FAO assists with reviewing 1986 Fisheries Legislation

The Keith Mitchell-led government in St. George’s has reached out to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for assistance in reviewing the Fisheries Act of 1986, with a view towards modernization and making it more compliant with international law.

FAO Legal Officer Manuela Cuvi, during the recently held consultative meeting with fisheries stakeholders at the Allamanda Beach Resort

According to Legal Officer with the FAO, Manuela Cuvi, the review of the 32-year-old fisheries legislation is being done under the 3-year Global Environment Facility (GEF) USD 1.95 funded – Caribbean Billfish Project, which aims to reduce billfish mortality and increase billfish stocks in the Caribbean through the development of business models for long-term sustainable management of fisheries in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ).

Cuvi met recently with various stakeholders in the fisheries industry at Allamanda Beach Resort in Grand Anse, to give them an opportunity to contribute to the review process and share with them the FAO’s preliminary findings and recommendations.

“What we have done is a desk review, we have read and reviewed the legislation, together with a national lawyer but it is one thing to read what is written in the law and it is another one to know how it is being implemented in practice”, she said.

“So, we want to hear from them (stakeholders), if they agree, disagree, have more challenges than the ones we have identified, different opinions or ideas as to how things should work,” she added.

Noting that 32 years have elapsed, the FAO official stressed that a lot has happened in the world in the fisheries sector and pointed to new challenges in the fishing industry such as “illegal fishing (and) sustainability of resources and a decline in fish stock.

“The idea is how to make it more efficient and take measures so that monitoring surveillance conveyance can be better so that you can monitor the situation of the stocks …and to ensure that you have conservations measures in place that are important for the future,” she added.

A need for stronger coordination between government institutions is one area the FAO representative said the Grenada government should help strengthen in going forward.

According to Cuvi, there are different government departments with competencies and they need to complement each other better.

“For example, to prevent illegal, unreported fishing you need to have good coordination between the coast guard, the port authorities and the fisheries authorities,” she said.

Chief Fisheries Officer Crafton Isaac

Additionally, she cited need to have “better definitions about a number of things that are needed” such as the “fisheries advisory committee that is in the legislation,” which she said “needs to be strengthened in practice”.

The FAO official also pointed out that “monitoring surveillance and control systems” are also among the areas, where improvement is needed as well as a “legal basis for the use of fish aggregating devices” also known as FADs, which are currently being used by fishermen to attract fish.

A draft regulation on how to regulate the use of FADs was also among the recommendations presented to stakeholders during the meeting.

It was also recommended that “government consider acceding to the 1995 UN fish stock agreement that goes together with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” which Cuvi noted “is important because it is a legal basis for the membership of Grenada in international organisations (and serves) as a governing structure on how countries regulate together shared stocks (or) highly migratory species that go from one country to another.”

It was also recommended that Grenada accede to “the 1993 FAO Agreement on the Responsibility of the Flag State,” which Cuvi said, “gives the state that, gives the flag to a fishing vessel, responsibility over the functioning of the vessel even if the vessel goes to other countries to fish”.

“So, we are also promoting that Grenada become a party to this agreement to make sure that it complies with all of these obligations,” said the FAO Legal Officer, who is optimistic that the “report with our (FOA’s) technical findings and recommendations will be ready (for presentation to the government) by October this year,” ahead of the conclusion of the Caribbean Billfish Project in December this year.

“So, we are going to give the government a technical opinion on how the legislation could be improved but it’s for the government to decide and implement,” she added.

According to Chief Fisheries Officer, within the Ministry of Fisheries, Crafton Isaac, the legislative review is necessary because “Grenada has signed on to a number of conventions, protocols and treaties; however, we can’t really comply with them because the law does not give us the power to do so.”

Once the FOA report is handed in to government, it will be reviewed by the Ministry of Legal Affairs before it is presented to Cabinet and Parliament for approval.

At this point, there is no set timeline for the completion of this process.

Grenada students unveil Mural at ELAM

MIRAMAR, HAVANA, CUBA, THURSDAY 14th JUNE, 2018.

