Policeman “Benjie” Gets 15 Years

Despite a 15-year jail sentence, disgraced Corporal of Police, 852 Lennard Benjamin continues to maintain his innocence in relation to three sex related offences slapped on him.

Former Corporal of Police, Lennard Benjamin gets a stiff prison sentence for sex crimes

Former Corporal of Police, Lennard Benjamin gets a stiff prison sentence for sex crimes

The sentence was handed down last week Wednesday by High Court Judge, Justice Shiraz Aziz at High Court No.5 on The Carenage in St. George’s.

As he was being led away from the court compound back to the prison where he was on remand for the last 16 months, “Benjie” told reporters: “Make sure you say that I am innocent”.

The 47-year old River Road resident was initially charged with three counts of indecent assault and 2 counts of incest against his daughter, whom he did not acknowledge as being his own paternally.

However, on November 9, he was acquitted of two counts of indecent assault on the indictment as the nine member jury only found him guilty on one count, for which he was sentenced to three years behind bars.

“Benjie” was also found guilty of two counts of incest, for which he received a sentence of nine and three years, respectively, with the sentences running consecutively.

The offences allegedly occurred at some point during 2009, August 1, 2013 and May 29, 2014.

The police officer was initially granted bail in the sum of EC$200, 000.00 with three sureties but was placed behind bars after being found guilty of breaching the bail conditions by High Court Judge, Justice Price Findley in July 2015.

Crown Counsel, Crisan Greenidge, who led the State’s case in the matter, directed the court to the Victim Impact Statement, which revealed that the youngster who was approximately 12 years old when the first incident occurred, felt hurt to know that the man she knew to be her father all her life, now refers to her as his stepchild.

The teenager also expressed disappointment that the police officer denied her as his child and the fact that he committed the incidents against her.

She said that she still loves her father but given the circumstances of the acts against her, she simply cannot trust him ever again.

The court was told that the victim and her mother have become the victim of social ridicule and scorn as a result of the matter, which has been widely circulated in the public domain with help from the media, resulting in non-stop discrimination and derogatory remarks being thrown their way by members of society.

In pleading the victim’s case, Greenidge asked the court to deliver a consecutive sentence on the ex-policeman, who she pointed out “ought to have known better,” given his status and the office which he held at the time.

“Benjie” entered the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) in 1997, and 10 years later was promoted to the rank of Corporal of Police in December 2007.

In 2012, he was also one of several police officers awarded under the auspices of the Police Welfare Association as part of the RGPF Support Service.

He was attached for a long time to the Public Relations Department of the force and was later transferred to the Police Station at the St. George’s Bus Terminus, up until the time of his arrest.
His Social Inquiry Report shows that he was widely regarded by members of the RGPF as a very clever and crafty person.

Others described him as a good role model, who was humble, loving, helpful, honest, hard working and dedicated to whatever he was doing.

It was also noted that in his capacity as a police officer, he sought the best interest of the youth, as he often visited schools across the island speaking to students about various topics including domestic violence and drugs.

However, it was also revealed that he was a heavy drinker and an abusive husband, who was very close to and very over protective of his daughter and often times, did not approve of her engaging in conversations with persons of the opposite sex.

Criminal defense attorney, Anselm Clouden who did the mitigation on behalf of his client, asked the court for leniency and a discount for good behaviour for Benjie, pointing to the many admirable contributions he has made to the country.

Clouden acknowledged that there could be no escaping the “gravity of the crime and the harm done” and noted that “it was not until the year 1908 that incest was declared a crime.”

He contended that Benjie’s excessive drinking came about as a result of what he described as “an alienation of affection and a breakdown in the matrimonial consortium” between him and his wife.

He made mention of the testimony of the wife that even though she caught her husband wrongfully committing one of the acts against her daughter, she was afraid to make a police report because he had threatened to kill her.

In delivering the verdict Justice Aziz said that after having considered in totality, the principles of sentencing on matters of this nature from authorities in the United Kingdom and the Caribbean, the offences committed call for immediate custodial sentence.

Benjie’s sentence was discounted for the time already spent on remand and despite the efforts by his lawyer, the only mitigating factor considered by the Court, was the fact that he has maintained a clean police record up to this point.

Aggravating factors considered include the age of the victim, the infringement of accepted sociable standards, psychological trauma suffered by the victim and threats to prevent the reporting of the incident among others.

The Court ordered Benjie to participate in courses of sexual abuse and consequential thinking for a period of at least two years during his incarceration.

