Stop Discriminating Against Them!

Many, like me, have observed the way persons react to a certain religious group that is well known for going around house to house and preaching the Bible.

Often, some persons would quarrel, even use indecent language, when they see members of this religious group walking along the street or coming toward their homes.

In other countries too, people oppose this religious group, speaking strongly against them, slamming their doors in the faces of these visitors. (Matthew 24:9; Acts 28:22). In some countries, this religious group is even banned. (Acts 4:17 to 20).

I am kindly asking those persons who discriminate against this religious group to try to become more tolerant. True, a person has the right to agree or disagree with the beliefs of another religion. But even if we disagree, there is no need to be aggressive and verbally abusive against any religion.

If one does not wish to have a conversation with members of this religious group, he or she can respectfully decline without being rude to them.

I commend persons who are tolerant and do not discriminate against this religious group or any other group.

Let us all be willing to allow this religious group to carry on peacefully with its beliefs and practices. Freedom of religion is part of our Constitution. Avoid discriminating against any religion.

Kenneth Kayman

Focus on FLOW!!!

Dear Editor,

First I would like to thank you for publishing my letter then I would like to thank you again for giving the “little man” a voice. They say that help sometimes comes from places where you least expect it.

I have got the feeling that you are willing to be the mediator. If that is so I will be happy if you can relay my feeling about the issue. I am attaching a letter that was written to the manager some time ago but the facts remain the same.

I would only like to add they should return the monies that they took illegally from me plus they should pay for my travel from Victoria to St. George for about five days and yet the problem remains.

And lastly, I feel it is only fair that they refund the people who frequently come to their office to sort things out when they are the ones making the mistakes.

Once again thank you for intervening.

Robert Modeste

Speaking up… Disrupting the Winner!

William Joseph

Papa Jerry gathered a bundle of characteristics and composed a calypso entitled, ‘The Grenadian Ruler’, recently. Indeed, there is a massive difference between a ruler and a leader. The ruler is one who consumes himself with power and exercises it on his own terms and lauds it over the people. He is usually assisted by packs of conscripts.

Where a nation finds itself under a ruler, that nation is on a very slippery slope. In such conditions one will find serious negatives regarding the state of the society and unhappiness with the quality of governance.

The biblical standard of leadership is described as ‘a spirit of excellence’. It consists of one’s attitude towards people and one’s attitude towards the management of resources. Here, respect for others and inspiration of the people, plus a commitment of ‘service to the nation’ and accountability, work together to produce a standard- bearer; a leader. Perfection is not required. Therefore, allowances must be made for errors of judgment, genuine mistakes and certain cultural pastimes.

The defining feature, on a balance of the evidence, is the pattern and flavour of governance in Grenada under Prime Minister Mitchell, an unmatched electoral winner. Additionally, look to see whether he has put Nation before self and party on a reasonably consistent basis.

Frankly, many will struggle to answer in his favour.

Last week’s Referendum called for leadership which was plainly not provided. Every change process requires leadership for success. A committee of various players cannot provide leadership. The inspiration needed to come from the Head of Government. The Prime Minister failed his Nation.

A leader dedicated to ‘service to the nation’ would inspire the people to achieve a major shift with an opportunity of huge national importance. It is very wrong to treat the ‘business of the nation’ as if it were restricted to material, financial and economic welfare.

There are very important social causes and values which help to underpin and to define a people and to establish them as a nation.

Parliament makes laws and the Government plans for the provision of justice through the courts. Whether in Parliament or in Cabinet, we are talking about politicians. What is crucial is that those in Parliament and in the Cabinet should not use the laws and arrangements for personal advantage or to hurt other citizens or to abuse public resources or to fetter and deny justice.

