Gunman strikes at Gas Station

Police are trying to identify the lone gunman who staged a daring robbery last week Tuesday night at the Texaco Gas Station on Ben Jones Street in Grenville, St. Andrew’s that belongs to former Government Minister, Sylvester Quarless.

A confidential source told THE NEW TODAY Newspaper that the incident took place just as the female gas station Supervisor was awaiting the arrival of Quarless to take control of the day’s financial intake.

The source who spoke on condition of not being named said the unidentified man walked into the office, pointed a gun at the female employee and demanded money.

The bandit escaped with $27,705.32 in cash, and $946.68 in cheques,

According to the source, the female supervisor had just finished counting the money, placed it in the night deposit’s bag for a nearby bank to await the arrival of Quarless when the gunman struck.

This is the second occasion the gas station has been robbed. Last year, a lone gunman managed to escape with $7,345.00 in cash.

No one was apprehended by the police for the incident.

 

Battle to head Olympic Association

Ambrose Phillip – likely to serve as GOC President

Ambrose Phillip – likely to serve as GOC President

Speculation is rife that moves are afoot to replace long-standing President of the Grenada Olympic Association, Royston La Hae.

Informed sources told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that former General Secretary of the Grenada Football Association (GFA), Ambrose Phillip is being considered in some sporting circles as a likely replacement.

However, a source who spoke on condition that he was not named said that veteran Sports Writer, Rae Roberts could be a dark horse in the race.

He said that Roberts would only consider running for the position if Phillip is put up by any of the sporting associations that are part of GOA for the top sporting position.

Nominations for the various positions on the GOA should have taken place on Wednesday with actual voting due in another two weeks.

The GOA is comprised of many of the sporting bodies in the country including the Grenada Football Association, the Swimming Association, the Athletics body, Badminton, Table Tennis, and Volleyball sporting organizations.

According to the source, a group of sporting enthusiasts on the island believe that it is time for a younger person to take charge of the affairs of the Olympic body from the aging La Hae.

He said that La Hae is nearing seventy and has been in charge of the GOA for the past 30 years and the time has come for a younger person to take charge.

However, the source pointed out that it would not be easy sailing for Roberts, who was recently nominated by the island’s trade union movement to be its representative in the Senate.

He spoke of an interest group planning to work against him on the grounds that he is considered to be too close for political comfort to the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) of former Prime Minister, Tillman Thomas.

He said the group is loyal to expelled General Secretary of Congress, Peter David who was at the centre of the recent internal wranglings within NDC that cost it the last general elections.

The source stated that one of the persons who is actively campaigning against a Roberts bid for President of GOA is the husband of an individual who is associated with the swimming association.

The anti-Roberts proponent, like David both served as officers in the disbanded People’s Revolutionary Army (PRA) of the ill-fated 1979-83 Grenada Revolution.

Raymond Roberts – a dark horse  in the race

Raymond Roberts – a dark horse
in the race

David is believed to have aligned himself and his supporters with the New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell for its clean sweep of all fifteen seats in the February 19 general elections.

Since the elections, the former NDC executive member accompanied new Prime Minister Mitchell, once an enemy, on two visits to Venezuela.

FOUR Arrested with 400 lbs of Vincy Ganja

Kurt Alvis – suspected of sourcing the ganja out of St. Vincent

Kurt Alvis – suspected of sourcing the ganja out of St. Vincent

The Drug Squad of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) has made a major drug bust that has resulted in the arrest of four men.

Three of the suspects are Grenadians residing in the Parish of St. George’s, while the other person nabbed is a Vincentian.

The locals have been identified as 34-year old Jeremy Telesford of Woburn, 21-year old Aldon Samuel of Woodlands and 21-year old Akim Patterson of La Borie.

The Vincentian is Kurt Alvis who is 22 years old.

THE NEW TODAY was told that a speed boat in which the men were traveling was intercepted in the waters between Happy Hill and Perseverance, St. George’s by members of the Grenada Coast Guard, the Drug Squad and Special Services Unit (SSU).

