Constitutional case is a smokescreen

As far back as I can remember, the question of conflict of interest never seems to be questionable in this country and I cannot understand for the life of me why.

Perhaps Hudson George who appears to be a traditionalist can enlighten me on this, but I firmly believe as our country has moved from colonialism to a sovereign state in this 21st century, laws should be introduced to protect our citizens especially the most vulnerable at various levels in society from this dog eat dog survival of the fittest behaviour of our so-called intellectuals who have the gift of cunning our people and getting away with it even with their eyes wide open.

We need to be protected from adverse environmental conditions such as noise, the polluters including bush fires that pollute our air causing respiratory problems to sufferers of hey fever and asthma.

We also need protection in the workplace and educational institutions, protection from harm, including the vulnerable such as children and young people in terms of incest and rape, safeguarding is essential.

Consumers’ protection, including consumers’ rights for after sales and services. Protection from doggy landlords and the legal profession – providing a Legal Ombudsman services etc. We also need effective enforcement of our laws. Not all traditions are acceptable in modern day society – there is a need to recognise and respect individual rights.

During my colonial years we heard of doggy, bent solicitors taking advantage of our ancestors’ ignorance by taking on their disputes, mostly with other family members that involved lands and properties, only for those same bent solicitors to buy up the properties cheaply off their clients. Most of whom families became wealthy by the doggy dealings and blatant conflict of interest. Those parasites had no morals or ethics. Indeed ethical codes did not exist in those days to protect our ancestry from what was a cruel/evil practice by those predators who conned their clients out of their land and properties.

They decided how much the land or property was worth; they decided how much they would pay for it and when. It was a case of come into my office and sign on the dotted line. A lot of Grenadians today have lost their inheritance through what was and perhaps still is a nasty practice.

I am raising the question of ethics and conflict of interest because I was staggered to learn through the media and weekly newspapers reports that Rachel Roberts, the President of the Public Workers Union (PWU) is a high ranking government employee. She is listed in some reports as a Permanent Secretary, others have her as Assistant Permanent Secretary and even a Senior Administrative Officer in the Ministry of Health.

According to the media, Ms Rachel Roberts who was recently re-elected President of one of our country’s most powerful trade union (PWU) is in dispute with the government; not on behalf of the public works employees she represents as head of her union but on behalf of herself. Isn’t this a farce? Only in Grenada this could happen.

Questions must be asked. How was this allowed to happen or to continue for over 4 years? No disrespect to Ms Roberts but clearly there is a conflict of interest here and one would thought within days of her success to the top union job 4 years ago one would have expected her superiors to congratulate her on her success and be told she would have to resign her position with the ministry within a certain time or be sacked.

Naturally, in such a situation an amicable arrangement would be reached, she would be entitled to all the benefits as any other employee at the same level of employment in accordance with her employment package/contract, including benefits, gratuity etc.

How in heaven’s name could you have the top union boss on the civil service payroll is beyond me? One cannot serve two masters as Poacher and Game Keeper all at the same time. Where does loyalty lies?

It would be interested to see the efficiencies and effectiveness record of Ms Roberts in her role as a Permanent Secretary or whatever her title is since she assumed the role of President of the PWU including how many hours she actually spent per week working on behalf of the ministry and what she has been paid by the ministry since taking up the post as President of the PWU.

Ms Roberts must be extremely good in her role as the boss of this powerful union; she must be thought of very highly by the membership and officials. No doubt loyalty; hard working and dedication to details must have been instrumental in her re-election.

No one is questioning her credentials or her ability in any regards but she cannot expect to have her cake and eat it. Her Political Influence On OECS Media Cited In Global Report and perhaps politically motivated.

Winston Strachan

FIU workshop for upcoming evaluation from CFTATF

With the objective to find out where Grenada is in terms of technical compliance with standards from the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFTATF), a workshop involving multi-sectoral stakeholders was held by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).

The workshop had representatives from financial institutions, government offices, and the law and legal professions

Representatives from Government Departments, Financial Institutions and Designated Non-Financial Business and Professions (DNFBPs) convened at the National Stadium last Thursday to begin the process of a mutual evaluation due for Grenada in 2020, by completing a technical compliance questionnaire.

According to Head of the FIU, Assistant Superintendant of Police, Tafawa Pierre, the questionnaire precedes the evaluation that is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2020.

