Nothing new from Peter David

By Stone Crusher

The Kirani James euphoria in the country forced The Stone Crusher to take a back seat and allow the Jaguar to get all the recognition and praise that he deserved.

Now that the 400 metre King has taken his exit, the crusade has to resume in order to rid Grenada and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) of the evil elements of the RMC/OREL brigands.

The forces of evil must be totally decimated by September 30 in order to allow good to prevail in this fair Isle of Spice.

The recently announced decision of Peter David to not contest any position within the ruling NDC party in its upcoming party convention is the most sensible decision he has ever made since his entrance to Westminster style politics.

Of course everyone knows that his style of politics is on the other side where people’s desires and wishes never matter but that of a Central Committee or a Political Bureau.

Our people have all had the experience of this brutal style of politics in the 1979-1983 gap when the side that he was associated with was responsible for the massacre of Comrade Maurice Bishop and other colleague Ministers sympathetic to him to the point where today they cannot even find their remains.

That is the type of politics that he came from when he decided to join the NDC. Is that the reason why it was so difficult for him to function in the Westminster style system that the US military came here to restore?

Let us not forget that Peter David is the same man whose efforts and support in the past dislodged two governments – one of Sir Eric Matthew Gairy in 1979 and the other of his own making – the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG).

He was well on his way to dislodging yet another – the Tillman Thomas-led Congress administration – before the matter was arrested by the people whose integral role he is cultured to ignore and had the rude awakening of his life.

When Stone Crusher saw that he was carded to have a meeting in Hindsey School to discuss things important and to seek the input of his constituents as to his political future, it became clear that he was looking for a way out.

This so-called meeting again exposed the level of deception to which these leftover remnants of the Revo would descend in order to get into power.

A release that was put out on his behalf by the little midget from the Carenage stated that the meeting by the MP for the Town of St. George was being called in order to get the feedback from the people on the man’s political future.

It said that Peter David’s meeting was being called to get the feedback of his constituents “on their recommendations on his future in politics, in general, and the upcoming general election, in particular”. Did this ever happen? Not at all.

This man Peter David was heard on the local media telling people that hours before the meeting he had called the Prime Minister to inform him about his decision not to seek re-election to the post of General Secretary or any other post at the September 30 convention.

No wonder Bishop was killed by RMC deception. This boy called Peter David was only fooling the people about consultation since he already took the political decision not to contest any post in the convention before the meeting at Hindsey School. Is this a man to trust?

Again this man is talking about political tribalism in the Grenadian politics.

What about his style of politics as we saw when he decided to show reluctance to take up his new position as Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation in November of 2010 together with his gang members the “frock ooman” and the box head Casino man with the career drunkard edging them on and one of the St. Andrew’s MP’s seen in their company together with the St. David’s representative?

The hired pen from Miami often wrote about the creation of a new organ within the NDC party ­ the grouping of Chairpersons of the various constituency branches. Where is that body in the NDC Constitution? It does not exist but is a figment of the imagination of these RMC/OREL rebels.

Peter David probably needs some kind of examination of his head to seek to take credit for the July 2008 victory of NDC at the polls. He loves to boast that the party got into office with him as General Secretary, ignoring the fact that it is a party effort and no one man could have done this on his own.

He also ignored the efforts of the nonaligned entities like Michael Baptiste, Anslem Clouden and Lloyd Noel, and to a great extent the prolonged and sustained efforts of George Worme and Eddie Frederick which caused the NNP to lose serious ground in 2003 and then finally to lose office in 2008.

The change of government in 2008 was not a General Secretary doing but a national effort. Post-election events/developments support the reasoning that NDC did not win anything in as much as NNP lost office.

The gang man and his crew got so caught up with infighting because of the greed for power that they forgot to concentrate their efforts in the direction of converting the 1800 more votes than the NNP in 2008 into real support.

At one point in time they appeared to have locked themselves out of their own party – and the drunkard wants to tell us that the gang man was the man who did it for the NDC. It is quite obvious that he did not do it for the NDC but for his hidden agenda, which backfired on him big time.

The obvious follow up to Peter David’s decision to not run for political office on the executive of the NDC in its upcoming elections is for him to drop out of the candidate race altogether.

For sure he cannot be a candidate on the NDC ticket because of his public statement that he has fundamental differences with the Prime Minister and is opposed to the fiscal policies of the government that is spearheaded by Finance Minister, Nazim Burke.

Would Mr. David be brave enough to attend the Convention? The NDC people might give him a good licking because they are disgusted with his public grand standing and deception behind the scenes not to mention his perceived collusion with his friend on the other side to take down the government.

The NDC Convention no longer has to worry about making sure there is enough security at its proceedings to protect the Peter David faction.

Prime Minister Tillman Thomas will prevail at the end of the day coming out in tact to fight for the chance the gang man and his crew never gave him.

In all honesty, the NDC was never given a chance to function as a government by the kind of sniping both the legitimate opposition consistently delivered to it during the last four years and the maneuverings of the gang man and his crew from the inside.

Tillman Thomas needs to boldly ask the people for the chance he was never given while he presents the “new thing” Grenadians deserve – minus the gang man, the box head casino man, the frock ooman, the drunkard, and all the other fat cats who are known to hang around the precincts of the gang man to further his agenda.
Should the NDC lose at the polls, this will be the third administration the gang man would have helped actively to destroy.

When one party supporter heard of Peter David’s decision to not contest any position on the party executive, she was relieved – as she claimed he was likely to get the whooping of his life.

She claims to have loved the earth he walked on but got so disappointed when she read the weekly dissertations of Stone Crusher, which to her were very revealing.

There is no doubt in Stone Crusher’s mind how debilitating this column has been to all those who ran contrary to the wishes of the people on the politically correct side of the NDC during the last four years.

The gang man and his crew were not well timed in the execution of their power hungry plot.  Unfortunately, the issue of greed and envy took center stage.

The Prime Minister is a victim of the gang man¹s battle to take down his once Comrade in arms, the Minister of Finance, Nazim Burke.
All these RMC/OREL men used to meet at the hotel in the Lane to plan their political moves.

The NDC was not on their agenda at the beginning since they were following instructions from THE MEN ON THE HILL.

The whole lot of them was engaged in dialogue with the NNP leadership, promising them political support in exchange for freeing the so-called Grenada 17.

Ask the gang man who was the emissary that used to take the decisions from those meeting at the hotel to the man in the Happy Hill for consideration? If he is truthful, he will tell the country that the emissary eventually joined with the NNP and was one of its candidates in a previous election.

