Our Economy: A Blighted ‘Fig Tree’

The Grenada economy has fallen victim to the vote! After four decades of Independence, persistent poverty and steeple-high unemployment dog the society. But why are we besieged with this fragile condition? The short answer is that the dictatorship of the political parties, expressed through economic choices and political conduct, has caused us to ‘bung-away’!

A powerful indictment against regimes since 1974, with the temporarily promising exception of the PRG, is that there has been no serious guiding national development philosophy. The limitations of the political parties therefore became or have become the limitations of the society and the economy, as a whole.

In these circumstances, economic jargon such as growth in GDP, fiscal sustainability, primary balance, revenue surplus, debt to GDP ratio and all in that family provide comfort only to paid academics and politicians at ease with ‘tricks and traps’.

Fixing the ‘fiscal algebra’ under the Structural Adjustment Program is just that. The most important indicator of our future welfare is what is happening on the production side. Increased Government revenue derived from taxing the people and not new production is no indicator of progress. What we have is record revenues from record taxation!

Investment is critical for moving the production needle. Where are the investment resources to come from?

The servicing of high debts cripples Government’s ability to invest on the capital side. High taxation on incomes constrains investments by individuals. Private sector investment is conditioned on prospects for the economy as a whole, export competitiveness and cost of money, among others. Decent, face-up foreign investors are few, far and ‘in- between’. The situation is now so unhappy that for some GDP growth means growth in greed, decadence and poverty!

Between 1995 and 2008 the Government borrowed two billion dollars and spent most of it on roads! When that money was being spent, many told themselves that Grenada was doing well! The private sector was happy as was the small man, both of whom are dependent on Government spending. Today, they are taxing the people ‘two billion dollars’ to fix the problem of borrowing and spending without investing. The result, on both scores, is that future generations have been and are being ‘sold-out’, and virtual economic standstill.

The situation with the agricultural sector provides a clear example of a broken, if not dying, economic fig tree (system). Since the Revolution, Governments have been building Farm Roads with very little to show for it, especially since the late 1990s. The indicated cost of the current project is sixty million dollars, with most of the money borrowed from the Kuwaiti Fund. Where is the agricultural production to justify the policy?

Sadly, no one insists that better use be made of these loaned funds, for example, expanding the fishing fleet, building a suitably-scaled processing facility or a housing project. And while on agriculture, who would have imagined that in 2016 Grenadians would be celebrating the arrival of Ukrainian potato investors in the Spice Isle! What about those Ukrainian labourers working on an estate in Grenada? Globalisation, eh! Work permits, eh!

The political appetite for ‘gold-plated’ projects such as the proposed two billion dollars (US$) Grenada Resort Complex (Mt Hartman) is understandable for the political reason of helping to secure votes by delivering jobs. Recent developments (court action, not investigation) involving the main player in that project must affect its implementation prospects, at least in terms of realisation timeframe and investment sources. It also affects prospects for the Grenada economy, as a whole. No Minister of Government can deny this.

Fraud, whether classified as civil or criminal wrong-doing creates a stigma from which prudent people and countries normally beat a hasty retreat! If a man is in the business of raising big dollars for big projects, his image (good name and standing) must be his primary asset as it goes to trust, reliability and confidence. A negotiated pre-trial settlement is usually aimed at avoiding a permanent mark in the court records (a conviction or a finding of wrong-doing) against the one charged; otherwise red-flagged anywhere in the world. A second objective is to end negative international media coverage so as to minimise the ‘optics’ problem.

Mr. Forrester acting as employee or agent or associate of Mr. Liu told the public last Sunday that the matter is being settled. In fact he promised a settlement during the last week. Research indicates that settlement is an option the SEC exercises in some cases.

The implications for Grenada’s economy flow from the fact that Liu is a mobiliser of money for an important Government-endorsed project and that he, through an associated or directly-owned company, appears to be an agent under the Economic Citizenship Program. Whichever way, Liu is tied up with the Grenada economy and this information is known worldwide, especially by internet advertisement and general news.