The lawmen reportedly recovered from the boat some four hundred pounds of marijuana that was contained in 12 bags.

All four arrested men have been charged with possession, and trafficking of a controlled drug that has a street value of $907,200.

Aldon Samuel – caught in the police dragnet Jeremy Telesford – faces additional charges of gun and ammo possession

Aldon Samuel – caught in the police dragnet
Jeremy Telesford – faces additional charges of gun and ammo possession

An additional charge of possession of illegal firearm and ammunition has been slapped on Telesford.

A search of his vehicle by the police discovered two-12-gauge firearms and four rounds of •38 ammunition.

A further search of his residence at Woburn resulted in the discovery of nine rounds of 12-gauge and four rounds of AK47 ammunition.

A release issued by the Community Relations Department of RGPF said that the accused men attempted to evade the lawmen with the boat that has a 200 HP engine during the early morning operation last week Thursday.

A source close to the police said that a fifth man whom it is believed to be the captain of the boat managed to evade the police.

This is the second single largest seizure of marijuana for the year on the island.

On March 9, the lawmen stumbled upon 440 pounds of marijuana that was contained in ten bags hidden in an area in Grand Etang, St. Andrew’s in the vicinity of Digicel and LIME towers. No one was arrested.

One week earlier, during a joint operation that was carried out by the Grenada Coast Guard, SSU and Drug Squad, the law enforcement officers confiscated close to four hundred pounds of marijuana that has an approximate street value of just over $890,000.00.

The huge drug bust came less than one week after the lawmen made a seizure of a large quantity of illegal drugs in St. Andrew’s.

A well-placed source told THE NEW TODAY Newspaper that members of the Drug Squad who were at Telescope Beach in St. Andrew’s on May 4 noticed a speedboat heading towards the shore.

The source said the boat had two persons on board – Kiemi Thompson of Brunswick, Carriacou, and Nicholas Daniel of St. Vincent.

The boat failed to stop after it was signaled to do so by the Grenada Coast Guard which was in the vicinity.

A chase ensued and the Coast Guard was able to intercept the speedboat at Marquis Island in St. Andrew’s. A fine bag containing two bales of marijuana was recovered in the seawater.

A search of the boat recovered two bales of marijuana that was contained in a Jansport Bag.

The total amount of marijuana seized weighed thirty-four and a half pounds.

Both Thompson and Daniel were charged with possession and trafficking of marijuana.

 

Can Grenada deliver for Branson at Caribbean sustainability summit?

In just over a fortnight’s time the leaders of Caribbean nations and corporate CEOs will join together to discuss potential solutions to the challenges facing the region in the fight to develop green economies.

Grenada’s recently-elected Prime Minister, Keith Mitchell will co-host the Caribbean Political and Business Leaders Summit alongside the British Virgin Island (BVI) leader at Sir Richard Branson’s private island in the BVI.

It won’t be the first time Branson has acted as a matchmaker for social change initiatives. His Carbon War Rooms project connects entrepreneurs with funders to create clean technology innovations.

For the prolific entrepreneur saving the world makes good business sense.

Aside from making his family home in the Caribbean, the Virgin founder is a keen champion of investment in the region (two years ago he launched the Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship in Jamaica) and is equally passionate about conservationism and the environment.

The tiny Caribbean island of Grenada caught the Virgin founder’s eye during his trip to the Rio +20 Conference in Brazil in 2012. During the talks Grenada’s then Prime Minister, Tillman Thomas was hailed as a transformative figure in the fight for green economies especially for Small Island States.

In the run up to Rio, Thomas had urged the UN to ensure that the need for an adequate and legally binding global response to climate change to remain at the top of the global agenda and the island had carved out a well-respected place for itself and even consulted Nobel Prize winner Mohan Munasinghe to develop methodologies for mainstreaming environmentally progressive policies.

