Final witnesses to give evidence in Beaton murder PI

The Preliminary Inquiry (PI) into the March 24, 2018 stabbing death of Francis Williams, 61, of Beaton, St. David, is expected to conclude before Magistrate Karen Noel at the St. David’s Magistrate’s Court, today Friday (December 7).

Charged with Non-Capital Murder in connection to the death of the senior citizen are Beaton residents Johnny Perryman, 25, and his 37-year-old uncle Davis Gulston, who have retained the services of Attorney-at-Law Anselm Clouden to assist them in the matter.

According to Jamaican-born Crown Counsel, Howard Pinnock, who is prosecuting the matter for the State, some 13 witnesses have already given evidence in the 2-month long trial, which began on September 17, before Magistrate Karen Noel at the St. David’s Magistrate’s Court.

Pinnock told THE NEW TODAY last week Friday, that when the matter resumes, he will be calling his final witnesses, 2 police officers to give evidence for the state on behalf of the deceased man, who succumbed to two stab wounds just after 8 o’ clock on the fatal Saturday night, following a physical altercation with two other persons at a village shop.
Williams reportedly received stabs to his face and chest and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Information reaching THE NEW TODAY indicate that at the time of the incident that the elderly man, along with three others were having a drink at the village shop, when another individual, whose name was withheld, showed up.

The man’s presence was not welcomed and he was asked to leave the compound but did not comply and this resulted in an altercation with one of the men who was drinking inside the shop.

The deceased reportedly left the scene and returned moments later with a cutlass and made a strike with the instrument at the individual.

The cutlass is said to have struck another man who was trying to put peace.

THE NEW TODAY understands that the man who was struck with the cutlass got upset and attacked the deceased man and the two were soon afterwards engaged in a scuffle.

Information revealed that they separated and after a few minutes of fighting, Williams stood up and then fell back down.

The PI into his death will determine whether or not Perryman and Gulston would be committed to stand trial for murder before a judge and jury in the High Court.

The two suspects will face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment if convicted of Non-Capital Murder.

Generous donation to GARP

The Grenada Association of Retired Persons (GARP) is the beneficiary of a donation of EC$26, 882, awarded through the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF) from Chancellor of St. George’s University (SGU), Dr. Charles Modica on behalf of his mother, Marion Modica.

L-R Deputy Director, WINDREF @ St George’s University, Dr Trevor Noël, Dr. Feisal Brahim, GARP Executive Committee Member, Carol Vasquez, President, GARP, Director WINDREF @ St. George’s University, Dr Calum Macpherson, GATP Executive Committee Member Rawlda George

The donation was presented at WINDREF’s office at SGU Campus at True Blue, St. George.

In accepting the cheque from Chancellor Modica, President of GARP, Carol Vazquez, said the organisation cannot operate without donations and it was “the largest single gift that we have ever received”.

“The timing is the best Christmas present and we are so thankful to Mrs Modica for her wonderful support for Grenada’s seniors”, she remarked.

GARP was established in 2010 to deliver high quality services and programs that meet the need of its members whilst advocating for the well-being of all older persons in Grenada.

It provides activities and classes at the GARP Welcome Centre on Kirani James Boulevard, and outreach services across Grenada, such as health clinics, which are open to all seniors.

One example of GARP’s outreach work is its free diabetic clinics, held in St George’s, Gouyave and Grenville.

Staffed by SGU students and volunteer doctors, the clinics looked after over 400 seniors in 2018.

Describing the impact that the donation will have on GARP’s work, Vazquez pointed out that “this donation will ensure that we are able to achieve one of our key goals for 2019, which is to improve and extend the outreach services that GARP can offer to seniors across the nation.

“It is a sincere endorsement of our work and a gift that will keep giving over the next year”, she remarked.

The GARP head noted that 2018 had been a year of tremendous growth and development for the body.

She said: “We are now recognised locally, regionally and internationally as the leading organisation to provide services and advocacy for the seniors of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.”