Most people here may not know Liu as a human being, but will certainly now know of his reputation. The same is true of potential investors who were or are targeted by Liu to participate in the Grenada project. In this context, potential legal action against Liu for breach of trust, for example, will entail tracing of funds from the US to banks elsewhere, including Grenada and the likelihood of mixing of funds in accounts controlled by Liu. This is a real and serious matter for all Grenadians and the Government, as the investment integrity of the country is at stake.

The current official position of Government appears to be favourable towards Liu, basing itself on natural justice grounds i.e. due process, specifically. Taken to its logical conclusion, Government will be challenged to sustain that position if Liu arranges a settlement with the SEC. Simply put, will a settlement outcome to the case give investors confidence as to his trust-worthiness? Further, is Government saying it would have confidence in Liu if a settlement is reached?

Clearly, in the settlement scenario, the person charged implicitly or otherwise discloses his assessment that he would be hard-pressed to defend the charge. If he were confident of success he would hardly be interested in a settlement! A settlement brings certain benefits and relief (regarding quantum of penalties and interest) to the one charged with wrong-doing, but is not a confidence- booster.

Our economic misfortune is nothing to celebrate for partisan political reasons. When the economy fails, we all must drink the bitter bush and suck the sour seed. Better now that we seek to establish PLAN 2030 and to broaden our governance arrangements. Citizen John Rullow is right; the paradigm must be changed radically. We need new constitutional arrangements to diminish the dictatorship of the political parties, bring governance closer to the people, and settle responsibility for national development in its proper place, not the political parties.

The young people of Grenada should not be made to grow up in an un-productive ‘diva culture’. The enthusiasm of winning votes ought not to impose a price on the economy such that the latter becomes a fallen victim, a cursed ‘fig tree’!

William Joseph

The Grenada economy has fallen victim to the vote! After four decades of Independence, persistent poverty and steeple-high unemployment dog the society. But why are we besieged with this fragile condition? The short answer is that the dictatorship of the political parties, expressed through economic choices and political conduct, has caused us to ‘bung-away’!
A powerful indictment against regimes since 1974, with the temporarily promising exception of the PRG, is that there has been no serious guiding national development philosophy. The limitations of the political parties therefore became or have become the limitations of the society and the economy, as a whole.
In these circumstances, economic jargon such as growth in GDP, fiscal sustainability, primary balance, revenue surplus, debt to GDP ratio and all in that family provide comfort only to paid academics and politicians at ease with ‘tricks and traps’.
Fixing the ‘fiscal algebra’ under the Structural Adjustment Program is just that. The most important indicator of our future welfare is what is happening on the production side. Increased Government revenue derived from taxing the people and not new production is no indicator of progress. What we have is record revenues from record taxation!
Investment is critical for moving the production needle. Where are the investment resources to come from? The servicing of high debts cripples Government’s ability to invest on the capital side. High taxation on incomes constrains investments by individuals. Private sector investment is conditioned on prospects for the economy as a whole, export competitiveness and cost of money, among others. Decent, face-up foreign investors are few, far and ‘in- between’. The situation is now so unhappy that for some GDP growth means growth in greed, decadence and poverty!
Between 1995 and 2008 the Government borrowed two billion dollars and spent most of it on roads! When that money was being spent, many told themselves that Grenada was doing well! The private sector was happy as was the small man, both of whom are dependent on Government spending. Today, they are taxing the people ‘two billion dollars’ to fix the problem of borrowing and spending without investing. The result, on both scores, is that future generations have been and are being ‘sold-out’, and virtual economic standstill.
The situation with the agricultural sector provides a clear example of a broken, if not dying, economic fig tree (system). Since the Revolution, Governments have been building Farm Roads with very little to show for it, especially since the late 1990s. The indicated cost of the current project is sixty million dollars, with most of the money borrowed from the Kuwaiti Fund. Where is the agricultural production to justify the policy? Sadly, no one insists that better use be made of these loaned funds, for example, expanding the fishing fleet, building a suitably-scaled processing facility or a housing project. And while on agriculture, who would have imagined that in 2016 Grenadians would be celebrating the arrival of Ukrainian potato investors in the Spice Isle! What about those Ukrainian labourers working on an estate in Grenada? Globalisation, eh! Work permits, eh!

