Joseph Andall: We are facing troubling times

“I think the first year has shown up the New National Party (NNP) for what it truly is – a party that is big and grand in its promises and very weak on actual delivery of what was promised.”
Those were the words used by Interim Leader of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Joseph Andall, in reference to the first anniversary of NNP’s historic 3rd 15-0 victory at the polls.

Interim Leader of the National Democratic Congress Joseph Andall

“We are in some very troubling times in our country with a very uncertain industrial climate, a judicial climate that is close to collapse, a crumbling health system (and) nothing of substance for the young people but a set of posturing and chest beating by the Prime Minister and his Cabinet,” he said.

According to the interim NDC leader, the performance of the Keith Mitchell-led NNP administration since the March 2018 poll can best be “characterised by the massive failure of the referendum, which was a sad waste of taxpayer’s money (and) a more pressing concern is the near collapse of the judicial system in our country.

He added: “Since last year the High Court has been virtually paralysed with no more than one court operating at a time resulting in severe backlogs”.

Andall pointed to the unavailability of transcripts due to lack of equipment and personnel at the office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court for the problem, stating that “the monies that were spent on the referendum could have been used towards upgrading the physical facilities and in some cases making such facilities available for officers of the court”.

“So, all this talk about making justice more available has come to naught because even if we were to accede to the appellate jurisdiction of the CCJ (Caribbean Court of Justice), the fact that you cannot get out of the lower courts means that you would still not have access (to the CCJ as the final appellate court).

Andall called on the Mitchell government to “ensure that the citizens of our country have speedy access to justice.”

The NDC leader also put the government on the spot for what he described as the lack of implementation of its promises as he made specific reference to the “nonexistent shrimp farm” project that was to come on stream in the parish of St. Mark”.

He noted that the shrimp project was to be erected on the site of what should have been the “fowl farm,” another failed project under the NNP regime.

About two weeks ago, Prime Minister Mitchell announced that the promoters of the shrimp farm are being investigated for collecting money under government’s passport selling scheme known as Citizenship by Investment (CBI) and not utilising it on the promised project.

According to Andall, “the NNP and investigations are like a duck in water – they go hand in hand and we know that those investigations usually end up in a cover up”.

He recalled the investigation regarding irregularities with government’s services and materials about two (2) years ago in St. Patrick.

“We know that the police was involved, detaining persons for questioning and so on – materials were recovered and up to this blessed day we have not heard a report from the police, nor from Minister Gregory Bowen (who announced the investigation) or from any other member of the administration,” he quipped.

“…Young people have to wise up and realise that as important as it is to have a little income, no matter how small, it is even more important that they prepare themselves for a sustainable future because these little programmes by the NNP is designed to trap them into a cycle of dependence and poverty,” he said.

“We see again, another example of the deceitful nature of the NNP regarding the Pensions and Gratuity problems that workers post-1985 is faced with. I cannot fathom what it was Dr. Mitchell expected the unions to believe they were signing to a few days before the last general election and in typical fashion he is ducking out of the agreement leaving the workers with an empty bag to hold”, he added.

Andall also took issue with PM Mitchell, who is also the Minister of Finance, creating a position for his son within his own ministry and paying him an undisclosed amount of money in salary each month.

“The question here is not whether or not the young man is qualified to practice here in Grenada but one of ethics and nepotism (and) we also see the double standards of Peter David, who when he was a member of the Tillman Thomas administration advised against the appointment of the then Prime Minister’s wife to a senior position in the civil service.

“Yet, the same Peter David had no qualms in appointing his daughter as an Ambassador to serve in a ministry (of Foreign Affairs, which) he has line responsibility for. So, we see the double dealing of the administration.

The Congress leader also pointed to “another signature promise of the NNP to deliver on national health insurance for the population.

Andall said, “in spite of Chester Humphrey being head of the committee to implement that from since the days of the NDC and for the entire duration of the first NNP term, we still see no meaningful move or steps being taken to address that issue (and) our citizens are still forced to go on motorcades et cetera, in order to have access to proper health care”.

He said another area of “great concern” is the “stranglehold that the government or the ruling party is exercising over the media.

