Another win for Republic Bank (Grenada) Limited

Republic Bank (Grenada) Limited is the 2017 Best Corporate Citizen among ECCU Commercial Banks.

Manager – Corporate Credit and Manager, Retail Services, Grenville Cluster receiving the prestigious award

The Bank retained the prestigious award, at the 20th annual Sir Arthur Lewis Memorial Lecture held in St. Kitts, on November 8, emerging victorious over five other entrants; making this the 8th win in the 20-year history of the award.

The overall ECCB Best Corporate Citizen award is presented to the bank which demonstrates significant contribution to the general enhancement of the ECCU through human resource development and sustained community outreach.

Good corporate citizen awards are presented to the banks which have made outstanding contributions in Educational Development, Community Outreach and Social Services, Sports, Customer Service, Cultural Development, Environmental Awareness and Financial Education & Empowerment.

Republic Bank received Good Corporate Citizen awards for 3 categories: Sports, Customer Service and Cultural Development.

The Bank is proud to receive the prestigious award and pledges to continue pursuing programs that enhance and uplift the standard of living for the citizens of Grenada.

We commend the management and staff for their dedication towards corporate social responsibility, and thank the Board of Directors for their wise counsel.

NAWASA prepares to bring Christmas cheer

The National Water and Sewerage Authority (NAWASA) is gearing up for its annual Christmas Food Hamper Promotion that will see some 35 beneficiaries receiving hampers bearing Christmas goodies.

GM Christopher Husbands and Field officer Roger Noel with beneficiary

Each year, the company has created an environment of cheer for individuals in various communities, who are without the means to acquire items that help to brighten the season.

As has been the case for the last fourteen (14) years, NAWASA will this year attempt to bring a measure of joy to some of its less fortunate customers.

Nominations for NAWASA’s annual Christmas Food Hamper Promotion are opened, giving individuals an opportunity to nominate someone, who they consider deserving, to receive one of the thirty-five (35) hampers that will be distributed during the week of December 18-20.

NAWASA’s Communications Supervisor, Jamila Samuel, notes that the company takes its corporate responsibility very seriously and is concerned with giving back to the communities in which it operates and serve.

“The community involves all of our consumers”, says Samuel, who highlights that “however challenged a consumer is, NAWASA is hoping to at least meet that level of challenge just for the holiday season”.

Excited that thirty-five (35) families will again have an opportunity to experience a jolly and bright Christmas thanks to NAWASA, Samuel indicates that individuals can identify someone within their community, who they consider as deserving of a Christmas Hamper, acquire a nomination form from any of the company’s cash offices in St. George’s, Gouyave, or Grenville; and submit their nomination by December 8th, the deadline for submission.

It must be noted however, that an individual can only nominate one person, who must be an active customer of NAWASA and is making ongoing payments to their account.

Team NAWASA Distribution 2016

That individual must not be a beneficiary of government’s Assistance for the Needy Program.

NAWASA will investigate the eligibility of all nominees.

Many consider gift giving one of the most important features of Christmas and as Samuel explains, numerous individuals often look beyond their own needs in favour of nominating others.

“We have seen many cases of persons coming and they would say I am needy, this is my current situation, but Mr. John down the road deserves it more than I do”, highlights Samuel, who pointed to instances of that nature reminding company officials of the importance of the promotion to its customers “and this is why we have been doing it for fourteen years” she said.

Individuals are being encouraged to look within their communities for anyone they consider deserving of receiving the NAWASA Christmas Cheer.

“It’s all about NAWASA giving back, it’s all about understanding the important role that our consumers play in our operations, it’s understanding that around the holiday time, no one deserves to not have a jolly and a bright Christmas” said Samuel.

There is great joy in both giving and receiving and NAWASA through its Christmas Hamper Promotion hopes to simply bring joy to the hearts of those who need it most.

