Injustice: The neglect of duty (provision of proper roads)

As a taxpayer, I am yet again left totally bewildered by the Grenada government’s refusal to provide mandatory services. These inefficiencies have been brought to the attention of the government on various platforms. To date, taxpayers remain cheated.

The stated concerns of the citizenry are given what seems to be the lowest priority, raising reasonable concerns as to how one’s taxes are being dispersed.

Consequences of the government’s bad decisions as it pertains to roads:

Damaged Property – ball joints, steering racks, rack ends, shocks and other vehicle parts are damaged by the uniquely undesirable decorations of potholes. As a result, these damaged parts significantly shorten the usage of tyres and create avenues for motorists to be charged by the RGPF (defective tires).

Financial Expense – the expenses aren’t limited to a person having to frequently purchase vehicle parts but are inclusive of fines and court fees whilst facing imprisonment.

The cost of vehicle parts is highly ridiculous, particularly in Grenada. Notwithstanding the fact that salaries are insultingly low. In some situations, additional finance is required; when parts shops don’t have the required parts, a motorist has no choice but to source parts from overseas.

In such situations one who is incapable of placing the order has to pay a broker or dealer. In addition to paying for the parts, a motorist doesn’t only have to pay the freight (shipping expense) but also 64% to the government (Customs) plus mandatory port charges.

In the event a motorist is ticketed and is required to go to traffic court, he/she now also has no choice but to get the services of an attorney in fear of being imprisoned by the magistrate for obvious reasons.

Inconvenience – Too many times while travelling throughout Grenada, motorists are forced to stop, drive extremely slow and or wait significant periods. At times motorists have no other option but to switch lanes as the potholes reflect those of an abyss due to their lengthy existence. This obviously causes a backup of traffic.

Danger – While trying to avoid potholes motorists not only endanger themselves but also other motorists and pedestrians. Changing lanes to avoid potholes is always a risky manoeuvre.

Whilst driving many motorists are forced to stop abruptly as some potholes are only visible within a couple feet. Motorists have many times lost control of their vehicles, as many have unexpectedly driven into potholes that are filled with rainwater.

Employment – Due to traffic backup caused by potholes, persons aren’t only inconvenienced but actually arrive at their destinations late. Persons are given warning letters from their employers; a move that maximises the chances of a person’s dismissal from the job or deductions from earnings.

Such a situation causes interminable job related negative effects, as many employers seek references from previous companies.

Sickness – In many instances, pedestrians are given unexpected showers with dirty water collected by these potholes when motorists are forced to drive into them – resulting in flu, ringworms, etc.

The above stated are just a fraction of the consequences these potholes cause.

I wish to take this opportunity to urge the ministry responsible for the roads to relieve the citizens of this distress. Due to the damages caused to many, I am of the opinion that the government MUST compensate for its obvious failure.

My anticipation of contact by the relevant authority, given the reputation of the government, is at an extreme low.

However, as a taxpayer, I expect this negligence to be corrected and that I will be contacted. I am not only calling on the ministry responsible for roads but also on the following offices: The Ombudsman, DPP, Health, Labour, Social Development, Integrity Commission, RGPF and all other relevant bodies.

A couple weeks ago the law took its course; civilians were charged for failure to perform their civic duty as jurors. To my understanding provisions have been made not only for civic negligence but also negligence of public servants!

It seems that in Grenada laws are enforced with great bias! Let’s not allow Grenada to be known for the bad roads and corruption.

I expect a public apology by the minister for the minister’s inefficiency! I encourage the people of Grenada to speak out against all forms of injustice.

Earl Maitland
Grenada Empowerment Movement (GEM)

Jesus – the Icon of God

I am blown away by Charles Wesley’s description of the person of Jesus Christ. How different from the way the philosophers and writers refer to him. To them he is no more than just another man, a great teacher, a good person but just a man. The bible resents him as God incarnate.

The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).

Jesus Christ is nothing less that God Almighty, Eternal, Holy, and all-wise. Isaiah refers to him as Wonderful Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of peace. No one else has carried these names. No one else is worthy of these names.

