New GG pledges to lead restoration process of historic buildings

Newly appointed Governor General of Grenada, Dr. Cecile La Grenade has given a commitment to assist in the restoration of a number of historic buildings that were destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.

In delivering her maiden address to both Houses of Parliament, Dr. La Grenade said that foremost in her mind is York House that was built in 1780 and served as the Houses of Parliament and the Supreme Court of Grenada before it was destroyed.

Former Prime Minister, Tillman Thomas was able to secure funds from Australia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to build a new Parliament for the island at Mt. Wheldale, the former home of late Prime Minister Maurice Bishop.

Well-placed sources told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that the funds, estimated to be close to US$10 million are currently sitting in a local commercial bank to be used on the project.

Dr. La Grenade also cited the need for restoration work to be done on Government House that was constructed in the 1850’s and was used as the residence of former Governors and Governors General.

“I pray that with the requisite authority and consent, I can pursue vigorously, and with all the attendant powers of this Office, assist in leading the process for the restoration of these and other historic buildings,” she said.

The new Head of State spoke of there being many Grenadians residing at home and abroad who are “deeply committed” to having the buildings restored to their former glory and be preserved as buildings of historic value.

The female Governor General also spoke of having a keen interest in the development of the young people, particularly the women folk.

She said she cherishes the importance being placed in the future leaders of the nation as the success and overall development of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique lie in their hands.

Dr. La Grenade pointed out that any opportunity that is presented to her to create an impact or to assist in the personal development, growth and success of the young men and women in the country will be welcomed by her.

“I can assure you that you will find in me a very ardent and committed advocate to the advancement of our nation’s youth,” she remarked.

The Governor General also said that closely aligned to her interest in the youth is their educational development.

She stressed that in order to improve the lives of the children, youth and the nation on the whole then intense focus on education has to be continued.

Dr. La Grenade indicated that there is compelling evidence that if Grenada does not keep up with the currency of modern information communication technology as an integral part of the education process, the country’s growth and development will be stunted by this delay or omission.

The Governor General also shared her thoughts on how the country, as a nation, can fight the global crisis.

She said Grenada must move forward with a renewed sense of purpose, productivity, self-reliance and entrepreneurship “if we are to survive and thrive as an independent nation.”

She suggested that the country’s own resources must be utilised to the fullest extent, and that Grenadians must learn to turn challenges into opportunities.

“We must not be afraid to come out of our comfort zone to take chances to develop ideas and to work on transforming them into productive ventures with hard work, dedication and commitment,” she said.

Prior to Tuesday’s ceremony, a Government Information Service (GIS) release quoted Dr. La Grenade as saying that her aim on assuming office is to reach out to special interest and community groups, helping to nurture young people, especially young women.

‘I am compassionate and I care a lot about people, and you have to be really focused on being kind, and you have to have a generous spirit. You also have to think about service to the nation, and these are the qualities that will help to bring the young people forward, and to bring the Office of the Governor General into a very good light in the eyes of the people of the nation”, she said.

As regards the planned Inauguration Ceremony, she spoke of looking forward to it since it promises to be both exciting and humbling.

“Well it is a great honour, and I am sort of following in the footsteps of Dame Hilda Bynoe who was a very strong woman and who carried the post with extreme dignity”, she told GIS.

Dr. Cecile La Grenade was born in La Borie but lived for most of her live in St. Paul’s.

She attended the St. Louis Girls R.C. School, and then St. Joseph’s Convent in St. George’s. She holds both a Master’s and Doctoral degree.

Dr. La Grenade served for many years as the CEO of De La Grenade Industries, but is leaving the business on a full time basis after twenty (20) years, to serve her country.

Good news for Dr. Layne

Dr, Trevor Joseph Layne – recognized by US-based publication

Dr, Trevor Joseph Layne – recognized by US-based publication

A leading Grenadian Physician in the United States now has his name inducted into the renowned Publication, “The Leading Physicians of the World”.

The New Jersey-based Dr. Trevor Layne was contracted by the former National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of former Prime Minister, Tillman Thomas to preside over the island’s Oncology services.

A release put out by the publication said that, “as a result of impeccable passion and quality patient care, Trevor Joseph Layne, MD, has been selected to receive publication in “The Leading Physicians of the World”.

