The Senate – a “youthful” appearance

The Upper House of the Grenada Parliament has a very youthful look following the swearing-in ceremony for seven new Senators including four females last Friday at the Trade Centre at Morne Rouge.

Governor General Dame Cecile La Grenade (middle) sits with members of the new Parliament at the ceremonial opening

Three of them are new government appointed Senators – President of the Youth arm of the ruling New National Party (NNP), Judd Cadett and female Attorneys-at-Law Kim George and Cathisha Williams.

Speaking to reporters after taking their oaths, the new entrants into the Upper House all expressed their desire to fully represent the youth of the nation and to ensure that all opportunities that can be afforded them be made available.

According the Cadett, many young people in the country voted in the March 13th General Election for a better future and he intends to use his time in the Senate to advance their cause.

“It’s a long time they (the young people) have been asking for young people to come to the forefront…we have been given the responsibility and I think we have to make full use of that responsibility…”, he said.

Cadett pointed out that in his capacity as NNP youth leader in the last five years the issues at the forefront were job creation, and opportunities for young persons in education and that will continue to be his focus.

“…I strongly believe that a lot of young people would have come out and participated in the last election in the hope for a better future; therefore, we have to ensure that that is done – we have to continue to provide jobs, sustainable jobs, we have to ensure that we give young people the opportunities”, he said.

In the case of young female attorney Williams who was hailed by re-elected Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell as one who came “highly recommended” to serve on the government side, she said that she is encouraged by what she knows can happen in the Senate and it is her intention to add her voice to the issues to be discussed.

Williams said: “There is a strong presence of youth as well as women (in the Senate) and I hope that that is a reflection of that kind of legislative impact that this Parliament will have. As highlighted in the Throne Speech, I know that the National Pensions Bill and the National Health Insurance will be two of the issues that will be debated but I am looking forward to the deliberations concerning those bills but as a youth myself I will be interested in anything that concerns the youth…”.

She highlighted the need for better education, as well as access to further scholarships and opportunities as well as the creation of employment for many of the youth who are qualified and out of school and are looking to spend their time to contribute to nation building.

In addition, Williams said that being a woman, she hopes to make sure that “gender issues will be on my agenda”.
FemaleAttorney Kim George said she would use the opportunity given to her to serve in the Senate to try and give the young people of Grenada a voice in the Upper House.

“I am humbled mostly because it is an opportunity to represent a generation of people who has an excellent opportunity to participate in governance and to have their voices be heard as we forge a path forward that is in keeping for all Grenadians and that represent the aspirations of our people”, she said.

“I am looking forward to issues relating to gender, to our development overall, to youth of course, (and) to continuing the economic growth”, she added.

Youth arm representative of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Ron Redhead told reporters that he is ready for the challenge to work on behalf of the young persons in the country especially on issues of drug use and the Imani Programme.
Redhead said: “Some of the issues that I believe that I want to tackle have a lot to do with the Imani Programme and enhancing it. Second to that, the question of young men involved with drugs and drug use, that sort of thing, that is something I am very concerned about. The other issue is Consumer affairs, Consumer rights protection”.

The other Congress representative selected to serve in the Senate is Kerryne James, a student of St. George’s University (SGU), who sought to give assurances that the young people of Grenada can expect to be fully represented in the Senate.
She thanked the NDC for giving her the opportunity to serve in Parliament’

She said: “First my party introduced me to the Senate…and I say thank you to them. We are a party about putting people first, putting young people at the decision-making process, decision-making table and I am today, just another epitome of that. There are many issues that we need to address in Grenada at this stage. I don’t think that the young people are represented fully and myself and my other colleague Ron Redhead, we are determined to debate and speak about all of the issues, if possible, attending to the people of this tri-island state.”

The representative for the Farmers and Fishermen, Dr. Dunstan Campbell spoke of the need to show that Oil and Gas which is now being promoted by the Mitchell-led NNP regime would not be able to sustain Grenada’s economy.

“There are lots of opportunities in agriculture. I mean agriculture as most people know it used to be the lead sector in the economy but it’s sliding very badly- it is sliding at a time when we have rural unemployment growing so there seems to be a disconnect between what is happening and what can happen.

“So, we have a lot to do and we are losing out agricultural lands to housing and to industrial development and there is a great need to stop that because if we don’t, oil and gas would not be a solution to our problem and we see what is happening in Trinidad (with) this oil and gas. (Trinidad) is having real economic problem in terms of their foreign exchange, so we need to rely on Agriculture always.

“…Agriculture has provided the gateway for most of our families to get out of poverty. We have to keep that gateway, we have to sustain it and we have to take care of it. So, it’s a big task, it’s a really big task out there and with the help of the farmers and fishermen we can do it.”

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