Rex by Grenadian closes next April to start construction phase to Royalton Grenada

The Rex by Grenadian Hotel is to be renamed the Royalton Grenada when it is re-opened next December.

Prime Minister Mitchell and President of Sunwing Travel Group, Stephen Hunter are both optimistic about Royalton Grenada

The hotel will be closed in April 2019 to undergo eight months of construction and to be reopened under a new name.

This was announced by President and CEO of Sunwing Travel Group, Stephen Hunter at a joint press conference held last week Thursday with Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell at the official residence of the Prime Minister at Mt. Wheldale.

Hunter described the Royalton brand as the number one all-inclusive hotel in the world as voted upon by Trip Advisor for the last two years.

According to Hunter, the $80 million investment to be pumped into the Rex Grenadian will see massive renovation taking place and building of up to 60 new rooms to bring the room stock up to almost 300.

He said that everything but the concrete structure will be taken out from the existing hotel during the construction phase.

“We take everything out from the hotel – everything including pipes, including wires and we only leave the concrete and we build it back up from scratch again.

That will be done in the rooms, that will be done in the lobby”, he told reporters.

“We will add 50% more to the lobby to accommodate the new restaurants, to accommodate the spa, to accommodate the gym and then we will be adding a couple of pools and a whole different section…what we call our diamond club section, that’s the higher end butler service area with one in two bedroom rooms, will be able to accommodate a lot more people,” he added.

Hunter also addressed a major concern as it relates to job security for the current workers at Rex Grenadian.

“All of those staff would be given the first right of refusal to come back, obviously. When we re-open the hotel, we add that many rooms and we add six new restaurants and we add a spa. There are a lot of additional services that are being added, we would need the current staff that are there plus almost double the new staff to come,” he said.

Hunter thanked the government of Grenada for the support being giving to the project.

“I must say that throughout the Caribbean that there are a lot of Prime Ministers who can’t see how to help grow the economy…I am very pleased that your Prime Minister knew exactly what we needed and has provided us with an easy way forward (way) to invest in Grenada.

“…When you look at the different countries, they each offer a beach which is what our customers are looking for…a safe environment, nice people and a beach and you can get that in many places. I can tell you that the biggest difference that we look at when we invest in countries, is the cooperation that we get from the government – that is vital…because coming in and spending 80 to 100 million dollars on a small little island is very, very risky and we can only do it with the cooperation of the government.

Prime Minister Mitchell focused his mind on the number of jobs that will be provided to persons with this investment coming on stream.

He said: “I am happy that the fact that Stephen’s group has indicated they will be expanding the property. They’ll begin serious construction and renovation will be taking place which will provided enormous amount of jobs again in the country. A section of the hotel will be made into Diamond Clubs…this is going to bring an added dimension to the country hotel project.

“It’s going to increase the hotel product in the country tremendously so and with their marketing experience, we expect that they will be able to fill their hotel property literally, almost all year round because they are bringing their flights into the country…they would certainly give us that extra push”, he added.

The advent of Sunwing to take over the Rex Grenadian operation on the island is expected to bring an end to the move by Prime Minister Mitchell to acquire the hotel from its previous owner.

The matter is still pending before a local high court judge.

The Budget 2019: Were You Listening?

The Prime Minister presented the 2019 Budget last Wednesday, 21st November 2018 and most people hardly even noticed. The fact is, this presentation was a grand non-event. The Prime Minister was going through the motion of an elaborate web of incoherent phrases, after which, even the best minds who tried, could hardly make sense of.

The theme, “Building Resilience, Advancing Social Development, Transforming our Economy” was simply a mish-mash of sexy empty phrases. This theme was probably the worst ever and the contents of the presentation equally among the worst of the Prime Minister’s entire career.