Justice is not a partisan issue. In fact, it goes to the core of the governance system and is to be treated with a high degree of statesmanship by a Prime Minister. From the onset, the Prime Minister should have addressed the Nation, very solemnly, on the goal of replacing the Privy Council with the CCJ. He did not, preferring to make statements elsewhere. Yes, he spoke on the matter in Parliament, but that is no substitute for a National Address where every citizen is being spoken to directly.

Equally, he ought to have developed a strategy to achieve his objective, ensuring that proper arrangements, including adequate funding and the support of the Opposition and civil society, were tightly in place before any public announcement. The absence of a coherent strategy suggests that the Prime Minister relied on other factors. He now knows that massive victories at the polls do not translate to support on everything; it is not a blank cheque. Alas, the lesson is too late.

There are areas of public affairs which should not be the subject of party rivalry. Justice is one of them. Others are the treatment of our youth and poor people.

On General Election day, a winner is declared, but the role goes to a leader. Having elected ‘a leader’ we then turn around and say that ‘leader’ should not promote the CCJ. I disagree.

What he must not do is to dress the issues in personal and partisan robes.

Can it be said that the Government has a policy on justice? Justice is a matter of grave importance and the Prime Minister is required to treat it accordingly and on a consistent basis.

Having lost the Referendum, his immediate retreat to the comfort of having fifteen seats and other boasts exposed a ruler’s mindset. The people did not expect to be told; ‘You’re on your own, count me out’!

Stumbling upon good ratings by external entities after twenty years is no indicator of consistently appropriate leadership. There is something very powerful about pattern and habit, i.e. they are reliable predictors of behaviour. Up to this point, Grenada has had a very efficient winner who has failed to be a leader of celebratory repute. And now it’s too late to expect, far less to get, more and better!

Can Chocolate SAVE the Grenada Cocoa Industry ???

In regard to the above-captioned subject, the answer is YES!! BUT.

There is need to do a complete change in the operations of the Grenada Cocoa Association and how the Management of the GCA Board thinks.

There should be emphasis on not selling Grenada Cocoa Beans in crocus bags but selling chocolate as semi-processed chocolate (or cocoa liquor).

Chocolate finished products such as milk chocolates (both locally, in the region, and in the rest of the world), and as Finished Dark chocolates such as Bonbon, Truffles and other special end products & also instantised “Cocoa Tea” products, cocoa powder, and liquid chocolate products similar to “CC Mel” and other liquid products for ice-cream cone products, dips , etc.

I am willing to help. To carry out the above, our added value will provide more than ten times the amount of money the Grenada Cocoa Industry now earns and as a result we can easily pay cocoa farmers up to $5.00 per pound for their cocoa beans.

However, it means placing emphasis on Marketing and Sales of Grenada Chocolate by directly knowing the Marketing & Sales managers of Chocolate.

End users such as Lindt & Sprungli, Barry Callibut, Mars, other European chocolate manufacturers & North American manufacturers.

We must also co-ordinate with our local supermarkets and others who sell milk chocolate bars and other chocolate products imported from Europe and North America, and Latin America.

You see we must now know the specific requirements of the current buyers and others who have purchasing agents and Managers to provide them with the semi-processed chocolate liquor.

Once this information is known the Diamond Chocolate Plant can operate at 100% of its capacity and possibly another plant producing only Milk Chocolate can be set up.

From the above, the Grenada Cocoa Association (GCA) can now be known as the Grenada Chocolate Association and everyone would want to
be a Grenada cocoa farmer and be associated with cocoa and Chocolates.

I am willing to help and provide information and technology towards this end.

Dr.E.Reginald Buckmire

Government to focus on climate change resilience

A new session of the Grenada Parliament began on Monday with the ruling New National Party (NNP) administration of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell administration emphasising the need to build resilience in an era of climate change.

Dame Cecile on podium taking the salute from members of the Royal Grenada Police Force

Governor General, Dame Cecile La Grenade delivered the traditional Throne Speech which is written by government to a new session of Parliament at Mt. Wheldale, overlooking the capital city.

