Grenada prefers “dialogue” in Venezuela crisis

Grenada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Peter David has reiterated a call that was often made during the ill-fated 1979-83 Grenada Revolution for the Caribbean to be recognised as a Zone of Peace.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peter David – the region should remain a zone of peace

David made the call in St. George’s at a press conference against the backdrop of a power play between the United States, China and Russia in the uncertain situation in Venezuela where President Nicolas Maduro is under pressure to remain in office in Caracas.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó has been trying to woo the army to help bring about regime change in Caracas but Military chiefs have so far remained loyal to Maduro.

Guaidó who declared himself interim leader of Venezuela in January is backed by the United States and over 50 countries while China, Russia and Cuba continue to support Maduro.

Minister David restated Grenada’s stance for there to be dialogue in the ongoing Venezuela crisis and for the “Montevideo Mechanism” to be used to solve the problem in the oil-rich South American republic.

“The Montevideo Mechanism is a mechanism established between Ecuador, Mexico and now CARICOM. The efforts that we are undertaking are toward dialogue. We believe that the resolution to the problems in Venezuela will come from dialogue. Grenada has maintained that position – our Prime Minister has said time and time again that dialogue is the way, drums of war must not be beating loudly, that we should continue to talk. We believe that this dialogue is the only way that the people of Venezuela will find some kind of resolution to their conflict,” he said.

According to Minister David, this is important for peace to reign in the region.

He said: “War is easy, peace is difficult particularly when you feel the wind is at your back you think you have the high road. I must say that since CARICOM took the decision to advocating dialogue that it has been put on the table – countries like Canada for instance, have now said publicly that they are interested in dialogue. We believe that the region should remain a zone of peace and I am optimistic but I generally I’m an optimistic kinda guy.

“…I am optimistic that Venezuela, Venezuelans and even those persons who have been beating the drums of war will come to the position that peace is the only desirable resolution with respect to Venezuela. And we referred to Libya and you know everybody thought it was easy – overthrow Gaddafi, remove Saddam Hussein – the proof has proven to be much more difficult and Libya continues to deteriorate, Iraq is still in conflict.

“We don’t want that on our borders. It is not a question of whether or not you support Maduro, whether or not you support Guaido – it’s a question of whether or not you support the region remaining a zone of peace. We cannot build a wall around Grenada – all we want to do is remain peaceful in Grenada”.

The Foreign Minister also offered an explanation for Grenada’s absence at a recent video conference meeting in Barbados between Guaido and some members of Caricom.

He said the position adopted in the region is that Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and St. Kitts which holds the current Chairmanship of Caricom will lead the region on the Venezuela situation.

“…We in Grenada believe that CARICOM has appointed a three person team comprising Trinidad, Barbados and the Chair of CARICOM, St. Kitts, and we believe that those three governments, those Prime Ministers or their designates are the ones to speak for CARICOM with respect to Venezuela. That is why in the meeting in Barbados – with the opposition in Venezuela – they attended and we expect that they would be the ones doing all of the negotiations on behalf of CARICOM,” he told reporters.

$26,000 Found on Vincentian Suspect

A Vincentian national who was caught with $26, 000.00 in his possession has been remanded to the Richmond Hill Prison after a charge of money laundering was slapped on him.

Vincentian national Pavel Patterson – remanded to prison on money
laundering charge

The suspect, 20-year-old Pavel Patterson was charged by police following his arrest Sunday on the sister isle of Carriacou.

A police source told THE NEW TODAY that police discovered the money on Patterson in his back pack, shortly after disembarking the Osprey ferry.

The suspect appeared unrepresented at the St. George’s No. 2 Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, before Magistrate Tahira Gellineau, who took the decision to remand him to prison due to strong objection by Police Prosecutor 539 Bing Joseph who expressed fears that the non-national might abscond if bail was granted to him.

However, Patterson, in his own defense told the court that he has papers with an “indefinite stay stamp” on it, which he received in “Carriacou” where he has been living for the last “two (2) years.”

The accused also informed the court that he has a baby on the way, which is expected next month.

The Police Prosecution team told the court that they had no knowledge of the information provided by Patterson and that the matter is scheduled for hearing in the Northern District and requested that Patterson be remanded to prison until April 15, which is when the Carriacou court is due to have its next sitting.

Information reaching THE NEW TODAY is that the Vincentian was spotted by law men acting very suspiciously as he boarded the Osprey on the Mainland for the sister isle on Sunday.

According to an informed source, Patterson was in the process of taking another boat from Carriacou to Union Island when he was apprehended by police.

When the suspect spotted reporters with cameras attempting to take his photograph outside the court, he quickly raised his handcuffed hands and used the documents he was carrying to hide his face.

During Wednesday’s court sitting, Magistrate Gellineau granted EC$20, 000.00 bail to two (2) men, who appeared before her on a joint drug trafficking charge.

The suspects – Kerry Joseph of Calliste, St. George’s and Mt. Rose resident, Troy Charles – were apprehended by police in the New Hampshire/Willis area on Monday, after 11 pounds of marijuana valued at just over EC$24, 000.00 were found during a search of the vehicle they were traveling in.

Kerry Joseph and Troy Charles were granted bail in connection with $24, 000 drug bust

According to an informed source, the suspects were traveling from the River Sallee, St. Patrick area with the illegal substance, which was found nestled between the driver and passenger seats, when they were intercepted by police.

Both Joseph and Charles were unrepresented when they appeared before Magistrate Gellineau, who decided to grant them bail in the face of no objection from Police Prosecutors.

