INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY & ELECTION MONTH

Thirty-nine years ago – on the Seventh February 1974 – our Mini-Colony of Grenada received its Independence from Great Britain, to become the Independent State of “Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique” within the British Commonwealth of Nations.

Like many other instances since then, we were the “First” of the OECS Islands to receive our Independence – and it came about after a whole lot of struggle and protests, and even loss of lives, and some serious brutality by the “Green Beasts” of Eric Gairy’s Security Forces of those hectic days and nights.

And as our political history would confirm, the years immediately following February, 1974, were no less easy or peaceful. And in March, 1979, we had our next major “First” – when the (NJM) New Jewel Movement staged the Armed Revolution and overthrew the Eric Gairy GULP Government, to become the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) of the English-speaking Caribbean – with the assistance of Cuban troops from Comrade Fidel Castro.

From way back then, for those of us living in Grenada in those days, and for years thereafter – it has always been a struggle of one kind or another, and all centered around politics; as well as the adopted Ideology handed down from the Soviet Union (Russia) and passed on by Castro to the NJM, from way back in 1973 when the New Jewel Movement was formed in St. David’s.

So here we are, Thirty-nine years since shedding our Colonial status and gaining our Independence – and having gone through all manner of political upheavals, and ups and down and sideways – and in the same month of that Anniversary, we are about to go to the Polls to Elect a new Government; or re-elect the last Government that came into being, on a Bandwagon which included members of the historic NJM group, that joined the NDC to gain power in 2008 from the NNP and Dr. Keith Mitchell.

And as though our historic political upheavals keep on repeating themselves, over and over again – to the extent that we seem always to be on the look out for change.

Admittedly the NNP control of state power for the Thirteen years – before losing to the makeshift-group, that included those NJM leftovers clamouring for change in 2008 – that period was quite unusual in our political history since Independence.

But despite the very convincing victory of Eleven seats against Four for the opposition, the winners soon after taking control began to squabble among themselves – and well within the term they were elected to serve, they were divided down the middle – and here we are again, with the losers of 2008 looking and performing as though they are just as ready to bring about another change in February, 2013.

True enough, the sort of allegations that were leveled against the NNP group and its Leader in particular – during those thirteen years in control – have not been forthcoming against the NDC lot in their short time of control.

But just as importantly – from the evidence of lack of performance by the NDC lot, and the level of complaints about genuine hardships, suffered by an ever-increasing number of our desperate citizens in need of help – that state of affairs can be just as damaging to the chances of those seeking another term in control.

Whether it will or not – those who go to the Polling stations and cast their votes on that Tuesday in February, for the Candidate of their choice, or the party they favour, or the Leader they prefer to see in control of the nation’s affairs – the final count at the end of the day, will determine which side was better organised or more influential.

As one looks at the Motorcades and the crowds going to the various rallies up and down the country – it cannot be denied that the support and the enthusiasm on both sides are very intense and quite visible.

As to how the turnouts in the Green and Yellow Jerseys, and the singing and shouting after the various speeches from the platforms – will transform into votes for the respective Candidates on Election day, only time will tell.

Both sides have been attracting large turnouts at their rallies – but there has been some complaints on the routes to the venues, that supporters of one side or the other have been misbehaving, and causing disturbance to the free flow of the traffic.

I would hope that the Leaders and organisers, will caution their supporters to keep the campaign peaceful and clean – because when the Rallies are over and the winners declared we have to live and work together.

And talking about Rallies – which seem to be the popular fashion of campaigning these days – the NNP one at Gouyave last Sunday was exceptional in size, and even when some drizzles threatened the crowd they just put up the umbrellas and stayed put.

One speaker actually commented, that it was the largest crowd he ever addressed anywhere on the Island. If that level of attendance is anything to judge possible results at the Polls on “E-Day” – then those in Green seem well on the road to victory.

But then again the lime, and the free bus rides and jerseys excitement could be the rationale for the turn out – but standing in a queue waiting to cast that “X”, could be quite something else on the day that matters.

So with the Independence Anniversary next week Thursday, it is a day mostly of the school children as they celebrate Thirty-nine years since 1974, and enjoy the refreshments being provided by Government.

And talking about providing anything – the talk of the Town last week Friday, was the news that Government workers had received salaries and wages a whole week before month-end.

When coupled with the last two or three weeks of pot holes repairs on the roads – it leaves one to wonder aloud who is trying to Tom-fool who in the process. Very bad advertisement in my view.

But there is no turning back at this stage – it is a clear case of all systems full speed ahead, to the winners and losers on the Nineteenth February.

 

 

 

 

 

Good will always prevail

By Stone Crusher

 

As the general election nears with some seventeen days before our version of D-day on 19th February, strange things would unfold as

desperation intensifies.

Many are saying that envy for the thriving businesses of La Qua and Otway/Bailey would continue to prevail as one way or the other quite a number of us may succumb to the results very shortly after the winner is announced.

Stone Crusher is appealing to our people to take warning and do not get too caught up in this excitement to the point of attracting death on the night of or soon after the announcement of the results.

At the end of the day, one party must win and the other must lose and Grenada must go on and life continues.

Should the NDC be given the opportunity to govern with its good governance agenda – good for them! Should the NNP be returned after four and one half years in opposition and take Grenada back on the track to corruption and nepotism – well that is a matter for the people to live with.

What Stone Crusher knows is that things are not going to be the same as during the 1995-2008 period when there was no international crisis affecting Europe and North America especially the United States of America.

By the time this edition is published, Governor of our Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) – Sir Dwight Venner – would have delivered his annual overview of the Bank’s performance and by extension the economies of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).

One ought to have realised that strict fiscal management would have been responsible for the better performance of Grenada in the Union thus taking a hint that all is not lost with us after all and that we are on the right track if only we

would realise that our collective will is needed to take us through the other side of this crisis, exacerbated by the vaporisation of our savings and proceeds of loans which we carelessly stashed in SGL, CLICO, BAICO and to a certain extent in Capital Bank and Building and Loan.

A recent release by the United States Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, has identified 59 countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B Visa programs for the coming year.

We ought to be happy and jubilant that the list published recently includes one new addition: Grenada.

Accordingly, this notice is effective January 18, 2013, and expires at the end of one year with the usual annual review.

Serious scrutiny of the list reveals that Grenada is the first and only member of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), which has been included for such prestigious consideration.

Prime Minister Thomas’ good governance agenda has earned this for Grenada at a time when God knows our people need it most.

Grenada now joins Jamaica and Barbados in the English-speaking Caribbean to be among the 59 countries – the world over to gain such privilege.

President Obama is sending a message to the people of Grenada on the eve of this important and historic elections.

Under NNP and Keith Mitchell, the Canadians imposed a visa restriction on Grenadians because of the amount of crooks and criminals taking up refuge in Grenada.

President Obama is allowing Grenadians to get a special type of visa to come and work in the United States. NNP spent 13 years in power and could not get this treatment from the U.S government.

After only four-and-a-half years in government, Prime Minister Thomas who is trusted and respected by the Americans has been rewarded so that all Grenadians can benefit.

The Green Gambler and Crew should be kept far away from the seat of power because their style of leadership and methods might once again open the doors to more crooks and criminal elements and Grenadians might feel the wrath of the U.S government including the withdrawal of this special visa for our people to take advantage of certain job opportunities in the United States.

