for easy and quick money to satisfy the many promises made to their people.

Many of the islands lack the requisite check and balance system to be able to keep out unsavoury characters that can do untold damage to their country’s image.

Added to this is the fact that some leaders deliberately engage in dealings with such individuals to fill their own pockets with dirty money to advance their political cause.

Where do you think a number of Caribbean Prime Ministers get some of the money from to hold weekly clinics in their constituencies in which envelopes are passed out to certain supporters to buy their loyalty?
Our Caribbean leaders have a notorious record when it comes to doing due diligence on persons coming to our shores to do business.

The imprisoned Alan Stanford was hailed as the “Messiah” to save West Indies cricket until he was brought down in one of the biggest money scandals in the Caribbean.

In the past year, the questionable Robert Martin Oveson showed up on Grenadian soil and was accused of duping businessman Roger Ver of one million U.S dollars in a passport-selling scheme linked to the Levera project in St. Patrick.

The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) headed by Superintendent of Police, Tafawa Pierre was responsible for doing the due diligence on Oveson and his company NTL Trust which was an authorised agent for Grenada’s CBI.

The FIU seemingly did not pick up that Oveson had a criminal record in the United States and was the figure behind a failed project in Mexico in which several persons lost millions of dollars.

The onus is now on the Grenada government to use whatever means possible to ascertain that the outfit that is helping to market our passports is squeaky clean and above board.

Who are the owners of the CBI firm allegedly linked to the Maltese slaying? Are they the same people who formed the company or is it a different crew now in charge of the company?

NTL Trust was started by an individual who did not have a criminal record but then it fell into the hands of one Robert Martin Oveson.

THE NEW TODAY would like to refer briefly to the untenable situation in which both the private bar and the government legal apparatus are run by the wife and husband team of Dr. Lawrence Joseph and Anande Trotman-Joseph.

Where is the morality and integrity in this situation?
As heads of the Integrity Commission, this newspaper would at least have expected Mrs. Trotman Joseph to step down for the time being as President of the Grenada Bar Association (GBA) and allow her deputy to run the body while her husband fulfils his short-term assignment as Acting Attorney-General.

Gov’t submits pension proposal for public officers

The Keith Mitchel-led New National Party (NNP) government has put forward proposals to Grenada’s public sector unions to bring an end to the 34-year old contentious issue of pension for established civil servants.

Public officers were disqualified from receiving a state pension following the enactment of a People’s Law in 1983 which created the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).

The local courts have ruled the law that was passed by the left-leaning People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) of late Marxist Prime Minister Maurice Bishop to be null and void and not in keeping with the requirements of the Grenada Constitution.

In recent years, public servants have been calling on government to restore the pension.

Prime Minister Mitchell has for the first time put on the table for consideration by public sector unions a plan that could cost the country over EC$1 billion in pension payments for public officers.

“Government holds as a general principle that no eligible officer should receive a pensionable income stream which is less than fifty per cent (50%) of their final salary inclusive of the National Insurance Scheme pension benefits under this new proposed arrangement”, Cabinet Secretary Beryl Isaac told PWU President Rachael Roberts in a letter dated October 6, 2017.

Isaac also urged the PWU female boss to review the proposal and to give the necessary feedback.

Following is the full text of the letter:

Ms. Rachael Roberts
President,
Public Workers Union
Tanteen
St. George’s

October 6, 2017

Dear Ms. Roberts,

Reference is made to your meeting with Dr. the Rt. Hon Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister on Tuesday, October 5, 2017 at which meeting the current matter regarding Public Officers’ Pension was discussed.

As was re-affirmed by the Prime Minister at that meeting, it is both his personal desire and that of Government to resolve the long outstanding Pension issue. There is also the desire to intensify efforts towards finding an amicable and negotiated pension solution.

Against this backdrop, Government wishes to advance the following towards finding a fiscally sustainable and just pension solution.

(1). To afford increased Pension Benefits to eligible Public Officers who joined the Public Service on or after April 4, 1983.