On Wednesday 13th June, 2018, Grenada’s Ambassador to Cuba and Dean of the Caricom Diplomatic Corp, Claris Charles on June 13 attended the unveiling of a mural dedicated to Grenada and organised by Grenadian students at Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina (ELAM).
Following is the message delivered by one of the students, Shadell Peters at the ceremony:

“GRENADA EXPRESSED THROUGH PAINTING”

Medical student Nyanka Robinson presents gift to Ambassador Claris Charles

The Grenadian students’ delegation of The Latin American School of Medicine (La Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina), Havana, Cuba celebrates the elaboration of a mural in Cuba featuring Grenada ‘the isle of spice’. It is indeed a well-deserved achievement not only as a delegation, but also as faithful ambassadors of the beautiful tri-island state of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

It can be described as a mural amongst murals, out of many, one that is very distinct. The mural depicts various cultural aspects of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. This gesture reveals the true essence of what Grenada as a state really has to offer to foreigners. It illustrates our identity through means of painting and exemplifies our culture in such a way so that the unknown would be known and those with the most limited idea would get an even better idea.

The mural narrates a graceful story against the backdrop of a panoramic view of the Carenage. It highlights the outline of the map of all three islands that comprise the tri-island state together with unique aspects characteristic of each island. Spices of all kinds, including our famous nutmeg and cocoa, grace the bottom of the mural exhibiting that the spices are the potent foundation on which everything else is built; on which the nation’s vibrant culture is built.
Shortknee and masquerader represent the jubilant fervor of The Grenada Carnival or ‘Spice Mas’ as it is affectionately called by many. Arrayed in bright colors they detail the vibrancy of the carnival; a worthy representation of the main land, Grenada.

The narration continues depicting a woman attired from head to toe in a traditional dress arrayed with the national colors, red, green and gold, graciously dancing to the rhythm of the big drum created by the skillful and methodical movements of the hands of her fellow companion. He too, is adorned in traditional wear. This astonishing imagery represents the rich cultural heritage of Carriacou.

The mural proceeds to portray the tranquil, maritime lifestyle of the people of Petite Martinique, the art of boat building.

Additionally, it is corned by the national flag to the top left and the coat of arms to the top right. Both of which are national emblems.

To conclude the story, our pride and joy of athletics at the international stage, Kirani James, is displayed doing what he does best.

The mural is not just a form of beautification, more so, it plays an important role in representing Grenada amongst the masses represented in the school as it showcases the vibrant culture of our nation.

There are many other murals present within the walls of the school, however, it is satisfying to know that amongst many Grenada is well represented; Grenada stands amongst the masses.

The Latin American School of Medicine was established in 1999 enrolling young students from Latin America, the Caribbean, different countries of Africa, Asia and the Pacific all to fulfill the dream of the late Fidel Castro to provide assistance to the world through the formation of medical doctors in Cuba who would be able to contribute substantially toward the health system in their respective countries upon their return after their graduation.

Since its commencement thousands of medical doctors have graduated many of which include Grenadians. It offers a splendid opportunity to young adults from different parts of the world to acquire an education in medical studies totally free of cost.

Each year five (5) Grenadian students are given the opportunity to be a part of this program and in so doing, they pursue their dream of becoming a medical doctor.

The realisation of the Grenadian mural would not have been made possible without the benevolent assistance of a few medical doctors of the Grenada General Hospital, the Grenadian Ambassador to Cuba, Her Excellency Claris Charles and her husband, Arthur Hosten and also the talented hands of a Cuban artist.

For such reasons, we the Grenadian students of the Latin American School of Medicine (La Escuela Latino Americana de Medicina) would like to make special recognition to those medical doctors namely: Dr. Andre Hamlet, Dr. Kimani Neckles, Dr. Carlene Patrick, Dr. Tyhiesia Donald, Dr. Clayton Taylor, Dr. Zinda Henry, Dr. Renaldo Clarke, Dr. Clive Alexander, Dr. Marvin Corion, Dr. Ali Drigo, Dr. Shawn Charles and Dr. Devron Joseph. We express our sincerest gratitude and appreciation to them all.

Furthermore, we implore them to continue to support worthy causes such as these wherever and whenever possible for in so doing they would continue to participate indirectly in the education and communication to all people from far and wide about what Grenada as a tri-island state is all about.

In keeping with our motto, indeed, ever conscious of God, we aspire, build and advance as one people.

Special Education Schools shine in 2018 CPEA

Several schools and institutions for Special Education achieved outstanding, first-time successes in the 2018 CPEA exams, including the Resource Centre for the Blind, Grenada School for Special Education and the School for the Deaf.

Jeremy Hankey student at Grenada School for Special Education

Speech-Language Pathologist and Autism Specialist at the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development and Religious Affairs, Tonya Hyacinth, is pleased with the achievement of the special schools.

“It’s a great success for us. It’s the schools for special education first attempt at CPEA. In the past many of the students have been reintegrated into primary schools and have sat it via their schools,” Hyacinth said.