Is this something the country would wish to gamble with by mindlessly putting back any administration led by Keith Mitchell?

Stone Crusher is sure as day that if the good governance agenda is changed on February 19th, Grenada would surely lose its respect in the international arena and more hardship would prevail upon our people who would be boxed in with no place to go for temporary ease of the pressure.

On another note – many people who did not like the “red nastiness” and refused to support the NDC as long as he was inside are today talking loudly about their joy to be able to support the NDC once again.

They are not surprised that he and his gang are today showing support for the NNP whose leader they had the worst things to say about during the period they were in the NDC.

The box head casino man seems to forget that it was Keith Mitchell and Gregory Bowen and company who sidelined him in the Ministry of Works. Box Headman, who sent Police to remove you from the job as senior Engineer on the Eastern Main Road project?

After this strange creature told the entire nation about the sins of the leader of the NNP, he is today behaving in a manner and suggesting to the same nation that NNP is now better than NDC.

It is no wonder that some people in St. Patrick’s are saying that the Casino Box Head man is helping to hand out NNP T-shirts especially in the St. Patrick’s constituency where Boatswain is running.

Talking about casino, we all know where Uncle Tilly stands on that issue – right or wrong. What we do not know is where the “green gambler” stands on it.

We are seeing indications that he might just favour it but does not want to upset the churches. All those who fell out with Uncle Tilly on the Casino issue are now working in collusion with the NNP in the elections.

The casino money men from Chicago might just be flooding money into the NNP coffers for the elections.

What the country should demand of the “green gambler” is that he ought to tell the church leaders where he stands on the issue considering that you don’t want to tell the nation and refuse to answer the local media when they quiz you on casino gambling. Come out and tell us, please!

The other one time NDC character who is running around campaigning for the NNP against “Trix” is the one that KCM once described in Parliament as a “mad man” and “a rapist”.

This characterless individual told some people that if any of the two major parties gave him a commitment that they would drop the charges against him, he would campaign with them in the election.

So it NNP looks like NNP agree to the proposal ands the man is doing a number on Trix for Emmalin in St. Andrew South-east.

Is the Wild One coming back as a Special Prosecutor to take charge and drop the case against the man? The current DPP is a good man and will do no such thing.

This election is a referendum on corruption versus good governance and the people will choose. They have to remember that there is a consequence attached to either. One we can live with and the other we can’t.

This nation ought to understand and appreciate that several of our people are encircled by their un-repented sins, which come back to haunt them time and time again.

About twenty years ago the brother of one of the NNP candidates was arrested and charged by the Police with murder fur using a cricket bat and hitting him in the head and taking his life out of him.

It was alleged in the village that someone either hid the bat or burnt it altogether and so the police were never able to recover the bat to enter it into evidence.

Did the police question any of the NNP Candidates with being a possible accessory to the crime? Michel Baptiste did ask a pertinent question this week – what are the criteria used by Dr. Mitchell and NNP to select their candidates for general elections.

KCM, are you not afraid that the missing bat might surface in Parliament? Parliament is a place for Honourable Men and Women and not for characters with a checkered history and past.

The characters of Uncle Tilly, Franka, Randall, Merle and others are never in question?

The “green gambler’s” choice of caretakers reflects “who” he is as a person far less the challenged nature of his character.

Isn’t it ironic that when Dr. Mitchell entered politics in 1972 that he ran on the side of the Massa types (GNP) and this is probably his last election and he appears to have gone back with that type again?

Dr. Mitchell must understand that Massa days are done and that he must

realise that these people are using his NNP as a vehicle to enrich themselves on the various deals they are likely to preside over as government ministers.

Armond Williams of the GULP softened Gordon Renwick of the GNP in the St. George South East constituency when Gairy’s GULP took home 13 of the fifteen seats on the run for independence.

Keith Mitchell ran against the might of the economics scholar – George Hosten in the same North West losing badly.

Stone Crusher thinks it’s unfortunate that so many people seem so incensed by the thought of Mitchell attracting Massa types in his midst when he promotes himself and his party as champions of the poor and vulnerable.

One woman in particular recalls when her sister used to work for one of “that type” and the madam used to force her to call their eight-year-old son “Master”.

While speaking one could have felt the vitriol in her tone for the memory of that experience, especially as she says, Gairy smashed that and the revolution cremated it and yet for all Mitchell wants to reactivate it again.

Tell Keith, the people would not forgive him for seeking to bring back Massa days in Grenada. The electorate must reject the two Massa candidates of the NNP in the elections. Massa people must not rule this country at all. This is 2013 and not the pre-1951 days.

Mitchell knows that the Massa type don’t genuinely like him. But he is prepared to use them to get their money to take him where he wants to get – which is back in power.

Stone Crusher visited a rum shop and was amazed at the things that were being said inside the place because of their close connection with the two major political parties

One of them said that a top man in the force is making telephone calls to his relatives in Uncle Tilly’s constituency, and telling them to vote for “Man” of the NNP who is running against Uncle Tilly.

When one of the persons asked him why he wanted her to vote for “Man”, the high up police officer described Uncle Tillly in words that this column would not like to repeat.

This is the same police officer who was trying to get the lady’s father to throw in a word with Uncle Tilly for him to become the Commissioner of Police.

Stone Crusher also heard that another top one who retired not too long ago is running up and down in a St. Andrew’s Constituency like a horse for the NNP Candidates.

He told a few friends that the NNP has promised to make him the Commissioner of Police. Another resigned Superintendent of Police, the former Special Branch Chief bragged a few years ago whenever he comes back to Grenada from the U.S is to become the Commissioner of Police.

One wonders how many police officers the NNP are planning to make Commissioner of Police. The Public Service makes provisions for only one Commissioner of Police at a time – and not two, three and four.

The NNP has not even been given a mandate as yet, and they are showing their true colours to want to dismantle the stability of the Police Force so that a political appointee could be put in place to demoralise police officers all over again.

It would appear that supporters of the “green gambler” at all levels within the Public Service are at their work and behaving as if this were their Christmas Eve.

Stone Crusher understands that assignments were dished out to see to it that no cricket comes to Grenada around the election time so that the “green gambler” could chastise Uncle Tilly and Congress for losing the cricket matches, and public servants were supposed to have been paid late again.

In these instances, two top public service operatives with close ties to the “green gambler” were supposed to deliver on these bastardly acts in order to make the government look bad in the eyes of the electorate.

God alone knows where else the NNP have deployed their operatives within the service to sabotage the current administration in the lead up to the elections.

Green Gambler, is forgetting one thing – Uncle Tilly used to hold bible studies with the Jehovah Witnesses on a regular basis and knows a lot about prayers.

Uncle Tilly will prevail because of the nightly vigils of the Church people – because they believe like many people in Grenada that ‘you can’t keep a good man down”.

Good will always triumph over evil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections on Independence and Voting

On 19 February, 2013, two weeks after Grenadians would have celebrated 39 years of independence, we will exercise our right to vote for a party to form the government for the next five years.

Every election is important; however, this election comes at a pivotal moment. The outcome of the election could determine the direction of the country at a time of regional and global uncertainty.

Beyond the necessary ritual of colourful campaign rallies and party jingles, we are about to participate in a very important process that can affect our lives in direct ways for many years to come.

Often we take the right to vote for granted but it represents a long historical struggle for freedom. To refuse to vote is to violate the sacrifices made by those who paved the way so we could enjoy basic rights today.