“We get to add information concerning technical compliance, whether we have certain laws in place, we have to add statistics, just to ensure that we are in line with the Financial National Task Force…”, he said.

The FIU Chief disclosed that in the second quarter of 2020 a team will visit Grenada for two weeks to “look at our laws, look at our statistics, speak to the players involved and I mean the government officials, police, people involved in the banks, real estate, car dealerships to get a sense of whether or not the legislation you have in place are indeed effective on the ground”.

“…We have to now show the products or the results of what we have been doing all of these years,” he said.

Noting that it is a national process, ASP Pierre explained the reason why banks, credit unions, police, government officials and other stakeholders are being targeted.

“…What we are trying to say is that this process requires all hands on deck – it’s indeed a national process. There is much national implications, so if we are rated purely in some fundamental areas that shows the country in a bad light, we can be listed unfavourably and it has direct effects on our financial system, on our banking system, on our corresponding banking relationship, on our ability to do business with foreign investment and otherwise”, he said.

According to ASP Pierre, it is important to get “all the stakeholders involved to ensure that we have a national understanding of how important every entity is”.

“…I am trusting that our work will pay off and you don’t want to speak too quickly because it is quite a complex and intricate and very subjective process, but I think we have been doing quite a substantial amount of work. We need a measure of political will and what I am most optimistic about is the involvement and the collaboration from the private sector and also we’ll be able to show that we at least understand the process, so I am optimistic,” he remarked.

This is the second time Grenada is being evaluated with the first being done in 2009.

Family will press on with sexual molestation case

The family of a child who was the victim of sex crimes continues to cry out for justice, after a Magistrate set the perpetrator free with a fine and a suspended sentence.

36 year-old Michael Alexander admitted to molesting the infant

They are particularly hurt by the reaction of certain Parliamentarians who have condemned public outcry against the court ruling.

In early April, 36 year-old Michael Alexander of Waltham, St Mark pleaded guilty to indecent assault and received what is being viewed as a slap on the wrist – a fine of $3, 200 and a suspended prison sentence of one year.

But relatives have vowed not to stop in their fight for justice for the child who was less than four years old at the time she was being sexually molested by Alexander.

During a sitting of the House of Representatives last week Tuesday, Social Development Minister Delma Thomas suggested that by publicly advocating for the victim, the public was putting her at further risk of exposure and trauma.

However the family members have reacted strongly to the minister’s comments, saying that it is the police, the court and the law that have failed the child.

“These are the kinds of people we have running the country,” the grandmother said. She said she intends to publicly address the minister directly when she is less angry at the way the situation unfolded.

“They did not save the child, they placed a monetary price on her innocence,” she said.

According to sources close to the situation, the Child Protection Authority (CPA) will open its own investigation, starting with a round of medical tests.

The family is hoping that someone will stand up for the victim and the investigation in the crime can be reopened.

Family members alleged that the infant contracted a sexually transmitted disease and they were told by a doctor that it could have been only through sexual contact.

Alexander, on the advice of his attorney Andre Thomas, pleaded guilty, avoiding a trial, for an offense that could have landed him in jail for five to fifteen years.

Persons in the area where Alexander lives have reported that he continues to live his life as if nothing happened, working as a fisherman, which is his profession.

The family is also disputing claims that Alexander is not a fully functioning adult. They said he works as a fishing boat captain and no medical evidence was presented to back up the claim in court.

THE NEW TODAY understands that Alexander had admitted his actions when confronted by the child’s family members and attempted to pay his way out.

The family is also outraged that Magistrate Teddy St Louis attempted to award a monetary compensation to the family which they declined.

“Not even a day in jail he received,” the grandmother agonised. She said at the same court people have been jailed for stealing coconuts.

The family believes that while child sexual abuse laws need to be stronger, it was poor police investigating and a weak prosecution of the matter which resulted in Alexander not going to jail.

He had admitted to “touching” the infant with his finger on one occasion and it is based on his confession that the matter was brought to court.

The Prosecution reportedly did not present any other evidence apart from the statements given by the family and the child.

When interviewed by CID officers, the victim was able to recount about eighteen different times when Alexander had touched, licked and fingered her vagina.

However, no medical report was included in the case files, despite at least one doctor reporting evidence of the claims made by the child.

The family members are of the opinion that the police investigators took the easy way out, relying only on the confession of one incident to mount their case.

