The Third Sector Forum

The NGO Caribbean Development Foundation (NCDF) is launching The Third Sector Forum, a series of workshops in the Eastern Caribbean focusing on institutional strengthening for NGOs and other charities. The agenda will focus on aspects of NGO Governance and management, which will include fundraising strategies and grant proposals.

The Forum will also be used as an opportunity for NGOs to contribute to the discussion on the future role of the NGO sector in the region.

The Grenada Forum will be held on April 9thth & 10th, 2018 from 11am to 4 pm, at the Coyaba Beach Hotel in Grand Anse.

The Forum will be facilitated by the President and Vice President of the NGO Caribbean Development Foundation

Carol Daniel
President

Witek Hebanowksi
Vice President



The Forum will be free to those wishing to participate.

There will be a coffee break

To register for the Forum please email your name and contact details to:

tsfgren@ngocaribbean.org.

The NGO Caribbean Development Foundation would like to thank The British Foreign and Commonwealth office for its support of the Third Sector Forum.

NNP dominated the NDC party on Tuesday night

The ruling New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell continued its dominance of electoral politics in Grenada with another clean sweep of all fifteen seats in Tuesday’s general elections.

Rae Roberts – the popular trade unionist was not
victorious on March 13

By 6.30 p.m, it was clear that the NNP was remaining in office as its candidates had built up substantial leads in results from the declared polling stations.

The only Congress candidate who came close to a win was party leader, former Finance Minister, Nazim Burke who was locked in a tight battle for the St. George North-east seat with Tobias Clement who had defeated him in 2013.

Burke fell short by 126 votes as he secured 2495 votes in comparison with Clement who polled 2621 ballots.
Hours before, the former Finance Minister in the 2008-13 Congress government appeared confident that his party could win the election and form the new government.

As he went to the St. Mary’s Junior School in Tempe on Election Day to vote, Burke told reporters that the prospect looked good for NDC and they were committed to not letting down the people of Grenada.

“The day is finally come and the people finally get to decide what kind of government they want for Grenada. We feel encouraged by what we have seen so far, we feel quite optimistic that things will work out according to plan and we are happy”, he said.

The Congress leader was confident that his team had done the work needed to come out victorious at the polls.

“I think whatever the outcome of the race I feel assured that we gave it our very best shot. As you know, we are coming from way behind – we had no seats in the Parliament and we of course cannot match the ruling party with resources. So, we had to fight a very smart campaign, a very strategic campaign, a very clean campaign…it’s all about public confidence and I think we did the best we could have done in the circumstances,” he said.

Incoming representative for the Town of St. George, Peter David after casting his ballot

Of the 57, 029 persons who voted on Tuesday, the NNP secured 33, 786 votes and NDC 23, 243 virtually the same figure like in 2013.

Burke told reporters before the results were announced that his Congress team of Candidates was ready to serve with a purpose.

He said: “The uppermost thing on my mind is first of all putting together the team of people that will run the government…we have already considered that question of course but having the right people in the right places is most important because I told the team already we cannot afford to let down the Grenadian people, they have been disappointed for too long by succeeding governments, we must get it right this time and if we were to form the government with God’s help that’s exactly what we’re going to do…we will ensure that we do all the things that are necessary to regain and retain the confidence of the Grenadian people”.

The NDC had high hopes going into the elections with newcomer Ray Roberts who was up against Nicholas Steele, the son of a businessman from the well-to-do Lance Aux Epines area.

Steele won the South St. George constituency by 857 votes as he polled 3536 to Roberts’ 2679.

After casting his vote on Tuesday, Roberts told reporters that the experience of running for public office was an enriching one.

“It’s been eight weeks of a learning experience. I think I have learnt a lot. I realise that many times we talk in society but we don’t have the reality of what’s on the ground.

“I think I am a better person in terms of the human being having engaged people who are rich, people who are in poverty, people who are looking for jobs, looking for betterment and their plight and their suffering. I think I have a greater feeling (of) empathy with those people…

“If I am lucky to be elected or blessed to be elected, I certainly will be one of the people who keep that commitment, not to be favoured but I have learnt a lot and I will really cherish the opportunity.