Let us never take the right to vote for granted. In fact, the spirit of independence should inspire us to recommit ourselves to nationhood as we vote. The act of voting should be done soberly. It should be driven by a deep sense of responsibility to both party and country.

We should use our votes to fight for jobs and bread and butter issues. However, in addition, in order to sustain genuine independence, a conscious people must think beyond where they are now and envision the future they wish to create.

The vote should also be for improved educational opportunities as we continue to break the shackles of poverty and dependency, to provide hope for the young and yet unborn.

The vote should be for improved and sustained health care, especially for the least among us. We should vote to ensure every Grenadian woman, man and child enjoy safety in the home and in the public space.

We should vote to ensure that Grenada’s natural resources, in as far as is possible are owned and controlled by Grenadians. We should vote to ensure that Grenada conducts its foreign policy strategically and with dignity as it defines and presents itself to the region and the wider world.

In essence, as we enter those polling booths, at a moment of regional and global UNCERTAINTY, the vote should be for political leadership that can CAUTIOUSLY balance job creation, long-term economic transformation and overall societal well-being, while preserving our natural resources and protecting and enhancing Grenada’s independence and sovereignty.

In February 1974, Grenadians embarked on a journey for freedom in the pursuit of our collective prosperity and common destiny. However, while we have made tremendous strides as a nation, the experience has not always been what we had anticipated: there were some missteps, shortsightedness and collective impatience.

Consequently, after almost 40 years, the promise of independence needs renewal. Therefore, this election should represent a moment of deep reflection on our collective journey and a recommitment to nationhood.

(Dr. Wendy Grenade is a Grenadian who lectures in Political Science at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados)

 

Save the Commonwealth brand: Tell Sri Lanka “Enough”

It is time for the Commonwealth of Nations to suspend Sri Lanka from its councils.

In doing so, the Commonwealth would restore confidence in its 2.1 billion people that it is not a hypocritical association that claims to stand for values, including democracy, human rights and the rule of law but fails to act to discipline governments that violate these values.

The Sri Lanka government has now seriously and persistently violated the principles to which every Commonwealth country has declared itself to be committed, and, according to the Commonwealth’s rules this is ground for suspension from its councils as a first step.

Well-thinking people across the Commonwealth, and those who are concerned about the credibility of the 54-nation grouping, expect the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) to be convened swiftly to suspend Sri Lanka from the Council of the Commonwealth and to set an agenda and time table for the government to implement measures to restore respect for the rule of law.

CMAG is a rotating group of foreign ministers from nine Commonwealth countries that is charged with overseeing that Commonwealth values, as set out in many declarations, are respected.

The urgency for CMAG action on Sri Lanka has been triggered by the decision of Sri Lanka President, Mahinda Rajapaksa to dismiss the country’s Chief Justice, Shirani Bandaranayake, after a widely condemned impeachment process.

Rajapaska ignored warnings from Amnesty International, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, the Commonwealth Judges and Magistrates Association and the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma, not to proceed with impeachment that followed a decision by the Chief Justice that found a controversial Bill tabled in the Parliament unconstitutional.

The Bill had sought to grant disproportionate powers to the Minister of Economic Development, one of the President’s brothers.

Slapping the Commonwealth Secretary-General and other Commonwealth legal bodies in the face, President Rajapaska proceeded to dismiss the Chief Justice and to appoint his former Attorney-General to the post. Worse yet, he did so after the Supreme Court ruled that the impeachment proceedings conducted by the Rajapaksa-dominated Parliament were illegal.

The Rajapaksa family holds other senior government positions, including head of the defence ministry and the Speaker of Parliament. One of Mr Rajapaksa’s sons also sits as a Member of Parliament.

This latest violation flagrantly scorns Commonwealth values as set out in the Latimer House Principles which state: “Judiciaries and parliaments should fulfill their respective but critical roles in the promotion of the rule of law in a complementary and constructive manner; Interaction, if any, between the executive and the judiciary should not compromise judicial independence; and Judges should be subject to suspension or removal only for reasons of incapacity or misbehaviour that clearly renders them unfit to discharge their duties.”

Sri Lanka is an even bigger problem for the Commonwealth because it is scheduled to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November. No time can now be wasted in deciding to shift the venue to another Commonwealth country.

If Commonwealth Heads of Government turn up in Sri Lanka, they would be sending an unacceptable signal to the world community that governments that violate human rights and the rule of law can do so without fear of censure.

If Heads go to Sri Lanka, the Commonwealth can discard its brand as a ‘values based association” and start looking for something else to justify its existence. But, whoever remains in it, it would cease to be respected by the people of its own countries and the international community.

That would be a sad loss for the 32 small states that are a significant number of the 54-nation Commonwealth. They need a vibrant, respected Commonwealth as an advocate and interlocutor on their behalf in the international community. A straw organisation existing on the margins of global regard can do absolutely nothing for them.

In this connection, the government of Canada should be complemented for trying for over a year to restrain the government of Sri Lanka from its excesses and to hold it to account for human rights abuses arising from a war with the Tamil Tigers that ended in 2009.

The Sri Lanka government has refused to allow an independent inquiry into the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians during the conflict between government forces and the Tamil Tigers as well as a worsening human rights situation.

Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has now indicated that his government wants Sri Lanka to be discussed at the next meeting of CMAG. Both opposition parties in Canada have gone further calling on Harper to declare that he would boycott the CHOGM if it is held in Sri Lanka.

A debate in both the Houses of Parliament in Britain and a subsequent statement by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office also indicate “deep concern” and called on the Sri Lanka government to “respect democratic principles”.

However, while Canada and Britain have spoken up, many developing Commonwealth countries have so far remained silent. Their voices also need to be heard, particularly as many of them place great store in democracy and the rule of law both as a system of governance and as an imperative for attracting investment.

Judicial independence is fundamental to the rule of law and essential for any democratic and accountable government.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma has announced that he will be visiting Sri Lanka in February. It is his job to try to resolve the impasse with an obdurate Sri Lanka government that has so far ignored his advice and warnings of others.

It is also his job to tell the Sri Lanka President that he has violated Commonwealth rules and that, unless the action on the Chief Justice is reversed and a credible, enforceable plan is presented, Sri Lanka will be placed immediately on the agenda for CMAG with a view to suspending it from the Councils of the Commonwealth.

In any event, the Sri Lanka government has now done enough to warrant moving the venue for November’s CHOGM to another country. The Government cannot spurn the advice of the Secretary-General, Commonwealth legal organisation and other international groupings and yet demand to be privileged to host CHOGM.

After all, the location for hosting a Heads of Government meeting must be in the interest of the Commonwealth as a whole.

The foreign ministers of two Caribbean countries – Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago – are members of CMAG. In this connection, they have an important role to play in upholding the values that their own countries honour and respect – those values are what differentiates the Commonwealth in the world and makes it special.

(Sir Ronald Sanders was a member of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group 2010-2011)

All set for 19th February

The stage is now all set for General Elections come February Nineteenth – and even the OAS has already agreed to assist, and to monitor the Elections on that important date.

The political climate was so cool and low key, for the previous Six months from July to December, 2012, and in just a few days of the New Year it is like a political heat wave – with everything happening almost overnight with very little time to spare.

It all seems to suggest that while actions in the political arena appeared very quiet and standing still – those in control must have been planning behind the scene, and putting the pieces together for publication.