Justice Aziz said the sentence reflects the fact that sexual crimes involving children are most prevalent on the assizes list.

“This has to stop and society has to understand that,” he declared.

In commenting on the judgment, Attorney Clouden, who has 14 days to file an appeal, labelled it as a “deterrent (or) as a message sent out to deter prospective transgressors.”

He said, “usually sentences would run concurrently (but) in this case I guess His Lordship wanted to give a signal to the community-at-large that this is a grave, serious offence (and) that the courts are going to take (a) very stringent approach in sentencing for sexual offences of this nature.”

Grenadian Artistes screened for Pure Grenada Music Festival

The raw talent of a number of Grenadian Artistes was showcased last Saturday as they auditioned for the big stage of the 2017 Pure Grenada Music Festival.

Sonika – hoping to be among the finalists

Sonika – hoping to be among the finalists

The activity which was dubbed “Ready For The Stage” and held at Le Phare Bleu at Petit Calivigny, St. George’s brought out the versatility of the artistes in various forms of genre of music including reggae and gospel.

The show which was two-fold in nature, provided patrons with an opportunity to understand what is expected at the big stage and the villages during the Pure Grenada Music Festival which runs from May 5-7, 2017, while at the same time act as a screening for the artistes.

Each of the competitors’ performance was recorded for the organisers to be in a position to select the finalists.

In many of the cases, the original songs produced and sung by almost all of the competitors which included inspirational songs had a message which touches today’s situation, as well as encouraging the patrons to face up to their problems rather than trying to run away.

Josh Hector – into old school music

Josh Hector – into old school music

The artistes spoke of how they were able to get into the performing art of music during their on-stage interviews.

One of the artistes, Sonika said it has been a challenge for her trying to bring out the energy in her performance to the audience, but had been able to develop quite a lot over the years.

“I have been longing to find that type of sound, and that type of feeling for a very long time,” she remarked.

Sonika spoke of being an “old school girl,” having listened to a lot of old school songs which assisted her with her music.

“I want people to feel my songs, I want people to feel me, I want people to be happy at the end of the day when I perform,” she said.

Lion Paw – broke the silence

Lion Paw – broke the silence

Drummer of the four-member band, Soul Deep Josh Hector said he started to play music at the age of six years.

Hector credited a neighbour for getting him into music, although he played his music, from the verandah loud.

“That is where I got a taste of the old school music, as much as my parents used to call the police for him. I’m thankful that he was making noise pollution because that’s where it began, and we grew up loving old Soul Deep which has been together since 2013 is on the verge of recording instrumental music.

The energetic Akeem with his band, “Nature Claim” spoke of his journey throughout his lifetime.

He said he once followed the trends, but was able to come to his senses and made a decision to break away from all that is not worthwhile in life, and to recognise his own identity instead of being a carbon copy of other people.

Akeem admits that music has a great influence on the lives of  young people.

“When you have children listening to people like Alkaline and Vibes Cartel singing “Kill everybody…” you will have serious problems. I am trying to infiltrate that dirty system, and put in some good positive lyrics and good vibes into my music,” he said.

Patrick Delves – delivered a sterling performance

Patrick Delves – delivered a sterling performance

The return of Patrick Delves to the stage warmed the hearts of patrons as he demonstrated his musical versatility by bringing back memories of one of his famous songs, “Mash Down Babylon.”

Delves performed with his band, “Cutting Edge” and delivered some of the top songs produced by Jamaican reggae icon, the late, Bob Marley.

He called on patrons to love each other as they cannot claim to love God who they cannot see, but fail to love their neighbour who they are able to see.

Another artiste who thrilled the audience was Dennison “Lion Paw” Andrew who has performed with the likes of Dennis Brown, and Beres Hammond.

The former Presentation Brothers College student presented one of his original songs in which he encouraged victims of child abuse and domestic violence to break the silence.

During the show it was announced that Taurus Riley from Jamaica will be one of the major Headline Acts in next year’s Pure Grenada Music Festival.