At the Grenada School for Special Education, located in Grand Anse, St. George, Jeremy Hankey is the first special education, school-based successful CPEA candidate.

Jeremy is excited about a career in Information Technology and his recent success is expected to be a good first step in that direction.

“I was in the class when Ms. Williams and them came and told me I passed for my first choice and then I was happy when I heard that”, he said.

Jeremy will be attending the Presentation Brothers College, in the new school term, starting in September.

The student extended appreciation to several key people for helping him to write the exam.

Jeremy Hankey – standing alongside Tonya Hyacinth Speech-Language Pathologist and Autism Specialist

“Thanks everybody for helping me and I want to say thanks to Ms. Williams, all my teachers who helped me and my mother,” he said.

Jeremy also went on to provide some advice to upcoming CPEA candidates.

“Just study a lot and when you go to do the exam – don’t worry about nothing. Just be calm,” he advised.

Principal for the Grenada School for Special Education, Patricia Williams-Prince, said since Jeremy was admitted to the school, and they noted his great potential and pushed him towards excellence.

She said the strategy used with him was to build on weaknesses and transform them into strengths and this was accommodated with assistive technology, where he used a computer and recordings, rather than ask him to write everything, to mitigate some challenges with his fine motor skills.

“When we thought that he was ready for the CPEA, we said we will give him a try. We spoke to the relevant persons at the Ministry of Education, explained to them and they assisted us tremendously and accommodated us very well – gave us the syllabi, in the different subject areas, the teachers worked with him and here we are with the results today,” she explained.

Hyacinth said that when the team at the Ministry knew Jeremy would sit the exam, they contacted the Measurement and Testing Unit at the Ministry, which was able to provide the necessary support, in terms of getting him ready.

Special student Jeremy Hankey together with his school Principal, Patricia Williams-Prince

According to Williams-Prince, the assistance provided during the exam included allowing him extra time to complete the exam and having someone dictate for him.

She stated that Jeremy’s mother was very instrumental in working along with them towards achieving her son’s success.

“Jeremy’s mom is a big plus. She’s been there. Even sometimes when we don’t get certain information, she will say ‘Do you all know of this?’ and, so, that is a big plus with the success we have today.

Parental support and the teamwork by the teachers – all members of staff.

Williams-Prince said the school will be continuing to send students, who are ready, to sit the CPEA.

She indicated that the school is currently working with one female student, who is expected to sit the exam in the next two years.

“From the Special Education Unit, I would really like to extend congratulations to Jeremy. He actually  got his first choice and I know that he’s very excited for that,” Hyacinth said, extending additional congratulations to successful candidates from School for the Deaf and Resource Centre for the Blind.
Candidates from the School for the Deaf were Che Medford (who will attend Happy Hill Secondary) and Thorie St. Louis (St. Mark’s Secondary School).

Successful students assisted by the Resource Centre for the Blind are Kyanna Bishop (sat CPEA at St. George’s SDA and will attend the Anglican High School), Jonathan John (sat at St. Patrick’s R.C. School and will attend Presentation Brothers College), Donato Christopher (sat CPEA at St. Andrew’s R.C. School and will attend the St. Andrew’s Anglican Secondary School (SAASS]); Simone Worme (sat CPEA at St. Louis R.C. Girl’s School and will attend Wesley College) and Candesha Bishop (sat CPEA at South St. George Government School and will attend Westerhall Secondary School).

Jonathan John, who is from the parish of St. Patrick, is the first student assisted by Resource Centre for the Blind to be among the top CPEA performers, placing 173 – an achievement, Hyacinth says, particularly given his visual impairment. He also will be attending the Presentation Brothers College.
Vernice Morain, a representative from the Resource Centre for the Blind, said 2018 has been a good year for them.

The Resource Centre for the Blind is an educational institution, under the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development and Religious Affairs, which provides support for visually impaired or blind students in the regular classroom.

“I wish to encourage the teachers who will be picking up those students to accommodate them in the way – in needs that they will have. It’s a challenge, but with the support from the Resource Centre for the Blind, we can have these children being successful and they can lead normal lives,” she said.
Principal at the School for the Deaf, Michelle Brathwaite is encouraged by this year’s successes and asks the public to ensure that these students be given opportunities to excel.

“It shows to us that we are having success stories. Inclusion of deaf persons within the mainstream schools can be successful, with the appropriate support,” Brathwaite said.

She thanked the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development and Religious Affairs, parents, teachers and all others contributing to the students’ success.