Jesus Christ is the unique Son of God, the Brightness of the Father’s glory and the express image of his Person. He is the Icon of God.

To think of Jesus Christ as anything less than God is to dishonour him and to demonstrate ignorance of his person and worth. He himself regarded his person as divine. He declared to the skeptical Jews, “Before Abraham was I AM.” He used the term I AM several times in John’s Gospel. It was first used by God himself to refer to his person when speaking to a questioning Moses in the desert.

Jesus Christ is the Great I AM. His intent in the use of that name was so clear to the Jews that they took up stones to stone him for blasphemy by claiming to be God.

Jesus expressed his deity in other ways. He referred to himself as: The Light of the World; the Bread of life; the Way, the Truth and the Life; the True Vine; the Resurrection and the Life. No mere man can be these things.

Only God qualifies as the person best able to fulfill these roles. In fact, John uses these terms intentionally in fulfilling the purpose of his Gospel – to show that Jesus Christ is the Son of God in order that men might believe.

Since men believe that Jesus is a good and wise man then obviously if he claims to be God by his declarations he must be believed or else he would be neither good nor wise.

Fools and mad men make extravagant claims, not wise men. Evil men pretend to be what they are not but not good men. C.S. Lewis’s classical quotation best summarizes these ideas:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

At Christmas-time we celebrate the greatest miracle ever. God Almighty in the person of Jesus Christ packaged himself in the form of a baby to bring redemption and reconciliation to mankind. He was born into the human family in order that we might be born again into his family. “Veiled in Flesh the Godhead see, hail the Incarnate Deity.” We must believe that Jesus Christ is God manifest in human form and accept his sacrifice on the cross as the only way of salvation, only then can we be saved.

The best Christmas you can ever have will only be experienced as you receive God himself in the person of Jesus Christ into the manger of your heart.

A BLESSED CHRIST-CENTERED CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL.

Alfred Horsford

The little man has done enough

Thank goodness for free speech but I have to say at time reading some of the thing that fellow Grenadians have written about their country and their behaviour towards fellow Grenadians make me want to puke.

It is the silly season here in Grenada, one can tell that a general election is eminent. One only need to read the weeklies with editorials based on who is supporting who as well as pages of comments from the so-called man in the street.

The two main political parties are naturally at it with claims and counter claims. As a non-partisan, I have been assessing what the two main political parties have been saying or making press releases on for the past six weeks and have come up with an amazing and astonishing conclusion and that is the main opposition party appears to have no recollection at all of the five-year period between 2008 and 2013 – an acute case of amnesia!

No party members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), including their leader Nazim Burke has so far tell the people of Grenada anything much about this period in our country’s history. It’s as though it never existed.

All the arguments if one can call then that put forward by Burke’s leadership team, members and supporters tend to indicate that the government led by PM Mitchell has been in office since 1995; and all the country’s problem from then until now is the current PM and his party’s fault.

Governments throughout the world fight elections on their record in office and so do opposition parties. So why is the NDC so ashamed of their record in office between 2008 and 2013? Why are they not telling us about all the wonderful things they did for our country during their term of office and how the NNP came along since 2013 and messed things up for us?

According to one government critic who writes frequently from NY promoting the NDC, “Mitchell (the PM) has taken us (Grenadians) back 100 years.” Perhaps her Leader Nazim can clear things up by giving the country some facts and figures on the national debt, unemployment especially youth unemployment; growth (negative or positive) and the state of the economy when he left office. After all, he was the Minister of Finance and Minister for Energy (natural gas and oil).

Nazim needs to come clean and tell the Grenadian electorate; the ones he is promising lots of jobs, better healthcare and poverty reduction; why his 2008/2013 government failed miserable to deliver on any of these promises and how he intends to accomplish them this time if elected.

Also, will he scrap the government’s austerity measures and the 28 taxes or does he agree with the Prime Minister when he told the House of Parliament “the country has to safeguard our hard-won gains from the just ended three years Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) with the help of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).”

A programme that he Burke and his colleagues have been critical of over the past three years without coming forward with any alternatives.