“We see for example, they already control the Government Information Service (GIS) and some operatives of the Grenada Broadcasting Network (GBN) function as though the GBN was an extension of the GIS. We see the unceremonious dumping of Lew Smith as host of the “Beyond the Headlines” radio and tv programme and it is a crying shame that the government should see it fit and that the management of GBN or whoever was responsible for that decision to see it fit to appoint a sitting government Senator to host a current affairs programme,” he argued.

“This,” he said, is very, very reminiscent of the practices in autocratic (societies) and we are seeing quite clearly the intent to impose on us a one party state where the citizens will not have access to unbiased information,” he said.

“We see again that certain media houses are put under duress and operatives of the NNP are being put in place in some private media houses to be in charge of the News Departments,” a move which he believes is a “reflection of an insecure government, one that is not satisfied with having total control over the Lower House of Parliament, but also believes that they have to control the flow and nature of information that the public has access to,” he remarked.

Andall said his statements “doesn’t mean that nothing has happened” during the last 12 months of NNP rule.

“On a positive note we have seen the opening of Silver Sands, but again we continue to call on government to ensure that development is spread throughout the country. Everything is cued toward St. George’s (and) even though we may hear certain statistics about unemployment and growth in the economy you need to go out into the rural areas and parts of St. George’s that are not touched by those activities to get a true appreciation of the nature of the problem that we face in Grenada regarding unbalanced development, lack of opportunities in the rural areas in particular and even for the people who are employed, extremely low wages,” he said.

Caribbean: in no one’s backward

P.J. Patterson, the former Prime Minister of Jamaica, recently observed to an attentive audience in Washington, D.C., the Capital of the United States, that: “We of the Caribbean should never allow our strategy to be dictated or determined by anyone else”, adding that “we live in no one’s backyard”.

Those words resound with a compelling freshness and significance today as the Caribbean is beset by forces that seek to divide and marginalise the region; to deprive it of a voice in global affairs that materially affect all its countries; and to treat the small, individual territories as nothing more than annoying complications.

Of course, leaders of Caribbean countries, particularly those that are members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), contribute to their own marginalisation and to the disregard shown to them by more powerful states or groups of states.

In the conduct of their external relations, several governments, now and in the past, have pursued narrow, short-term interests, compromising their own sovereignty and weakening themselves and the entire Caribbean Community in international bargaining.

P.J. Patterson knows this well. He saw it first hand in several roles, including as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica; as an opposition politician in Jamaica; and as Prime Minister. The tendency to eschew the strength of Caribbean-wide unity in favour of satisfying the self-interest of political parties has plagued the region to its detriment.

Several Caribbean governments have preferred to treat other Caribbean governments as their competitors and adversaries in order to gain short-term gains. This behaviour has been obvious in tourism, particularly in the cruise ship business, in which Caribbean governments have failed to form an alliance to withstand dictation from large cruise companies. The result has been that Caribbean countries earn a disproportionately smaller share of the earnings of the business.

But, the predilection to reject the strength of unity, or to bend to the will of external interests, in favour of opportunistic alliances with power-blocs – countries or companies – is not limited to sectors, such as tourism. They seem to be replicated across the board of non-domestic activity, resulting in insufficient trust in the CARICOM partnership.

P.J. Patterson spoke in Washington, DC at the launch of his book, My Political Journey, which chronicles his political life as a Jamaican politician, a Caribbean regionalist, and the role he played in fighting for respect for the Caribbean in the global community. It is a book that should be compulsory reading for all current political leaders in the Caribbean and every person who represents the interests of Caribbean nations in international bargaining.

In his book, P.J. states: “The assertion of our united voice as sovereign nations singing from the same hymn sheet is the only way for us to be heard in the global din”.

And, he knows with authenticity, born of lived experience, of the truth of which he speaks. He was an integral participant in the most significant demonstration of unity by developing states at a significant crossroads of their fortunes.

Ironically, that event occurred when Britain decided to join the European Economic Community (now the European Union). Preferential trade access to the British market was disappearing for Britain’s former Commonwealth colonies in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP), as responsibility for trade with Britain passed from London to the EU headquarters in Brussels.

The unification of the ACP countries was fashioned in the Caribbean as a single unit to negotiate a trade and aid pact with Europe.

The arrangement involved three regions, but one voice on each aspect of the negotiating pillars.