“I would hope that our success this year would dispel the myth that Special Education is for children who can’t do anything,” Williams-Prince said.
Hyacinth said that as the students go through secondary school, the Special Education Department, along with the Resource Centre for the Blind and the School for the Deaf, will continue to monitor and support the students’ efforts.

“For us at Special Ed., we really want to show the nation that our children can achieve, once we afford them the opportunities,” Hyacinth said.

MARTIN TIPPED TO BE NEW POLICE CHIEF

Edvin Martin – the man who will soon become head of the Royal Grenada Police Force

THE NEW TODAY understands that an announcement is expected to be made today (Friday) by government on a new Acting Commissioner of Police in Grenada.

Well-placed sources told this newspaper that Deputy Commissioner of Police, Edvin Martin is due to take over the leadership of the Royal Grenada Policer Force (RGPF) from the current holder of the post, Winston James.

Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. Keith Mitchell told police officers shortly after returning to office following the March 13 general elections that he would make a decision soon on a new Commissioner.

James was brought out of retirement in 2013 by Dr. Mitchell to act as Commissioner of Police after he indicated that he could not work with the holder of the office, Willan Thompson who landed the position under the 2008-13 Congress government.

Fake news and propaganda

A Grenada newspaper is largely written by one who took part as a teacher in the literacy project launched by Maurice Bishop’s revolutionary government.

He claims in his June 8th article, “Did You Know?” that it made a huge difference.

Today that difference may be hard to detect. Unfortunately, the good things in the revolution were not maintained after its demise.

Even so, I was critical of the literacy campaign at that time, (the campaign to get those Grenadians who could not read, to read) because the special reader that had been produced was in itself a book of propaganda saying favourable things about the revolution.

I realised that the need to read was not so much the goal of literacy in itself as the creation of people capable of absorbing government propaganda in written form.

In 2003 in Cuba I was able to see that there was no shortage of television sets, but a huge shortage of telephones. Television enables the populace to absorb government propaganda (I saw one news item in which George Bush was likened to Adolf Hitler) whereas telephones enable people to access the outside, free world.

So this journalist at this newspaper thinks he can tell us about Maurice Bishop, clearly a subject about which he knows little. He first of all tells us that while a law student in London, Bishop was greatly influenced by the writings of Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, completely omitting that Bishop was also greatly influenced by the writings of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin.

(On his retirement, “Nyerere left Tanzania as one of the poorest, least developed, and most foreign aid-dependent countries in the world. In 1985, he publicly apologised for his economic policies.” Wikipedia).

Nor does this journalist mention that Bishop made trips from England to communist countries in the Soviet bloc. So, in other words Bishop was a communist before he even returned to Grenada.

Then, on Bishop’s return to Grenada, this journalist writes that Unison Whiteman “had” the party known as The Jewel. The journalist makes no mention of the fact that the Jewel was created by Teddy Victor. Whiteman crept in as a catalyst and persuaded Victor to amalgamate his Jewel with Bishop’s MAP, calling it The New Jewel Movement, a move which Victor was to regret to his death.

How could Bishop go down as one of the best Prime Ministers that passed through the Caribbean when he was not even an elected Prime Minister but a dictator who came to power by the gun?

Free secondary education came to our sister islands without the need for a communist revolution. And how did Bishop show that free health care could be a reality? Without funding from the Soviet Union, through Cuba, Grenada could not afford “free” health care.

Bishop presided over the labour camp at Hope Vale where 500 Rastafarians were forced at gunpoint to grow food for the Peoples’ Revolutionary Army, and there is no way he can blame Coard for this.

Bishop presided over the importation of electric torture machines from Soviet bloc countries. There is a Grenadian in Canada who can tell you that Bishop thrust a lighted cigarette up his nostril.

As for Kennedy Budhlall, this journalist must be aware, if he says that he and Kennedy Budhlall are such good friends, that Kennedy’s brother never comes out of the house because he was so hideously tortured by the Bishop regime that he is a physical and mental wreck.

So here, in this journalist, we have yet another fellow traveller of the communist Peoples’ Revolutionary Government. And the newspaper in Grenada is giving him a platform.

Trevor Mitchell

The IMF staff concluding report on the Structural Adjustment program – PART 2

Part 1 of this 2 part commentary partially reviewed the concluding staff report of the IMF Structural Adjustment Program (“the SAP”). It highlighted some of the indicators that suggest that despite the commendations that the NNP administration has been heaping upon itself, Grenada’s economy is not doing well after three years of sacrifice and hardship. Indeed, the indicators suggest that we may have endured the sacrifices of the SAP, only to find ourselves right back where we started or even worse off.