However, the court ordered Joseph to report to the South St. George Police Station and Charles to the Sauteurs Police Station every Wednesday between 6.00 a.m. and 6.00p.m.

Both drug suspects are due to reappear in court on May 20.

Grenadian Killed in Brooklyn

A Grenadian was killed early Wednesday morning in Brooklyn in what police in New York are describing as a hit and run accident.

Linda Douglas – killed in Brooklyn accident

The woman has been identified as Linda Douglas who is a sister of local Attorney-at-law George Prime.

Douglas was struck by a flatbed truck at Nostrand and Flatbush Avenues in Brooklyn while on her way to work.

A shocked George Prime told THE NEW TODAY that he was called and notified about the accident involving his sister who was on her way to work in Manhattan.

He said the details about the accident are still sketchy.

According to the lawyer he was forced to cancel an engagement that he was preparing for after hearing of the fatal accident.

This newspaper understands that Douglas was fatally struck by an 18-wheeler flatbed truck in a hit-and-run around 4:50 a.m. Wednesday.

A report said that 67-year old Douglas was attempting to cross Flatbush Avenue and was in the crosswalk.

She was working as a nursing assistant and was just weeks away from retiring from her job at a nursing facility in Harlem at the time of the crash.

Douglas was driven by a van service to the intersection where she was killed while trying to cross the street.

The Grenadian woman who went to live in New York City nearly 50 years ago, was a wife, mother of two grown children, and a grandmother of one.

It appears the truck driver took off northbound on Flatbush Avenue after the accident.

Hood defends government’s position on Ewart Layne appeal

Former Attorney General Cajeton Hood has said that the Keith Mitchell-led government had taken a non-interference approach in the court matters involving the attempt by former revolutionary convicted murderer Ewart Layne to seek admittance to practice as an attorney at the local Bar.

Ewart Layne – plans to look at other avenues to seek admittance to the local bar

In an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY newspaper, Hood said that he had been representing Layne from “the inception of his High Court claim” and that when he became Attorney-General after the 2013 general election, he decided to recuse himself from the case.

Layne’s application for admittance to the Bar was heard in 2013 by then female High Court Judge Justice Margaret Price-Findlay who ruled that he was not a good person of character to be admitted to the bar.

Layne has 10 convictions for murder and one for manslaughter in connection with the October 19, 1983 execution of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, three Cabinet colleagues and several others following a bitter leadership feud within the 1979-83 Grenada Revolution.

The former Attorney-General who returned to private practice in October 2017, said he did not want to get involved in a conflict of interest and took the decision to “recuse” himself from Layne’s High Court matter.

“I was Attorney General at that time so I couldn’t be involved and I recused myself. That means that the file regarding his (Layne) application was not dealt with by me (but by) the Solicitor General (Dwight Horsford at the time) and other members of the Legal Affairs – AG department dealt with the matter”, he said.

“… What people need to understand is this and I see that confusion all the time in matters relating to lawyers and clients – lawyers act on instruction of clients, if a client says to you don’t go ahead, you can’t go ahead because there is no personal involvement of the lawyer,” he added.

Hood further explained: “Now as Attorney General, I act on behalf of the State of Grenada…the Executive. If I advise that we are going right (and) the Executive says, in spite of my advice, we (are) going left, then I have to go left (because) that’s what they have decided (in spite of my advice). They are the clients, they make the decisions”.

According to the former AG who was the principal legal advisor to government, the Mitchell-led administration did “not contest Layne’s application at the level of the High Court and the reason is because the Executive at the time felt (that) it was a matter of law that was to be determined by the judge.”

“Nobody raised any hue and cry about whether or not he (Layne) is entitled or should be called to the bar…The Bar supported it (Layne’s application) in general…at High Court, nobody resisted the application. Nobody. There were several members at the bar who showed up at the High Court to show support”, he remarked.

However, Hood acknowledged that the sitting judge, Justice Price Findlay rejected the application and Layne appealed at the Court of Appeal on two (2) points of law, namely whether or not a judge had discretion to exercise in the matter and whether or not that discretion was properly applied.

He noted that it was only at that stage the Mitchell government decided to get involved in the Layne matter following a request from the Court of Appeal.

“That file (the Layne case) was sent to the Attorney General’s Chambers and the Executive decided that they would put in an appearance at the Court of Appeal on the issues of the law – whether or not the judge exercised her discretion and whether or not that discretion should be disturbed or interfered with.”

Hood indicated that it was not him but then Solicitor General, Dwight Horsford who filed five (5) submissions which had the effect of supporting Price-Findlay’s position.

“…It was not a question of the Executive saying call Mr. Layne (to the bar) or don’t call Mr. Layne. So, the Executive’s position in my view was a proper position to adopt because the court asked the Attorney General for its input with respect to the law”, he said.

According to Hood, the view submitted by government before the Court of Appeal is that “if it were an exercise of discretion by the judge it was an exercise of the judge that the Court of Appeal should not disturb because it was not an exercise of discretion that was outrageous or that no judge at all would have decided upon and that was the issue at the Court of Appeal.”

Former Attorney General Cajeton Hood – government only got involved upon the request of the Court of Appeal

He also sought to explain the position taken by the Mitchell government not to take part in Layne’s matter at the level of the London-based Privy Council.

He said the Privy Council asked the AG Chambers for submissions and the position taken under the then leadership of Dr. Lawrence Joseph is that “no, we are not sending in anything, you go ahead”.

