Lotto gives $100, 000.00 for Carnival

Chairman of the National Lottery Authority (NLA) Board of Directors, Lingham Samuel made the presentation to Chief Executive Officer of the Spice Mas Corporation, Jennifer Woodroffe

The National Lottery Authority (NLA) has handed over EC$100, 000.00 to the Spice Mas Corporation (SMC) to assist with the staging of Carnival 2012.

The authority on Tuesday presented the cheque through the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Lingham Samuel to Chief Executive Officer of the corporation, Jennifer Woodroffe.
During the brief ceremony, Samuel announced that next year’s contribution to SMC will be bigger than what is given this years.

The NLA was set up primarily to contribute to the development of sports, culture and nation building in Grenada.

Samuel said that authority would like to make the partnership existing between the two state bodies become a living organism so that all aspects of carnival can become successful.

He stressed that NLA would like to see SMC get involved in development initiatives such as workshops and seminars which the Authority will support as part of a commitment to build on the partnership.

Samuel used the occasion to address recent allegations of sexual harassment at the authority by a senior member of staff.

Last month, Attorney-at-Law, Ian Sandy and Pastor Gerald Keens Douglas were appointed to investigate the allegations.
The inquiry came days after the powerful Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU) took to the Carenage, St George, in protest action demanding for justice for affected NLA workers.

TAWU called for the immediate suspension of the alleged perpetrator, and other members of the Board of Directors.
The individual at the centre of the controversy was asked to proceed on leave for the duration of the inquiry.

According to Samuel, despite negative publicity which engulfed the NLA as a result of the allegation, the Authority was still able to see increases in sales, as well as pay out more prizes and engage in more game draws.

He conceded that the allegations resulted in a level of distraction and unsavory painting of individuals and the Authority itself, which is not good for business but assured all that the NLA Board of Directors, is focused on progress and is not concentrating on the negatives.

Samuel said that the NLA has seen a significant increase in business and assured the corporation that the authority would continue to give 100% support to its development.

In response, Woodroffe welcomed the assistance and NLA’s commitment to support the development of initiatives geared at making the Spice Mas Corporation a success.

“The development of carnival must happen and it’s good to know that NLA is behind us,” she said.

Woodroffe noted that SMC, previously known as the Grenada Carnival Committee, has always been thankful to the Lottery Authority even at times when they (NLA) were not recognised for their contributions and support.

The SMC Executive Officer promised to ensure that the money received would be used to pay subventions to carnival stakeholders.

Acting Manager of NLA, Damian Darbeau attended the cheque presentation ceremony that took place at the Grenada National Stadium at Queen’s Park, St. George’s.

Teenager Knifed to Death

Akim Monah, alias Ali Barber – charged with murder

An 18-year old mechanic from Belmont, St. George’s is the country’s sixth murder victim.

Samuel Gabriel was allegedly knifed to death by Akim Monah, alias Ali Barber, from Grand Anse Valley, St. George’s.

A release from the Community Relations Department of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) said that Gabriel received a single stab wound underneath the left breast at the hands of Monah.

Samuel Gabriel – stabbed to death at a Carnival Show

The incident happened at about 2:00 a.m. last week Friday at the weekly Carnival City activity which takes place at Garfield’s Summer Lime at the Kirani James Boulevard.

Gabriel was rushed to the St. George’s General Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

A high level source told The New Today Newspaper that both men were involved in a heated argument which, in the end, turned out to be fatal for Gabriel.

Immediately following the incident, the police issued a “Wanted Man Bulletin” as the 20-year old Monah attempted to evade their noose.

However, he was captured the following day and taken into custody by Officers attached to the Criminal Investigation Department.

Monah, a tradesman by profession, was charged for the offense of murder by unlawfully causing the death of Gabriel.

The Grand Anse Valley resident who is being represented by Attorney Peter David was remanded to Her Majesty’s Prisons at Richmond Hill, St. George’s by Chief Magistrate Tamara Gill on Monday.

He is due back in court on July 20.

Support from men in St. John’s

“First of all on behalf of all of us present here today, I want to give the Ministry of Health a big high-five for bringing such a program to us in St. John. We think it’s very important and valuable to us and we know that from the turn out here today, we are ready to work with you to better provide for our healthcare needs.’’

Those were the words of former national football player and local football coach, Dexter George as he was speaking at last Tuesday’s Men’s Health Consultation in Gouyave, where more than 100 men received an array of healthcare services.