The report revealed that “gains” of the SAP are fragile and tenuous at best. This doesn’t surprise us in the NDC because the NNP has mastered the art of deception to the point where they convince people who are suffering serious hardship that they are in fact prospering.

The IMF report indicated that amidst growth of an average of 4%, the current account deficit increased by 3 ½ percentage point of GDP, “reflecting rapid import growth.” A situation where, overall growth is fuelled by increased taxation and at the same time the import bill is rapidly increasing means increased poverty for the people. That we are rapidly importing more than we are exporting also means we are exporting more money than we are bringing in from the productive sectors.

That’s why the NDC in its last Manifesto pledged to enhance the productive sectors of our economy by among other things: putting idle lands to use, restructuring the MNIB to make it a truly export agency for our local produce and products, restoring our world dominance in nutmeg and cocoa production, establishing at least one agro processing plant, supporting local poultry farmers so that we produce at least 30% of poultry for local consumption, partnering with fishermen to enhance the deep sea fishing industry.

It is only by increasing productivity across a range of sectors that sustainable growth can be realised. The IMF makes this point at paragraph 13 of the staff report where it says that growth in Grenada under the period of the SAP “has not been sufficiently broad-based, being underpinned mainly by construction activity and tourism”.

The report says that high unemployment and the trade deficit continue to be strong indicators that productivity and competitiveness as a country are urgent issues to be tackled. On the issue of unemployment, it says that more emphasis should be placed on upgrading education and training programs and tailoring them to cater for sustainable private sector job creation. In short, the IMF is saying to the NNP administration, among other things, that the IMANI program in its current construct is not sustainable.

The NDC does not need the IMF to tell us this. That is why in our last Manifesto we pledged to retain and revamp the IMANI program, to introduce a Guaranteed Student Loan Program, to provide more scholarships for tertiary education, free tuition for TAMCC students and re-opening and upgrade of the Public Library.

The NDC understands the crucial link between a well educated population, lower unemployment and sustained growth and productivity.

So even with all the compliments in relation to the “gains” of the SAP, the NNP is not fooling the IMF.

The IMF expressed concern that a ruling against Grenada in the case brought against the Government and people by Grenlec, would be a threat to the “gains” made under the SAP. In May 2017, Grenada Private Power Ltd & WRB (the companies that own majority shares in Grenlec) brought a case before the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (“ICSID”) against Grenada. The claim is to force the Government to buy back 50% of the shares in Grenlec at the base price of $176.65 million, based on Government’s alleged breach of the agreement with Grenlec.

The NDC’s assessment of the dispute between Government and Grenlec leads us to the conclusion that Grenlec has quite a strong case against Government. If we lose, the bill for the people of Grenada will be in excess of $200 million. There is therefore a real likelihood that the fears of the IMF could come true.

The IMF has sounded a warning to Government and it will be wise for them to heed that warning in the interest of the people of Grenada. We cannot afford to allow the inflated egos of Gregory Bowen and Keith Mitchell to continue to put the entire country in economic jeopardy.

Another threat to the “gains” of the SAP that the IMF report highlights is the fragile nature of the Petro Caribe arrangement with Venezuela. Only last week, Venezuela announced that it was suspending petroleum deliveries to about half of the Caribbean countries under the Petro Caribe agreement. Grenada was not on that list but the OECS countries of Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, St. Vincent and St. Kitts & Nevis were.

Things are not likely to improve in Venezuela any time soon, so we must be prepared for a similar announcement in relation to the rest us the Petro Caribe countries, including Grenada. It seems therefore that the fear expressed by the IMF about the stability of the Petro Caribe arrangement and how that can negatively impact the “gains” of the SAP will soon be realised.

Other threats to the “gains” of the SAP that the IMF staff report highlights are: “The potential implementation of new initiatives on health care and pensions, the forthcoming cycle of public wage negotiations and the availability of financing [loan and grant funds]”.

These are matters that the Government cannot avoid. The government must take steps now to ensure real and sustainable growth or national health insurance and pensions for public workers will continue to elude us.

The IMF report stresses that in order for Grenada to achieve continued fiscal improvement, various areas of the public sector must be strengthened and improvements in transparency would be critical.

Unfortunately, based on its track record of corrupt practices and nepotism, based on the fact that it has severely damaged the public sector to the point where morale is at an all-time low and given that the country continues to operate on autopilot since March 13th 2018, the outlook for real growth under NNP looks bleak.