It was only when the Happy Hill man tricked them that the OREL/RMC men then plotted their next move ­ go into the NDC and seek to take over the leadership of the party.

The gang man was the post powerful person after the July 2008 general elections and had the ears of the Prime Minister. Ask him what got the PM to distrust him and tell him to be honest for once ands do not engage in any more deception.

As the Prime Minister started to warm up to the Minister of Finance, who was always a calm figure, unlike the gang man who is always uneasy and pacing the floor and can¹t remain calm and quiet, the red nastiness thought he had to do something to smash that and so worked over time with his brigands to see if he could have destroy it.
But what he did not know is that “you can’t keep cork under water.”

The Finance Minister and Deputy Political Leader of NDC, Nazim Burke, never fell for his childish rantings!

No one of consequence bought what the gang man has been selling about Burke.  Burke is a married man with children whose behaviour is without reproach as a family man.

The Stone Crusher is sure that if Nazim Burke were a grandfather like the gang man, he would have shifted gears to accommodate that accomplishment. He would not be programmed to be all over the place like a ‘leggo’ beast not making a commitment with his life to shift gears and match his new status.

Stone Crusher must take some kind of credit for decimating the gang man and his brigands.  They shall never be able to rise again politically in Grenada since their motive is too sinister.

The Prime Minister now has an opportunity to go to his convention and elect a new executive that can empower him to select his new and trusted slate of candidates for the next general election.

The politics of the country will change from September 30 since all those who will be going forward can now be truly trusted as persons without hidden agendas and will always subscribe to the core values and principles of NDC.

No member of the gang will be selected to be on the team. If Peter David runs in the 2013 general elections, he will be running as an independent candidate or as a member of NNP, GULP, MBPM or some other party ­ not with Congress.

Peter David had everything in his hands but because of his impatience he has now lost everything politically.

Cutting EU aid should be resisted, but begging bowl not enough

Except Haiti, all the Caribbean countries that are members of the 79-member African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group are in danger of losing the level of aid they receive from the European Union (EU) under a differentiated approach being considered by the European Commission.

The differentiated approach would make the status of Caribbean states as Middle Income Countries the basis for reducing aid to them. This is a very serious matter. It is one that should command the urgent attention of all Caribbean governments, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat and the Caribbean Development Bank.

It is not overstating the case to say that EU assistance to the Caribbean for its productive sector and infrastructure is an essential component of government revenues, allowing them to spend on social welfare programmes.

If EU assistance is reduced, Caribbean countries can expect to see an expansion of poverty and a reduction of social welfare programmes, with an attendant increase in unemployment and violent crime.

The one thing that the Caribbean countries have to resist this “graduation” is the Cotonou Agreement – a Treaty between the EU and the ACP that was negotiated in 2000.  Under the Cotonou Agreement, the terms of development assistance to ACP countries should not be altered unless there is an amendment to the Treaty when it comes up for review in 2015.

I say “should not be altered” instead of “cannot be altered”, because the EU walked away unilaterally from a “Sugar Protocol” that ACP countries thought was unbreakable.  Effectively, the preferential market for ACP sugar in the EU eroded overnight, creating havoc in the sugar industry and leading to unemployment and loss of revenues. It has to be hoped that a similar approach will not be taken by an EU unilateral imposition of its “differentiated approach”.

It is now up to Caribbean governments and their Embassies accredited to the EU to do the hard work necessary to ensure that the terms of the Cotonou Agreement are not altered in 2015 to allow for them to be “graduated” from the levels of aid they now receive.

The status of most Caribbean countries as Middle Income Countries is the criterion that has been used by institutions such as the World Bank for “graduating” them from eligibility for concessionary loans.

It is also the criterion used in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to deny them special and dif ferential treatment for trade.

Thus, under existing WTO regimes, Caribbean countries are treated in the same way as, for instance, the US, Canada, Japan, India and Brazil. In this connection, the EU could try to apply its new differentiated approach in arrangements for Middle Income ACP countries.

If the terms of the Cotonou Agreement are altered in 2015, then the Caribbean countries will fall under the Differentiated Development Co-operation Instrument that the European Commission wishes to introduce for more than 60 countries.

The only ones that will be spared will be “Less Developed Countries” – the poorest of the poor, and in that regard only Haiti in the Caribbean will qualify.

There are countries in Africa and the Pacific that would be as adversely affected as the Caribbean by the attempt to reduce aid to Middle Income States.  These states should be the Caribbean’s natural allies and work should begin urgently to join them to the cause of laying out the case to the EU about why per capita income should not be the only criterion by which decisions on the level of aid should be made.

But in 2003, ACP solidarity was shattered when the 79 member states were divided into several distinct groups to negotiate separate Economic Partnership Agreements with the EU.  In this connection, it will be difficult to pull the entire ACP Group together again to resist amendments to the Cotonou Agreement in 2015. Yet, this is work that must start immediately.

The reuniting of the ACP and the rejuvenation and re-invigoration of its purposes are essential to the process of standing-up collectively for its member states.

The Caribbean should waste no time in organising a process of weaving the strands of the ACP into the collective whole they were in the effective negotiations for the beneficial Cotonou Agreement and the Lome Convention that preceded it.

It is these two Treaties with the EU that set the framework and terms for the non-reciprocal trade, aid and investment benefits that have helped to lift ACP countries over the last 30 years.

Worryingly, officials in the European Commission are now calculating allocations to ACP countries for the 11th European Development Fund for the period 2014-2020.  If they conduct the calculations and allocations on the basis of “graduating” Middle Income Countries, then the battle to resist amendments to the Cotonou Agreement in 2015 will be lost even before it begins.

This is why the ACP countries should lose no time in organising a united front to resist the European Commission’s proposal.  Solid technical reasoning is as necessary to the process as are vibrant diplomatic arguments and high-level government contacts between the ACP and the EU.

The technical work should be carried out by a single Caribbean unit utilising the best skills available to the region, and it should set out measurable outcomes for the funds that are being requested.

For if ACP Middle-Income countries are to justify why aid should not be reduced now, they must be prepared to show how it will be used effectively to transition to diversifying their economies, enhancing their productive sector, and standing on their own feet.  A begging bowl is not enough.

The work must start now to make the ACP cohesive again.  The Caribbean, which has much to lose, should be in the forefront of that effort.

(Sir Ronald Sanders is a Consultant and former Caribbean diplomat)

Where are we heading – From here on?

Four years ago – in early September 2008, the zeal and excitement, and expectations, were so high and so very hopeful, that our people and Tri-Island State seemed then to be on the road to a welcome recovery.