The Structural Adjustment Program is still with us. The measures continue to have the effect of impoverishing the people, as we still feel the impact of the dramatic increases in taxation directed by the IMF. In a make believe attempt to ease the pressure, the Prime Minister announced a 2% reduction in Personal Income Tax for persons earning a monthly salary in excess of $5000. This means that someone who earns $5500 per month will have a whopping $10.00 reduction in his monthly income tax.

Corporate Tax rate was also announced to be reduced by 2%, from 30% to 28%. This cannot spur local private sector investment when a company that makes a yearly profit of $1 million, will see a tax reduction of only $1,666.00 a month.

It is indeed interesting that the budget predicts a reduction in growth rate for 2019 from an average of 5% in the last 5 years to 4.8%. Construction will slow down considerably as a result of the winding down of construction activity at one project in the south – Silver Sands.

Unemployment is expected to increase and productive sectors such as tourism and agricultural remain grossly underfunded, while unsustainable programs that are not part of the productive sectors such as the de-bushing and Imani programs will consume over $50 million.

The budget boasts of an additional 800 Imani trainees, 500 young men in the MPower initiative and 800 in the house repair brigade and as environmental wardens (road workers). None of these are sustainable jobs that can permanently lift people out of poverty.

This is indeed a huge disservice to the people of Grenada, particularly young people. These steps are mainly aimed at shoring up party supporters and friends. Safety net programs are being abused and many able bodied party supporters receive benefits that should go to the elderly and indigent.

Much time was spent on the Public Sector Pension issue, but unfortunately, it was not time well spent. The Prime Minister did not outline the financial exposure the country faces. It was just a series of statements containing much misinformation and without hard data to show how come, since we boast of a budget surplus of almost $200 million, we cannot meet the pension obligations to workers. Instead, the Prime Minister squandered the opportunity and vilified and disrespected the leadership of the unions.

The same diet of promises was recycled and served while: our roads are in their worse state in decades; no one knows where the funds to support the National Health Insurance will come from; the food import bill continues to climb and agricultural exports continue to slide at an alarming rate. The foundation of the economy is built on agriculture, tourism and educational services, yet agriculture and tourism got the smallest share of the pie.

The rate of increase in student enrollment at St George’s University is likely to slow for reasons over which the school administration has no control. With the abandonment of agriculture and continued under-funding of tourism sector, what resilience is the Prime Minister referring to? Not a single program mentioned in the Budget that can be considered transformational.

A recent study conducted by the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) revealed that for the 2017/18 cruise season, Grenada hosted only 1.16% of all cruise passengers who visited the Caribbean. The average spend per passenger in Grenada was US $51.57 while the regional average is $101.52. Cruise passengers to Grenada spent US$19.25m, while in St Kitts & Nevis they spent US$149m. Nothing in the Budget suggests that the Government is in tune with this reality and intend to address it.

Despite the election promises and pronouncements just months ago, not a single word was mentioned of oil and gas.

The school books program is all but destroyed and teachers are under increased pressure to perform with fewer resources. To add insult to injury, their salaries were unjustly docked even if we all know how many students depend on them for support. What an insensitive and uncaring Government! `

The Government continues to boast of surpluses but the capital budget under-performs year after year. Receipts from grants continue to be way below projections. Productivity levels are at an all-time low and project implementation remains in the doldrums. Yet, fancy figures are bandied about to create a feel good atmosphere.

No mention was made of the statutory bodies. Specifically, the nation is kept in the dark as to the financial situation at MNIB, Airports Authority, Ports Authority, National Lotteries Authority and the Grenada Postal Corporation. The public needs to know which of these entities are a drain on the public purse and which make surpluses and how are these funds used.

The bottom line is that this yearly ritual has become nothing more than an exercise in political grandstanding, littered with empty promises. Meanwhile, no one is listening.

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

Glynis Roberts in support of increase in salary for Parliamentarians and Government Ministers

Former Labour Minister under the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, Glynis Roberts, who openly switched allegiance to the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell in March general election has come down on the side of teachers in the current impasse with the administration.