Alexander is said to have been molesting the child for months before the situation became known.

At the time he was between jobs as a fishing captain and was engaged as a caregiver for two members of the family with special needs.

Part of his duties was to get the child off to pre-school and to supervise her when she came home, while her mother worked.

“I want to see this guy behind bars where he belongs,” said one family member.

They also believe that MP for the area Dr Clarice Modeste-Curwen has also let them down, showing to give support to the family only after the outrageous sentence became a viral topic on social media.

The MP is said to have told the mother of the child that while she believes the Magistrate’s judgement is wrong she could not say so publicly and there is nothing she could do.

However, she did give a new round of assurances that as a government, steps would be taken to deal with Grenada’s escalating child sexual abuse crisis.

The family is calling on the police and the Child Protection Authority and the State to take steps to remedy what they are calling a travesty of justice.

Skeete speaks on resignation

Former President of the Grenada Steel Bands Association (GSA) Jason Skeete believes that he has grown to become a much stronger individual as a result of the treatment meted out to him during his tenure at the helm of the organisation.

Jason Skeete – resigned after serving approximately 18 months as GSA president

Skeete, who served as the organisation’s President since October 14, 2017, tendered his resignation last week Tuesday, ahead of moves by the Keith Mitchell-led government to set up an interim body to run the affairs of the body ahead of biannual elections in September.

“I took time so I searched myself and I looked at everything and I made a conscious decision after much deliberation”, he told THE NEW TODAY when quizzed on his decision to call it a day with GSA.

In an exclusive interview last week Thursday with this newspaper, Skeete said, he is “tired of having to expend so much” of himself in the name of pan only to be rejected and continually attacked personally by the same people who benefit from his hard work.

“I am tired, I am exhausted and (the reason is) not because of anything else other than (because) people are attacking me personally.

I am tired of spending my time trying to do something good and the same people who benefit, attack me. I am tired, I am tired of having to expend so much money with no gratitude,” he added.

The former GSA boss has been engulfed in a bitter battle with a so-called Rebel faction that mainly comprised members of the larger steelbands on the island who were not happy with the running of the association under Skeete’s leadership.

One body involving mainly the small bands had been backing the Skeete-led Executive.

There were reports that four of the larger bands at odd with Skeete were making moves to form a new body ahead against the GSA Constitution.

Prior to his involvement, the association was operating with an interim executive up until the membership took a decision to elect a new body and to adopt a new constitution to go forward with the development of pan in the country.

According to Skeete, he has no regrets with the time spent with the steelband body.

He said: “I am very thankful for the time that I served. It has taught me some valuable life lessons and to all the bands who supported me thanks, to the bands who didn’t support me thanks because by (they) not supporting me it did something really good for me because it kept me motivated (and) on the right track and it grew me because I am still standing here without any malice (is spite of) the things that was said and done in their lack of support,” Skeete told THE NEW TODAY.

He recalled when he was elected as GSA President approximately 18 months ago, “when I looked at the comments that came in on social media and otherwise, people had so much faith in me, people actually said that they know I was going to do a good job because they know what I am capable of and that was so gratifying to me and it was so challenging because I had to remember that all these people were expecting so much.”

He added that this is the reason why the public was always informed about everything that the Association was doing.

“One of the things I have always told the executive is that for us to bring people back to pan, we have to first take pan and bring it back to people…repairing the image and the thrust of pan was critical and based on everything that we would have done throughout that eight (8), nine (9) months we saw the manifestation of it at one of our biggest events, which was panorama 2018 and so, it told me that people started to come back to pan as we started to bring pan back to the people,” Skeete said.

The former GSA boss holds the strong view that the success of Panorama 2018 had a lot to do with the managing style of the new executive.

“So, I want to tell those people (who turned out for Panoroma 2018) thanks, even those who were there in spirit, who wanted to come but couldn’t come, thanks,” he said.

Skeete pointed to several violations of the GSA constitution, which was adopted during the October 2017 meeting, turning a new page for the association.

He spoke of a controversial situation in which, “the executive council voted out Vice President, Miguel Fortune, who served as interim president previously, in keeping with an adjustment made in the newly adopted GSA constitution.

“One of the adjustments made when we passed the constitution on that day is that no manager or arranger would be eligible to serve on the executive, however, in December or November that year we learned that the then elected Vice President was also the manager of Rainbow City All Stars and that was a violation of the constitution”, he said.