The political appetite for ‘gold-plated’ projects such as the proposed two billion dollars (US$) Grenada Resort Complex (Mt Hartman) is understandable for the political reason of helping to secure votes by delivering jobs. Recent developments (court action, not investigation) involving the main player in that project must affect its implementation prospects, at least in terms of realisation timeframe and investment sources. It also affects prospects for the Grenada economy, as a whole. No Minister of Government can deny this.

Fraud, whether classified as civil or criminal wrong-doing creates a stigma from which prudent people and countries normally beat a hasty retreat! If a man is in the business of raising big dollars for big projects, his image (good name and standing) must be his primary asset as it goes to trust, reliability and confidence. A negotiated pre-trial settlement is usually aimed at avoiding a permanent mark in the court records (a conviction or a finding of wrong-doing) against the one charged; otherwise red-flagged anywhere in the world. A second objective is to end negative international media coverage so as to minimise the ‘optics’ problem.

Mr. Forrester acting as employee or agent or associate of Mr. Liu told the public last Sunday that the matter is being settled. In fact he promised a settlement during the last week. Research indicates that settlement is an option the SEC exercises in some cases.

The implications for Grenada’s economy flow from the fact that Liu is a mobiliser of money for an important Government-endorsed project and that he, through an associated or directly-owned company, appears to be an agent under the Economic Citizenship Program. Whichever way, Liu is tied up with the Grenada economy and this information is known worldwide, especially by internet advertisement and general news.

Most people here may not know Liu as a human being, but will certainly now know of his reputation. The same is true of potential investors who were or are targeted by Liu to participate in the Grenada project. In this context, potential legal action against Liu for breach of trust, for example, will entail tracing of funds from the US to banks elsewhere, including Grenada and the likelihood of mixing of funds in accounts controlled by Liu. This is a real and serious matter for all Grenadians and the Government, as the investment integrity of the country is at stake.

The current official position of Government appears to be favourable towards Liu, basing itself on natural justice grounds i.e. due process, specifically. Taken to its logical conclusion, Government will be challenged to sustain that position if Liu arranges a settlement with the SEC. Simply put, will a settlement outcome to the case give investors confidence as to his trust-worthiness? Further, is Government saying it would have confidence in Liu if a settlement is reached?

Clearly, in the settlement scenario, the person charged implicitly or otherwise discloses his assessment that he would be hard-pressed to defend the charge. If he were confident of success he would hardly be interested in a settlement! A settlement brings certain benefits and relief (regarding quantum of penalties and interest) to the one charged with wrong-doing, but is not a confidence- booster.

Our economic misfortune is nothing to celebrate for partisan political reasons. When the economy fails, we all must drink the bitter bush and suck the sour seed. Better now that we seek to establish PLAN 2030 and to broaden our governance arrangements. Citizen John Rullow is right; the paradigm must be changed radically. We need new constitutional arrangements to diminish the dictatorship of the political parties, bring governance closer to the people, and settle responsibility for national development in its proper place, not the political parties.

The young people of Grenada should not be made to grow up in an un-productive ‘diva culture’. The enthusiasm of winning votes ought not to impose a price on the economy such that the latter becomes a fallen victim, a cursed ‘fig tree’!

William Joseph

Tax the polluters to pay for Healthcare

I know of no political Party that likes to be in opposition or enjoy their role as the opposition unless the government of the day is in serious trouble politically as well as economically and as the main Opposition the Party sees itself as the government in waiting.

Following the disaster of the last NDC government in Grenada – I stress the word disaster because the elected members/ministers ran our country like a bunch of no good revolutionists having no regards for democracy or the hard-working members of their party who helped them to get elected and the people who gave up their valuable time to vote for them. Not surprisingly the electorate at their first opportunity kicked all of them out.