We were coming out of a thirteen years period of some good, some bad, and some very strange and indifferent decisions, and administrative political performances that were very questionable.

And what was very different about that apparent recovery, was the background from which many of those Eleven members of Parliament emerged – and seemed prepared to put their ideas together, pooled their political experiences, and work as a team to put our people and country on the road towards a new beginning.

It all looked good, and the vibes coming out of the meetings and countrywide discussions – leading up to July Eighth, 2008 – were all so positive and re-assuring, that anyone could be excused or forgiven for having fallen for the glib promises and re-assurances.

But the years have gone by, various occurrences have taken place, words have been spoken and statements made by all and sundry – and here we are, four years and two months almost to the day, and the political situation as well as the business of the Government in control of the people’s affairs – are in utter chaos and irreversible confusion that is doomed to failure.

And from all appearances, those still in control and exercising powers of authority – they seem to be taking their responsibilities as if they have no care or concern for the thousands of our people who depend on them.

How else can anyone assess the happenings surrounding the late payment of salaries to Government workers for the month of August?

From the Prime Minister downwards – and stopping at the Ministerial doorway of the Finance Minister for a longer period – the statements coming through on the matter, all seem to indicate that no one in authority knew what was taking place with the Government Finance, or worse yet – no one cared one way or another.

And because of that pattern of behaviour at the top of the power structure, over four thousand persons were embarrassed and badly inconvenienced by the powers-that-be.

The story making the rounds, was that the very members of Parliament did not receive their monthly salaries in their respective Bank Accounts at month-end.

As one wise guy put it to me – they should not be paid at all, because they doing nothing.

Come on ladies and gentlemen in control of our nation’s affairs – where are we heading, what examples are you setting for our youngsters, how can you honestly ask the people to give you another term in control of the nation’s affairs?

And to even think that all this is happening in the very month, that a Gouyave Boy from The Lance at Gun Battle in St. John, had placed Grenada in the news and on Television Screens in every Olympic participating country worldwide, by winning our first Gold Medal for Grenada and the OECS, at the London Games in August.

Based on that level of performance by those in control, and with the authority to manage our nation’s affairs for the past four years – what answer can be honestly and logically advanced by them, to the motion of No-confidence filed by M.P. Karl Hood, to have the Government supposedly in control dissolved?

What message is being sent to our thousands of young ones, now going through the process of growing up and acquiring educational and ethical standards and qualifications, to be able to replace their retiring elders in years to come?

The entire situation involving the Government at any level, and in all aspects of the operation of the state of Grenada – these are all so disconnected, and causing so much embarrassment to us all as a people, that any honestly concerned group supposedly in charge, would throw in the towel and call it the end.

The shortage of money to pay salaries last month, would not improve this month or in the months ahead – so how would that state of affairs help those in charge, as we move towards the end that is inevitable anyway?

This habit of borrowing the people’s Insurance monies from the National Insurance Scheme, is surely not a wise move – especially because paying it back anytime soon is very unlikely.

And because those in charge before the current lot also engaged in the same practice – it leaves one to wonder how much of those Insurance monies are being owed by the Governments over the years.

I saw a statement by the St. George’s Town M.P., Peter David, that there should be some kind of national discussion about the Economy.  I cannot see how that exercise will help the situation at this stage, when the unemployment figure is over (40%) Forty percent, and there are no signs from any area that things will likely be improving anytime soon.

The St. George’s Market project and the Tanteen Sports Pavilion were opened last week in the said M.P. Constituency – and the finance for both came from the Venezuelan Government when he was in the Cabinet and close to President Chavez.

The roads and bridges Islandwide are in a bad state of disrepair – and while those areas can provide the much needed Employment for a lot of people, finding the funds to do those projects remain the on-going nightmare for the divided group in charge of the nation’s business.

Because of the continuing division among the Eleven M.P.’s who won the election four years ago, and the very odd state of affairs where one Minister is in charge of two and three Ministries, and in most cases he/she does not even have a deputy – the Business of the Government cannot be adequately supervised.

Against that background therefore, I cannot see any Institution of repute being ready and willing to come to the assistance of the disunited group, with funding to bring any of those projects on stream.

And since the very people who are struggling these past two or three years to make a decent living – are the same ones who will have to vote the next Government into office within the next year, I fail to see the logic in trying to hold unto the reins of power up to the bitter end.

Hence my question – where are we heading from here on?  Because as far as I see it – in the case of the leftovers of what was the  NDC in 2008, when the group entered the political marriage of convenience to unseat the NNP – what is now left holding unto the bare threads of authority, in the name of the Government of our Tri-Island State of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, that leftover group cannot be said to be in control of our nation’s affairs.

And if my assessment is fair, and truly represents the existing conditions in the Islands – then the powers-that-be are inflicting a grave disservice on our people, and can only be heading down the road of greater national Economic disaster, and prolonged human suffering.

And may the Good Lord in his Mercy come to our assistance – in the fullness of time.

Backing Australia and Finland: The Caribbean at One

The 15-nation Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries will be supporting Australia and Finland for two of the ten non-permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) when elections are held in the UN General Assembly in New York in October.

There is good reason to do so. As frustrating as the wrangling between its five permanent members may be, the UNSC still has great relevance to small independent Caribbean states, fourteen of which are members of CARICOM.

Unlike large and powerful countries, Caribbean small states have neither military might nor economic clout. Diplomacy is their most important tool in international affairs. They must use diplomacy to build a network of links to countries with which they share common goals and interests.

In the case of the UNSC, Caribbean small states have to be anxious about the security of their own borders from external threats, but they also have to be concerned with global peace and security.

Disruptions in other parts of the world affect Caribbean countries. Examples of such effects are: the 9/11 atrocities in the US that crippled tourism hurting Caribbean economies, and conflicts in the Middle-East that caused oil prices to soar with harmful consequences for production and the cost-of-living.

Because Caribbean small states are infrequently represented on the UNSC, they have to work to ensure that like-minded countries are elected – countries whose positions would be broadly reflective of their own, and upon whom they can rely to speak up on issues about which they are troubled.

This is why the elections for ten non-permanent members of the UNSC for the period 2013-2014 are important to the people of the Caribbean.

Not enough is done to explain the vital link between foreign policy positions and domestic considerations in small states. Yet, the citizens of countries have a right to know and understand why their governments adopt the foreign policy positions that they do.

It is now fairly well-known that CARICOM countries have collectively decided to support the candidatures of Australia and Finland for the two seats on the UNSC allocated to what is called the “Western Europe and Others Group” (WEOG).

