Don’t be a fool and show it!!!

When I was a student in Cuba

I walked almost every hour after midnight

In part of old Havana and Havana City and I did not have

To look over none of my shoulders………

We must be mad or very crazy to continue robbing our own citizens in the first instance, secondly foreigners and most fundamentally the students at St. George’s University located at True Blue, St. George.

Reading the New Today front page story, “Strokes for Medical Student Robbers” for the week ending Friday, 23rd August, 2013, I felt duty bound to write to the Editor of the leading weekly, the New Today to express my opinion on the subject matter.

No one should not have to read and spell to anyone about the educational and most fundamentally the economic impact the SGU is making to our country on a daily basis. For starters, it is in the tune of millions of dollars.

Let me say to some of our disoriented young people who continue to engage in this act we could well do without.

The St. George University was awarded an extra term because of our better behaviour over a sister island to the north of us. Because in that country the students experiences were not the same as in that country, as in our lovely Grenada.

It was reported that they had a very rough time in that country. Experiencing unprecedented petty crimes which no one was brought to justice for or even arrested. In that regard the Student Government at the St. George University voted to terminate that term in that island and awarded it to the the True Blue Campus. This allowed millions more to remain here in our economy.

After the voting, the authorities made several trips to True Blue, including opposition politicians to see if they could reverse the decision of the students, because they came to understand that their economy would suffer tremendously to the tune of millions of dollars. It was too little too late.

As I understood it the students who went to that island had to rent an apartment, a vehicle and to buy food among other things which came to millions of dollars at the end of the term.

Automatically we became the beneficiaries of millions of dollars more in the twinkle of a vote by the student government and that must be respected, and we must treat those students with great respect. And don’t make the mistake as the people in that island.’

I know some people who wish that the St. George University was located in Tobago. Because of the economic impact that outstanding corporate citizen is making here to our country on a daily basis for many years.

We must understand that vote by the students was a vote for the love of our country, because those students really love our country. Even if that is very true we must not take nothing for granted.

The love for our country by visitors was pointed out in a document by me in 2010 called, “Overwhelmed in More ways than One.” To drive home my point, I made a return to Club Bananas, during the carnival season in 2013, after an absence for more than two years.

While on duty there, a group of students was coming in my direction, one of them was saying oh Grenada, oh Grenada, in fact it was the 14th of August, 2013. When they reached me, I asked the young lady a question, which was, What up with my country? She replied,” Grenada is very lovely”, she went on, ” I love your beaches”, and also your ocean is very clean”. I asked her where did you came from, she said Florida, USA. For me that was a major compliment for our country.

Another group of students were playing pools, and on their out one of them asked me if I was from Grenada. ( I do not know why visitors always ask me if I am Grenadian). I said yes, she went on “everyone here is so nice and friendly”.

So please my brothers and sisters, please do not change that perception by the visitors on our lovely island – they mean a lot to us.

In that respect, I will like the authorities to increase police patrols to compliment the SGU security patrols, especially after midnight. After all it is in our interest to do so because the St. George University is located in our country.

So don’t be a fool and show it by robbing and attacking the students at SGU because they are our guests and they should be treated as such. In fact anyone, doing so, you are helping to bring down our good name as a people.

Also as I said in the beginning I walked almost every hour after midnight in parts of old Havana and Havana City and I did not have to look over none of my shoulders while I was a student there. The foreigners on our island should feel the same way.

In closing, I must say also that the students and the foreigners should also take away the opportunity from those people by taking a taxi every now and then. Walking in groups is also a good way to take away the opportunity from those people who are few and far between in our population.

Also, all incidents should be reported as soon as yesterday to the relevant authorities in order for the perpetrators to be brought to justice in a speedy manner.

Brian Lindsay Campbell

Our Intellectual Property fiasco

Right in your backyard a multimillion dollar treasure could be waiting to be discovered by somebody, anybody. Generations of our people have taken home-grown “bush” medicine for granted, ignorant of its enormous potential economic value in the world of pharmacology.

But to harvest our hidden “mother lode”, first we have to claim ownership of it officially or we could lose it because this is intellectual property (IP) where oftentimes the principle of “finder’s keeper” is the winner.

IP is the product of mental work, intelligence, and creativity like the discovery of genetic resources (GR), the creation of computer software, inventions, music, and song. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) are exclusive ownership rights to these properties, legally granted to prevent infringement by people stealing them, taking credit for them, and making massive profits while the true owners get nothing.

IPR examples are patents for discoveries, copyrights for songs, and trademarks for business.