The International Association of Healthcare Professionals is proud to welcome Dr. Layne into a prestigious, supportive community for top physicians”, it added.

Dr. Layne maintains a position at Lincoln Oncology, LLC located in West Orange, New Jersey.

A well experienced oncologist of over 20 years, Dr. Layne is responsible for the palliative care of patients with terminal malignancies and diagnosing cancer within his patients.

He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in medical oncology and remains an active member of the International Oncology Network; a network that provides access for healthcare providers and industry companies to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and quality of healthcare they can deliver to their patients.

When not serving his patients at Lincoln, Dr. Layne offers his experience to other facilities such as Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, East Orange General Hospital, and St. Michael’s Medical Center.

He graduated in 1989 from St. George’s University (SGU) with his medical degree. Upon completion, Dr. Layne attended Jamaica Hospital for his internship and residency; then the State University of New York Downstate for his fellowship training.

Nimrod: The payments will be made

The Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government in Grenada has reassured Public Workers that it will pay salary increases and back-pay due to them as negotiated for the period 2009- 2012.

The financial plight of workers was among the issues at the forefront of the 2013 May Celebrations in St. David, on May 1.

Thousands of workers from the seven TUC affiliated Unions participated in the May Day Rally, marching from the Bellevue Playing Field to the La Sageasse Playing Field.

Minister for Labour, Elvin Nimrod, in his first Labour Day outing, addressed the subject of salary increases and back pay.

He was responding to workers who marched enthusiastically while loudly chanting, “Pay us we money and vex with us”.

Minister Nimrod assured them that government not only intends to pay what is owed to public workers, but to also maintain a cordial relationship with them.

“This present administration will give you your money and remain friends with you”, he said to mixed reactions.

The Labour Minister told the enthusiastic workers that the payments will have to be made over a longer period of time, given the tight financial and economic climate facing the country.

“I wish you would appreciate the fact that we have one national pie that must be carefully and consciously divided among all the sectors of the country; and so while we are willing to meet you half-way, you must be willing to meet us half-way as well”, he said, appealing for their understanding.

“We want to say to you this afternoon that we honour and acknowledge our obligation to pay you your back pay and increases; but we have to do that within the constraints of our financial ability”, he said again to mixed reaction.

However, the Number Two man in the NNP administration assured workers that the payment will eventually be made.

“It will happen and it will happen more quickly than you believe”, the Labour Minister stressed, promising them as he put it that “part of the deliverance is coming”.

He said that Wage Negotiators have been appointed by government who have been meeting with Union representatives to ensure that government delivers on its obligation, and also to make sure that workers understand that shared sacrifices are needed for the benefit of all of our people.

Minister Nimrod did not give a timeframe for payment but assured workers that government’s obligation to them will be met in a timely manner.

“Government recommits to honouring its financial obligations to you the workers of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique by providing in a very timely manner, and within the constraints of the present economic situation, your back-pay and salary increase”, the Labour Minister promised.

Nimrod welcomed the theme of the celebrations “Creating a new Environment for the Social and Economic Advancement of Workers”, and commended workers on the spirit of goodwill and patriotism exhibited.

G’da creditors make a move

Dr. Patrick Antoine - his skills as a negotiator and economic advisor to the new government would most likely be called upon

Dr. Patrick Antoine – his skills as a negotiator and economic advisor to the new government would most likely be called upon

There has been no official word from the near three-month old Keith Mitchell-led government in St. George’s that the island’s multi-million dollar foreign debt creditors are seeking to get the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) involved in the process.

The move comes against the backdrop of Grenada’s failure in March to make a payment of EC$19 million dollars to some of its foreign bondholders.

THE NEW TODAY has obtained a release put out by the creditors in response to the announcement from the New National Party (NNP) administration that it would approach the bondholders and other creditors with a view to restructuring the national debt estimated at EC$2.3 billion.

It is the second time in nearly a decade that Grenada has found itself seeking debt restructuring due to its inability to pay creditors.

The release pointed out that the creditors are requesting the government to pay for their legal fees that could run into thousands of U.S dollars and to pave the way for a debt sustainability analysis (“DSA”) to be prepared which should incorporate “reasonable suggestions and recommendations” of their Committee and other classes of creditors, including the IMF.