But with Thomas’ party swept out of power after a domestically disastrous term in office is the new Grenadian government up to the job? As the head of one local NGO has asked, “Will government now seek to sell our environmental interest to investors to escape Grenada’s debt crisis?”

The environmental credentials of New National Party (NNP) are at best unproven. Worryingly they have recently reinstated the practice of sand mining from local beaches, which had been banned during Thomas’s government, despite opposition from environmentalists.

In the island of Carriacou the NNP has renewed its push to move forward a marina project in Tyrrel Bay, which has the potential to have a negative impact on local mangrove ecosystems.

While the new Prime Minister, Keith Mitchell, has promised to install Chinese LED light fixtures in government buildings to cut energy consumption, environmental issues are marked by their absence in the budget published in April.

As co-host of the event (alongside Orlando Smith of the British Virgin Islands) there will be a huge opportunity for Grenada to use its skills, influence and experience to drive change.

The Summit aims to build and expand on the Caribbean Challenge Initiative commitments of placing 20 per cent of near shore marine area under protection by 2020 and developing sustainable finance mechanisms to finance the management of protected areas.

If Grenada is to play a meaningful role, environmentalists and local civil society have a tough job to do in persuading the government to take its responsibility seriously.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No reinstatement yet of Police Officers

Lawyers representing a group of Police Officers who have been placed on suspension since they were previously charged with manslaughter in connection with the death of Oscar Peter Bartholomew on December 27, 2011 are seeking to have their clients reinstated into the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF).

The charge of manslaughter that was hanging over the heads of 649 Edward Gibson,, 237 Ruddy Felix, 675 Shaun Ganness, 748 Kenton Hazzard, and Rural Constable Wendell Sylvester were quashed earlier this year by High Court Judge, Justice Septimus Rudd.

In his ruling, Justice Rudd also ordered that the Police Officers who were placed on suspension pending the outcome of the case be reinstated into RGPF.

One of the defense lawyers, Queen’s Counsel, Dr. Francis Alexis told reporters on Monday that he had read in the newspaper that the State had served notice to appeal against the judge’s decision.

However, Dr. Alexis said he was not officially made aware of the decision to appeal the judgement and that he and another of the defense attorneys, Anselm Clouden would engage the State to learn what is going on.

He added that even if the State did file an appeal, he is not even aware if a stay of execution had been granted against the ruling.

“Mr. Clouden and I would have to engage both the (Acting) Commissioner of Police and the Director of Public Prosecution (Christopher Nelson)”, he said.

After reading the judgement, DPP Nelson told THE NEW TODAY Newspaper that he is satisfied that Justice Rudd had erred and that he will challenge the decision before the Court of Appeal.

At a recent press conference hosted by the RGPF, Acting Commissioner James told the media the court made a ruling and that as the Commissioner of Police he has a responsibility “to obey the ruling of the court.”

“I will do nothing less or more than obey the ruling of the court,” James said.

A Coroner’s Inquest is due to start on August 26 to determine whether or not any of the five Police Officers is culpable for Bartholomew’s death.

Bartholomew was allegedly beaten while being in police custody at the St. David’s Police Station on December 26.

 

Dominicans react in anger to the appointment of Grenada magistrate

Arley Gill – appointment as Magistrate  causes a stir a Dominica

Arley Gill – appointment as Magistrate
causes a stir a Dominica

Roseau, Dominica (TDN) — Dominicans are up in arms over the news that a former Grenadian politician will be assigned as a magistrate on the island.

On Thursday, Attorney General Levy Peters announced that Arley Gill will take up the post of magistrate on June 1, 2013.

The outrage over Gill’s appointment stems from the fact that a few months ago, he was invited by prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit to speak at a political party meeting in his Vielle Case Constituency.

The meeting was held in celebration of Skerrit’s court victory where the opposition challenged his legitimacy to contest the last elections claiming that he was a French citizen at the time of the election.