There is a third candidate -Luxembourg. So, it is a three-cornered fight for election to two seats.

In the case of Australia, CARICOM’s support derives from two things. First, of the 14-independent member nations of CARICOM, 12 of them are also members of the Commonwealth along with Australia. There are many similarities among them including language, common law, shared values, a history of cooperation and a passion for the game of Cricket.  Second, Australia has also been a contributor to the rebuilding of Haiti – the poorest of the CARICOM states.  It is a contribution appreciated by all CARICOM countries.

Beyond these two important considerations, Australia has always shown concern for the plight of small states in its own area of the world – the Pacific.  That concern has extended to the Caribbean where Australia has contributed in practical ways.

For example, since 2010, Australia has been spending a four-year allocation of US$63m on projects in the Caribbean, including US$17.4m on climate adaptation – a matter of crucial importance to the region.

Because of the many contacts with Australia at several levels within the Commonwealth – through both the governmental Commonwealth and civil society organisations – Australia has a keen understanding of the outlook and aspirations of the Caribbean and it can be called upon to take account of them in the positions adopted at the UNSC.

With regard to Finland with which there has not been the sort of traditional links as exist with Australia, there is a kind of “soul-brother” relationship. Finland is a small state in European terms, and, like the Caribbean, it knows the anguish of colonialism and occupation having endured them both from Russia and Sweden.

Conflict resolution is high on Finland’s agenda – something welcomed by the Caribbean.  And Finland and the small CARICOM countries were natural allies in last July’s negotiations in New York on an Arms Trade Treaty.

While they failed to secure the Treaty, largely because of a last minute abandonment by the US, together with Canada and Australia they overcame many hurdles to bring the treaty to the cusp of conclusion.

Despite its distance from the region, Finland has diplomatic relations with every CARICOM country and it has appointed Honorary Consuls in all of them. It is also little known that, for over a decade, Finland has quietly been contributing to the region’s development, particularly in meteorological services that are important to the area especially to prepare for annual storms.

At the disappointing Rio+20 Earth Summit in Brazil earlier this year, Finland was also a solid ally of the CARICOM states in trying to get action to address the needs of small island developing states in anticipation of the effects of global warming that are expected to worsen in the near future.

It may well be asked whether or not it matters who is elected to the 10-member non-permanent seats of the UNSC since it is the permanent five – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States – that hold real power and any one of them can veto actions by the Council that they disapprove.

It is precisely because so much power resides in the hands of the five permanent members that it is important to elect to the ten non-permanent seats countries that will have the sensitivity and concern to raise their voices as trustees for all the other countries of the world that have no veto, and even no say.

Both Australia and Finland have demonstrated not only a determination to contribute to resolving conflicts in the world, but also a commitment to advancing the interests of small and powerless states. That is why joint support for Australia and Finland by CARICOM countries, is a welcome harmonisation of their positions, is good for the Caribbean people and for the wider world community.

(Sir Ronald Sanders is a Consultant and former Caribbean diplomat)

Never a dull moment – In Kirani’s Grenada

The King came back home to visit with his loyal subjects – and they came out in their thousands to pay their respects, and recognise his reign as “King Kirani James the First”, from the tiny Kingdom of Grenada and its dependencies.  To God Be the Glory.

But while the people as a whole are so united in their support for their national Hero – those who are in charge of our nation’s affairs are so disunited, and engaged in wars of words that can only do further damage to our already fragile and declining economic situation – that the whole atmosphere seems strange and not real.

What we really need at this time is not a society based on division, especially among those that the people elected to take charge and run their affairs. What we want is a society founded in co-operation, shared responsibility, mutual recognition of dignity – that summons or enables everybody to work together for the common good, because all will benefit commonly together.

It was so good to see the different political faces gathered together, on the occasion of the Airport Welcome Home for the Olympic Gold Medal Hero.  And the atmosphere was so uniting and genuine, that when the Prime Minister in his welcoming remarks, recognised the presence of Dr. Keith Mitchell as Her Majesty’s “Loyal” Opposition Leader – both the goodly Doctor and the crowd busted into a spontaneous roar of laughter and applause.

But this is our Grenada and as a people we have to keep on learning to live in it, and to co-exist from our different political standpoints for the benefit of all our people.

The victory by our National Hero, as the world’s fastest 400M Athlete and Olympic Champion, should be more than enough to give us as a people the necessary boost to help us move from where we seem to be standing still to some place ahead.

Champion Kirani’s efforts, from his very tender years in the surroundings where he grew up and progressed to become who and what he is in today’s sporting history – must provide the perfect example for our youngsters to go all out to try and emulate his achievements.

No young person in our Tri-Island State, can truthfully say that he/she is living in any area that is as depressed and lacking in basic necessities – than the Gun Battle surroundings where Kirani grew up and lived until two or three years ago.

So that the incentive should be – if Kirani could have lived and grew up in that setting, and still reached the very top of the tree of success – then so can anyone who puts his/her mind and determined efforts to move up the ladder of success.

The champion was as cool and unassuming as always, amidst all the well organised set up, and the pomp and Red Carpet welcome laid out for his Homecoming at the MBIA – and the appreciative crowd surely made their presence heard and felt, as he walked among them and shared the hand shakes and the hugs from all and sundry.

I am writing now before the motorcade, and the Sunday activities planned for his Hometown appearances in Gouyave – so I’ll come back to those later in this article.

But of equally important interest to our people in Grenada at this time – is the chaos and confusion surrounding our Government and the politics as existing within the party.

The story making the rounds last week, was that the Prime Minister had gone to see the Governor General and Parliament had been suspended indefinitely. And the reasoning for that move was to avoid the motion filed by M.P Karl Hood, to have a vote of no confidence taken against the Prime Minister and his remaining few ministers in Government.

That story was not true, because Parliament is in the usual Recess at this time – so the motion will have to wait for the re-opening of the house and to be placed on the Order Paper for the debate and vote.
But as an observer mentioned to me in discussing the state of affairs now existing – the entire Government operations are in Recess, with very little hope of recovery.

And to add insult to the chaos – month end of August Prison
officers and loads of Police officers, among other areas of Government workers, did not receive their salaries and are hoping this week will see some improvement to feed their families.

The cash flow at the Treasury is in dire straits – according to the grapevine news, and there are no signs of improvement any time soon.  Because the whole economic operations are at a standstill, payments of Taxes of all sorts are down to zero.

Unemployment must be  the highest ever in the Tri-Island State, and the business places are operating at below Fifty percent sales and intake – so payments of all sorts into the Government coffers are in the same situation.

