Police Seize $600, 000 in Drugs

The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) is investigating the discovery of 289 pounds of compressed marijuana, in what has been dubbed as the first major drug haul for 2018.

The drugs were found hidden in some bushes in St. David’s

Information reaching THE NEW TODAY is that Officers attached to the Drug Squad discovered the illegal substance last week Friday hidden in some bushes on the property of the Bel Air Plantation Resort in Corinth, St. David.

The abandoned hotel has not been in operation since its destruction by Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.

According to an informed source, the police officers were able to make the discovery, with assistance from the security personnel stationed on the compound which is overlooking a secluded beach.

This newspaper understands that approximately 10 bags containing the illegal substance, along with a grey and blue, with red stripe fishing vessel, which was found anchored on the secluded bay and a white Subaru station wagon, registration number PG912, were confiscated and taken to the St. David’s Police Station.

The drugs carry an estimated street value of EC$654, 296.

Up until press time on Wednesday, there was no information on whether any arrests have been made by the police in connection with the discovery of the drugs.

Spice recognises outstanding staff performance

Spice Island Beach Resort has again rewarded its stars for their consistent excellent performance.

Sir Royston and Lady Hopkin with Supervisor of the Year Jomel Dumont

The resort held its 2017 Annual Staff Awards function on Monday with a number of its employees receiving recognition and high praise for their outstanding performance over the years and throughout 2017 in particular.

“The accolades we receive year after year from our guests and industry partners are as a direct result of the loyalty, dedication and hard work of my staff who are really my extended family,” said Sir Royston.

“No company could ask for a more committed team and as an employer of over 230 Grenadians, I am proud of what we have been able to achieve together,” he added.

The top spot went to a member of the culinary team, Employee of the Year Nathalie Stafford, with Andy Andrew of the Maintenance department as runner-up.

The resort’s Janissa’s Spa Supervisor Jomel Dumont received the Supervisor of the Year award.

(l-r) Sir Royston Hopkin KCMG; Shawna Williams, Guest Services Champion of the Year; Lady Hopkin

The Chairman’s Awards went to Head Chef Jesson Church, Food & Beverage Manager Fabian Mitchell, Front Office Manager Hermian Griffith and Senior Sous Chef Brenda Joseph.
Donnette McQueen received the Middle Management Award.

Each department honoured its top employee where Curlyn Campbell, Dale Charles, Marshanna Frank, Devon Frederick, Abby Samuel and Godfrey Pierre were recognised for their consistent outstanding performances in their individual departments.

The resort also acknowledged the impact of its employees on its guests, based on the number of times guests mentioned their names on their feedback cards upon departure.

Shawna Williams was awarded the Guest Services Champion of the Year for having stood out the most in the opinion of guests with Michael Charles as the runner-up.

Employee of the Year Nathalie Stafford

Other employees who were shown appreciation for their outstanding pleasant interaction with guests and their colleagues were Leroy Thomas, Beverly Henry-Smith, Kera Calliste, Dwight Frank and Kenroy Lewis.

Special recognition awards went to Malon Richards, Atwell Redhead, Andre Victor and Theodel Duncan.

The event saw the distribution of awards valued in total of over EC$45,000.00 including cash prizes, accommodation and vacation prizes at resorts both in Grenada and overseas, including stays at the luxury Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne in Miami along with other resorts in the region, smartphones and numerous gift certificates, was well received by all employees.

The battle is on

Grenadians are entering the most crucial weekend since the start of the new year with Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell expected to give the date for the much-anticipated general election on Sunday at the Beausejour playing field in his St. George North-west constituency.

The ruling New National Party (NNP) will also be using the occasion to publicly launch its last three candidates to contest seats in the elections – Prime Minster Mitchell himself, as well as his long-standing political colleague Gregory Bowen (St. George South-east) and the controversial Peter David (Town of St. George).

The date of the poll will set the stage for the start of the official period of campaigning by the New National Party (NNP) and the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to land the seat at power in the Botanical Gardens for the next five years.

NDC will be taking its political platform to the Carenage on Sunday as a show of support for barrister-at-law, Claudette Joseph who is its candidate for the Town of St. George against Peter David, a two-time winner of the seat.