Three years and some months on and as I suspect following a thorough review the Party under the Leadership of Senator Nazim Burke (the former Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister) has been trying (quite rightly) to re-establish itself.

The problem as I see it for Senator Burke is he is having difficulty shaking off the poor image and historical reputation of his previous government and don’t care how hard he tries; the people of Grenada are either not listening or they don’t believe him. It would seem the trust people had in him and his Party has all but gone.

I have said this before and I will say it again. Grenada needs a good hard working Opposition Political Party headed by a Leadership with vision who sees themselves as crusaders; people with a mission.

We need a Party to hold this government to account and as we are so often reminded 40 percent of the electorate that voted last time voted NDC. It must be heartache for most of that 40 percent of NDC supporters to see the Party they believe in turned into a media frenzy opportunist Party. A Party whose leaders continually dwell in Grenada’s political past rather than its future.

It is time these politicians realise that if Grenadians need a history lesson on our politics of yesteryears they can go on line and get a much better balance view.

Please tell us about 2016 to 2020 and beyond not about 1985. Our children that were born in 1985 are 31 years old. Some are mothers and fathers having children of their own and most likely struggling to make a living; they need you (NDC) to tell them how you plan to improve their quality of lives should they support you at the next general election. Tell them how you plan to do things better or different to this current government; with what resources and how soon following the election.

When I was in St George’s last year with the country in the middle of an industrial dispute with the medical profession (the dispute appears to be still on). The Opposition quite rightly supported the workers but in doing so demanded high wages, better working conditions and an increase in staff at every level of the profession but without telling the country how such demand will be paid for.

Considering the mess they (NDC) left the country in when they were kicked out of office, this was grossly irresponsible and opportunistic because it would seem that no one pays much notice to what Senator Burke or his political friends say or write.

The Senator appears to become rather frustrated and is not making much sense when raising political issues; he also appears not to learn anything from past mistakes.

Last year he was very critical of the government for increasing the tax on petroleum; the government hit back by asking him if he did rather see them put up domestic (household) rates. This year he has again attacked the government for adding the 90 cents tax on a gallon of petroleum quoting the cost of a gallon of petrol in other OECS states but not the actual tax per gallon.

I believe the government is right to tax the polluters. Those who damage the environment with toxic fumes throughout the land creating health issues which in the end puts great burden on our health services, should be made to pay directly and indirectly towards the cost of the running and maintaining a good quality health service free at the point of delivery to all.

Tax on petroleum is one way of raising the money needed to improve our hospitals. It’s an enabling resource allowing the government of the day the opportunity to employ more specialist consultants; qualified experience doctors; nurses; technicians and purchase and maintain the latest health service technology to operate a world class health service for our people.

If Sen. Burke is really serious about paying people working in our health service a better salary and recruiting more qualified staff to relieve the pressure on staff he must come clean and tell us how such improvement is to be paid for. If he can’t then he should shut up.

Industrial disputes within the public services appear to be on the rise and from what I can gather the issues are mostly about pay and working conditions. The government of the day has to negotiate and be prepared to meet at least some of the demands put forward by the unions representing these workers which will no doubt include a pay increase of some sort. A further increase in tax on petroleum to cover some of the cost seems likely.

The NDC persistently complain and highlight the Mitchell-led government going to the IMF. Indeed it is their theme tune; they also criticised the collaborated economic pressures to get the debt ratio down giving the impression all the while that it will not work and it was bad for Grenada but so far they have not put forward an alternative or tell the people what they would have done differently to rid the country of this heavy debt burden and this in my view is their biggest problem.

They are critical of government but they are unable to provide any credible alternatives.

Sen. Burke’s latest venture is Grenlec. Reading his published statement on the issue gives the impression that he (Burke) is not only a Director but a Spokesman for the company.

Grenlec is a monopoly no doubt about that and monopolies are bad for consumers. When oil prices were high every month Grenlec send out a bill it had something called fuel cost adjustment which was an added cost on your bill.