“It’s been an intriguing experience and I would encourage many more people to go that part. I think Grenada would be better off because I think many more people will have a real life understanding of what the people need…”.

Attorney-at-law Peter David, who was the NNP winning candidate for the town of St. George also spoke with the local media after casting his vote on Tuesday.

Political Leader of the NDC, Nazim Burke and his wife Jacqueline Sealy Burke after they voted on Tuesday

The controversial but confident looking David who once held the powerful position of General Secretary in NDC said that he was already seeing the victory in front of him.

“I feel confident. The reports coming out is that we are optimistic that we can pull it off and …we’re looking to pull it off big, so I am confident”, he said.

“We both know that it is not good to be over confident but…at this stage we feel good that we are going to take the town of St. George,” he added.

However, when asked about his plans for the town of St. George if returned to the positions he held from the 2003 and 2008 elections, David was rather cautious.

“Everybody knows me not to be very tribal in my approach. The same plans I had before that I was not able to fulfill, I will be looking at them. I think the key thing for me now is to pool the people together in the town of St. George if I win and let’s have a discussion about the future because it’s the same thing I have been saying nationally that what we need to do is to pool people together…let’s have a conversation,” he said.

David received 1616 votes to defeat his nearest challenger, female attorney-at-law, Claudette Joseph (NDC) who ended up with 789 votes.

THE NEW TODAY visited several polling stations on Election Day but many voters were reluctant to be interviewed by the media.

However, one person who spoke complained about long lines and the disorganised approach from officials of the Parliamentary Elections Office at many polling stations.

“The process was too long. I have been there for over three-and-a-half hours and I had problems with the list in terms of where I am supposed to go and vote but I made a wise choice”, he said.

Another voter remarked: “Since ten to 6 I was here, I had problems. The people were disorganised because they should have lines telling you where to go. This is the first time I am voting in Grenada because I live in America for over forty years …well to tell you the truth I voted for the NNP.”

“The process was long – over three hours in the line, they are not organised. I voted wisely, I voted for country, I voted for my children and grandchildren, I voted for truth and I had this song in my head, “Your country is my country as well’,” said another individual.

Up to the time of going to press, Prime Minister Mitchell had not announced the shape of his new Cabinet of Ministers.

Sources told THE NEW TODAY that long-standing party member, Dr. Lawrence Joseph is tipped to remain in the post of Attorney-General as his contract is due to expire in the next three to four months.

Don’t legalise the herb!!!

Grenada, the lovely land of my birth where people lived as one family.

People cared for others and bore others burdens, today things have changed to the extent that some who have climbed life’s ladder tries to throw it down on reaching the top where there is plenty of room.

There are people who have achieved much in this life and would like to leave a legacy behind. There is one person who I believe means well and has good intentions and wants to do something for his country, but at the same time, I remember the old folks said two heads are better than one.

This is the reason why I choose not to come down on Papa-Ganja when he made a renewed call for the liberalisation of GANJA.

I said before and so say I again that marijuana is presently an illegal substance if or when it is legalised it will do more harm than what is being done at this time.

Papa-Ganja suggest that it should be used in moderation – no one should expect that drug users will use drugs in moderation when it is in abundance.

Papa-Ganja also admitted that every Government has the responsibility to protect its citizens and noted that abuse of any substance is bad, but with the same mouth he has made a renewed call for the legalisation of GANJA.

Here is what I am going to suggest, since the legal chap wants to do something for his county, I am suggesting that he advise the owner of Cocode mountain to sell a portion of that mountain and donate the proceeds towards the refurbishment of the Carlton home which was devastated by hurricane Ivan and remains in a state of disrepair since then.

It is better to encourage something that can help to rehabilitate or restore health, than something that can destroy health, at the end of the day one can say that he has left a good legacy behind.

The Peasant

Bank fees!!!

I went to a particular bank to do a withdrawal over the counter. I know the amount to do that is $1.79.

However, I was astonished when I was told it had increased to $2.40. I inquired from the teller when this came into effect, I was told on February 26th, 2018.

I said but there isn’t any sign indicating the change, I was told they forgot to put up the sign.

I mentioned it is not my fault, I have to pay the increase, I would not pay it, she said it would be deducted from the withdrawal.