Clear Harbor Announces Award Winners

As Clear Harbor continues with their mantra under the theme “I will Improve Everyday,” they hosted their Third Quarter Leadership & Associate Awards Ceremony on December 1st, 2016. Members of their Leadership Team and Associates were recognized for making a significant contribution to the company by having exceptional performance results, outstanding attendance, being positive role models, helping with others’ growth and development, and assisting in taking the business to the next level of success.

charborClear Harbor takes pride in recognizing employees who make positive contributions to the business in one way or another. During the Third Quarter, four (4) Leadership team members and five (5) Associates were nominated for their hard work, dedication, commitment, reliability & dependability. The winners are as follows:

Bertrand Prosper    Supervisor
Kellisha Hazzard    Supervisor
Camisha Williams    Manager
Akimo Murray    Training & Quality Manager
Amica King    Associate
Jessica Heuton    Associate
Gesel Persue    Associate
Rayann Alexander    Associate
Tessa George    Associate

As Clear Harbor continues to expand, they are constantly seeking ways to improve what they do to satisfy the needs of their employees, clients and the country. Clear Harbor is looking forward to their Fourth Quarter Awards Ceremony, which will be held in January 2017.

Sugar Cane Industry to be resuscitated

The Keith Mitchell-led government has indicated a willingness to help resuscitate the almost extinct sugar cane industry on the island to help give a boost to rum distillery.

This was disclosed by Minister of Agriculture, Yolande Bain-Horsford during her presentation in the 2017 Budget debate in the Lower House in Parliament last Wednesday at the Trade Centre at Grand Anse.

She said that there is a collaboration taking place between the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Implementation to forge a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with a new company in Ireland that is spearheading a new rum distillery.

The minister said the new company will be operated by Irish businessman, Mark Reynier.

“Our Ministry has forged a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with a new company which is the renegade spirits through the KANICO Projects.

Renegade Spirits is owned by one Mr. Mark Renier of Ireland; a well renowned distiller who chaired two important and successful distilling projects in Scotland and Ireland,” she told Parliament.

This new project, she said which shows promise of growth and development has prompted the Sugar Cane Farmers Association into action after being dormant for a number of years.

The project was launched in September and with it came the clearing of lands in Westerhall, St. David for sugar cane  cultivation.

According to Minister Bain-Horsford an irrigation system has also been put in place and the company procured hybrid cane plants for establishing a Cane germplasm.

“…I must say thank you to the staff of the Pest Management Unit who have ensured that all permits, Mr Speaker have been granted for the issue of the culture plants and to the other staff of the Ministry for processing the request for concessions for project equipment in a very timely manner,” she said.

The sugarcane will be planted on 270 acres of land by December 2017 while the initial processing will be done by 2019.

The female government minister announced that when the new rum distillery is up and running, it will produce world class products for the export market.

PWU and government discuss fringe benefits and salary increases

The Executive of the Public Workers Union (PWU) met with the members of the Keith Mitchell government last week Monday to commence negotiations on the issue of fringe benefits to be awarded to public officers.

Speaking on the developments in an interview with THE NEW TODAY on Tuesday, First Vice President of PWU, Rachael Roberts said, there are “proposals on the table from government,” but said the union prefers to wait and see what is happening before speaking to the proposals “until we discuss with government around the table.”

According to Roberts, the two sides have not yet even completed negotiations on fringe benefits and not even close to coming to an agreement on most of the items but was only “half way there and looking forward to continuation (of the talks) very early in the New Year.”

She said the fringe benefits package proposed by the Union include “support for members in the work place and getting better benefits that could actually support them economically.”

“One of the things that we requested of government is to enable us to get (support for) housing (for our membership), so that when government has housing programmes going on, our members can apply and get housing assistance”, she told this newspaper.

Roberts identified another proposal as an approach to government to “look at assisting members with getting a reduction on housing material (because) one of the things that is critical to our membership is a reduction in terms of concession.”

She expressed hope that the two sides will complete the fringe benefits negotiations by the first or second week of January 2017.

“We are hopeful and we know that because we have made some sacrifices over the years that government will be (forced) to look at these things,” she said, noting the things requested will help to “motivate the members in terms of productivity in the workplace.”

Roberts noted that companies around the world conclude that when they have staff that are happy and satisfied they actually produce more.

“So we know that if we have a happy and satisfied workforce in the public service that we would see some improvements in productivity,” she said.

The PWU executive member told THE NEW TODAY that the union along with its negotiation partner in the area of salaries, the Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU), were expected to meet at the negotiating table on Wednesday to discuss the other issue of salary increases.

Without disclosing the figures being proposed by government, Roberts said the PWU “had actually asked for a 5% increase for the period 2015 -2018, which she affirmed “is not what government is proposing.”

She pointed out that “for the years of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), we the PWU were a bit lenient and asked for 4% for each year…because we recognise in this economic time we have to put forward a realistic figure that the government could afford.”

