Grenada’s youth players impress at DIGICEL kickstart clinic

Top players from Grenada worked hard at the Digicel Kickstart Clinic to secure their place at the Digicel Kickstart Academy.

Kobe Thomas, Christian James and Joshua Sandy will represent Grenada at the Digicel Kickstart Academy in Jamaica and are also national players Grenada’s U16 team.

Kobe Thomas, Christian James and Joshua Sandy will represent Grenada at the Digicel Kickstart Academy in Jamaica and are also national players Grenada’s U16 team.

The 30 players were selected from all over the island as part of the pre-selection clinic and Facebook social media competition to participate in a two-day clinic which saw them showcasing their skills for Manchester City FC coaches.

Over the course of the two days, the players were taken through numerous practices and mini games that tested their abilities and gave the coaches an opportunity to assess the players to see if they can qualify to attend the Digicel Kickstart Academy where they will join other players from across the Caribbean and Central America for a week of training.

Digicel Commercial Executive, Jannel Thomas, said; “We are happy that our boys are doing so well in theDigicel Kickstart Clinics and we want the three players who are selected to represent Grenada to the best of their ability. We understand that only three players can go to the Digicel Kickstart Academy in June but we hope that all the players who participate in the Clinic will learn as much as they can from the Clinic.”

$27 million for loan disbursements at GDB

The Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has provided $27 million in loans to the Grenada Development Bank (GDB to help boost agriculture, fisheries, tourism, housing, small business development as well as human resource development.

A ceremony was held at the Flamboyant Hotel, attended by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Keith Mitchell to launch the programme for the disbursement of funds.

Head table at the launch of the fifth consolidated line of credit at GDB

Head table at the launch of the fifth consolidated line of credit at GDB

“With the launch today, the future is even brighter for entrepreneurs, for students and our home owners. This launch is taking place at a time when economic prospects and businesses are on the rise,” said the Prime Minister.

GDB Manager, Mervyn Lord announced that $13.5 million is earmarked for business with $1.35 million specifically for renewable and energy efficient technology, $9.45 million in student loans, $1.3 million for special student loans and $2.7 million for home mortgages.

“We can provide a minimum loan of $8,100.00 but (up to) $945,000.00 We have an average interest rate about 8.5% and we can provide a grace period of up to three years during which time we would require only interest payments.

“We have a maximum repayment term of 12 years inclusive of the grace. What we mean by that is if we give you two years grace (period), then you have a maximum payment term of 10 years.

Lord said the GDB can provide up to 100% financing to businesses to purchase and install energy efficient equipment.

The funds, he added should be used to design, purchase and install renewable energy facilities such as solar panels, wind turbines, solar dryers, and solar water heaters.

“We can also provide funding for business persons to design or redesign their building or the factory layout etc for optimum energy saving. The maximum loan is $270,000.00. We have a very concessionary interest rate of only 6% and like the general business loan, a grace period can be provided through the implementation stage of the project. The maximum loan term for this initiative is three years inclusive of the grace period,” he told the ceremony.

Persons securing general education loans can obtain up to 100% financing for tertiary level education after secondary school.

According to Lord, this loan will be up to a maximum of $121,500 save and except for programmes such as medicine, law etc. where the maximum loan in $202, 500.00.

“The proceeds of the loan can be used for but not limited to tuition, books and related materials, room and board, transportation and even legal. The interest rate is 8% with a maximum repayment term of 12 years excluding the grace and let me say we will provide students with the grace for the entire duration of study”, he said.

“…Student loans will be provided to the vulnerable students at an interest rate of 5% during the study period and 7% thereafter. These are for students who are academically or skillfully inclined but financially challenged. Unlike the general student loan that must be fully secured, loans for the special student loan can be provided with unsupported guarantors,” he added.

Persons looking to secure funds for home mortgages are also targeted through the funds provided from CDB to GDB.

Lord said the loan progamme will cater primarily for low and middle income earners with a monthly salary not exceeding $4000 for a single borrower or joint borrowers within the $6000 figure.

“The maximum loan will be $180,000 for a single borrower and $270,000 for joint borrowers. Loans can be used for repairs, extensions, purchasing new houses or the construction of new house,” he remarked.

It was also announced that interest rates at GDB will be reduced until August.

Mortgage loans will move from 6.5% to 5.99%, business loans 8.5% to 7.5%, general student loans from 8% to 7%, Transportation loans 9.5% to 8.5% and energy efficient loans from 6% to 5.5% and legal fees and bank charges will be reduced by 50%.

Bishop Darius remembered in his hometown

Hundreds of villagers from Felix Park, Crochu and nearby areas, as well as students in the parish and surroundings showed up Monday to pay their last respects to late Bishop Vincent Darius at the St. Martin DePorres Parish Church in the heart of Crochu in St. Andrew.

The Spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Grenada passed away on April 26, at the age of 60 at a hospital in New York where he had traveled for treatment.

IMG_3322Leading the tributes was Parish Administrator for St. Martin de Porres,  Deacon Cecil St. Louis who described the late Bishop as a “people’s person, (who was) very, very, open to everyone (and) had an open office all the time”.

“He is from this community and we were able to bring his body back to the community, so that his people can come in and pay their final respects to him”, he told THE NEW TODAY.

“Anybody could have called him (on the phone) anytime and he took the call, anybody could have just walked into his office and he would accommodate them. He was always looking out especially for those who are vulnerable and in need. He was always willing to help. He was a very, very friendly person and nobody can claim that he had a harsh word for them”, he said.

The younger brother of the deceased, Francis Darius was among those who converged at the Church to witness Bishop Darius’ body lying in state.

He told reporters that the Bishop was a lover of people and community and one “who had a passion for bringing people together from since (in his) childhood days”.

He also regarded his deceased brother as “a very passionate person about family”.

Reflecting on his brother’s life, Francis Darius said that he focused his “whole life” on being “a calling to bring people together”.

He stated that Bishop Darius “went beyond the Catholic (faith with his) ministry (which) was about just bringing people to Christ”.

“We do have a humanitarian aspect of the church and that is focused on reaching the needy and is not limited to Catholics (but) is for people in need”, he said.

He added that Bishop Darius “reached out to the other denominations (and) had a good working relationship with the non-catholic community, but very much so, tried to revive the church (to) make it more
appealing and vibrant at all levels”.

THE NEW TODAY caught up with a childhood friend of Bishop Darius and former Member of Parliament for St. Andrew South-east, Cuthbert Mc Queen, who reflected on the years growing up with him in the Felix Park community.

IMG_3349“I want to extend my sincere condolences to the family, we were young boys (growing up) together in Felix Park. So we had a lot of interaction in the area.

The former parliamentarian also used the opportunity to laud the late Bishop’s accomplishment as the first Grenadian Bishop to be installed in the country.

“He has made us (the Felix Park community) very proud. We were never expecting that, for our first Grenadian Bishop coming from Felix Park.

I am very proud to see that he has achieved such a great deal”, Mc Queen said.

Before venturing into the priesthood the late Bishop Darius was a teacher at the St Joseph’s R. C. School in Pomme Rose, St. David.

Former teacher at St. Joseph’s R. C. and former Principal of Holy Cross Roman Catholic School, Helena Patrice, remembers the late Bishop as “being a very pleasant, peaceful, humble, joyful person who loved little children and was always easy to approach”.

A tribute was also given by Acting Chief Education Officer, Vincent Morain who described the late Bishop Vincent Darius as “a personal friend”.

“I was associated directly with him because he was our Spiritual Director in the Mary Rose Mission. He was also our Spiritual Director in the Family Life Encounter (and) for the Marriage Encounter Commission. He gave me a lot of spiritual wisdom and instilled in me a lot of love for the old and the elderly. He was the person that throughout his life remained humble and his humility prevailed him to the highest order.

“The Diocese of Grenada has lost a great son of the soil and the community of Grenada as a whole. As Christians we believe that God created everybody and he gives and he takes. He has his master plan and as Christians we have to console ourselves with that and accept it. Bishop Vincent Darius will be greatly missed.

The late Bishop Vincent Darius died while receiving treatment at a medical facility in New York.

He was the fourth Bishop of St. George’s and the first Grenadian Bishop to be installed.

He was appointed on July 10, 2002, by then Pope John Paul II and was installed as Bishop of St. George’s on October 2, 2002 in the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, St George’s.

The body of Bishop Darius was laid to rest Wednesday in a specially prepared tomb in the Crypt of the Cathedral next to the tomb of the first Bishop of the Diocese of St. George’s-in- Grenada, Justin Field O.P.

CARICOM DEFICIENCIES LEADING TO FRAGMENTATION AND WEAKNESS

Saunders (New)(This commentary is a shortened version of a Feature Address to the St Lucia Hotels and Tourist Association on 19 May, 2016)

I start with the now proven premise that no CARICOM nation is able to prosper on its own. No protestations to the contrary erase the evidence that, without aid from external sources, these countries could not deliver the goods and services that their people expect.

The countries of CARICOM started the process to their separate independence 54 years ago when Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago became nominally sovereign states in 1962. Yet, while rightly they have shed colonial rule and assumed control of their affairs, after half a century of sovereignty in not one of these countries – or the others that followed them – is the picture rosy. The opposite is true – each is being severely challenged, and the economic prospects for all appear gloomy.