As a public service, this newspaper reproduces an article, which appeared in a New York-based publication on the approach, which the foreign creditors are adopting, in their upcoming negotiations for debt restructuring with the Mitchell government.

 

Timothy Antoine - could be involved in the negotiations as PS in the Ministry of Finance

Timothy Antoine – could be involved in the negotiations as PS in the Ministry of Finance

NEW YORK, May 3, 2013 – Holders of more than 75% of the U.S. Dollar Bonds due 2025 and E.C. Dollar Bonds due 2025 (together, the “Bonds”) issued by the Government of Grenada (“GOG”) announced that they have formed a Steering Committee (the “Committee”) and a broader Ad-Hoc bondholders’ committee in order to address matters concerning the GOG’s announcement on March 8, 2013 that circumstances have forced the country to undertake a comprehensive and collaborative restructuring of its public debt, including the Bonds.

In that regard, on March 15, 2013 the GOG did not make its scheduled interest payment on either of the Bonds; the 30-day grace period has since lapsed and the Bonds are now in default.

Notwithstanding the default, the Committee notes the GOG’s recognition that any government debt restructuring process must be a component of a broader growth plan for Grenada’s economy, carried out in partnership with the GOG and the private sector.

According to Mike Gerrard of BroadSpan Capital, the Committee’s financial advisor, “The Committee took note of the GOG’s stated commitment to a comprehensive and collaborative process, and believes that any request for

support from commercial creditors should be matched not only by support from multilateral and bilateral lenders, but also by sound policy measures on the part of the GOG.”

The Committee has communicated its views to the GOG regarding the essential elements of a constructive dialogue between the Committee and the GOG.

These views are consistent with the International Monetary Fund’s policy and the Group of 20-endorsed Principles for Stable Capital Flows and Fair Debt Restructuring, namely transparency, open dialogue, good faith negotiations, fair treatment and non-discrimination among domestic, foreign, multilateral and bilateral creditors.

In particular, the Committee’s views are as follows:

 

(1). Transparency: All information required for creditors to undertake a complete analysis of the liquidity and fiscal situation of the GOG should be fully disclosed in a transparent, proactive, timely and accurate manner.

 

(2). Open Dialogue: The GOG should maintain open and continuous communication with the different groups of creditors, including the Committee, be responsive to their requests and recommendations, and recognise the Committee as representative of the bondholders.

 

(3). Good Faith Process: All proposals related to the Bonds should be based on good faith discussions rather than unilateral decisions.

 

(4). Fair Treatment: All classes of Grenada debt, including obligations due to domestic, foreign, multilateral and bilateral creditors, should be included in the process and each class should be treated with reasonable equity and fairness among the holders.

Any proposal to holders of the Bonds should be accompanied by parallel

proposals regarding a comprehensive approach to each class of public sector debt and government guarantees.

 

(5). Genuine Budgetary and Fiscal Policy Framework: Restructuring proposals should be accompanied by parallel proposals regarding GOG sponsored growth measures and fiscal adjustment over the short and medium term to strengthen Grenada’s financial position.

 

(6). Realistic Repayment Capacity: Negotiations related to the Bonds should be conducted in the context of a debt sustainability analysis (“DSA”) prepared by the GOG and shared with the Committee. The DSA should incorporate reasonable suggestions and recommendations of the Committee and other classes of creditors, including the IMF.

 

(7). Committee Expenses: The Committee requests that the GOG confirm its willingness to directly pay for reasonable fees and expenses incurred by the Committee during the negotiations including fees related to financial and legal advisors and other out-of-pocket expenses.

The Committee considers the arrangements for payment of such fees and expenses to be a signal of the GOG’s intention to proceed in good faith and in

accordance with accepted international standards and practices.

The Committee has engaged BroadSpan Capital LLC as its financial advisor and requests that inquiries be directed to Noah Kessler at BroadSpan at +1(305) 424-3400 or nkessler@brocap.com.