Burke lacks credibility, his argument no longer stacks up he is a man who has boxed himself and his party into a corner. He has been a consistent critic of every government policy since taking over the Leadership of his party.

The big problem he now faces is almost everything, if not all of what he opposed over the years have worked favourable for the government and Grenadians at home; he (Burke) is left with egg on his face and definitely on the ropes.

Perhaps Grenadians like me who are branded ‘uneducated’ but are in the majority in terms of constituents are the ones with commonsense. We know a tinhorn when we see one.

To date the main opposition has not come forward with one credible policy. Instead, they continue to make vague empty promises with a negative campaign strategy and has been reduced from a serious political alternative to a low-keyed pressure group.

The armchair critics need to visit Grenada to see first hand the physical changes that have been made to our country since 2013. At Mt. Rush the new Government housing estate was like a jungle – no one lived there because although the Chinese built the estate the NDC government could not afford to install sanitary facilities.

It was the Mitchell government that cleaned up the estate, installed the necessary sanitary facilities and today it is home to hundreds of Grenadians.

The hospital extension and the new Parliament building are almost completed, massive hotel developments and extensions have been going on providing locals with construction jobs.

Apart from the National Stadium, the country has a brand new athletic stadium, the Port Louis site is a mass of yachts of various sizes and shapes the entire area has been transformed; the cruise port has never been so busy with an average of two large cruise ships visit per day; our commercial port is also busy with large container ships off-loading and loading daily.

More tourists are arriving at Maurice Bishop Internal Airport with larger aircrafts being used on some routes. The international airport is to be extended early in the New Year to include a by-pass road; taxiway and terminals.

The town of St George’s and Grand Anse are extremely busy on a daily basis; traffic congestions as a result of the improvement in the economy and tourism is common place in both areas of St George.
Grenada has been back on track for the past two years and now our citizens are reaping the benefits. The budget announcements tell anyone with commonsense that our economy is back on track.

The Prime Minister can afford to announce that there would be “no new taxes” and be generous at the same time. He has announced a 50% increase in the public assistance for the elderly (grey voters) and also a reduction of 5% in the rate of personal income tax and corporation tax.

Unemployment has fallen from 40% in 2012 to 24% with a promise that the downward trend will continue in 2018 as hundreds of jobs will be created. Growth is up by 5% and the national debt has been reduced from 108% GDP to 70%. Still a long way to go but I believe it is fair to say the little man has done enough.

Dr. Mitchell has put Grenada firmly back on track; whether you like the man or hate him he is the best there is right now. No wonder the opposition is desperate to get rid of him.

One of the things that really concern Grenadians right now is the government’s handling of the sale of the country’s loss-making Gravel and Concrete.

People are seeking transparency, a detailed statement on the new owners and how they intend to take the business forward including the retaining of employees.

Another issue is the future of Camerhogne Park. Has it been sold? Does the government intend to sell it or will it remain in public ownership as a public park for the citizens and guests of this country?

There are lots more this government is doing in Grenada that in my view the opposition parties should be promoting and pressing the administration to get on with for example the introduction of renewable energy.

There are now Wind Farms in Grenada also small-scale Biogas Systems – six “HoMethan” biogas digesters have been installed to date, the government is currently carrying out a feasibility study on the G-Hydro – innovative electricity production through In-Conduit Hydropower.

Another source of energy that is being looked at is Geothermal Resource Development to generate electrical energy.

Has this wonderful little country I was fortunate to be born in gone back 100 Years? Hell no!

Winston Strachan

Is the Account of the Rich Man and Lazarus Literal?

Many view the account of the “Rich Man and Lazarus” that Jesus related at Luke 16:19 – 31 as literal. They believe that the Rich man was actually blazing in fire and will be in it forever. Is that really so?

Jesus said at John 3:13 that “no man hath ascended up to heaven.” In fact, 1 Corinthians 15:23 shows that Jesus was the FIRST to go to heaven from the earth.