The NDC wants to see the Government seriously put the people of Grenada first by taking steps to truly improve productivity thereby ensuring sustained growth and employment, rather than continuing with the façade that has been taking place for the last 5 years.

The NNP is not fooling all Grenadians neither is it fooling the IMF and other external agencies and organisations. That is why we did not receive the amount of loan and grant funds we expected in the last fiscal year. We need now to work together as one people to build our country. Continuing to mislead the people as to our real situation will get us nowhere!

(The above reflects the views of the main opposition National Democratic Congress)

Christopher Husbands in, Ron Antoine out

General Manager of the state-owned National Water and Sewerage Authority (NAWASA), Christopher Husbands is now the new Chairman of the Board of Directors of another state body, the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).

Christopher Husbands – the new chair of NIS Board of Directors

The announcement was made Tuesday by Minister of Health, and Social Security, Nickolas Steele during the weekly post-Cabinet Press Briefing at the Ministerial Complex in the Botanical Gardens.

Minister Steele also told reporters that medical doctor, Dr. Bert Brathwaite, a strong supporter of the ruling New National Party (NNP) government will serve as Deputy Chairman of the NIS Board.

Husbands is considered to be closely aligned to NNP and is also a Member of the Board of Directors of the state-operated Grenada Airports Authority (GAA).

Minister Steele told reporters that although former Chairman Ron Antoine gave commendable service during his tenure on the board, the new Chair and his Deputy are needed at the board as they come with wealth of experiences.

“As we move forward with NIS having an involvement in National Health Insurance (NHI), I felt there was a need to have a medical doctor there and that is why Dr. Bert Brathwaite is there and Mr. Christopher Husbands has significant experience in Finance – Masters in Finance and we have decided to try him out”, he said.

Speculation is rife in some quarters that relations might be somewhat strained at this moment between Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and some members of the Antoine family following in the lead up to the just-ended general elections.

Caricom Ambassador, Dr. Patrick Antoine who was a key figure on the NNP platform in the 2013 campaign was noticeable absent in the 2018 campaign.
Minister Steele used the opportunity “to recognise the yeoman service that was given by the previous government representatives on the NIS board, in the form of Mr. Ron Antoine who served as Chair and also and in particular our dear friend who I think has given a lifetime of service, Mr. Ashton Frame.

Ron Antoine – no longer at NIS

He said: “Mr. Ron Antoine has provided exemplary service in NIS and I would expect him to provide exemplary service wherever called upon”.
Minister Steele also commented on the 2-year term of office of the Chairman of NIS and labelled it as too short for anyone in the position.

“I think we need to look at that and I leave it to the board. The board is composed of other stakeholders who choose within the law, the maximum term limits…but I think it’s time we consider a staggered replacement of individuals at NIS. So, I look forward to having that discussion with the other stakeholders which are Labour and the Employer’ Federation…”, he said.

The other members to serve on the newlook NIS board are representative of Labour, Kenny James and Bert Patterson, as well as Benedict Brathwaite and Lennox Andrews representing the Employers Federation, and Manager of NIS, Alfred Logie.

The main function of the Board of Directors of the NIS is to manage the funds of the state-run scheme.

Grenada praised for best practice in fight against corruption

Grenada is now the epitome of best practice in dealing with corruption, according to head of the Integrity Commission, Guyana-born attorney-at-law, Lady Anande Trotman Joseph.

Head of the Integrity Commission, Lady Anande Trotman-Joseph

The island’s Chief Integrity Commissioner was at the head of a local three-member delegation that attended the 4th annual conference of the Commonwealth Caribbean Association of Integrity Commission in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Other members of the delegation were Commander of the Commission, Bertie Hill and Head of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Superintendent of Police, Tafawa Pierre.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference, Lady Anande said that Grenada was praised for its integrity practices such as the process of declaring assets, training on how to deal with corruption and having the political will.

She attributed the recognition of Grenada to the work being done by the technical staff at the commission.

She said that Grenada has also started to implement many aspects of the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) unlike many other member states.

“I believe we were the only state present there that was able to speak to the implementation of the UNCAC …”, she said.

“…In terms of implementing this convention we at the Integrity Commission realise that we could not do it alone, so we brought on board our national round table and our stakeholder partners…”, she added.

Lady Anande singled out the FIU as a key component in the fight against corruption.

The female head of the local Integrity Commission stated that the cooperation of public figures on integrity matters was recognised at the conference.