The Caribbean’s main spokespersons on behalf of the ACP group were Sir Shridath Ramphal and P.J. Patterson.

Many lessons arose for the Caribbean from those negotiations, not least that the unity of developing countries is a formidable force in bargaining with other countries and regions, much bigger and powerful than themselves.

It is no exaggeration to say that the Lomé Convention, that emerged from those ACP-EEC negotiations, continues to stand today as the most beneficial trade and development document ever signed by developing states. Its benefits, over more than four decades, should permanently flash warning lights to the Caribbean not to fracture their unity, and, instead, to maintain their solidarity.

Caribbean countries have a sparse box of tools from which to draw in advancing their national interests in international affairs. Fighting relentlessly for their sovereign rights is one vital tool they should never relinquish.

P.J. Patterson states with no equivocation that: “While small and powerless states do not in fact receive equal treatment in the application of international law, we in the Caribbean who lack military power are nevertheless compelled to continue the search for that ideal in which the international system will uphold right over might and law over force”.

That is wisdom from an authentic voice speaking from Caribbean trenches in international battlegrounds that have not diminished. They have simply appeared in other forms such as: in the EU blacklisting Caribbean countries in language that pretends cooperation but actions that manifest coercion; in the World Trade Organisation where big countries deny justice to small ones; in the Organisation of American States where after more than 50 years of membership, the Caribbean’s development and security aspirations still play second fiddle to the political agenda of other countries; and in the lip service paid to the adverse effects of climate change that point like a dagger at the heart of the Caribbean’s existence.

In all of this, P.J. Patterson has long and often advocated, “there needs to be a cohesive and effective strategic alliance among small developing countries”. Such an alliance must be cemented, solidified and fortified first among the countries of the Caribbean.

Then, and only then, will Caribbean countries establish the means for true independence and sovereignty both politically and economically.

Caribbean leaders of all political stripes have every right to engage governments of other countries in their economic interest. But, in doing so, they should be mindful that they have a responsibility to themselves and the people of the Caribbean to support each other first.

(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)

‘White racist or black colonial lackey’

I have read carefully the articles written by C. ben-David entitled “Why is it so hard to Amend Caribbean Constitutions?” and ‘Why Some Caribbean Constitutions are proving more difficult to amend than others”.I have come to the conclusion that the writer is a white racist or a black colonial lackey who is committed to walk obediently from now to eternity in the footsteps of those he regards as his white “overloads”, or masters” or benevolent fathers.

He seems to be part of a movement to rehabilitate British imperialism by presenting it as an altruistic project, which by and large it never was. It appears that he has imbibed uncritically over-simplistic terms of imperial apologists such as “imperial guardianship, imperial trusteeship and imperial “paternalism”, which many British historians, who believe that the historical text should tell the truth are cynical of.

The writer, being much mentally simpler, has decided to present only one side of the story, and therefore has severely mutilated the truth. If he had studied honestly the other side of the story, he would have perceived that terms like “trusteeship”, guardianship” and “paternalism” grossly misrepresent the relationship that used to exist between “mother country’ and colonies.

He would have also perceived that a leader like Gairy was not merely a corrupt rabble rouser. One can only write like this, if one is grossly white biased, or if one decides to deliberately ignore the truth.

When we are being critical of persons, we cannot be just to them, if we decide to ignore the social and economic conditions which created them. People are always the product of the historical era in which they live, and the prevailing socio-economic conditions.

Historians studying the years 1883-1933 have commented on the appallingly bad socio-economic conditions that were prevalent in the British colonies. After an emancipation that was more shadow than substance, in 1933, the social and economic condition in the colonies were not much better than what they were in 1833.

Many historians say that in the colonies then, the labouring class was full of despair. There was widespread poverty, low wages, gross inequalities of wealth and income, an inadequate system of education, the arrogant racist attitudes of the white administrators and employers, and much political instability.

The islands were governed then by a small elite of white colonial governors and planters, who had “no feeling for the scandalously exploited, hungry, uneducated masses” (who is insultingly referred to in the letters as rabble). This elite “had the final word in all matters, and the people below them had to submit to and obey them, and could not exert any influence on them, for there was no machinery (as that later provided by trade unions and adult suffrage) to promote this”.