Glynis Roberts – served for a short while as Labour Minister during the 2008-13 reign of Congress

The self-styled Independent Senator addressed the issue of the docking of the November salaries of striking teachers on Tuesday during her contribution to the debate in the Upper House on the 2019 budget as presented by Prime Minister Mitchell in his capacity as Finance Minister.

Roberts said that it might seem as just by government to make reductions on the salaries of striking teachers but warned that if the matter is not handled the right way it could have negative implications for the Mitchell-led government.

She warned that all the accomplishments being boasted about by the regime could be washed away as teacher are the ones who contributed to those developments.

Roberts called on the NNP administration to repay the monies docked from teachers as it can remain a “nagging issue”.

“Though it may seem just to some, teachers do go overboard and beyond to provide not only education but care for our children. In this very budget we spoke of regional accomplishments that these teachers made this year in most of the subjects, so I want to say, while our economy is advancing, investors are coming, please do not let the situation go overboard that all our accomplishments are eroded in this little window.

“…So, I want to please urge, even if you want to take a day or two days, it is not right because teachers also have families and need to look after their children. Some households – mother is a teacher, father is a teacher, children teaching. Let us be sober – I am not judging but I know you have money to pay their salaries, so give them back a little bit because they need to take care of their family.

The Mitchell government has been accused of making deductions from the salaries of teachers who are on leave and even those known to be out of the country and did not take part in the strike action.

One teacher who said he was outside Grenada for over a month complained on Social Media that he was deducted of more than $1000.00 from his November salary.

However, the ex-Congress minister voiced support for the move being made by Prime Minister Mitchell to increase the salaries paid to all parliamentarians.

According to Roberts, the salaries of all MP’s as well as workers in the country needed to be reviewed.

She said: “Salary for Parliamentarians and ministers, I support, and I will add that all levels of salary in Grenada need to be reviewed – the minimum wage for domestic help, store clerk, all need a review”.

“We try as a nation and as a people but we need to stop, reflect, review where we are and work together for all because I came into this house in 2003 and salary is the same today. So, it is just for the parliamentarians and ministers, I support that but I also support that all levels in Grenada, we need to review it – private and public. Any action that provides more disposable income to the average man, I am in line to lend my full support,” she added.

PM Mitchell announced that he will be making moves to increase the salaries of Parliamentarians and government ministers based on a report done by as independent salary review commission led by Accountant, Henry Joseph.

China’s Good Governance to Eradicate Extremism

By Spokesman of the Chinese Embassy in Grenada

In recent years, the government of China Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has taken various strong measures to curb and eradicate extremism, which achieved good social governance and were supported by people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang. However, out of the expectation of the vast majority of Chinese people, some foreign politicians, without serious study of the actual facts, attacked Xinjiang’s practice as violating human rights of Uyghur.

Some ill-intentioned western media also followed up to vilify Chinese government’s good laws and governance, discredit China’s image. These unfriendly reports with prejudice caused very bad and negative effects. To some extent, it could be regarded as a support to the extremism and terrorism. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure a correct understanding and make it clear on the matter.

A correct conclusion can be drawn only after rational analysis and objective evaluation, instead of making judgment with coloured glasses, nor to politicise or label it excessively. In fact, to combat and eradicate extremism, which is called “de-extremisation” in China, is definitely a good governance from the perspective of state governance and a concrete manifestation of the Chinese government’s implementation of good governance.

First, de-extremisation is the manifestation of the rule of law. The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China promulgated the “Anti-terrorism Law of the People’s Republic of China” in 2015, in which Articles 19, 28, 30, 80, 81, 82, 84 laid down principles, guidelines and measures to prevent and punish extremism.

The law came into force on Jan. 1, 2016.

In accordance with the law, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region government formulated local regulations for implementing counterterrorism law and de-extremisation regulations and adopted measures to eradicate extremism. This is strictly in accordance with the law and is an inevitable requirement for fulfilling the government’s law enforcement duties. There is nothing wrong with it.