And in the political chaotic dog fight taking place among those in control of the nation’s affairs – things like Grants and short-term Loans, and monthly overdrafts to make ends meet, are all of the distant past.

The People’s Republic of China have recently made a grant to Government, to build some more low costs houses, and the emphasis now seem to be on re-building the Athletic side of the National Stadium – which is to be re-named the Kirani James Stadium – again as promised by China.

But to go back to the Olympic Champion’s homecoming Celebrations – after he had a quiet day with his family at home in Gouyave on the Friday.

The Motorcade started at Kirani James Boulevard in St. George’s on Saturday a.m and proceeded up the Western Coast to Gouyave – and when the vehicle in which Kirani was traveling reached the main street, it seemed as though every vehicle on the Western side was on the road, and it took well over an hour and a half – with the short stops here and there for Greetings to Kirani – for the Motorcade to pass through Gouyave.

It eventually reached the National Stadium in the early evening, where a crowd had already taken their seats in anticipation of the planned program to end the day’s activities.

The gathered thousands were not disappointed and the Television audience Islandwide also had a treat.

The highlights were the Prime Minister’s announcement that the Government was donating ($ 1⁄2 Million) Half a Million dollars to Kirani, and Republic Bank also donating One Hundred Thousand.

In addition, the Ferguson family whose parents owned Palmiste Estate – have also donated a lot of Land in Palmiste to Kirani. And on Sunday 2nd September, at a Thanksgiving Mass at The Roman Catholic Church in Gouyave, a plan for the land was presented to Kirani as coming from Ruggles and Sandra Ferguson with the Conveyance to follow.

Of particular interest in connection with that lot of land – is that it is in boundary with the lands owned by the Governor General and his Wife where they are currently building their retirement home at Palmiste.

So that down the years to come, we will have the Retired Governor General and the once world famous Olympic Gold Medalist – living next door to each other in the parish of their birth in St. John.

A beautiful gesture from the Ferguson’s – to say the least; and am sure that the very humble Lance Boy from Gun Battle in Gouyave, fully appreciated everything.

And as we walked through the Lance in procession from the Church on Sunday, singing hymns and dancing to the music – there was the Olympic 400M Champion, King Kirani James the First, in his very familiar surroundings taking a full part in the proceedings.

Now he has gone back to continue his Studies at Alabama University in the U.S.A. – may he continue to succeed and To God Be The Glory.

Rum threat looming larger

In an unfortunate statement, attributed in several news reports to one of its spokespersons, the huge multi-national company, Diageo, has effectively threatened non-US Caribbean governments.

Diageo is reported to have said that it would “re-evaluate” its relations with several rum producers in non-US Caribbean countries if their governments file a dispute against the United States government at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over huge subsidies to rum producers (including Diageo) in the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

In other words, what Diageo is saying is that if the huge subsidy it is enjoying in the USVI is legitimately questioned by non-US Caribbean governments, it will retaliate by ceasing to buy bulk rum from producers in countries such as Barbados and Guyana and, maybe, by reviewing investments in Jamaica.

Why Diageo believes that it should rightly be entitled to unfair trade and market advantages that arise from export subsidies prohibited by WTO rules is a mystery. This is especially puzzling when it is considered that, in addition to getting back 98 per cent of all taxes on rum they sell in the US (about US$450m per annum), the USVI and Puerto Rico also receive 98 per cent of the US excise taxes paid on non-US Caribbean rum sold in the US (about US$41m per annum).

The fact of the matter is that, on the face of it, the US government is in breach of WTO rules by allowing Puerto Rico and the USVI to make use of a refund of excise taxes on rum to subsidise production and marketing of rum for the US mainland in direct competition with other Caribbean producers.

If Diageo is sure of its case, it should welcome arbitration of the matter at the WTO.  One can only assume that it is uncertainty of its ground that has caused the company’s recent attempt to frighten non-US Caribbean governments into abandoning any notion of filing a case at the WTO.
Surprisingly, none of the governments of the 15-nation Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping has yet responded to the hostile Diageo statement. It has been left to the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers’ Association (WIRSPA) to point out to Diageo in a public statement that “such an approach threatens Caribbean economic sovereignty”.

Diageo also appears to be taking advantage of its part ownership of Clarendon Distillers in Jamaica to divide responses by Jamaican rum producers and to influence the strength of the general response from WIRSPA as an organisation representing the interests of rum producers in the 15 CARICOM countries and the Dominican Republic.

It is perfectly understandable that Diageo, as a company concerned with its profitability and shareholder value, wants to protect and preserve the significant benefits it is garnering from the subsidies granted to it for production and marketing of rum from the USVI. But that desire does not justify the violation of WTO rules that places small rum producers in the non-US Caribbean countries at a severe disadvantage in the US market.

Diageo may also feel that because it buys bulk rum from producers in several non-US Caribbean countries, those countries would be well advised to accept the situation and be content with negotiating the best sales contracts they can. But, the effect of accepting the situation would be to harm the rum industry in the non-US Caribbean gravely if not fatally.

Very quickly, the already fragile rum industry would be crippled, significantly reducing the US$500m foreign exchange it earns for these economies and shrinking the US$250 million tax revenues to governments.

A further fall out for non-US Caribbean countries is cultural.  Rum production and the use of rum in a variety of ways, including in making Christmas cakes, is ingrained in the Caribbean culture.  It is as Caribbean as sunshine and sea. So too is the rivalry between Caribbean countries over which one produces the best rums.  The loyalty to national brands among rum users is renowned. No Caribbean citizen would forgive the disappearance of national brands.

In all of this, it is regrettable that Diageo has taken such a frontal position in this dispute.  It is not the only company getting unfair benefits from rum production in Puerto Rico and the USVI, and of all of these companies, Diageo, in the past, has at least sought to do business with producers in CARICOM countries. Any WTO action would not be directed at Diageo; it would be aimed at protecting the rights and interests of CARICOM countries and the Dominican Republic.

It is important to recall that the rum ‘cover over’ programme under which the US government returns excise tax on rum to Puerto Rico and the USVI was always intended to be used for improving infrastructure such as schools, roads and other public facilities.  It was never intended to subsidise privately-owned companies or to finance unfair trade.  No one in CARICOM or the Dominican Republic questions the original intention of the ‘cover over’ programme.

At their meeting last July, the heads of government of CARICOM countries and the Dominican Republic agreed to implement a number of measures to address this troubling situation, among them was a series of letters to senior officials of the US government including a letter to President Barack Obama from the current Chairman of CARICOM, Dr. Kenny Anthony, Prime Minister of St Lucia.