So here we are, just nine days – at the time of writing this article – since Parliament was dissolved in preparation for General Elections, and we have the date and Voter’s Registration already closed.

The next four weeks to Election day on 19th February, will be very crucial and even more significant in the political history of our Tri-Island State.

Because of the shortness of time from the date of the dissolution, to the date of the Governor General’s writ – which brought a closure to the Registration of Voters – a lot of people who delayed getting their names on the Register, will not be able to cast their votes on the 19th February.

Which of the two main parties that delay will mostly affect – only time will tell after the votes are counted – but the popular theory is that most of the NNP supporters went to Register since last year, so those who were turned away on the last night for Registering, were mainly NDC and the two or three new parties now rising up.

And talking about the new parties recently coming on the Election scene – it will be very interesting to see how many Candidates they will be nominating – come the First of February to face the voters on the 19th.

And while their supporters may not be very significant in numbers, in areas where the two main parties are close, candidates from these smaller parties can make some differences.

So now that all the relevant dates have been settled, it is a straight case of all systems go – as voters listen to the plans and promises of the various candidates, for their respective constituencies.

It is one stage for hearing the Party Leaders, and reading their manifesto as it applies to the national programs – but it is, or should be, quite different when the candidate is canvassing in the constituency. Because when the results are known, it is the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, whom the voters will have to rely upon to assist them in providing services for the parish.

It is well known and fully understood, that the respective M.P’s will be appointed to positions in the Government administration of the winning party, and as such they will have national responsibilities to attend and carry out.

Nevertheless, they also have a duty to be at the service of the parishioners who voted them into Parliament, and that duty should not be neglected if they wish to be voted back as M.P’s for another term as the Government.

Too often we hear of and see some of those appointed as ministers, behaving as though their only function and responsibility are to the central arm of Government, while the parishes are neglected and the people ignored until the next Election is drawing closer.

The two or three weeks should be the time you the voters fully assess the Candidates – in order to determine which of the two front-runners is the more suitable for serving the parishioners’ needs.

Simply voting for a Candidate, so as to get the party he/she is representing into office – regardless of the person’s qualifications, or standing in the society, or where he/she lives out of the parish – that in my view is not good enough, as far as the voters interests and constituency upliftment are concerned.

The days when the late Eric Gairy of the GULP – used to boast that if he put up a cat or any animal in the constituency, the people would vote for it, because it was he they voting for not the animal – these days have a long time ago gone out of fashion, and voters should be choosing their M.P’s based on his/her merits and qualifications and not simply on party loyalty.

The Candidates have all been named and introduced by the parties at Rallies, so the people have seen and heard them, and now have some more time to assess them and question them – as they go about the parishes making themselves better known to the voters.

Having said the above however, it cannot be denied that our employment situation and living standards are in shambles, and which ever party wins the upcoming Elections, the Leaders have a major task on their hands to implement measures to bring some relief to those in desperate need.

This would mean attracting Investors and sourcing Funds to provide Jobs, and therefore the leaders must have the contacts, and knowledge of the financial Institutions to get things moving.

And while a lot of unacceptable actions and decisions have taken place in the past – involving both parties and their Leaders while in office – our people and the nation’s business have to be taken care of by whoever the winners maybe.

So that while the wrong-doings cannot be forgotten overnight – they should not be concentrated on without exceptions, and an attitude of non-understanding – because both sides have their weakness and failures.

Whoever the people vote into office to control our nation’s affairs – we have to accept their choices and hope and trust that the winners will learn from their past mistakes and shortcomings.

The next four weeks will be critical – but whatever is being said and promised, I do hope people’s rights are respected and the proceedings remain peaceful.

Reject the “Eat A Food” mentality

By The Stone Crusher

It would be a travesty for our nation to be governed by any political group which is well known for its disregard for honesty and integrity in public office!

It would further be disappointing for our people to put themselves out of their way to re-elect an unchanged group of people (with a splatter of bourgeoisie elements looking out for their own interests) whose track record speaks for itself in the department of corruption and downright dishonesty.

Under the last set of “Eat A Food” rulers, the country saw a waste of millions in scarce resources thus racking up an unsustainable national debt of over $1.8billion leaving us with a debt to GDP ratio which has been strangling our economy and preventing us from seeing day light when it comes to social development.

Imagine 80 cents in every dollar collected in revenue must be subtracted to satisfy our national debt, leaving us with only 20 cents to take care of everything else.

No wonder our public servants cannot be paid on time, and not much else can be done to develop our infrastructure, which is in tatters.

The level of corruption committed by the New National Party led by Keith Mitchell between 1995 to 2008 is unpardonable and the vastness of impact on us to the point where Grenada was popularly regarded as “scandal plagued” in international circles – must never be returned to in this modern era of enlightenment.

Do we want to have a Prime Minister whose regional colleagues for the most part were known to make private jokes about him when he entered regional gatherings due to his perceived vulgar dishonesty?

Do we want to have a government in which thieves, crooks and con men/women would have a field day because of their desires to serve themselves through the siphoning of the nation’s scarce resources?

Do we want to elect a government whose main focus is on their close accomplices, family, relatives and party supporters – while the rest of the nation pays for the exclusive enjoyment of our scarce resources?

Do you remember the Call Center whose revenues were diverted to the private coffers of family members of the Prime Minister while the state’s scarce resources were diverted to take care of its running expenses?

Do you remember the St. Mark’s poultry project costing the nation millions with not a fowl feather to show for it?

Do you recall the $6 or so million dollars, which were spent on three desal-plants and up to now not a gallon of water was produced ?

Do you recall the Miller/Mt. Hartman/Hog Island debacle where the investor brought in by Keith, Boatswain and Gregory allowed the man to draw down on millions of dollars that the NNP govt. guaranteed to him in the form of a loan for a Ritz Carlton/Four Seasons project that never came to fruition.

Today, Grenada is stuck with total repayment of the loan on strict terms stifling our economic situation?

Keith, it is time to sell MK Manor Park block of apartments in New York and donate the monies received to the Treasury to help liquidate some of the massive debts left behind by NNP from 1995 to 2008.

The time has come for Grenadians to wise up and prove that they are more sensible than politicians give them credit for.

It is because of these wasted millions which we are catching we “nennen” to repay that our citizens who are dependent on public assistance cannot get the promised $400 per month and have to settle for a measly $50 increase from $150-$200 by the current government.

It is because of the waste of our resources which friends, con-men and family members of the leadership of the NNP shared during all of the 1995-2008 period that public servants, police, teachers and our nurses are catching hell to be paid their monthly salaries on time – far less to stand a chance of receiving any increase to match our outrageous cost of living.

Should we in fair conscience go out and seriously put that group back in power? Stone Crusher says – hell no!

A vote for Uncle Tilly’s NDC may not take you to the promised land tomorrow morning, but will surely put you on track to getting there.

Any other vote would reintroduce you to the old corrupt ways of doing things once more in a crisis environment where the consequences could be even more catastrophic.

The NDC never got a fair chance because of the few “greedy-for-power” members of its hierarchy whose grab for power sabotaged its chances at properly focusing on delivering the promises to the people.

The NDC’s first term notwithstanding, had absolutely no hint of corruption as those who were hell bent on doing wrong things within its mandate are today no more.

Uncle Tilly was able to rid from his government of all those who took underhand money from the casino men in Chicago.