In outlining the priorities of the government, she said that urgent and decisive actions are required to make the environment, the people and the local economy more resilient to the increasingly grim and devastating impacts of climate.

She said as a result, the government, which controls all 15 seats in the Parliament, will during the parliamentary term focus on building resilience, advancing social development and transforming the local economy.

“These priorities are framed within the context of my government’s medium-term agenda that is being prepared for the period 2019 to 2021, which will anchor a whole-of-government approach to development planning, and will guide my government’s strategic development interventions over the medium term,” she told legislators.
Dame Cecile stated that Grenada, like other small island states, is highly vulnerable to natural hazards and is among those countries at greatest risk to the impacts of climate change.

“Vivid images of the utter devastation wreaked upon some of our neighbouring islands last year, by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, will be forever etched in our memories,” she said, noting that last August the island was severely affected by the heavy rains that caused widespread and massive flooding.

She said Grenada and Caribbean countries have also had to deal with earthquakes and while there had been no loss of lives, “those natural events brought to the fore once again, the daunting reality that climate change is real and its impact intensifying.

“The experts have warned that more intense hurricanes, heavier rainfall, hotter spells and rising sea levels are expected for the Caribbean region,’ Dame Cecile said, adding that the government will be intensifying its efforts in spearheading all activities aimed at making Grenada a climate-resilient country.

This, according to the Governor General will include formulating and executing strategic policies and programmes that are geared towards protecting the oceanic, marine, coastal and land environments; improving drainage; and strengthening disaster preparedness and management systems, among other policies.

The assembled Police officers were captured moments before the Head of State starts her inspection of them

“Building a more resilient nation will ensure that families, communities, businesses and the government can better prepare, manage and recover faster from, extreme climate-related events. The first phase of the ban on styrofoam products is the outcome of collective action towards the promotion of environmental sustainability and the attainment of the resilient nation we aim to be,” she said.

She stressed that government‘s climate resilience agenda is one that is grounded in sound policy, developed through extensive national stakeholder consultation and that the recently-approved National Adaptation Plan and National Determined Contributions, identified Grenada’s climate change adaptation and mitigation needs.

She said the government has also approached the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to conduct a Climate Change Policy Assessment that “would seek to examine our plans to manage climate change, from the perspective of its macroeconomic implications and suggest macro-relevant reforms that could strengthen the likelihood of success”.

Dame Cecile noted that while government has recorded some successes and has utilised the funds provided by the Green Climate Fund (GCF), it will step up its efforts at climate screening all public investment projects to ensure that new physical infrastructure is climate change and disaster-resilient.

“This will ensure that public infrastructure is built to withstand major hurricanes, heavy rains and floods. My government will also ahead with its plans to improve Grenada’s energy security and diversify our energy mix, through the use of renewable energy,” she said.

The Governor General pointed out that work is ongoing on Grenada’s geothermal development and to date, over two million US dollars have been provided in financial and technical assistance by the governments of New Zealand and Japan to assist in investigating the island’s geothermal potential for electricity production.

“Through the Sustainable Energy for the Eastern Caribbean programme, economically viable investments will be made in renewable energy and energy efficiency to reduce our dependency on imported fossil fuels. To date, energy audits have been completed for fourteen public buildings and the search for a project manager has commenced for the investment phase of this initiative.”

She said another ongoing initiative is the Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership, which is aimed at supporting Grenada’s advance to inclusive low-emission, risk-resilient development.

Dame Cecile said that this will be achieved by improving “our energy security and integrating medium to long-term planning for adaptation to climate change”.

“The partnership provided funding and is supporting the implementation of eight climate change adaptation pilots in the areas of Climate-Smart Agriculture, Water Resource Management, Climate-Smart Resilient Infrastructure and Renewable Energy.”

She said the government will continue to make climate change information available and mainstreamed into its decision and policy-making processes.