If these law enforcement measures were not taken, it would be considered as dereliction of duty, violating the requirements of governing the country according to law. And this has no essential differences with the USA passing “USA Patriot Act” after the “September 11 attacks” and the US authority’s cracking down on terrorism and extremism.

Second, de-extremisation is a necessary measure to prevent terrorism.

Since the “September 11 attacks” in the United States, large-scale terrorist incidents have occurred in London, Madrid, Paris, Moscow and other places, and almost each of these is closely related to Islamic extremism. Those perpetrators are misinterpreting and defiling Islam, engaging in evil terrorist activities and endangering the safety of life and property of civilians including Muslims.

In 2009, the July 5 Riots in Urumqi, Xinjiang was the Chinese version of “September 11 attacks”. It killed 197, injured more than 1,700, and caused colossal damage to property. After that, thousands of terrorist attacks occurred in Xinjiang, causing thousands of casualties. The evil terrorists were almost all extremists.

Believing in terrorism and extremism, the attackers attempted to create social panic, endanger public safety and violate personal and property security through violence, destruction and intimidation to achieve the Taliban-style ideology. Therefore, after careful analysis and assessment of the root causes of terrorism in Xinjiang, the Chinese government believes that we must prevent, contain and eradicate extremism before we prevent and contain terrorism.

Based on this, Xinjiang’s decision to take measures to eradicate extremism and prevent terrorism through ideological and cultural education is a necessary, wise and correct decision.

Third, de-extremisation is the requirement of safeguarding human rights and freedom in Xinjiang. Xinjiang is located in the western border of China. It has a population of more than 24 million, consisting of 47 ethnic groups, among which the Uyghur accounts for about 45%. Many Uyghur believe in Islam, but not the whole ethnic group. The Han ethnic group in Xinjiang hardly believes in Islam.

Among other 45 ethnic groups, there are quite a number of people who do not believe in Islam. That is to say, more than half Xinjiang residents are not Muslims. However, some religious extremists used illegal means to interfere with the religious freedom of non-believers, forcing them to believe in Islam, to participate in religious activities and to provide properties or services to Islamic sites and personnel. That has seriously infringed on those peoples’ freedom of religious belief.

Some extremists even ban others from selling pork and other non-halal foods and intervene in the secular life of others; some religious extremists intervene in the activities like marriage and funeral, prohibiting intermarriage between Uyghur and other ethnic groups and interfering with their freedom of marriage; some extremists expel the villagers of the Han and other ethnic groups from their residence or prohibit them from communicating with the Uyghurs.

Some extremists use loudspeakers in public space to interfere with others’ normal life and entertainment; some force their wives and daughters to change traditional Uyghur costumes into burqa-clad and extremist markers, some people use religious ceremonies to replace legal regulations in marriage; some extremists deprive their children of the right of receiving free national compulsory education and hinder the implementation of the national education system; some extremists publish, print, sell, distribute illegal propaganda materials to preach extremism; some extremists advocate ethnic hatred and ethnic discrimination, and use a disparaging “Keidayi” to name the Han ethnic group.

Obviously, for a period of time, various extremist activities reached an unparalleled level, which was extremely harmful to the rule of law, human rights and freedom in Xinjiang. It is unacceptable not only in China, but also in United States and Europe.

Fourth, de-extremisation is an initiative to disseminate international recognised values and views. The Chinese Constitution clearly advocate the core socialist values such as prosperity, strong democracy, civilisation and harmony, advocate freedom, equality, justice and the rule of law, advocate patriotism, dedication, integrity and friendliness.

De-extremisation is to encourage economic development in Xinjiang, to build Xinjiang into a region with developed economy and harmonious society, a region with modern civilisation, good order, a region with religious freedom where citizens are free from illegal infringement and not forced to change religious believes, a region which adheres to the rule of law, safety, order and guarantees normal life order, production order and education order.