Congress officials are predicting an election date sometime between February 27 and March 9.

The campaigning so far by both NNP and NDC have so far been lacking in debates on major issues confronting the country.

Dr. Mitchell and NNP have been engaged in a platform of “dancing” and making pleas to the electorate to give them another five years in office “to continue with the progress”.

The NDC has been attacking the NNP’s performance especially its track record of austerity measures including over 28 tax measures as part of a Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) with the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Political observers expect the NDC to push for a debate among the two major Political Leaders on the issues that should be at centre stage in the campaigning.

One political analyst told this newspaper that he believes Prime Minister Mitchell will be very reluctant to go “toe-to-toe” with Congress leader, Nazim Burke in an intellectual battle.

“Honestly, I think (Burke) will destroy (Dr. Mitchell) in a debate on the issues. (Dr. Mitchell) is extremely weak intellectually. (Dr. Mitchell) is also very weak on simple things. Look at his response to the debt to GDP ratio issue. I have been questioning his (Dr. Mitchell) academic credentials for years now”, he said.

This is a clear reference to Prime Minister Mitchell’s refusal to give a clear figure on the current national debt and resorting to giving a drop in the debt to GDP ratio.

The Prime Minister also incensed a section of the public when he told a youth meeting that the size of the debt should not matter to anyone but the country’s ability to service the debt.

Former Prime Minister and ex-NDC Political Leader, Tillman Thomas got into the debate and accused PM Mitchell of engaging in “voodoo” economics by refusing to give the exact figure of the national debt.

As both the NDC and NNP get ready for campaign 2018, a lawsuit has been filed against both of them by economist Lincoln St. Louis, a former President of the now defunct Grenada United Labour Party (GULP), who accused them of “fiscal mismanagement” of the island’s economy in the past 20 years given the massive national debt.

Local talk-show host Kem Jones in a Facebook Live broadcast stated that Prime Minister Mitchell is visionless and lacks the ideas and energy to take on the challenges of Grenada for another full term.

Citing the lack of grown in agriculture, wasted opportunities in manufacturing and weakening trade opportunities, Jones suggested that it is now time to move forward with new leadership and away from 71-year old Dr. Mitchell, who has served over 18 years as Prime Minister of the country.

Jones also alluded to Dr. Mitchell seemingly preference for Russian investors in Grenada’s oil and gas and in the nutmeg trade.

The NNP won all 15 elected seats in Parliament at the last general elections in February 2013.

Dr. Mitchell has signalled his intention to repeat with the boast that NNP will once again play “greedy” and that NDC will have to fight hard to win even one seat on polling day.

Med student earns $10,000 scholarship to SGU

by Mike Pearson

For Laraib Sehrish, practising medicine is more than just dispensing medication and analysing x-rays and blood samples.As an aspiring physician, Sehrish hopes to connect with her patients on a more personal level.

Laraib Sehrish is beginning her first year of medical school at St. George’s University in Grenada. – Photo courtesy of Laraib Sehrish

“I don’t want to be a physician that just checks the patient, looks at their x-rays or looks at their blood results and just prescribes them medication,” said Sehrish, 23. “I want to be able to talk to them; I want to be able to connect with them.”

Sehrish, who spent her formative years in Stoney Creek, has embarked on an academic journey to the Caribbean nation of Grenada. She has just enrolled in her first year of medical school at St. George’s University, near the island’s southern coast.

Originally from Pakistan, Sehrish came to Canada in 2007 with her parents and three brothers. She completed her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology last year at McMaster University.

Before arriving in Grenada on Jan. 2, Sehrish entered an online video contest adjudicated by the Admissions Committee at St. George’s University.

Featuring short clips of patients undergoing life-changing medical procedures, Sehrish’s video underscores the importance of empathy in medicine. In November, St. George’s University announced that Sehrish was among those selected to receive a $10,000 scholarship.

Sehrish learned a great deal about empathy while accompanying her mother – who is living with lupus – on various medical appointments.

“Lupus is the kind of disease that’s very unpredictable, and it is not just revolving around your body systems, it is also your lifestyle, the stress levels and how much you sleep,” said Sehrish.

“Empathy is one of the most important, if not the most important thing in medicine, because you need to understand where your patient is coming from.”