For the purpose of brevity and relevance we focus patents and discovery of plant genetic resources. A patent provides monopoly ownership allowing the owner to dictate prices and collect royalties for use of the property.

Discovery is a mental exercise but genetic resources per se are not creations of the mind; they are nature’s base materials for patents in medicine, agriculture, and industry that attract IPRs.

Genetic resources contain the DNA gene materials, the foundation building blocks of all living organisms, man, plants, animals. Modern biotechnology uses genetic engineering to manipulate genes of living organisms for scientific research and commerce.

In industry, genetic enzymes enhance textiles, detergents, and chemical processes. In agriculture, it increases productivity with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), hormone-treated animals and seeds, and disease-resistant plant strains.

The pharmaceutical industry extracts chemical compounds to develop medicinal drugs. The global pharmaceutical industry is an estimated US$400 billion annual business projected to peak US$1.1 trillion by 2014.

Giant corporations like Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, and Bristol-Myers lead the fight against epidemics, pandemics, and incurable diseases like HIV-AIDS and cancer, and modern pharmacology cannot exist without genetic resources.

In research and development (R&D) to find cures transnational pharmaceutical companies are attracted to the vast biogenetic and ethnobotanical diversity of Third World countries like Grenada.

Our forestry is a gene reservoir for bioprospecting insects, plants, and animals for extracting and isolating active ingredients to discover new drugs, and biopiracy takes place.

Biopiracy is the appropriation (stealing) of indigenous biologic/genetic material for patenting and commercialisation without permission or compensation to the owners.

Two notorious cases of biopiracy illustrate. For centuries the rural people of India used the neem tree bark as a natural pesticide, medical therapy, and other uses. A U.S. pharmaceutical company identified the active neem ingredient, patented it without permission, and made multi-millions with the drug.

In the fifties, the Eli Lilly Corporation surreptitiously patented Madagascar’s rosy periwinkle plants for drugs that treated leukemia and Hodgkin’s disease and made US$100 million annually from it. Not a cent was paid to these indigenous people.

There is a perception that wild genetic resources are “global commons” freely accessible to all because it is for the good of mankind. Our forestry is a potential repository of valuable genetic plant resources that are sitting targets for industrial espionage, examples, balata, lemon grass, bois bande. They constitute a missing market of public goods that needs government intervention for protection if we are to capitalise on their economic benefits.

Our 1973 Constitution makes provision for protection of intellectual property and Grenada is signatory to several bilateral and multilateral treaties and conventions. Under the Patents Act we have bilateral agreements with the United Kingdom and United States. We are party to CBD Conventions on Biodiversity recognising sovereign rights of States over their genetic resources that require “prior informed consent” for access.

We accord with WTO/TRIPS Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and are signatory to the Paris and Berne Conventions under WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

However, treaties and conventions won’t save us in the hostile multilateral environment of obfuscation and double standards.

Grenada remains open and vulnerable to rogue transnationals searching for new genetic discoveries. A 2010 WTO trade review revealed that our IP legislations are out-of-date badly in need of amendment because we lag far behind in meeting TRIPS standards.

This was confirmed by the U.S. 2011 Bureau of Economic Affairs report. And biotechnologist Dr. Malachy Dottin found lack of gene banks, databases, and resource mapping information systems of our plant genetic resources.

Patent regimes were created by industrialised countries with asymmetries and biases for the protection of industrialised countries while ignoring the legitimate rights of Third World countries.

It is bioimperialism and to beat them at their own game in any multilateral patent litigation forum we have to evolve as their laws evolve.

Our priorities should be (i) lobbying WIPO to resolve existing legal anomalies (ii) strengthening our legal and institutional framework (iii) researching and publishing findings in academic journals and (iv) creating a genetic resources registration system.

To continue lagging further and further behind is reckless negligence.

 

Jay Bruno

 

Global warming /Global cooling

The advocates of global warming seem to be rather quiet these days. I suppose that deep freezing in Britain and China in the past three years has caused them to do a double take. But something more shocking has been observed even more recently. I happened to be thumbing through the ample pages of THE MALL, a British periodical, when an interesting article caught my attention.

The headline highlighted global warming and went on to reveal that an Arctic icecap had increased by sixty per cent in one year. It stretched from the border of Canada all the way to Russia. Spatially it is equivalent to half the size of Europe. How’s that for global warming! The author made the observation that the public has been conned by the global warming “experts.”

The U.N. will be meeting in session to consider this new “crisis.” The so-called findings on global warming in thousands of pages of documents will have to be re-considered. The computer simulations will also have to be discredited. Some experts will be in for big trouble. Some heads will surely be rolling.