Roberts acknowledged that when negotiating the Union is aware that it is a give and take and that the Union would have to compromise, however she said, the concern is that they “don’t know at what level the compromise would be”.

“From what we are seeing now the level of compromise is huge so we would have to go to the table and sit and negotiate…Let us see what happens within the next week,” she declared.

In an interview with THE NEW TODAY following the delivery of the National Budget last week Friday, Labour Senator Raymond Roberts noted that the 2008-2013 Congress government of Tillman Thomas cannot be held responsible for the high debt situation in the country but that “it goes back to 1995, when we were on a spending spree.”

Current Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell who was in charge of the nation’s affairs for 17 of the past 21 years has been accused of raking up the national debt between 1995 and 2008 on heavy borrowing at high commercial interest rates on a number of non-productive projects.

Sen. Roberts was confident that an agreement will be reached between government and PWU since “the Prime Minister clearly wants to call an election and wouldn’t want to have 10,000 – 12,000 public officers not happy”.

Recalling that PM Mitchell in offering a few goodies to civil servants in the 2017 budget presentation on December 9 stressed that “Santa Claus comes early”, the labour representative said that without a doubt “I expect the propaganda machine of the government to be in full blast and if the deal is reasonable I would think public officers would accept it”

After the budget presentation, the Prime Minster who announced the payment of two installments of salary increments for civil servants – one for the 2014 and another for the period January to June 2016, said the money was due to be made available on December 16.

Dr. Mitchell, who was not in a position to disclose the exact figures, said he “told the trade unions, we would like to settle with much higher interest but if we do that we (would) injure the entire programme (SAP) and we could lose almost EC$70, 80 million dollars next year and that doesn’t make any sense. No Grenadian would want to see that happen.”

He stressed that the government “would have loved to pay them the salaries as negotiated before Christmas but the administrative mechanism would be too much…so we agreed with them that the one that would be paid now would be increments”.

Dr. Mitchell said, “the teachers (Grenada Union of Teachers) have indicated their willingness to sign on to the agreement covering salary increases.

“So I expect (that to happen) very soon…the auxiliary of police officers have also indicated their willingness to move forward. So, if the Public Workers and other Unions come on board, we can expect disbursements to be made soon”, he added.

Dr. Mitchell defends his fiscal relief measures

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Keith Mitchell has defended the fiscal relief package he is offering to the people of Grenada.

In his budget statement to the Lower House of Parliament on December 9th, Dr. Mitchell announced a number of relief measures which will take effect in 2017.

These include a tax registration amnesty, a tax filing amnesty for the annual stamp tax, a two-dollar reduction in the price of the 20-pound LPG cooking gas, and a 5% reduction in personal income tax.

However, a number of people opposed to Dr. Mitchell’s economic policies believe the 2017 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure is an election budget by the Grenadian leader as part of his legacy to win a record 5th term in office.

In wrapping up the debate on the budget in Parliament last week Tuesday, Dr. Mitchell charged that those who want to know if indeed it is an election budget should have voted “yes” to the Constitutional Bill seeing a “Fixed Date for General Elections.”

“They voted no and they say they win, and now they want to know whether this is an election budget. Well they have decided that they want one person to have the date of the elections in his pocket so they should not be now asking for election date,” he said.

This is clearly directed at the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and others in the society who did not give outright support to the seven bills in the November 24 Referendum vote to change the Grenada Constitution.

All the bills were rejected in which some observers regard as a protest vote by the electorate against some of the actions of the Mitchell-led government since sweeping the polls in 2013.

General Elections are constitutionally due in Grenada 2018 but some political pundits are predicting a poll sometime before August 2017.

Dr. Mitchell also used the closing of the debate in Parliament to defend his action to pay monies due to public officers.

In his budget statement, the Minister of Finance announced that his government is working on a one-off payment agreement to every public servant who would have served a substantial portion of the period 2013-16 in recognition of their contribution and shared sacrifice during the life of the three-year Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP).

He said the ruling New National Party (NNP) administration had promised that when the benefits of the programme are being realised the people should also share in it.

“All the government is doing is meeting its fundamental commitment that it made to the public officers and to the workers of the country,” he remarked.

The Prime Minister stressed that instead of praising government for providing help to so many people, the opponents are criticizing it.

Dr. Mitchell said the government and the Ministry of Finance Staff have done their work on the calculations of the estimated impact of the measures on the country’s fiscal situation in order to make the payments.