Grenadians were paying the highest price per Kilowatt hour for electricity in the English-speaking Caribbean. We are perhaps still paying the highest price because the price we currently pay per Kilowatt hour does not reflect the fall in the price of oil on today’s market.

Having read the Senator’s reported statement – does he speak for the people of this country? I think not. Grenlec has been trying to frighten the people of this country and the Senator appears to be supporting them.

The company in my view seems to have crossed the line of being an industry generating, transmitting and distributing electrical energy to one involved in local politics and I regret to have to say the press statements they have released and their adverts are disgraceful and unbecoming.

I am supportive of the government because I honestly believe a lot of what they have proposed is right and is in the best interest of consumers in the long run.

My only hope is that both the government and the company will at some point settle their differences and start working in partnership for the greater good of all consumers.

Winston Strachan

CIBC FIRSTCARIBBEAN launches new mobile banking app

CIBC FirstCaribbean has launched its new user-friendly mobile banking app for smartphones which is yet another innovation by the regional bank to provide customers with banking solutions that fit their lives.

Trevor Torzsas - Managing Director of Customer Relationship Management and Strategy

Trevor Torzsas – Managing Director of Customer Relationship Management and Strategy

“The new Mobile App joins a series of innovations introduced to help the bank’s customers determine the banking experience they want – in essence control over how and when they bank is entirely in the hands of the client,” said Trevor Torzsas, Managing Director of Customer Relationship Management and Strategy.

Grenada’s Country Head, Nigel Ollivierre said the app “was something our customers have been asking for and the initial feedback since its launch has been excellent”.

“We are giving our customers here in Grenada additional options when banking with us”, he remarked.

Torzsas said the new app “proves that CIBC FirstCaribbean is the bank that fits seamlessly into our clients’ lives”.

“All the enhancements that we have put in place over the past two or three years are part of our promise to deliver innovative products and services that truly meet our clients’ individual needs”, he said.

“Banking that fits your life – that is what we are ultimately aiming to provide to all our customers and our products were the obvious place to start and our Mobile Banking App is just one of those innovations,” he added.

The CIBC executive recalls that the bank “already offers one of the best internet banking services in this region; and this combined with the new Mobile App and the improvements we are making to our ABM fleet means that our clients need never set foot in a banking hall, unless they’ve come to apply for a loan…and even that is now possible online!”

Much like its internet banking, the new app, accessed via Android, Apple, Blackberry and Windows devices, affords users the convenience of checking their account balances, transferring funds, paying bills and locating branches and Instant Tellers™, all from their mobile device.

Torzsas said the app was a “significant step in our being able to add value for our customers who can now do their banking from the palm of their hand”.

He went on: “Today’s individual increasingly has a lifestyle that is fast-paced that affords them little time to spend in a queue in the banking hall. Our Mobile Banking App will forever change the way they interact with the bank. Combine this with our online application process and paperless statement delivery and you have a best in class digital banking service for the tech-savvy who are always on the go.”

According to Torzsas, the bank which has almost 250 years of combined experience in the region, will continue to invest in a strong line up of services such as its recently launched chip and pin technology for its merchant clients to ensure the highest standards of security.

It will also be moving to the same secure chip and pin technology later this year for all its credit card clients in order to give an even greater degree of protection against any attempts at compromising accounts.

Torzsas said the bank will also continue to invest in building a foundation to service its retail, wealth, business banking and large corporate clients by continuing to build close relationships with them as “we drive a client centric approach to everything we do”.

The banking official also said the bank was deeply committed to the communities in which it operated and engaged in a number of community outreach initiatives, youth and education, health and wellness and community relations, at the local and regional level which are funded through the bank’s charitable arm – the FirstCaribbean International Bank Comtrust Foundation Ltd.

One of the major regional health initiatives is the annual Walk For the Cure cancer fundraiser and awareness walk which takes place in October across the bank’s regional footprint.

Patterned after the bank’s parent company CIBC’s annual Run For the Cure, the regional event now in its fifth year has so far raised over USD$800 000 and has set a target of USD$1 million this year.