Thus, white colonial government was hardly ever democratic; it was depotic. George Padmore, a Trinidadian and prominent Pan-Africanist at the same time, referred to the British Empire as the “worst racket yet invented by man”.

Dr. Eric Williams wrote a book about British imperial “paternalism” taken to some of its worst extremities, entitled ‘The Negro in the West Indies’ and excited the ire of the white elite in many of the islands, who had very little time for black intellectuals. The white elite in Antigua banned him from visiting the island. He said that the wages of the labourers on the sugar plantations in Barbados was so low; they could not afford to drink milk. The Barbadian planters responded by saying that the labourers did not like milk.

It was little wonder that the 1930s was a time of severe labour disturbances in the Caribbean. These occurred in all the British West Indian colonies except Grenada, Dominica and Antigua.

However, Gairy and Grenada’s hour was to strike in 1951.

When independence did come with the constitutions which granted certain civil and human rights to the masses, to a significant extent, this was not due to British moral trusteeship or benevolent paternalism. One reason for this was that the colonies had contributed valuable manpower in support of the British war effort, and the “Mother country” felt it had to ensure that they maintained their loyalty for future wars, for native intellectuals had pointed out the contradiction between the so-called British commitment to full democracy and citizenship, and the undemocratic nature of colonial rule.

Another was the growth of resistance to empire by native peoples in India, Africa and the West Indies, which was due to entities such as the Satyagraha and pan-African movements, which originated with people like Mahatma Gandhi and Marcus Garvey. Other reasons included the spread of resistance to racism in Britain and in the colonies.

Despite the mistakes and serious misdemeanours of the Caribbean leaders specially mentioned in the letters, a fair appraisal would not see them as mere rabble rousers. Because of limited opportunity, none of these intellectually gifted men had a secondary education, and by and large were self-educated.

Moreover, to a great extent the politics they learnt was by and large the politics of the world at the time. It is well known that slavery and colonialism abused and dehumanised Black people, and that abused victims tend to become abusers themselves. It is to the credit to a man like Gairy that we could find the following in his 1972 election manifesto.

About independence, he could see that Grenadians could not attain their full potential in a semi-independent country, and that full and meaningful integration was only possible when all Caribbean countries were independent. About education, he could see that the best type of education for Grenada then was one which emphasized subjects that were most relevant for our community needs.

Devonson LaMothe

GBLA Back to Business as Usual

The Grenada Building & Loan Association (GBLA) which ran into financial difficulties as a result of the collapse of British American Insurance Company (BAICO) and CLICO has unveiled plans to rebrand itself as it seeks to resume business.

GBLA Director Andrew Bierzynski

This was disclosed at a press conference last week Tuesday by its Executive Director John Miller who announced that re-branding is on the cards for the association on the way forward.

According to Miller, the Board of Directors are getting close to the end of the restructuring phase as set out in a “Road Map” report that was done following the financial difficulties faced by Building & Loan which had millions tied up in BAICO and CLICO.

He said that the re-launch of the association will take place within the “next few weeks” under a new business name.

“This will be a trading name only and the legal entity will continue to be the Grenada Building & Loan Association…” he said.

“We will seek to work with strategic partners to bring our members a greater range of financial products. We will resume deposit taking and acceptance of new members”, he added.

GBLA Director Adrian Francis

Building & Loan has reported a positive net equity of EC$8 million post the Judicial management period that it was put into in May 2015.

This was one of the major substantial progress told to shareholders at the 90th Annual General Meeting of the Association held on Wednesday at the Public Workers Union Building (PWU) in Tanteen, St. George.

President of GBLA, Deborah St. Bernard said that the restructuring programme was designed to re-establish the association, which was formed in 1925 on a “sound financial footing and we are now ready to return to business as usual”.

St. Bernard will be assisted on the newly appointed executive by Vice President Andrew Bierzynski, Executive Director Miller and Adrian Francis.

GBLA Executive Director John Miller

According to the audited financial statement for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2014, Building & Loan had a net equity deficit of EC$2.8 million.

However, the Board has announce that “the audited statements for December 31, 2018 by contrast, show a positive net equity position of $8 million, meaning that the Association now has EC$8 million more in assets that is required to pay its debts – a turn-around of 10.8 million.”

Executive Director Miller disclosed that “holdings of cash, cash equivalents and OECS Government Treasury Bills now equate to 70% of the Association’s deposit liabilities.”