Police have only one murder suspect

The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) has moved quickly to dispel reports circulating in the country that the 17-year old charged with the rape and killing of 9-year old Ariel Bhola two weeks ago got assistance in the act from a close family member.

From left to right are Supt Earl Dunbar, Deputy Commissioner Franklyn Redhead and ACP Trevor Modeste

Deputy Commissioner of Police, Franklyn Redhead told reporters at a press briefing at Fort George last week Thursday that RGPF is looking at no one else but the accused in relation to the death of young Ariel.

“We have only one suspect on our radar, there is no one else who we suspect. I imagine as the investigation proceeds that there will be persons that will be interviewed for various reasons but certainly in the context of who is culpable in this case, there is only one person that we are looking (at) in terms of culpability and there is no one else and I state very categorically there is no one else,” he said.

According to the No.2 man in the Police High Command, there is sufficient evidence pointing to one individual responsible for the crime and “there is no evidence of collusion with anyone else as far as we know.”

The Social Media was rife with reports that Police were looking for an uncle of the accused and that the man had gone into hiding from the lawmen.

Deputy Commissioner Redhead appealed for law and order to take its course and urged persons to refrain from getting involved in any form of vigilante justice.

THE NEW TODAY had picked up information that family members of the murdered 9-year old have vowed to take revenge on close relatives of the accused who are living in the village.

There are unconfirmed reports that one member had attempted to throw a lighted torch into the house occupied by family members of the 17-year old murder suspect.

Deputy Commissioner ‘Redhead told reporters: “I want to clarify this and to ensure that good senses prevail and ensure that persons do not take proceedings into their own hands and not be driven by emotions.

“I want to make sure that persons are driven in a very level headed and mature way – allow the process and the system to work and to allow the process and system to work very effectively and not encourage any other kinds of behaviour that could be detrimental to ourselves as a people,” he said.

The senior police officer suggested that the unfortunate slaying of the school child should be seen in the context of a much more deeply embedded problem within the society including the male psyche and “the way we are cultured as a people in terms”.

“Unless we address these fundamental issues that are deeply entrenched within our culture, I think we (will) see the consequences of that in terms of violence against women, violence against each other and violence within the society”, he said.

“…So, it has to be a coming together, an understanding of what are the root cause of these problems and not only treat the consequences of these problems but also address the root cause because that is where we need to apportion the main efforts, in terms of seeking solutions,” he added.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, Trevor Modeste who was also in attendance at the press conference told reporters that the Juvenile Justice Act is the one to be used in prosecuting the 17-year old charged for killing young Ariel.

“This particular case is governed by the Juvenile ordinance and in relation to juveniles there are rules and regulations leading down to investigation as it relates to juveniles and as it relates to publishing information as it relates to juveniles. We have to be guarded and work within the remiss of the law in dealing with juvenile cases,” he remarked.

ACP Modeste also said that persons should understand that the police force has an obligation to protect the 17-year old.

Several persons who showed up outside the court to get a glimpse of the accused when he appeared in court last Wednesday wanted to lay their hands on him.

The youngster was under heavy police protection including members of the crack Special Services Unit (SSU) as he was hustled in and out of the court and then into a police vehicle which sped away in high speed from the compound.

Sex Offenders’ Registry in the making

As a result of the recent killing of nine year old Ariel Bhola of Frequente, Grand Anse St. George, Minister of Health, Nickolas Steele has announced that the ruling New National Party (NNP) administration is moving towards the establishment of a Sex Offenders’ Registry to help combat sexual abuse in Grenada.

Speaking to reporters in St. George’s, Minister Steele said that government has concluded that the move could be a positive step in helping to curb the issue of sex crimes and in particular child sexual abuse in the society.

The disclosure came against the backdrop of massive public outrage in the past two weeks over the rape and murder of 9-year old Ariel Bhola of Frequente in the south of the island by a 17-year old school drop-out.

