Elected officials should not be dual nationals

The law is the law and it is binding on all who dwell or visit within its jurisdiction. The law is particularly binding on those who make the law. As I observed in a previous commentary, “Law makers should not be law breakers”.

This issue is raised again in the context of persons who hold dual citizenships while seeking election – and, in some cases getting elected – to the legislative bodies of countries. Those who either seek or achieve such election violate the law of the land in countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), particularly when they also hold Cabinet positions, formulating national policy.

This matter has arisen time and again in Caribbean countries; among them: Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Jamaica, St Kitts Nevis and St Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago where dual nationals have sought election, or have been elected, to the legislature, leading to political storms that caused them either to resign from office or withdraw as candidates for election.

The reason for the disqualification of a dual national from eligibility to legislative bodies and Government cabinets is simple and straightforward. As University of the West Indies Law lecturer and columnist, Jefferson Cumberbatch, observed: it is “a secular version of the axiom that no man can serve two masters”.

To become a citizen of a country other than the one in which a person is born, allegiance must be sworn to that country. But, Caribbean constitutions forbid such double allegiance in the context of election to the House of Representatives. In almost uniform language, they state: “No person shall be qualified to be elected as a member of the House of Representatives who by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign Power or State”.

The words “who by virtue of his (also her) own act” are important.

In two celebrated instances involving Prime Ministers, Lester Bird of Antigua and Barbuda and Edward Seaga of Jamaica, held the highest elective office in their countries even though they were born in the United States and were automatically citizens of that country.

However, they were not denied election to their legislatures or to the Office of Prime Minister, because they did not choose by their own volition to be born in the U.S., thereby becoming U.S. citizens. To their credit, they both rescinded their U.S. citizenships anyway.

There is a third, less famous case of David Thompson of Barbados who was a member of parliament, opposition leader and, briefly before his untimely death, Prime Minister of Barbados.

Thompson was born in the United Kingdom, again through no fault of his own. Therefore, in standing for election, he broke no law.

Retaining foreign citizenship, while serving as a lawmaker and government policy maker, poses further problems beyond the substantial issue of “to whom do you owe allegiance?”. These include: payment of taxes to the country of second citizenship on income earned world-wide, that is applicable by Canada and the U.S., and obligations to serve in the military or to be conscripted. These obligations open the holder of a parliamentary or Cabinet post to influences, maybe even coercion, that could be harmful to the best interests of the country in which he or she is serving.

There is the further issue of what has been called “the no escape clause”. A 2008 study by the Caribbean Policy Initiative put that argument as follows: “An individual who has pledged allegiance to a foreign power may offer less than full commitment to either country.

The risk is that, at the margins, the individual in question might make trade-offs that an individual who holds only one citizenship – and thus has no “escape clause” – would not have the option of doing.

In the event of a crisis, he or she might leave the country. In the case of a conflict between the two countries of which he or she is a citizen, his or her loyalty to the country in which he/she is a law or policy maker might be compromised”.

There was at least one law-maker in the Guyana National Assembly who was a dual citizen – the now notorious Charandass Persaud – whose vote led to the success of a no-confidence motion and the political crisis in which Guyana is presently placed. Mr. Persaud had an “escape clause”, namely his citizenship of Canada that he immediately exercised by returning there in residence.
Despite these cogent facts and the law itself, many dual nationals appear to remain in the Guyana parliament on all sides of the political divide. The law, therefore, takes second place to political expediency – at least, for now.

But, this relegation of the law will have to be corrected before the next general election which, after the current Court appeals are concluded, will have to be held. At that point, the list of names for submission as parliamentarians must be disinfected of all dual nationals. With the razor-thin majorities by which governments have been elected (and deposed) in recent times, it would take a successful challenge of only one dual-national to again topple a government and toss the country into constitutional and electoral confusion.

Throughout the Caribbean, those, who defend the instances of dual nationals knowingly seeking election despite the legal disqualification, argue that Caribbean countries are too small to disregard the talent and knowledge of their nationals who, for one reason or another, obtain a second citizenship.

In part, that argument has validity. Some of the Caribbean’s most experienced and informed nationals have gained their experience and knowledge abroad along with their second citizenship.