He said, “While this is far in excess of what is required to ensure the safety of depositors’ funds it does provide us with a pool of funds to invest in new mortgages.”

According to Miller, this indicates the strength of the Association in terms of its capital base.

GBLA President Deborah St. Bernard

“…We have gone from an organisation that was really in a bad place to now being in a very strong place”, he remarked.

“The value of individual shares went from minus 27c in the dollar in 2014 to a positive 54c in the dollar in 2018 … because of what happened with British American and CLICO”, he said.

THE NEW TODAY understands that the reorganisation and reclassification of shares to restore full value to the active shareholder base in terms of their individual shareholdings was also one of the major highlights up for discussion at the GBLA AGM.

Minding Your Legal Affairs

10 questions to ask before you hire a lawyer

(1). Are you licensed and continue to be licensed to practice in Grenada?

(2). Do you charge a consultation fee?

(3). What does my deposit on legal fees cover?

(4). What legal services does payment of a retainer fee entitle me to?

(5). Do you have any experience in the kind of matter I want to hire you for?

(6). Does representing me put you in a position of conflict?

(7). Would you be personally attending Court in my matter?

(8). Can you explain the steps to be taken to resolve my matter?

(9). Do you charge fees based on the Grenada Bar Association Scale of Fees? and

(10). What percentage of monies you recover on my behalf will you keep?

(The above was submitted by the Grenada Bar Association)

Housing Scheme residents to pay for sewer

NAWASA General Manager Christopher Husbands

Despite continued problems with the sewer system at Grenada’s largest government housing facility, occupiers are being asked to pay for its maintenance.

The announcement of the additional charges was made by NAWASA’s General Manager, Christopher Husbands, at a meeting of residents recently.

Two years ago the Housing Authority of Grenada (HAG), which manages the Mt Gay Housing Development called in NAWASA when the malfunctioning sewer drew public protests.

But the company’s involvement has brought little change to what is being seen as a health hazard.

The foul smell of sewer and constant overflow of the system continues, although NAWASA has engaged a team of Labourers to maintain the system.

Residents received letters Monday informing them that from April they will face the additional sewer charge, which is a third of water consumption charges.

Despite the new charges there are no plans to change the system.

According to Husbands, with residents paying for sewer, NAWASA will now be better able to maintain it.

The state body is using its authority under the National Water and Sewerage Act to charge the residents, however the Mt Gay sewer is not on the company’s sewer lines. It was designed to flow above ground and into the river, once treated.

Since the news broke, residents at the housing development have been expressing concern about whether paying more to NAWASA will make a difference in fixing the problem.

NAWASA officials told this newspaper that what can be expected is a higher quality of waste water being let out, although it will continue
to flow across a public road before getting to the river.

It has been suggested by experts in the field and NAWASA that the entire sewer system which was constructed when Beijing Construction Engineering built the homes, needs to be abandoned for a properly functioning one.

However, building another sewer system is estimated to run into several hundred thousand dollars.

Devastating weekend fire in Cherry Hill

Three years ago she moved back to Grenada from the United States to retire comfortably and took up residence in Cherry Hill, St. George with a house filled with appliances and amenities, but the disastrous occurrence of a fire, stripped that away in the twinkle of an eye.

Gracie Hackett – lost everything in the fire

Gracie Hackett of Cherry Hill, St. George was celebrating the wedding of her daughter at a reception at the Horizon Plaza Emporium building on St. John’s Street, St. George last Saturday when she received a call that most people fear – her house was on fire.

Hackett who spoke to THE NEW TODAY newspaper on Tuesday said that she was informed of the fire approximately 20 minutes after she returned to Emporium from the house.

“My daughter was getting married. We had just came from the Botanical Gardens, we were taking pictures and my sister called and said, ‘well we are going to put the food to warm and we discovered that there is no food warmers and I was like ‘Oh my goodness I can’t believe, I put the warmers on the verandah and I told them to take it and they forgot to put it in the bus.’

“We went up to Cherry Hill and when I went to Cherry Hill, we got to the house – I took the food warmers, then somebody had mentioned to me that we don’t have any knife to cut the pies,” she said.

