SOS for Ship Grenada!!!

The evidence is mounting each and every day that our government is financially broke to the point that it is being embarrassed on a daily basis to make payments to just about any and everyone.

The creditors of most of our EC$2.4 billion debt are complaining that the government is giving them a run around and not wanting to meet with them in good faith to discuss the non-payment of monies owed to them since March last year.

The most embarrassing was the decision of the Court of Appeal Justices to refuse to come to Grenada to hear a number of matters due to a large sum of monies owed to them by the State over the years.

This one took the nation by surprise in light of public pronouncements made by Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Senator Kenny Lalsingh that the one-year old Keith Mitchell government had been making substantial payments to regional organisations that were not paid by the former National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of Tillman Thomas.

Mr. Lalsingh should have never been taken at face value by anyone who knows his reputation over the years, first with the original NNP of Herbert Blaize and then with the early Congress government of Sir Nicholas Brathwaite.

THE NEW TODAY is not giving much weight to Mr. Lalsingh’s claim that the planned five star hotel for the old Silver Sands hotel site on the Grand Anse beach will start construction within the next six months.

Checks made by this newspaper reveal something quite different. If the hotel materialises at all, it will not happen within the time frame given by Minister Lalsingh.

The other bit of embarrassment for the government is its failure to honour the commitment given to make retroactive payments to civil servants by this month-end.

It is not clear what implication this will have for the initiative undertaken by government to get the support of the three trade unions representing public sector employees to accept a wage freeze for the entire duration of three years for the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP).

The Public Workers Union (PWU) is already accusing the government of reneging on the promise to make the payment on the agreed date. This brings into sharp focus the key word TRUST.

If the unions begin to distrust the government on promises being made then there is great risk in the two sides reaching agreement in good faith on the way forward in resolving the severe fiscal situation facing the country.

THE NEW TODAY would also like to revisit an issue that was carried a few months ago by this newspaper about alleged sexual abuses by three senior members of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) against a Woman Police Constable who has since resigned from the force.

The Acting Commissioner of Police, Mr. Winston James announced that he had ordered the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to look into the allegations which undoubtedly caused a great deal of embarrassment to the force.

This newspaper is forming the impression that the police are now involved in a massive cover-up of their own investigation.

It appears that the CID communicated to the Acting Commissioner of Police that as part of the investigation, a certain person connected with this newspaper was interviewed.

This is far from the truth and nothing but a blatant lie. This newspaper calls on the CID to state the date and place where any such interview took place. What other lies might have been told to Mr. James as part of this clear attempt to protect the alleged perpetrators.

THE NEW TODAY renews its call for an independent and experienced person to be given a brief by the RGPF High Command to fully investigate the allegation of sexual misconduct including rape against a Superintendent of Police.

If the acting Commissioner of Police does not see the wisdom in doing so then the Prime Minister in his capacity as Minister of National Security should rise to the occasion and take the lead to ensure that nothing is done to interfere with due process. The law must be allowed to take its own course – no cover-up should be condoned.

As a matter of fact, THE NEW TODAY has credible information that since the initial reports were printed in this newspaper about the sexual molestation case involving the three senior police officers, that another retired female police officer has come forward to tell her own story.

The information passed onto this newspaper is that the officer was raped one night by a member of the Special Branch who tricked her into going on an assignment with him.

There are reports of several of our police women being pressured against their will by senior officers in the force to engage in sexual acts with them for all kinds of reasons – especially recommendations for promotions in order to get increased salaries.

The victim in the case involving the three senior police officers is willing to co-operate with an independent investigation and to give the name of the senior officer who allegedly raped her at a house in St. John’s that was used by the officer in charge of the Western Division.

The impression is being given that the police are more inclined to go after persons who are perceived to be opponents of those now in charge of State power.

Where is GNOW, the Conference of Churches of Grenada, and other civil society groups? Why are they silent on the plight of this poor and exposed WPC?

There are those who would want to take issue with our statement but the fact of the matter is that money clearly run things in this country.

If the victim had the financial resources to hire a top notch lawyer in the city, all kinds of legal papers would have been filed in the Supreme Court Registry by now to bring the alleged perpetrators to justice.

Where are the voices of those who like to beat their chest and claim they support the poor and disadvantaged? Where are they now? We certainly cannot hear them at this point in time.

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