Sehrish also believes strongly in the importance of physical fitness.

“For me, if I’m going to become a doctor, I need to be able to connect to a person, understand where they’re coming from, putting myself in their shoes, understanding their emotional health and prescribing them and talking to them, and working with them like a therapist,” said Sehrish.

Sehrish is considering a specialty in Physiatry, a field that includes physicians who specialise in physical medicine and rehabilitation. After her two years at St. George’s, she plans to complete a clinical placement in the United States. If everything goes according to plans, she would then return to Canada to complete her medical residency.

She’s currently getting accustomed to her new surroundings and meeting students and faculty on the St. George’s University campus.

“There’s beautiful beaches here and the campus is beautiful,” said Sehrish.

After researching St. George’s University, Sehrish was impressed by the school, its faculty and its student support network.

“They make sure that we are successful, so they provide a lot of options for students who are struggling or students who might think they might not be successful,” said Sehrish.

“I think that the main focus is you have to be responsible yourself. As long as you work hard in this school you’re bound to be successful, you’re bound to get good grades and you’re bound to get a job after (graduation). You just have to be on top of things and you have to be very responsible on your own.”

(Mike Pearson is Editor of the Stoney Creek News. He can be reached at mpearson@hamiltonnews.com)

A#keem releases 2nd mixed tape called ‘Raggamuffin’

Grenada’s fast rising Urban Reggae artiste, A#keem, has released his second mixed tape entitled “Raggamuffin,” which features seven original songs, with the start of the New Year.

A#keem on the cover of Raggamuffin

A#keem, whose given name is Akeem David Abraham, has since the debut of his first mixed tape “Feel Good Music” in 2015, attacked the music industry with uplifting musical content, hoping to effect permanent positive change with his music.

“Raggamuffin, was written to be an anthem to persons who dare to stand firm in the name of righteous livity and to those who stand firm behind their words,” A#keem said in a recent interview with THE NEW TODAY.

“I realise there is not a good enough message out here for the youths anymore, so I started working on positive music and in January 2015, I decided to use my talents and abilities to affect permanent and positive change with music,” said the Grand Anse, St. George resident, who wrote and performed all seven songs on the mixed tape, which features local singer Tammy Baldeo and Jelena Niko, a singer from the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

The mixed tape was produced by Lion Riddims, mixed by D Vault Studio and Top Level Recording and mastered by Andrew Denny (De Red Boyz), with Spice Concoction as the Executive Producer.
Before making his way to the national radio waves with his debut mixed tape, A#keem spent his days experiencing life.

Prior to the shift to urban reggae, A#keem spent a great deal of his musical journey as a Pop & RnB artiste. Then after years of searching and self-discovery, he finally found his comfort zone, which was combining Pop, RnB and Reggae music.

He has performed locally at events such as the highly anticipated ‘Ah December to Remember,’ the ‘Pure Grenada Music Festival’ and’ Ah Night of Love,’ among many others.

Some of his notable hits include: ‘World Wide Love’, ‘One Drop’, ‘Sorry Remix’, ‘Real Love’, ‘Individual’ and ‘Back to Afrika’.

A#keem started singing in the church choir at a very young age and later began to use music to express himself.

He said that while studying electrical engineering in neighbouring Trinidad, “I discovered myself and discovered that there was a problem in the world whereby, people don’t have the right influence around them anymore”.

He also sought to compare the quality of music played on the airwaves during his school boy days to what is currently being aired.

In 2015, he landed a contract with Spice Concoction Entertainment and Event Management company, managed by Angus Steele, which has brought him “great success” along his musical journey.

April 2015 saw the release of his first mixed tape, which featured 8 original songs along with Grenadian artiste ‘Deva.’

“Thus far, I have landed some amazing collaborations with persons in Jamaica and Antigua. I have worked with producers from Nigeria (and) all kinds of places (that) I never thought I would reach and I give thanks to Mr. Angus and Spice Concoctions for that,” said A#keem, who has released five music videos in the last two years.

Last October, the versatile musician made his debut in Trinidad as an actor, in a musical called ‘Cone of a Musical,’ which he said was written by Dr. Carl Spencer.