The event was the first in a series of consultations for men, planned for the western and northern health districts by the Ministry of Health.

During a clinical screening session, male clients were offered prostate examination services, blood pressure and blood sugar tests, weight and height checks, dietary services, stress management tips, body mass index checks and HIV/AIDS counseling and testing.

On completion of the screening exercise, the men participated in a two-and-a-half-hour-long consultation where they were informed of the Ministry’s plans, programmes and services and the benefits to be derived from their utilisation.

Participants were also encouraged to have their say on health-related issues that affect them and, most importantly, on how men’s health services can be improved.

The main facilitator of the consultation was Dr. Francis Martin, the Ministry’s Director of Primary Healthcare Services who looked at chronic diseases and the findings of a men’s health survey that was carried out last year in St. Andrew.

Dr. Martin used the opportunity to encourage the male folks to take charge of their health and well-being, referring to the doctrine that “prevention is better than cure’’.

“Men, you are in control of your health,’’ he emphasized. “Therefore, take charge, manage and control your diabetes, your blood pressure and sugar and your diet, and please exercise as often as possible”, he told the gathering.

The Primary Healthcare Director disclosed that although strokes are common in Grenada, prostate cancer is the leading cause of death among the nation’s men.

He called for positive lifestyle change that must be supported by early screening and detection, saying this can prevent and delay the onset of prostate cancer and – in some cases – reverse the disease.

“So, the onus in on you. And it is because of our commitment to service delivery and your health and well-being, we are here today and we will continue to support you,’’ Dr. Martin said.

The participants also commended the Health Ministry for its initiative and agreed that the activity was a major success and also described it as a very valuable event.

They also encouraged the Ministry to make the exercise an annual event and pledged their support towards the initiative.

GRENLEC CEO Retires

Grenlec Managing Director Vernon Lawrence – bowing out of the company

After a decade at the helm of Grenada Electricity Services Ltd. (GRENLEC), team members at the utility bid Vernon Lawrence goodbye on Wednesday, 20 June.  He will retire from his post as Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer effective 9 July 2012.
Lawrence’s top priority was people and under his leadership much attention was given to building the Company’s human capital, improving customer service and enhancing community relations.

Paying tribute to Lawrence, the Chairman of GRENLEC’s Board of Directors thanked him for successfully steering the Company through turbulent times and particularly his leadership in the post Ivan period.  Significantly, he provided the sound leadership needed to restore electricity to the island in record time after the severe damage caused by Hurricane Ivan.  G. Robert Blanchard went on to speak about the Company’s growth during the last ten years.  Among the achievements, dramatic improvements in reliability and service enhancement have transformed the utility’s customer relations.  Simultaneously, decreases in losses, efficiency improvements and cost containment have helped GRENLEC to weather the turbulent financial times that marked the period of his leadership.

“We will miss Vernon greatly”, Mr. Blanchard stated. “He led the effort to bring GRENLEC to the forefront of Caribbean utilities. For this, everyone associated with energy in Grenada should be grateful. We wish Vernon, Sandra and their family all the best in the next phase of their life.”

As Lawrence prepares to depart, the Company’s renewable energy programme, which started with an interconnection programme, is on the verge of celebrating the start of the Carriacou Wind Farm project at Top Hill, a partnership between the European Union, the Government of Grenada and GRENLEC.

Lawrence, who came to GRENLEC with more than 30 years of experience in the electricity industry, joined the Company in 2002 as General Manager.  He assumed the post of Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer in 2004.  A proponent of corporate social responsibility and service, he served stints as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Caribbean Electric Utility Corporation (CARILEC), Vice President of the Grenada Chamber of Industry & Commerce and a Rotarian.

Thanking his team members for their commitment and support, Lawrence noted, “I believe we have bowled and batted a good innings and I am preparing to begin another spell in a different match…I want to change my focus and do some other things at my own pace.  I have been privileged to work with a wonderful and capable team and as I depart, I am proud that the team can carry the mantle and continue to build the organisation”.

Chief Engineer, Clive Hosten will serve as the interim Chief Executive Officer.

May Rally not paid for by taxpayers

Political Leader of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Tillman Thomas says that taxpayers did not pay for his May rally.

“The rally was not funded in part or in whole by the Government of Grenada”, he said in response to a question on the Order Paper put forward by Opposition member Elvin Nimrod during the last sitting of the House of Representatives last week Tuesday.