However, they are not prohibited from returning to their native countries and contributing their acquired capabilities. The prohibition only applies to those who seek elected office with the responsibility to make national policy decisions. The latter, as has been pointed out earlier in this commentary, makes the official who bears allegiance to a second country, susceptible to influences that could be inimical to the interests of the nation he or she is elected to serve.

Dual nationals, who still hold parliamentary seats and government Cabinet posts, do neither their party nor their country any good by retaining their second citizenships and sworn allegiance to the countries concerned. The same applies to dual nationals who might seek elected office in the future.

If these persons wish to hold elected office, they should rescind their citizenships of other countries and serve the necessary period of residence. There is no better demonstration of loyalty, fidelity and commitment to a nation than to shed allegiance to any other.

(Sir Ronald Sanders is Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to the United States and the Organisation of American States. 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 entirely his own)

Infusion Pump donated to Oncology Department at General Hospital

The Oncology Department at the St. George’s General Hospital was the recipient last week Monday of a piece of cancer treatment equipment from the Grenada Cancer Society.

Member of the Grenada Cancer Society, Naeisha John hands over the equipment to Oncology Nurse, Eunice Baptiste

Secretary of the Grenada Cancer Society, Reverend Dr. Osbert James said the presentation of the equipment which is expected to improve cancer will come in handy to patients, including himself, as he was recently diagnosed with Cancer.

“I am standing here today with a bit of irony; I have been working with cancer patients for some time now, first as a Chaplin at the Newark Presbyterian Hospital, working on General Oncology.

Then, when I came home to Grenada, I became a member of the Grenada Cancer Society some 15 years or so ago. So, I have been working with persons with cancer but I have never myself been a patient until recently I was diagnosed with Cancer. So, I think it’s quite ironic that we are presenting the pump at this time. So, I might be able to make use of it…”, he said.

“…Many times when people get a diagnosis of Cancer, they think well that’s the end but it’s not so and it’s very wonderful that we can have this treatment here. Somebody made a remark to me recently, he called me to find out how I was doing and I said I came back because I made a decision not to be treated in the United States, but to come home and he said to me, you must have a lot of confidence in Grenada. Well I do have a lot of confidence in Grenada and I prefer to be home at a time like this and I am happy that the Cancer Society is able to support me and others in this,” he added.

The equipment, which came at a price of US $3000, was welcomed by Oncology Nurse, Eunice Baptiste who thanked the Cancer Society for the donation since it would very vital for the functioning of the department.

Staff of Oncology Department in photo with recently donated Infusion Pump

“We are indeed very grateful for the role of the Grenada Cancer Society in making our dream come true – it’s an equipment greatly needed at a cost of US $3000. With this Infusion Pump, the patient is easily monitored and controls the liquid flow and the required rate allowing accuracy. It alerts to air bubbles and any other block and allow the safe and reliable infusion to the patient”, she told the brief ceremony.

“…We regret not having this a few months or years ago as some of our patients who are here with us today, who have recently completed treatment would have enjoyed the proficiency of this equipment and relating to it, the patients receiving long-term treatment,” she said.

Oncology Doctor at the General Hospital, Dr Barrymore McBarnette provided statistics to show that in 2018, the Oncology Clinic saw 885 patients – 93 were new patients, while 145 were on active treatments.

Dr. McBarnette said that Breast Cancer has been identified as the main form of Cancer among women and Prostate and Colon Cancer among men in Grenada.

He added that the clinic has noticed an increase in Lung Cancer cases in the country.

Grenada to be represented at African Conference

Director of Legal Aid and Counselling Clinic, and Chairman of the Caribbean Male Action Network (CariMAN), Tyrone Buckmire, will this weekend travel to Mozambique to participate in an international seminar, titled “Men, Masculinities and Gender Equality in Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America: Interregional Dialogues”.

Tyrone Buckmire

The session will take place in Maputo, from February 25-27 and is a joint undertaking of the United national Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the Government of Mozambique, in collaboration with universities, the MenEngage Alliance, SAfAIDS, the Caribbean Male Action Network, the Justice and Gender Foundation, RedeHomenspelaMudanca, OECD, Care France,Promundo and HOPEM.

During the seminar, researchers in masculinities, gender and feminists studies, as well as key development and human rights organisations will present their research findings, results, empirical knowledge and constructive critical approaches that address issues pertaining to the meaningful engagement of men and boys in the struggle for gender equality in Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America.