According to the senior government minister, he has heard the calls from the public for action to be taken on the growing sexual abuse problem in the country and was giving total support for “the request for a Sex Offenders’ Registry”.

“… I am assured that steps have been put in place and there will be (an) announcement in our budget presentation by our Prime Minister”, he said.

“You can guarantee that that (will be) put in place for 2018. First and foremost is to make sure that the relevant resources are put in place and that is what our Prime Minister will put in place but we heard the calls and we all agree with the calls, we all fully support that”, he added.

Minister Steele went on: “The other part of it is to make sure that all of our stakeholders, social partners on the issue of sexual offences and issue of protecting our children in particular are on board”.

The Health Minister who is now the NNP Caretaker for the South St. George Constituency, offered condolences to the family and friends of young Ariel.

“I wish to speak simply of the tragedy of the innocent life (that) was taken through violent means. Her friends in school, her mother in particular, the grief they are going through, I too identify with and share deep and sincere sympathies on behalf of our Prime Minister,” he said.

Minister Steele sees the need for what he called “a societal effort” to prove to the world that this type of behaviour is not acceptable in Grenada.

“That is something that we must all … work together to ensure that this does not happen, to ensure that we as a people recognise and let the world know that this is not Grenada. It has happened in Grenada and we will put all necessary steps in place, one, to comfort the family and two, to make sure that Ariel did not die in vain and three, to do whatever is within our collective powers to ensure that this does not happen again,” he said.

The Minister singled out the role of the Child Protection Authority CPA) and other independent stakeholders involved in the fight against sexual abuse of minors.

CPA Director, Yvonne Dabreo who also addressed reporters was confident that everything will be put in place to ensure that persons who prey on young children are brought to justice.

She said: “No abuse is acceptable, what happened to Ariel should not happen to anyone and to no child. At the authority, we will continue to do whatever is in our power to ensure children live in a safe and secure environment and that perpetrators be brought to justice speedily.

“We know that there is quite a lot of constraints but as an authority, we have taken measures to ensure despite the challenges we are going to advocate to ensure our children are safe whether they are in their homes, whether they are at school, whether they are at the communities,” she added.

A coward blow!!!

Under pressure, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has delivered “a coward blow” to the island’s Public Sector unions by accusing them of being “political” in the stand-off with his New National Party (NNP) administration on the one-off payment promised to civil servants for their sacrifices in the just-ended Structural Adjustment Programme.

THE NEW TODAY is convinced that this lingering issue with the two unions is preventing the Prime Minister from setting the date for the upcoming general election.

An angry and dis-satisfied civil service will most likely result in large numbers of public officers voting against the NNP and instead for the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

If this happens then it can be considered as a reversal from the last election in 2013 when it was generally felt that civil servants voted in numbers against Congress and helped NNP to its landslide 15-0 victory in the polls.

The actions of the government in recent years itself have forced public officers to adopt an attitude of indifference towards it.

The issue of money in these hard financial and economic times will often leave a bitter taste in the mouths of those who are not comfortable with what is offered to them.

The fact of the matter is that the Structural Adjustment Programme has left most civil servants with less disposable income in their pockets.

The so-called promised new economy which was a major plank in the NNP platform for the 2013 general election never materialised as the foreign investors were far apart and too few in coming.

The civil servants are living on this island and are the ones who see on a daily basis the pay sheet of government.

In the midst of the Structural Adjustment Programme, Kisha Alexander-Grant, the Press Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister was awarded an increase of $12, 000 a year on her already well-paid salary.

The civil servants will quite naturally ask the question – if the Press Secretary can get that increase then how come our employer cannot pay the one-off payment of $1500.00?

The situation is compounded by the foolish response given by MP For St. George North-east, Hon. Tobias Clement who is getting a cool $7, 000.00 a month pocket change from government for doing nothing for the State on top of his $EC13, 5000.00 salary from St. George’s University.