My point of opinion is that the banks have to put up signs indicating changes in fees so customers will be aware of what they are paying for.

Another time I went to change some money the rate on the display board says one, when I get to the teller was a different amount. I told the teller about it, she mentioned they didn’t change the sign, I asked her who should be blamed for that.

Just wanted to highlight the unjust being meted out to customers at the banks in Grenada.

Angry Customer

A mistake should be the greatest teacher

Grenada deserves what they get. No leader can go in and change what Keith created – a group of young people who want instant gratification, hand outs and a little $700 a month to keep then impoverished and right where he wants them.

Keith operates like all populist leader. You keep your people at a level so that they will always need you. You don’t enlighten them for the fear of realising that his policies are actually bad for the country, communities and families.

No different from what Gairy did. We are seeing exploitation and recolonialisation right under our noses yet we rejoice and call it development.

Our resources are sold to the highest foreign bidder, locals are stripped of their access to beaches etc. He destroyed agriculture and now our people rely on foreign imports that get them sick with cancer.

The high level of cancer and other food related diseases in Grenada is alarming. Now everyone trying to go local again but can’t afford it as the local foods are more expensive than imports.

The nation is sick and the health care system is in shambles. You pay for every doctor’s visit, and the local hospital has little or no equipment to do basic scans and medical investigations.

Our people have to turn around and pay thousands of dollars for simple, simple test. No control. Everyone could open a private medical practice without the appropriate scrutiny.

The people with money will fly away but most can’t because you live in a state with 30% unemployment and among the youth population it is 70%.

Yet we have people jumping up behind a leader because he fixed a little road just before an election; because he kept bringing foreigners who are exploiting our people and our resources; because he could dance and act the fool; because he could sit on the side of the road and be comfortable drinking with the boys; because he has questionable connections and is able to lay his hand on enough money to keep a few happy.

I can go on and on but that is what our people called development. So, let them get their development.

The place will have to crash and burn for people to truly realise the shit they are in. But as the old adage says a mistake should be the greatest teacher.

Uncle Teacher

Silver Sands Phase 2

Permit me to draw to your attention to the Bill Board which has been recently erected in the Riviera Lot adjoining Camehogne Park – Silver Sands Phase 2.

There are reports that surveying of the road area has been taking place over the last few weeks. There are suggestions that the road will be relocated. What is now Wall Street will be replaced by the road.

We can now make some deductions as to why the BUS STOP was moved to its present location. The round about will disappear and the road leading to Journey’s end will be closed off to traffic. This suggests colleagues that access to Camerhogne Park will be affected.

There are also suggestions that the PLAYING FIELD (note that it was FENCED OFF more than a year ago under the supposedly football competition that was held here) will be converted to entertainment facilities for tourists.

This is in keeping with the plans noted on the Blue Growth Master Plan.

We are being PUSHED OUT of OUR space – the green spaces and ultimately the Grand Anse Beach!

To be forewarned is to be forearmed!

Sandra Ferguson

AN ALERT!!!

A tidal wave of grave questions surrounding the Grenada General Elections of March 13, 2018 have been received and are surfacing all across the Globe.

Many of these are being now directed to Investigative Reporters & Government Agencies, as well as to the United Nations. Grenada under massive Scrutiny: that is the call for action.

There are remarks trending; that people do “Smell a Skunk ” over the questionable voter fraud potential. It is indeed an alarming crisis level concern & intervention need issue.

There are vast speculations and allegations as to the depth and level of corruption in Grenada.

We in fact have been structured to investigate this very issue & this Organization, which too many people refer now as a “Criminal Enterprise”.

That level of rampant corruption, at nearly every single step of that corrupt activity generates massive amounts of side money that can be diverted for own gain, for other objectives or to perhaps “Steal an Election”.

Dirty, corrupt money buys strength, power and control within a shady Enterprise; as is quite evident by the behaviour and the continued & rising allegations of wrongdoing in Grenada.

It is alleged that millions of dollars from the sale of diplomatic passports, an illegal side activity – instead of deposited to the Treasury are redirected to pay bribes, buy votes, perhaps threaten violent muscle or to strengthen power.