It aims at building Xinjiang into a place where the vast majority of the people, including the Uyghur, enjoy the right to education, love to work and live a good life. It will enable people in Xinjiang to live and develop in a peaceful, friendly and harmonious environment.

De-extremisation is not to force people to change their religious beliefs, but to improve people’s livelihood and reduce poverty through education and training. It focuses on Chinese mandarin language learning, legal dissemination, labour skills training and humanistic care. It is a process of mutual promotion through implementing psychological counseling, behaviour correction and ideological education, using religious beliefs to clarify the original source and refute fallacy and guide the religious people to establish normal beliefs and consciously resist extremism, so as to restore to a normal and healthy inner mood.

Fifth, de-extremisation is an important measure to promote the protection of Uyghur culture. The Uygur is an ethnic group with long history and highly developed civilisation. It is also an important member in the Chinese family. In the long history of development, the Uyghur have created a brilliant civilisation.

Before the birth of Islam in the 7th century, the ancestors in Xinjiang, including the Uyghur, had successively believed in Buddhism, Shamanism, Zoroastrianism and other religions.

The history of Islam in Xinjiang is not long, but today some religious extremists are trying to force all residents in Xinjiang to change their faith and believe into Islam.

The Uyghur are good at singing and dancing, they have created countless brilliant music and dances. However, nowadays, some extremists forbid ladies to sing and dance in public, listen to popular music and wear bright clothes. On the contrary, they force them to live a Taliban-style life and completely change the living habits of Uyghur. This is clearly destroying the Uyghur culture.

Therefore, de-extremisation is to rescue Uyghur culture and to protect the integrity of the Uyghur spiritual world.

Sixth, de-extremisation is the only way to keep religion and government separated and prevents religious interference with secular society, politics and economy. Since Xinjiang is neighbouring Afghanistan, during Taliban’s administration in Afghanistan in 1990s, Taliban-affected extremists used various means to infiltrate Xinjiang and spread extreme religious ideas, poisoning a large number of people in southern Xinjiang.

The extremist forces even attempted to replicate the Taliban-style system of political and religious unity in Xinjiang. This is a serious violation of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China and is absolutely not allowed. China is a socialist country ruled by law. The Constitution prohibits unification of the state and the church.

Religious organisations or figures are not allowed to intervene in political, economic and social affairs. Therefore, de-extremisation in Xinjiang, in essence, is to govern the country according to the constitution and laws.

In the United States and European countries, the unification of the state and the church is not allowed either, and religious organisations or individuals are strictly prohibited from interfering in political, economic, and social affairs. Therefore, it is hypocritical and unethical for anyone to engage in double standards on this issue.

The world today is facing such ideological trends as extremism, terrorism, populism and anarchist liberalism, which had a great impact on the politics, economy and social affairs all over the world and deeply affected the international community. It is a top priority for all governments and peoples throughout the world how to take measures to get rid of harmful thoughts in the new era of peaceful development, carry forward the ideas conducive to human development and guide the international community to a bright future.

The Chinese government and people have stood up for the forefront, taken its responsibility, raised the banner of anti-extremism and carried out de-extremisation, achieving very fruitful results. In the past two years, no violent terrorist attacks ever occurred and the number of criminal cases dropped significantly. It is a major achievement of China. It shows China’s responsibility as a major country and a great contribution to the cause of counter-terrorism after the September 11 attacks. It should be cheered by all the people in the world.

Young Grenadian on Commonwealth Youth Council

Young Grenadian Zoe Hagley is now serving on the prestigious Commonwealth Youth Council for the period 2018 to 2020.

Zoe Hagley – appointed as Director of Public Relations and Communications of the Commonwealth Youth Council

Zoe was appointed to the Caribbean and Americas Regional Committee of the CYC and holds the position of Director of Public Relations and Communications.