“The walk attracted over 20 000 walkers region-wide last year and the numbers are expected to be considerably higher this year as well as the money raised as the individual fundraising committees in each of our territories are hard at work to ensure we meet and surpass our $1 million target this year,” Torzsas said.

NNP always bring a special type of investor!!!

I do not  understand how every time the NNP gets in office the party seems to be attracting  a special type of investor – a type of people whose names are involved in not many good things.

They always attract shady  and questionable individuals who in most cases deprive people off their monies and who are not clean but often defraud people of their hard  earnings.

It is always the same tune being sung – no form of  background checks on these type of fraudsters.

The NNP said how things would have been done differently when they get back in office. Isn’t it ironic that they continue to find the same type of investors that most country should  or would stay away from?

In NNP’s quest and desperation for money and investment for our country they don’t care how much of Grenada they may have to sacrifice.

It is  erroneous to believe that the NNP has been a changed body of people. Look at the slate of candidate and look at who is still leading them – look at the Number one and Number two men of the NNP party and we will see if is not the same men who are completing almost seventeen years in office at the helm of the same party and government.

Could you imagine that we were taking this Chinese investor at face value without understanding why he would want to invest two billion dollars into a little island so far south that cruise  ships even find it difficult to service during the off-seasons.

In my view Nazim Burke was right when he made the observation about that so-called investor.

Things are already coming to light. We have to be very careful about the type of investors we are bringing in because this country has too much limited resources due to bad deals and devious and corrupted elements.

That must never be again. If we are not careful, we will be known as a safe haven  for corrupted investors.

The current scenario does not surprise me because the writing was on the wall if we look back at  the NNP track record.

My only problem is that Grenadians are being taken advantage of and to me they are not learning their lessons.

And do you know what is sad -, the first thing the NNP echoed was that the NDC was opposing every thing that they are trying to do. But look at their record – how Grenadians could continue to trust the NNP?

In my opinion this NNP government is a very clandestine government that loves secrecy and love to keep information from the public.

This government is not a transparent government. This recent development is not looking good for Grenada again. While our prime farm land are now being exacerbated in Mt. Hartman without proper checks and investigation.

Could you imagine that is the same  location which the NNP gave to another so-called developer depriving taxpayers and the state of Grenada some seven million dollars. There are more questions than answers.

 Kennedy Jawahir

Those vessels on the Carenage!!!

Your assistance is sought by way of space in your newspaper in order to draw to the attention of whoever is responsible for the proper maintenance of the side walk along the sea side of the Carenage.

The surface of the side walk in some parts have deteriorated and is in much need of repairs. As for the part facing the sea, I could hardly find a word that can really refer to its terrible condition.

All I can say is that there are bits of corroded steel sticking out of the broken concrete posing possible danger to users of the area.

Beside the aforementioned, it boggles my mind when I see most of the drain outlets, from the area of the Nutmeg Restaurant to the Fire Station which were/are intended to allow water to flow into the sea, especially during the rainy season, enabling pedestrians/motorists to experience as little as possible water on the road so that all may be more comfortable when using the road, are blocked as a result of the vessels, fishing trawlers, Rhum Runner among others using the outlets by way of chains, cables, rope being passed from the sea side through those outlets, and are fastened permanently to bits of pipe, iron, wood or what have you, causing blockages and damage.

Who is responsible for the proper maintenance, not only of the sidewalk, but also the sea walls – the Ministry of Works and or the Grenada Ports Authority? Are they prepared to compensate users who may suffer possible major damage as a result of their negligence?

Cognisant of the importance of the fishing trawlers and vessels, which by way of their trade bring much needed revenue to our impoverished economy; could they not be placed elsewhere to do their repairs rather than being tied up along the Carenage for very long periods causing much inconvenience to pedestrians and the trucking of goods to and from the boats which ply the Grenada, Carriacou, Petite Martinique, St. Vincent and the Grenadines trade?

Look at the congestion which takes place there – the problems, the ambulances and Fire Trucks encounter at times when called into service.

If some of those trawlers are placed elsewhere, the vessels would have more berthing space enabling the trucks to have more space to better facilitate the loading and off loading of goods.