The U.N. should have heeded the opinion of some 29,000 experts who opposed the popular ideas on global warming rather than embrace the views of the 4,000 proponents who were like the prophets of Baal that counseled Ahab.

The global warming concept has been one of the grounds of contention in the cultural war. Anti-global warming was considered counter-cultural. To resist the idea was to be anti-establishment or anti-political correctness. In governments, in schools, other institutions and every where else green was emphasized and the mantras of global warming were recited.

Even world population increase was seen as a cause of global warming, an idea that fitted well with the objective of Family Planning and other genocidal groups. We were blamed for carbon emissions and some felt that our numbers should be parred down to a comfortable 500 million from the current seven billion plus.

I wonder what Al Gore and his minions are thinking now. They must have known all along that they were taking people for a ride even as they pushed the concept of globalism. I wonder what new crisis they would now concoct in order to dupe the public and draw funds for their pet causes?

There are a number of lessons to be learned with the blowing of the global warming cover.

 

(1). We need to think for ourselves and not let the media or big-name politicians and authors do our thinking for us.

(2). We should listen to truth rather than to rumours and evaluate what we hear.

(3). We should ask ourselves what is the catch when certain matters are so highly esteemed among men. When big money is involved and freedoms are being eroded something has to be radically wrong.

(4). We need to realise that science is no longer just science for scientists have become the agents of political correctness and have their own presuppositions and agendas.

The Holy Scriptures warn us time and again about the duplicity of men. “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked who can know it?” Lust makes men duplicitous. The whole world is driven by lust and lust drives men to pursue gain and glory. They will use any means to achieve their goals even by trampling on the brains of others. They will manipulate truth, rewrite history, reconstruct ideas, and deconstruct reality in order to accomplish their purposes.

Jesus knew what was in men and warned us to beware of them. We need to deconstruct the ideas of those who do the deconstruction. Two can play at that. As the saying goes, “Unfair game play twice.”

Well, what is our response to global warming and global cooling? We must never forget that there is a sovereign, all-powerful God in control of a world which he has made. He has designed it the way he wanted it. He has established the constants of the seasons and the rhythm of the weather patterns. He has assigned to man the task of guarding or caring for the garden of the earth. Man should do his part but he must trust God with the rest.

Global warming and global cooling are God’s business and not man’s. God has designed the earth to take care of its warming and cooling system. He has placed within it a natural thermostat which functions according to his will.

Weather patterns move in cyclic fashion so we should not allow so-called experts to get us excited by pointing out matters which they consider to be unusual. Let us live by faith and not by sight.

 

Alfred Horsford

Where is the justice?

I have been sitting at home quietly but every day viewing the TV stations and on weekends buying the local newspapers to monitor the feedback about a series of stories that was carried in your newspaper about alleged sexual misconduct on the part of a few senior police officers against a female Woman Police Constable who resigned from the force and left for the United States.

Quite frankly, the people of Grenada have not let me down – they have played true to form.

If this young Constable was from Lance Aux Epines or came from a prominent family in the country the whole of Grenada would have felt the earthquake as her family would have used their money, influence and power to seek justice for her.

The Conference of Churches of Grenada and Rev. James are busy at work in trying to help put out the economic and financial fire now sweeping through the land.

The little girl from the country who said that she was raped by a senior police officer is turning out to be a nobody in the country.

I have asked some of my police friends in the force if an investigation is really taking place, and all of them have said words to the effect: Do not expect anything to happen, they will do a cover up as usual for the boys at the top.

As a matter of fact, one of the them told me that one of the officers who allegedly engaged in sexual misbehaviour against the young WPC is not new to such crimes since he did a similar thing to another female officer when he was stationed at the Grenville Police Station.

What was interesting is that all the policemen whom I engaged are pretty sure that the WPC is not lying on any of the senior officers and that they are guilty as hell.

But then again the young lady is not the daughter of Prime Minister Mitchell or Gregory Bowen or Elvin Nimrod or as a matter of fact one with a lot of money and whose wife is an attorney-at-law, Nikki Steele.

If it was Steele’s daughter, his wife would have been using her legal skills to file all kinds of lawsuits against the police officers. And if she won the State would have had to find thousands of dollars that it ain’t have already to pay to these rich people in compensation.

But the WPC comes from a poor family and does not have the financial means to go after the sex predators in court.

In Grenada, there is a saying that when you are poor, you are really exposed.

It is still not too late for the voice of justice and the voice of reasoning to come forward in this country and demand a free and independent investigation into the alleged sexual impropriety of the three senior police officers.

Mr. Prime Minister, come forward and stand up like a man to be counted among those who are committed to justice and fair play.