A Commonwealth report on small states, just published, says that on its current development path, the Caribbean in 2050 will face unmanageable debt, poor growth, and greater socio-economic problems.

The report –  Achieving a Resilient Future for Small States: Caribbean 2050 – considers current policies and trends in seven Caribbean countries – Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, St Lucia, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana – and makes a 34-year projection across different sectors.

The research shows five out of the six countries under study would have a debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) above 100 per cent while two of them could exceed 200 per cent.  These projections suggest that expenditure on debt interest will probably become a major drain on public finances in the future, reducing the funds available for development and giving rise to greater socio-economic problems.

It is a serious regional issue, particularly as it affects sovereign credit rating and has led to higher sovereign risk premiums in international capital markets which mean borrowing costs for Caribbean countries are very expensive.

It was precisely to meet these circumstances more effectively that in 1973 CARICOM was created and before it CARIFTA.  The leaders, at the time, recognised that while rightful separation from Britain gave them domestic political independence, none of them – not even Guyana with its vast natural resources or Trinidad and Tobago with its oil and gas – could prosper on their own. But, sadly, CARICOM wandered from its purposes.

The unity that was envisaged as the locomotive for delivering benefits was derailed by proclamations of nationalism and the sanctity of sovereignty.

By the 1990s, it was clear that the Caribbean was in danger of becoming a back water.

The 1992 West Indian Commission Report, “Time for Action”, was a recognition of the dangers confronting the region, and the centrality of putting back on track the locomotive of integration.

The Commission recommended: deepening economic integration through the creation of a Single Market and Economy so as to draw, for the common good, on the resources of the entire region – human, capital and know how; and strengthening the institutions of governance and operations of CARICOM by the establishment of a Caribbean Commission to implement decisions of Heads of Government and Ministers.

In the ensuing years, the CARICOM ship slipped from its moorings and is now in danger of fragmenting into separate small boats adrift in a perilous sea. Today the Single Market has been on pause for five years, and the Single Economy has been all but abandoned.  Governments are each trying to go it alone, striking other alliances where they secure immediate benefits, and often, by doing so, weakening the cohesion of CARICOM.

The point is that, on all sides CARICOM member states are buffeted by economic forces with which they cannot contend alone, and against which they lack a strong and empowered single regional capacity to fight together.

Clearly, there is an urgency for CARICOM countries as a whole to address their fragile condition, and to recognise that while national initiatives are imperative for economic growth and development and must be pursued diligently, deeper regional collaboration, including economic integration, hold beneficial and sustainable solutions.

With specific regard to tourism. Despite all those who often dismiss tourism as “too fragile” to be a real player in the economic development of the Caribbean, the industry has emerged as a strong and resilient economic activity that has been a fundamental contributor to global economic recovery by generating billions of dollars in exports and creating millions of jobs.  It has played the same role in many CARICOM countries.

The UN World Tourism Barometer has reported that tourism receipts increased by US$48 billion in 2014 to reach a record US$1.2 trillion globally. An additional US$221 billion was generated from international passenger transport, bringing the total export earnings from international tourism to US$1.5 trillion. Remarkably, the Americas was the highest growth area for tourism in the world.  And while the lion’s share of receipts – US$210 billion – went to North America, the second highest share was earned by the Caribbean, though only US$27 billion. But, the biggest beneficiaries in the Caribbean area were the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Cuba which accounted for almost half of the money earned.

Nine years ago, I wrote a commentary entitled, “The Big Three and Little CARICOM” which posited the view that the three Caribbean Spanish-speaking islands would forge an alliance, creating a market of 23 million people that would marginalise the market of 6 million people in the English-speaking Caribbean.

I warned that CARICOM countries would delude themselves if they believe that with their individual small markets, high investment costs, high costs of doing business and vulnerabilities both to natural disasters and external economic shocks, they could each operate successfully in the global market place in competition with the “big three”.

And I urged that “CARICOM governments would do well to bolster their economies and their capacity for dealing with their Caribbean neighbours and the international community by urgently completing the arrangements for implementing their own Single Market”.

That deeper economic relationship between the Spanish-speaking Caribbean countries is now coming to pass, threatening to leave CARICOM behind. Two weeks ago, my friend and analyst of Caribbean affairs for many years, David Jessop, pointed out that “work is progressing on studies on the creation of a new Caribbean economic block that might bring together Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Cuba with the objective of uniting the Spanish-speaking Caribbean and capitalising on new trade opportunities”.

He quoted Carlos Rivera Velez, the President of the Puerto Rico Association of Industries as saying: “We hope that in the not too distant future, we can see the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Cuba working together as a productive economic block for each of our countries and to strengthen the region”.