“…It is not that the government was siding with (Layne) and I noticed an article in your paper that seem to suggested that the government was giving a greenlight to Mr. Layne…and that needs to be clearly stated – the government never at no point in time got involved in the question of Mr. Layne’s call (to the bar) – that must be clearly understood before the public”, Attorney Hood told this newspaper.

Layne, a former Lieutenant Colonel in the disbanded People’s Revolutionary Army (PRA) was among 16 former government and army officials who were sentenced to death by hanging in 1986 for the brutal slaying of Bishop and several others in a trial presided by former President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Sir Dennis Byron.

The decision was later reduced to life in prison until the end of their natural lives by the 1990-95 Congress government of the late Nicholas Brathwaite.

Attorney Hood recalls challenging the decision in the High Court, and taking the matter all the way up to the Privy Council.

He said: “…The Privy Council held that what the (government) did was unconstitutional (and) removed the sentence and sent the matter back to the High Court of Grenada so that they would be properly sentenced”.

After serving 26 of his 40-years sentence, Layne was released from prison and came out with degrees in law from years of studying.
Speculation is rife that last month’s ruling by the Privy Council could bring an end to Layne’s attempts to be allowed to practice law in Grenada.

Steelband woes in the Spice Isle

“Selfishness, greed, and maliciousness”.

Those were the words used by the Grenada Steelbands Association (GSA) in launching a broadside against a rival faction that has moved to unseat the incumbent President, Jason Skeete.

Jason Skeete – facing a revolt from the large bands

The GSA sent a stinging letter to Culture Minister, Senator Nolan Cox in which it described the breakaway faction as engaging in unethical, unprofessional, deceitful, and immoral acts against the steelband body.

An attempt was made last year to unseat Skeete in a vote of no-confidence brought by several members of the large bands in the country like Republic Bank Angel Harps, and Commancheros.

Skeete is known to get support from a majority of the small bands and one of the large bands – New Dimensions.

The letter, dated March 1, warned the senior government minister that there would be serious repercussions if any official recognition is given to members of the breakaway faction.

As a public service, THE NEW TODAY has decided to reproduce the letter sent to Sen. Cox:

Sen. Hon. Norland Cox

Minister for Youth Development,

Sports, Culture and the Arts

Level 3

Ministerial Complex

Botanical Gardens

ST. GEORGE’S

Dear Sen. Cox

Re: letter from the undersigned members of the Grenada Steel Band Association.

This letter comes to you by way of instructions handed down to me as President of the Grenada Steel Band Association, from duly registered members of the association.

A few months ago, a notice was sent to all members of the association, informing of the completion of the relevant documentation to have the Grenada Steel Band Association registered as a “Non-Profit Organisation”, and an “Incorporated Company”.

These instructions were given to the Executive Committee, at a General Council meeting of the Association. Additionally, it was also instructed to the President Mr. Jason Skeete, by the then, Acting Chief Cultural Officer, Ms. Jones, to have the association properly registered.

Subsequent to those meetings, documents were prepared with the assistance of a lawyer, and signed by five authorised and duly elected executive members, namely: Mr. Jason Skeete – President, Mr. Victor Philip – Vice President (Ag), Mr. Alister James – Treasurer, Mr. Brian Lindsay Campbell – PRO, and Ms. Shermella Lee – Trustee.

A name reservation was also done at the Intellectual Property Office.

Stephen Greenidge – identified as one of the so-called rebels

In the wake of the attempted hijacking, by some members, this process was halted for a few weeks, with the efforts of returning the Association back to a state of normalcy.

Before the documents were filled to complete the process, a group of members, acted without the knowledge of the Executive Committee, unknown to the General membership, and without any authority whatsoever, and registered the organisation with separate documentation.

The names registered on this document as was given to us by the Intellectual property Office are:

* Mr. Brian Sylvester, Manager of Republic Bank Angel Harps

* Mr. Stephen Greenidge – Executive Member of Flow Commancheros

* Mr. Michael Robertson – of Food Fair/ Suzuki River Road Pan Wizards

What is striking to us was, apart from the fact that they were not authorised to act in this manner on behalf of the Association, these folks make up a list of the most recent Past Executive Committee of the Association, who have been leading the Association for years, and even though during their period they were instructed to have the association duly registered, nothing was ever done.

We view this action as unethical, unprofessional, deceitful, and immoral.

Members were also contacted and instructed to resign and walk away from the association as we would have known it for the past Thirty years and to come over to join “their Association”. This was categorically refused by those contacted, and as such we saw the further need to construct this letter.

This disruptive group has continued to constantly disrupt the flow of the organisation, and it has become unbearable to us now. It is against this backdrop we have decided to collectively take the following uncompromising positions;

(1).     We will NOT walk away from the Association as we know it for the past Thirty years,

(2).     We continue to recognise Mr. Jason Skeete as the President, and the duly elected members of the Executive Committee, as our constitution dictates.

(3).     We will not engage in any activity that will go against the directive and dictatorship of our constitution.

(4).     We have not, and will not be part of, and support in any way, any other competing and or rival organisation(s) to the Association as we would have known it for the past Three decades.

(5).     We are prepared to take full legal actions, against those members and anyone else associated with any further attempts to disrupt the Association in any way whatsoever.

(6).     If this rival group is recognised in anyway, by any arm of the Government or the Ministry of Culture, we are prepared to refrain from any further activity, hosted by, and or endorsed by any such body or organisation.