Buckmire’s main presentation will be a paper titled, “Collaborative Approaches to Addressing Masculinities and Gender Equality issues in the Caribbean Region”.

This paper will present a case study of the Partnership for Peace Programme (PfP) (which is called the Man to Man programme in Grenada).

PfP was piloted in Grenada in 2005 and has since become one of the most successful interventions for perpetrators of Gender Based Violence, now being run in six (6) other regional territories.
Over the three days Buckmire will also speak about other initiatives that work with survivors of GBV and sexual abuse, as well as juveniles in conflict with the law.

An experience with Caribbean Airlines!!!

I would appreciate it if you could publish this ‘open’ letter to sensitise Caribbean Airlines (CA) staff as well as passengers regarding this airline’s treatment of people.

I had an online chat regarding my complaint of an experience I suffered on Dec. 17, 2018, Flight # CA601. The person advised me to make the complaint using their online form which I did. After completion, a message came back saying that I would hear from them via email within seven working days, and via regular mail within 40 working days. So far, I have had no correspondence from CA in any form.

After seeing CA’s propaganda deluge in the Caribbbean media over the last few weeks about Caribbean Identity, I have decided to make my grievance public with the hope that I would hear from the airline, and relations with the public will improve.

My complaint is in regard to the mistreatment I received from a crew member on Dec. 17, 2018.

Because of my recent surgery, I was taken in a wheelchair to the door of the aircraft. I politely requested help with my carry-on luggage. The crew member refused, and explained that they are not allowed to put baggage for passengers to be stored above. I explained that the only help I needed was to wheel my carry-on luggage to my seat; I did not need for her to hoist it as I was going to ask a fellow-passenger to do so.

She insisted that there is no way she or her crew could do that (taking the carry-on baggage to my seat area). I explained that I had surgery, and the doctor underscored the importance of not handling any weight or pulling or pushing any object that might cause internal bleeding. She was laughing – almost in a belligerent expression. I wanted a record of this incident and therefore took a few photos (of her laughing).

I was left alone to fend for myself as the lady was unmovable in her resolve not to help. I therefore struggled and pulled my carry-on baggage.

After the plane arrived in Port-of Spain, I approached her to explain why she did not help me. She was repeating the same information (that she and the other crew were not allowed to put passengers’ baggage in the storage section above). I was recording this conversation and she got angry. She said that no photos or videos are allowed in the plane. (I’ve seen several videos of mis-handlings in the plane; all one has to do is to check out these goings-on on Youtube.) She then called security on me.

As we were speaking, I saw one of the crew who emerged from the cockpit. His name was (withheld), and he informed me that he was an assistant to the captain (or something of the sort). I explained the incident (in Toronto), and he suggested that I write a complaint – which I am doing right now.

After my conversation with (name withheld), a security guard supervisor, (name withheld) had a chat with me. He asked me to tell my side of the story (after he had spoken with the lady), which I did. He apologized for the unfortunate experience but demanded that I delete all the photos and videos that I took of my conversation with the lady.

I have heard of the disdainful treatment of Caribbean Airlines employees given to passengers but this is the first time I experienced this with CA.

I would appreciate it if an inquiry would be made into this incident. I would be glad to meet with a senior representative of CA to discuss the matter.

Dr. Devanand Bhagwan

Grenada moves closer to making St. George a Climate Smart City

Grenada is on the hunt for millions of dollars to provide hundreds of jobs for its people through an initiative known as the Green Climate Fund Project, according to Minister of Climate Resilience, Senator Simon Stiell.

Speaking to reporters at a recently held post-Cabinet Press Briefing at the Conference Room in the Ministerial Complex at the Botanical Gardens, Sen. Stiell said that as it currently stands, the island is only at the pre-feasibility stage in gathering data on nine identified project areas to seek funding from the project.

He identified as one of the key projects the desire to make St. George the first Climate Smart City in the region under the Climate Fund initiative.

The minister announced that several donor organisations will be approached to try and get funding for the projects.

“We don’t have the local resources to fund these (projects), which is why we are working so closely with institutions such as the Green Climate Fund, who have financing facilities available to provide us with significant grant support for those projects which we can demonstrate the climate change rationale and concessionary loans together with other agencies,” he said.