She is responsible for promoting the council’s work on all media platforms across the Caribbean and the Americas.

A communications specialist by profession, Zoe was awarded a Chevening Scholarship in 2016, and holds a MSc in Development Management with a focus on Information Communication Technologies, from the London School of Economics.

She also earned a BSc in International Relations and Journalism with First Class Honours from the University of the West Indies campus at Mona in Jamaica.

Professionally, Zoe has spent her career developing, executing and measuring communication strategies.

One of her most notable professional achievements was her consultancy research project for the World Food Programme of the United Nations.

As a consultant, she conducted rigorous research and analysis on how non-profits could create beneficial pro-bono relationships with the media.

At the end of the contract, she provided policy recommendations to the WFP which were immediately put into use by the organisation.

Locally, her communication campaigns have also reaped success across multiple industries including telecommunications, energy and tourism.

Zoë has also been actively involved with community and youth development, through her involvement with the Rotaract Club of Grenada.

Throughout her time with the organisation, she served as PRO and Director, and was instrumental in projects spanning education, health, and environmentalism.

Zoe will work alongside nine other young professionals from the region on the Caribbean and Americas Regional Committee of the CYC.

The Commonwealth Youth Council will be undertaking an aggressive brand and project awareness campaign, to ensure all young people across the region are aware of the organization’s initiatives.

The Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) is the official voice of the young people across all Commonwealth nations.

The council’s aim is to further advance the youth development agenda by integrating young people into the development work of the Commonwealth at national, regional, and Pan-Commonwealth levels.

It also provides a sustainable platform for unified engagement with decision makers and youth-led development initiatives.

PSC to handle sexual misconduct complaint against senior police officer

Director of Public Service Commission (DPP), Christopher Nelson has instructed the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) to allow the Public Service Commission (PSC) to handle a complaint of sexual misconduct brought against a Superintendent of Police who is currently on administrative leave.

Acting Commissioner of Police, Edvin Martin – the action of one member does not reflect the entire force

DPP Nelson has given the ruling more than a month after the matter was sent to him for direction by the Police High Command following the complaint against the officer who was posted at the Special Services Unit (SSU) at Point Salines.

Acting Commissioner of Police, Edvin Martin briefed reporters on the issue at a press conference held last week Thursday at Police headquarters at Fort George, St. George.

According to Martin, the DPP advised that the matter should not be treated as a criminal one but should be handled by the PSC.

“This complaint raised concerns of sexual and professional misconduct by a senior member of the force in relation to a young lady who at the material time was being accommodated by the RGPF due to security and other concerns”, he said.

“The detail of the complainant and the circumstances of the case are deliberately withheld because of respect and concerns of the safety and security of the individual as well as the fact that this matter remains unresolved”, he added.

COP Martin told reporters: “As customary, an investigation was launched into the matter and the officer against whom the complaint was made was asked to take leave while the investigation was carried out. Upon completion of the investigation and as is customary for all matters involving police officers, the file was submitted to the Director of Public

Prosecution for consideration and directive.

“…This action was taken to obtain a learned guidance and to demonstrate transparency in handling of the matter. In his deliberate judgment the DPP (has) advised that the complaint should be dealt with as a disciplinary matter by the Public Service Commission and not criminally.

“It should be noted that the Commissioner of Police has responsibility for the discipline of police officers from the rank of Constable to Sergeant, however, the Public Service Commission is responsible for the discipline of officers in the ranks of Inspector and above. Currently, the officer concerned is still on leave and the case is being prepared for transmission to the Public Service Commission for consideration.

A police insider said that the DPP was hard-pressed to lay criminal charges as the sexual act that took place was consensual.

Speculation is also rife that the PSC might ask the Superintendent to resign but will safe-guard the pension benefits due to the officer who is nearing the age of retirement from the police force.

THE NEW TODAY newspaper contacted DPP Nelson on Monday to quiz him on how he arrived at his decision in the matter.