While addressing the crowd, Gill commented that the “prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit was the greatest Caribbean leader since Maurice Bishop of Grenada.”

He also made light of Skerrit’s remarks concerning the supremacy of the constitution where Skerrit intoned that “no law or constitution would prevent me from being a candidate at the next general elections.”

Angry callers to a local radio talk show demanded that the appointment be revoked claiming that Gill was incapable of being partial to justice given his open support for the Skerrit regime.

Others argued that his appointment was simply a repayment for his loyalty to Skerrit especially considering that there are several practicing lawyers in Dominica who had superior qualifications to serve as magistrate.

Gill was a minister in the former Tillman Thomas administration in Grenada before he was dismissed by Thomas during a period of upheaval for the government and months before the complete sweep of the polls by prime minister Keith Mitchell.

“We fo we”

Regional journalists in Curacao

Regional journalists in Curacao

Founder of Curacao Media Organisation, Merrill Sulvaran, wants Caribbean journalists to take a “we fo we” stand when dealing with the issue of safety.

Addressing scores of journalists at the 20th Anniversary of World Press Freedom Day and Caribbean Media Summit in Curacao last week, Sulvaran delivered a presentation as part of a panel discussion on the topic, “Safety of Journalist in the Caribbean: Where are we and what should be done?

He holds the view that “How one perceives the collectivity of the media in a country represents the degree of respect each participating journalist in that country enjoys”.

Sulveran who has a Master of Science Degree in strategic management and organisational change from the Kingdom University of Groningen in the Netherlands, has been active in the Curacao media since 1994 and has produced different newspapers and magazines

He told practitioners that media in the Caribbean territories have the tendency to accept unfounded criticisms without “hitting” back.

His concept of “we fo we” encourages the Caribbean media to start caring for each other collectively, creating a common barrier against offenders and violators of freedom of expression.

“If media participants in a country respect each other, and maintain a constant quality evaluation and control of their own performance, more respect will be created towards the media in corresponding country”, he said.

According to Sulveran, “Media in the Caribbean Territories tend to be stand alone units.

“Strategic Business Units compete in a small-scale economy with no or less chances of growth. There is no time for collectivity thinking. Even worse, there is no time for training and quality development”, he said.

“This practical approach to media operation may also be one of the determining factors of image deterioration of the media in the Caribbean islands”, he added.

He contended that owners of the media in the Caribbean tend to neglect collectivity, not only commercially but also operationally.

A neglect attitude towards competing media deteriorates the formation of protective barriers against defamation and other types of attacks towards the Caribbean media,” he said.

Sulveran says that if this concept of “we fo we” is not embraced, media in the Caribbean territories could be victimised by bold expressions, offensive expressions, defamation, threats and even death.

He noted that lately in the Caribbean, death threats against practitioners have increased and suggested that collective thinking on the part of both journalists and media managers should be promoted.

“As of the moment, media attackers in the Caribbean “get away” with it because they know they will not be punished or there is no reprimandal system to control the offense, either physical offense or verbal.

“Once a media unit is ‘under’ attack on one of the Caribbean islands, their colleagues will stay quiet, as if ‘not my concern’.

Sullveran charged that media persons in the Caribbean should start to focus on collectivity.

He said that challenges facing Caribbean media are many and that on the organisational level, he believes that the media should gear operations towards quality control, forming a body of control and protection and organisations that protect practitioners.

Sulveran told journalists they need to forget the smallness of the islands and take advantage of their sizes.

“We need to forget that most Caribbean islands are of low population. Small communities where politicians are neighbours and policemen are part-time sport trainers. “We fo we” concept need to be implemented because everybody knows everybody on the islands”, he said.

“The benefit of small scale communities is that we can attain self protection relatively easier compared to large scale communities. Once unified, the protective mechanism will function much better. People will think before trying to attack. Knowing the collective consequences of the media ‘being on your back,” he said.