(2). It is proposed that the Government pension benefits to be paid to eligible officers should be in the form of a combined pension premised on the principle of a top up on the pension benefits paid by the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).

(3) Government holds as a general principle that no eligible officer should receive a pensionable income stream which is less than fifty per cent (50%) of their final salary inclusive of the National Insurance Scheme pension benefits under this new proposed arrangement.

This proposal is subject to the completion of a comprehensive data collection exercise as well as the undertaking of an actuarial study.

Consequently, Government places on the table in principle the formula below for calculating the pension benefits under this new arrangement on the understanding that the cost of the liability has to be first determined and any agreement would be subject to affordability and sustainability:

*Pensionable Income Stream equals half of the difference between one’s NIS pensionable benefits and the value of sixty-six percent (66%) of the final base salary paid by Government plus the NIS pension entitlement.

However, for finality to be reached on this or any proposal, there is critical need for the completion of data collection process and the conduct of an actuarial study to guide on the following inter alia:

*the modelling of the pension scenarios;

*the financial quantum of the respective scenarios; and

*the financing options.

It is anticipated that the studies can be completed within a four-month timeframe and it is Government’s desire to have all relevant trade unions assist in informing the parameters of the studies.

Cognizant of this timeframe, Government also presents for consideration an option to make part payments to eligible Public Officers who have retired, are deemed necessitous and have been identified through agreed criteria with all relevant trade unions.

While the foregoing outlines Government’s proposal to treat with the retrospective period, there is need for consideration to be given to the sustainability of the Public Service pension system well into the future.

In this vein, Government wishes to advance the need to look at the design of a new Contributory Pension Scheme that could be integrated with the National Insurance Scheme and which could even be administered by the National Insurance Scheme on Government’s behalf.

In closing, Government places on record its appreciation for your commitment to this process and re-affirms its own commitment to working with you and other trade union partners to find a financially sound and equitable solution in the shortest time span.

Government trusts that you will receive the above proposal as the basis to recommence engagement, and looks forward to meeting with you and the members of your team around the table for continued meaningful discussions.

Friday, October 13, 2017 at 10 a.m. is proposed as a possible meeting time at the Ministry of Works Conference Room, 4th Floor Ministerial Complex.

We shall be most grateful to be advised of your availability or to receive your suggestion of an alternative meeting time.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Beryl Isaac

SECRETARY TO THE CABINET

Woburn Man on Cocaine Charge

A 45-year old man from Woburn in South St. George appeared in court Tuesday on a charge of trafficking in cocaine with an estimated street value of EC$300, 000.00.

Dexter Myland – the latest Woburn resident to be caught with cocaine

Dexter Myland appeared before Chief Magistrate Her Honour Tamara Gill at the St. George’s No. 1 Magistrate’s Court and was granted bail in the sum of $100, 000.00.

The accused received bail with specific conditions, following an application put forward by his defense attorney, Peter David, which was not objected to by the Police prosecution.

The Chief Magistrate ordered Myland to report to South St. George Police Station every Monday and Friday between 6.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m, surrender all his travel documents and to seek permission from the court to leave the jurisdiction.

THE NEW TODAY understands that the drug accused found himself on the wrong side of the law after a search of his residence last week Tuesday (October 17) turned up approximately 3 kilograms of the illegal substance, which was found hidden in a false compartment inside a suitcase in one of the bedrooms.

Information reaching this newspaper is that the discovery was made by members of the Drug Squad of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF), who visited Myland’s home to execute the search warrant.

It is understood that at first Myland managed to evade the officers.

However, the officers got the assistance of a Justice of Peace to execute the warrant and enter the house.

Myland, who has no previous convictions, eventually turned himself into the South St. George Police Station last week Friday (October 20) where he was charged with Trafficking in a controlled drug.

His next court date has been scheduled for February 8, 2018.

Law enforcement officers regard the Woburn area as a hotbed for drug trafficking on the island.