“It was a really incredible experience and I learned a lot not just about music but a different aspect…I learned a greater appreciation for expressing your words, when you say something someone is supposed to feel that word and feel the emotion attached to that word,” he said.

“I am really grateful for that opportunity and I accept every chance I get to learn and take what I can to further excel in my career,” he added.

A#keem also pointed out that even though, “acting was not exactly up my ally…it (his acting debut) was such an extraordinary experience, I am very interested now in becoming an actor.

As he continues on his musical journey, it is A#keem’s hope to continue promoting positive change and livity through his music.

The Last Bolshevik

Nothing is more pitiable than a man in his senior years being forced to genuflect before the enemy he spent his life fighting.

Nothing is more disgusting than when such a man does so with the greatest vulgarity.

When that happens former acquaintances are forced to shake their heads in disbelief and ask themselves if they had been misreading this individual all along. After all, he was supposed to be the hardest hard, the Last Bolshevik.

But opportunism is a hell of a thing! And the opportunist will always find ways to justify his disgusting behaviour, claiming he is acting in the national good or for some patriotic sounding cause like Project Grenada.

He will desperately try to cling on to his working class mask by singing a song about being in alliance with a government that is friendly to the working class.

How working class friendly is a government that crassly violates Grenada’s Labour Code when it comes to matters like Contract Labour?

And how working class friendly is a government that has a long history of violating the rights of public servants from Richard Duncan to Gemma Bain-Thomas?

How working class friendly is a government that imposed 28 taxes and levies on the backs of Grenada’s working people sinking many into poverty?

And how working class friendly is a government that is prepared to sell off the last public recreation space on Grand Anse Beach or give away Grenada’s hydro carbon reserves?

History will judge, but the working class has already pronounced on Chester Humphrey’s betrayal. Chester Humphrey stands indicted as a man who rode on the backs of the Grenadian working class for his own aggrandisement.

His rhetoric in the media over the years about the rights of workers and his threats of national shut down all sound very hollow now, even quixotic when measured against the current image of this former revolutionary shamelessly decked off in colonial wig presiding over the Senate.

It must pain Chester greatly that he has lost the adulation he once enjoyed from his own trade union base. It must be even more unsettling for him to come to terms with the fact that he is actually despised by workers at workplaces like the airport, NAWASA, GRENLEC and SGU.

How bitter it must be for him to deal with the rejection he now suffers at May Day Celebrations to the extent that he is booed resoundingly every time he attempts to speak at this event.

It is one thing for an aging trade union activist to cynically announce that he does not want to die as penniless as Tubal Uriah Butler. It is another thing to sell one’s soul to the devil. At least Butler died with his integrity intact.

Ray Roberts is right. Maurice Bishop must be turning over in his grave when he sees the kind of Sell-Outs Chester and Peter David have revealed themselves to be.

So, Comrade Boom Chest, Last Bolshevik, Self Proclaimed Atheist and Puppet President of the Senate take a bow and give the revolutionary salute as we march towards March 13th and General Elections and let us all say together:

“Forward NEVER, Backward EVER,  Long Live Selfishness and OPPORTUNISM!”

Revolutionary Comrade

U.S. Dreamers awakening to nightmare

Following the increase in the number of persons being deported to Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries, the region might soon be facing another surge of returned migrants from the United States of America. This time it could be the so-called “Dreamers” – persons who arrived as children in the U.S. illegally but who have lived there all their lives.

The total number of Dreamers is unknown and the exact Caribbean component is uncertain. We have some idea of the possible total number, because it is established that 690,000 of them currently have work permits that are under threat of withdrawal, paving the way for their deportation.

Whatever the actual number of the Dreamers, the Caribbean-born ones are casualties of U.S. President Donald Trump’s policy to crack down on illegal immigration. As part of this policy, Mr Trump is seeking to end the directive of his predecessor, Barack Obama, that deferred action for childhood arrivals. The Obama administration had taken the position that, since the Dreamers came to the U.S. as children, through no fault of their own, and had lived their entire lives in the U.S., they should be allowed to remain in the U.S. with a pathway to citizenship.