Cherrian Blackman-Stephen, reporter at THE NEW TODAY newspaper was one of the Grenada representatives in Curacao, sponsored by UNESCO.

 

State espionage against NDC

The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has complained about “police spies” intruding its private meetings and called on Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and Acting Commissioner of Police, Winston James to put an end to the practice.

Congress called a press conference last Friday to give details to the local media about the actions of members of the Special Branch of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) to sit in on private meetings of the party held in St. Andrew’s and the south of the island.

The party did not release the names of the three plain clothes police officers allegedly engaged in the alleged acts of espionage.

Addressing members of the local media at the press briefing, Deputy Political Leader of the party, Nazim Burke accused the Special Branch officers of taking it on their own to invite themselves to the party meeting and recording the proceedings.

Burke said the party is concerned that the constitutional rights of its members are being infringed upon and that this is a very disturbing development that strikes at the very heart of democracy and which if not arrested is likely to compromise the very democratic system “that we live in”.

The former Finance Minister made specific reference to a meeting held last week Wednesday at 7.00 p.m. at the Grand Anse Roman Catholic School by the St George South Constituency Branch of Congress.

He said that two police officers, who were later identified as members of the Special Branch of RGPF showed up at the meeting unannounced and uninvited, took their seats and sat throughout the meeting, listening and observing and recording the entire proceedings.

According to Burke, a similar situation took place the previous night when the St Andrew South West Constituency Branch met at the St Andrew Primary School and one officer in plain clothes who was identified to be part of the Special Branch unit sought to sit in the session and record the proceedings.

On this second occasion, he said the officer was advised that it was a private closed-door meeting of the NDC and that persons who were not members of the party were not invited and not welcomed and the person left the building.

Burke told reporters that the NDC is alarmed that this behaviour on the part of the Special Branch of the force is taking place less than 90 days after the February 19, General Elections in which the ruling New National Party (NNP) won all 15 seats, leaving the country without an official opposition party in Parliament.

“We call this press conference because these two incidents (are) a dangerous precedence for Grenada as the constitution provides for freedom of assembly and association”, he said

“We consider these developments especially disturbing in light of comments reported in the media that media persons are going to be expected to let certain persons in authority see what they have to produce and what they have to publish and what they say before they say it, as well as announcements … that a new law is going to be passed that will allow wiretapping for criminal purposes which mean that as long as the police believe that somebody is engaged in criminal activity then they can tap their phones.

“So we hearing about the possibilities of curtailing media behaviour, we hearing about the possibilities of tapping phones and … we observing and seeing another case where people are simply showing up at the (NDC) meetings, all of these rights are protected by the constitution and this is not what we envisage.

The former government pointed out that NDC is not attempting to overthrow the NNP-led government of Dr. Mitchell and as such there can be no reasonable justification for this action by members of the Special Branch.

“The NDC is not a subversive organisation – it did not attempt, it is not attempting to overthrow any government … there could be no reasonable explanation as to why anyone should find it necessary to be eavesdropping, to be spying, to be conducting surveillance on the National Democratic Congress”, he said.

“This is absolutely unwarranted, this is absolutely unnecessary”, he said, adding that all the NDC wants to do is to rebuild its organisation and work to regain the confidence of the Grenadian people so that it can win the next general election.

Burke said he cannot comprehend why after winning all 15 seats in Parliament, some members of the ruling New National Party are so angry with Congress.

“When they (NNP people) speak you see so much anger in their demeanour, it’s as though they still not satisfied… The only reasonable explanation that one can say to this is that there are some (NNP) members who seemed determined, who want to see the complete annihilation of the National Democratic Congress and the establishment perhaps of a one-party state.”

Burke is calling on Commissioner of Police, Winston James to reign-in his officers to ensure this practice comes to an end and for the Minister for National Security, Prime Minister Mitchell to use his office to ensure that this does not happen again on the island.