Equally, sweet job offers are another bait and hook tactics in exchange for votes & for mass tribal control.
Of course, these are each & all hypothetical examples; rather than proven facts. Kickbacks and bribe income is the other constant but variable concern of the Enterprise in St. George’s.

GRENADA SCRUTINY can cite numerous other such operations; but for investigative purposes – any other references to same will not be detailed at this time.

Meetings are being held to discuss any Legal, Diplomatic as well as Political actions to bring this Epic Corruption on the Radar and to help dismantle and to expose locally and globally this troubling & dangerous alledged Epidemic of Corruption in St. George’s.

Please be guided accordingly.

M. Alexander

GRENADA SCRUTINY

NAWASA needs major surgery

Would you believe it? Grenada has been awash with rain for almost a month but we experienced in the Radix area cuts to our water supply for approximately 18 hours of our first week in the country.

The week that followed we had some dry and sunny days so the experience was two consecutive days for approximately 12 hours without mains supply and this week, beginning Monday 5th March, the skies opened from above from about midday with torrential rain causing major flash flooding throughout St George’s yet in Radix we had our water supply cut off for approximately forty-eight hours continuously.

Water supply or water shortage is normally an issue in areas of the world where experience of prolong dry spells happen; here in Grenada we are blessed with plenty of heavy sharp showers of rain throughout the year including what is known as our dry season so why have we got to put up with this discrimination of crude cuts to our water supply by this monopoly?

After approximately 36 hours without water on the mains, I decided to telephone the Water Authority to find out when supply will be restored. The person who took the call (a woman) very politely passed me onto another woman who I must say was also polite until I asked the question after giving my name.

“The water supply to Radix has been cut off permanently for about 36 hours now, could you tell me when supply will be restored please?”

The phone immediately became dead: no reply from the woman at the other end and she just cut me off.

If that’s the kind of customer service this monopoly utility has to offer for a lifeline service such as water then we Joe Public are entitled to demand changes at the top. My late granny used to say: “Fish starts to rotten from the head.”

This is a very sick authority that needs major surgery. We need to cut out the bad bits and keep the good bits together with a drastic transformation programme over a specified time scale.

Two to three decent size reservoirs need to be planned and constructed for the long term since they are evidence on a daily basis that demand for mains supply water is on the increase and this will continue to be the case for many years to come.

Perhaps the directors of NAWASA could tell us what are their future plans for meeting the spiralling demand for mains water especially in the Parish of St George?

This is an authority with an extremely poor customer service record as far as I am concern. This authority installed a water meter to my property without my permission and without telling anyone for well over a year.

The matter came to a head when some 18 months after the installation a demand for over $2,500 was made for payment within a few days otherwise the supply will be cut off. No one at the property understood the demand because the bills of $35 per month based on the rateable value was paid on demand each month.

When the demand was questioned and disputed we were told how long the meter was installed and based on its reading that sum was owed to NAWASA based on usage and it must be paid immediately.

When we questioned the delay in billing based on metering we were told that NAWASA system was not in place and up and running to bill by metering until such time.

This is a badly run public utility authority that is in need of major surgery and I hope the government of the day will take heed and act in the best interest of the general public.

Winston Strachan

Significant oil and gas found in Grenada’s territorial waters

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has announced that a significant amount of oil and gas resources have been discovered in the islands territorial waters.

Large crowd came out in support of the NNP-sponsored event at Pearl’s airstrip

Dr. Mitchell, who is seeking a 5th consecutive term as Prime Minister of Grenada, made the announcement ahead of Tuesday’s general election, while addressing scores of supporters at the Pearl’s airstrip on Sunday, during the final New National Party (NNP) rally, which brought the curtain down on the 2018 election campaign.

However, on Monday, the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) described the announcement as a continued display of Mitchell’s “lack of understanding that there is a difference between (being) the party leader of the New National Party (NNP) and the (role of)) Prime Minister of our nation.”

In commenting on the recent development at the weekly NDC press briefing in St. George’s, Party Chairman, Vincent Roberts said that the Prime Minister has once again showed “how manipulative he is and trying to use national state information for his selfish political gain”.

“We are of the opinion that the discovery of oil and gas, natural resources belonging to the people of Grenada required a national announcement and not being politicised and presented as a trick in the bag to win votes,” he told reporters.