Once those projects get started, Minister Stiell stated that there will be significant economic benefits for the country.

He said: “What we should be able to do is to turn what is a threat, which is climate change into a massive opportunity for us. Take one project concept, which is to protect the Carenage and what we’re looking at is coming from around by the Cruise Ship Terminal, around the Carenage, going around the Lagoon in terms of building some kind of sea defense against sea level rise. That project alone, they have looked at just preliminary estimates, the value of that is somewhere in the region of 75 million US$, just preliminary estimates –these will create significant construction opportunities.

“This is hard engineering and what we would see is massive opportunities for our local contractors, for our local tradesmen and women. You look at some of the other interventions – road widening, road strengthening, the creation of new roads –significant jobs – so what we would see out of this is what we are calling green jobs. This is a whole new enterprise for Grenadians for providing services, for providing labour for climate related initiatives and then you look at the economic impact of that, not only in terms of the creation of job opportunities but you look at the impact that it will have on our GDP”, he added.

According to Sen. Stiell, the work to be undertaken on the Carenage is considered as critical since the area has been identified by a New York University (NYU) team of engineers and specialists as a project to be carried out eventually as the area could suffer from high sea level rise and major flooding.

He spoke of the experts including NASA Scientists utilising high end equipment to provide interpretation data and modeling for the Carenage project with the years 2050 and up to 2080 in mind.

Sen. Stiell said: “We’re seeing within the 2050 model, a sea level rise of over 5 feet and then at 2080, in excess of 7 feet. So, all areas that are at sea level such as the Carenage, such as Grand Anse, such as Soubise, just to name a few of the areas they’re focused on in the project, we can see just how vulnerable those areas are.

“…The Carenage is seen as a priority area. We see it as early as 2021 – within the next three years, regular high water flooding. So, whether this is from excessive rainfall, we’ve already seen areas such as Tanteen etc, which are flooded very easily under high rainfall conditions in terms of sea surges, we’re going to see an increase frequency of events there.

“The (St. George’s) Port certainly by 2050 again – high level of vulnerability together with Grand Anse – so they’re starting to draw out the specific data that will speak to the solutions that are required for that.

Sen. Stiell identified some of the risk areas around Grenada that will be looked to address under the Green Climate Fund.

“There is a southern corridor between the town of St. George and the Airport. Again the sections of that are highly vulnerable to climate change. So, whether it is looking at widening the road, defending that corridor but linking that to another component which is an Urban Development Plan and looking at issues such as traffic congestion, transportation within the area. So, looking at interventions that will include road widening and the creation of alternative routes to alleviate traffic and increase traffic flow and efficiency – a top priority for all of us”, he said.

Sen. Stiell disclosed that the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) is known to be under sea level and some parts of the runway “are vulnerable to sea level rise and ingress from the sea” and has to be addressed as a vulnerable area.

He said that the plan of action also takes in St. George’s University (SGU) which constitutes 20% of the island’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and seen as “an important economic engine for us”.

He added that government will be working along with the university to see how “we can build greater resilience in their operations, to ensure in the event of a severe weather event, they can recover as quickly as possible”.

The senior government minister cited the tackling of sewage in the south and interventions to combat sea level rise in the poor and rural community of Soubise in St. Andrew as two other projects to be tackled under the Climate fund initiative.

Sen. Stiell also spoke about an Urban Development Plan in the making to identify priority roads where interventions are needed “in order to alleviate some of our traffic congestion issues and in doing so, speak to reducing our Green Houses Gas emissions, which is a critical part of the process”.

He said that this will focus on short, medium and long term road expansion work from the town of St. George and expanding on the eastern side of the island.

The minister admitted that concerns are being raised in some quarters about the projects identified by Grenada as priority.

He said: “We’ve been told on many occasions that what we are trying to achieve with this project is far too ambitious and unrealistic and the response that we continue to give is with the extreme threat that climate change presents us with and we are already seeing the negative impacts of that, we can do nothing but come up with ambitious plans to address it.

“We have no choice and the data is showing us the need for fast action on these projects – that the challenge for us isn’t going to be in collecting data, isn’t going to be in developing the solutions, it’s going to be in how do we finance these projects,” he added.

Serious business and not “ole talk”

The month of March is very crucial for the trade union movement in Grenada as two of the most influential public sector unions on the island are due to hold general elections in the coming weeks with the post of President on the line in both instances.