According to Hackett, she went back into the house to get the knives and “went into the fridge, got the bottle of Italian Salad Dressing that I had left (and) that I forgot to take and then I went back out.”

She said that she spent “five to 10 minutes” in the house and then went back to the reception and “about 20 minutes after, somebody called and said we have a problem.”

She stated she was led to believe that her neighbour’s shop – who was also at the wedding – was on fire, so she was in shock when she got to Cherry Hill and saw her own house was engulfed in flames.

“I was in shock because it was my house. I was going there with the intention of helping my friend, only to discover that it was my house,” she told the newspaper.

Hackett quantified the losses in thousands as she lost all her furnishings and appliances.

“It’s in the thousands because the amount of stuff that I had in my house because I just retired and I came home to live. So, I brought everything home with me, I had smart TVs (Samsung), stove, I had washing machine, I had stereo, microwave, toaster oven, because I wanted to be comfortable when I came home.

“…I had lots of clothes because I give to the Kidney Foundation and I was going to go through them and give to the Kidney Foundation and I also give other people but I didn’t get the chance to do it. I had planned when I was done with the wedding, Monday I would start doing my stuff.

“I had over $3000 in the house, I had taken a thousand dollars from my bank, I think it was Friday because I wanted to go pay my bills and I had money in the house also. My fiancé who drives a bus, he had the money bag and the week’s pay in the house because he decided that he wasn’t going to work on Saturday.

The home of Hackett was completely engulfed in flames

The homeowner commended the Fire Department of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF), Works Minister Gregory Bowen who represented the Parliamentary Representative for the area, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, her neighbours, and the Ministry of Social Development for the assistance given to the family since the fire.

She said: “Minister Bowen came – our Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell, he is not here, Mr. Bowen represented him – he came and all the different departments like Social Services, the Fire Department came, my constituents, everybody is pulling together for me – the response was excellent, I cannot complain about this. They already started assisting us. They took us to get groceries, they took us to get a few pieces of clothes …it was three of us in the house and all three of us lost everything. And there are other things that (have) to be done, but you know there is a lot of process and they’re working on it”.

Hackett was living in the house with her fiancé and grandson and has since taken up residence with her brother in Fontenoy, St. George.

She said the Fire Department had indicated to her that the fire had started in her grandson’s room.

“All they said to me was that for sure the fire wasn’t caused by anything left on like any burning of any food or anything. The Fire Department came in and determined that all the burners on the stove were in the off position, but they say the fire started in my grandson’s room.

A release from the Community Relations Department of RGPF on Monday indicated that four buildings were damaged in the fire.

This is the second fire in one week that has left families displaced, as on March 20, the house of a Beaulieu family was completely destroyed by fire.

No healing between Bishopites and Coardites

The hostility between the two different leftist factions that led to the collapse of the Grenada Revolution on October 19, 1983 is showing no signs of a let up even 40 years after the armed overthrow of the Eric Gairy government and the creation of the first Marxist government in the Eastern Caribbean.

The revolution came to an end when a radical faction loyal to Ex-deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard staged a bloody palace coup which led to the execution of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and three cabinet Ministers – Unison Whiteman, Jacqueline Creft and Norris Bain.

Bishop was killed after taking back on an agreement reached within the Central Committee of the then ruling New Jewel Movement (NJM) to share power with Coard.

Well-placed sources told THE NEW TODAY that an event held March 16 in New York showed that the pro-Bishop and Coard loyalists have not heeled their differences over the fall-out that led to the collapse of the Grenada Revolution.

A source said that books involving both Bishop and Coard were offered as prizes at a raffle held in Brooklyn, NY by organisers to help keep the memory of the March 13 Grenada Revolution alive.

Speculation is rife that the main organisers of the event are linked to Coard’s group that is locally known as members of the Revolutionary Military Council (RMC), the group that seized power after the execution of Bishop at Fort George.

The source spoke of a lady jumping with joy and proudly waving her prize, which was a book on the collection of speeches made by Bishop as leader of the Grenada Revolution when her winning ticket was announced at the Brooklyn event.

“The woman was proud to win something from Maurice. She was jumping and carrying on in the place for so”, he remarked.

According to the source, the person who held the ticket for a book from Coard did not get up from his seat to go up to the head table to collect his prize.