 

 

Students Safe with United Insurance

Trevor Renwick (Front Centre) and Donna Matthew (Front Left), United Insurance, present T.A Marryshow College students with their travel insurance documents, received by Merlisia John, Chair, Tourism & Hospitality Department

Trevor Renwick (Front Centre) and Donna Matthew (Front Left), United Insurance, present T.A Marryshow College students with their travel insurance documents, received by Merlisia John, Chair, Tourism & Hospitality Department

United Insurance has once again provided support to the students of the T.A. Marryshow Community College, as they travel to Barbados to undertake internships at The Crane Resort.

When the thirty-eight (38) students of the College make the trip to Barbados to further their studies, they do so without worry thanks to United Insurance.

This is because United Insurance, for the third consecutive year, has donated the travel insurance which provides full coverage for the group of students on their trip to Barbados, May 3 to August 7, 2013.

The students are part of the Tourism and Hospitality programmes at the Community College and will graduate in July with Associate degrees in their areas of specialty, when this aspect of their programme is completed.

“We are indeed pleased to assist with the development of youth in Grenada by ensuring that these young people and their parents can have peace of mind as they travel to Barbados to complete their studies. It is our way of giving back to the community that supports us,” noted Trevor Renwick, local representative for United Insurance.

Merlisia John, Chair of the Tourism & Hospitality Department, thanked the Company for its continued contribution to the internship and for the sense of security and relief provided to all parties involved.

United Insurance Company Limited also supports the development of youth in Grenada through their annual sponsorship of the Secondary School Cricket Competition of which they have been the proud sponsor throughout the OECS for more than 25 years.

United Insurance Company Ltd is a member of the Neal & Massy Group of Trinidad & Tobago.

The thirty-eight second-year students of TAMCC have already left the island to begin their internship at the Crane Residential Resort.

The students were selected from the following programmes: Hospitality Studies, Culinary Arts, Electronics Engineering Technology and Refrigeration & Air conditioning Technology.

While on the internship, the students will have the opportunity to gain certification through the internationally recognised American Hotel and Lodging Association examinations.

The College and students have been raising funds to support this programme. Last month a gala dinner was held for corporate Grenada. Currently, a raffle is being promoted for a three-night stay for two at the luxurious Crane Resort (inclusive of airline tickets).

The students and College administration wishes to express its gratitude to the public and private sector organizations for their support of the internship programme.

All students within the School of Applied Arts & Technology are required to complete an internship in order to graduate.

The Crane Internship will run from May 3 until August 6, 2013. This is the third year of TAMCC/Crane Resort partnership.

 

The plight of the Public Library

In a recent Sentinel article, brief mention was made of the abandoned Public Library building on the Carenage and the decay of York House. This article seeks to elaborate further on the Public Library – a major heritage building in the Historic Village of our Capital City of St. George.

Our records show that the building has been vacated and closed since July 18, 2011, in another month or two it would be two years since the contents of the building would not have seen the light of day, with the resulting deterioration of the irreplaceable archival material contained therein, and the loss of a large component of our documented history, which does not seem to be of concern to the powers that be.

This elegant Georgian building with civic proportions is the property of the Grenadian people, like every other State property; and is maintained or refurbished, as the case may be, by the government of the day.

The building was constructed circa 1720 in brick and stone with fish scale clay tile roof, and was originally used as a merchant’s office on the first floor and a warehouse at ground level.

Up to 1985 the warehouse remained functional, as the metal rails on the ground floor which conveyed the commodities on large metal trolleys across the road, to and from the storeroom (warehouse) to large wooden “lighters,” were still in existence.

In the early days the lighters were berthed up to the water’s edge, which took the commodities to and from the waiting cargo ships in the outer harbour, as there was no pier in the inner harbour at that time.

From about 1950, through the tireless effort of Librarian – the late Sheila Buckmire nee’ St. Bernard, the interior of the first floor of the building was remodeled to house the Public Library, and much later in 1986 the warehouse on the ground floor was included for library purposes, as the need for such services expanded.

In 1985 or thereabout, the government of the day received funding from the European Union, and the interior of the entire building-(Ground and First floor), was redesigned and repaired together with exterior walls and roof, and became the Grenada Public Library building.

Twenty seven (27) years on, as far as the Sentinel is aware, no major maintenance by the Ministry of Works was undertaken, the effects of which, has resulted in the building now designated as “not fit for human occupancy”, and was abandoned in July 2011.