Jessop observed that “these developments are taking place as CARICOM has become less coherent… where ‘dysfunction and strife’ now militates against the spirit of the Caribbean integration movement”. And he concluded, in terms similar to my own statement nine years ago, that: “It is time for the English speaking Caribbean as a whole to develop new thinking about how best to incorporate a future open trade relationship with Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico, in ways that deepen in the longer term trade with neighbours in Central and South America.  It is time to read the writing on the wall”.

Clearly there is a need for a response from CARICOM countries collectively to the economic co-operation process that is being launched with vigour in their own front yard, or they will fulfill the fears that led to the creation of the West Indian Commission in 1990. That fear was that: “against that background of historic change and historic appraisal, CARICOM countries could be in danger of becoming a backwater, separated from the main current of human advance into the 21st Century”.

Of all the CARICOM countries, Jamaica has recognised the potential benefits of a tourism alliance with Cuba and the DR with which it plans to forge a Multi-Destination Arrangement.  These arrangements make perfect sense for Jamaica, located, as it is, in close proximity to the Spanish-speaking islands. But, one has to wonder whether the deficiencies in the CARICOM integration process and its failure to deliver its objectives after 43 years of existence, has not contributed to encouraging Jamaica to seek alternatives which are not limited to tourism.

No one can blame Jamaica for taking a sensible initiative, but it would have benefitted CARICOM to enter these arrangements together.  It took the Cuban Vice Minister of Tourism, Luis Miguel Diaz Sanchez, earlier this month to express to the Caribbean Hotels and Tourist Association a strong desire to see the region cooperate in building a stronger Caribbean brand.

Encouragingly, the CHTA said they “will be pursuing a number of priority issues discussed during their meetings” with the Cubans.  No time should be lost in pursuing these priorities; time is not on CARICOM’s side even if, at this point, there is goodwill from the Cubans.  Such goodwill will not last forever, and Cuba’s national interest will respond to change and the lure of other sirens.

It is time that the countries of CARICOM- acknowledge that there is a loss of momentum with regard to the regional integration agenda.  Lack of confidence in CARICOM is causing member states to establish alliances elsewhere.

These issues need to be addressed as a matter of urgency. The next CARICOM Heads of Government Conference is 6 weeks away. It would be appropriate, desirable, and important for the Conference to address how best they might establish mechanisms to halt the decline in CARICOM and return to making it an instrument of development and progress for each of its countries and all of them.

(Sir Ronald Sanders is the Ambassador of Antigua & Barbuda to the United States)

NNP vs NDC

I will like to totally and completely let the public know that there is absolutely no comparisons with the NDC and the NNP.

If we look back at those two major political parties objectively we will see how unparalleled and unmatched the NDC was to the NNP.

Let us be mindful that NNP met a debt of only 300 million dollars, which was partly accumulated within the 29 years of even the  Gairy era debts.

The fact is that from 1995 to 2008 the NNP pushed up Grenada’s national debt to over $1.6 million dollars making it the largest accumulation of debts since Christopher Columbus discovered Grenada.

The NNP has sold out or literally give away a considerable amount of Grenada’s national assets.

I want to remind Mr. Gittens of his letter in THE NEW TODAY newspaper in last week’s edition.

Let us look at some of the mismatch as follows: The NNP borrowed monies as commercial loans with high interest rates when they came in 1995 after the NDC   returned Grenada to creditworthiness.

The NNP went on a borrowing spree trying to impress Grenadians that concretising Grenada was real progress and was also to win the next general election in a very fanatical way, built a stadium which would have been a burden on the backs of the Grenadian people.

It started with the Trini man who did not put enough steel in the building making it a disaster prone to hurricane as was proven in hurricane Ivan in 2004.

Brothers and sisters, on top of that the stadium was not insured.

Could you imagine that.

Let us not forget the millions of dollars. which were lost to the so-called developer at Mt Hartman and with farmers also loosing their economic livelihood.

Let us not forget the million s of dollars to the Call Center, which was promised to be paid back. Let us not forget the Garden Group hotels loans.

Let us not forget the Levera Golf course project for some 26 million dollars in which most of the people’s lands were lost – taken by government with no compensation.

There is a lovely golf club built into the overgrown trees and a huge cow pasture now in place at that so-called golf course.

Let us not forget the organic banana project in River Antoine with more millions going down the drain.

Let us remember the Van Brink fiasco with the offshore bank where Canadians lost over 400 million.

What about the fowl farm at St. Mark’s – more millions lost courtesy NNP. Grenadians did not even get an egg from the fowl farm.

Let us look at the cost of the briefcase inquiry, which cost the people of Grenada so much. I can literally go on and on and listing much more about the NNP tenure in office.