Abraham is mentioned in the account of the “Rich Man and Lazarus.” According to John 3:13 quoted above, and 1 Corinthians 15:23, Abraham was NOT in heaven when Jesus related the account. Rather, he was in the grave, already decayed and returned to dust. Ecclesiastes 3:19, 20.

Since Abraham returned to dust, he could not have been any place else either, such as in outer space. Abraham is unconscious, out of existence and is awaiting a resurrection, when he will live again. John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15.

Therefore, Jesus’ use of Abraham’s name in the account of the “Rich Man and Lazarus” is only symbolic, NOT literal. Faithful David also is not in heaven either but is awaiting a resurrection like Abraham. Acts 2:34.

The context of Jesus’ story at Luke 16:19-31 shows that Jesus used the “Rich Man” to represent the covetous Pharisees who loved money. Luke 16:14, 15. “Lazarus” represented the common Jews who were starving spiritually, not being fed by the Pharisees who looked down on them. John 7:49.

Later, when John the Baptist and more importantly, Jesus came and spiritually fed them, (Matthew 3:1, 2; Matthew 4:17) the Jews were shown to be in a favoured position with God as represented by Lazarus being in Abraham’s bosom.

The Pharisees were now in figurative “torment” as the preaching of the apostles and disciples was distressing to them.

The Pharisees were clearly shown up as being out of God’s favour, represented in the account as being tormented in flames. Luke 16:24. Therefore, the account of the “Rich Man and Lazarus” is a parable, used to illustrate something important. It is NOT literal.

Kenneth Kayman

Mc Queen brings toys for kids

More than 600 pieces of toys would be distributed to kids in Perdmontemps and surrounding areas at the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony of Perdmontemps Sports and Cultural Club on Saturday (December 23).

Leslie Mc Queen

The annual event which is in its twelfth year is sponsored by Leslie Mc Queen, a native son residing in the United States.

It will take place at the Foot of John Dick Hill from three in the afternoon.

Mc Queen said that he takes great pleasure in giving back to the community where he was born and raised especially in these difficult economic times when toys are not easily obtainable.

He added that the main objective of the event is to provide an opportunity for children in the area within the ages of 3-12 to have fun and share in the joys and merriment of the Christmas season.

“While I enjoy sourcing the toys in the United States, it is even more rewarding to see the smiles on the kids’ faces when they receive the gift at Christmas. It truly makes you feel that you are doing something special”, he said

A wide assortment of educational and recreational toys will be distributed to the kids, among which are dolls, puzzle games, stuffed animals, story books, cars, trucks, fidget spinners and harmonicas.

The selection of toys

The children would also be treated to refreshment supplied by local businesses, as well as Cultural entertainment by a group of kids in the area and Christmas music throughout the evening by D.J Lett.

Mc Queen complimented the members of Perdmontemps Sports and Cultural Group for organising the event and the local business community particularly Country Cold Store, McQueen Hardware, Steele Magnate Enterprises Ltd, Ideal Bakery and Gabriel’s Rental for providing eats and drinks for the kids.

Christmas message from Terrance Forrester, Founder & Political Leader of the Grenada Progressive Movement

Glory to God in the highest and on Earth peace and goodwill to men.

My Fellow Grenadians with these words from the Holy Bible I bring you the best wishes for this holiday season.

We have traversed a year of tough times and strife but in the face of great economic and social odds we have shown that we are a people of strength and grace.

We must continue to hold steadfast, our belief that a better day is possible and deserved in our beautiful nation.

It is through our collective efforts of generosity, empathy and responsibility that we will secure goodwill and peace for every Grenadian woman, man and child.

We have struggled together to hold ourselves, our families and our nation together and as we prepare to enter this new cycle of 2018 we must not waver in our desire for a better country, where everyone is given a fair opportunity for happiness and prosperity.

This year, we saw our Caribbean brothers and sisters suffer through the devastation of natural disasters, giving us a harsh reminder of our own vulnerability.

It was also an opportunity for Grenadians to reach out to help those in need despite our own economic disaster here at home.

I am proud of us as a people because we demonstrate time after time that we stand together in the name of peace and goodwill for all men.