Grenada is a signatory to the World Heritage Convention, and the Public Library building, York House, Govt. House and the Market Square – as with so many others of our built heritage and sites, appear to have fallen through the cracks, as the powers that be, appear not to be concerned in upholding the requirements of the convention, to the detriment of our natural and cultural heritage.

There is a mindset, even among some of our top politicians, would-be intellectuals and decision makers, that old is valueless, and that historic structures remind us of slavery, from whence we came.

Like it or not, historic buildings and buildings generally, are an indelible part of our culture, as the extent of their physical presence is the most visible man-made symbolism that identify our civilizations, from time immemorial.

Beginning from the cave-man to the Ajoupa, to the dwellings of our Antillian forefathers, to the colourful creations of our Caribbean Vernacular homes, to the Great Houses and Slave Pens -onto the Pyramids, not excluding the great wonders of the world, and of course the discordant symbolism of corporate capitalism, as expressed in the opulent and ostentatious edifices of banks and insurance companies in the modern world, while absconding with their clients hard earned financial resources, which plunged the world into an economic tailspin.

Most of the developed or so-called first world countries that have prospered, used slavery as the means to prosperity, even so, they continue to prosper by setting the rules for global commence, trade and finance and are just as pro-active in the preservation of their culture, by showcasing their built heritage which contributes to a “money spinning” Tourism Product, as millions of visitors (tourists) continue to enjoy the wonders of these ancient structures and sites as part of the Outstanding Universal Creation of mankind.

In Grenada, the little that we have inherited, when compared with the metropole – are regarded by some, with a measure of contempt, forgetting that they are the product of the slave labour of our ancestors, which should be cherished and enhanced and used as a stepping stone onto the present, while shaping the future, which cannot be divorced from the past.

The sooner we “come to grips” with this reality, the sooner we would be able to move forward, as we attempt to forge our identity as part of a unique Caribbean Civilisation – slavery notwithstanding.

 

(The above was submitted by the Willie Redhead Foundation)

 

 

 

Dr. La Grenade Takes Centre Stage

Her Excellency, Dr. Cecile La Grenade – takes the Oath of Allegiance as the sixth Governor General {photo compliments Quash Picture Palace}

Her Excellency, Dr. Cecile La Grenade – takes the Oath of Allegiance as the sixth Governor General {photo compliments Quash Picture Palace}

A distinguished woman of the soil has accepted the challenge to serve her nation in the capacity of Head of State.

Dr. Cecile La Grenade was sworn in on Tuesday by Madam Justice Margaret Price-Findlay as the country’s sixth Governor General at the Grenada Trade Centre during a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament.

She replaces Sir Carlyle Glean who served as the fifth Governor General from November 27, 2008.

The new Governor General created history by becoming the first female to hold the high Office of the land.

In her first address after taking the oath of office, Dr. La Grenade spoke of being delighted to serve as the country’s Governor General.

She said when she was first asked to accept this position, she was overwhelmed by her own initial anxieties.

“I promise to uphold the dignity of this high Office,” she told the ceremony.

New Governor General, Dr. Cecile La Grenade confirms her appointment as Head of State {photo compliments Quash Picture Palace}

New Governor General, Dr. Cecile La Grenade confirms her appointment as Head of State {photo compliments Quash Picture Palace}

The female Governor General said she is acutely aware of the historic nature of the appointment.

“I am deeply honoured and humbled by the confidence placed in me with this appointment. I am cognizant that I follow in the formidable footsteps of the late Dame Hilda Bynoe, the former Governor of Grenada who was the first female to be appointed a Governor in the British Commonwealth,” she added.

Dame Hilda Bynoe died last month in Trinidad.

Dr. La Grenade told the Houses of Parliament that she has come from a family in which service to country molded them.

She said that from a very early age she was exposed to the philosophy of service to family and community alike and that exposure has taught her that the greatest rewards in life can come from serving others, and from volunteerism.

Dr. La Grenade who is a businesswoman and entrepreneur previously served the country as the Head of the Public Service Commission (PSC) between 2007 and 2010.

She is a close relative of late Marxist Prime Minister, Maurice Bishop who was executed October 19, 1983 amidst a bitter power struggle among moderates and hardliners for control of the then ruling New Jewel Movement (NJM).