These elections are very important in light of the current impasse between the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and three public sector unions and two staff associations on the 25% issue of gratuity and pension payments due to public officers.

THE NEW TODAY gets the sense that the President of the Public Workers Union (PWU), Rachael Roberts and her counterpart in the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) Lydon Lewis are expected to face some kind of a challenge from within their own Executives for their respective top positions.

The Public Relations Officer (PRO), Brian Grimes has already publicly announced his candidacy for the PWU Presidency and reportedly filed his Nomination papers on Friday to certify that he wants the top position.

There are reports flying around the country that GUT’s Lewis can face a similar challenge for his position from one of the current Vice-Presidents.

It is quite obvious that the Mitchell-led government would be closely monitoring the developments within these two trade unions and hoping that there can indeed be leadership changes in order to provide a platform for some kind of a negotiated settlement on the pension issue with new persons at the helm.

Speculation is already rife in the country that those persons pushing the so-called “Project Grenada” construct within the NNP regime are trying to use whatever influence they have from behind the scene to try and bring about leadership changes within both PWU and GUT.

President Lewis of GUT has been facing the brunt of the attacks from government supporters for the hardline stand being taken on the 25% issue and for ordering the street protest actions mounted by teachers in November to push forward their demands for payment of the money.

The PWU leader has also been singled out by Prime Minister Mitchell for a tongue lashing at a recent ceremony held for former PWU President, Adrian Francis who is retiring from the service on reaching the age of 60.

The ongoing dispute between government and the trade unions and staff organisations on the pension and gratuity payment issue has been proving to be more of a political headache and nightmare for the Prime Minister than the battle he faced a year ago from the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) whom he defeated 15-0 at the polls on March 13, 2018.

The Prime Minister is fully aware that his own supporters are up in arms against him as many of them are public officers and affected by his recent decision to dock their salaries for taking strike action.

For weeks, the Grenadian leader was forced to rally his support base and hold meetings in different parts of the country on a twice daily basis as the 25% payment issue threatened to engulf the entire country and his government.

The issue is far from over. It still has the potential to cause rippling effect for the government in the years ahead.

It is against this background that THE NEW TODAY is looking at the challenges to the two incumbent trade union Presidents – Lydon Lewis and Rachael Roberts – by members of their own executives.

It is rather unfortunate that when both the PWU and GUT should be demonstrating solid unity on behalf of their membership that cracks are beginning to emerge in their ranks.

The architects of “Project Grenada” are not sleeping and will be taking careful note of what is taking place and happening within the two unions.

This newspaper can see the hands of one of the main players of “Project Grenada” lurking in the dark of the night and trying to influence the outcome of the elections in both unions.

THE NEW TODAY is mindful of the clandestine attacks from within “Project Grenada” on both Roberts and Lewis as trade union leaders out of the belief that they have outlived their usefulness and should give way to a new and emerging generation of young leaders.

Is there a hidden agenda for these attacks at this point in time? Why were these statements not made in February 2018 – less than two weeks before the March 13 poll when the leaders of PWU and GUT joined with others and signed onto the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the pension and gratuity issue that virtually sealed the election victory for the NNP?

This newspaper has always held the position that the public sector unions allowed themselves to be “outfoxed” and “out manoeuvred” on signing onto the MOU without having in their hands a firm and binding agreement for the 25% payment.

This newspaper is calling on the membership of both PWU and GUT to demand of those vying for offices in next month’s union elections to outline their positions on the 25% pension and gratuity payment issue in very clear language.

The various camps must tell the workers within PWU and GUT how they intend to deal with government on this vexing matter that has so far left a sour taste in the mouths of thousands of public officers in Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.

The workers cannot afford to be fooled a second time within a year on an issue which can either guarantee that when the time comes to leave the government service and go into retirement that they do not continue to remain poor and marginalized and thus secure a comfortable and reasonable life for themselves and their families.

The time is right for serious business and not “ole talk” to get votes in the GUT and PWU Presidential elections.

POLICE RECRUITS GET FIRST HAND TRAINING EXPERIENCE

“I expect to go out there and be the best police officer that I can be with all the knowledge that I have gained from training.”