Mr. Tillman Thomas – where is your voice these days? You have always been promoted as Mr. Integrity, Mr. Decency and Mr. Accountability and Transparency.

Now is the time Mr. Thomas to demand from Mr. James some kind of transparency in the so-called investigation that the Acting COP told the nation was launched into the allegation made against the senior police officers.

I have my own doubts about Dr. Mitchell and transparency but he has a chance now to prove me wrong.

As Minister of National Security he is responsible for the police and has a duty to ensure that the bad eggs are uprooted from the force.

The churches also have a moral responsibility to put their money where their mouths are and come out and let justice prevail either in favour of the former WPC or the three accused police officers.

Justice Seeker

The dark side of the Electronic Crimes Bill

The Electronics Crime Bill is now the law of the land of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique subject to the affirmation of the Governor General Dame Cecile La Grenade.

There are many lessons to be drawn from the process which saw the enactment of this legislation. There is no doubt that legislation is required to deal with Cyber crime, Identity theft, Child pornography and Electronic stalking in this evolving Electronic age.

However, the Keith Mitchell-led administration again displayed its deceptive character by “slipping in” some aspects of the bill that will effectively hinder free expression and compromise legitimate political activity by those opposed to the NNP.

The Universal Declaration on Human Rights says in Article 19, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without reference and to seek receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”

The Grenada Constitution Order of 1973 states in Article 10 (1), “Except with his own consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of expression including freedom to hold opinions without interference, freedom to receive ideas and information without interference, freedom to communicate ideas and information without interference (whether the communication be to the public generally or to any person or class of persons) and freedom from interference with his correspondence”

The government of Grenada removed “Criminal Libel “from the books in 2012, a move widely acclaimed by the regional and international press.

A barrage of criticism from the international press about aspects of the bill caused the Prime Minister to make a commitment to relook the offending sections. He said that no aspect of proposed legislation should “undermine or infringe public debate”.

The Bill was passed unanimously in the Lower House and it seems that any amendment was left to the Upper House or Senate to effect. In the face of strong arguments by the independent and labour Senators, not even a single line or even a comma was changed.

The Keith Mitchell administration showed clearly that public opinion cannot stop them from passing any legislation that they choose to enact.

The President of the Media Workers Association of Grenada (MWAG) said that the legislation will only affect “a few people”. Who are these few? Some apologists for the NNP have said that the intention is noble and now that Prime Minister Mitchell is ‘kinder and gentler”, there is nothing to worry about.

It is a known fact that between intent and execution lies a shadow – the human factor, therein lies the possibility of abuse and misuse.

There appears to be when reference is made to the ‘Police’ as distinct from ‘Law Enforcement Agencies’. The legislation speaks to ‘Law Enforcement Agencies’ being able (to) demand information from Digicel or Lime in respect to mobile communication between individuals without a warrant or a court order.

This is frightening because the politicians in the ministerial positions of the Ministry of Legal Affairs or the Ministry of National Security will be in a position to so do.

These positions are now occupied by Hon. Elvin Nimrod and Prime Minister Mitchell. Can we trust that these individuals will not use these powers for their political benefit?

Hon. Elvin Nimrod indicated that the law is intended to protect citizens against defamatory remarks on social media sites.

The draconian nature of the law is seen in section 6(1). The penalty for posting information that is ‘grossly offensive or has a menacing character’ on social media is a fine of $100,000 or imprisonment of up to one year.

How does one define “offensive” in law when it is extremely difficult to gauge that phenomenon from one individual to the next? Lawyers may well have a field day arguing on the demerits of the law and how it violates the fundamental rights of citizens.

The Act goes further to state that its application can apply to persons ‘visiting or staying in transit’ in Grenada. Visitors beware!

The stark truth is that the misuse or abuse by the NNP of its monopoly in the Parliament can have dire consequences for the stability of the country and the exercise of Freedom of Expression in the country.

The Electronic Crimes Act” is the first of many.

Arthur Kellick

 

Airlines mishandling Grenada as a destination

As the mishandling of our visitors by the airlines industry during the Carnival season worsens, an urgent Impact Study is needed as it relates to damage control. Baggage delays, baggage and ticket price gouging, over booking, flight cancellations and late departures are creating a negative impact on the visitor’s experience.

We cannot allow the Spice Isle’s premier tourism product to continuously take this type of hit. Grenada invests heavily in keeping its side of the bargain with the respective airlines and deserves the same level of service given on the other leg of the trip back to North America. Based on the numerous complaints heard here and abroad, we need to demand better service.