The CARICOM Secretariat has not announced whether all these letters have been sent. In any event, while necessary, the letters will not stop the violation of WTO rules that are now placing non-US Caribbean rums at a disadvantage and gravely threatening their survival and their important place in Caribbean economies and culture.

Governments of CARICOM and the Dominican Republic should move swiftly to protect their countries interest. That’s what the WTO is for – it will open the door for institutional consultation with the US government that cannot be ignored.

(Sir Ronald Sanders is a Consultant and former Ambassador to the World Trade Organisation)

Carnival and Olympics gone – What next

The Carnival Celebrations this year got entangled in Court House proceedings – to decide which show could take place at which venue on the same night – and a whole lot of bad publicity preceded the events.

But the Kirani James Olympic Gold the week before clearly saved the occasion, and even added to the festivities – as it gave a lot of our people something very special to celebrate about for another four years.

Yet when I saw the Informer Page 3 of last week, the number and variety of weapons I saw displayed by the Police – as having been confiscated from persons who were stopped and searched, on their way to various shows the two or three weeks before the Carnival Monday/Tuesday – these were very frightening, and the Police Commissioner and his Team of Law enforcement officers must be highly commended, for their foresight in mounting those searches.

And the absence of any major violent incidents around the two main days and nights – must have been as a result thereof.

Since that fantastic world-beating Golden London run, our Gouyave boy has won two more 400m races in Europe – to keep the winning Red/Green/Gold Flag flying; but our people are getting restless, that after three weeks they have yet to see our Golden Champion on the Streets in Grenada – hope he would not be too much longer in coming.

In the two or three weeks before the Olympics in London – we had about three brutal killings and one suicide in these Spice Isles; since that Golden run by Kirani, and the excitement that followed the victory here in Grenada and especially in his hometown of Gouyave, the lawlessness seemed to have given the stage to our Hero Island-wide, and everywhere I passed it was all cheers and high fives.

As a few visitors on holiday for the Carnival in Gouyave remarked, they never knew there were so many people in Grenada – and it seemed all of them came to Gouyave, on that Monday night the Sixth August, Twenty Twelve.

And having safely returned to Grenada after my sojourn in London during the Olympics – on Sunday 19th August, a DJ and Carnival Band in full costumes came all the way from St. Andrew’s to Gouyave, and paraded from the Lance to the Cuthbert Peters Park, and back up the Lance before making their way home to Grenville.

And what really touched me, when I asked a small group by the park what was the occasion – they all answered as though in one voice – “we come to celebrate Kirani’s victory”.  On “Kirani Street” in Gouyave the people really and truly appreciated the very thoughtful gesture.

So now we have our Olympic Champion and World Record Holder for the 400m, for the next four years or so while we wait for the 2016 games in Rio, and Kirani continues to parade his skills in various places worldwide, and complete his studies at the University in Alabama in the U.S.A.

But while the name “Grenada” will be on everyone’s lips, once the Olympic Champion name is mentioned – the people and the conditions and state of affairs in our Tri-Island State for the next Ten Months, these will be tottering in political limbo, and at the mercy of fate and sheer hopefulness if we lucky.

And that remains so – because those in control of the seats of power are not as concerned about the good and welfare of the very people who put them in control, and whose business they are supposed to be taking care of – as they are worried about not getting another term in occupation of those seats.

And the madness about that state of affairs, is not because of the strength and good standing of the lot who are in opposition in Parliament – but because of the greed and deceitful hunger for power, by so many who have a very different agenda to please their masters.

These power seekers did a very good job in fooling our people, that they were concerned about repairing the damages inflicted by the longstanding lot of thirteen years in control.

But here we are, four years after the people fell for the nice sounding promises, and the apparent solid plans and intentions to bring changes and improvement to our people’s lives – and so very sad to say, nothing of the sort has taken place, or even in sight of so doing.  Instead it all looks very hopeless.

Looking at and listening to the happenings taking place among those eleven M.P’s, and their very close associates who must be well taken care of, it leaves one to wonder why the official opposition has to even bother to make any comments or suggestions.

Because the way things are at a standstill, people are bawling for much-needed relief and assistance up and down the country – and none seems to be anywhere on the financial horizon surrounding the Tri-Island State; all the official opposition has to do, is sit back and wait for the political suicide to take its very obvious and natural course, and then we are back to where we came from four to five years ago.

Another school year is about to begin, and while the results from the financially stable schools are very creditable, and even one or two from the traditional popular ones are also in the limelight – a whole lot of children who have passed Common Entrance, as well as hundreds who have been attending schools away from their home parishes for a year or so, they will be up against serious odds to meet the bus fares and books and a snack during their long hours from home.

And that is because their parents and guardians are not working, and just cannot make the required financial ends meet to enable them to support the young ones.

And instead of their M.P’s who are members of the Government in control of state power – coming up with programs or plans to help them overcome the financial burdens – they are busy filing motions of no-confidence in the five or six Government Ministers who are still holding the reins of power, while those break-away Ex-ministers continue to draw their M.P. salaries and doing nothing to show for same.

And the very people who voted to put them in Parliament, cannot even get a day work on the roads to care for their children and send them to school.

Something has to be wrong with that state of affairs, and whether or not those enjoying the M.P’s salaries – and doing nothing in return for the pay cheques they are cashing every month – have any bold-faced intention to offer themselves as Candidates at the next elections, whenever they are called – they should be helping families in their constituencies to try and make financial ends meet in these trying times.

Instead of helping the needy, however, they have the nerve to be carrying on about how they plan to make appropriate changes in the remainder of the wasted term.

If any number of voters in any constituency are blindfolded and crazy enough – to even help most of those defaulters to barely save their deposits, in any future elections after what they have suffered since the last one – then they deserved what they are getting now, and even more.

The joy and celebrations and euphoria over our Kirani James Olympic victory, have definitely came about at an appropriate time to help ease the pressure and tension – but that is only a passing and short-lived relief.

There could be a number of Investors in the major sporting nations, who have been very impressed by Kirani’s performance at the Olympics – and may feel and see the need to seize the opportunity to get involved in Grenada at this time, so that by the date of the next Olympics in Rio, their investment could be further boosted on the world sporting stage as sponsors in the Champion’s homeland.  But in the current political climate I cannot see this happening anytime soon.

To show their concern and goodwill for Grenada and its people – those still in control should take the bull by the horns and have the Governor-General dissolve Parliament within the next Ninety days and schedule General Elections before Christmas this year.