Some of the new recruits pictured while being engaged by an officer at the Criminal Record Office on Cobble Street, in St. George’s

Those words were uttered by aspiring police officer Nashalin Smith, in an interview with reporters last week Tuesday, on the compound of the St. George’s Magistrate’s Court.

The Woman Police Constable (WPC) is among 58 new recruits, who were given an opportunity to experience first-hand the operations of the court system and the various functions of the Criminal Records Office (CRO) as part of their training to become full-fledged members of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF).

The exercise which took place last week Tuesday formed part of the rigorous 6-month training, expected to culminate Thursday with a graduation ceremony at the Police Training School at Camp Salines.

According to Sergeant 42 Chris Campbell, one (1) of the trainers attached to the Police Training School for the last 10 years, the new recruits “would have done demonstrations at the school…but now they are here to get that experience and return to the school, where we will conduct a review.”

He said the exercise is done every year coming towards the end of the 6-month training.

“They would be graduating soon on February 21st and those are the things that we must do for our recruits when they are training…the entire course is out, we have 28 recruits here at the Magistrate’s Court and we have 30 at the Criminal Records Office (CRO), where they would be learning fingerprinting among other things,” he added.

(L -R): Sergeant 42 Campbell, PC Lorick Allard and WPC Nashalin Smith in the vicinity of the St. George’s Magistrate’s Court last week Tuesday

The Police Sergeant disclosed that there are many challenges for the new recruits and that only 58 of the original batch of 60 persons have endured to the end.

WPC Smith admitted to reporters that “the first month (of training) was very challenging”, noting that they “had to wake up (by) at least 4 o’ clock on mornings to get ready for physical training…and the day would start from there until 5 p.m, when classes finish and we would have supper and stuff like that.”

She said, however, that her biggest challenge was with properly polishing and shining her shoes.

“I couldn’t shine my shoes for whatever reason but I have it all under control now,” she added.

Her colleague, Police Constable (PC) Lorick Allard, who described himself as a dedicated, hard-working young person” said, the training was not what he had expected.

“There were a lot of challenges up front but I embraced it head on,” he said energetically.

Beauty and the Beast!!!

Citizens here are concerned about the beautiful but massive “black” building now being erected along the Woodlands road and, for which, so far, there seems to be no facilities for PARKING – this road being a heavily used road in and out of Grand Anse area.

Equally, the ¼ inch concrete drain that passes in front of the “black beauty” can hardly contain water when it drizzles. Ahead of the impending rainy season could someone address the need for a 2 to 3 foot concrete drain starting perhaps at the corner before “black beauty” and continuing around the corner in front of Qualitek Printers.

Citizens will join in prayers for a response to their concerns.

Winifred Jones

Money Socialism

A new and strange political ‘thing’ has emerged and is on the rise in Grenada. ‘Money Socialism’ is of recent vintage but is already showing itself to be a harmful political development.

Noticeably, some people are actually instigating one set of poor Grenadians to fight another set of poor Grenadians. On the flip-side and by causation, it has given birth to a so-called ‘Council of Ministers’ for St Andrew. (See last week’s article, ‘Revo in St Andrew’.)

In both cases, the evidence is that throwing big money behind poverty only creates more poverty and does nothing to develop communities.

Generational poverty is at the door. Poverty of purse is a bad thing.

Poverty of mind, soul, pride and dignity is worse for any society.

Stability and keeping the peace are important maintenance functions, but development and growth, driven by production, call for strategic investments.  Pocket-to-hand cash won’t cut it. Start thinking.

Difference is in the pattern of creation. There is hierarchy in heaven, as there is on earth. Jesus told that in His father’s house there are many mansions. Not one. Societies are comprised of different classes. Political ideology has never been able to reverse that. Ask the old Soviets. Ask the Cubans. Ask the Chinese. Ask Maduro.

‘Money Socialism’ cannot equalise relations in society. So where are we seeking to lead Grenada, other than to the polls, with a short-sighted policy of ‘equal rights’ to the Treasury by people who contribute differently to the work of the State, the economy and the public coffers?

The proponents of ‘Money Socialism’ cannot fool thinking and experienced citizens. Plainly put, they have invented that ‘thing’ as a peg on which to hang their vote-catching scheme. A major concern is that they are doing so very recklessly. No thought appears to have been given to the meaning and consequences of such a practice.