Fortune “was voted out at a meeting of the council and he chose to go the other route which was to attack…we had a secretary who was voted in who we have had a challenge in getting minutes of meetings and a lot of other secretarial stuff done and at one point she even stopped coming to meetings and there were a lot of people who started to play the role of the secretary…because we were in a situation where we realised that everybody had to chip in and help carry everybody and so we did that,” Skeete explained.

He also singled out Stephen Greenidge, who was a member of the former executive “who from what we gathered, was more concerned in wanting to do things the way they were doing it back in the day and we were very clear on that and that is a definition of madness…so the executive as a body chose to go a different way and the results were there to show that the direction in which we were going was better than where we were always at because we have the evidence to show that it was successful.”

Skeete also singled out those who showed support for his initiatives throughout the months such as Alister James, Brian Lindsay, Shamella Lee and Martin Phillip.”

“These people looked at me and told me (that) I am the person giving them the strength to continue to do this but what they didn’t know is that they were the ones giving me the strength to do it…but what is done is done and whoever is coming after I wish them well”, he said.

THE NIS SAGA

I recently attended a consultation by the NIS and the discussion was eye-opening. I learnt more about the workings of the NIS in 3 hours than I have in my entire professional life. I don’t know if it’s my fault for not investigating the body or the NIS’s lack of public relations or maybe it’s a mixture of both. Nevertheless the consultation was educational to say the least.

According to data submitted by the NIS, in 2016, for the first time in the existence of the scheme the expenses of running the scheme was more than the income collected from the members. This came as no shock to the Board of Directors as this was foretold by the actuaries. This came as a shock to me as this was the first time I had heard of it.

What was even more shocking is the fact that the Board waited 3 years (2016-2019) to let the public in on this worrying information. In years that followed the gap between contribution income and expenses has only widened.

Why did it take so long to tell the public? I believe the answer lies in the fact that we were 2 years away from another general election. The powers-that-be didn’t want to alienate the voters that they needed to secure another 5 years in office. Baffling is that the labour representatives on the Board of Directors remained quiet. Whose welfare are these men looking after? Can’t be the employees they are supposed to represent.

In light of a MOU that was signed in the dead of the night hours before a general election and now this, question needs to be asked of our Trade Union leaders as to where their loyalty lies.
Much was said by a speaker at the consultation about the drop in birth rates leading to fewer workers in the economy and the increased life expectancy meaning pensioners are living longer as the major contributory factors responsible for the woes faced by the NIS. But that’s only half of the story. That’s the easy part – shift the blame to the people and you can get away with murder.

But there is another side of the story, a side that the directorate is unwilling to engage in. How has policies of the present administration affected the NIS? Is there anything the government can do besides pay contributions to ensure the survival of the scheme?

In an economy that is said to be the fastest growing economy in the Caribbean how can the scheme be in trouble? In an economy where the unemployment has dropped from 40% to 20% shouldn’t there have been some positive impact on the scheme?

There is only so much the public can do and the use of fear tactics such as your kids will have to pay a contribution rate of 44% later on can only go so far. Why is the directorate of the board so unwilling to engage government in discussions regarding the scheme?

There is an immediate need to increase the contributions paid to the scheme and there are 2 policies of the government that directly contradict this aim.

Firstly, there is the penchant of government to hire retired officers in high salaried positions. According to the Director of the NIS, whenever a pensioner comes back into the workforce there is only a 1% contribution to the scheme paid by their employer. Cain retired at 60 and started receiving his pension from the NIS. Five years later he is offered and accepts a position with the government.

This position comes with a salary of $8000. At this rate of 1% the NIS receives a mere $80. Had this position gone to someone else the scheme would have received $720. The NIS therefore has lost $640 because of the action of the government.

Secondly, the government is populating the nation with Imani workers. An Imani receives a stipend that is far lower than what that person would have made had they entered the labour force on their own. This means that an Imani’s contribution to the NIS would be lower than a worker doing the comparable job.

Is the directorate of the NIS bold enough to challenge the government on these points that directly affect the working of the scheme?

There are a few other points that can be made concerning the government’s role, for example:

* Creating the environment in Grenada to ensure that our workers come back and work here after going abroad and study and thus contribute to the NIS. To also make changes to its employment policies such that we prevent our workers from migrating and contributing to a foreign social security scheme. Last year over 80 nurses left Grenada to take up employment in England.