Prime Minister Thomas held a major public meeting at the Grenville Car Park on May 20 after his four-year old government managed to survive a no-confidence motion brought by Opposition Leader, Dr. Keith Mitchell.

The Congress leader in his capacity as prime minister announced the rally in his address to the nation in May, in which he invited the nation to attend and to give thanks.

“As an act of appreciation for the fervent prayers and expressions of support for the government especially in the past two weeks, I, in my capacity as Prime Minister, will be holding a national thanksgiving rally at the Grenville Car Park on Sunday 20 May from 3:00 PM.  The entire nation is invited to join us in giving thanks and acknowledging our gratitude. I thank you”, he concluded his address.

Controversy surrounded the rally shortly after the PM’s announcement as a group of rebel within the NDC Executive disclosed that they were informed about the event during a party meeting.

The rebels were at pains in pointing out that the meeting had nothing to do with the NDC.

The question of payment for the rally surfaced after allegations that the bill was being paid by taxpayers.

However Finance Minister Nazim Burke dismissed this as false adding that the rally was paid for by private people sympathetic to the Prime Minister.

PM Thomas was in a jubilant mood given the size of the crowd and he told supporters during the public meeting: “Many of you were apprehensive about your government…… however, I was never in doubt because I firmly believe that God is in full control. So today, we give thanks to the Almighty for taking us thus far.”
Since taking office in July 2008, Congress has been dogged by infighting with two factions at work – one remaining loyal to the Prime Minister and the other is said to be controlled by former Tourism Minister, Peter David.

Majestic Thursday: Beauty with a purpose

Organisers of the National Queen Show are intent on raising the nation’s awareness to breast cancer.

At a recently held press conference that was hosted by the Spice Mas Corporation (SMC), Member of the Board, Brenda Baptiste announced that a partnership has been formed with the Pink Ribbon Society as its community service platform for the show which would feature one representative from each of the seven Parishes including Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

The queen contestants would be featured at a tea party during which they would highlight the community service platform of breast cancer.

Another event geared at raising the breast cancer awareness is dubbed “pretty in pink.”

This would take the form of a fete to promote the show and give the contestants a greater visibility.

Baptiste promised that Majestic Thursday which takes place on August 9 will take a different format.

She said unlike the belief that it is a show where young women going on stage and displaying their physical beauty and other attributes, it would be “beauty with a purpose.”

The traditional queen show competition that includes the costume, talent, swim wear, evening wear and interview would be a celebration of “all things women.”

Within the segments of the show, women entertainers from Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago would be featured.

Brenda Baptiste – beauty with a purpose

They include Calypso Rose, Allison Hinds, Nadia Batson, Pamela Courtney, Lady Cinty and Nikoyan Bain.

No Central Committee inside NDC

Arley Gill – issued the Press Release without the Prime Minister’s knowledge

‘The NDC has no CENTRAL COMMITTEE’.

That’s the statement of Prime Minister Tillman Thomas as he reacted to a press release issued by a faction within his ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) headed by former Tourism Minister, Peter David, a leading figure in the ill-fated 1979-83 Grenada Revolution.

The faction is currently in charge of the National Executive of Congress and battling with the Prime Minister for influence in the affairs of the government.

The Central Committee was the all-powerful body that controlled the affairs of the 1979-83 People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) of late Marxist Prime Minister, Maurice Bishop and decided to strip him of his powers following a bitter internal leadership feud.

When Bishop was executed on Fort Rupert, reverted back to its original name of Fort George on October 19 1983, it was reported then that it was the Central Committee that gave the orders to a group of soldiers to carry out the killings.

Although David was not a member of the Central Committee, he held the position of Captain in the People’s Revolutionary Army (PRA), a vital component of the People’s Armed Forces.

This was the group that seized control of the State after the slaying of Bishop and set up the short-lived Revolutionary Military Council (RMC) to run the affairs of Grenada.

NDC General Secretary Peter David – instrumental in the planning of the beach fun-day

The RMC, headed by General Hudson Austin were removed from power when U.S and Caribbean troops staged a military intervention on October 25, 1983 to restore democratic rule of law on the island.

Following is the full text of the release issued by Prime Minister Thomas in reaction to an earlier statement put out by the David-led faction that currently controls the NDC National Executive:

I make this statement in my Constitutional capacity as Prime Minister and as Political Leader of the National Democratic Congress, in response to a Press Release issued yesterday, Sunday, by the PRO of the NDC.