In closing, we will like to state that for decades we have tried to put the Grenada Steel Band Association in order and to have fair, competent, and professional leadership. What we have seen in the past year from Mr. Skeete and his executive is a testimony to that which we have been longing for.

Our entire 2018 in pan was a resounding success, we had an executive committee that was present, professional, potent, and they delivered. We are not prepared to have this eroded any further, because of selfishness, greed, and maliciousness.

We will also like to say a very special thank you for your support and commitment to Pan, and we look forward to more of what we achieved in 2018.

Yours respectfully,

The Undersigned bands

 

Mr. Lester Prime

Manager, Melody Warriors

 

Mr. Mathew Joseph

Manager, Florida All Stars

 

Mr. Robert Cadet

Manager, Pan Ossia                                                                                      

 

Mrs. Sandra Patterson

Manager, Grand Roy Pan Angels

 

Ms. Lisa Chase

Manager, New Dimension                                                                                                                                                  

 

Mr. Nigel Gibbs

Manager, Melodic Symphony

 

Mr. Ignatius Bayne

Manager. Pan Lovers

Déjà Vu

In 1998, the Court ruled that Government breached Richard Duncan’s Constitutional right and constructively dismissed him when he was asked to take indefinite leave from his post of Accountant General. Keith Mitchell decided to victimise Duncan because he was “too fresh”. Duncan was a young man, with more than 20 years still to serve in the public service. Although far from retirement age, because of Mitchell’s vindictiveness, Mr. Duncan has been receiving our tax dollars as a pensioner for over 20 years. Today, he is still a man of working age.

Fast forward to September 2017; same vindictive Prime Minister, different public servant and same cost to us the taxpayers. Through sheer reckless disregard for the financial cost of his actions, Mitchell again decided to dish out the Duncan treatment on Cabinet Secretary, Gemma Bain-Thomas. Like Duncan, Mrs. Bain-Thomas is a fairly young woman with many years still to serve.

On 22nd September 2017, the Court of Appeal found that the spiteful decision to transfer Mrs. Bain-Thomas from the post of Cabinet Secretary, a post protected by the Constitution, to the non-established post created just for her, was a breach of section 85(2) of the Constitution and therefore null and void. Mrs. Bain-Thomas was consequently awarded damages in excess of $650,000.00 plus interest and costs for breach of her constitutional rights.

In addition, on March 12th 2019, the Court awarded Mrs. Bain Thomas a further $75,000.00 plus interest and costs as vindicatory damages. The Court said that as the right violated by Government was a Constitutional one, it: “adds an extra dimension to the wrong”. The vindicatory damages were awarded to Mrs. Bain-Thomas: “…to reflect the sense of public outrage, emphasise the importance of the constitutional right and the gravity of the breach, and [to] deter further breaches.”

Just as criminals are jailed as a means of deterring them from committing further crimes, so too, the court has awarded vindicatory damages against our Government to deter Keith Mitchell from further malicious and vindictive acts against his own people.

Mrs. Bain-Thomas will now receive in the region of $1 million when interest and costs are factored in plus, she will qualify for her full pension when she reaches 60 years. Grenadians, how long will you keep paying for Keith Mitchell’s wickedness?

Just as we’re preparing to go to press with this article, news reached us that former Commissioner of Police Willan Thompson, won his case against Government for the same spiteful and vindictive acts by Mitchell. We predict that he will be awarded even more damages than Mrs. Bain-Thomas and none of that will come from Keith Mitchell’s $19 million. We, the people will keep paying for Mitchell’s wickedness as long as we keep electing him.

It is interesting to note that the NDC in its two terms in office, have not recorded a single case of worker victimisation or Constitutional violation against it. On the other hand, the costly cases mentioned here are just three in a long list under Mitchell’s belt.

The people of St. Mark are certainly also having their own case of déjà vu at this time.

In 2003, a poultry farm initiative of a group of locals was hijacked by Mitchell, Boatswain and their henchmen. In the end, we the taxpayers had to pay US$6.9 million because of their wicked, reckless acts. Now in 2019, the people of St. Mark are shafted again with the ill-fated shrimp farm. More details on these will be given in another issue.

With Mitchell and his lawless bunch, it is always déjà vu nightmares; and so it shall be until we get rid of them for good.

(The above reflects the views of the main opposition National Democratic Congress)

Finally, Grenada to fund LIAT!!!

At long last the Government of Grenada has decided to inject much needed funds in regional carrier LIAT.

Grenadians will recall the obstinate attitude of Prime Minister Mitchell in relation to the subject matter. His infantile tantrums about LIAT and its management often left regional leaders scratching their heads about an attitude that defies reason.

He even set preconditions that must be met before Grenadian taxpayers money can be invested in the regional airline. He ranted and raved about flight itinerary, operational costs, managerial incompetence to name a few.

At the same time he committed the country’s funds to pay subvention to foreign airlines and refused to do so with a regional carrier which provides airlift to the island for more than fifty years uninterrupted.

Such is the character of the man who believes that the world revolves around his whim and fancies.

His argument that the airline needed private sector style management was diminished by the fact that Carib Express and Caribbean Star came and went. They were both private sector managed operations. However LIAT stood the test of time.

The present Chief Executive Officer of the airline, who is a long standing senior employee, must be quietly amused by the about face decision of Dr. Mitchell. So what has changed Mr. Prime Minister? The constant changes of senior operating officers continues, uneconomic routes still exists on their schedule and the carrier remains cash-strapped.

Local taxes does not assist the cause of lower fares and the cost of inter-regional travel continues to be prohibitive.

Moreover, many Grenadians are wondering whether there is fiscal space available to write multi- million dollar cheques to the regional carrier. To date the government has refused to tell the nation how much money will be plowed into LIAT.

This whole episode demonstrates what we have to contend with in these islands where elected leaders become increasingly more capricious and egotistic in their discharge of their public duty. Such duty is being treated as if our islands have become their private estate and personal property where the greater good is treated with scant respect.

The aspirations of our Caribbean people for regional unity and cooperation stand predominate. Nothing more, nothing less.

Standby Man

Education Minister: Teachers are marking the SBAs

Teachers have apparently ignored the directive of the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) on the “Work to Rule” and have marked the School Based Assessments (SBAs) of students for the 2019 exams.

Minister of Education, Emmalin Pierre

According to Education Minister, Emmalin Pierre, a total of 19 out of the 22 secondary schools on the island have submitted their SBA scores by Monday to the online platform provided by CXC and that she anticipated that by Tuesday the Ministry of Education will get the remainder.

Speaking to reporters at Tuesday’s post-Cabinet Press Briefing, Minister Pierre said she has not received any reports of teachers refusing to mark the SBA’s submitted by students.

“I am not aware of any case where we’ve had a teacher who said I am not marking SBAs or I refused to mark SBAs – Teachers have been extremely supportive. We have not had any SBAs delivered to the Ministry of Education, as I said before, all indications points to the fact that teachers have marked or probably wrapping up marking and entering and I believe we can safely say that,” she told reporters.

The senior government minister attributed the conscience of teachers coming into play as the reason for the decision to carry on with the marking of SBAs despite the warning from GUT.

“As a matter of fact, I believe, after working with a child for five years and even if you boil it down to the two years (for) Form Four, Form Five, I doubt this teacher would like to see that child go to no grade because I did not mark his SBA – (I don’t think they) will want to leave with that on their conscience for the rest of their life, I doubt,” she said.

Minister Pierre took the opportunity to commend the teachers for working with the students to do their exams in 2019.

She said: “I want to use this opportunity therefore to recognise all of the teachers and principals who have continued to perform their duties as it relates to the marking of SBAs and the entering of the scores. I have to view it as extremely unfortunate any person who would discourage a teacher from marking of SBAs or entering the scores of SBAs, recognising how important SBAs are to the success of students academically”.

Minister Pierre stated that the ministry’s position on the SBAs is that it is part of the normal assessment of students and “we expect that this would fall under the regular assessment duties in accordance to the Education Act of our teachers.”

While agreeing that the teachers could have some additional support when marking SBAs, she does not see it as “anything extra in terms of the assessment.”

“When I say extra there I was speaking to as it relates to additional duties. So, for example, a person who works 8 to 4 and they take on additional things after four o’clock normally in the private sector, you are paid overtime, for example.

“Now what I am saying is that if we used that analogy, I am saying that between 8 to 4 like in the private sector for example, during those hours, we expect that those things would be done and so the same with regards to the teachers and the marking (of) SBAs – we view it as part of the normal responsibility of those teachers who teach those levels at the secondary school.

“…Now if you ask me whether teachers deserve additional (money) for anything at all that teachers do, I would say yes. The question is – are we in a position to do so, including all the other things we’ve been speaking about for the past couple months. It’s not an issue per-se as to whether they deserve anything extra or not, the issue is what it is that government can do at this time.

Minister Pierre alluded to the positions prevailing in other Caribbean islands where CXC exams are held including Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica.

She said the view is held that monies to be paid to teachers for marking SBA’s will result in extra cost to students for each subject.

“… In some of those countries that (marking SBA’s) this is viewed as part of the responsibility of a teacher because in the Education Act, it speaks about assessment of students,” she added.

Asked if the problem was to escalate in 2020, whether the Cabinet of Ministers would implement the plan as announced by Prime minister Dr. Keith Mitchell to go into the classrooms to teach the students, she said the government has a responsibility to come up with a solution.

“We do have MPs right now – outside of an industrial action – we do have MPs that go into schools and assist in the classroom …” she added.

Minister Pierre spoke of one Member of Parliament who currently visits a school once a month.

“I think I heard him say that he goes to a particular secondary school and offer support. Now when we visit schools, we may pop into a classroom – I have done one hour sessions with students – I think in that context, whatever you can do to support.

“I can bet you this – now if something happens, the government does nothing, we going to have the same outcry that the government didn’t do anything. So, when there is a crisis, when there is a problem, the critical thing is finding a solution and sometimes that solution might not be the norm, it might not be obvious that everybody expects, but the important thing is that when there is a problem, you need a solution.”

Minister Pierre announced at the press briefing that a contingent from CXC will be in Grenada in the next two weeks to shed some light to teachers and parents on the importance of SBA’s in the education life of students.

“We have been in touch with CXC and have received a commitment that they would be prepared to come to Grenada in the next week or two to engage all of the necessary stakeholders in additional discussions on SBAs. We view it as critical that parents should understand SBAs – we view it as critical that there should be on-going and refresher exercises as it relates to SBAs for teachers as well and so we view this visit, not just for the teachers, not just for parents but also for education officials and we consider this to be extremely important,” she said.

Gouyave resident wins Supermarket Sweepstake

A lucky customer of Axel Finance Grenada walked away with just over $400.00 worth of groceries after successfully completing the task set out in a supermarket sweepstake competition at the Foodland Supermarket.

Winner Leon Decoteau together with Axel Finance employees

Leon DeCoteau of Gouyave, St. John and Amelia Harris were both given two minutes to fill their baskets with groceries worth $500.00 or less at the Foodland Supermarket at the St. George’s Market Square.

Harris was the first given to start the ball rolling and at the end of the two minutes was able to fill her basket with $384.59 worth of groceries.

However, DeCoteau did better and was able to collect $413.22 worth of groceries.

An elated DeCoteau who spoke with members of the media after the competition explained the strategy used to fill his basket.

He said, “I had one or two hick-ups but it was a good experience. I had little things on my mind that I didn’t pick up but apart from that it was fun. I do shopping here, but not on a regular basis. So, I came here early and familiarised myself with the aisle and the other thing.

“Usually I do my own shopping at the end of the month up at Gouyave, so I had an idea as to what to pick up. So, when I came here early, I was looking at what I usually pick up and usually when I finished shopping in Kalico at Gouyave, it’s usually around the same $500, so I had an idea as to what to put in the basket. So, I was just focusing on putting those things that I usually pick up there in the basket.”

According to DeCoteau, he always joked in the past with the employees at Axel Finance about having him included in any of their promotions but it came as a shock to him when he was told that he was selected.

“Axel Finance from my experience, they have been very, very customer friendly – they have been very, very worthwhile. I always listen…most of the times I watch news and even listen to the radio. I always hear Axel Finance have a promotion here and have a promotion there, and I remember on two occasions before I went by them and I say, ‘well I always here, give me something nuh’ and it has never really worked out and I just didn’t bother, but on Saturday, when Mr. Philbert called, he said, ‘I have great news for you…you were selected to be one of the persons on the shopping spree,” he remarked.

Apart from the goods, Harris also received a bag filled with Axel Finance goodies.

Operations Manager at Axel Finance, Cameron Philbert said that this was one of three promotions being rolled out in all Caribbean countries in which Axel Finance operates.

“We thought it would be fitting to have a competition that would allow us to give back to individuals. We have one of three shopping sprees that are taking place, all of which (are) carded for the Foodland Supermarkets. We also had the shopping spree back in 2015 and after looking at our customer reviews we decided to have it again in 2019. It’s actually something that’s happening across the region and the same thing is going to be happening on April 8th and we’re going to have one regional draw on April 18th,” he added.

The Supermarket Sweepstakes taking place on April 8th will be for $1000.00 and the other on April 18 will be worth $1500.

Only persons who would have taken part in the loans services provided at Axel Finance will qualify for the competition.

CELEBRATION OF THE LIFE OF THE LATE ALBERT REDHEAD 28th November 1938 – 4th March 2019 by The Right Honourable Sir Dennis Byron on March 26 at the St John’s Anglican Cathedral in Antigua

It was with great sadness that I learnt of the passing of Justice Albert Redhead. And then June, his dear wife and widow invited me to deliver this eulogy at this service. I knew him as a longstanding colleague and as my dear friend. This honour bestowed upon me quickly made me realise that I had to overcome my feelings of sadness as he had lived a life that should be celebrated: the life of a man short in stature but larger than life with an extroverted personality, and a passion that was evident in everything that he did.

Justice Redhead leaves many mourners. His mother Adella and his father Antoine had other children, but he is survived only by Alban, Leroy and Gertrude. Alban told me yesterday that he was so moved at the Special Sitting of the Court with all the wonderful remembrances of Albert’s outstanding life and work that he could not help thinking about their mother who would have been so proud to see and hear the excellent and wonderful life that Albert enjoyed. He got married early to Veronica who was known as B and they had two sons Kenneth and Daron. These young men are in the same age group as my sons Michael and Nicky and they shared many youthful experiences growing up in St. Kitts.

Later he met and married his darling June from whom he was inseparable and got three daughters, Kizzy, Kebra and Kady. Albert and June were very family-oriented, and their extended family is large, too large for me to begin to individualise anyone in the time allotted. This extended family, we think must include the Judiciary, the judicial and registry staff, and police orderlies and the legal profession throughout the Eastern Caribbean. This was reflected in the wishes he communicated that they be given special status at his funeral.

And yesterday at the Special Sitting of the High Court of Justice held in his honour, we heard the heartfelt outpouring of praise for his work, his mentorship, his fearlessness and his fairness, and the valuable contributions he made to the administration of justice and to jurisprudence in the region. Albert also had lots of close and intimate friends. These included my own extended family. On behalf of my wife Norma, my children, siblings and extended family and on my own behalf, I extend sincere condolences to June and their children, to the extended family, to the judiciary and legal profession of the Eastern Caribbean, and to the many people who mourn his passing across the region. I pray God’s blessings and grace on you all at this time of sorrow and mourning.

Albert Redhead started his life in Grenada, almost 81 years ago, on 28th November 1938. His early education was at St. Luke’s Anglican School and then on to secondary school at Presentation Brothers College. After school he taught at Beaulieu RC School in St. George’s, before departing for the UK in 1960. In England he worked at London Transport and for the Royal Mail.

All the while, Albert never forgot where he came from. He was exceedingly proud of his roots, and of the fact that without having been born with the so-called “silver spoon” in his mouth, he had the innate ability, the tenacity and the discipline to complete his legal studies at the University of London in 1971 and go on to be called to the Bar of England and Wales at the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple in 1972.

At that time, aspiring lawyers had no choice but to go to England to study and obtain qualifications. In those days, there was a large group of Caribbean people going through the same process. I know that my own brother Terence Byron who was at the Inner Temple and who is here today, and the learned Consie Mitcham who was at the Middle Temple, both of St. Kitts, qualified at the same time with Albert, as did the retired Trinidad Justice of Appeal Hon. Justice Stanley John at Lincoln’s Inn.

In 1972, he returned to Grenada and went into a law partnership with the learned and well-known Lloyd Noel. One of Albert’s clients was the late Maurice Bishop. The quality and style of his representation made him become a target of the then Prime Minister Eric Gairy. The story is told that on one significant day his older brother Alban, who is here today, went to Albert and warned him to get out of town before sun down.

In 1974, Albert accepted public service employment in St. Kitts. He started out as a Crown Counsel and I got to know him immediately as I frequently appeared as defence counsel in matters against him. In fact, Albert told the story of arriving in St. Kitts on the 1st of September, and then prosecuting his very first case before the court on the 6th of September, in which I appeared against him as defence counsel.

The Prosecution’s case was that three men were seen by the police docking a smuggling boat, one of whom was my client. The police approached the boat and the men fled. My client had lost his left arm and was unable to outrun the police. I found Albert to be a formidable opponent. After the case was over, my client having been convicted, I offered Albert a lift back into town and on the way, I suggested we stop for lunch at the Rotary Club. We became good friends from that day onwards.

He served as Registrar of the Supreme Court, Magistrate, Permanent Secretary, and Director of Public Prosecutions in St. Kitts and Nevis, and thus gained a wide range of experience in legal and judicial systems as well as governance. I was able to see Albert grow in stature as a jurist. Would you believe, that just as in his first case, he also came up against me in the final criminal case that I defended before joining the Bench in 1982. That case involved a love triangle. My client was charged with the murder of his girlfriend’s lover, and as usual, Albert performed outstandingly, although the conviction he got was not for murder.

On the 1st of February 1985, he was appointed as a Judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, and he served assiduously. His first assigned seat was Antigua. He had become well-liked in St.

Kitts and established a close relationship with the society. And then he had to wrench away and move to Antigua. His initial posting as a judge was actually intended to be Dominica, but an emergency developed in Antigua and he was sent here instead. He had absorbed a lesson in humanity as his first marriage broke down and ended in divorce. He said his posting to Antigua proved that God had a hand in his life because little did he know that his second wife, his dearest June, was waiting here for him.

June recalls that she was working in the Court with an assignment which brought her into contact with him. She tells how she resisted his approaches, until the day she moved houses and on one weekend she saw what she thought was impossible: A high court judge with a cutlass in his hand cutting the grass and cleaning her yard.

She said that was the clincher. And I quote her, “he wove his way into my heart”. She realised how serious and caring he was. In the end she described him as the best husband any girl could ask for.

He loved and adored his children, and as June says, “no one would not know my children were not his”. It was a view shared by her daughters who have said that they would like to marry a man like him.

Although there are some who thought he had a roving eye, his family members are full of stories of his love and adoration for them from the adventures of ensuring that he and June attended Kizzy’s graduation in Jamaica when BWIA was on strike, starting with a precarious journey on a small boat to St. Maarten; to his role as the Saturday cook when he produced his special dishes of curry goat and bull foot soup.

His family became very sensitive to the fact that Justice Redhead was seen as very strict on the criminal bench and developed a reputation for being tough on crime and on sentencing convicted criminals to long prison sentences. So they knew that in certain quarters he was called “JUDGE DRED”. His dear widow June and their daughters were often amused when their friends saw him in the home environment as a humble, gentle, jovial and welcoming man, and they would like me to show a bit of the lighter side of his life.

They told the story of a close friend who stayed at their home and was having a wonderful time. But on the Monday, after he went to court the friend confessed that he was gripped with fear and said, “I don’t mess with the judge when he puts on those court clothes. He becomes a different man”. It was clear to everyone that he took his job seriously.

Another story on the lighter side is that he was an avid fisherman and there was a boat captained by his friend Waldron that he used to go out to do deep-sea fishing. One day the weather was so calm and beautiful that he decided to plunge in the sea and swim around against the protestations of the captain. Shortly after he got back on board, a huge shark swam around the boat, and Waldron fainted. When he came to he said, “if that shark had come up 5 minutes earlier and eaten the judge, I would have been charged with murder because no one would have believed that is what happened”.

Although many people have used the word “fearless” to describe Albert Redhead, there was one fear that his family knew him to have – a fear of big-bottomed women. It is often said that small men love big women, but not Albert Redhead. When he saw women with generous derrieres he would cringe and shout “Oh God!” One day, June, who was not unmischievous, hired one such blessed lady to assist with some housework. That day, Albert retreated in fear to his study and did not surface again until the woman had left. When confronted about it, he provided no rebuttal. He pleaded guilty and threw himself at the mercy of the court.

As a Judge, Albert was tremendously hardworking, quick and thorough, and served with excellence. When he first arrived in Antigua, he joined the bench with me as I was also serving here as a Resident Judge. We were together in Antigua for the first three years of his tenure. In 1997, he was elevated to the Court of Appeal. By that time, I had become Chief Justice and he worked alongside me on the Court of Appeal. In his own words expressed just a few months ago, “no one has worked as long as I have with Sir Dennis”.

Throughout our professional relationship, although we found time to socialise and had many interesting and entertaining adventures, we were engaged in improving the quality of justice delivery, the development of Caribbean Jurisprudence, the growth of a culture for judicial education and reform initiatives. Albert was a key and outspoken player. There are numerous memories and the productive results of our engagement were evident for all to see.

Everyone agrees that Albert Redhead had the qualities of a judge of the highest calibre. He believed in the rule of law and had a strong sense of justice. Several senior lawyers have said that he was so fair and thorough, that even when they lost their cases, they were able to feel that the decision was right. Many lawyers across the region have recalled him as being very patient and courteous with them when they were still very young and green, ably guiding and mentoring them where he could. He made a lasting mark on the jurisprudence of our region.

He believed in the supremacy of the Constitution and the role that the court has to play in guaranteeing the rights of all citizens. This is not the forum to discuss his impact on the jurisprudence of our region which was so eloquently expounded at the Special Sitting of the court, but it would be remiss of me not to make a brief contribution to his impact on the

contribution to his impact on the development of our regional jurisprudence by way of brief reference to the following 3 cases.

De Freitas:

This is the season where people are discussing the relative qualities of Caribbean Jurisprudence and those of the Privy Council. The discussion is often confused by comparing the Privy Council with the lower courts over whom it sits as a final appeal court. But even in that context, when Justice Redhead was a trial judge, as he was in the De Freitas matter, the Privy Council judgment which has been highly regarded was an affirmation of the judgment of Redhead as a first instance judge.

It was one of the early cases in the newly independent Caribbean where the court demonstrated its independence of the executive government in declaring and enforcing the constitutional rights of the citizen in disputes against the Government.

This decision has had a far-reaching effect, because just last week I was visiting St. Kitts and someone in remembrance of Justice Redhead told me that when he had his litigation with the Government of St. Kitts, where he successfully asserted his constitutional rights as a civil servant, his case was based on Redhead’s judgment in De Freitas.

Hilroy Humphrey:

Again, in this season when the independence of the judiciary is under scrutiny, it is worth remembering that while resident judge here in Antigua, Justice Redhead demonstrated the highest standards of fearless and faithful application of the rule of law. When a sitting Minister of Government disobeyed an order of the court, Justice Redhead famously ordered that he be sent to prison for contempt.

Marpin:

Although the Marpin case was not an Antiguan, but rather a Dominican case, his judgment in that case has had significant impact on liberalising telecommunications in the Caribbean and freeing it from the monopoly of the British powerhouse Cable and Wireless which dominated telecommunications throughout the Commonwealth.

The Privy Council indeterminate appellate decision in that case is a firm reminder that when the interests of British commerce are engaged the leadership of Caribbean jurists is important for us as a region.

On that note I must record that Redhead was a most passionate advocate for the Caribbean Court of Justice. He was part of the advocacy for its adoption, even long before it was instituted. He was openly concerned about the views the community had about judges and could not understand its source – he would often say “the man ain’t born yet who could bribe me”.

I have no doubt that if he had any regrets, one of them would be that he did not live to see all countries in CARICOM embrace the final appellate jurisdiction of the CCJ. I am sure that when the breakthrough comes he will rightly be remembered as one of the pioneers who devoted much energy to seeing it come to pass.

Albert was overjoyed when he was appointed to act as the Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court while at the Court of Appeal. He reached retirement age in 2003 but was immediately roped back into active service, albeit in an acting capacity and he continued to serve the region in many capacities. He was reappointed to act on numerous occasions and has served in Anguilla, the BVI, St. Lucia, Nevis, Montserrat and Antigua. He served the entire region and did so with distinction. He adopted Antigua as his home and after completing his tour of duty on the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal he settled here. He endeared himself to Antigua and her people and was well-loved in society.

After retirement, he continued to work with a pilot project for the reform of the Criminal Division in St. Lucia. He had the opportunity to serve as an international judge when he accepted an assignment from the United Nations which took him to Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana, and Senegal. It was a fact-finding mission into disappearance of Ghanaian citizens. He worked down to the end. In fact he was on an assignment in St. Lucia just about 6 weeks before the end. He liked to say, and with justification, that he is the longest- serving judge in the Eastern Caribbean.

Albert Redhead was a stickler for physical fitness and over the years stuck to his exercise program. In addition to his love for fishing and cooking, he enjoyed walking, swimming and gardening. He was known for seeming to possess an infinite amount of energy and vigour.

I have no doubt that the inner strength he had assisted him to survive the heart ailments that he began to endure for some time. But although he surpassed his three score and ten by ten more years, eventually his mortality triumphed. It is a stark reminder to us all for death can come at any time. In our times religion and spirituality are important values which we still need to cultivate. So, it is important to be ready for the day when we are called. And I ask you, are we ready?

June told me that shortly before the end he said to her, “I love you, let me go”. She thinks that he was ready to meet the Almighty. It is therefore important to remember that he was a man of faith.

There has been so much talk about his legacy. I suggest that in addition to everything else that we can think of, in remembrance of him we can ask ourselves: What is our relationship with God, with our loved ones, with the community in which we live, even with our enemies, if we have any? Are we at peace with our fellowman, and are we at peace with our own self? I do not want to usurp the role of our religious leaders today, but Albert’s passing has made me think of my readiness to die.

I am moved to pray:

Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy Kingdom come.

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Please give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, so that we may know how to forgive those that trespass against us, and that we may not be led into temptation but be delivered from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.

So finally, as we think of our friend Albert Redhead, and celebrate his full and purpose-driven life, let us also meditate on our purpose here and the important relationships that we have and those that we must heal. When the day and the hour comes, I pray that we each find ourselves ready, as Albert did, to go and meet our Maker.

May his soul rest in eternal peace.