Buying political comfort may please a small group in the short-term, but; financing growth and real development will bring comfort to many generations over the long-term. If they don’t care about that, the citizens must show that they care a whole lot. People are much happier to live in communities that are producing, not communities that are on ‘bed rest’ awaiting pay-outs.

Poverty has always existed in human civilisation and we in Grenada know it well. In the past, poor people were driven by ambition and were clear about the benefits of sending their children to school. In those days, they worked and sacrificed.

Today, some politicians send them a new message saying, “wait on ‘a small change’, yuh go get it every month or every Saturday and just remember who feeding yuh”. So, the Grenadian poor have been stripped of their values and have lost their love of pride and dignity.

The brave among us need to call out the politicians and tell them to back-off the poor. Yes, the poor must be helped, but they must not be tricked, trapped and enslaved in our Spice Isles.

It took a little time to disclose itself fully, but the ‘Gratuity Crisis’ has exposed its ugliness. Back in 2018, no one campaigned on a promise not to pay gratuity. No one campaigned on a promise to make certain groups of Grenadians equal at the Treasury.

No political party invented gratuity for public officers and no party should take it away. Pensions were never meant to be at the pleasure of the Government of the day. Otherwise, the entire scheme of public administration would be displaceable at will. There would be no certainty from regime to regime and the public officer would be in limbo as to the long-term benefits of his/her employment.

Today, the authorities wish to use the money in the Treasury to support a different set of priorities. The question is whether such new priorities are in the public interest or a party’s interest.
Shakespeare once wrote, “to fool the times you must look like the times”.

Tell the people there is a Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) that ties your hand, but behind that you have an unrestricted ‘Funds Redistribution Arm’ (FRA). Tell the people you are promoting equality and social justice (laudable on its face), but behind that you are really just tying up votes.

Alarm bells are already ringing as the beneficiaries of ‘Money Socialism’ take to ‘Plead your Cause’ at daybreak and other programs to fight teachers and public officers. They have been prompted.

“Dey fighting for dey dollar’! The verbal fights could easily escalate and very quickly endanger people’s safety.

Bet your last retirement dollar, soon it will be crying time again!

William Joseph

G’DA LOOKING FOR 15TH CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW GOLD MEDAL

Grenada has started early preparation in its bid to seek a 15th gold medal at the 2019 Chelsea Flower Show to be held in the United Kingdom from May 21 – 25.

GTA Chairman Brenda Hood presents Catherine John with special award

In strong support of the team’s effort, the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) and lead designer Catherine John have signed an agreement cementing the authority’s major sponsorship this year for the event.

Following the signing of the agreement, GTA Chief Executive Officer, Patricia Maher said, “We are so proud of the efforts of the Grenada Team in producing excellent displays year after year and winning 14 gold medals to date. Not only do they depict our horticultural products to an international audience but they highlight to the world the fact that Pure Grenada is endowed with natural products”.

In response, John said that she and her team are looking forward to producing an equally intriguing display this year at the internationally recognised flower show.

“We always try to tell a story about Grenada’s beauty, history and rich culture. We are excited about the display this year”, she remarked.

In 2018, the team produced the gold medal awarded display, “’Grenada -The Road to Success’, a depiction of the island’s iconic historic symbol – the board bus, uniting Grenadians in the memory of travelling by open-sided bus to and from St George’s.

L-R- GTA Marketing Executive for the UK Renee Moses, GTA CEO Patricia Maher, Grenada Chelsea Flower Show lead designer Catherine John, GTA Chairman Brenda Hood, GTA Product Development and Research Manager Kirl Hoschtialek and GTA Marketing Manager Francine Stewart

Also present for the signing of the agreement was GTA Chairman Brenda Hood, a former Minister of Tourism who congratulated Team Grenada for their excellent work over the years and presented John with a beautifully hand crafted nutmeg award for her years of service as the lead designer.

Hood also mentioned the wonderful selection of garden tours available to visitors now who wish to explore the island’s natural beauty,

To top off the signing, GTA CEO Maher presented John with a Tourism Ambassador’s pin, a token given to citizens who exemplify tourism excellence and represent Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is an unrivalled world stage and continues to play a prominent role in enticing visitors to Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean where they are free to wonder at our abundant natural beauty and exquisite gardens.