Let us look at NDC – Mr. Nazim Burke has never given away Grenada’s national asset, he sold some of the old dilapidated  buildings to a Grenadian financial institution, NIS. What this means is that the monies will never leave Grenada.

At a time when the world was experiencing its  worse economic crisis, which struck while the NDC was in office.

I honestly do not know if it was the NNP in office in  that critical period what would have happen to Grenada.

During Mr. Burke’s time as Finance Minister, there were only two times when public workers salaries were late by a day or two and they made a big deal out of it.

I believe for those of us who had any doubts about Nazim Burke’s ability to manage we have to look back at 2008 when there was no money as a matter of fact  and Mr. Burke was accused of only paying back debts.

How can we compare those two parties . The writing is on the walls .
The NNP said that NDC could not manage the country but what Mitchell and NNP did when they took office in 2013 – 28 taxes on the backs of the Grenadian people.

I will like to remind the country about the leader of the NNP when he said that you cannot tax your way out of an economic crisis . What we need to do is vote with our heads and not with our hands.

Kennedy Jawahir

Raising a ‘Grenadian Spring’

Every Grenadian must find the strength to face our truth as a Nation with constructive, critical self-examination. Here is a starting contribution to some of the key issues that must be put on the table and discussed honestly and maturely, and without partisan controversy.
The issues are so compelling and consequential that the time has come to raise a ‘Grenadian Spring’!

‘Soca Boca’ (deceased) never sang at the Calypso Finals, but he composed words drawn from hindsight and ‘tried to sing’, “The inspiration that we need; we not getting it in the lead”! That was a blunt but honest indictment. On the stage competing in the Finals, with the crown in sight, the ‘Black Wizard’ sang these words of foresight, “When de Carnival over; we still need a brighter day”! That was a statement of hope for ‘greater things’; a call to do more.

The point is that our generation has a duty to pour oil into the vessels of national life such that the next generation of Grenadians can achieve even more. Black Wizard’s “brighter day” must include better examples of humility; higher standards of conduct; better and broader governance; growing levels of real production and fairer distribution; more and more people enjoying prosperity and louder public ‘speak-out’.
Then, there must be less dictatorship of the political parties; less idle manpower; less poverty of leadership and less social erosion, among others. How are we going to ensure these things happen?

Remembering ‘Soca Boca’, we must use hindsight to clarify where we went wrong and to prepare us for tomorrow. Celebrating the Black Wizard, we must employ foresight to chart our future course and to stir and raise us for a ‘Grenadian Spring’!

After forty-two years of Independence, Grenadians are able to claim or identify some progress in education and human resource development, health care, infrastructural development, the utilities and the services sector. In this respect, we should all be particularly proud of and speak the praises of Spice Island Beach Resort and GRENLEC, two outstanding business exemplars in Grenada.

Value-added industries using cocoa and nutmegs are also on the right path, as is the fisheries sector. At the same time, we have experienced economic under-achievement, confirmed by persistent and high levels of poverty and unemployment; degraded agricultural production and two Structural Adjustment Programs in twenty years.

The third such Program is on the horizon as the seeds have already been sowed. This is so because while the fiscal algebra is being manipulated with IMF supervision, political wishes and promises, and the production needle, have not moved! So our economic distress will continue! Importantly, the more the economy stumbles, the faster the society weakens and the quicker the political parties hustle with ‘tricks and traps’ in short-sighted attempts at responding to the problems.

One obvious and frightening aspect of our reality is the state of the Grenadian society which is marked by growing decadence and a highly visible, non-productive leisure culture (fast foods, fashion and fun) among segments of the youth population; destabilisation of the family structure and inappropriate and uninspiring leadership in social and political life.

Additionally and dangerously, under-appreciation of the value and role of the Grenadian culture and heritage, give immense cause for concern. These circumstances exist because we have been sleeping for a very long time!

Thinking about a popular and very critical national issue, reveals that we are persevering with a massive mistake in pursuing policies by which more and more millions of scare dollars are thrown behind the youth unemployment problem. The reality is that the public purse cannot fix things, even though it is readily available to the authorities for random use.

In other words, the Government of Grenada cannot simply write a cheque to deliver employment to the twenty thousand young people in Grenada. Highlighting the magnitude of the problem, one realises that investment in hotel plant is the most likely source of new employment in the foreseeable future, given the known shape of our resource base.

Assuming each project leaves us two hundred jobs (direct and indirect), then to absorb ten thousand (50 percent of unemployed) young people there needs to be at least fifty hotel projects! Is there any realistic prospect of that happening?