Whether two, three or four groups wish to contest that Election – so be it, but at least the people would have their constitutional right to choose the group they feel more comfortable with, and potential investors will have a united Government to deal with – as they travel on the Champion’s journey to the “Next Gold” in 2016.

Elections and national issues

by Dr. Brian Francis

Anyone following the lead up to the Presidential elections in the United States has to agree with the pundits that that election is likely to be one of the most bitterly contested in recent times.

That conclusion is based in part on the extent of negativity in some of the advertisements taken out thus far on both sides – the Democrats and Republicans.

Fortunately, last weekend the soon-to-be confirmed Republican Presidential candidate has announced Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate and immediately many in the media have concluded that the Vice-presidential candidate will force a shift in focus from personal attacks to the most pressing issue facing the country – the financial and economic health of the nation.

Given the Congressman’s expertise and experience in financial and economic matters it is no surprise that the Republicans would want to fully capitalise on his knowledge and take the fight to President Obama given his record in the management of the economy over the past four years.

With just over eighty days left before Americans go to the polls to elect a new President, no one could predict with certainty the direction in which the campaign will head.

However, it is my wish that little time is spent on personal attacks and that most of the resources at the disposal of both political parties is directed to relevant national issues.

Indeed, the desire to focus on national issues as opposed to engaging in personal attacks is not only relevant in the context of the Presidential elections in the United States.

We in Barbados will soon be presented with a similar choice once the election bell is rung. Let us be clear about one thing: campaigning for general elections is hard work.  While there is some room for “humour” our politicians cannot afford to waste too much time and energy in unproductive activities while there are so many critical national issues to be urgently addressed.

What are those issues? Anyone who has been keeping track of developments in Barbados over the past few years would be quite aware of some of the major challenges confronting this country legally, politically, socially, culturally, and economically.

Hence, there should be no shortage of national issues that our politicians can and must address during the election period. On the economic front, for example, I believe that two sets of issues should dominate the campaign: macroeconomic issues and sectoral concerns.

On the macroeconomic side, all of the political parties contesting the elections should at the minimum present the country with clear and specific plans for generating employment especially for our young people, lowering the incidence of poverty, reducing the cost of living, restructuring the local economy, and managing the fiscal and debt situation.

At the sectoral level, the public should be made aware of the roles to be played by agriculture, manufacturing, construction, international business, and tourism in growing and developing the local economy.

For example, what type of tourism (high or low end) do we want for Barbados?  What roles should communities play in the development of our tourism product?

You see, after all is said and done, just as the Red Plastic Bag has said, “the country is going through a phase.”

I am sure all and sundry know exactly what that phase has and continues to be.  The upcoming election is a great opportunity, therefore, for us to turn the tide in the right direction.  But that can only happen if the various political parties are totally dedicated to dealing with national issues and not personal attacks.

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

A Single Caribbean Sports Academy – Part 2

The success of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) athletes at the 2012 Olympic Games in London has created an illusion of the greatness of athleticism throughout the region. The brutal truth is that it is athletes from only four countries, principally Jamaica, who were responsible for the Caribbean’s success.

Jamaica won 12 medals (4 gold) and was number 18 of the 79 counties that won medals. Trinidad and Tobago at number 47 was next with 5 medals (one gold) followed by the Bahamas and Grenada jointly at number 50 with I medal each (gold).

Unfortunately, the other 9 participating CARICOM countries won nothing.  Therefore, CARICOM countries collectively won 19 out of 302 medals.

The jeopardy of the claim that “Caribbean” athletes did so well is that governments and the private sector might relax into believing that they need do nothing to develop athletes since their natural talent will guarantee success.  That would be a dangerous fallacy.

But, let me praise the CARICOM athletes. Coming from a total population of just over 5 million people and with very little financial support they were outstanding, and the Caribbean people have every right to be proud of them.

Usain Bolt has done more to make the world aware and admiring of Jamaica than anyone since or before Bob Marley. Keshorn Walcott, who won the Javelin gold medal, has certainly made Finland and Eastern European countries aware of Trinidad and Tobago.

He has claimed a place that they long held and he has simply boggled their minds.

Grenada’s young Kirani James was stunning in winning gold in the 400 metres, but he was extraordinary in waiting to congratulate the man who finished the race last – the double-amputee from South Africa Oscar Pistorius. James won gold in the hearts of people all over the world for that single act of human kindness.  He was a credit to the Caribbean.

Others competed well in their heats, among them Daniel Bailey of Antigua and Ryan Brathwaite of Barbados. They gave their all, and they deserve praise for their magnificent efforts. They would certainly have done better with more help.

The stamp that the athletes, who won gold medals, have put on competitive sport at a global level has earned their countries global recognition. It is recognition on which the tourism authorities, especially in Jamaica, should capitalise on now and invest in for the future.

But, are the 15 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries ready for a single Sports Academy, located in Jamaica (as was proposed in my last commentary) to be charged with the specific responsibility of preparing the region’s ‘elite’ athletes for international competition?.

The proposal for such an Academy is not “instead of” national training and coaching starting from primary schools.  It is very much “in addition” to such training and coaching.
Without it, the Caribbean’s ‘elite’ athletes will compete at the global level and some of them will succeed, but the performance of the London Olympics will not be sustained, and it may well decline.

Even the best athletes require financial support, professional coaching and proper training – that’s what turns raw talent into sustained winners. And that is what a single Sports Academy, supported by governments and the private sector of the region, should be doing.

As an example the British government is investing US$790 million over the next four years in preparing British athletes for the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Could a single Sports Academy for the Caribbean Community happen? Below is a sampling of the responses that my last commentary received.

From the Bahamas: “The Caribbean excelled at London however at least for the Bahamas if it was not for the numerous Athletic Scholarships to US Colleges and Universities there would not have been the success there has been. Other than Cuba probably Jamaica is the only country that could fiscally develop this with athletes from the smaller countries co-using the facilities of Jamaica, but Jamaica is not going to fund that for fun. There will be a cost. Can the smaller countries afford the costs”?

From Grenada: “As a proud Grenadian, and as Jamaicans like to call us, ‘Small Islander’, I wish that there is no sports integration that includes Jamaica! It is bad enough that Jamaican music dominates the English-speaking Caribbean. Worst, yet is that the violence, and poverty that is endemic to Jamaica is slowly seeping to other peaceful islands. Jamaica should be for Jamaicans, and we should be happy for that. Furthermore, why would any other small island want to be lumped and piled with that chaotic trouble spot”.