“Another best practice of Grenada that was singled out was our collective political will, not only of the Prime Minister or the Parliament but the collective will of the stakeholders, the collective will of political parties that subjected themselves to sensitisation and training last year, of churches that came forward to request us to train their officers and even more are lining up.

FIU Chief, Supt Tafawa Pierre

“The best practice of our rallies, our first rally and our first international anti-corruption day celebration where heads of churches and children marched through the street with the Ombudsman office, the FIU and other stakeholders to ask our nation to really address corruption.

According to Trotman-Joseph, she was very proud that the Integrity Commission’s action in having the assets of public figures declared was heavily lauded at the regional conference.

“I say this very proudly because many of our other Integrity Commissions in the Eastern Caribbean, yes they receive declarations …only up to 200 declarations, we here in Grenada … we may receive declarations and that is asset declarations by sector but have a captive audience up to 15,000 because not only are we looking to deal with grand corruption at the top through the politicians or the parliamentarians but even at the clerical levels.

“All persons receiving over $200,000 Eastern Caribbean Dollars are required to declare along with their spouses as well as all statutory bodies and departments here in Grenada receiving public funding.

Head of FIU, Superintendant Tafawa Pierre said the country cannot go wrong in having the FIU and Integrity Commission collaborate in fighting corruption.

“We were one of the two FIUs where a representative from the FIU attended the conference. This speaks volumes that Grenada understands the anti-corruption process and also believes that it is important to have a collaborative approach”, he said.

“Why the FIU is interested in such a process? It is because of our very mandate that we’re supposed to pay special particular attention to preventing and reducing incidences of money laundering and terrorist financing and obviously a bi-product of corruption is proceeds of crime.

Supt Pierre went on: “Once you have proceeds of crime you have money laundering so that’s why we believe that we’re very well placed to (be) part of such a local mechanism and we have been working quite feverishly with the Integrity Commission rightly so…”.

Both Lady Anande and Supt Pierre have been targeted by the main opposition National Democratic Congress as persons who are unsuitable for the jobs as “politically exposed” given their family ties to the ruling New National Party (NNP) administration.

PM Mitchell: I never promised him (Tobias Clement) any Cabinet Post

“I promised no one Cabinet post. Tobi could tell you this – I never promised him any Cabinet post.”

Those were the words that came from Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell as he addressed supporters of the ruling New National Party (NNP) at a session in the St. George North-east constituency on the exclusion of their Member of Parliament, Tobias Clement from a position in the Cabinet of Ministers.

There have been widespread reports that Clement is no longer employed at St. George’s University (SGU) and the salaries paid to him by government in the 2013-18 term has been cut-off.

Dr. Mitchell denied that Clement had lost the job at SGU and was getting a monthly salary from the privately-owned American school that was more than that of the Prime Minister of the country.

According to the Prime Minister, Clement’s non-ministerial position was as a result of an agreement made between the two of them after the 2013 general election when he first won the North-east seat.

He said that Clement is “gainfully employed” at SGU and was not inclined to accept a government job in which the salary was lower than what he was getting at the university.

“This issue that your representative is not a Member of Cabinet, colleagues, I don’t think you voted for somebody in the Cabinet – that’s not what you voted for? Let’s get it straight, I want you to know, I promised no one Cabinet post…Tobi could tell you this, I never promised him any cabinet post….

“In fact, the understanding we had was that he was already employed at the SGU and making more money than a Cabinet member does – that was the understanding, you know. He is well employed at the St. George’s University making more money than the Prime Minister…”.

In response to this statement from PM Mitchell, some Constituents were heard saying on the tape-recording obtained by THE NEW TODAY that MP Clement was no longer employed at SGU which warranted him a position in Cabinet.

Prime Minister Mitchell told the gathering: “Colleagues, Tobi is well represented at the University making more than the Prime Minister.”

Speculation is rife that Clement took no pay leave from SGU in July 2017 to concentrate on the political work in the constituency but has since been reinstated.

Dr. Mitchell reminded the constituents that even though Clement was employed full-time at SGU in the 2013-18 period, St. George North East was not neglected by the NNP regime.

He said: “In fact, Tobi was in an envious position. As a Parliamentary Representative, he was getting the same pay as a Minister of Government, in addition to his salary at the university. Colleagues, these are just facts…

“What it means is that he was doing twice as good (financially) as any member of the cabinet of the country, not twice as good, more than twice as good. In other words, he was making far more money than the Prime Minister of the country but I don’t have a problem with this and the government delivered services throughout the length and breadth of the northeast…

“Let’s get it straight…we setting ourselves up for failure if we want to believe otherwise…our job is to provide service, that is what we should be talking about, not who getting this job and who ain’t getting this job.