* Providing incentives to young entrepreneurs to start businesses and thus creating employment for themselves and others. Foreign investors can’t be the only beneficiaries of tax breaks and other government incentive packages.

There is no sorting out the issues plaguing the NIS without the help of the government and its going to take more than a willingness and ability to the 5% contribution on the behalf of the workers.

The workers are already saddled with 20+ additional fees, taxes and levies from the structural adjustment period. The period of adjustment has passed but the belt tightening measures have not expired.

There needs to be a loosening of the belt to motivate workers to rally around the call to raise the age of retirement and contribution rate.

Is it fair, moral and righteous to ask the people already powering the fastest growing economy to put out more? Is it right to ask them to dip into their pockets to give out more without first releasing some of the pressure that they are living under?

How can we say we are doing right by the ordinary workers when we are consigning many of them to poverty? Do not forget that these are the same workers that are going to shoulder the burden of National Health Insurance next year please God.

The tragedy of the NIS saga is that the Labor Unions and government are in a legal battle regarding gratuities and pensions. And so workers are not sure if they are going to receive a government pension and if they do receive one, the size of the emolument.

The NIS pension is the sure thing, the one we could look forward to. Now we are told that if nothing is done, by 2035 the reserves of the NIS will drop to zero. On the basis of that fact only, workers should support changes to the scheme to ensure that they do not retire to poverty. Yet the board has to engage the government to incentivise the changes.

We have no right to ask workers to make further sacrifices without giving them something back for all the sacrifices they have made before. I call on the labour unions and the directorate of the board to ensure that the government does its part to see that the NIS remains viable. This is not a workers only issue so let’s stop pretending it is.

Curious Onlooker

Grenada Making Significant Leap

Grenada’s cruise passenger arrivals grew from 299,449 passengers in 2017 to 342,826 in 2018, due to larger ships.

If predictions hold, 2019 will be another significant step forward, with 229 calls bringing 382,989 passengers to the Spice Islands.

Both the Celebrity Reflection and MSC Preziosa made maiden calls Dec. 13 – two of six maiden calls this season. Other maiden calls came from the Viking Sun, MSC Magnifica, AIDA Perla, and Oceania’s Sirena.

Environmental sustainability is foremost in Grenada’s tourism goals, said Nikoyan Roberts, manager of nautical development at the Grenada Tourism Authority.

“As a result of a strong focus on being climate smart and protecting our environment, Grenada’s aim is to qualify for Global Sustainable Tourism Council Certification and Travelife,” she said.

If chosen, the island would be the first such designee in the southern Caribbean.

The island has added signage at the St. George’s Cruise Terminal in late February highlighting tourist attractions and nearby nature and historical sites, including spice and chocolate plantation tours, and traditional markets.

Of the island’s 15 waterfalls, the Annandale and Concord are most accessible, Roberts said.

The tourism authority also launched a video highlighting shopping opportunities: arts and crafts, glass products, unique clothing, spices and batik fabrics.

The video was broadcast locally, regionally, and internationally, including at the cruise terminal. It’s an effort to further drive the island’s Pure Grenada brand.

Kite Flying

I have written about kite flying before, but I have been encouraged to return to the subject, not only because it is Easter time, but because the subject seems to have taken on additional public order interest lately.

Kite flying is a healthy pastime for children to engage in, it encourages craftsmanship, it is traditional, and it is also part of our culture.

But it is also the year 2019. Our country has developed rapidly, property density wise, and there are less open spaces where kites can be flown without endangering electricity pylons, or disturbing the rest of citizens at night.

When I was a lad, we flew kites every Easter at the “Guides hut” yard, and “Proudfoot pasture” in the Villa area in St George. Some of our kites had noisemakers on them. Being daylight hours, we could tug in and slack out our kites and play with them, observing them visibly.

At 6.00 p.m. we took down our kites and went home, to return another day to fly them again.

Recently someone hoisted a kite in my area at 5.45 p.m, just some fifteen minutes before dark, equipped with a very loud noisemaker.

They would not have been able to see the kite, or play with it. The only reason it was put up was to make a racket at night over someone else’s house, whilst that person selfishly went home to sleep snuggly in their bed, away from the nagging disturbance.

The purpose for putting up that kite at night was to disturb people.