From Jamaica: “The other Caribbean islands need to send students to GC Foster Collage to be trained as Athletic Instructors/Teachers and then they return to their countries and develop their own athletes. Further investment after the students have shown outstanding talent will have to be done by the private sector and the government of the specific country in that athlete”.

From Barbados: “We have to think Caribbean and put away the insular crap that allows us to consume ourselves rather than consummating ourselves. The expansion of the UWI High Performance Centre into all major sports, seeing a dedicated Athletics program, wherein we identify potential future Olympians from age 15 or 16 and bring them into a high performance development program, with very specific end goals, but as in the USA, catering to their educational requirements.

“Local qualifying criteria for the Olympics must be more stringent that even the present ones, e.g., sending a 100m contestant to the Olympics with a 10.2 sec qualifying time will see him just get out of the first round, at best.

“The Caribbean Governments missed the boat again when they allowed the lotteries to be privately owned. These should have been National lotteries with the net funds (millions of dollars) going specifically into the areas that were designated.

“We must engage world class coaches and ensure that our own coaches are developed to world class standards. What is required is: Vision, a sense of action and a commitment of appropriate resources”.

Amen to the last comment. But who will lead the action?

(Sir Ronald Sanders is a Consultant and former Caribbean diplomat)

That 6th August gold stands supreme

On Monday, Sixth August, 2012, when our national Hero, Kirani James, won the 2012 Olympic 400M Men’s Final at the Stratford Stadium, in East London in England – the record established by that victory, in my humble – (but for the occasion) – very bold opinion, will very, very likely, never be equalled or broken again.

By that I mean no Independent Country or Island dependency, of the size and population of the Independent State of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, will ever again produce a Son of its soil to equal or better that achievement at this or any other level – in the foreseeable future.

I make bold to say this – because the fact that Kirani comes from the very humble background and surroundings on the Lance in Gouyave, in a setting that provides no atmosphere or incentive for upwards movement – that reality is itself a very formidable barrier to overcome, in the normal run of things on a daily basis.

And the fact that he succeeded in doing all that – and so very much more by the tender age of just nineteen – that level of success speaks volumes and opens the windows of opportunities for very much more to come.

True enough he won a scholarship and attended the prestigious (GBSS) Grenada Boys Secondary School in the capital of St. George’s – but so did thousands of boys from all manner of backgrounds and well-off families before him.

But in his very humble and obviously dedicated determination to succeed, and to overcome the shortfalls and the lack of the niceties his poor parents could not provide him with – he took it all in his long strides, and set the East Stratford London Olympic Stadium Tracks ablaze, as he left the other world-class athletes looking at his back, while he stormed his way to the winning-post on Monday. Sixth August, 2012.

Having said the foregoing, however, it must not and cannot be forgotten, that in addition to his local Trainer from Gouyave – who saw him through his growing-up years in Gouyave and at the GBSS in St. George’s – Teacher Albert Joseph; he also had the honour to be trained by the Alabama State University Trainer, where he had been on a Scholarship for the past two years or so, and blazing the U.S.A. tracks on behalf of the said university.

So now that he holds both the world and the Olympic 400 Metres Titles, as the very first person from such a small state and even smaller population than any other Athlete before him, I take the liberty to predict – that no smaller state with a smaller population will ever produce a record-breaker to dethrone Kirani.

And what makes this Lance-boy from Gouyave, in St. John in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, so unique and very different from the usual world champions who make it to the top – is the very humble way he goes about and deports himself in the buzzing scenario and drama around him.

As for example when he won the semi-final heat, and he immediately turn to the Athlete who ran with two artificial “Legs” – and he took off the numbered Tag he was wearing on his jersey, and exchanged it with that disabled Athlete who came in some place behind.

There is no lingering doubt – that this very down-to-earth and grassroots Son of the soil, has firmly placed our insignificant Tri-Island State, at the very top of the world calendar of famous and successful Athletes, where he will be recognised and be a shining example to countless others for many, many Olympics down the years.

Of course, this tiny-tot State in the eastern Caribbean Block is not totally unknown to the world outside.  Because  in March, 1979, we also set a world record, by becoming the smallest state to carry out a successfully armed political Revolution, and put in power a socialist Government in the English-speaking Caribbean.

The experiment did not last very long – because in October, 1983, it destroyed itself in a Counter-coup.  But there can be no doubt that during its existence, the outside powers-that-be took very close notice and paid serious attention to the happenings.

In the coming years because of the world famous performance of our Olympic Champion two weeks ago – we in these small Isles will be in the spotlight once again.

It will be a very different light from that of the “March, 79 to October, 83” version, but how we make the most of it, only time and the unfolding circumstances will tell.

Very unfortunately, in the prevailing circumstances, although the times and the situations are very different from those that existed between “79 and 83” – from a political standpoint – the political happenings, and the ongoing uncertainties resulting therefrom, will definitely have some negative responses in reply.

In these Spice isles, where we have seen and experienced all sorts of ups and downs and sideways over the years – from our struggle with colonialism when our “Uncle Gairy” returned from Aruba in 1950/51, and started the movement to break-away from England and go our own merry way – with sky red all over the Tri-Island Colony – we have seen it all.

Being the first of the Tiny-tot Colonies, after Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados and Guyana had gained their Independence from Britain – to achieve our independence in February, 1974, we have always been in the forefront of one sort or another.

So just as the first “Revo” in the English speaking Caribbean in March, 1979, was a record breaker of no mean feat – so too the Kirani James Olympic Gold Medal on August Sixth, 2012, was another record-breaking achievement for our Spice Isles.

But again because of the political conditions now existing in our Spice Isles – this world-breaking Olympic record by our Kirani James in London two weeks and more ago, will be clouded by the happenings on the political frontline.

The party whose members won their seats in that landslide victory in 2008, to form the NDC Government for the next Five years – that party has been going through all sorts of chaos and confusion for almost two years now, to the extent that four or five of those M.P’s are on a frolic of their own in Parliament.

And even the party convention to elect the Executive on a yearly basis is still dangling in limbo – because those who formed the majority on that Body are in open opposition to the Prime Minister and his four or five loyalists in Government.

As the situation stands, therefore, we seem to have a minority Government in control of our Nation’s affairs – and two separate groups in opposition to the controllers in Parliament.

There is no doubting – that the people of our Tri-Island State are solidly and proudly in support and admiration of our very First Olympic Gold Medalist.

If only the same could have been said about our Government in power – I am sure the Honour and Glory achieved by KIRANI at the London Olympics, could have made a world of difference to the opportunities and the fortunes of our long-suffering people – in these politically troubled Islands.