“They called the ticket number at least eight times and no one came up to collect the prize which was a book from Bernard. When the event was literally over the man who held the ticket went up to the organisers and presented it and told them that no way he would come up in public and accept any book from Coard”, he said.

THE NEW TODAY contacted a former revolutionary figure who helped to organise the event for comment on the issue.

He said he was not in the building at the time of the incident but did hear something about two days later about some problem with the Coard book.

Coard who is now living in Jamaica with his wife Phyllis has written at least two books about the Grenada Revolution.

The ex-deputy Prime Minister had served over 25 years in prison after being convicted for the murder of Bishop and his Cabinet colleagues.

U.S and Caribbean troops stormed Grenada on October 25, 1983 to restore law and order and to topple the coup leaders against Bishop.

Apart from Coard and his wife, fourteen other former government and military officials such as former Mobilisation Minister Selwyn Strachan, ex-ambassador to Cuba, Major Leon Cornwall, as well as General Hudson Austin, and Lieutenant-Colonels Ewart Layne, and Liam James received lengthy prison sentences for the October 1983 killings on the fort.

NDC calls for investigation into treatment of workers

Joseph Andall – issued the call last week Tuesday

The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is calling for an investigation to be launched into businesses mainly in the hospitality industry accused of taking advantage of employees contrary to the Labour Code.

According to the Interim Political Leader of Congress, Joseph Andall, it has been brought to his attention that in addition to the issue of low wages, some business owners “are not observing the Labour Code.”

“I recently saw a memo from a restaurant in the south, in which the workers are being told that if they are absent for one (1) day, they have to produce a sick leave document, when the Labour Code quite clearly states that this should be the case after two (2) days of absenteeism”, said Andall in an interview with THE NEW TODAY newspaper.

The NDC leader spoke of a situation where “workers are also being threatened with dismissal if they miss a day of work (and that) if for example; they (workers) miss a day’s work (that) it is up to the boss to decide whether they accept their excuse or medical certificate”.

“We know that several businesses again, contrary to the laws of the land…are refusing to allow their workers to become unionised,” he said, while expressing concern that “there are people who profess to be champions of the working class (and) are part of the government, who are quite silent” on this issue.

Andall stated that these persons who are walking the corridors of power under the current administration “must be silent (on these issues) because there is a total fear of (Prime Minister) Dr. (Keith) Mitchell and the fact that people are slowly but surely beginning to disentangle themselves from Dr. Mitchell”.

The NDC interim leader said that the situation is so bad for some workers in the country that he has to compare the treatment being meted out to them as being “akin to modern day slavery,” and called on the “Ministry of Labour to conduct an audit of businesses that may be engaged in such nefarious practices.”

THE NEW TODAY has seen a copy of a caution letter handed to an employee at a popular restaurant in the south of the island which states that as of March 1, 2019:

“If staff misses a day from work schedule you are entitled to work it back on your day off or you would not be getting paid or deduction would be made from your salary.

“If absent from work on weekends, which includes Friday, Saturday, Sunday and on public holidays, you are required to make back your time and you will not be getting paid for the day.

“If you are absent from work before or after your day off you will be terminated.

“Excuses for being absent from work will not be accepted unless a sick leave required or if the boss himself accepts it.”

According to Andall, the NDC will not just sit by and allow dictatorship to take root in the country.

“What we are seeing here is a dictatorship developing in Grenada. The NDC is going to stand with the people, the workers (and) the young people. We are going to be advancing a different alternative because we believe that we have to change course if Grenada is to develop in to a true democracy that is geared at developing our people in a holistic way”, he declared.

THE NEW TODAY contacted the Field Officer of the Bank and General Workers Union (BGWU), Joseph Mitchell, the bargaining body responsible for this class of workers in the south of the island.

Like Andall, Mitchell also expressed concern with the employer/employee relationship that currently exist in the hospitality sector.

Speaking via telephone Monday, the trade unionist said that a major concern is contract employment, which exists in a lot of work places on the island.

“What you would find is that a lot of workers are on short-term contract and as a result, even if they have a right to join a union because of the validity of their contract, it really doesn’t make much sense to them (and) sometimes again, employers use that as a sort of weapon against the employees,” he added.

However, Mitchell noted that “it’s much more than that because the employers use that as a way of not having to pay employees long-term benefits, or from having any long-term commitments.”