“It will also continue raising environmental awareness in our communities, our schools, our churches, our workplaces and the wider society. Indeed, the protection of our environment and the building of resilience is everyone’s business, not just the business of my Government.

“In this regard, the private sector, including the financial sector, must also play its part in promoting an environmentally-conscious and climate-resilient Grenada. Financial lending institutions can channel resources to sectors and industries that can help to promote climate resilience and energy efficiency. They are therefore well-placed to support climate change adaptation and mitigation, and by extension, promote environmental sustainability,” the Governor General added.

Regarding the need to advance social development, the Head of State said that the government will give more prominence to building social resilience, by expanding the reach and enhancing the impact of its social policies and programmes.

“In this regard, greater emphasis will be placed on providing adequate psycho-social support systems to help individuals and communities cope better in the event of natural disasters.

More focus will also be given to protecting and empowering vulnerable and at-risk households and communities. This will be done by systematic and strategic targeting of social protection and safety net programmes so that the neediest benefit the most.”

She said advancing social development would also require the mainstreaming of gender equality and social inclusion issues in decision and policy making, to which the government is firmly committed.

Dame Cecile said that while the economy has shown growth in 29 of the past 38 years, the island’s home grown structural adjustment programme has ensured a robust economy in the past five years.

“Indeed, macroeconomic stability has been restored, our public finances have improved and continue to do so, and our public financial management and accountability systems have been strengthened.

“Our signature Fiscal Responsibility Law has ushered in a new fiscal era, one where strong fiscal discipline has become the norm and where the management of public finances is systematically monitored and reported to the Parliament by an independent Fiscal Responsibility Oversight Committee.”

But she acknowledged that the government is mindful that transforming the economy to one that is more dynamic, diversified, competitive, innovative, and prosperous, will not happen overnight.

“Economic transformation is a long-term affair, but with the right foundation in place, the process towards its attainment can be better accomplished,” she said, adding that an immediate priority of the government will be the diligent pursuit of projects that have the potential to contribute to Grenada’s economic transformation in the long term.

She said four of these projects have already been identified and the details will be provided when the 2019 budget is presented.

$300,000 bail for drug accused

After spending approximately two weeks at Her Majesty’s Prison due to the refusal by Chief Magistrate Tamara Gill to grant bail, Venezuelan national Breeny Emeneria Drira Lopez who is currently charged for possession of illegal drugs was finally granted bail on Monday.

Breeny Lopez – has been granted bail after spending weeks in prison

Lopez appeared at the St, George’s No.1 Magistrate’s Court along with his legal representative, Alley Gill to make another attempt to secure bail.

The accused was nabbed by police two days before his three months stay in Grenada visiting family had expired and for this reason bail was objected to by the Prosecution and denied by Magistrate Gill.

In trying to secure bail for his client on Monday, Attorney Gill told the court that Lopez was able to get an extension of stay in Grenada from the State until February 3rd, 2019.

Gill said that given the current conditions in Venezuela, his client would not be in a rush to return home and that “he is better off living in Grenada.”

He pointed out that Lopez’s offence may carry a light prison sentence and is “nothing to run to the heavens about” since “he has not killed anybody.”

Gill also told the Chief Magistrate that the wife and children of the drug accused are citizens of Grenada and should be seen as one of the encouraging factors for him to remain in the country.

“I do not see a great motivation for him to flee the state…he has strong family ties in Grenada”, he said.

The Prosecution, which was led by Corporal of Police Kerry Swan who did not directly object to the bail but raised subtle concerns of the possibility of the accused absconding.

However, Chief Magistrate Gill granted bail in the sum of $300,000.00 with stipulated conditions that Lopez report to the Central Police Station at the Carenage, St. George daily between the hours of 6.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m, and that he does not leave the jurisdiction without the permission from the court.

Lopez along with Moonlight City businessman Daniel “Diego” Peters and Decauris Fransico Alberto are currently before the court in connection with 3.175 kilos of Cocaine that was seized by the Drug Squad.