The fact of the matter is that the NNP regime of Dr. Mitchell has taxed Grenadians as never seen before and using most of the money collected to pay for the high debts that it was responsible for creating during the 1995-2008 period.

The NNP cannot run and hide from the fact that it pursued a foolish policy of borrowing millions at high commercial interest rates on the altar of political expediency in order to win elections over the years.

The reality is that the country could not service the debts when due and this culminated in the Structural Adjustment Programme to find the fiscal space to repay the creditors.

However, it should be noted that the fiscal space is being used rather conveniently for political purposes by Dr. Mitchell and NNP. Is it not the same fiscal space when it comes to finding and spending millions on the Imani programme each year?

On another note, THE NEW TODAY would like to salute Trevor Thwaites who passed away last Saturday morning which sent shock waves throughout the length and breadth of the country.

It is often said that tributes should be paid to an individual when he/she is alive and not wait to do so when they have passed to the great beyond.

This cannot be applicable to Trevor since no one expected him to die so sudden and in the prime of his life.

Trevor was a man from the “Jealous Mountain” which is really Morne Jaloux and was a treasure, hero and well-respected member of the small village.

He brought fame to his hometown by helping to break the long-standing barrier of national cricketers being selected primarily from the St. George’s Town clique.

It was players from the Morne Jaloux/St. Paul zone like Trevor, Raphael Croney and Osbert Hall who helped to force open the tightly closed St. George’s door to cricketers from all over the island.

“Mammy Dora” who was his grandmother would have been proud of her grandson Trevor who not only made his name on the cricket field but also in the boxing arena and Journalism.

It was “Mammy Dora” who nurtured and grew up this special son of Morne Jaloux as his parents like many others in those days migrated overseas in the search for a better life.

THE NEW TODAY is confident that Trevor will get a fitting send-off at the appropriate time as he was loved by just about everyone who came into contact with him.

The whole of Morne Jaloux and Richmond Hill can be expected to turn out to bid a final farewell to their loved and cherished son who has gone too soon from this life on earth.

May His Soul rest in peace!!!

Young people have become too atheistic!!!

THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT WAS ISSUED BY THE GRENADA ALLIANCE OF EVANGELICAL CHURCHES ON THE FREQUENTE INCIDENT IN WHICH 9-YEAR OLD ARIEL BHOLA WAS RAPED AND MURDERED BY A 17-YEAR OLD YOUTH

The entire nation has been shocked by the sudden upsurge in sexual crimes being committed in our country.

The latest event involving the murder and rape of one of our precious nine-year-old is especially heart-rending and revolting.

The Alliance of Evangelical Churches shares the pain of the parents and loved ones of Ariel and pray God’s comforting hand upon their hearts.

While we empathise with the victims and families of those who suffer the effects of sexual abuse we also condemn in the strongest possible terms the evil deeds which humiliated this child and brought about her demise.

We also pray that God would have mercy upon the soul of the one responsible for this dastardly act of criminality. While justice must be done he can also experience mercy from God if he would repent of his sins and place his faith in the One who died for sinners, our Lord Jesus Christ.

The offense committed shows the danger to which our children and especially female members of our society are exposed and the absence of moral convictions and the fear of God among many of our youths.

The intensification of sexual abuse in our society should not be surprising given the existence of that potential in a society where family life generally leaves much to be desired.

With most homes consisting of single parents or unmarried couples it is difficult to provide moral leadership. The situation is further exacerbated by the fact that many parents are themselves children. Fuel is further added to the fire when we consider that neither parents nor children are consistently exposed to the biblical teaching on morality.

Holy Scripture emphasises the sacredness of human life and sexuality. The parents generally do not take their children to church, nor even bother to send them. They are communicating to them a clear message that God is not an important factor in their lives and they can make their own decisions without him.

As a matter of fact, this is probably the first generation of young people that is to a large extent atheistic.

They can hardly be blamed given the kind of models they have before them in the home and wider society.