Mr Trump’s policy should come as no surprise to the Dreamers themselves or to countries the world over. In the campaign leading up to his election as President, he had called the program an “illegal amnesty” and promised to eliminate it swiftly. But having assumed office as President, he let it languish for months, saying that he would treat Dreamers with “love” and try to work out a deal with Congress.

Nonetheless, it remained part of his overall pledge to stop migration into the U.S., including by building a wall on the border with Mexico for which he said Mexico would be made to pay. In the meantime, he imposed a ban on citizens of several Muslim countries and intensified a programme, started by Obama, to deport persons, convicted of criminal offences to their countries of birth.

The number of these deportees to CARICOM countries increased in 2017 over the 2016 tally, except for the Bahamas which had a decrease to 95 from 99; Trinidad and Tobago, which totalled 128 in each year, and Jamaica, which went from 787 in 2016 to 782 in 2017. Guyana, the third largest recipient of criminal deportees, increased from 93 to 137.

On September 5, 2017, the Trump administration took action against the Dreamers, announcing that it would end the Obama programme by March 2018, rescinding their work permits. But, even prior to March, the administration expanded the authority of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to seek out Dreamers nationwide. ICE, incidentally, is the same agency that targets and deports persons with criminal convictions.

Dreamers had a tenuous reprieve on January 10, when an injunction was granted by a U.S. District Judge that temporarily blocked the plans to rescind their work permits while a lawsuit, challenging the U.S. government’s decision to end the programme, is before the Court. But, the U.S. government vowed to resist the injunction, and Mr Trump called on the U.S. Congress to find a solution to the Dreamers’ issue.

Right now, this task seems extremely difficult. While many Democrat and Republican lawmakers want to produce and adopt a bipartisan proposal dealing with the issue in a way that would allow the Dreamers to continue to stay and work in the U.S., qualifying eventually for U.S. citizenship, groups that strongly supported Mr Trump’s campaign-undertakings to curb immigration, want no ceding of any concessions.

On the same day that a U.S. District Court allowed the injunction against the government, top Democrats and Republicans tried to cobble together an agreement that would resolve the fate of the Dreamers, bolster border security; make changes in legal, family-based migration; and end or revamp the lottery system under which persons could be chosen to qualify for U.S. green cards.

The deal they are seeking, essentially, is refuge for Dreamers in return for heightened security at the border, including Congressional approval to deliver the money to fund the building of the wall on the Mexican border.

That deal looked dangerously close to being still-born on January 5 when the administration gave negotiators a long list of conditions in exchange for protecting Dreamers. The list included a request for $18 billion over the next decade for the first phase of a border wall.

The Democratic Senator from Illinois, Dick Durbin, to whose tenacity I can personally attest, said, “It’s outrageous that the White House would undercut months of bipartisan efforts by again trying to put its entire wish-list of hard-line anti-immigrant bills – plus an additional $18 billion in wall funding – on the backs of these young people.”

My own view is that President Trump would like a solution to the Dreamers’ issue. Like many millions of Americans, I am sure he recognises, that apart from the place of their birth, the Dreamers are Americans in their entire life experience. It is simply hard-hearted to toss them from the U.S. to countries they do not know.

But, Mr Trump has made commitments to his more extreme supporters on immigration; they are his core group who back him regardless of media and other criticism; like all other political leaders, he has to keep them happy. Therefore, any deal on Dreamers must deliver restrictions on migration and border security to which he can point as a compromise.

Right now, that deal is not in the making, and the next few weeks might yet turn the dreams of young undocumented immigrants, who have lived all their lives in the U.S., into nightmares. Should that happen, it will harden hostility of immigrant families toward President Trump and the Republican Party.

The deportation of Caribbean-born Dreamers will also bring a sudden increase in some Caribbean populations. The region must hope that, should this occur, the disappointed Dreamers will bring productive skills and experience that could enhance Caribbean economic and social progress.

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

Three big winners at Country Cold

Country Cold Store has handed over the prizes won by persons in its 2017 Christmas Promotions.

During the month of December, customers were given the opportunity to win lots of prizes in its “Peel and Win” promotion which has been running for the past 7 years.

Winners along with General Manager of the Company, Cisley Gabriel

The first prize winner was Richie Samuel of Rambo Grocery & Bar in Paraclete who got a 16 cu ft Freezer while the second place winner was Paul Benjamin of Gouyave in St. John’s 11cu Ft freezer).