Imagine packing your bags with all you would need as you prepare to leave the comfort of your home to go abroad on vacation. You place your most fragile and important items in your carry-on bag. As you get to the airport check-in counter all your expectations get turned upside down. The bags that you weighed at home repeatedly at forty-nine (49) pounds are now weighing fifty-six (56) pounds on the airline’s scale.

You must now pay an overweight charge of U.S $75 per bag. Then, as if that’s not enough, you are asked to weigh your carry-on bag, which is again overweight, resulting in an additional charge of U.S $150. All of a sudden you are now faced with a charge of U.S $300, and ordered to check-in your carry-on bag.

Mind you, that is the bag in which you packed all your fragile and important items. Begrudgingly, you comply because you are determined not to allow this bad experience to spoil your vacation. Then you get to your destination (Grenada) and after standing around the baggage carousel in great anticipation for an hour, you find that none of your bags arrived with your flight. You may be thinking: “What a nightmare of an experience.” Then after standing in the service line for another hour, you are told by the agent to check back with the airline in the next few days for further information. Now do you get the picture?

Baggage restrictions on international flights that land or originate in the U.S follow Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations and airline policy. Airline baggage handling procedures and regulations help to ensure that passengers’ baggage will accompany them on their flights and be at their destinations when they arrive.

With over five thousand students bound for St. George’s University for the Fall semester (most first-term students are usually accompanied by their parents and other family members) and the thousands of die-hard returning nationals who come to the Spice Isle for their annual vacation, the airlines servicing Grenada have a captive market. And they employ a monopolistic business practice because of a lack of competition for service in this region.

In accessing the weight and balance the Vector Method (American Aeronautics) is available for all aircraft. Yes, all aircraft! And in just a matter of seconds and without doing any math you can maximise your load without violating your center of gravity or weight limitations. Aircraft manufacturers publish weight and balance limits for their airplanes – so what’s the big deal?

Because of the alleged weight and balance restrictions, passengers en route to Grenada check-in less pieces of baggage, less poundage per suitcase and are allowed less weight and size for carry-on luggage. They are also charged ridiculous overweight fees for baggage that would otherwise meet the weight standard on properly functioning scales.

In spite of this major sacrifice, our loyal visitors and nationals returning home are still subjected to a baggage-left-behind dilemma that can last as long as ninety-six hours (four days). These people, especially those living in the countryside, make numerous fruitless trips to the airport with the hope that the next scheduled flight would carry their luggage. Some have to make do with the clothing that’s on their body.

Not every passenger visiting our destination during the Carnival season comes here for the celebrations. For instance, this year there was a bride’s wedding dress that never made it to the wedding because the person carrying the dress was kicked off an overbooked flight. There was another incident where a highly skilled technician who was urgently recruited from abroad by an essential services establishment, had to wait several days for his equipment to arrive as baggage.

There were passengers, in transit, who had to sleep on airport floors because of overbooked flights. The Osprey Lines had to constantly mitigate the problems with the connecting trip to Carriacou because of the frequency in delayed flights.

Is this inconvenience necessary? Is this acceptable? Is this the best service possible to passengers who pay arguably the highest fare in the region? The ticket price, depending on when you book, ranges ridiculously from US $700 to US $1,600. Whenever there is an ove booked flight, the high-end passenger gets the seat over the low-end passenger.

Can we, in a highly competitive tourism market, allow this type of disrespectful and discriminatory practice to continue while more and more disgruntled tourists vow never to repeat the bad experience by coming to this destination again?

We must be mindful that the bad experience in travel and accommodation often overrides the good times these visitors have in the Spice Isle. We must stop the airlines from mishandling our visitors and nationals – our most precious cargo.

 

Ronald “Pappy” Charles

The economics of legalizing marijuana

Pay close attention to the breaking news coming from the world of marijuana. Mass social engineering has radicalised the status quo with a tidal wave of new thinking that is going to have serious socio-economic implications for Grenada and the whole Caribbean region.

Since the thirties, prohibition eradication campaigns have criminalised and outlawed marijuana to the violent underworld subculture of drug cartels and crime syndicates. The legacy we inherited from draconian prohibition laws includes money laundering, financing of global terrorism, weapons trafficking, and other negative externalities.

But now attitudes are changing and changing rapidly. The world’s 196 countries are nearly all signatories of the U.N. 1961 Single Convention Narcotics Treaty, and marijuana is a psychotropic, hallucinogenic narcotic.

Yet only Malaya, Indonesia, Philippines, Japan, and United Arab Emirates enforce zero tolerance policies on marijuana. In Europe, the Americas, and elsewhere the treaty conventions are deprioritised with watered-down regulations allowing the cultivation, possession, and use of marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes and the change dynamics are trending steadily towards full legalisation and free market commercialisation.