While spending on the IMANI Program or the Youth Upliftment Program may ease the pressure and generate a ‘feel-good’ political narrative, the political parties are only fooling themselves and misleading the people. A proper and serious response must include a sound migration strategy for educated and skilled young workers and the opening up of new economic frontiers at home.

In fact, the first step towards dealing with the youth unemployment problem is to agree on a national production strategy and to work at it. Regrettably, the Grenada economy has fallen victim to the ‘vote’!
Eh heh! We were all sleeping when these things happened!

Continuing the analysis, one recognises that the responsibilities of Independence were not assisted by a careful socialisation of the Grenadian people in governance, government, development, democracy or service to Nation. Equally, the institutions of the State, including the courts, have not consistently been beacons of hope. This is especially the case with the Public Service, which has actually retrogressed in the last twenty years. A weak Public Service means weak public policy formulation and even weaker public sector management. Grenadians pay a high price where the Public Sector has been put to sleep through an overdose of political pills!

Interestingly, the Grenada Constitution implicitly entrenches the dictatorship of the political parties, which enables those in that industry to give and to take away at will. Put plainly, the people get only what the parties say they are giving! This constitutes a serious problem that needs correcting.

Our experience shows that both businesses and workers are totally dependent on Government spending (taxes, budgetary support and borrowing). Where Government has virtually ‘maxed-out’ on borrowing and where budgetary support is hard to get, everyone feels the pinch!

Having created these uneasy circumstances, we have been groping in the dark; missing, more often than hitting, desirable standards of progress.

Meanwhile, Constitution Reform appears to be a valid template for mapping new directions and reaching desired destinations in a number of areas, especially; expanded governance, strengthened democracy and balanced development. But again we fell asleep at the wheel, entertaining dreams about term limits and fixed date for elections!

Everyone will agree that the Grenada Revolution has left us with an International Airport, important social reforms, including the NIS, a bigger middle class (through University education) and the experience of real patriotism, which moved the national production needle dramatically for its four years. But the ‘Revo’ has also left us with an unreconciled nation; enduring pain of abuses of human rights and knowledge of the unsuitability of Marxism-Leninism as a philosophy of political organisation and development for Grenada.

Other debris of the Revolution, especially the criminalisation of power, provides important lessons for entrenching democratic principles and spiritual values going forward.

We have lost much since Independence, but all is not lost! There are significant opportunities before us to get it right in the key areas of national life. These include exploring new frontiers of economic
development; energy development; proper and purposeful socialisation of young Grenadians (growing a new type of Grenadian citizen); spiritual grounding; cultural embedding and management; higher production and productivity levels; agricultural modernisation and national reconciliation.

While we struggle under the weight of our past and begin to face our future (Plan 2030), a very careful watch needs to be kept on the socio-cultural impacts of the Citizenship by Investment Program, as well as unfolding evidence of Chinese ‘over-presence’, something some analysts describe as creeping colonisation.

Already, these new entrants are impacting the land and commercial markets in unforeseen ways. Unfortunately, we have not even begun to contemplate the need for ‘social shock absorbers’, far less to determine what safeguards are needed. These are serious matters as they are likely to exact an unreasonable price on the Grenadian citizen in return for some economic and financial inflows.

It is one thing for the Treasury to get a bit more in its coffers, but it is quite a different thing for the ordinary citizen to have to make social and cultural adjustments in his own homeland, and to do so from a position of disadvantage!

At the centre of this concern is the role and place of culture and heritage in national development. These two inter-related values constitute ‘the soul of the nation’ and therefore call for special consideration in decision-making. By extension, the management arrangements for culture and heritage by the State should not continue to be put in the hands of vision-constrained people. There is a pressing urgency to recruit top quality Grenadians for these functions.

In many respects, we have spent forty odd years ‘chasing donkeys’, with very little success. The search for a better and higher place is a cause worthy of collective embrace, dedicated effort and resolve to make it happen. Towards this end, ‘sleeping sickness’ must be replaced by responsible action; a ‘Grenadian Spring’! This is not a task for an elitist few or the political parties, but for all the people; patriotic, sincere and determined to ‘spring’ up and to make our own
bread.

William Joseph

Please Respect God and His Name!

Who has the GREATEST Name  in the entire universe? Of course, God. In the Bible, we find God’s Name in a number of places, including Exodus 6:3, Psalm 83: 18, Isaiah 12: 2, and Isaiah 26: 4.

God’s name, Jehovah, should be held in the highest esteem. His Son, Jesus Christ, had the highest regard for God’s Name. He made God’s Name known to others as John 17: 6, 26 mention.

I’m calling on all persons to have the highest respect for God’s Name. Some people disrespect it when they associate the name Jehovah with “Wickedness”. How would Jesus Christ be feeling as he looks down from heaven and sees and hears persons using the expression, “Jehovah Wick…”? This is absolute nonsense!