Uncle Tilly has declared his hand on Casino Gambling for all to see including the church and religious leaders but the NNP man is speaking with many different tongues. It is time for KCM to show his hand on casino gambling.

The NDC administration under Tillman Thomas has proved its worth in terms of allowing institutions to function in the absence of political interference even at their political expense. That is what is called moral and ethic-centered leadership.

No Special Prosecutor with a political agenda was appointed to usurp the authority of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to harass anyone in the opposition even though many Grenadians feel that ought to have been done to bring the squanderers of our scarce resources with the expressed purpose of self-enrichment to justice.

An NNP government might see the Wild One coming back to our shores to continue his part of the relay run for the NNP.

Even though the DPP was presented with all the evidence of suspected wrong-doing, which to many was perceived as sufficient to support serious prosecution of Mitchell, his deputy and others, the government never strong-armed the institution of DPP thus scandalising the office.

Can Grenadians trust a man like Dr. the Rt. Hon. Keith Mitchell who for the last four years was only able to attract two members of the Lance Aux Epines crew and for the most part return with the same team of failures to resume their questionable dealings in public office? Stone Crusher thinks not!

There is one whose family business has almost gone under and might be “eyeing” the coffers of government to breathe new life into the business.

This is the season for all Grenadians to pay attention to all the goings-on around them and less attention to the comedy, wining and jamming, and rum drinking festivities passed of as political rallies. Grenadians – your future is at stake.

Pay attention to the reality on the ground, which will not change just because a band of tried and tested political bandits (for the most part) promise you they have the magic wand to do better than the current administration.

Regional and international organisations have grown accustomed to working with an administration that has respect for institutions, law and order -and would be hard-pressed to deal with any group whose culture is steeped in informalities which will not be tolerated by them in these crisis times which help to define the new order of things.

Could Grenadians wake up under an NNP administration to discover that they are back to square one with the NNP’s informal and scandalous way of conducting public affairs thus attracting the residue of international crooks and con men who are simply looking for environments to launder their ill-gotten gains, not to mention those who may be just coming out of jail like Resteiner, Regale, Barnabe, Rowe, “Lev” and others – who may be looking for a safe haven which only their one time friend in Grenadian politics can offer them? This will no doubt be resumption of scandal-plagued Grenada.

Is the Russian mafia money now being spread on the ground by NNP in Election 2013?

The top men in NNP might be in danger if the Russians do not get their agreement with respect to the oil and gas in our waters.

People of Grenada, do you want to vote to introduce Grenada to Act II Scene I of

Mitchell?

Mitchell cannot deliver and he knows this. Privately he is fighting to rewrite his personal legacy, which he spent all of 13 years to build – that of being the most corrupt Prime Minister of our eight PMs since Independence.

He has presided over Grenada for the period when all eyes were on us as probably the most inferiorly led English-speaking Caribbean nation. We should not want to go back there.

It is no secret that many of our business community members are lining up behind Mitchell’s NNP. One therefore ought not be surprised when one hears of a planned Tax Amnesty. This is the NNP’s way of legitimising their business supporters’ avoidance of paying taxes.

Where is the revenue going to come from, if that happens? Those are the poignant questions voters need to ask in order to ready themselves for the aftermath of the suffering, which is bound to follow an NNP victory.

It is only the Lance Aux Epines bourgeoisie who will benefit in the main from the tax amnesty. The small man will only get the bone and not the meat from the bone under a government formed by KCM and NNP.

People, it is time to break loose from the shackles. NNP is only interested in getting the votes of the small man to put them into office so that the big boys in Lance Aux Epines can continue to live in luxury.

KCM has nothing new to offer this country. It is all about Mitchell trying to safeguard his legacy. It is not about good governance and required accountability.

His legacy cannot change – a man who will always be remember for walking in the company of crooks like the imprisoned Eric Resteiner and jet-setting around the world with Viktor Kozeny better known as the Pirate of Prague.

Do you remember the Stone Crusher telling you in a previous article that nothing would change in the way Grenada’s affairs would be managed should Mitchell be given the right of passage to run this country again when compared to his 95-08 period.

The only difference would be not much resources to go around and the little available to take care of debt repayment, salaries, and other essentials would have to give pride of place to Mitchell’s sub-culture habits.

Stone Crusher waits with baited breath to have the last laugh should Grenadians fall for the glitz, glamour and ole talk on the NNP platforms.

Just look at the vibes of those in attendance at NNP rallies. They cannot be described as anything else but basic uneducated people who need to be protected from themselves.

Their lot continues to remain one way while the people they support for office take advantage of their total ignorance and lack for any modicum of education to feather their nests.

Uncle Tilly’s NDC has delivered time and time again to all Grenadians in the area of education through significantly increased numbers of scholarships for our young people regardless of their parents’ political persuasion. That is an undeniable fact! People like Lady Cinty can attest to this simple fact – notwithstanding she was a die-hard supporter of the NNP.

The philosophy of the NDC has been in conformity with one of the greatest Chinese who even lived – Confucius – “give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, feed him for life”.

The latter is exactly what education does for anyone with mind. It is the only vehicle to take our nation’s youth out of poverty whether of the mind or otherwise!

Stone Crusher’s consistency at predicting early that the “red nastiness” wouldn’t be running in this election, must be respected. He knows that Stone Crusher knows him well – for only a close cohort could have used all that he/she knows to destroy anyone who is worthy of destruction.

Stone Crusher takes all the credit and deservedly so, for the total destruction of the puppet of the pardoned convicted mass murderer and the fugitive in labour.

Their last chance of ever coming back to political leadership prominence in Grenada has been confidently smashed.

Stone Crusher advises all and sundry not to be afraid of their cozying up to the NNP. Right now the NNP can do with all hands on deck to help them with their desperate bid of forming the next administration of our affairs, but based on experience, Mitchell is no fool and would section them in short order should he ever succeed.

One consolation is that the presence of these expelled renegades around Mitchell’s political environment is acting to annoy the independent thinkers (VOTERS) to come out and make sure they do not succeed in their efforts to spoil Uncle Tilly’s chances.

The plan is already hatched and waiting on implementation. Ask the consultant from the South who decimated the union man in the Breweries imbroglio.

The “red nastiness” has shown himself up as just that – a red nastiness! If he were not, he would not find himself in Uncle Tilly’s constituency as often as he goes there making and sponsoring ‘cook’ with the boys in an effort to befriend them to help him destabilise Uncle Tilly. He is the new “Pot-a-food: on the political blocks.

He and the little bourgeoisie boy in town for the NNP have taken over from Kennedy as the “Port of Food Men. Every night is “pot-a-food” and more “pot-a-food” in River Road and Darbeau.

Let’s hope the little red boy does not end up like Soca Boca against Dr. Alexis in the 1990 general elections.

Whether NDC manages to get another term or not, what the Stone Crusher knows is that Grenadians had ‘NUF of all of them – i.e. the frock ooman, the habitual drunkard, the box head casino man, the red nastiness, the horny, revengeful pastor, and the bus kite from Gouyave. Their political careers are over and the results of the next election would give certification.

The two political meetings of last weekend proved again how much Grenadians need to take this election seriously and the nearly 60,000 registered voters need to make sure they go out and do the right thing for Grenada so that we never return to the “vikie-vie” leadership of “anyhowism”!

We are a nation that has proved the need for national unity which only a decent value centered team can provide.