Marijuana (alias pot, cali-herb, ganja, cannabis, demon weed) is a psychoactive drug that produces euphoria on the high side and paranoia, hallucination, even schizophrenia on the down side. But medical experts claim marijuana treats glaucoma, breast cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and more.

Marijuana is a sedative not a stimulant as many believe, and a 1994 NIDA (National Institute of Drug Abuse) report ranked cannabis (9%) the least addictive drug compared with caffeine (11%), cocaine (17%), alcohol (15%), heroin (23%), and nicotine (32%).

The many high-profile supporters of legalisation include Nobel Prize economist Milton Friedman, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, and U.S. Presidents Carter and Clinton. Nineteen (19) American States and 12 European countries have decriminalised recreational marijuana. Hundreds of medical dispensaries provide prescription marijuana in USA, England, Europe, Switzerland, and elsewhere. Netherlands government earns 600 million Euros annually in medical sales.

In 2013, Uruguay became the first country to legalise marijuana following the Washington and Colorado initiatives and Caribbean lawmakers debate legalisation in The Bahamas, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and St Lucia.

In May 2013, forecasting impending legalisation, former Microsoft Corporate executive Jamen Shively proactively launched visionary and revolutionary venture capitalism acquiring hundreds of marijuana dispensaries across America. With 40 % share of the estimated U$200 billion global industry Shively envisions his company creating the first global marijuana brand.

It is clear where all this is going. The prognosis sees U.S. government declassifying marijuana from its controlled substance status by 2016 legalising production, distribution, and consumption.

When America “sneezes” it infects the world in contagion that would open a floodgate of legalisation in all countries including the Caribbean – and Grenada. The new dispensation would be a paradigm shift in regional socio-economic dynamics.

On the supply side, marijuana would become a specialty industry applying standard commercial best practices that would be replicated everywhere. Private ownership, property rights, and contract agreements will be enforced under the exigencies of civil law.

Thousands of manufacturing firms will grab market shares in the lucrative industry. A rigid regulation system will curb black marketers, unlicensed dealers, and tax evaders, and monitor advertising, packaging, and labeling.

It is estimated regulatory expenditure and the social cost of legalisation combined would be a fraction of current prohibition allocation.

Marijuana industries would use mass production technologies, scale economies, and modern industrial processes, generating economic activities throughout the supply chain with production subsidies, growers associations, and trade unions.

Market legalisation drastically reduces production costs, price plummets, and demand skyrockets. Removal of the monetary attraction of high risk premium and rapidly diminishing marginal (DMR) returns would decimate the criminal underground business.

As market demand grows exponentially, marijuana consumables differentiate to satisfy the needs of a diverse customer base. Spinoffs would include specialty food marts with gourmet marijuana edibles and high-end boutiques for tourists and elite connoisseurs of marijuana designer paraphernalia.

“Cannabis cafes” would compete with internet cafes. Marginal propensity to consume (MPC) projects price inelastic demand and negative income elasticity for gravitation to harder drugs. And analysts predict a consumer influx that doubles within five years.

The revenue side has a potential double bonanza for national budgets: millions in savings from prohibition expenditure cutbacks and millions in revenue collection. Throughout the marijuana value chain, from production to consumption, revenue streams would flow from multiple layers of taxation (excise, income, sales) and various fees, permits, and licenses.

The excise tax regimen adopts the tobacco model charging a fixed dollar amount on quantity per kilogram, but substantially higher. The fiscal dividend would close budgetary financing gaps with current account surplus for many governments.

Historically, lacking home-based expertise, technology, and industrial infrastructure Caribbean countries have exported their raw materials (cocoa, nutmeg) to manufacturing industrialised countries of America and Europe.

When the inevitable happens, and marijuana is fully legalised in these metropolitan destinations, we will be doing it again. This discussion is not advocacy, it’s economics.

Jay Bruno

 

NOTICE TO PORT USERS

Your paper of 23rd August had buried on page 15 a small notice to Port Users. This was dated August 15th, a Thursday, which meant that under normal circumstances it could NOT have appeared in the Friday 16th paper. It was duly carried in the Friday 23rd Edition.

It announced the formation of a Committee to (1) “review the varied free time and storage regimes at Port St. George”, and (2) to consider the impact or contribution of the regimes to the GPA’s operation income…, give due regard to minimizing any adverse or negative impact to GPA’s finances”.

Port users and cargo interests were invited to make written submissions for the consideration of the committee NO later than 4.00 P.M. Friday 30th.