We have had our own tragedies – families forced to cope with devastating events in their lives and we keep each and everyone of our fellow Grenadians who are hurting, in our prayers.

But we must not look back to the bad times; this is the season of renewal, looking ahead to what we can achieve in order to build better lives for each and everyone of our fellow Grenadians.

We have faced crushing disappointment from those who have thus far promised to help us realise our dream of a more prosperous and respectable nation. This is why the decisions that we make going forward must be about renewal and substantial change.

We must be prepared to do right by our children who are our very future and our elderly who have already paid their dues to help build our country.

I pledge to stand with my fellow Grenadians, through whatever the future presents, so that together we can all witness a beautiful change for Grenada.

To all those who have worked tirelessly, doing their part to keep us from the brink of chaos, we say thank you.

To the nurses and doctors at our hospitals who have worked to save lives without adequate resources, we thank you for your diligence.

To our nation’s teachers who stand on the frontline of our efforts to ensure a bright future, we thank you. To all public servants ending 2017 with the uncertainty of the pension problem hanging over their heads, we offer you solidarity and say thank you for continuing to keep the wheels of government turning.

We must also remember those among us who have been hardest hit by our economic woes and for whom Christmas may not be as bright as they would wish. It is here, that our spirit of generosity must make a difference, by sharing with the less fortunate among us.

In 2018 let us move forward, secure in the knowledge that the future of the nation is in the hands of every Grenadian; that no one person can lead us to prosperity. As we face our challenges we must understand that the opportunities for betterment are ours to take.

I close by wishing us a peaceful and enjoyable holiday season.

May God Bless us all; May God Bless our Nation.

Deliver the Golding Report on CARICOM

What has become of the Report of a Jamaican Commission that reviewed the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM)? It has been almost 9 months since the Commission’s Chairman, Bruce Golding, submitted the report to Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness on March 30. But, there has been silence ever since.

Maybe, the report can be delivered by December 30 when the period of expectancy will have gone its full-term.
The report is important. When Prime Minister Holness announced the formation of the Golding Commission in June 2016, he created a great deal of anticipation among supporters and detractors of CARICOM in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean Community.

Among the tasks given to the Commission were: an evaluation of the effects that Jamaica’s participation in CARICOM has on its economic growth and development; an analysis of CARICOM’s performance against the goals and objectives outlined in the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas and identification of the causes of its shortcomings; an assessment of the value of Jamaica’s membership in CARICOM on its influence in critical international fora and with third state trade and development partners; and an assessment of whether the CARICOM dispute settlement provisions provide realistic options for settlement of disputes for Jamaica.

While many of the undertakings assigned to the Commission were centered on Jamaica in CARICOM, a review of CARICOM’s usefulness was a good thing. No organisation should be left in existence without a regular review of its relevance and usefulness. And, CARICOM is too important an instrument for the well-being of the people of its member-states in the global community not to evaluate it dispassionately from time to time.

That Prime Minister Holness appointed an impressive array of Commission members from the private sector, academia, business, finance and trade unions, was all to the good. Especially helpful was that he entrusted the Chairmanship to Golding, a former Prime Minister and seasoned politician, who had experienced the workings of CARICOM at the highest governmental level.

I, for one, welcomed the Commission and its work. Whatever were to be its findings, my view was that its report would produce a body of findings, based on evidence given by a range of Caribbean experts, that would be worthy of a constructive CARICOM-wide conversation. Indeed, the Commission received oral and written evidence from many persons with considerable experience of CARICOM and of integration.

I was pleased to be among those who gave evidence and I know that the present and former Secretaries-General of CARICOM, including Jamaica-born Roderick Rainford; the Chairman of the 1992 West Indian Commission, Sir Shridath Ramphal; former Vice Chancellors of the University of the West Indies; and leaders of the Caribbean private sector also gave evidence.

Therefore, whatever its content, the report is a very valuable tool for Jamaica and for CARICOM. It ought not to languish in the Cabinet office of Jamaica, particularly after Prime Minister Holness publicly placed a great deal of aptness and contemporary relevance on its work.