The emphasis on the necessity of the bible for the moral and spiritual health of a nation does not flow from the rantings of religious maniacs as some might think. Listen to George Washington, first president of the United State:

“It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” – George Washington Quote

“You do well to wish to learn our arts and our ways of life and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are.” – George Washington Quote

“We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.”– George Washington Quote

The AEC believes that sound bible teaching can make a difference in the lives of young people and their families in our nation.

The evangelical message makes it clear:

(1). That all men are sinners, Rom. 3:23

No one is good naturally and they cannot blame society or anyone for their sinful behaviour.

(2). That God loves all of mankind, John 3:16

(3). That Jesus Christ died for all sinners regardless of our moral standing Rom. 5:6-8
(4). That men and women need to repent of their sins, Acts 2:39
(5). Those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are saved from the guilt and consequences of sin, Act 16:31
(6). Those who are truly saved are transformed into new persons, II Cor. 5:17

Social and judicial action are great and have their place but they cannot transform the individual. These things may modify behaviour to a certain extent but cannot transform human nature. Only Jesus Christ can do that.

The sexual pervert and the murderer need Jesus Christ just like everyone else for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God’s righteousness.

He declared, “I am come that they might have light and have it more abundantly.”

The AEC has in the past addressed the sexual obsession in the society by means of public prayer and proclamation. As a matter of fact our churches regularly proclaim God’s standards of sexuality and call upon people to repent. But the message is either not heard, ignored, or resisted.

To talk about the sins of society and call men to repent is seen as hate speak and has been strongly condemned by some through the media.

In addition, last April we conducted a seminar on issues which drive people into sodomy and other forms of sexual aberration. The seminar was geared to train church leaders in particular in counselling persons with these issues and was conducted by Joanne Highly, former lesbian and author of the book, Mercy Triumphs over Judgment.

Joanne and her husband Dick currently conduct a counselling ministry in Manhattan, New York, to people with homosexual and other emotional issues. Her textbook Mercy Triumphs over Judgment has to be the best in the field and a number of copies have been sold locally. Those who are interested can contact us at the AEC.

On Sunday last, Charles Manson died at 83 while in prison in California. His mother, a prostitute and a drunkard bore him when she was sixteen years of age.

According to one report on YAHOO NEWS, “From the age of 12 on, Charles was placed in a string of reform schools. At one institution, he held a razor to a boy’s throat and raped him.”

“Escaping often, he committed burglaries, auto thefts and armed robberies, landing in between juvenile detention centers and eventually federal reformatories. He was paroled from the last one at 19, in May 1954”.

Charles never knew his father. Manson drew a number of followers after him who were referred to as his family. Between them some seven murders were committed back in the 1960’s including that of Sharon Tate.

Charles Manson was committed to prison for the rest of his life till his recent death on Sunday at the age of 83 just after his November 12th birthdate.

A single immoral, teenage mother, an absent, unknown father, a mixture of occult, religious, and anti-social ideology and you have the perfect cocktail for a vicious murderer.

As a society, we can either embrace God’s recipe for social transformation or face the alternative of moral decay and destruction. Unless our youth are rescued from perishing by being exposed to the teaching of God’s Word, the Bible and encouraged to embrace God’s way of salvation we will have no future as a nation.

The AEC will continue to address the moral, spiritual, and social needs of our nation by:

(1). Working with government and organisations to address the social ills of the nation.

(2). Speak as a prophetic voice for God to this nation.

(3). Work with schools to provide biblical instruction to children.

(4). Visit hurting families such as that of Ariel.

(5). Encourage churches in Frequente to provide support elements.

(6). Adopt pre-schools and ensure that biblical values are taught.

Besides all this the churches of the AEC are engaged in praying earnestly for the nation as we stand in the gap interceding for our country.

For the past two week-ends extended times of prayers have been held including a prayer retreat in St. Patrick’s which brought the needs of our nation before the Lord.