Dr. Mitchell needs to realise that Karma never loses an address.

 

 

NEW HOPE FOR 2013

By Dr. Brian Francis

By Dr. Brian Francis

Despite the continuing uncertainty over the direction of the global economy in the short to medium term, Caribbean Governments cannot sit back and allow their economies to drift, falling deeper and deeper into a state of depression.

Over the past four to five years, the people of the region have suffered significantly as they were forced to cope with high and rising unemployment, huge increases in the cost of living, declining real wages, and stagnant or falling standards of living.

Yet, in listening to the news in recent times, it seems as if our people are being called upon to brace themselves for even tougher times in 2013. Whether it is Grenada in the south to Jamaica in the north, more and more people are becoming skeptical about our countries’ ability to pull out of the economic turmoil confronting them to the point where our fortunes can begin to turnaround.

In Jamaica, for example, the Government has been unable to reach a final agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by the end of 2012 and that is seen by some as a major failure that is sure to hurt the prospects of an economic recovery even further.

Simultaneously, some economic analysts in Jamaica are arguing that a deal with the IMF by itself will not solve the country’s major financial and economic challenges. Consequently, the projections are that more tough times lie ahead for the Jamaican economy, with or without a final agreement with the IMF.

While Jamaica may be on the verge of an important IMF agreement that will assist in addressing some of its fiscal problems, it is not the only country to be challenged by economic difficulties.

Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, St. Lucia, and St. Kitts and Nevis; for example, are all in dire need of injection of new and transformative ideas to stimulate economic growth and in turn begin to resolve their fiscal and debt challenges. But these solutions cannot and will not be realised if we continue to treat our problems as insurmountable.

Why do we continue to suggest that no one else can do better? Why do we continue to insist that there are no magic wands when it comes to solving our economic problems? Why do we continue to blame the global economic slowdown for our economic woes?

Clearly, if as a people we begin to direct our energies into thinking about creative solutions to our problems as opposed to waving the white flag of surrender, then, I am confident that our economic fortunes can be reversed in the not too distant future.

Hence, what all of the countries in the region need urgently is new hope for 2013 and the years ahead. But how is this possible? New hope can be generated if we begin to take ownership of our problems and start to utilise the creative talents of the human resources we have harnessed over many decades.

It is no secret that Caribbean people are extremely talented. Our recent successes in the Olympics and World T20 cricket stand as testimony to what we can do as a people despite the small physical sizes of our countries, lack of large economies, and very limited natural resources.

Adequate investments in sports and strong belief in the abilities of our athletes have paid off significantly.

What, then, is preventing us from replicating this level of success when it comes to handling our financial and economic affairs?

(Dr. Brian Francis, the former Permanent Secretary in the local Ministry of Finance, is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics at the Cave Hill Campus in Bridgetown, Barbados of the University of the West Indies)

We are entering a year of more crisis

The last year ended calmly with not much to shout about on the political front, and the anti-climax of the High Court judge handing down a decision against M.P. Karl Hood – in the case he brought against the Prime Minister and the NDC for having expelled him from the party, and for preventing the NDC from choosing another candidate in the person of Mr. Randall Robinson.

The frontline party officials were all very vocal, and sounded just as concerned about the plight of the people – and the economic and social pathway in the New Year and beyond.

What they have to offer, and how they would go about bringing same on stream – depending on how the people decide which group shall be chosen to control their affairs – those aspects were left in mid-air, and no doubt waiting for when the Bell rings and the power struggle finally gets underway to choose the winners.

There can be no doubting, however, that the race to the eventual winning post for the chosen party and M.Ps – will be very tense and far more personal than we have ever experienced in the past.

I do hope that the leaders in their anxiety, and up-beat ambition to regain power or remain in national control of the state’s affairs – they will all see the wisdom in ensuring that the race or struggle remains peaceful, and create a very responsible and re-assuring image, that will attract Investors after the results are known.

The political situation as it stands at present, already contains serious concerns about our parliamentary procedures and constitutional provisions – since the Parliament has been closed for nearly six months now, and there has been no opportunity for any M.P to ask a question about the people’s business, for an answer from those in control of the nation’s affairs.

The state of affairs is reminiscent of the PRG days of March, 1979 to October, 1983 – when freedom of speech in matters of the Government affairs were banned, and any attempt to challenge that position resulted in residence at Richmond Hill Prison or Hope Vale Camp. In these times that is totally un-acceptable.

It leaves one to wonder, whether or not many of those persons who are saying they will not be voting at the next Elections – are not already thinking that the exercise is a waste of time, because the Elected M.P’s are still receiving their salaries, but not even attending the workplace at the Parliament building.

In this very dissatisfactory situation – the possible outcome of any General Elections this year, leaves the door of success wide open for any of the contenders, because of the frustration brought about by the in-house fighting of the 2008 convenient unification.

Where we go from here on, and how we get to whereever at the end of the exercise, is wide open and not subject to any control by the current occupiers of the seats of power.

On the contrary – the behaviour of most of those who were elected into office, based on the apparent unification of the two different sides – that state of affairs have been so divisive and frustrating, that putting the pieces back together again is near nigh impossible.

As for the Court’s decision in the Karl Hood case – an interim Order was made which prevents the NDC from stopping Mr. Hood taking part in the party’s affairs, pending the full hearing of his claim against expulsion.

But his application for an injunction, to stop the NDC from naming another Candidate for the upcoming Elections – that was thrown out by the Court, so Mr. Robinson will be the St. George South-east Candidate.

And now we are into the New Year, all eyes and ears are anxiously waiting on the next move by the Government – as far as the business of Parliament is concerned and where we are heading from here on.

To prolong the stalemate surrounding the Government activities on all fronts – except the monthly struggle to meet civil servants and other Government workers and pensioners salaries and pensions – that state of affairs cannot be helping those in control, while there is nothing in the pipeline to improve the worsening conditions on all other fronts.

But even more importantly it is not helping the people who are unemployed, and have been in that state for some considerable time – with no hope of any improvement, unless and until this stalemate is ended, and they can see some light at the end of the dark tunnel they have been existing under all the time.

So it is a straight case of just waiting and hoping, and praying by those so inclined – that there will be some forward movement by those controlling the reins of power, and very much sooner than later – because the situation is critical.

Except for the two frontline parties, not very much is being heard from the other contenders – either as individuals or as a group – and it leaves one to wonder what is in the political boiling pot.

But whatever it is, or maybe, this year promises to be one loaded with crisis and uncertainties, and as a people struggling to make ends meet, we have to hope and pray that it remains peaceful.

May the Almighty keep us all safe and secure – as we wait for the dawning of a new beginning in the not too distant future.

2013 -CARICOM irrelevant or essential?

The curtain rolls down on 2012 with the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) institutionally weak and its 15 member governments doing little more than paying lip service to the process of economic integration.

It seems that the only reason that several governments do not declare CARICOM irrelevant and walk away from it is that they dare not. To do so, they would have to explain their action to their people. It is a discussion few government leaders would relish.

One of the things they could not say is that CARICOM – as an integration instrument – is a drag on their development or a hindrance to their prospects. In recent years, Governments have simply opted not to utilise the benefits of regional arrangements, preferring instead to pursue separate deals in the hope that such deals would allow them to maintain national power.