Myland is a close relative to some of the persons often targeted by the police in Woburn for their alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade on the island.

Forrester issues warning to gov’t

Terry Forrester –the former top Public Relations spokesman for the NNP regime

Former executive member of the ruling New National Party (NNP) government, Terrence Forrester has cautioned the administration to be on guard in the wake of allegations that a firm associated with the sale of Grenadian passports might be involved in last week’s assassination in Malta of prominent journalist, 53-year old Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Forrester raised concerns over the failure of the government to make a public statement following the death of the journalist who has been involved in a crusade against corruption in high government circles in her homeland.

Speaking to THE NEW TODAY on Monday, the leader of the newly formed Grenada Progressive Movement (GPM) said that a responsible government would have already come out and seek to assure the public that it was monitoring the situation closely and would take action if necessary.

He said that if the allegation turns out to have validity then the government should move swiftly to disassociate itself from the European outfit involved in the CBI programme.

“I would put the government on guard to monitor the situation closely to see what is happening”, he added.

According to Forrester, the government runs the risk of being “painted with the same brush” as those whom fingers are pointing at for the assassination of the female journalist.

He described as “unfortunate” the fact that Grenada’s name is being linked in international circles to alleger wrong-doing on the part of the passport-selling agency Fingers are pointing at a major figure in the passport-selling advisory firm as being involved in the car bomb that snuffed out the life of Galizia.

The journalist who led the Panama Papers investigation into corruption in Malta, had recently filed a police report complaining of death threats. She had exposed numerous offshore dealings of prominent figures in Malta.

No High Commissioner in London

Grenada is without a High Commissioner to London following the non-renewal of the contract of former Congress Foreign Minister, Pastor Karl Hood.

This was confirmed by Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell at a post-Cabinet press briefing last week Tuesday at the Ministerial Complex in the Botanical Gardens.

The Prime Minister was asked by a News Reporter from THE NEW TODAY to clarify the situation with Paul-Lambert who has not been spotted inside the High Commission office since the announcement about six months ago.

Dr. Mitchell said that the responsibilities of the former island scholar Paul-Lambert are too much and it prevented her from taking up the position of High Commissioner.

“She could not take up the appointment of High Commissioner to London because of her job responsibility in London. So, she is the Non-Resident Ambassador to the Vatican,” Mitchell said.

Paul-Lambert, who is a lawyer by profession, was approved by Cabinet in April to become the island’s new High Commissioner to London as replacement for Hood.

Health Minister Nickolas Steele also told reporters a few months ago that the newly appointed Grenada diplomat was expected to take up the job of High Commissioner to the Court of St. James for a two-year duration and without a salary.

“Miss Akima Paul is doing this on her own expense and therefore as a patriotic Grenadian, we would like to thank her, congratulate her and voice our appreciation for her stepping forward and assisting us and
her country”, Minister Steele was quoted as saying.

“We have agreed in Cabinet to appoint her. We will have to wait for what we refer to as agreement from the Court of St. James as well as from the Holy See or the Vatican, however long their process takes approval,” said Minister Steele.

However, the London office has been without a High Commissioner since the non-renewal of Hood’s contract sometime in January.

Harris Paints launches product line in Grenada

Affordable paint products that are environmentally friendly, performs well, does the job quickly and economically, and can be purchased at a very competitive price and is totally dedicated to the contractors.

Sales and Marketing Manager Carlton Briggs and Manager of JCN Construction John Paul Fletcher among those present for the launch of the new Harris Paints brand

This is what one of the major paint manufacturer in the Caribbean, the Barbados-based Harris Paints is offering its customers in its new line of pro-speed cover products, namely the Egg Shell, Flat and Gloss Emersion, which were officially launched at the Coyaba Beach Resort in Grand Anse last week Thursday in alliance with its exclusive local distributors LL Ramdhanny and Co. Ltd.

According to Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Orlando Vázquez, Harris Paints, which has been in operation for the past 45 years, created this new line of products to address the contractors’ needs.