As Political Leader of the NDC, I am able to say that Gill’s release was issued without my knowledge and approval.

While it is true that political parties contest elections and that victory enables a party to form a Government, the provisions of the Constitution of Grenada are supreme in every respect.

Accordingly, once a Government has been formed, that Government owes a duty of accountability to the electorate and the public.  The party has no such obligation.

The NDC Constitution is very clear on the relationship between Government and party.  It stipulates that “an NDC Government must pay regard to the views of its party”.  Clearly, it does not allow for the Government to be directed or instructed by the party in its DECISION-MAKING.  The obligation is to give consideration to proposals made by the party.

It would be a case of indifference and downright disrespect for a Government NOT TO ACCOUNT to the people after four years of SERVICE.  How could any self-respecting Government prefer to hide from the people and merry itself at this time in a Cook-up, fun games, instead of reporting on its stewardship?  There will of course be opportunities for this kind of event but July 8th is not a fitting day for such.

The public needs to hear from the Government on its Anniversary.  Anything short of this would amount to disrespect for the culture and the people.

I do not propose to attend to the issue of the unfortunate division affecting the NDC at this time, as evidenced by the statement put out by Mr. Gill, as PRO of the NDC.  For the present purposes, I will limit myself to say that it is inconsistent, intriguing, dishonest and lacking in good sense and sound judgment.

The Party created by the founding fathers of the NDC is one steeped in Parliamentary Democracy. The NDC has no CENTRAL COMMITTEE.

Government is faced with many pressing issues of national importance.  At the present time, our primary focus is on ensuring that we have a successful Carnival and that we make progress in addressing the existing financial and economic difficulties.

The Government will have a major presentation in Gouyave on Sunday, under the theme “PRODUCING OUR WAY TO PROSPERITY”.  Our call is to serve the people.  Our duty is to be obedient to that call.  Our task is to build a better Grenada for all.

PM Thomas: The statement is dishonest

Prime Minister Tillman Thomas – I am advancing the NDC Agenda

Prime Minister and Political Leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Tillman Thomas has labeled as dishonest a Press Release issued by the party’s Pubic Relations Officer (PRO), Arley Gill.

The release spoke about a special event in celebration of the fourth anniversary of the Party’s July 8th, 2008 general election victory, which takes place on Sunday at La Tante Beach.

Addressing the media on Monday at a hurriedly put together Press Conference that was attended by a number of Cabinet Ministers, the Prime Minister said that as Political Leader of the NDC, the release was issued without his knowledge and approval. (see Page ….. for full statement)

The Prime Minister said that funding for the activity that takes place outside the Gouyave Nutmeg Pool is from funds raised by the NDC.

“It is an NDC Administration, we’re mobilising the NDC base to be at that rally to give an account of our stewardship,” he told reporters.

Prime Minister Thomas disclosed that since June 21, a circular was issued about the fourth anniversary rally.

He promised to point out the persons who are advancing the NDC agenda on Sunday and at other subsequent occasions.

Some of the Government Ministers who were at the Prime Minister’s Press Conference

“The evidence is there. There is an NDC agenda, which I am advancing. There are those within NDC with another agenda as was stated clearly by the MP (Member of Parliament) for the Town of St. George in Parliament that his sentiments are with the motion on the vote of no confidence,” he said.

Minister of Information Senator Glen Noel who also addressed the media on the issue of funding for Sunday’s rally indicated that one of the main duties of any political party is to support its government.

Sen. Noel said the NDC raised funds and handed them to the Political Leader for clearing bills associated with the previous rally that took place at Grenville Car Park.

He disclosed that supporters of the government have been asked to assist in raising the finance needed for Sunday’s rally.
Sen. Noel appeared confident that the broad membership of the party who have been clamouring for the rally would be in Gouyave on Sunday.

He said it was only at last Thursday’s National Executive Meeting that a discussion about the fun day took place.

“This rally was planned long before. The previous executive meeting was on 17th May, and at that meeting no discussion of the activity in La Tante was discussed. And the only other executive meeting that was held after that was Thursday gone, and that was the first time it raised its head, and this activity (the rally) was in the news before,” he remarked.

In recent years, the NDC has been split into two factions with one remaining loyal to Prime Minister Thomas and the other supportive of General Secretary, Peter David who resigned as Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation a few months ago citing major differences with his leader and the fiscal policies of the government.

Political parties stage major events

Three major political events are planned for Grenada on Sunday involving the two major political parties on the island.