It is past high time that all these matters are properly addressed.

Simeon Green

GTA signs MOU with IAM jet centre

The Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with IAM Jet Centre, a private jet service company operating at the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) at Point Salines.

IAM Jet Centre representative  signs MOU  with  Rudi Grant – CEO of GTA

IAM Jet Centre representative signs MOU with Rudi Grant – CEO of GTA

GTA sees the agreement, signed last week Thursday, as providing it with another opportunity to increase visitor arrivals and visitor experience and to promote Grenada as the destination of choice.

Under the deal, customers of IAM Jet Centre will learn of Grenada as a destination through its website and other formal engagements while IAM Jet Centre will be featured on Grenada’s website as a service to experience.

IAM Jet centre which has been operating in Grenada for over two years, offers elite travellers a first class experience when they arrive in Grenada as well as when they are leaving.

To create a smoother transition before getting on and after getting off an aircraft, IAM Jet Centre offers in-house immigration and custom clearance, in-house security screening, free WIFI, as well as showers for travellers who need to have a bath before they leave the airport.

This service is provided not only to private jet customers but also to British Airways First Class passengers and Virgin Atlantic Upper Class passengers.

Manager of the Centre, Thomas Harper explained to the media the services offered by his company to travellers.

“For our St. George’s suite arrivals programme, our guests are met immediately as they get off the aircraft. Our Concierge is there to meet them, drive them over to the Jet Centre, give them a nice refreshing cold towel and a nice cool drink and they’re cleared by Immigration in-house. After that, once we are able to clear their bags they are cleared by Customs. Once that is complete, they are able to move very quickly to their waiting vehicle which is parked just outside the Jet Centre and whisk them off to their hotel or their mega yacht.

“…Customers who use our St. George’s Suite departure service are met at the airline check-in counter immediately after they check in. We drive them over to the Jet Centre, they are able to be screened privately by our in-house security team and they get to sit, relax in the lounge, and enjoy the amenities. As the airline wait to board, we then take them either directly to the aircraft or to the boarding gate in preparation for boarding.

According to Harper, this kind of service provides a good impression of Grenada and the arrangement signed with the GTA will only increase this aspect of travelling.

“As far as the commitment we are making to the GTA, we are well established in the international aviation community and especially in the business aviation side of things where we have luxury travellers”, he said.

“As far as moving along with marketing our products, we are very keen to market Grenada…It’s useful to us to be able to show the people who are going to be using our services, our customers and our partners to promote Grenada as a destination”, he added.  GTA CEO, Barbadian Rudy Grant said the signing of the MOU allows for strengthened partnerships between the private and public sectors and this he said is important as the authority seeks to enhance visitor experience on the island.

“It allows us to pool our resources in terms of our cooperative marketing and it allows us as well to share intelligence as it relates to the markets in which we function.

“…IAM therefore, is a valued partner …one of the things that we are seeking to do at the Grenada Tourism Authority is to ensure that we enhance our service standards and create customers service excellence as we welcome visitors to Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

“The very high standard of excellence which is provided by IAM Jet Centre is the level of excellence which Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique must provide as its standard for all visitors coming to the Tri- Island State.

In recent years, tourism has become the leading earner of foreign exchange for the island and a major provider of new jobs.

Good luck to the PM and to Grenadians

Grenadian Class, I beg to differ with your belief that Prime Minister Keith Mitchell is on the wrong track embarking on the “Donald Trump brand of politics” to help resolve Grenada’s expanding woes which, in my opinion, is sure to yield positive results while ending the “status quo” brand of politics associated with traditional principles.

There is certainly nothing traditional about the principles and common values facing our world nowadays since entering the new millennium under globalization and the new world order, which changed the way politics and politicians operate. Revolutionary change is underway globally so Grenada is not excluded, fortunately.

The youths of Grenada will adapt to this change as young people almost always do, eventually. Education remains high on the list for ensuring their social and economic successes among the new “millennials” in this century.