“This product was made thinking about the contractor, based on their needs and what they are looking for,” Vázquez said in an interview with THE NEW TODAY last week Thursday.

“We did a lot of research (and) within the last two years we have been speaking to a lot of contractors about their needs and all of them have been telling us that they need flexible options, something different,” he added.

Vazquez went on: “We have Ultima Plus, which is our #1 product line and now we are working with this second line, which is at very good price, provides very good coverage and is very good for the contractor”.

“The other thing that the contractors has been telling us is that for them coverage is very important so they want a product that can cover more so that they can save some paint,” he said.

According to Vázquez, results from Lab tests have proven that “Speed Cover Flat covers up to 650 square feet per gallon, which is 200 square feet more that its competitor.

“So, lower prices, more coverage – that’s a win, win (situation),” he said.

Vázquez disclosed that Harris Paints spent a lot of time making sure that the product is environmentally friendly and gave assurance that the colorant that is being added to the paint is not going to cause any damage to the environment.

“That is really important because it’s not really just about selling something but it’s also about doing the right thing to protect communities because we live in these communities,” he declared.

Approximately 75 local contractors, dealers and painters showed up at Coyaba to be a part of the launch, which represents one of the company’s newest innovations coinciding with its 45th year of existence in 2017.

Managing Director of the Grenville-based JCN Construction Co. Ltd., John Paul Fletcher, who has been in the construction business for the past 34 years told THE NEW TODAY that he is looking forward to using the new product and seeing the improvements made by the manufacturers.

Harris Paints Vice President for Sales and Marketing, Orlando Vázquez accompanied by Charles Kirton, Vice President of Technical Services and Innovation

“Harris paint is one of the better products … they always have new ideas and new products that really help the contractor (in ways such as) increasing the spread of how much square feet you can get per gallon”, he said.

In addition, he said that “the colours really stand up to the weather in our adverse conditions.

“I find when you paint with Harris on the outside your colours stay for a couple of years longer than the competitors,” he remarked.

LL Ramdhanny and Co. Ltd. has been the local distributor for Harris Paints for the last 24 years.
Its Sales and Marketing Manager, Carlton Briggs, was high in praise for the line of paint products turned out by Harris Paints.

“Over the years, Harris Paints have proven to be a company that believes in research, innovation, in looking for ways to make better products that are targeted for the Caribbean market in particular”, he said.

“All their research, all their testing is done in the Caribbean,” Briggs said, referencing the weather conditions, which varies from hot sun one day and rain the next day.

“Harris paints are tested in this environment and is created to last longer in this environment. And we believe that with this new range of prospered cover products, Harris has once again proven themselves to be a winner,” he added.

Additionally, Briggs said, it is expected that the new product would be received “very well,” not only by people in the construction industry but also by hoteliers and persons in the real estate industry.

“The products are mainly intended for the commercial sector…where painting is always required because of the high traffic of people passing and touching the walls and so forth, and would always require repainting,” he added, noting that “it (Harris Paints) is less expensive compared to the high-end products targeting the home industry.”

Harris Paints is currently sold in 15 countries across the Caribbean.

Its new line of Pro Speed products is available in between 4000 and 10, 000 base colours that can be tinted.

Sandals partners with Junior Achievers

Two years after it came to an abrupt halt due to a lack of funding, the Junior Achievement programme is back in Grenada’s primary schools after receiving support from the Sandals Foundation.

Students of St. Giles Primary School performing at the Opening Ceremony

Junior Achievement (JA) is a community based initiative that encourages students to hone their individual potential as an asset in the economy.

It introduces financial literacy, ethics, entrepreneurial skills, leadership, team work and drive – all within a strategically developed program with alternative teaching methods that focus on active practical engagement.

Teachers and volunteers lend their time and effort to carry out the program, in cooperation with the Junior Achievement organisation that provides the necessary training and tools to deliver these lessons.