However, he was not forthcoming with information due to the sensitivity of the matter.

“I would not wish to comment more than the Commissioner of Police did. In looking at the circumstances of the case, that was my recommendation, but I wouldn’t wish to comment further, given that it is a sensitive nature involving a child”, DPP Nelson told this newspaper.

The incident which occurred on October 17 involved a 16-year-old female who was in protective custody at Camp Saline, St. George.

THE NEW TODAY understands that the female who was a witness to one of the murders in the south of the island in 2017, complained to a female officer that the Superintendent of Police had sexual intercourse with her without her consent.

COP Martin then instructed the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to carry out an immediate investigation into the matter.

In an attempt to allay fears from the public that RGPF was trying to cover up the case, the island’s chief cop said that the action of this particular officer does not reflect the entire police force.

He said: “Consistently, the RGPF exhibits their highest level of professionalism, ethical standards, fairness and respect for our constituents and I want to take the opportunity to assure you, that as Commissioner, I remain resolute in my responsibility to protect the professional integrity of the RGPF and this will consistently be my guiding principle in responding to issues and complaints against members of the force.

“…I cannot say how it (the instant case) would impact the public but what I hope that this action would do for the public is to understand that while periodically as I’ve indicated and from time to time unfortunately, you may have officers getting involved in conducts that are undesirable, the impression we hope that the public will have is that if and when this happens that the RGPF will stand and respond to those instances decisively and deal with them appropriately, so that they will have confidence, that while persons may on their own, do certain things, the response of the force in treating with it, will be quick and decisive,” he added

Schools Invited to Visit SAMS

During 2018, St. Augustine’s Medical Services (SAMS) sent out a call to local schools and authorities to let them know that its doors were open, should they wish to arrange a tour of the private medical hospital for their students.

Students of Grenada Christian Academy Students on their visit to SAMS

This is an offer which SAMS will continue going forward as they spearhead the drive for continuous improvement in both the services they offer and the use of the latest technology available in the medical field.

Admin Executive for SAMS, Allyson Amechi, who extended this invitation said that, “during the lead up to the festive season we know that there may be less demanding days for students in terms of the school curriculum, so we are sending out a reminder that our offer to have an educational visit to our facility is an activity that teachers might find of value to their students. Our doors are open”.

She also said: “Also, at this time of year, we know that many teachers will be reminding students to make a special effort to be aware of those less fortunate than themselves. Each year at SAMS we collect gift items for both children and the elderly. It would be amazing if any of the schools who may wish to visit might ask their students to consider whether they have something they might wish to give?

“Of course, this is not a pre-requisite for the visit taking place, just a gentle reminder to students of all ages, that giving is a way of making both themselves and someone else happy,” she concluded.

SAMS would be pleased to accept any games, toys or tinned food items or toiletries which any visitors to the facility might feel able to offer.

These will be distributed by the SAMS team during the month of December.

SAMS diagnostic services include Laboratory, CT Scan, X-Ray, Ultrasound and onsite pharmacy.

REPORT OF SALARIES REVIEW COMMISSION

Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell has received the report of the independent Salaries Review Commission.

The commission spent the last few months reviewing the salaries of all parliamentarians in Grenada including Ministers of Government, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, President of the Senate and the Leader of the Opposition.

Comparisons were also done with other countries in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

Last Thursday, Chairman of the Salaries Review Commission, Henry Joseph presented the report to Dr. Mitchell who said it will be considered by Cabinet and laid before the House sometime in 2019.

In his wrap-up of the budget debate, Dr. Mitchell indicated that he intends to take action to improve the salaries of Government Ministers.

The Prime Minister revealed that there is a difference of more than $20,000 in the salaries of some Ministers and their Permanent Secretaries, a situation which is not normal in relation to employers and employees.

Government backbenchers Tobias Clement and Anthony Boatswain have openly complained about the low salaries paid to Parliamentarians who are not Cabinet Ministers.