How sad Jesus must feel when his Father’s name is treated so disrespectfully. (John 14:31; John 20:17) God is Holy, yes, pure and clean. (Isaiah 6:3) Wickedness can NEVER be associated with him. How can a person be singing: “Jehovah hide me, I am under the Rock…” and then connect that name of God with wickedness?

Therefore, I call on all persons to treat God’s Name with the respect it deserves. Honour the name of our Creator, for without him, NONE of us would have been alive today. Revelation 4:11.

Simeon James 

Disappointment with GCNA!!!

The  following  is Food  for  Thought, it is  part  of the  information provided  to the  Board  of Directors of the  Grenada  Cooperative  Nutmeg  Association (GCNA) and the  GCNA manager who  had not the  good manners or  courtesy to respond or act on the information  and  suggestions provided.

I am almost  reminded of the section in the Holy Bible: Proverbs  Chapter 29: Verse 18 :”Where there is no vision, the people perish”.

Ownership  Of The Grenada Cooperative Nutmeg  Association: Since 2007, I have been pushing for us, members of the GCNA, to OWN the GCNA particularly  its Assets. Last year in   April 08, 2015  I again contacted  them.

When you consider, an entity  as GCNA, with  twenty-one (21) or so  properties in Grenada  valued at almost Sixty-six Million  Dollars ($66, 000,000.00)  owned  by No ONE   with the option  of  we, the  Three Thousand  five hundred (3,500)  members or so, losing  everything, similar to what  occurred with the   GBCS,(the Grenada  Banana Cooperative  Society)  when it was  dissolved and  no one  received  anything. Then  you realise  how serious a matter  this situation  is.

Yet our  GCNA  Board has not acted to enable us to  own the  GCNA  after  a year. The Board  is waiting  to change the whole  Nutmeg Act written in 1947 rather than  just  have a statement included  to  state that “All  Members of the  Grenada Co-operative Nutmeg Association own the GCNA and can be given  a single share to indicate that each  member is a part owner  of the GCNA”.

Later on we can discuss Capitillisation  and other issues that have gone on over the  years.

I have offered to champion this Question of Ownership or to join with any Member of the GCNA Board  to do so. But none of them seem interested.

We may not  know it but the GCNA, although  named as the Grenada Co-operative Nutmeg Association is not  governed by the usual Co-operative  Laws of Grenada  as enforced  by  the Department of Co-operatives.

It was  formed by an Act  of Parliament or of the Legislature long before Mr. Martineau  and the  Co-operative Department  came on the scene.

So  the Ownership Amendment or Addition can be done easily and quickly. I repeat again, I am willing to help to walk it through with the Attorney General etc.

The other thirty five (35) or so Amendments now being drafted by Consultants and the Jamaican  Lawyer  can continue for the IMF and so on.

Later on I shall  discuss other issues to improve the  GCNA  and  allow it to operate  as a Business.
 
Dr.E.R Buckmire, MBE

Government vs foreign investors

Is a bird in the hand still worth two in the bush? It depends on the weather forecast for the day.

Several governments in Grenada have declared the private sector to be “the engine of growth”. The statement can be found in many budget speeches over the past 20 years in Grenada, but now it’s coming into question as government itself runs afoul of the very sector that it says can take the country’s economy out of its current state.

It now seems that a reinterpretation of the statement that reads “The private sector which supports us, is the engine of growth,” seems to be a more appropriate interpretation of the statement where the current administration in St. George’s is concerned.

Whether it’s GRENLEC, the United States investor WRB, the Grenadian by Rex Resort or other companies that are experiencing the ire of the government, it clearly is a shot across the bow for all investors and potential investors.

What is even more concerning is that these very public conflicts with current investors like the Rex, are happening at a time when the very government is hosting a meeting at the Radisson and is seeking to woo more investors in the hotel sector to Grenada as part of a focus on the blue economy.

It appears based on what ministers have been saying recently that your contribution to the development of the country is only counted when you allow the powers-that-be to control your operations. When you appear to want to stick to good business practices that benefit the country, you quickly fall from grace, no matter how much money you spend on national development.

Another such investor who has spent more than EC $200M in the development of a high profile venture that employs many Grenadians, now appears to be having the same experience. That message then must be a concern for all the potential investors as word spreads that extra care must be taken when Grenada appears on the radar.

The current spat between the government and GRENLEC, driven by someone who has had a previous relationship with the company, appears to be the result of an ill-advised, high-handed and I’ll get you back approach that does not smell well. The same can be said about the Grenadian by Rex.