Alicia Peters of Loretto in St. John’s won the third prize – EC$500.00 worth of product – dry or frozen from Country Cold Store.

The draw for prizes took place at the Country Cold Store Mini Mart on January 5 and the official presentation and handover was done on January 9.

Speaking at the presentation, General Manager of the Company, Cisley Gabriel expressed appreciation to all their customers over the years and assured them that the high-quality products and services offered by the company over the years will not be compromised.

Country Cold Store, a family owned and operated business located in the parish of St. David’s, was founded in 1969 by James Lewis.

It prides itself as the leading importer and wholesale distributor of frozen meats in Grenada.

Mt. Hartman Bay Resort refutes allegations of exploitation of workers

Owner of the Mt. Hartman Bay Resort in Lance Aux Epines, St. George, Nikki Beckett, is refuting claims that her resort is guilty of exploiting workers to the point of not paying their National Insurance Scheme (NIS) contributions and forcing workers to do 8.00 a.m – 8.00 p.m work shifts.

A look at Mt Hartman Bay Resort in Lance Aux Epines

Beckett was responding to queries made by THE NEW TODAY newspaper in the wake of a series of allegations made by a former employee of the resort.

In exchanges via email on Monday, the small hotel operator charged that the allegations are coming from a disgruntled employee and are far from the truth.

She said the non-payment of NIS contributions was due primarily to the failure of a Manager who left the company abruptly without giving the required three months’ notice.

“Our NIS submission was late because we did not have access to the online systems due to the Manager not providing the sign-on information, but our NIS submissions have now been made and to the best of our knowledge and belief, we have paid NIS for all of our workers”, she told the newspaper.

“We hired the Services of a talented local Accountant to help us get everything straightened out”, she said.
According to Beckett, she contacted NIS on Monday herself to make sure that the resort was on top of all their payments.

Another allegation made against the management of the resort was that employees are not hired on a permanent basis but only on temporary contracts, later fired and replaced by more contract workers.
Beckett said that there is no truth to the allegation as the hotel has on staff a number of permanent employees.

“We are growing as a business and we have recently hired a new Food and Beverage Manager, a new Chef, a new Housekeeper and a new Gardener. All of those positions were ‘net new hires’, they were not replacements.

“We have a core of permanent employees who are employed year-round and they have been employed for many years. As well as hiring permanent new employees, we also take on seasonal staff and some temporary workers to deal with very busy periods as do most hotels.

“All permanent new hires have a probationary period as is usual and sometimes people do not prove to be suitable – that is rear for us but it does happen that we sometimes have to let a person go during their probationary period because they have proved unsatisfactory.

On the issue of employees forced to work for long hours with a 8.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. shift, the hotel operator stated that this only came about during the busy Christmas and New Year season.

According to Beckett, this was totally up to the workers as the Christmas and New Year season was one of the busiest for the resort and that additional temporary staff had to be taken on “to pull the load”.

“All staff knew that it would be a temporary contract. Most (but not all) permanent and temporary staff were asked to work 12 hour shifts and it was completely voluntary. If people volunteered to work 12 hour shifts, they were paid time-and-a-half for the period beyond 8 hours – they were given breaks, food and drinks.

“Anyone working on a Sunday or a Holiday was paid double time of course and many people were paid a gratuity by the guests for their Service. It was a very successful period for us and I had believed that all workers were very happy.

The small hotel owner also responded to accusations of taking employee from their designated hotel duties and turning them into her own personal maids.

Beckett denied the allegation and explained that she does not have a personal maid but has an employee training under her watch.

She went on: “Going forward we are going to be offering much more personal service to our Guests. We had advertised widely on Island for people who had training as a Butler but received very few responses so we did offer one young lady the opportunity to be trained as a Butler. Part of her training means that she is taught how to care for VIP guests and yes, she ‘practices’ on me.

“Please be entirely clear that she asked for this training and this opportunity and she very much enjoys her role. I have just spoken to her again to make sure that she is happy and still wants to be trained as a Butler and she tells me that she is really enjoying it and learning a great deal”.