Roberts said the NDC is convinced that the Grenadian people can see through Dr. Mitchell’s “selfish actions”.

He also expressed the view that the NNP “cannot be trusted to manage those resources,” and pointed to what he described as the “mismanagement of the distribution of ply board, housing material, doors and windows” during the election campaign and asked – “what will become of our oil and gas?”

PM Mitchell told party supporters that the discovery was made recently by Russian-based oil and gas exploring company, the controversial Global Petroleum Group (GPG).

“GPG was the only one (company) that satisfied and met the conditions that we set (prior to the 2008 elections) so we went into arrangement with them,” Dr. Mitchell told the gathering of supporters.

“Elections came in 2008, the Minister of Finance then, (Nazim Burke), instead of pursuing the oil and gas, proceeded to ask the fellahs to lie on me and Gregory Bowen saying that they gave us a bribe, but of course there was no such bribe, so the people refused,” he remarked.

“For 5 years, Nazim (Burke) supported Grenada being taken to court for over a billion dollars and he refused to defend the country…we were in opposition…Gregory, myself and some friends of ours, raised the money to pay lawyers”, he said.

According to PM Mitchell, Grenada won the case against US Oil speculator, Jack Grynberg, who had filed the civil lawsuit against former Energy Minister Gregory Bowen in New York for $500 million.

Grynberg claimed that Grenada reneged on an agreement signed in 1996 to allow him to pursue oil exploration in its waters.

Dr. Mitchell recalled that the “bold-faced Nazim get up on TV and say Grenada won. Sisters and brothers, that is the state of the mindset of Nazim Burke.”

In making the announcement of oil and gas discovery, Dr. Mitchell said: “After all the headaches, one well was drilled,” adding that “there were results (from GPG’s exploring activities), that we wanted to confirm before we make a noise.

“Sisters and brothers, the report said that we have found significant gas and oil in the waters of Grenada in one well so far. Sisters and brothers, you know what that means for your future. It means a lot for the future of the country”, he added.

The OECD: a robust response required

Small states, including those in the Caribbean, are justifiably troubled by the continuous efforts by the member-states of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to cripple every initiative they take in the financial services sector.

Indeed, it is true to say that the OECD has become as intimidating and odious an acronym as the IMF was in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Under the guise of stopping financing of terrorism and money laundering, the OECD has extended its reach in to sovereign states that strangle their rights and stifles their efforts in almost every area of finance and banking.

Picking-off these small states, one after the other, the OECD has effectively imposed its will on all of them, so much so that when governments acquiesce to the demands of the OECD or the Commission of the European Union (whose members constitute most of the membership of the OECD), their representatives claim it as a victory.

More than one Caribbean government has trumpeted their signing-up to the OECD or EU Commission demands as some sort of virtue while, indeed, they agree to remove all incentives from international business corporations, causing them to shut down, and, thus, depriving their countries of desperately needed revenues.

There has been – and sadly remains – a lack of solidarity among all the affected countries. So, there is no effort to pool their intellectual knowledge and experience to create a solid negotiating position which they could jointly adopt with the OECD.

Even in the OECD Global Forum, which is dominated by the OECD countries with the nominal participation of small states, there is no effort by the small jurisdictions to develop a single position and to adopt a joint negotiating strategy.

Now, the OECD is going after “residency” programmes and “Citizenship by Investment Programmes (CIPs)” in the Caribbean and elsewhere.

This new assault will affect half the member-states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Lucia operate CIPs, and The Bahamas and Barbados have residency-by-investment (RBI) programs.

On February 19, the OECD issued a “consultation document” on preventing the abuse of residence by investment schemes to circumvent reporting on the financial assets of their nationals.

Despite the fact that thousands of people subscribe to these programmes for legitimate reasons, the OECD argument is that the programmes could create opportunities for tax evaders.

The OECD is now soliciting public information to get evidence on the misuse of the CBI/RBI schemes and on effective ways for preventing such abuse. They will get organized testimony from organizations that are dedicated to high taxation.

The stage is already set for a conclusion that the CBI/RBI programmes are porous for tax evasion and other forms of financial crime, and, therefore, the OECD should require jurisdictions to discontinue them or face “counter measures”.

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