Optimistic but Cautious, Grenada Bolsters Its Water Resources

By Desmond Brown

 

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada (IPS) – One daunting scientific forecast states that almost half of the world’s population will live in areas of water scarcity by 2030. Yet Christopher Husbands, the head of Grenada’s National Water and Sewerage Authority (NAWASA), is unfazed.

Christopher Husbands NAWASA’s General Manager

Christopher Husbands NAWASA’s General Manager

“Nationally, we have adequate resources, certainly taking us way past 2030,” he told IPS, adding that for the coming decades Grenada did not need to be overly concerned about the coming water scarcity.

Yet he allowed that two villages in Grenada do not have pipe-borne water. As part of its overall plan to promote best practises in water management, the state-owned utility company will this year construct Grenada’s first community rainwater system in one of them, the hamlet of Blaize village.

Husbands, who is the general manager at NAWASA, estimated that the entire community of 3,000 to 5,000 residents would be supplied with rainwater. “The system will be designed to ensure 60 days’ supply at all times,” he described. “We will have a central system and pipe the water to the houses, so we will control the treatment.”

Residents currently must go to a local spring for water, which is treated by NAWASA. In the dry season, when the spring runs low, the company sends water trucks.

Pat Jones, 65, recalls that when he was growing up, a community standpipe could be found every eighth of a mile. Today, he noted, most people have pipes in their homes. “But there are still a few community standpipes around,” he told IPS.

He called the idea of community standpipes “a very good idea because not all of us can afford the luxury of pipes in our homes. It is a necessity in certain communities so that residents can get water to drink and even take a bath.”

In spite of Grenada’s abundance of surface water, the country has always struggled with distribution. Husbands said that the solution – pumping – is easy, technically, but expensive.

“We have to try our best to stay away from pumping because operating costs would be going up,” he told IPS. Grenada residents pay EC8.10 (3 U.S. dollars) per 1,000 gallons for up to 2,800 gallons per month. The cost increases to EC13.20 for up to 5,500 gallons.

A community rainwater system is not entirely new to Grenada, the largest of three in this three-island state. The smallest, Petite Martinique, is supplied completely by rainwater, while the other, Carriacou, is 95 percent supplied by rainwater.

 

Feeling the effects of climate change

 

The direct link between climate change and water availability continues to become more convincing, Husbands told IPS.

For Grenada, the dry season is traditionally from January to June, with different parts of the island feeling varying levels of intensity and over different periods.

“Drier dry seasons and more intense rain events during the rainy season…are extremely problematic for us,” Husbands said. “When the dry season persists, because we are so dependent on surface water, our supplies drop sometimes 40 percent.”

Ironically, more intense periods of rain sometimes result in less water. “You have the dams getting silted up; you have the river muddy and you can’t treat it…because it’s going to end up as mud in people’s homes.”

Climate change funding is also an issue, Husbands told IPS. Despite bigger pledges at climate change conferences, “the rate at which those funds are getting down to the ground needs improving”.

“Storage is key for climate change, because it’s what’s going to allow us to balance these effects,” Husbands described. “But when you are not even getting the funds yet you are easily 12, 24 or 36 months away from implementation.”

But he also noted that Grenada was taking steps to reduce water waste such as by reducing leaks. It even set up a Leak Detection Unit. “They go around the country daily looking for leaks, all in a bid to get that efficiency up and non-revenue water down,” Husbands told IPS.

NAWASA is also on a public education and awareness campaign to teach children about good usage practices and conservation. It is partnering with the ministry of agriculture to ensure catchment areas are protected.

Similarly, the neighbouring island of Dominica, known for its rivers and abundance of fresh water, has been urging residents to review water resource management, as the number of rivers it has may be decreasing, according to Reginald Austrie, minister of housing, lands, settlement and water resources management.

Dominica recently launched a 7.4-million-dollar water upgrade project that authorities said would benefit thousands of residents and consumers in the north, east and south of the country.