At the program launch ceremony, held in St. George’s last week Tuesday, George Harford, a local JA Director, commended the Sandals Foundation for reviving the Junior Achievement for Primary Schools, after lack of sponsorship brought it to a stop in 2015.

He also commended another JA sponsor, Grenada Electricity Services Ltd. for their continuous support of JA for Secondary Schools.

These sentiments were echoed by, Maria Viechweg, Acting Deputy Chief Education Officer of the Ministry of Education, who also addressed the ceremony.

Delivering a motivational speech was, JA President of the year 2016- 2017, Wesley Simon, a student of the Presentation Brothers College who encouraged other students to ‘aim high’ and persevere despite the challenges that arise as they pursue this program.

Additionally, he advised that their time management, team work and creativity skills will all be challenged and improved by the experience.

Regionally, Sandals Foundation has been a longstanding partner of Junior Achievement and looks forward to this new undertaking in Grenada.

“We are so pleased to partner once again with Junior Achievement. We have witnessed first-hand the enthusiasm of students who partake in this program and the new skills they walk away with”, said Corporate Director of the Sandals Foundation, Heidi Clarke.

“We are particularly excited to support this program at the primary school level as we believe that it is never too early to introduce entrepreneurial skills in the classroom. Through the hands-on learning approach we feel the children really get a better understanding of the different aspects of a business and problem solving, which is knowledge we hope will lay the foundation for their future success”, she added.

The Sandals official went on: “We thank the JA team for their continued commitment to this program and look forward to a productive and exciting year ahead”.

PM Mitchell gives another salvo on WRB and Grenlec

Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell has said that his ruling New National Party (NNP) government is committed to exposing all those who sold the island’s sole electricity company, GRENLEC to U.S company, WRB enterprises Inc.

WRB is the majority shareholder in Grenlec and has taken its dispute with the Mitchell-led government to an international body for arbitration.

The dispute is centered around the Electricity Supply Bill 2016 passed in Parliament by government to end GRENLEC’s 80-year monopoly status that was granted in a 1994 sale agreement struck by the then ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of Sir Nicholas Brathwaite.

Speaking at last week’s post-Cabinet press briefing, Dr. Mitchell told reporters that he intends to ensure that justice is sought for the country in the battle against WRB and Grenlec.

“We are going to seek justice for this country and we are going to continue to expose those who sold off this country’s rights for 74 years to WRB who is insisting that that monopoly system that they receive in 1994 remains.

“This is the only country in the Caribbean region we know of; even in Dominica where we know WRB is, there is liberalisation for energy generation; not just electricity services.

“…The same WRB that refuse to allow monopoly in Grenada is investing in Jamaica’s liberalised electricity system, but Grenada must remain under their control and it’s unfortunate that any Grenadian, any Grenadian who is worth the thought to be called a Grenadian would want to support WRB…”.

PM Mitchell hinted that WRB is interfering in Grenada’s political process and he would expose the plan shortly.

“We have information, we’ll disclose it sometime soon, of WRB attempt to interfere in our political process in this country…”, he said.

“… No wonder every time a certain political group opens their mouth in this country, they support WRB and they curse the government and people of Grenada”, he added.

In recent weeks, political operatives of the ruling party have been accusing WRB of supplying Congress with millions of dollars for the upcoming general election campaign.

The NNP is also pointing an accusing finger at the Republic of China on Taiwan as quietly funding NDC for the upcoming election battle.

On the other hand, Congress operatives have said that Mitchell’s NNP has been getting large sums of money from the Russian oil outfit, GPG which is currently exploring offshore for oil and gas in Grenadian waters.
Dr. Mitchell also told reporters that there was another company that is allegedly involved w politically with the main opposition party without giving name.

“The other company has done the same thing but we will expose them for what it’s worth. Election campaign hasn’t started yet, when the bell rings stay tuned,” he remarked.

Prime Minister Mitchell and his NNP have been predicting another clean sweep of all 15 seats in the upcoming general election.