Lopez was charged with Possession of a Controlled Drug, Trafficking of a Controlled Drug and Conspiracy to Traffic a Controlled Drug while Alberto has been charged with Possession of a Controlled Drug and Trafficking of a Controlled Drug and Peters charged with Possession of a Controlled Drug, Trafficking of a Controlled Drug, Conspiracy to traffic a Controlled Drug and Money Laundering.

The drug suspects are due to return to court on December 10.

Giving back

Presentation College Grenada was the recent beneficiary of a donation of school supplies from the New York-based Life Quality Foundation Inc.

The handing over ceremony

The school supplies, donated by founding members Wilbur Thomas and Triva John-Thomas, is part of the foundation’s ongoing efforts to give back to Grenadian communities that have impacted them positively.

In 2017, they donated 25 backpacks to the St Joseph’s Convent St George’s.

PBC Vice Principal, Kelvin Jacob was on hand to receive the donation from John-Thomas at PBC in the presence of the school’s student support coordinators, Hodias St Paul, and Junior Braveboy.

The foundation plans to continue to support the academic and sporting development of young people in Grenada in the future.

The College has expressed gratitude to Life Quality Foundation for its generous efforts at giving back.

Wilbur “Freddy” Thomas was born and raised in Grenada. Thomas attended the St. George’s Methodist School and the Presentation Brother’s College.

Upon moving to the US, Thomas attended the Kingsborough Community College followed by California State University- Stanislaus where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing.

He also holds a Master of Science Degree in Kinesiology – Sports Management from Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, NY.

Triva-John -Thomas was born in St. Vincent and grew up in Grenada.

John-Thomas attended Westmorland Junior School and the St. Joseph’s Convent St. George’s.

She attended the Richmond Upon Thames College in London, England where she completed A Level’s followed by a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Studies and Human Resources Management from the University of Westminster, London, England.

She completed her graduate studies with a MBA in Strategic Management from PACE University, New York, USA.

John-Thomas has worked in the non-Profit industry for the past 12 years in various Finance positions and is currently the Director of Fiscal Operations at the National Urban League in NYC.

Should Same Sex Marriage be legalised?

The above question is being discussed by the population. Some say “Yes”. Their reasoning is that homosexuals are people too like everyone else, so we should not discriminate against them. Others say “No.” They say that the Scriptures condemn that practice. They are right.

Most of us know that God destroyed the city of Sodom mainly because of homosexuality. (Genesis 19:4, 5, 13, 24, 28) Romans 1:26, 27 tell us that women with women intimate relationship and men with men are NOT natural; they are contrary to nature. Clearly, God does NOT approve of homosexuality.

Romans 1:32 mentions that those who practice such, among other things, are “worthy of death.” But God is NOT saying we should kill lesbians or homosexuals. God, through Christ, is the judge to deal with them. John 5:22.

Further, 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10 say that homosexuals will not inherit God’s Kingdom. But if they change and live God’s way, then God will forgive and accept them. 1 Corinthians 6:11.

Like God, we still love lesbians and homosexuals as persons but we rightly do not like the practice of homosexuality.

We must respect God and his standards. Hence, we cannot support legalising homosexual marriage.

Kenneth Kayman

Workers Delivered on Tuesday

By Carrema Lewis

It was a major show of force Tuesday as public sector employees including teachers took to the streets of the capital to send a strong message to the Keith Mitchell-led administration on the current impasse on pension and gratuity payments due to them.

The band of public sector workers as they walk down Young Street

The Public Workers Union (PWU), Grenada Union of Teachers and Technical & Allied Workers Union (TAWU) decided to intensify their strike action by calling the workers onto the street for the first time in the three-week old dispute.