At the time, the nationalists in Jamaica and other Caribbean countries wallowed in the belief that the report was commissioned as Jamaica’s ‘get-out’ card from CARICOM, inured in the belief that regionalism is burdening national development. Their sentiment was reminiscent of Sir Alexander Bustamante’s admonition to the Jamaica people, at the referendum on the West Indian Federation, that, “if you federate, all these little poor people from the small islands will come to take your job in the cane piece”.

As it turned out, far fewer ‘small islanders’ migrated to Jamaica, than the number of Jamaicans who migrated to the small islands.

But, as Michael Manley pointed out: “Fear is a huge force in politics. He who can manipulate fear has a huge weapon in politics”.

It is time to put the fear of CARICOM to an end, or, at the very least to debate it. That is why the Golding report should not be shrouded in silence and hidden from public discussion. Whatever it says, it should be placed in the public domain. The people of CARICOM have a right to know what the Commission found. The Jamaican people particularly have that right since their taxes paid for it.

Like every other nation, Jamaica is a country of both small-minded persons and persons of great vision and even greater heart. As far back as 1947, Jamaica’s leaders were the fashioners of a Caribbean vision; no one more so than the legendary Norman Manley who, in that year, told the Caribbean Congress of Labour: “We must satisfy the growing ambition of our people for an area of action large enough for their creative energies.

We must create a large enough area, small though it may be in the face of the colossal who bestride the world today, but a large enough area to give us a voice and pull and power over those international affairs which, in the long run, determine the peace and prosperity and the opportunity for happiness of the people of these lands”.

That 1947 admonition echoes with compelling meaning 70 years later as Caribbean countries are marginalised in global affairs; as the region confronts the relentless juggernaut of Climate Change and its ferocious and destructive storms; as large and powerful countries and regions dictate and impose terms in finance, trade, taxation and investment.

In all of this, it is important to know what the Golding Commission found. Did it conclude that there should be a ‘Jam-exit’ from CARICOM? Or did it reach the same conclusion that Caribbean leaders did after the collapse of the West Indian Federation which was: an arena of cooperation was essential between Caribbean countries if, individually and collectively, they are to command some attention and regard in the world.

And, if their conclusion is the latter, then what did they recommend should be done with the structures of CARICOM to make integration work, regionally and internationally, for the Caribbean people?

These answers should not be left blowing in the wind. The gestation period is over; it’s time to deliver the Golding report.

(Sir Ronald Sanders is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the US and the OAS. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London and Massey College in the University of Toronto. The views expressed are his own)

Forrester launches election campaign

“A better quality of life for all and sustainable jobs”.

Political leader of the Grenada Progressive Movement (GPM), Terrence Forrester is captured socialising with supporters at Monday night’s launch

This is the promise being put on the table by Founder and Political Leader of the newly formed Grenada Progressive Movement (GPM), Terrence Forrester during the official launch Monday night of his campaign to contest the South St. George constituency in the upcoming general election.

The launch was held block-o style in the village of Monte Toute in Grand Anse, which is considered to be one of his strongholds in the constituency.

Although the gathering was not large in numbers, Forrester, who founded the political organisation in June, after parting ways with the ruling New National Party (NNP) after Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell did not sanction his request to contest the seat, said he is not troubled by the physical turnout of the small gathering.

“…The fact remains (that) the community is so tight-knitted (and) the homes are so close…people were in their verandahs, their homes et cetera, so there is no need for them to really come on out because they were enjoying the comfort of their homes and just taking in the meeting”, he said.

In his over 2-hour address, Forrester heavily criticised the manner in which the country was being governed over the years and promised that a GPM administration would “shake up” things to eliminate poverty and provide sustainable employment in the country.

Pointing to the high unemployment rate in the country, Forrester contended that governments over the past 30 years have blatantly ignored the productive sectors of the country, which he attributed to the high unemployment and high poverty levels in Grenada.