Just a few weeks ago at the opening of a meeting of CARICOM Trade Ministers, the Deputy Secretary-General of CARICOM felt constrained to say: “While as individual sovereign States we would be preoccupied with the responsibilities within our national borders, it would also be to our advantage to look to our regional arrangements as supportive even when they seem to add additional responsibilities”.

That Lolita Applewhaite found it necessary to make this statement is indicative of concern over the failure of governments to seek a solution to their current grave economic problems through CARICOM’s integration machinery.

It is not as if the economic conditions in the majority of CARICOM countries are good. Barbados and the six independent countries of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) have dangerously high debt to GDP ratios of over 65 percent and some are well over 100 per cent. Jamaica’s economy has been in dire straits for years and there appears little hope of a dramatic improvement anytime soon.

Indeed, many of these countries are already failed states, surviving only by grants and assistance given to them by external agencies.

As 2013 dawns, apart from Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Suriname, the prospects for the national economies of CARICOM states are bleak. None of the 12 other CARICOM members has the means to provide the financial stimulus to grow their economies and stem the rate of unemployment which is expanding and will get worse in 2013.

It is not a convincing argument for CARICOM governments to constantly point to the global economic situation as the principal cause for their countries’ economic decline. Many of them were already on a slippery slope before 2009 when the financial crisis began to bite. Further, other countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America have done well despite being subject to the same global crisis.

Economic growth in many of these countries has exceeded 7 per cent at the same time that the economies of the majority of CARICOM countries shrunk.

Making matters worse, with the exceptions of Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, CARICOM countries have become reliant on Hugo Chavez – Venezuela’s President – for deferred payment for their oil needs under the Petro Caribe scheme.

With President Chavez’s illness casting grave doubt over his ability to continue to lead Venezuela, even if he manages to be sworn-in as President on January 10, the likelihood of continuing benefits under Petro Caribe is not at all certain.

To add to this troubling scenario, the Caribbean Development Bank – long respected internationally and trusted with funds from international financial institutions and donor governments for on-lending to CARICOM states – was downgraded twice in 2012 by Standard & Poor’s, dragged there by the failure of borrowing governments to repay loans.

Then there is the EU which has been a generous aid donor to CARICOM countries for over three decades. Faced with its own debt problems among some of its member states, the EU has introduced austerity measures domestically. In that situation, it has announced that upper-middle income developing countries will no longer be eligible for EU aid.

While, so far, CARICOM countries, as part of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group, have been shielded from ineligibility by the Cotonou Agreement, there is no guarantee that this will continue after 2015 when the Agreement is reviewed. At that time, all but Guyana (lower middle income) and Haiti (low income) will be adversely affected.

But, aid agencies such as the Canadian International Development Agency, the British Department for International Development and the EU complain regularly that while tens of millions of dollars are available for regional projects on an annual basis, Governments show little interest in them, opting for national projects for which many lack the absorptive capacity, including the skills necessary to submit “bankable” applications.

The question that poses itself is: Haiti apart, why should a region of 6 million people with vast natural resources such as oil, gas, diamonds, gold, bauxite, uranium, tourism, financial services, fisheries, agriculture (including sugar and rice), forestry and huge potential for renewable energy, be poor and suffering?

The answer lies in the failure of our governments to perfect a single market and to work steadfastly toward a single economy.

No one pretends that this task is easy. Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque has said that: “Many of our member states face constraints both technical and political which cannot be ignored or easily overcome”. Given the validity of that statement why has the Secretariat not sought a mandate to establish a team of competent persons to examine these constraints wherever they exist and to identify practical measures to deal with them within an agreed time frame?

It cannot be sufficient to acknowledge the problem and yet to take no meaningful action to solve it.

If this backward march continues, many CARICOM countries will go over the cliff, and eventually CARICOM will be abandoned by those member countries that can do better by economic and political arrangements with others.

In particular, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Suriname may well find it beneficial to integrate their own economies more deeply and to jointly pursue arrangements with Brazil, Venezuela and other Latin American nations.

2013 can be the year of CARICOM’s final slide to oblivion with disastrous consequences for the majority of its member states, or it can be the year when leaders recognise the folly of shunning deeper regional integration and so take positive steps to re-enliven and deepen CARICOM.

It is down to leadership.

(Sir Ronald is a Consultant and a Visiting Fellow at London University)

 

Do not allow yourselves to be taken for a ride

By The Stone Crusher

 

As the Christmas approaches, we cannot help but keep on the foremost of our minds the upcoming general elections – the likely results of which seem to be frightening to some in the event that the corrupt and unorganised were to be returned to office.

As was mentioned in another medium, we are caught up between a rock and a hard place, almost – thanks to the coward gang leader and crew and their consistent acts of destabilisation against the very administration they were elected to be a part of. No wonder they are finished today.

As one man put it – on one hand we have a shepherd with a few of his sheep lost in the bushes, while on the other we have “Alibabah” and his 14 thieves licking their chops on the sidelines waiting to resume the culture of abject dishonesty and inferior leadership which placed Grenada in the column of disrepute for all to see.

Interestingly, the latter group is aided and abetted by elements of the resistance to the entire thirteen years prior to July 8th, 2008. This only goes to show how self-seeking most – if not all of those we have in our politics – are.

Who would have ever thought the likes of the “irrelevant element” who helped to sponsor the murder of so many Grenadians between 1979 and 1983 by his involvement in the gun trade that brought arms under the guise of barrels of grease would be today making private meetings with the same opposition politicians whose leadership he said attracts the baser instincts in our Grenadian people?

Because he and his brigands could not have their way to tie up the head of Uncle Tilly, they are today seeking to be spoilers in the upcoming poll to see if they can take away enough votes in key constituencies to install the same people he and his cohorts once labeled with good cause as inferior. How puerile!

While all of this is going on, the arguments of the Call Center continues with several people getting to understand properly how the relatives of KCM managed to skim off the top and run, leaving us the people with total ownership of a business entity that only had millions of debts and nothing else to show for it.

What is interesting here to note is that every business must have income and expenditure. If the expenditure is higher than the income, then the business will fail in short order. It must be the other way around for the business to make sense.

A main source of the Call Center’s business was telecommunications – the telephone in particular. But the Call Center was not meeting its telephone obligations to Cable & Wireless at the time. One must appreciate that if a business is not paying its expenses, it can be inferred that the operators of the business might just be diverting the income away from the business and therefore away from the books.

Where did the income of the Call Center go? It surely did not go in meeting the main expenses of the business. What was done with the millions in guarantees that it got from the taxpayers money under KCM and Company? Did anybody pocket the Call Centre money?

What THE STONE CRUSHER can recall is that the NNP government found it necessary to divert the over EC$4million dividends from Cable & Wireless earmarked for the Treasury to pay the outstanding bill of the Call Center to them (C&W).

The people are not fools and do understand and know the “hankey- pankey” that the Call Center was for those who operated it – including the relatives of the then Prime Minister. It is instructive to note that the expenses of the Call Center remained unpaid – when any fool were to look at its figures.

The discussion must be on where did the income go? Who collected the income? Where was it diverted? KCM, Gregory and Tony et al must address the Call Centre and the millions in guarantees from government to this entity.

To tell the nation that C&W’s dividends went to offset expenses to the company does not lead to an end of the conversation. What did the main relative of the then Prime Minister do after the crash of the Call Center?

By the way where is this cousin? This man along with the former Big Up in Cable & Wireless and an ordinary girl who was just a Secretary in a legal firm were listed as shareholders of the Call Center – and the documents in our registry will support this.