Nothing else. Like it or leave it.

The Police department has publicly announced that leaving kites up at night is against the Law of the land.

But would it be an unreasonable plea to make to kite flyers, to ask them that if they cannot take down their kites at sunset, that they do not leave kites aloft during night-time hours that are equipped with noisemakers or mad bulls, call them what you wish?

GRENLEC puts out annual advisories to the public asking people to be careful, and to avoid flying kites near power lines. They recently warned of the possibility of electrocution occurring in some cases, and disclosed the extremely high cost of outages suffered by kite flying to the company. A cost they revealed would be passed on to the consumer- me and you.

So perhaps the authorities need to ramp up a campaign of public education, and results oriented law enforcement on this matter. Let the kites be flown by all means, but only in open and safe areas, and limited to daylight hours only. We all have to exist on this little rock together. Better we do so in harmony, than in unnecessary aggravation.

Let’s think about it.

Roger Byer
Morne Jaloux
St. George

Government officials unaware of Justice Redhead’s passing

The Keith Mitchell Government has so far been unable to justify why it snubbed the Redhead family and did not issue an official statement on the passing of the Grenadian-born retired Court of Appeal Judge, Justice Albert Redhead who died on March 4.

Legal Affairs Kindra Maturine-Stewart choose to remain with a stone-cold look on her face

In addition, the administration did not send anyone to the official funeral given to the OECS Court of Appeal judge in his adopted homeland of Antigua on March 26.

Legal Affairs Minister Kindra Maturine-Stewart remained totally silent and stone-faced when asked at Wednesday’s post-Cabinet Press briefing by a NEW TODAY reporter why the government did not issue a statement on the passing of the OECS legal luminary who was born in Grenada and also failed to send anyone to attend his official funeral in Antigua.

The senior government minister looked in the direction of Minister of Information, Senator Garraway who was sitting on her left and then to Press Secretary, Philomena Robertson who accompanied her to the press conference.

Minister Maturine-Stewart seemed lost for words and remained silent before the Press Secretary came to her defense stating, that they were unaware of Justice Redhead’s death.

“Unfortunately, we do not seem to be aware of that (but) we can probably look into it but I don’t think either of us here at the (head) table were aware of his passing”, Robinson told reporters.

Three weeks ago, THE NEW TODAY in an editorial chastised government for not sending a representative to Justice Redhead’s funeral and suggested that either Minister Maturine-Stewart or Attorney-General, Darshan Ramdhani should have been sent to represent Grenada at the official funeral.

Information Minister Sen. Garraway – said he was not aware of the death

All the other member territories of the sub-regional Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) including legal luminaries like Sir Dennis Byron, current Caribbean Court of Justice (CVCJ) President, Adrian Saunders and a host of judges and political figures were in attendance at the funeral.

Speaking with THE NEW TODAY on Wednesday, Alban Redhead, the Brooklyn, New York-based brother of Justice Redhead said that he had received a phone call from Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell two days after the passing of the retired judge in which he expressed condolences to the family.

According to Alban Redhead, the Prime Minister indicated an interest in attending the funeral in Antigua but was noticeable absent as did anyone from the Grenada government.

The surviving brother expressed shock that persons could tell reporters at the press conference that they did not know about the passing of Justice Redhead since it was all over the media including regularly on both GBN and MTV death announcement bulletins.

Information Minister Sen. Garraway who seemed to be also stunned by the question from THE NEW TODAY reporter finally chipped in by pointing out that “Government has continued” to recognise state officials who have passed on.

“Government has continued to ensure that former state officials (who) have passed on are recognised, to be there (at their funeral) and to be represented,” said Sen. Garraway who indicated that “it is required of government.”

Press Secretary Philomena Robinson

“So, this is something that we have to do, has constantly been doing and will continue to do”, he added, making reference to plans already in motion to have a representative from Grenada at the upcoming funeral of former Secretary General of CARICOM and former Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, Grenadian-born Sir Alister McIntyre, who died Saturday in Jamaica.

“What I can say is that I am aware of Sir (Alistair) McIntyre’s death and government, of course, the Prime Minister, would have issued a statement and arrangements are being made as it relates to having someone to be there at his funeral”, Sen. Garraway said.

A member of the Redhead family had told THE NEW TODAY after the funeral that the only person from Grenada who made contact with the wife of the late Justice Redhead is former high court judge, Justice Lyle St. Paul and his wife Margaret, who sent a floral arrangement for the funeral.