According to PM Mitchell, immediately after the 2013 election, the Constituency of St. George North East was uppermost in his mind and is now in a better position with their representative not holding a ministerial position.

“Immediately after the election, the Indian Prime Minister sent his Minister of Health to talk to me and one of the first things I raised was not a road for St. John’s or St. Mark’s, one of the first things I raised was the BelleVue road and they have committed to finish (it).

“We have work to do in the Annandale area, the road going up that side, it’s in a mess. We should be talking about that…we have work to do there. So, that’s what we should be talking about. You have not been hurt one bit by been hurt one bit by your representatives not being a member of Cabinet. In fact, you are better off, simply because your representative have more time to spend doing the work.

Dr Mitchell warned the NNP supporters in St. George North-east that their time should be spent on delivering services to the people and not on himself and Clement, who are both “happy” individuals.

“We have a lot of things to do. There are people out there who need house repair, there are people out there who (are in) need (of) needy assistance – let’s get to work. It’s not about the Prime Minister and Tobi, we are happy, comparatively speaking, compared to the people out there. They vote for us, not just to say NNP win … they vote for us because they expect (us) to deliver goods and services,” he said.

The Prime Minister told the NNP supporters that leading the country is not a bed of roses and if it were not for his commitment to the people of Grenada, he would have left the job a long time ago.

He said: “If it was for me, I out of this thing a long time ago, I’m telling you straight. For me, the burden and the pressure I get for trying to lead this country out of the mess that it was in 2008, the headache that I went through in 2013, the headache that I have to go through, I would be far better off with a better job making far more money but the commitment to the people of this country that’s what drive us and I assume that’s what drive Tobias Clement in politics, not because of a position, that’s not what we came into government for, for position in government, that’s not what we came in for…”, he remarked.

After explaining the Tobias Clement issue to the Constituents of St. George North-east, the Prime Minister was heard saying… “Are we clear now? So, I hope that no one disappears.”

Swan assumes Temporary Position as Acting PSC Chairman

Controversial former civil servant, 74-year-old Prescott Swan has been appointed to act as Chairman of the Public Service Commission (PSC), the body responsible for hiring and firing public officers.

Acting Chairman of the PSC, Prescott Swan

The longstanding PSC member took up his appointment last week Thursday and will serve in that capacity until October 31 or until it is revoked.

Swan succeeds Attorney-at-Law Derrick Sylvester, who resigned from the position on June 11, almost a year before his 3-year contract was due to expire.

THE NEW TODAY was told by Swan that he has no desire to become PSC Chairman but took up the appointment out of courtesy, given the abrupt resignation of Attorney Sylvester, whom he described as a “good Chairman.”

The Acting PSC Chairman dismissed claims that his appointment was one of political favoritism.
Swan ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for the ruling New National Party (NNP) in the St. Patrick East constituency in the 1990 elections.

He noted that “for 9 years he represented the interests of the Grenada Union of Teachers on the PSC”.

“So, it’s (my appointment) not political,” he declared.

Acknowledging that the position of PSC Chairman is a big shoe to fill, Swan said that the assignment is “usual territory” for him as he has served in that capacity on a previous occasion.

He told THE NEW TODAY via telephone on Tuesday that the June 15 to October 31 appointment, “is the longest” he will be serving as PSC chairman.

“I am used to being in charge,” he said, noting that he has worked as the “manager of the Housing Authority for a number of years, a school principal and served on the Board of Directors of the Planning and Development Authority and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the River Sallee Credit Union…so am used to this kind of position. So, this is not anything new to me,” the acting PSC Chairman added.

There are unconfirmed reports that when Swan was a public officer he was forced to appear before the PSC on a disciplinary matter.

The PSC is a creature of the Constitution of Grenada, which is mandated to appoint, transfer, discipline and grant leave to workers in the public service.

Swan, who has been on the PSC for approximately 22 and a half years, was sworn in as the Acting Chairman of the 5-member commission by Governor-General Dame Cecile La Grenade last week Thursday and began active duty last week Friday.

Former school principal, Ursula Antoine, who is the mother of former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Timothy Antoine, was recommended by the Mitchell Government and appointed to serve as the fifth member of the PSC.

Apart from Swan and Antoine, the other members of the PSC are Madonna Harford, who represents the interests of the Trades Union Council (TUC), DeLano Viechweg, who represents teachers and Hudson Mc Phail, an appointee of government.