“We are going to have real serious sustainable jobs…We believe that we need to look seriously at our productive sectors – Agriculture, Tourism, Fisheries and Manufacturing – which we have abandoned in a serious way over the past 30 years …”, he said.

“… As a result of that (the abandonment) our people are suffering, our farmers are suffering, employment in those sectors are significantly down because there is just no opportunity and the government has shown no interest whatsoever and not just this government, governments after independence showed very little interest”, he added.

According to Forrester, the only regime that showed interest in the key agriculture sector was the short-lived 1979-83 People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) of slain marxist leader, Maurice Bishop.

He said the recent provisions of the Mitchell-led government in the Supplementary budget in July is testimony to its lack of commitment to the agriculture sector.

He noted that less than half a percent ($344, 000) was allocated to agriculture in the budget, tourism get less than a quarter of a percent ($144, 000).

In addition, he said that the 2018 Budget which was presented last month was not different as agriculture was once again ignored as it got a mere 2.2 percent ($22M) Tourism (2.4 percent) or just about S24M.

Describing the figures allocated for the productive sectors as a “miserable effort,” on the part of the NNP administration, Forrester pointed out that “the police got (an allocation of) over $50M,” and asked, “How do you explain this? It is mind boggling,” he said.

Forrester stressed that neglect for the productive sectors like agriculture, tourism, fisheries and manufacturing is the main reason why the country is struggling financially and pledged that “any government that I lead under the Grenada Progressive Movement will pay serious attention to our productive sectors”.

He told the gathering that this strategy would be used to create sustainable employment in the country.

According to the political figure more that 40 percent of the housing stock in the country still do not have inside bathroom and toilet facilities.

He said that according to information contained in the 2017 Poverty Assessment, which he accused the Mitchell-led NNP administration of hiding “most of the homes in Mont Toute don’t have interior toilets.”

Noting that when it rains you get (it gives off) quite a smell,” Forrester promised that a GPM government would “mandate the National Water and Sewerage Authority (NAWASA) to immediately start putting in flush toilets and let them (the beneficiaries) repay about $10 monthly for a period of about 10 years or until the debt is repaid.”

He also spoke of an issue where persons have reported to him that the community centre in the village that the current management has been asking persons to pay monies to use the facility.

“This is a situation that I would definitely have to look into because … that is illegal. No money ought to be paid to anybody except to the Treasury,” he declared.

In terms of addressing the flooding issue in the Grand Anse area, especially when there is heavy rainfall, Forrester spoke of purchasing a “sump pump” to pump the water out of the flooded areas into the sea, an idea, which he said came about during a conversation held with a Water Engineer while visiting Holland sometime last year.

“So, you just have to put a little house in the end by Spice Inn there, have the pump and maybe ask Spice Inn management team whenever it rains heavy just put on the switch and pump the water out,” he suggested.
Forrester also commented on the recent development of conflicting interests between the Government and the Grenada Electricity Services Ltd. (Grenlec), stating that “the Prime Minister should have handled himself much more diplomatically,” as the law does make provisions for government to extract funds from the energy provider but it ought to have been done in a much better manner.

“It is sad that our government had to go that route, notwithstanding that the 1994 Act gives the government the right so to do. It was never done then until now and it is my opinion that there ought to have been a better method of going about it because it does not engender confidence in foreign investors that the Prime Minister of the land would go into Parliament and disgrace a foreign company.

“That’s not how you do business…it could have been handled much better. We need to show respect, integrity, leadership and good example to our people and to foreign investors.

“In other words, an investor considering Grenada at this point in time would say to himself, you mean this is the kind of arrogance I would have to put up with in the future … so it doesn’t show our country in a good light.
Forrester also touched on the issue of the national debt, the actual figure for which the Mitchell-led NNP government has withheld from Grenadians.

He said: “He (Prime Minister Mitchell) had been called upon over and over again to provide that figure and he just totally ignores the people of the land.

“The Fiscal Responsibility Act, the Integrity in Public Life Act all calls for integrity and transparency in all government business. This is not NNP business or Keith Mitchell business. This is our business,” he added.
According to Forrester, if one does not know what the national debt is then how can anyone correlate what the Prime Minister is allocating for the respective sectors are adequate or inadequate.