Prime Minister Tillman Thomas and his supporters in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have announced the staging of a public meeting at Gouyave, St. John’s in which a major statement is planned to mark the 4th anniversary of their ascension into power.

Former Finance Minister, Anthony Boatswain, Parliamentary Representative for St Andrew North-East, Roland Bhola and NNP Public Relations Officer Winston Garraway

Another faction with Congress, led by former Tourism Minister, Peter David is holding what is dubbed as a “Fun Day” at La Tante beach in St. David’s.

However, the main opposition New National Party (NNP) is using Sunday to hold its 25th Annual Convention at the St Andrew’s Anglican Secondary School (SAASS) under the theme, “Reviewing Our Past, Charting Our Future. NNP – The Only answer”.
The party led by former Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell is making an attempt to grab back the reigns of power in the 2013 General Election following its humiliating defeat at the July 08, 2008 polls.

Speaking to reporters Monday at a press conference, Parliamentary Representative for St Andrew North-East, Roland Bhola, gave assurances once again that the NNP is going to do things different if re-elected into office.

“Yes we have made mistakes, we have had shortcomings in our time in government and we have stand up and looked at it and we’re going to be a different innings,” he said.

Bhola, the General Secretary of the party, stated that NNP has looked at their past and one of the concerns identified was the issue of productivity that has to be addressed.

“We have sat and looked at the present situation, we have analysed what this present government is doing and we have asked ourselves what would we have done if we were in government and we know that there are many things… that we would have done different….”, he said.

“…There are many things we will do different if we return to office… I will not say in details what we going to do but one of the things I can tell you that must happen in Grenada when NNP returns to office is we must see greater capital injection into the economy, both local and foreign, private and public,” he added.
During its 13-year stay in government, the NNP government was often criticised for guaranteeing millions of dollars to foreign investors who did not perform.

The biggest was over 20 million guaranteed to U.S investor, E.J Miller who drew down on the money and left the island.
Presently, Grenada is paying back the millions owed to a bank in Belgium that guaranteed the funds for Miller to engage in the so-called Ritz Carlton hotel project at Mt. Hartman.

According to Bhola, the NNP is confident of winning the upcoming general election in 2013, saying that the ruling party under the leadership of Prime Minister Thomas “has outlived its shelf life”.

He said the NNP has thought long and hard about the theme to be used for Sunday’s convention and concluded the one chosen was the most appropriate to use since it is their belief that Grenada needs rescuing, bearing in mind that to move forward they must look back at what has happened over the years.

The Opposition member said they believe the Congress government is not answering the call of the Grenadian people and that the opportunity is right for the NNP but they must be prepared to do better.

He said: “The rally on Sunday the 8th will have a different flavour …we’ll be looking now at the way forward, we are going to be talking about hope for Grenada, we are going to be talking about rescuing, we are going to be telling you about our vision”, he said.
“Our mission is to rescue this country and we’ll give you the vision of the New National Party and the way forward…for years to come”, he added.

Sunday will see the election to top NNP executive positions followed by the party’s public rally at the Telescope playing field in St Andrew.

$235,000.00 Drug Burst at Cherry Hill

Cherry Hill Fishermen, Myron Lett and Shane Fletcher – caught with 105 pounds of marijuana

Police have made a major drug burst in Cherry Hill, St. George’s – an area known for the use of the illegal substance.
A team of police officers from the Drug Squad and the Rapid Response Unit of the Royal Grenada Police Force, last week Thursday, confiscated three fine bags containing a large quantity of marijuana on a beach in the area.
The 105 pounds of drugs, with an estimated street value of $235,000.00, were taken in as soon as it was being landed by a fishing boat.
Myron Lett, a 30-year old fisherman who was allegedly receiving the marijuana was detained by the policemen engaged in the operation.
The lawmen immediately went after another man, 28-year old Shane Fletcher who was trying to escape with the boat.
The two fishermen were charged with possession of illegal drugs and trafficking and appeared before Chief Magistrate Tamara Gill at the St. George’s Number One Magistrate’s Court on Monday and were each granted bail in the sum of $120,000.00 with two sureties.
Magistrate Gill ordered the Cherry Hill residents to surrender all their travel documents, and to report to the Central Police Station on the Carenage every Monday and Friday between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
The suspects are being represented by attorney-at-law, Peter David who has returned to private practice after deciding to quit the Tillman Thomas-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) government as its Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation.