Labour Senator calls for amendment to Banking Act to protect rights of Scotia Bank Workers

Labour Representative in the Senate, Andre Lewis, who is also President General of the Grenada Technical and Allied Workers Union (GTAWU) has called for government to bring to parliament an amendment to the Banking Act, in an effort to secure the rights of the employees of the Bank of Nova Scotia in the acquisition with Republic Bank.

Labour Senator, Andre Lewis

He made the call at the sitting of the Upper House of Parliament at Mt. Wheldale on Wednesday.

According to Sen. Lewis, section 156 or 157 of the Banking Act is disadvantaging to financial services workers, as in the case of the employees of Scotia Bank who are finding it difficult to seek termination allowance in the finalisation of the acquisition between the two financial institutions.

The trade union figure said the section takes away the right of the workers granted to them under the Employment Act.

“In the case of the Grenada Labour Code, the worker has the first call, so this is discriminatory in our view. Under the Grenada Labour Code the workers employed in the institution that is being gotten rid off through sale, change of name etcetera, has the option to go over to the Successor Employer or ought not to go over and get termination allowance…”, he told the Upper House.

“…However, the bank is relying on a section on the Banking Act and we in the labour movement, do not share that view, we do not share the view that the section that the bank is relying on has merit, but Scotia is relying on this part of the Banking act to indicate that the workers in the financial institution do not have the option of seeking termination, which is discriminatory relative to the other workforce,” he said.

Sen. Lewis told the house on Wednesday that he has engaged the government to bring an amendment to the Banking Act to safeguard workers’ rights.

“I have written as I have indicated to the Prime Minister, because all other workers in Grenada under the Labour Code, under section 45(2) of the Employment Act, under Successor Employer has that right; in other words, a worker cannot be sold. If I apply to Firm A because I am interested in having a career with Firm A, in the case Scotia, I never choose to apply to Republic for whatever reason and it turns out, that the owners of Republic and Scotia decided to go into an arrangement where Republic has bought out Scotia, the argument advanced by Scotia is that they can sell that worker and the essential difference between – and that is the philosophy now – the essential difference between a free man and a slave is to determine, I do not want to be sold.

“…The bank is saying, however, you have the right, you can say you are not coming over, but you will not be entitled to any benefit. So, I who have given 25 years to Scotia through no fault of mine, the owners have decided Mr President to go into a financial arrangement, and if I want to exercise my option of not going over as contained under the Labour Code, the bank is arguing and we do not share that view, the bank is arguing that the Banking Act does not permit this.

Sen. Lewis noted that Antigua which is also in the process of finalising the acquisition between Scotia and Republic has already gone ahead and made the necessary amendments to the Banking Act for its workers.

He said: “What did Antigua do? And I want to use Antigua as an example because it is a regional issue that we are trying to address through different forms. In order to strengthen the workers’ argument in Antigua, it is not that the Antigua government or the Antigua Labour Movement agrees with the bank but Antigua has made sure, as of two weeks ago, through their discussions, they made sure by deleting that section of the Banking Act and not addressing the aspect that deals with solvency because although this is important, it is not of critical importance right now because it is not something that is confronting the workers. What is confronting the workers in Scotia is the issue of the Successor Employer, so Antigua has found a way of making doubly sure and that is what I have raised and we would like to be addressed”.

Sen. Lewis told Parliament that if this issue is not addressed now there can be devastating effects for the employees of other financial institution in the future.

“So, I look forward to government’s concurrence in bringing that amendment urgently to secure the workers of the Bank of Nova Scotia, who have no intention or who want to exercise that option of not being sold over to Republic Bank and this is of critical importance to us.

“…This is of crucial concern and why it must be of concern, although it concerns Scotia today, the same would apply for any financial institution. So, be it a credit union, be it a bank, any financial institution where the ownership changes, the workers of the business that is being sold, or change of name or lease will be disadvantaged, relative to section 45 (2) of the Employment Act.

“So, we are trying on the legal front and through the government’s intervention to see what can be done because the actions of the Technical and Allied Workers Union shall be engaging, will have consequences for the financial institution because we shall not limit to just Bank of Nova Scotia. Because all financial institutions will be subjected to this and therefore, we have started engagement with the other unions that have workers in the financial institutions, so it is of critical importance for us to address this matter.

Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Minister of Climate Resilence, Sen. Simon Stiell offered a token response to the statement made on the issue.

He said: “This is a commercial arrangement and negotiations are ongoing and we hope that with any industrial dispute, an amicable agreement can be reached between employer and employee and those discussions however tense they may be, are taking place and both parties are at the negotiating table.

“So that is a very, very good start but government is sensitive to the welfare of the workers within the sector here in Grenada and if and when the time is right for government to make statements or intervene, will certainly do so, to protect what is in the best interest of workers and employers. It’s a fair settlement that is required by both parties”, he added.


Arley Gill is back in Town!!!

His absence from Grenada was felt with the keenest pleasure. Now the not-so-young communist is back spouting his usual propaganda.

In his letter about Venezuela, he mentions “Chavez of blessed memory.” Well, Gill, you won’t find too many people blessing Chavez’ memory in Venezuela nowadays. More likely they will curse it because it is Chavez who has landed them in the truly horrible mess they are in today, through his squandering of the nation’s wealth on failed projects and bailing out other countries.

Also, the amount of money stolen from Venezuela by Chavez and his supporters is many, many times the amount that the US spent on rehabilitating Europe after World War Two. Chavez’ daughter is one of the richest people in the world, with money exported from Venezuela to banks in Switzerland and the tiny country of Andorra on the Spanish/French border.

Also, Chavez destroyed most of the private businesses in Venezuela by expropriating them. The result is a failed state which once was South America’s richest nation, where people have fled by the million into neighboring countries to stay alive, and where Venezuelan women now stand up in public parks to prostitute themselves to feed their children.

Gill asks, “It’s Venezuela today. Who will it be tomorrow?” Well, the answer to that is the next nation that falls under a communist ruler. I dread to think that it could be Mexico, which has just voted in a communist just like Chavez, by the name of Obrador. Let us hope he has a bit more sense than Chavez.

Look at the lies and half-truths spread by Gill: “In Venezuela, someone who did not contest a general election declares himself President, yet the United States of America and the most powerful countries in Western Europe recognise him as such; doing so, although there is a President duly sworn in after winning a general election.”

Juan Guaido has not declared himself President. According to Venezuela’s constitution when a President is absent or not legitimate the constitution provides that the Speaker of the National Assembly becomes the INTERIM President until free and fair elections can be held.

The reason that Maduro is not considered to be the legitimate President is that in 2016 he declared himself the winner of an election not considered free and fair by a large number of nations, as well as the Venezuelan opposition.

Not only the US and most European countries have declared their support of Guaido as INTERIM president, but Gill conspicuously fails to mention that over 50 countries, approaching 60, have declared their support. The few who support Maduro are the bad eggs, Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea.

Gill claims that “the smaller Caribbean states have done much more to resolve the issue in Venezuela by peaceful means.” Really? To quote Gill, “If that is not laughable I don’t know what is.” And to quote him again, “it really isn’t funny.”

Like all the extreme leftists, Gill hides behind the principles of sovereignty and self-determination being defended at all times. I don’t think it can be at all times.

I don’t think you can talk about sovereignty and self-determination when you are dealing with a corrupt and evil regime that doesn’t care about the suffering of its people and which is heavily engaged in trafficking drugs. Two of Maduro’s nephews are now serving jail sentences in the US for flying a plane there, loaded with cocaine.

Fitzroy Louison

DPP sheds light on sentence handed down for Indecent Assault

The suspended 12- month prison term handed down on a St. Mark’s resident by Magistrate Teddy St. Louis for indecently assaulting a 4-year-old girl, has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many persons in the country.

DPP Christopher Nelson – the sentence is not
manifestly inadequate

However, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Christopher Nelson has come to the aid of the Magistrate by pointing out that the sentence was well within the realm of sentences that can be handed down for the offence committed based on the existing law.

The toddler’s outraged mom took to Social Media to voice her disgust with the sentence handed down on 45-year-old, Mike Alexander of Waltham, who is popularly known as ‘DJ’ in the community, prompting many others who viewed the public post to also vent their feelings on the matter.

Alexander, who had posted bail in the sum of $5, 000, on the occasion of his first court appearance pleaded guilty at the Victoria Magistrate’s Court, to committing the crime against the child, who is now five (5) years old between October 2017 and October 2018.

THE NEW TODAY understands that around March 29, the sex offender was given a sentence of 12 months confinement, which has been suspended for a period of one (1) year, which means that if he finds himself in trouble with the law within a year after the sentence is handed down to him, the prison term would take effect.

Alexander was also fined $3, 500.00 for the offence and in default serve time in prison.

THE NEW TODAY was unable to ascertain the period within which the fine must be paid, however, it is understood that he faces a default sentence of 1-year behind bars.

According to the Criminal Procedure Code, the offence of Indecent Assault carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment at the level of the High Court and five (5) years at the Magistracy.
Statistics emanating from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution show that sexual offence have been dominating the cause list in recent years.

According to DPP Nelson QC, on average sentences handed down specifically for Indecent Assault is 18 months at the level of the High Court.

In commenting on the sentence handed down by Magistrate St. Louis on Alexander, who is a first-time offender, the DPP told this newspaper last week Thursday that in spite of the widespread debate and differences of opinion among the populace in relation to the matter “a fine and a year (prison term), albeit suspended, is not in the scheme of things, a very lenient sentence”.

“It may be on the lower side but nonetheless appropriate for the nature of the offence (that) he (the sex offender) pleaded guilty to and the nature of the facts related to the court…it is not a sentence that we can say is manifestly inadequate or lenient”, he said.

DPP Nelson went on to say: “There is no evidence to suggest that this child was ravished, physically injured, damaged or scared in any way…no one saw, no one heard (what happened) and the mother observed nothing untoward with the child”.

THE NEW TODAY has heard some of the utterances made by the irate mother on a current social media programme, where she admitted that she was not aware of what was happening and only learned of the incident approximately a year ago during a conversation with a young daughter.

According to DPP Nelson, the case can be considered as a “success in a sense that there is a conviction recorded against the perpetrator, who pleaded guilty to the offence but that it was also challenging in light of the age of the victim.

“This is a child of five (5) years of age and bear in mind it would be great difficulty for that child to give evidence for recourse and particularly giving evidence on oath. So, there were challenges with that case,” the DPP said, admitting however, that legislative action is needed to enhance the laws governing these types of offences and alleviate some of the challenges.

“There is room for improvement to make prosecuting in relation to child offenders easier,” he said, citing the “Criminal Procedure Code and the Evidence Act, (which) can be improved to create a better framework for dealing with these cases.”

In addressing the outcome of the case, Social Development Minister Delma Thomas used a recent sitting of the Lower House to call for persons to refrain from making negative comments relating to the matter on social media due to the unwarranted effect it can have on the young girl in the future.

“We are aware that there has been some widespread comments about the results of a particular case in the court…I understand that it is a vexing issue and that as mothers we are upset but with all the emotions we have to ensure that while we are speaking in public domain that we do not create more harm than good on the child..”, she said.

“I urge our people who are writing on social media, those who are commenting, let us also think about the child and the effect that it can have on her by what we are doing at present,” she added.

The minister did not indicate if there would be a review by the Cabinet of Ministers of the law in relation to child offenders.

However, longstanding Parliamentary Representative, for St. Mark, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen cited a need for legislative review in light of the current case in the public domain.

She told Parliament: “I believe that there are some laws in this country that need to be reviewed with great urgency. Very seriously, the manner in which things are done need to be looked at. There are various entities and ministries that have more stake in doing that (review) than others and I think it is a wake-up call for everyone who has a responsibility to do more, effectively and efficiently so that justice can be served…we believe that the scourge of sexual abuse has to be dealt with in our country”.

Statement by the National Democratic Congress on the passing of Sir M. Alister McIntyre

Grenada and the entire Caribbean have lost an outstanding son with the passing of Sir M. Alister McIntyre. He was indeed a central figure in the evolution of our Caribbean civilisation throughout the last fifty years.

Sir Alister gave freely to the Caribbean, his enormous intellect, knowledge and skills that make him an icon in the mold of William Demas, Sir Shridath Ramphal and other like professionals who provided bedrock support to our post-independence thrust to develop the economic, intellectual and social aspects of our countries.

While giving so freely to the rest of the region, Sir Alister never forgot his homeland and was always available to answer the call to serve, especially in times of hardship. He helped Grenada return to normalcy after the tragic events of October 1983, by giving service to the interim Government of Sir Nicholas Brathwaite.

He helped with Grenada’s economic recovery in the early 1990s by sharing invaluable advice with the then NDC administration as we embarked on Grenada’s only true home-grown Structural Adjustment Program. He served selflessly in the immediate aftermath of hurricane Ivan in 2004, responding positively to a call from Prime Minister Mitchell to help lead the reconstruction effort.
For the above reasons, former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas says that Sir Alister was “a true son of the soil and the region, of whom we are all proud”.

One of the hallmarks of Sir Alister’s legacy was his tenure as Chancellor of the University of the West Indies where he pioneered efforts to provide quality tertiary education, training many of the current leading economists of the region.

As CARICOM Secretary-General 1974-1977, Sir Alister contributed immensely to the cause of regional integration in the same spirit of fellow Grenadian T. A. Marryshow. His expertise was also made available to humanity as he served as Deputy Secretary General of UNCTAD.

As we mourn his loss, we are comforted by the fact that his was a life well lived and his legacy will remain with us for generations to come.

The Interim Party Leader, Executive Committee and members of the National Democratic Congress extend our deepest condolences to Sir Alister’s family, friends and colleagues.