The workers were in militant mood as they set out on the march from outside the National Stadium at Queen’s Park, through the city and into Tanteen Playing Field for a mass rally.
“Cyan sidung, sidung, sidung, sidung, for two percent”, “Tell PM for we, we banning we belly, we shutting down the country, if he doh pay us we gratuity” and “No threat, cyan hold workers down”.

These were the frequent chants echoed by hundreds of workers along the route as they expressed frustration with government’s offer of 2% as opposed to 25% guaranteed to them under the Constitution.

The march was led by President of PWU, Rachael Roberts, GUT President, Lydon Lewis and President General of TAWU, Andre Lewis and generated solidarity support from the Commercial and Industrial Workers Union (CIWU) and Bank and General Workers Union (BGWU).

In addressing workers on the Roy St. John Playing Field at Tanteen, the President General of TAWU, warned that the strike has not been escalated into a full blown one due to love for country by the public sector workers.

Lewis who is known to have a close friendship with Labour Minister Peter David told workers that the industrial action has been kept at a minimum but that the struggle will continue until government gives to public officers what is duly due to them.

He issued an ominous threat that many stand to lose if things go awry in the country.

“The struggle continues but it is important for us to bear the following in mind…this is not just a fight for public officers. This is a fight for the working people of Grenada because public officers have children that work on the airport and they have children that work on the port and they have children that work in the different private sectors, so we can assure comrades that at the right time solidarity shall be expanded.

Workers in St. George’s with Placards

“All that we ask of you is to rely on your confidence in your leadership. We by ourselves cannot do it, we will give you the ideas but we need your solidarity and support. Once you stand with us, once you give us that confidence, once we know that when we say 25 and nothing less, that you would stand with us…the struggle continues and therefore as you leave here today, hold the knowledge and the conviction that justice will come, justice shall come.

PWU’s Rachael Roberts insisted that public officers are determined to get from government what they deserve.

She told the rally: “We have served a great nation and after 26 and 2/3rd years our government wants to disrespect us. Should we stand for it? No 2%. We say to our Prime Minister, you are going home every four years with 20% and … you want to allow your employees to go home with 2%. Well, we say no way…we going home with 25%, nothing less.

“We stand together and we say we must be respected, our country seems to be a leadership of disrespect – it started with the disrespect of nurses and doctors and it’s continuing with the disrespect of all public officers.

Roberts also belted out: “We have made great sacrifices, if public officers do not do the work, if public officers do not teach, if public officers do not attend to the patients, what would happen to this great country? We must get what we deserve and we deserve 25% for the sacrifices that we have made”.

President of GUT, Lydon Lewis who has emerged as the firebrand among the leadership of the unions told his members that they cannot return to the classroom unless “equal rights and justice” is received.

Lewis blasted the ruling New National Party (NNP) regime of Prime Minister Mitchell of demonstrating lack of care for workers in the country.

“This is a government that show they do not care about workers, they take the bigger share and they give us the crumbs…it’s not equal rights and justice. They believe that we would forget but we will never forget – four to five years go quickly and we must not at no time be taken for granted.

“We are not unreasonable in our act – in fact, we have made serious compromise when we signed the MOU, we negotiated away some of the benefits that we needed or we should have and so this is a struggle that is a just one. Let those who labour reap the rewards…workers, teachers, hold strain, hold onto your conviction – that this is a just fight, this is what we all are entitled to.

“… It is about economic justice. It is about us retiring into a comfortable future. I think I’ll stand the brunt of the attack but I am not scared by threats, I am not frustrated by propaganda and you too should not be. Be not afraid of the verbal attacks.

“We have to stand strong and we have to stand united. Pensions and gratuity is a right…it’s what you have earned legally and morally.

What we are fighting for should have been a given but if we are to receive what we deserve from the politicians, we have to be prepared to struggle.

“Teachers going forward, the struggle continue, we cannot return to the classroom unless we get equal rights and justice. Teachers, workers, we remain steadfast…they think we go come by their office and beg, we have to band we belly and we say to them 25, 25, 25…and nothing less.