It is obvious that the days of dialogue, discussion and diplomacy between the state and the “engine of growth” are long gone, giving way to ultimatums and cut throat interactions that cannot be good for any country or investor.

It is clear that a pattern is emerging in the relationship between the Grenada government and the foreign investor community that is so needed to help move the country forward.

At the local level, there is also the Rivera hotel and Camerhogne Park issue, that, when placed into the mix, provides a dangerous throwback to an earlier era in Grenada’s history. ‘You are my friend until I meet someone with deeper pockets,’ seem to be the new policy.

The cart is driving the horse and every attempt, every effort, must be made to reverse the order or the cart will bound away.

Grenada’s political stability since the collapse of the revolution can give way to a period of economic instability, in which the engine will stall or slow down, resulting  in greater hardships for every Grenadian who are unable to hop the airlines at Maurice Bishop International.

In 2014 the former Chairman of the Republic Bank Group, Ronald Harford told the Caribbean Association of Bankers at their meeting in Grenada, “Equally damaging, is the low level of accountability of our leaders, who are permitted to avoid hard questions such as those related to corruption, expenditure and unrealised budget plans. The sad reality is that our political structure in some ways impedes the region’s long-term development…….. The model is indeed broken. I hope for the region’s sake that our will to take corrective action is not as well.”

It appears that message may have fallen on deaf ears.

Trevor Sergeant

Those with ‘vested interests’

The current public discussion about the relocation of Camerhogne Park highlights the urgent need for a proper Physical Development Plan that is implemented and adhered to.

Sadly this much needed discussion has devolved into a Political Football match in which the BIG LOOSER is Grenada, and the estimated 3000 school leavers that exit our schools systems annually.

No one denies the need for Green space and access to our beaches.

Similarly no intelligent person can deny the need for more Hotel Rooms to justify Air Lift, create economies of scale for Farmers, Tour/Taxi Operators, Event Planners, create opportunities for employment at all levels, and spawn Innovation.

No one except “vested interests” who have for Fifty Years denied Grenada the opportunity to grow its hotel capacity with unsubstantiated claims of exclusive Boutique Operations being the way to go, rather than simply being a part of the “mix of product” on offer. This has served certain “vested Interests” well, and they shamelessly flaunt this on the rest of Grenada’s poor.

If you need proof of this fact, here it is… all of these “Boutique Operators” claim not to be  able to exist without MASSIVE SUBSIDIES (non-stop TAX CONCESSIONS) from our impoverished Government. Subsidies that exist for NO other segment of the Economy and whose recipients offer nothing constructive to the National Dialogue but HOT AIR, and sewerage!

I was greatly upset to hear one very “Push UP Hotelier” on T.V. recently “spouting” about raw sewerage “flowing through the grounds when there is heavy rainfall” of a notable Hotel Property. There was more, indeed much attributed to “Mr. Push UP” in your Newspaper of May 6th.

He claimed to have raised with the Keith Mitchell Administration “concerns….. which he described as being appalling and a National Disgrace”.

“The open sewer ditch… runs on either side of Morne Rouge Playing Field …a public health issue and we (who we?) cannot allow any further development..”.

Correctly he informed that the current system that runs to Point Salines “goes into the ocean, flowing raw sewerage … that has not been treated”. “What other country anywhere in the world will … allow development without proper infrastructure, ..roads, water, sewerage etc.” he asks.

Fair questions no doubt, but here are some facts; there is no sewerage flowing through Spice Island Resort, heavy rainfall or otherwise, and God help you when this comes to the attention of the owners who have all the “Stars & Diamonds” to prove otherwise. What on earth were you not thinking?

There is no open sewer ditch on either side of Morne Rouge. This is a storm water drain, and fish live in it to prove otherwise, this is not a National disgrace. The only disgrace is that Government no longer pays to keep the outfall’s clear of sand, something that was last done by the Gairy Government in 1979.

The National disgrace is that none of the beneficiaries of massive subsidies has seen it in their interest to do this simple task which Government fails to do, because Government has no money, having given it all away in TAX CONCESSIONS…. To guess who – Mr. PUSH UP AND OTHERS LIKE HIM?

As for “what Country anywhere in the world will allow…. Raw sewerage to flow into the ocean”? As a recent “come here” and PUSH UP, you don’t know. But guess who gave Grenada the system that flows into the sea?
USAID is who, when they were attempting to divert grey water and sewerage away from the Grand Anse area. This is a permissible solution where there was none, and at any rate was “given to us by White People” like you, who as you seem to allude, know better or best.

So before you go gushing sewerage Mr. Push UP, please better inform yourself, or some people might think you have “vested interests” in keeping Grenada’s Tourism Room Stock inadequate.

PURE GRENADA