I am confident that the prime minister will receive the support from both his party and the opposition party alike for the great success of moving the country forward. The Trump agenda can certainly be modified and tailored to suit the specific needs of Grenada, but using the new concept to ensure its success.

I am puzzled about why agriculture is dead in Grenada! Also, can the Tourist Bureau assemble a dance troupe for the entertainment of tourists during the tourist season? The Watusi dance is quite entertaining when done in the traditional Watusi costume, not to mention the rhythm and beat of this exclusive African tribal sound.

Daily entertainment of this sort can be a boon to the tourist industry.

Additionally, why not create an art museum for viewing along with adding enhanced local and international cuisines in the same vicinity; dining and entertainment go hand in hand. Both the north and south sides of the Island will benefit greatly from this endeavour. Please give it a try, Mr. Prime Minister.

I still love Grenada as much as I did growing up even though I have been badly treated by Grenadians. I guess it’s who will always be in my heart.

Good luck to the PM and to Grenadians on embarking on their new venture.

Joan Commissiong

Hotels are suffering!!!

This government’s main focus prior to and during the election campaign was to help the private sector, and to empower the poor and vulnerable.

But unfortunately after three years of NNP in power things have gotten worse. Take a look at the seventy businesses mainly private sector that have closed down in recent years.

What is also really sad is the hardship, which is facing the hotels apart from the big three, especially the smaller ones.

In my humble view, the government should concentrate on assisting these hotels rather than trying to construct new ones.

We cannot fill all of Grenada hotels room and the tourism sector is called the engine of growth.

The government is taking the tourism sector for granted. Our hotel workers are still being rotated as soon as the month of May comes around.

We should be very worried as I have mentioned before. We are not pro-active, we only react when certain development unfold.

Cuba is rapidly opening up and as we all know that Cuba will attract millions of American tourists, which will adversely affect Grenada’s tourist trade as this is one of Grenada major source market.

We should take heed of the sentiments echoed by two of the Caribbean major tourist destinations, the Bahamas and Jamaica.

We are depending too much on Sandals to do marketing for this country. Government must find ways and means to enhance the airlift and concentrate on more marketing  as a tourism destination.

We have heard all these talk about meetings being held to ensure cruise ship calls in the off-season but up until now I am not seeing anything in place for improving the sector in a serious way.

Is this the government that promised to bring back hope – if I am to use the NNP’s own words.
Most of these new hotels, which are presently under construction, may stand as a white elephant if Grenada continues on the current path.

Look at what Grenadians have to pay for a gallon of petrol – the highest in the region while oil price jump down to an all time low.

Is this the government that pledged to listen to the cry of the people.

Let’s stop fooling ourselves because we will see more and more hotels closing down.  Let us not forget that the NNP has a failed policy – there were no major plans for taking this country forward.

In retrospect, the NNP has only amassed mounting debts on this country to be paid by taxpayers. Look at the twenty-eight taxes – nothing about stimulating the productive sector.

It is clear to see that Grenadians have gotten poorer under this government than four years ago even when we were experiencing global economic hardship.

There are more beggars  in our streets today while more businesses have shut their doors. That’s the same government that turned around and blamed Nazim Burke for bad management.

Grenadians, please open your eyes and see. It is only now Grenadians getting to realise what they have lost – as they look back at programmes, which benefited tremendously the working class people of this country like the free schoolbooks and the free barrels.

More and more people are now calling Uncle Tilly’s name.

Kennedy Jawahir

A father’s role:

What exactly is the role of a father?

The role of a father is to contribute to the growth and development of a child. A father’s role is to make sure that his child is safe and does not lack any of the little things and necessities of life.

Father is the one who should try his best to give you happiness andprovide you comfort with small and big things and it’s the time to appreciate the things our father did for us on this Father’s Day 2016.

A father’s role is as important as a mother’s role because it has a profound influence on the social, emotional and intellectual development of a child.

“A father has to be a provider, a teacher, a role model, but most importantly, a distant authority figure who can never be pleased.

Otherwise, how will children ever understand the concept of God?”

Stephen Colbert