Social Development Minister Delma Thomas told a party meeting earlier in the year the NNP is aiming to ensure each Congress candidate lose their deposit in the national poll.

No winners in secession – in Europe or the Caribbean

Should areas of countries break away and govern themselves as they see fit? That’s a question that has been debated in several parts of the world, and is in focus now between Catalonia and Spain; Scotland and the United Kingdom, and to a lesser extent Barbuda and Antigua.

It should be noted that throughout history, communities which have been separated by religion, ethnicity, and distance (most especially water), have experienced movements for separation.

In the Caribbean, Anguilla broke away from St Kitts-Nevis in 1971 during the British colonial era; Tobago agitated for years for secession from Trinidad; as recently as 1998 Nevis attempted a constitutional split from St Kitts; and on Barbuda, a separatist group has been expressing the desire to secede from Antigua even prior to the formation of Antigua and Barbuda as a unitary state in 1981 when it became independent from Britain.

While separatist groups raise their voices loudest and receive the most attention from media, support for them amongst their own communities is never unanimous; there are many who doubt the wisdom of separation in economic and security terms.

As examples of this, an attempt in 1998 in Nevis to force a referendum for secession from St Kitts failed to get the requisite vote to carry it, and a referendum on Scottish independence from the United Kingdom in 2014 resulted in 55.3 per cent of the electorate rejecting the idea.

Even in Catalonia where emotions ran high, there is not comprehensive backing for separation.

In the case of the separatist group on Barbuda, at the Antigua and Barbuda Constitutional Conference with Britain in 1980 on independence, the Barbuda representative argued that he had been sent to the meeting “to seek separation” from Antigua.

However, he was elected with 302 votes of the 522 Barbudan electors.

In successive elections, support for separatists dwindled. The party in the vanguard of separation, the Barbuda Peoples Movement (BPM) secured less than half of the votes of the electorate in elections in 1984, 1989, 1994 and 1999. By 2014, the Barbuda electorate was split right down the middle with the BPM losing control by 1 vote.

In any event, the 1980 Constitutional Conference decided that Antigua and Barbuda is a “unitary state”. It paid attention to the Barbudan desire for a level of autonomy over the island’s affairs and consequently agreed to give greater powers to a Barbuda local government council than existed under the 1904 Barbuda Ordinance and the 1976 Barbuda Local Government Act.

Significantly, the Conference also affirmed that land on Barbuda has always been the property of the Crown from the time of colonisation by the British.

This decision rejected a theory by Barbudan separatists that they had somehow acquired Barbuda in common and all land in Barbuda was owned by all Barbudans and that none of it could ever be sold and only they could decide who could lease any of it.

The Barbudan separatists tested this decision in the Courts several times, losing the argument on every occasion with Judges finding that, as a matter of fact and law, land on Barbuda belongs to the Crown and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda is the authority vested with power and control over the land.

This latter point has attracted significance recently after the decimation of Barbuda by Hurricane Irma on September 6. The Barbuda separatists have reverted to the dispelled notion that all Barbudans – wherever they live or were born – own all Barbudan lands in common and only they can determine its use which would be on a lease-basis only.

Reliance is being placed on a law, passed in 2007 by the former Antigua and Barbuda government in a deal for the parliamentary support of the Barbuda elected representative, which sought to “confirm that all land in Barbuda is owned in common by the people of Barbuda”.

Legal experts have argued that the 2007 law is unconstitutional and of no effect, and is also discriminatory since it permits Barbudans to deny land ownership in Barbuda to Antiguans, while Barbudans retain the constitutional right to own land in Antigua.

Barbuda’s non-viability on its own has been confirmed in studies done by the British government in the pre-independence period and reaffirmed by the fact that, over the centuries since 1860 when Barbuda was annexed to Antigua, it has been financed almost entirely by the Central government of the country.

For instance, for the years 2013 to 2016, the government had to transfer US$13.5 million to Barbuda to sustain a population of 1,500.