“He (Dr. Mitchell) refuses to tell the nation what the situation is… I just find this is tantamount to criminal conduct. Unfortunately, our laws and our acts of Parliament do not state that a politician shall be charged in a court of law if he breaks the law,” he remarked.

Speaking with THE NEW TODAY following the official launch of the party on Monday night in which he only presented himself, Forrester affirmed, that he is “presently talking to several individuals who have expressed interest in joining with me and therefore we (are) continuing our dialogue to see how we can find common ground so that we can unite as a team to move forward in order to fight the upcoming general elections.”

He said he is “continuing to work in the South,” and expressed optimism and “trust that the people of the south would have the confidence to elect me as their representative because I intend to shake up, not just in the south but the whole country”.

“We need a paradigm shift in Grenada. This boast of 4.5 percent in economic growth, we need to (use it) to fight poverty and unemployment,” he added.

Forrester also made a brief comment on the two other major candidates gripped in the battle for the South – Health Minister Nickolas Steele and the candidate for the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Raymond Roberts.

“I think they are good individuals, but I am better than them”, he said.

Burke: Budget ‘has priorities wrong’

The 2018 budget has been described as “lacking” by leader of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) during his response in the Senate.

Nazim Burke went as far as to say that the government was “not telling us the truth” on national debt figures, and accused them of playing down unemployment.

His response came after the NDC launched a stinging attack on the budget.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, who billed the economic forecast as ‘the mother of all budgets’, said during his presentation that the focus was on “safeguarding our gains and continuing our progress.”

It included potential savings for taxpayers, as well as businesses.

Money was also set aside to deal with child abuse, which includes the establishment of a sex offender registry.

People are still suffering from the structural adjustment programme placed on Grenada, the NDC believes, even though it ended earlier this year.

Burke questioned whose “gains” the government was seeking to protect.

Education Minister Sen. Simon Stiell, defended the New National Party’s administration.

He said that it was under their watch that the country had “fostered the highest levels of business and investor confidence in recent times”

During his budget presentation, the Prime Minister reported a drop of unemployment from 28% to 24%, adding that 1,095 people gained jobs.

But Burke questioned the numbers, which he says should not include temporary debushing workers who get only three weeks of employment per year.

With that taken out, the NDC leader said the unemployment figure is just over 31%.

“Where are the jobs? What about permanent jobs for these debushers?” Burke asked as he questioned the priorities.

“Don’t you think, Mr President, that they deserve something better than de-bushing?”

Christmas message of Sen. Nazim Burke, Political, Leader of the National Democratic Congress

Happy Christmas Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique!

The Christmas and New Year holidays are a joyous and prayerful time for most of us. Indeed, this is the favourite time of the year for many families, as we come together with our family and friends to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, to exchange gifts, and ring in the New Year with hope for a better tomorrow.

As Grenadians, we have a responsibility to open our hearts and homes to those in need – not just during this time of year, but each and every day. We are called to act in the Christian spirit of compassion and caring, by sharing whatever we have with the less fortunate and needy, and to visit the sick, as well as those who are confined to homes and institutions.

After all, putting people first is what this season is about and helping others, no matter our differences, is what Christianity is all about.

Together, better is always possible and in these difficult times, of high taxes and little disposable income, high unemployment, especially among our youth, and a broken health system, let us reach out to those who are hurting most.

Let us do whatever we can to make someone happy; parents without a proper home, young people without a job, children without hope of receiving gifts under a Christmas tree. Let us do whatever we can in this season of hope to make a positive difference.

Let Christmas be an opportunity for Grenada to rediscover and practice the love that is the heart and soul of our Grenadianess, the cooperative spirit, the spirit of Saraca and Maroon.

As we celebrate the holidays, join me in praying for more jobs, less taxes, better healthcare, more opportunities and a fairer Grenada that puts people first in the New Year. I know our best days are yet to come.

On behalf of the entire NDC family, and on behalf of my own family, I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thank you and May God Bless our Nation.