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell who addressed the ceremony indicated that the swearing in of Dr. La Grenade allows the nation to make a bold national statement about the value that it places on women’s leadership.

The Prime Minister said the appointment of Dr. La Grenade as Governor General comes when Grenadians elected the most number of women to the House of Representatives in the just-ended general elections.

There are currently five female Members of Parliament.

The Leaders of Government Business in both Houses of Parliament also paid homage to Dr. La Grenade.

Leader of Government Business in the Lower House of Parliament, Public Utilities Minister, Gregory Bowen congratulated Dr. La Grenade on her appointment as Governor General of Grenada.

Senator Kenny Lalsingh who is the Leader of Government Business in the Upper House of Parliament said the Members are convinced that Dr. La Grenade has the potential and capability to perform in the job.

Those who served as Governors General are Sir Leo De Gale from February 7, 1974 to September 30, 1978, Sir Paul Scoon who held the position from September 30, 1978 to August 6, 1992, Sir Reginald Palmer from August 6, 1992 to August 8, 1996, Sir Daniel Williams who served from August 8, 1996 to November 18, 2008, and Sir Carlyle Glean from November 27, 2008 to May 3, 2013.

 

TUC slams gov’t on free school books programme

The Grenada Trade Union movement has condemned in the strongest way possible Government’s decision to kick-out private schools from the Free Schoolbooks Programme.

Addressing the Senate in his maiden contribution to the 2013 Budget of Revenue and Expenditure last week Tuesday, the former Acting Director at the Government Information Service (GIS) and present Trade Union Representative in the law-making body, Raymond Roberts told the House that the decision has no merit and called for it to be rescinded.

He said the $110 million budgeted for the Ministry of Education is acceptable although he would have preferred to see the ministry get at least 15% of the one billion dollar budget.

“It is a sign that we value education, nevertheless the Grenada Trade Union Council condemn in the strongest possible way the disruption of the schoolbook programme. Absolutely no merit, no commonsense in the decision to kick out private schools students from the programme,” he added.

Sen. Roberts echoed the words of former Education Minister, Franka Alexis-Bernadine, one of the pioneers in the programme under the former National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration.

He said, the free school books was “a good programme, excellent programme, so why are you tampering with something that works for everybody? That is not a sensible way to promote education.”

Roberts called on the two month old Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government to rescind its decision on removing the private schools from the list.

“I cannot understand why any politician would want to involve himself in something that is working to the benefit of the nation”, he said.

Roberts argued that persons who choose to send their children to private schools do so not because they are part of the high echelons of society but rather because of the convenience of the private schools systems and as such these children should not be penalised for making such decisions.

In the 2013 Budget Presentation, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Dr Keith Mitchell announced that the “Textbooks programme will be scaled down.

As a consequence, Dr. Mitchell said Government will no longer “provide free school books to private schools.”

Dr. Mitchell noted that the previous Congress Government under the leadership of Tillman Thomas had invested heavily in the Free Textbook programme but was not sure whether it was a good thing.

“Though well intentioned, the jury is out on whether this sizable investment has resulted in better education outcomes. However there is no doubt that there has been significant wastage in this programme. Schools have received books that are not on their book list. Students have received books that they have not used. But what is even worse, this was happening when the Government could not provide basic medicines at our hospitals and clinics”, he said.

The decision regarding the Free Textbooks Programme was also discussed during the April 9 meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance in which Education Minister, Anthony Boatswain advised the meeting that he needed to make changes to the programme.

Boatswain was quoted in a document obtained by this newspaper as saying, “He (Boatswain) stated that while he appreciated the fact that there were some needy students who really need some assistance with the books, there was also a significant segment that need assistance with their uniforms as well and therefore he would like to change that heading from ‘Free School Books Programme’ to ‘Free School Books and Uniform Programme.

“He pointed out that the foremost question would be where the money come(s) from for the uniform component and in that regard, instead of asking for an additional allocation he sought to look inward to his own vote”, the minister added.

When asked about the private schools involvement in the programme, Committee Chairman (Dr Mitchell) responded as such “The Chairman gave a negative response and stated that that is not an unpopular decision to take and he thought that was unconscionable to have persons who could afford to buy schoolbooks for their children to get it free.