May he rest in perfect peace!

(The above was submitted by the main opposition National Democratic Congress)

Derek Harrow murder trial to commence in June

The Soubise, St. Andrew resident slapped with an indictable charge of Non-Capital Murder, in connection with the November 20, 2017 stabbing death, of 58-year-old Boat Captain, Derek Harrow of the same village, has pleaded not guilty to the offence at the St. George’s High Court.

Elvin Mark – pleaded not guilty of causing the November 2017 death of Derek Harrow

Elvin Mark, 25, who is originally from Rose Hill, St. Patrick and has been on remand since his arrest by police days after the fatal incident, entered his plea last week Tuesday, before Guyanese-born judge, Justice Paula Gilford, at the St. George’s No. 1 High Court on St. John’s Street.

The deceased and his accused murderer were reportedly engaged in a bloody altercation just after 10 o’ clock on the fatal Friday night.

Harrow, who was described as a “very quiet” individual by persons fond of him, was found lying on the ground in a pool of blood with multiple stab wounds to his body just outside his place of residence.

His niece, whose name remains undisclosed, made the discovery when she went searching for him, after receiving information from her young son, who told her that he saw the uncle scuffling with someone behind the house.

THE NEW TODAY understands that the weekend stabbing stemmed from an attempted robbery at the home of the deceased.

On the occasion of his first court appearance in November 2017, the murder suspect was observed limping as a result of an injury to his left leg.

Last week, ahead of the trial, Mark’s legal counsel, Attorney-at-Law Jerry Edwin, informed the court, that he plans to call a total of four (4) witnesses to support his defense, while the Prosecution team pointed to an unfinished list of witnesses for the State, given among other things, the absence of the female Cuban pathologist, who returned to her homeland at the end of her contract late last year.

Speaking with THE NEW TODAY following the hearing, Attorney Edwin indicated his belief that Mark has a strong self-defense case in the matter, which is scheduled for June 17th for trial.

Mark faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment if convicted of Harrow’s murder.

Message from Catholic Bishop of Grenada, Clyde Harvey for Easter 2019

Beloved in the Risen Lord,

CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS TRULY RISEN! With these words our Lenten observance ends and we begin the glorious feast of Easter. This year it is my joy and responsibility to invite you to embark with me on an Easter journey ON THE ROAD TO PENTECOST.

Bishop Clyde Martin Harvey

The Church, beginning with Mary Magdalene, is the witness to the Resurrection. Over the past months, I have become very aware of the challenges we face as the Catholic Church in Grenada. We have been buried for some time in tombs of blindness, inaction, lack of financial resources, lack of leadership. The road had been mapped out as far back as Assembly ’78 and in the Diocesan Synod of 2012. We were slow to move, if not actually paralysed.

We have had many discussions over the past 15 months among clergy and laity. A light is dawning which summons us from our slumbers, out of our tombs. We have Good News to announce. CHRIST LIVES! LIVE CHURCH! BUILD COMMUNITY! SERVE COUNTRY!

We are seeing, even if only through a glass dimly, new vision and new hope, not only for the Church, but for all Grenada. God is calling us to take the missionary road as his chosen disciples. He calls us to listen to His Word, to deepen faith and to move beyond the comfort of our churches as missionaries and witnesses to His forgiveness and loving kindness.

God is calling all of us, Bishop, Priests and Laity, young and seniors to receive, live and proclaim NEW LIFE for our diocese.

Today I launch the journey toward PENTECOST RALLY 2019. This will take place at PROGRESS PARK on Pentecost Sunday, June 9th 2019. That Sunday will be the culmination of a week of activities which will take us all over Grenada.

Our young people have set the pace with their Mobile Stations of the Cross which included Carriacou and Petite Martinique. We can be very proud of them and grateful to those who are our Diocesan Youth Commission for the initiative and creative energy which they have shown. That same Spirit is in all of us. Rise! Let us Go!

During this Lent I made Pastoral Visits to St. Patrick’s, Victoria, Munich, Carriacou, Petite Martinique, Perdmontemps and St. David’s, varying periods of three to five days. These have been challenging and stimulating experiences for me. I thank all the clergy and laity who welcomed me with such joy and openness. I cannot thank you enough for your Christian hospitality.

I see the great work being done and the enormous amount of work that is to be done. THE HARVEST IS GREAT and ALL OF US ARE CALLED TO BE LABOURERS IN THE VINEYARD.

Let us begin these 50 days of unceasing prayer for our Church. We do not cower in an upper room waiting in fear. The Spirit is already with us by virtue of our baptism. All we need to do is step out of our boats, our comfort zones and walk towards the Lord.