It is also understood that Attorney-at-law, Ruggles Ferguson was the only practicing lawyer from Grenada who was at the funeral.

Tributes flow for Sir Alister

The Caribbean region has sent out an outpouring of condolences on the passing of the distinguished Grenadian-born internationally recognised economist and statesman, Sir Alister McIntyre who passed away over the weekend in his adopted homeland of Jamaica.

Sir Alister McIntyre – died Saturday in Jamaica

Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell delivered condolences on behalf of the people of the Spice Isle on the passing of Sir Alister who was Vice Chancellor Emeritus of the University of the West Indies (UWI).

Dr. Mitchell said: It is with great sadness that I learnt of the passing of Sir Alister McIntyre. Grenada, Jamaica, in fact the entire Caribbean has lost a dear son who has left us a rich legacy, characterised by profound knowledge and unwavering commitment to regionalism.

Grenada was his homeland and Jamaica was where he lived but much of his life was spent in service to the people of the region.

Dr. Mitchell recalled that Sir Alister in his early career as a lecturer in economics at the University of the West Indies at the St. Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago and the Mona Campus in Jamaica, helped to mold the minds of many brilliant persons who have had the benefit of his teaching, some of whom have since earned acclaim in their respective countries and also at the regional level.

Later on, the Grenadian leader noted that as Vice Chancellor of UWI, Sir Alister contributed “to shaping the strategic direction of this noble regional institution”.

“Sir Alister was third in the line of distinguished Caribbean nationals who served as Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM),1974 to 1977, and his leadership of the organisation came at a critical juncture, just one year after the Treaty of Chaguaramas was signed.

“Sir Alister can therefore be considered one of the pioneers who shaped the infrastructure on which we have built our efforts at regional integration.

Dr. Mitchell went on: “I remember Sir Alister serving as Chief Technical Officer of the Caribbean regional Negotiating Machinery and playing a crucial role in trade negotiations at the international level. The early successes of that body in negotiations with the World Trade Organisation and the European Union spoke volumes of the technical capacity of individuals like Sir Alister.

“I recall too the deep anguish he expressed in 2005 when he informed me that he could not continue to serve as Chairman of the Agency for Reconstruction and Development which was established in the wake of the destruction caused by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Before medical issues precluded him from continued service in that capacity.

Sir Alister would have laid the essential foundation needed to ensure close collaboration among all stakeholders involved in the reconstruction process”.

The Grenadian leader spoke of the contribution made by Sir Alister to the sport of cricket which is revered by most Caribbean people.

He said: “… Sir Alister also left an imprint of his valuable contribution to the sport of cricket. During a period of crisis in our beloved sport, he was among distinguished persons given a mandate to examine the structure of West Indies cricket. Having had the opportunity to review that report, I was compelled to commend the panel for coming up with recommendations which I believe provided a pathway to the improvements we so desperately sought to regain the supremacy that once came so effortlessly.

“In so many capacities, Sir Alister provided irrefutable proof that he was the epitome of a Caribbean man, one who was a genuine proponent of national and regional developments that sought to improve the stature of the Caribbean.

“The region owes a debt of gratitude to Sir Alister. Bestowing him with the Order of the Caribbean Community demonstrated this gratitude. Sir Alister, we continue to be proud of the man you were and the service you gave. In parting therefore, I not only bid you farewell, but I also reiterate how thankful we are, as Grenadians and as Caribbean nationals, for the valuable contributions you made. You have indeed left an indelible mark on some of our pre-eminent regional institutions.

“To his wife Marjorie and his children, Arnold, Andrew, Helga and Nicholas, words may bring little comfort at this time, but I encourage you to take solace in the fact that he lived a full life and gave yeoman service. There is little else we could have asked of him. I am thankful for the personal sacrifices he would have made just so he could serve this region. I stand firmly with you in wishing him eternal peace.

The Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley also expressed sadness on the passing of Sir Alister who she described as “one of the Caribbean’s most treasured scholars”, as well as “a respected economist, educator, administrator and true champion of regional integration”.

The female Barbados Prime Minister said: “This son of Grenada and son of the Caribbean will forever be remembered fondly as one of the Titans of the post Independence Caribbean to whom we owe much.