Faced with a bill upwards of US$200 million to rebuild Barbuda and re-settle its inhabitants who had to be evacuated to Antigua, the Antigua and Barbuda government contends that land will have to be sold and leased on Barbuda, especially to existing Barbudan lease holders to contribute to its economic and social development.

On a per capita basis, the rebuilding of Barbuda works out at US$133,000.00 for each man, woman and child – the cost of which would have to be borne by the 80,000 people on Antigua and the Antigua and Barbuda government – and they have no means to do so.

It is also most unlikely that the international donor community will provide the full sum of US$200 million. Even loans that the government might be able to attract will not reach the required sum and, in any case, will have to be repaid.

And this is the crux of the matter. Can the areas, which secessionists are seeking to separate from lager national units, prosper on their own? The answer in the case of Barbuda is clear. It cannot. It simply does not generate the income required to sustain the livelihood of its people, and unless it sells or leases land (as every other country in the world does) to investors – both local and foreign – it will not develop an economically viable economy.

In the cases of Scotland and Catalonia in relation to the United Kingdom and Spain respectively, while both are well-developed and would survive, they would be worse off financially since their economies are tied-up with the countries from which the secessionists would like them to separate.

Further, they would become small states with little bargaining power in international trade and finance, and no military influence.

It is true that the United Kingdom and Spain would also be weaker for the departure of Scotland and Catalonia. But the net effect of separatists winning would be significant losses for the people they are trying to lead.

In this context, the observation of Lord Varys, in “Game of Thrones” resonates loudly: “He would see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes”.

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

Cajeton Hood back in private practice

Former Attorney General, Cajeton Hood is now fully back in private practice after serving government as its principal legal advisor for the past four-and-a-half years.

Former Attorney General, Cajeton Hood

Hood confirmed to THE NEW TODAY newspaper that his last day as a government employee officially ended on Wednesday and it is now time for him to return to head his Law office of Justis Chambers which has been in the hands of his son in recent months.

Hood said that his tenure as AG expired on April 4 but was asked to remain on the job for an extension of six months with which he complied.

The attorney stated that he has no intention of renewing his contract with the Mitchell-led government as his son needs him at the office.

“I spent four-and-half years away from office. I have a young son who has just graduated and he is the only one running the office. I had two friends who (were) running the office, but that did not work out. My son is not experienced, he cannot do it alone so I will be back at my office at Justis Chambers on Church Street”, he said.

“I am excited to go back. I have always liked litigation, I love the court. I am excited to go back onto that”, he added.

Former Minister of Legal Affairs, Dr. Lawrence Joseph, a long-standing confidante of Prime Minister Mitchell has been put in the post of Acting Attorney-General until the holding of the upcoming general election.

Hood described his time serving the NNP administration as enlightening since it was the first time for him working with Cabinet and advising government on a range of matters.

“It was (an) enriching, rewarding experience,” he said.

Legal sources told this newspaper that the relationship between Hood and Prime Minister Mitchell became rather strained in recent years.

The Grenadian leader choose to ignore the legal advice offered by Hood and Solicitor-General Dwight Horsford to be cautious in its attempt to grant Queen’s Counsel status to two lawyers in private practice – Ruggles Ferguson and Derick Sylvester.

The OECS Court has a protocol on appointing QC in which it states that the Chief Justice is the one responsible for making the recommendations after candidates are vetted by a 5-member “Silk Committee” headed by a Justice of the Court of Appeal.

The Prime Minister allegedly opted instead to follow the legal opinion offered by a non-national lawyer serving as an advisor that he is not bounded by the existing protocol.

As attorney Hood heads back into private practice, he was due to attend court on Thursday for the first time after the end of his tenure as the islands AG.

Hood was due to attend a sitting of the St. George’s Magistrate’s Court on St. John’s Street to represent the owner of Seaport Restaurant, Roger Lewis in a criminal matter.

Lewis has been bogged down in a matter involving the falsification of the will of his deceased father, Allan Lewis.