An all-night prayer meeting is scheduled for Friday (November 24) at the Grenville Pentecostal Lighthouse from 6.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m.

The AEC will continue in its role as a corporate prophet to the nation and to stand in the gap praying for the needs of our society.

We would also seek to be models of godliness so that our walk would match our talk. At the same time we will take whatever practical steps are necessary to further the moral and social development of our society.

In closing we would like to share the following story: A young man by the name of Raphael saw me cutting my yard some years ago and offered to take on the job at a price. He and his brother had printed their business cards and were cutting yards.

Over the years the brother dropped out but Raphael continued. We took an interest in the young man and assisted him financially in dealing with some medical issues involving his young son.

We also addressed his need for a relationship with Jesus Christ. It took quite a while for him to response.

He eventually began attending church on a regular basis, committed his life to Christ, and joined the baptismal class.

Other young men tried to discourage Raphael from committing his life to Christ but he was determined to do what was right.

Our youths can do the same. We of the AEC are calling upon our young people to follow Raphael’s example.

Following Christ will give you the model and strength which you need to be sexually pure and to go against the grain of evil in our society.

TAWU tackles sexist treatment at Ports Authority

A possible showdown is in the making between the Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU) and the Grenada Ports Authority (GPA) over the treatment of a female employes at the state-controlled statutory body.

Some workers of the port and their Union Representatives seen standing outside the compound of the Port Authority to discuss the Samuel issue

The union, led by newly appointed labour representative in the Senate, Andre Lewis, has accused the Board of Directors of the Port Authority of displaying a hatred mentality towards one female employee.

TAWU is taking issue with the decision of GPA to remove the female worker as a pilot and to place her in a position that is not in-keeping with her qualifications.

Cindy Samuel, who has been a pilot for over 14 years has had her license revoked and given a desk job at the Queens Warehouse on the port.

TAWU responded to the move by ordering port workers to down tools last week Friday afternoon to attend a meeting to give solidarity to Samuel.

The union is claiming that the female employee was being victimised over her failure to side with the GPA Board on an issue involving another worker.

President General Lewis told reporters that the Board of Directors is being put on notice to reinstate the worker or face the repercussions for their action against her.

“That’s a sister who …. went and do the necessary studies and she’s qualified and they want to fight her down. They took away her license and put her in the Queens Warehouse basically saying that the job of a woman is under a shed or doing paper work, not to do what men are known to be doing”, he said.

“…There was an ongoing issue and everything was resolved but there are a number of things…where she decided to stick to her point on a particular matter that others wanted her to change and they saw her as being rude”, he added.

Lewis stressed that the employee is correct to hold onto her position and warned that “we will not allow the port to get away with that”.

He said that although Samuel’s salary was not affected by the action taken against her the fact remains that it seeks to compromise her principles.

“It’s not about the pay – even if they are prepared to give her twice time what she was making as a pilot, she prefers to stay as a pilot. She is qualified as a pilot. This is not a case where she is not qualified, this is not a case where she asked to be moved or where there is doubt.

“We represent pilots and we know pilots have been kept on for worst things because we are here to represent people, so we find compromises and save their jobs…what did she do wrong… only because she is a woman.”

“So, it’s not about payment, it’s about the fulfillment of a dream, it’s about the fulfillment of an ideal, it’s about the fulfillment of reaping the rewards and the sacrifices that one would have made to equip themselves and this is the message that we need to send to the public, to our young girls, young daughters, young boys, that you can dream your dream, equip yourselves, follow your path and you will be successful.

The TAWU boss insisted that Samuel must be reinstated as a pilot and the union will not be holding any meetings with the board until it is done.

Father of Samuel, court bailiff Terry Registe expressed strong support for her, saying that she spent thousands of U.S Dollars to help her become a qualified pilot with a license.

Registe believes that the GPA is discriminating against his daughter.