Interim Political Leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Joseph Andall, who was seen around the protest march expressed solidarity with the workers.

In speaking to reporters, he said: “I think that the workers are justified in taking the position they have taken. We also believe that whenever there is any conflict the best way to go is the route of negotiation and if one side is holding a gun to the head of the other or sword across your neck, then you cannot call that negotiations, that is intimidation and so I believe that the unions (are) justified in standing up for what they believe.

This is a clear reference to the decision taken by government to file an injunction order in court against PWU to prevent workers in the Essential Services from taking part in the strike action.

The Congress Interim Leader urged the administration to go back to the negotiating table with the union leaders in an effort to bring an end to the current impasse.

Andall said: “We encourage the authorities to sit down and have genuine negotiations with all the trade unions, to withdraw all threats – threats of injunction, threats of withholding salaries because you need a proper climate in order for this to come to an amicable satisfactory solution.

“…It is my understanding that this (pension) is something that is written into the Constitution and if it is part of the Constitution then any government has an obligation to honour it. The question of whether the present administration can afford to do it, that would be something that they would have to work out together with the unions.

“…We must always bear in mind that the government is boasting about massive surpluses and robust economic growth over the past five, six years and so on and so we need to have some consistency in messaging from the Ministry of Finance – they cannot be crying trouble on one hand and thumping their chest on the other hand, talking about how good things are…it’s one or the other.

The union leaders had boycotted a meeting with the Minister of Labour, Peter David on Monday afternoon because of an injunction filed in court by Legal Consultant to Government, Guyanese lawyer, Darshan Ramdhani to prevent essential services workers from taking industrial action.

The injunction was pulled back and the unions met later that same evening with Minister David.

Union officials said that the meeting ended with the senior government minister giving an undertaking to send them a letter Tuesday morning on the way forward to resolve the impasse.

Up to the time of the march on Tuesday, the letter was not received and the Unions took the decision to order workers to remain at home on Wednesday.

Throne speech highlights government “commitment” to pension reform

In the midst of an intensified industrial climate where public sector workers are clamouring for their constitutionally due 25% pension and gratuity payment from government, the Keith Mitchell-led administration said it is committed to pension reform.

This was highlighted by Governor General, Dame Cecile La Grenade as she delivered the throne speech ahead of the 2019 Budget presentation on Wednesday at the Parliament Building at Mt. Wheldale, St. George.

The island’s female head of state announced that a Pension Secretariat has been set up by government and is currently conducting a study to ensure an appropriate package for public servants.

“My Government also remains firmly committed to pension reform.

Indeed, ensuring that our retirees are provided with a decent pension so that they can have a comfortable standard of living in their twilight years, is not just a social imperative, but a moral duty, which my Government takes seriously”, she said.

“To meet this commitment, my Government has established a Pension Secretariat and has secured the services of a company to conduct an actuarial study to assist in designing an appropriate package based on Grenada’s particular financial situation. My Government has already taken action to support public officers who were appointed between April 4th, 1983 and February 22nd, 1985, on the basis of the Hermilyn Armstrong judgement…”, she added.

Under the Grenada Constitution, provisions are already entrenched for public officers to benefit from a 25% gratuity and pension package.

The controversial pension issue was ruled upon by the Court of Appeal in 1998 in a matter involving retired public officer, Irvin Mc Queen and the Public Service Commission (PSC) in which the Justices ruled in favour of the officer and against the state body.

Despite the current impasse in negotiations with public sector trade unions and staff associations, the Governor General indicated that the “Government is committed to achieving pension reform “which will benefit workers in the post-1985 category”.

“We must balance this commitment with ensuring that decisions taken do not have negative effects on future generations, but are done within the parameters of the Fiscal Responsibility Law”, she told legislators.

The unions took industrial action against the Mitchell-led government accusing it of reneging on the 25% gratuity and offering them 2% instead.