At a meeting of shipping interests on Wednesday 28th this matter was raised and most of those in attendance had not seen the notice. Most other Importers were and are unaware of the proposed changes to existing regimes. This notification is an unusual departure from the normal manner of writing the main affected parties, and seeking input into a matter that has far reaching implications for the general public.

In fact it reeks of nothing short of a disingenuous ploy to increase costs to shipping interests, importers, and the general public, using nefarious back door means. I say this because while I do not wish to prejudice the work of the committee, I strongly doubt that the public’s interests will be protected given the terms of reference.

This is “Delivery” of the kind the Bull gives to the Heifer!!!

 

Port User

 

Is “the leader” now a “toothless tiger”?

It has been six months that the New National Party won the last general elections and formed the government, and it must be admitted that Grenadians have been patient with them, and agreeably so.

We have to face it, that after such an overwhelming victory for the second time, which is worthy of securing a place in the Guinness Book of World records, many were taken by surprise.

Within Grenada the celebration among the majority was justified while the minority who voted for the NDC and who are among the more intelligent population was not even sufficient to win them a single seat in Parliament – were justified in their grief.

The roughly 10,000 who did not vote at all, and who are today feeling the consequences of their inaction – were themselves surprised and because they were on the fence, they to a great extent joined the celebrations.

But added to the grief quadrant (for Grenada) must be members of the international community who are wondering privately what is wrong with us as a people to have done such a thing at this time when the good governance agenda is virtually mandatory for developing countries to obtain assistance.

They know only too well that the NNP and its leadership is about everything but good governance.

Having highlighted the foregoing, we must admit that the thunderous response to change through the elections muffled all forms of local opposition in the strictest sense of the word – thus giving the sitting administration an extended honeymoon period.

Glad to see that the regular antagonistic columnists (incognito as well as above board) took a respite and gave the new administration a chance to take up position and consolidate themselves.

But even “me” would agree that it is time for the NNP’s free paper to burn. I listen to radio and all I can hear is the NDC Heart Beat on a Sunday and Kem Jones on Spice Capital Radio – with its limited reach.

The voice of Eddie Frederick seems more inclined towards personal/professional development issues while the pages of the New Today report the news with an accent on the flaws of the style of leadership of the country, taking center stage. Where are the biting columnists when the nation needs them most?

It is my hope that over the weeks and months to come that you find my provocative approach worthy of objectivity and analysis as I endeavor to fill that spot.

It is no coincidence that the name: “Deliverance Now” has been chosen under which this piece and all the rest to come will be delivered.

Having established the platform on which this column promises to “deliver”, it gives me great pleasure to recognise that the Carnival season is over and the realities of our dire economic situation represent themselves without distractions. In the middle of all our excitement during the season – CXC results were released as if to put us parents on point with what ought to be our priority.

Needy parents whose children attend public primary and or secondary schools need not worry about school books, but those who want to invest in a sound education for their children and choose to send them to private primary or secondary schools would have to fork out and buy books for their children since children of private schools have lost that privilege … therefore all roads lead to Private Book stores – the leading one of which is owned by the family of a former Governor General and NNP faithful.

For the public primary and secondary schools though, there is yet another “promise” that the books to complete the free books project will arrive in September.

One parent who values the education of her children highly and who chooses to make the sacrifice to send them to private primary and secondary schools recently was heard saying she never knew she was voting out good opportunities which she became so accustomed to over the last 5 years.

She was voting it out through her active support for the NNP on February 19th. But this is what happens when one supports for what one can get and not because one genuinely believes in country and making the necessary sacrifices to build Grenada. But then again that is the culture of the New National Party (NNP) and its “what’s-in-it-for-me” (eat a food) followers.

Recently we were all made aware of the accomplishments of the new administration in its first 100 days. Suffice it to say, they are not in keeping with the thunderous promises under the theme: “we will deliver”.

Thousands of “casual” state paid workers have been sent home and replaced by party hacks with the practice continuing. Imagine this policy is carried out by a man who vowed to be a “uniter” as part of the new legacy he tried to make us believe he so craved.

This is the same leader who claimed to be returning to repair his legacy (which he spent thirteen years developing) and we all know the main ingredient in his legacy as we know him too well. One would have thought that a man with such a checkered past as fueled by what many consider a “character and personality flaw”, would try to work overtime to walk in the footsteps of Mandela. But that is not to be as his very veins are stuffed with vitriol, vengeance, malice and spite.

Do you recall him telling us during the campaign that he cannot change in response to his earlier remark to the contrary which backfired big times? “I cannot change. I am the same person.”