There has been no official response from the Port on the Samuel issue.

TAWU addresses sale of Gravel and Concrete

The Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU) has accused the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell of secretly selling the assets of the state-owned Gravel Concrete and Emulsion Production Corporation to Trinidadians without the knowledge of Grenadians.

General Secretary, Bert Patterson and President General, Andre Lewis hosted media conference

President-General of the union, Sen. Andre Lewis and his General Secretary, Bert Patterson hosted a press conference on Tuesday to highlight the plight of Gravel & Concrete.

According to Lewis, the “secret” dealing by government with the Trinidadians could have serious implications for the country.

He identified the new owners of Gravel and Concrete as Computers and Control Holdings Limited.

Lewis said what the union knows is that the Mitchell-led government has entered into a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with the Trinidad company and has virtually relinquished the control the State once had over the company.

The GTAWU boss gave an insight into the manner in which the former Board of Directors were sacked by Works Minister Gregory Bowen who is responsible for the statutory body.

Lewis who was a member of the board said the Directors had refused to sign a document sent to them to make official the transfer of control of Gravel & Concrete from government to the Trinidad company.

He spoke of the senior government minister summoning the Board to a meeting on October 6 to inform that a resolution will be sent to the Directors to effect the transfer and manage the change in the ownership of the new entity.

“…What is insulting is that the Minister, Hon. Gregory Bowen would find the courage, I can’t describe it any other way, to instruct the board that the document that would be sent ought to be signed without any questions being asked”, Lewis said.

“It was pointed out that it is unfair and unreasonable to request any directive to just sign a document without knowing the content of what he or she is signing or getting into or what impact it will have”, he added.

The TAWU leader expressed the view that the directors have an obligation under law to form their own independent opinions to ensure that the Gravel & Concrete arrangement was not “a case of jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.”

He said, “While it is for the government to decide on the policy or a change in the nature of ownership, the Board of Directors is charged with responsibility of ensuring that any particular transaction is in the best interest of the corporation.

“TAWU strongly holds the view that any change regarding national assets must be brought to the attention of the general public and we contend that this was not done and this is what gives rise to the serious contention that we have.

“The government has shown blatant disregard in the union’s view for the manner in which our national asset has been disposed of.

“We know that we have (an) obligation to ensure that we have (some) idea of what is being done and no one will force us or put a gun to our heads and even if you put a gun to our heads because ultimately that’s what it boils down to, figuratively speaking, no one would get us to just sign a document that we are not comfortable with.

THE NEW TODAY understands that a new board was put together by government and signed the document the former board had refused to sign in order to hand over control of Gravel & Concrete to the Trinidad company.

General Secretary Patterson told reporters that the only information the union has is that land belonging to the state body will be leased and not sold to the company.

He described it as a potentially “messy arrangement” between the two parties and cited a previous government agreement with GRENLEC.

“Right now, we don’t know if this one is better or worse because no one knows the details…some of the details we know could have frightening implications.

“We cannot lose sight of the fact that this is a mining industry. We’ve been told so officially that the lands will be leased but lease arrangements are not used in mining. The reason being, at the end of the lease period what you lease may not exist because it’s gone, it’s mined out.

“Whether it is oil you dealing with or any sort of mining because it is the actual assets that is being removed and you have no control (over) what is removed within one year or next year or if all is removed in the first year…you have no control over that.”

According to Patterson the Gravel & Concrete deal with the Trinidad company has resulted in the two main producers of construction blocks in the country are from the neighbouring twin island republic.

He also said that this turn of event means that most companies in Grenada are not locally owned.

“We know that it has been announced that ANSA McAL of Trinidad is now exporting blocks to Grenada and selling in Grenada”, he said.

According to Patterson, foreign companies are now in control of the banking industry, insurance and telecommunications companies.