“He further stated that he had no problem defending the issue because persons were asked to make sacrifice, basic services to persons were not provided, money could not be found to buy medication to save lives and therefore that would be unacceptable”, he said.

The NNP government says that focus will be shifted from textbooks to tablets over the next few years and will therefore place strong emphasis on teacher training in ICT.

The Mitchell administration also allocated $1 million to provide school uniforms for needy children and the transportation allocation, which was not disclosed, will be increased.

In addition, Government increased the School Feeding Programme from $2.5 million to $3.1 million and described it as critical to feeding the nation’s children who attend school with an empty stomach.

The Standing Committee also discussed and agreed to the return of the School Gardening Programme with the involvement of the Churches.

Heated exchange at press briefing

CheavronTuesday’s post-Cabinet press briefing by a Minister of the new Grenada government ended prematurely when reporters sought to question Communication & Works Minister, Gregory Bowen on issues relating to the Kuwait-funded road projects in Grenada.

THE NEW TODAY understand that the session ended in disarray when Kisha Alexander-Grant, the Press Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister intervened and directed the reporters not to fire questions on the Kuwaiti issue.

MTV’s Chearvon Benjamin was the reporter who asked Minister Bowen about information which the government had previously promised to give to back their allegation that Kuwait had suspended Grenada under the former National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of Tillman Thomas from the fund.

Minister Bowen had used the occasion of the Press Briefing to announce to reporters the names of persons selected to serve on several statutory bodies.

The source said that the senior government official was apparently trying to evade the question when veteran broadcaster, George Grant took the microphone and reminded him that the issue was raised at a previous press conference held by him.

He spoke of Minister Bowen indicating that the government had now gone pass the issue and that everybody already knew about the issue of the problem between the former government and the Kuwaitis.

The minister also said that the new government had already signed the new contract and was now moving forward with the Kuwaitis on the road project.

A disappointed Grant reminded the Minister that the media was trying to report the facts and needed the evidence from government about its claim.

Grant also reminded Minister Bowen that Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Timothy Antoine had promised to make the information about the allegation available to the local media on Grenada’s suspension from the Kuwaiti fund.

He noted that only the previous day Antoine was asked at a press conference about the information that he promised and the PS in Finance was dismissive of the media.

Amidst the heated exchanges, the Press Secretary intervened and reminded the assembled journalists in the room that the press conference was not about the Kuwaiti allegation but to deal with only matters arising out of the Cabinet meeting.

In response, Benjamin responded that the media were fully entitled to ask Ministers questions about other issues and they were expected to give answers once they were knowledgeable about the subject matter.

The MTV reporter was of the view that Minister Bowen fell into that category and that the media had a right to ask him questions about the issue since he had introduced it to them at an earlier press conference.

Amidst the heated arguments from both sides, the media personnel were seen picking up their belongings to leave the room.

Minutes later, some of the media personnel were seen approaching Minister Bowen and continued to engage him in a heated debate on the issue.

THE NEW TODAY was told as they left the room one member of the media was heard saying openly that they should really think about boycotting the next Cabinet meeting in protest against the manner in which the post-Cabinet briefings were apparently being closely controlled by the new government.

 

NAWASA donates to Grenada Patient Kidney Foundation

General Manager… FoundationGeneral Manager of the National Water and Sewerage Authority (NAWASA), Christopher Husbands on April 25 presented a cheque in the value of $1000.00 to the Grenada Patient Kidney Foundation.

During the presentation at the Authority’s Boardroom on the Carenage, Husbands said “for persons living with kidney disease, any form of assistance often represents a gift of life”.

“NAWASA is happy to be able to provide this contribution, which will further assist the foundation in improving the health care currently available to persons suffering from kidney related illnesses”, he remarked.

According to Husbands, kidney disease is not location specific and the donation made “provides an opportunity where we can touch lives beyond our main function of providing an essential service, to impact positively (on) the wider community through contributions such as this”.

The cheque was accepted by Treasurer of the foundation, Heather Sylvester who expressed gratitude on behalf of the Kidney Foundation.

She pointed out that support like that from NAWASA makes life more comfortable for a patient each day.

“We thank you for recognising the work of the Grenada Patient Kidney Foundation and look forward to your continued support”. Sylvester told Husbands.