Why so many people insisted and continue to insist that this man would be different? Maybe they are correct from the standpoint that “without resources (financial and otherwise) he cannot carry out his greatest personal desires.

This is a man who loves to use the pocket to punish his political opponents or pressure those whom he believes are not supporters into submission. Everyone knows that the animal that attacks you to eat and devour you holds his strength in his teeth. Should any fierce animal matching this description lose its teeth, it loses its strength and therefore does not have the means to punish.

T Truth be told if the leader cannot carry out all the punishment he intends, he would manifest the lack of energy we are currently seeing flavoured with high levels of frustration.

Grenadians living abroad, the sensible ones who still live at home, and the international community do not trust “the leader” and his team and there goes the source of his frustration to deliver the promises made.

Grenadians be prepared to be served a constant diet of lies and deceit by the “toothless tiger”.

Deliverance Now

LIAT AND its WOES…is.. BETTER DAYS COMING?

As LIAT continues to face the challenges that seems to be ever so present within its operations, one can only continue to wonder how long can the cash-strapped Airline continue under this condition with its present management structure, which has proven to be grossly inefficient in running a business as dynamic and heavily capital intensive as an Airline.

Having been in business since 1974 and still is, demonstrates the viability and definite need for the Airline if placed in the right hands. LIAT without any dispute is indeed an essential service to the Caribbean Region and must be treated as such.

However the airline should not continue to be left in the hands of those who lack vision and a sense of appreciation of where the airline should be in 2013 and beyond. In this economically challenging time, one has to be prepared to make sacrifices and also review priorities with a sense of urgency and to set definitive goals.

The management of LIAT would have already been versed and knowledgeable with the mountain of complaints from the traveling public as it relates to the cost of airfares through the region as compared to extra regional fares. It is indeed ridiculous, exploitative and a clear act of exploitation of its monopoly status.

Even taking the rising cost of fuel into consideration cannot justify LIAT’s exorbitant fares throughout the region in comparison to other international carriers flying the same route. However LIAT always goes on the defensive in arguing that a greater percentage of the high fares are as a result of airport, government and other service taxes in the region.

In other words they have no control but are only being compliant. To the traveling public, this may be a bitter pill to swallow but to what benefit to them, only continued white colour harassment when travelling, as all the airports in the region are extremely inconsistent with their security protocols. Surly not one Caribbean.

The governments are all turning a blind eye and blocking their ears to the cries of the traveling public. This is only more needed revenue into their coffers. This needs to be quantified and be tangible to be accepted and justified. In other words, both LIAT and the various Government Entities who overlook the Airport Authorities are doing a poor job in selling this to an already frustrated traveling public.

The poor planning on the part of LIAT with their fleet renewal is now adding woes to an already cash-strapped and poorly managed entity. Did LIAT seek any advice from the Trinidad and Tobago flag carrier CARIBBEAN AIRLINES when they did their phase fleet renewal from MD83 to their Boeing 737-800 Next Generation Jets? Did they seek adequate and comprehensive advice as it relates to their choice of the ATR aircraft?

Sometimes cost is not always the better judge when coming to proven safety and reliability in this industry. There should be no compromise on reliability and safety. If they did it was apparent that they did not understand the logistics and dynamics in a fleet renewal laid out to them, and if they did not, more reason why the entire management team of LIAT needs to be revisited.

The correlation in phasing in a new aircraft type goes hand in hand with the phase training of the pilots for the new type. Existing fleet on hand should match pilots held back to continue an effective operation until a smooth fleet renewal is complete. The use of contract crew to facilitate and train crew to be online are effective as did by CAL (Caribbean Airlines) but even though costly is better money spent than is being spent right now for accommodation of distress passengers and deliverance of poor service.

Proper planning favours a prepared mind. If LIAT and the active shareholder governments are serious about the way forward for the airline, a new approach should be sought in governing the affairs of the company. With this new and genuine approach for success, other hesitant governments will renew their interest and subsequently commit funding to the airline.

They should also appreciate the committed and dedicated crew that LIAT is so fortunate to have, their pilots are among the most skilled in this region and this should not be taken for granted as demand for such skilled and dedicated crews are high in Africa, India and the Middle East.

Don’t frustrate them. Let’s keep our skilled pilots home with their families and save LIAT. The Caribbean Airline. It is an essential service. At these Caricom summits there must be genuine, committed and meaningful dialogue where regional air transport is concerned among all members and not the dry and casual dialogue as is customary.

LIAT must be part of the One Caribbean Airline hopeful. This is for another discussion.

 

Roger Alexis