The spy game continues

NDC Executive members Shane Ross, Nazim Burke and  Halim Abdulwali

NDC Executive members Shane Ross, Nazim Burke and Halim Abdulwali

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) is toying with the idea of releasing photos of two members of the Special Branch of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) engaged in acts of espionage against the party, which was heavily defeated in the February 19 general elections.

The threat was made by Shane Ross, Assistant General Secretary of NDC for the Southern Zone and executive member of the South St. George Constituency branch.

Ross appeared alongside Deputy Political Leader, Nazim Burke and Halim Abdulwali, Chairperson for the St George South Constituency Branch to address reporters on the issue surrounding the Special Branch officers.

The NDC executive member Ross, characterised the acts of the officers as despicable behaviour but warned that the NDC will not be intimidated by such acts against the party.

“We are not afraid of intimidation, trust me. If it is their intention to intimidate us tell them it will have a different effect. In fact we are motivated. When coming to intimidate us physiologically and otherwise by coming to spy on our meetings, trust me, we are not going to back down, we are going to stand up and fight as the NDC”, he said.

According to Ross, the strategy was not to force the police officers to leave the meeting but to allow them to remain for the entire proceedings.

“We saw them, we knew they were there, but we were smarter than them because we have specially trained people who were in that meeting and we planned how we were going to deal with them and we (were) successful in dealing with them. Maybe later on down the road you all might hear about it”, he told reporters.

Ross and some other members of the NDC branch in the south were active members of the 1979-83 Grenada Revolution and were exposed to military training.

The political activist said he would like to hear a response to this development by former NDC members Glynis Roberts, Peter David, Arley Gill, Karl Hood, Michael Church and Joseph Gilbert – some of whom are now enjoying close political association with the rival New National Party (NNP) outfit.

Ross disclosed that photos were taken of the two officers at the South meeting and might be distributed to social media and others depending on a decision of the executive of the party.

The Chairperson for the St George South Constituency Branch also addressed the meeting.

In the face of claims from some quarters in the country that the Special Branch officers should have been put out of the meeting, Griffith said he would take full responsibility for allowing them to remain in the meeting

According to the NDC official, he was merely extending an NDC courtesy to the lawmen.

“I was completely distraught with the presence of the police at the meeting, but however I choose not to throw them out and I take full responsibility for that because I knew before the meeting started that they were there, but you see rather than respond in panic, I thought it was best to let’s see what they are up to so we allowed them to sit throughout the meeting not because we were afraid of them but we just wanted to extend our NDC courtesy to the police,” he told the media.

“…In our meetings we are always open. My position is that we have nothing to hide, but because we respect the constitution which gives us the right to operate and have meetings and not be molested or be intruded by members of the security branch forces who should be (there) if ever to protect us rather than to intrude and try to create confusion”, he said.

The NDC faced a similar “Police Spy Case” situation on February 26, 2008 on Lucas Street involving a member of the Special Services Branch, under the watch of then spy chief, Superintendent Anthony De Gale.

Police Officer 77 Kelon Noel was apprehended while secretly recording a closed door meeting in the lead up to the July 8, 2008 General Election.

He was allegedly caught after placing a tape-recorder underneath the window of an adjacent building where a session of the National Executive of Congress was in progress to discuss among other things matters relating to the upcoming poll.

Noel subsequently claimed that some senior executive members of the party beat him and civil lawsuits were filed against nine members of the NDC including Burke, Arley Gill and Joe Gilbert.

No criminal charges were laid against the executive members.

However, civil charges were filed against the NDC members in the names of former Attorney General Elvin Nimrod for special damages and false imprisonment for $1,000.00 and $1,650.00 for the Special Branch officer.

Trinidadian Lawyer, Ramesh Maharaj was retained to represent the police officer.

Since its defeat at the polls in February, the NDC has been conducting regular constituency branch meetings to regain the confidence of the electorate and to attract newcomers to the party.

THE NEW TODAY understands that a final decision has not been taken to determine whether or not the photos of the alleged “spy officers” of the branch should be released to the media for publication.