“It has a lot more to do with a cost factor,” he remarked.

The BGWU official felt that education at the earliest level will help in creating awareness among workers as to the many benefits of unionism since “a lot of the younger workers now do not seem to be interested in the trade union movement, maybe due to a lack of education and awareness as to the benefits”.

According to Mitchell, trade union education has been a topic on the agenda for quite some time now.

“We have to start more at the school level because you would find more of the older workers interested in trade unionism but the younger ones, a lot of them are not too interested in it…what we try to do in the workplace is to sensitise the workers about the trade union movement and the benefits.

“Generally, workers that are unionised enjoy greater benefits that those who are not unionized…it’s an established fact and it’s not just salaries because salaries is just a part of it but when you are talking about severance payment and early retirement and pension plans…these are long term benefits.

Tribute delivered by Ruggles Ferguson on behalf of the OECS Bar Association at the Special Sitting of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in Antigua on Monday in honour of retired Justice of Appeal, Grenadian-born Albert Redhead who was buried Tuesday in his adopted homeland:

Justice Albert Redhead – laid to rest on Tuesday in Antigua

The OECS Bar mourns the loss and celebrates the life of retired Justice of Appeal Albert Redhead, who departed this life on March 4th, 2019 after over 47 years of dedicated service to the legal profession.

Since his admission to the Bar of England and Wales in 1971, Justice Redhead has served the legal profession with distinction. His solid foundation as Crown Counsel, Registrar, Magistrate and Director of Public Prosecutions prepared him in later life for high judicial office.

For 12 years, 1985-1997, he served as a fearless and no nonsense Judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC). Not unexpectedly, he was elevated to the Court of Appeal in 1997 where he served until his retirement in 2003. With his boundless energy and drive, however, a quiet retirement was not possible, and for the next 13 years (until 2016) he was utilised for substantial periods as an acting High Court Judge, his last assignment being in Antigua.

In total, Justice Redhead has served the ECSC for an impressive period spanning more than 31 years. A dedicated worker, passionate about the law, Justice Redhead was involved in many landmark decisions spanning several areas of the law including Criminal, Civil and Constitutional.

One readily remembers his Court of Appeal decision in Raphael Donald & Orsv. Egmont Development (1999), a Grenadian case on the enforcement of restrictive covenants in the context of a Development Scheme; Elloy De Freitas v. The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Lands and Housing, the Public Service Commission and The Attorney General (1993), an Antiguan case on the right of Public Officers to freedom of expression; and Cable & Wireless (Dominica) Ltd v Marpin Telecoms & Broadcasting Company (1999), a Dominican case also involving freedom of expression.

Justice Redhead was never afraid to rule against the State, once the circumstances warranted it. True to his conscience, he was also never afraid to dissent from the views of the majority as was epitomised in the landmark consolidated constitutional case of Newton Spence & Peter Hughes v The Queen (2001) out of St. Lucia and St Vincent, which held that the automatic imposition of the death penalty was unconstitutional. He respectfully differed from the powerful concurring Judgments of then Chief Justice, Sir Denis Byron, and then Justice of Appeal Adrian Saunders.

A passionate and proud Grenadian, Redhead never forgot his roots where he obtained his primary and secondary education and served as a school teacher before migrating to England in 1960 to work and later study law. He adopted Antigua – where he holds the distinction of being the longest serving Judge (1985-1997), and where he met and married his inseparable partner and wife June – as his second home.

Redhead’s dedicated life of service took him throughout the nine (9) islands of the OECS, and even beyond, to the continent of Africa, on a fact finding assignment with the United Nations in 2008 affording him the opportunity to work in Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana and Senegal.

The OECS Bar salutes this committed and patriotic son of the region who has contributed so much to the development of our jurisprudence. His legacy is embedded in scores of Judgments written in his over 31 years of service.

He aged gracefully, dressed elegantly and presented a picture of fitness carved out of his love for walking, swimming and gardening.

The OECS Bar remains grateful for his contribution to and participation in our Continuing Legal Education Seminars designed to improve the quality of service rendered by the practitioners of the region.

We extend deepest condolences to his wife June and to the rest of his immediate and extended family. Rest assured that his many positive memories will continue to live on.

May he rest in peace!