“My association with Sir Alister goes back to my days as a young politician when Sir Henry Forde introduced me to him when we met with The West Indian Commission, which was led by Sir Shridath Ramphal, as they travelled the region consulting with Caribbean people to prepare that seminal work, what came to be entitled “A Time for Action”.

“It was just two weeks ago today that I last spoke with Sir Alister and his voice was as strong and his thoughts and statements as clear, forthright and balanced as I have always known him to be.

“I cemented my relationship with him when I interacted with him frequently when I was Minister of Education and he was Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies. I count myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn at an early age from my interactions with Sir Alister and many other great Caribbean men and women as we served the region through building the UWI.

“The region and the wider hemisphere benefited immensely from the depth of thought and analysis that this former economics lecturer, Director of the Institute of Social and Economic Studies of the UWI (since renamed in honour of Sir Arthur Lewis), Secretary General of CARICOM, Deputy Secretary General of UNCTAD, and Assistant Secretary General in the Office of the Director General for International Economic Cooperation at the United Nations brought to the affairs of the people of the Caribbean and the world.

“On behalf of the people and Government of Barbados, I express deepest sympathies to Sir Alister’s wife, his children and his grand children, and indeed to his close friends.

The following statement was issued by UWI Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles on the passing of Sir Alister who served as Vice-Chancellor of the regional university during the 1988-1998 period.

“Shocking is the news that our Sir Alister has passed. Larger than life in his long sojourn, it is difficult to embrace the finality of this existential fragility. The people of the Caribbean, and their University of the West Indies – which he served as Vice-Chancellor – will not be impoverished by his transition because the phenomenal richness of his contributions to their growth and transformation will continue to yield development dividends deep into the future.

“The love and respect we carry in our bosom for him will bloom a thousand blossoms.

To him I say, “Farewell brother, mentor, friend, and leader.

On behalf of your cherished UWI and the regional academy you guided and grew, go well into that bright light.”

A close working colleague of Sir Alister was Guyana-born former Secretary General of The Commonwealth, Sir Shridath Ramphal who issued a brief statement on his passing.

Sir Shridath said: “A precious light has gone out in our Caribbean world, with Alister McIntyre’s passing. He had devoted his life to Caribbean unity and was already, as he went, worrying over the darkening of the regional scene that threatens. The Region’s debt to Alister is payable only in a new enlightenment that makes Caribbean oneness the reality for which he lived”.

Two Deaths Over the Easter Weekend

One man is dead following a tragic boating incident in the Woburn Bay, while another man lost his life by drowning in the parish of St. David on Easter Monday.

Jevon “Coolie” Ferguson – Death by drowning

A short trip to the beach for a moment of leisure as is customary for many people around Easter, has led to the death of 30-year-old, Requin, St. David resident, Jevon Ferguson, popularly known as Coolie.

THE NEW TODAY understands that on Monday, the deceased and a friend left the village and journeyed to the nearby Marlmount beach to cook and enjoy themselves.

After eating the food that was prepared, Ferguson was missed around 4:00 p.m.on the shoreline and some minutes later a shout was heard coming from the water.

It was noticed that someone, who was later identified as Ferguson, was struggling to stay afloat, and before anyone could get to him, he was submerged by the waves.

Two men rushed to his aid, dived in search of Ferguson and after some minutes pulled the body to the shore.

Meanwhile, one German national died after a tragic boat accident in the vicinity of the Clarke’s Court Bay Marina in the south of the island on Monday morning.

The deceased has been identified as Edwin Roger Fleisher, a 49-year-old Engineer from Germany, who lived on a yacht at the Marina.

It is reported that a speed boat being driven by a fisherman of Petite Martinique, collided with the dinghy that Fleisher was travelling in and knocked him unconscious, leaving him with severe head injuries that claimed his life.

The body was found in his dinghy.

According to a police report, the incident occurred around 12:00 a.m.

Police also announced that they are investigating a vicious chopping incident that left a 30-year-old man hospitalised with several chop wounds about his body.

That incident occurred last Saturday at Paradise, St. Andrew.

A police bulletin from the Community Relations Department Tuesday confirmed a number of other incidences.

It said, “At least thirteen persons were charged for various offenses at the weekend. Several vehicular accidents were recorded including that of a motorcycle, which occurred at Tanteen roundabout.

A number of fixed penalty tickets for various traffic offences were also issued.”