Stone Crusher knows for a fact that the Call Center was not owned by the state in total when it first started to do business.

Gregory Bowen knew this but instead choose to try a fast one on Lew Smith last week Tuesday morning when he appeared on the programme known as “To The Point”. If only Lew had done the necessary research before the programme he would have caught Gregory once again telling a blatant lie.

Can Gregory look at Michael Baptiste straight in the face and tell him that Call Center was always owned 100% by the State. If Gregory attempts to do that then he has forgotten that Mr. Baptiste was at one time the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) when he was Leader of the Opposition after the 2003 general elections.

Gregory, please do not forget that Mr. Baptiste was able to call in Timothy Antoine (PS Finance) and Patricia Antoine (former Accountant-General) in the Ministry of Finance and grilled them on the operations of the Call Centre.

Gregory, the Finance people confessed to the Public Accounts Committee that they did not know the means or method used by the NNP government to acquire the shares of the private shareholders of the Call Centre.

Short-memory Gregory, please read the following concrete recording from the Hanshard of our Parliament, which attests to that through the words of your own Leader, then Prime Minister Dr., the Rt. Hon. Keith Mitchell.

The Stone Crusher reminds Gregory that KCM made the startling revelation when he was put to the sword by Michael Baptiste on the amount of money that his family members had owed the State on the Call Centre deal.

The words of KCM in Parliament as taken from Hansard:

 

“Members should not be imputing that any company received a certain amount of money from government, Mr. Speaker- by the way the figure is $9.0 million – and that government got 40 per cent for $9.0 million investment. This is absolutely false Mr. Speaker.

“The Government has provided a guarantee for the $9.0 million. Sorry, a guarantee of $9.0 was given, plus the government invested $9.0 million, Mr. Speaker.

“What is being pointed out here is that the nine million dollars will be repaid by the company starting in March. So the government is not putting money that is not coming back to the government. The money is being returned to the government. So, it’s like a loan, Mr. Speaker. And, the money will be repaid from March. And, we’re still getting 40 percent.

“In other words, we return — the money is being returned to us, and we’re still getting 40 percent shares. So, the government, for no permanent investment in the company is now getting 40 percent, and hundreds — over a thousand jobs are being created. Mr. Speaker, I just want to clarify this. I think that it is very important that that information be made clear.”

 

Gregory, those are not the words of Michael Baptiste or one of your perceived enemies but the words that came from the lips of your leader, The Right Honourable, Dr. Keith Claudius Mitchell.

Gregory, please do the honourable and decent thing in the New Year by going back on the programme with Lew Smith and apologise to the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique for your deliberate attempt to mislead them on the shareholders of the Call Centre.

Gregory, when Dr. Mitchell answered then Opposition Leader – Mr. Michael Baptiste, he said enough to indicate otherwise. Stop trying to fool us, Gregory with your nonsense. Shame on you, Gregory.

What we have to ask is what was done and when to make the government of the day 100% shareholder in that shell of a company that was Call Centre? Gregory, leave Dr. Mitchell alone to clean up his own mess with the Call Centre because not even the mainstream top civil servants in the Ministry of Finance knew how the government acquired the shares of the private shareholders like the Crooked foot Man and the big wig from C&W.

But then Gregory, you have a vested interested to try a cover-up with Call Centre because when the Russians got involved in the company, the American lady swore in an affidavit in a U.S court that Lev Model used to pay the tuition fees of your daughter.

Gregory, how come you never filed a lawsuit in the U.S against the Rose lady for that bombshell that brings into sharp focus your honesty, decency and integrity. Maybe the Wild One was afraid to go after the American Lady in a U.S court because you would have had to go on the witness stand.

As a people who are getting ready again to vote in a general election, we have a right to know where our monies went under the tenure and stewardship of Dr. Mitchell, Gregory and NNP that has caused us so much financial pains today.

Dr. Mitchell, Gregory Bowen and Anthony Boatswain must tell us all we need to know about the Call Centre transaction and stop mounting political platforms and calling in on radio stations and appearing on national radio and television stations telling us they did what they did to save jobs.

While they were doing that to save jobs – somebody was robbing the nation of the income to the Call Center. Who was that somebody? We want to know who is that and where did the income that was supposed to be going to the Call Center go? Who pocketed the income and left us holding a bag of debt.

As we see in the recorded words of Dr. Mitchell, himself in the Parliament when he was Prime Minister – at some stage the company was owned 60% by his family members and others with the remaining 40% owned by the state.

It now begs the question – was the takeover of 100% ownership of Call Centre by the state (then under Dr. Mitchell’s leadership) done to exonerate his family from liability? Dr. Mitchell told us that $18 million dollars from the Treasury were involved in Call Centre in which the Crooked Foot Man was the main player.

Look how KCM handled the taxpayers money – not his. He could not care how many millions were lost in bad deals. Compare this with his own money. Up to now he does not want to pay Rodge Jones from his own pocket for work done on the apartments in New York.

Maybe, if Rodge had to get taxpayers money, he might have gotten it already from KCM. But when it comes to dipping his hands into his pocket to pay from his own bank account, KCM giving all kinds of trouble.

The nation should not be surprised if the Pit bull PR man in NNP gets the usual 5.00 a.m. call with instructions from KCM to reply to the Call Centre questions on behalf of the leader. Michael Creft used to get the regular 5.00 a.m telephone call with instructions about certain money matters.

By the way Dr. Mitchell – have you received further communication from your lawyer in New York since you advised the nation that you knew nothing about the upcoming court-related matter with Rodge? When will you start to speak the truth for once on the New York matter?

Stone Crusher feels that what a man is in his personal life he carries with him to his professional life and so if you want to be Prime minister of this country again you need to prove that you have changed and that you are worthy of the nation’s trust!

People of Grenada, do you recall Dr. Mitchell and NNP telling this nation that the Call Center was supposed to buy computers for every school in Grenada. Where are the computers? Now KCM has changed his tone and is telling the nation that his administration – if elected – will provide every child with a computer.

Isn’t this the same man who opposed the provision of free schoolbooks for the nation’s children? What pappy show is this? The electorate must make a pappy show of KCM when Uncle Tilly calls the thing in 2013

The NNP inner circle is talking big of a 14-1 victory at the polls but they are suffering from a foot in mouth disease. These people are saying that in order for Dr. Mitchell to succeed should NNP be elected, he would need to win the goodwill of the people and for the first two years in office at least $100million would have to be found for spending to keep the people on their side.

Where is KCM likely to get that kind of money from? Has Van Brink been invoked from the dead? Have Rita Regale, Larry Barnabe, David Rowe and Resteiner come out of jail yet? Who other crooks the NNP have in mind and from where, this time, to facilitate the washing of their dirty money for them?

When the offshore money ran out in 2000-02, the NNP was forced to borrow millions at commercial interest rates and that is why the nation debt got so high that it nearly touched the sky under KCM.

Only recently, Patrick Antoine, the NNP front man admitted on a recent programme seen on television that KCM and his government borrowed at high commercial interest rates thus resulting in a he spike in the national debt.

Grenadians – do not be fooled! You have to live with the decision you make when general elections roll around. Go with the group whose leader you can trust with your dollars!

Another five years of KCM and NNP will sink Grenada for good since their phrase is nothing is wrong with massive borrowing since no one can take Grenada and sell it for debts owed.