“…Mostly everything else gone, utilities other than NAWASA gone… if you have to buy blocks, you either buy it from ANSA McAL or you buy it from this new company (that) is Trinidadian owned…”, he said.

“…That must worry me as a citizen of Grenada. It is of grave concern to us that everything seems to be going oversees…meaning that we are here but we can only buy (from) foreign entities”, he added.

THE NEW TODAY understands Gravel & Concrete will be renamed GravCon following its takeover by the Trindadians.

The NNP regime has been under pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to sell loss-making state bodies as part of the 3-year Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP).

GNCRC: Challenges facing our children

United Nations Universal Children’s Day was established in 1954 and is celebrated on November 20th each year to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children’s welfare.

The Grenada National Coalition on the Rights of the Child (GNCRC) stands in solidarity and joins with the local, regional and international communities in recognising our children here in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

November 20th is an important date as it is the date in 1959 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. It is also the date in 1989 when the UN General assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Since 1990, Universal Children’s Day also marks the anniversary of the date that the UN General Assembly adopted both the declaration and the convention on children’s rights.

As an advocacy organisation we are mindful to promote what is in the best interest of children at all times. We are aware of the challenges in regard to the fulfillment and enjoyment of those rights within the CRC.

Mothers and fathers, teachers, nurses and doctors, government leaders and civil society activists, religious and community elders, corporate moguls and media professionals as well as young people and children themselves can play an important part in making Universal Children’s Day relevant for their societies, communities and nations.

GNCRC calls for an inclusive approach by all stakeholders in addressing these social challenges and sometimes abuses that’s facing our children today.

Even as we celebrate today we are ever reminded of the many abuses, which our children are experiencing.

The most recent, Ariel Bhola: has generated national outrage. We continue to promote and protect the rights of all children. As part of our advocacy through education and awareness, we again invite the general public – all sectors of it – to embrace our ongoing campaign: “Safeguarding our Children”. A campaign, that calls on adults and parents/guardians, to ensure that all our children are protected from all forms of abuse.

Universal Children’s Day offers each of us an inspirational entry-point to advocate, promote and celebrate children’s rights, translating into dialogues and actions that will build a better world for Children.

$5000 Fine for Cocaine

A fine of $5000 was placed on a St. George man and a St. John resident after they pleaded guilty before Chief Magistrate Tamara Gill to the charge of Trafficking of a Controlled Drug.

28-year old Dwight Richards of Mont Toute and 30-year-old Aundrell Raeburn of Gouyave, St. John were charged in June along with Patrick Cornell of Mont Toute with Possession of 80 grammes of Cocaine with a street value of $8000.00.

Dwight Richards and Aundrell Raeburn were fined for cocaine possession

The trio appeared at St. George’s No. 1 Magistrate’s Court on Monday when the charge of trafficking of a controlled drug was read to them while the previous charge of Possession was dropped.

A guilty plea was entered by Richards who is represented by Defense Attorney, Peter David and also Raeburn who retained attorney-at-law, Francis Williams in the matter.

However, Cornell pleaded not guilty as there was no evidence to convict him of the offence and the charge was dismissed against him.

THE NEW TODAY understands that the drug was found inside the Mont Toute home of Richards in both solid and liquid forms.

In pleading for leniency for his client, Attorney David told the court that Richards has no previous convictions and although he is employed in auto mechanics, the act of dealing with the illegal drug was just “temptation of making an extra dollar.”

David asked the Chief Magistrate to give his client a second chance to continue providing for his eight-month old baby.

Like David, Attorney Williams told the court that Raeburn had no previous convictions, had made a mistake and was the sole provider for his four children.

He felt that a fine was most appropriate for drug possession so that he can continue taking care of his children.

Chief Magistrate Gill took into consideration the fact that the two accused admitted responsibility for their actions through their guilty pleas.

She imposed fines of $5000.00 on each of them to be paid in five months, failing which they will serve two years at Her Majesty’s Prison at Richmond Hill.