The small hotel owner described as “ridiculous” the claim that she often fires employees who report sick.
Beckett told THE NEW TODAY: “I am the Owner, I am based at the property and I try to speak to every employee every day. I have an open-door policy – if anyone has any problems.

“Many of our staff has suffered with the virus that is going around the island and last week we had very many staff off sick – this week we still have people off sick but there are fewer. No one has been fired for being sick, that is just ridiculous”, she said.

The small business owner added that the resort has now hired a new General Manager who is expected to continue with the commitment given of being “a good employer.”

The making a difference initiative

Two large barrels of adult and children diapers, chucks (underpads), irrigation syringes, and school supplies, were donated last week Wednesday to the Hillview Home for the Aged, the St. George’s General Hospital and to the St. Peter’s R.C. Primary School in Gouyave.

Administrator, Sonia Duncan, and staff members at Hillview Home for the Aged, as they receive items delivered by Fr. Leroy Hopkin, facilitator

The items, intended to positively impact the education of children and the health of seniors and children, were delivered by local Roman Catholic priest, Fr. Leroy Hopkin and community leader, Judy Lewis-Joseph, on behalf of New York-based donors, Christine Grant, Cheryl Vincent, Gerry Hopkin, Burgess McPhie and Whisky Shippers & Movers, Inc.

The items include 794 diapers for the Hillsview Home, 458 chucks/under pads for Hillsview, as well as school supplies such as bags, pencils, pens, crayons, story books, writing paper/loose leaves for St. Peter’s R.C. School in Gouyave and 3 boxes of irrigation syringes for the General Hospital.

Fr. Hopkin, the parish priest at the St. David’s R.C. Church, who cleared the barrels from Customs in Grenada, is the local facilitator of the Making a Difference Initiative (MDI).

At the Hillview Home, the donated items were received in a brief handing-over ceremony, by the Administrator, Sonia Duncan and her team while at the R.C. School, Acting Principal Ian George did likewise with students and teachers in attendance.

Among the teachers present was Jean Noel, the aunt of one of the donors, Cheryl Vincent.

During the ceremonies, Fr. Hopkin commended the donors for their generosity and urged the beneficiaries to make good use of the items.

Both administrators expressed gratitude for the supplies which they noted are crucial to the execution of the services they offer.

The principal donors and organisers responsible for the sourcing of the donated items are New York-based Christine Grant, occupational therapist and business owner, Vincent, a community organiser, registered nurse, recording artiste and entrepreneur, Jerry Hopkin, a community organiser and consultant in communications, public relations, law and small business development; and McPhie, a technician, pannist, recording artiste and entrepreneur.

Acting Principal, Ian George (left), as he accepts school supply items delivered by Fr. Leroy Hopkin, facilitator

The Brooklyn-based Whisky Shippers & Movers, partnered in this initiative by providing free shipment of the barrels, while Gerry Hopkin of the Hopkins Consulting Group, LLC, provided logistical coordination.

“Making a positive difference, is what we are about, with the intended beneficiaries of the items being the children and seniors of Grenada,” said Vincent, Grant, Hopkin and McPhie, in a joint statement.

Grant, Vincent and McPhie are from Gouyave, St. John and also founding members of the historical Spice Island Youthquake (SIY) folk-liturgical group and active leading members of the longest continuously running similar Caribbean group in the Diaspora, Quake USA (an offspring of SIY).

Co-facilitator Lewis-Joseph in Grenada, is also a a founding member of SIY who hails from Gouyave.

“It is ironically interesting to note that Vincent, Grant and Lewis toured Europe in1981 with Spice Island Youthquake to raise funds for the launch of Hillsview Home for Aged,” said Fr. Hopkin.

“That initial tour, as well as others which followed, were completed under the management and direction of Fr. Oliver Leavy, Elsia Ferguson and Lauren Ramdhanny,” added Hopkin.

The Hillsview Home for the Aged, which cares for 34 seniors from various parts of Grenada, was opened in 1982.

This ‘Making a Difference Initiative’ delivery of needed items, is the second charitable donation aimed at positively impacting the lives and living conditions of children, youths and seniors in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique and the wider Caribbean.

The inaugural donation of children’s diapers and feeding bags with tubes attached, was delivered to the General Hospital in April 2017.