“After carefully assessing it, we felt we can do it and not injure our programme, and our obligation to the Fiscal Responsibility Act,” he said.

“So what we are doing, as much as we can give back to the workers, it is in our interest and in the interest of the country to have the workers having as much money in their pockets because they would then turn around and do a lot more things for themselves and their family,” he added.

In the face of criticisms that the NNP regime did not deliver on its promise to build a New Economy” as part of the campaign pledges in the last general election, PM Mitchell alluded to what the new economy is all about as advocated by his Economic Advisor, Dr. Patrick Antoine.

He said that the Fiscal Responsibility Act along with the Debt Sustainability Act are dimensions of the new economy under the NNP government.

De Bourg Gets 24 Years in Prison

Controversial businessman, Finton DeBourg has received a 24-year jail sentence on a number of fraud-related charges related to the affairs of the collapsed Capital Bank International in which depositors lost millions of dollars.

The sentence was handed down at approximately 5.10  p.m Tuesday by female Guyanese high court judge, Justice Paula Gilford who presides over High Court No.2 on the Carenage.

De Bourg was found guilty on November 10 by a nine-member jury panel on all six counts brought against him by the State following the collapse of Capbank in which he served as the Chief Executive Officer.

The businessman who resided at Westerhall Point, St. David’s was found guilty on one count of fraudulently applying for his own benefit EC$$975,119.97 from Capbank between October 1, 2002 and March 31, 2004 and another count of fraudulently applying an additional sum of EC$15, 650, 538.28 for his own benefit between September 4, 2004 and February 15, 2008.

He was also found guilty on three counts of falsifying the Minutes of meetings of the Board of Directors dated April 21, 2005, February 15, 2006 and June 1, 2007, and also between the period of June 1, 2007 and August 31, 2007, as a Director of CapBank.

He was originally down to be sentenced on December 15 but it was put back on two occasions due to delays in processing documents as requested by the high court judge.

A sad looking Finton DeBourg as he was led away by Police Escorts out of the court Tuesday to spend the next 24 years in prison

A sad looking Finton DeBourg as he was led away by Police Escorts out of the court Tuesday to spend the next 24 years in prison

The judge sentenced DeBourg who served as the bank’s Chief Executive Officer to 7 years on Count 6 for Misappropriation, 5 years on Count One for Misappropriation with both sentences to run consecutively.

On the Counts 2, 3 & 4 for falsification of the Minutes of the Board of Directors, he was given 5 years each to run concurrently and another prison sentence of 6 years for falsification of accounts.

De Bourg was also ordered by Justice Gilford to pay compensation to Capbank of EC$16.6 million for monies that were found missing from the account of the bank.

According to the ruling the monies would have to be repaid at interest of 6% from the date when he makes the first payment until the total sum is paid in full.

The female judge said that this sum should be paid by DeBourg on completion of his prison sentence and in full within 5 years of coming out of prison.

In default, the former Capbank (CEO) will be sent back to prison for another 3 years behind bars.

Justice Gilford also said in her judgment that DeBourg should be debarred from dealing with any financial institution as Director or shareholder or otherwise.

In handing down the stiff prison sentence on the controversial businessman, the judge outlined a number of factor which she took into consideration in arriving at her decision.

She felt that the crime was carefully planned based on the fact that DeBourg himself did not commit any of the offences personally but used his workers at the bank to do it for him.

She blasted him as one who came into the court giving the impression that he did nothing wrong but the facts show that he was the owner of Capbank and Native Hut.

The judge slammed DeBourg for taking advantage of the situation as persons would have decided to place deposits into Capbank as it was being sold as a homegrown financial institution but it is clear that the accused had other plans for the people’s money.

“Your action represents a scourge of financial integrity in Grenada and a serious breach of trust”, the judge told De Bourg who brought in three witnesses including musician Preston Holas (Ras Dakari) to sell him to the court as one with good character.

Justice Gilford told the court that DeBourg knew what he was doing but came into the court as an innocent man and tried to pull wool over the eyes of the court and everyone else to make the alleged acts of fraud look otherwise.

THE NEW TODAY understands that a group of influential persons in the country have retained local attorney-at-law, George Prime to mount an appeal on behalf of the convicted DeBourg.

The businessman was unrepresented during his very high profile high court trial after the last attorney, former Attorney-General, Raymond Anthony indicated that he was on longer retained in the matter.

According to a well-placed source, a former high office holder in Grenada recruited Prime shortly after the guilty verdict was pronounced to start the appeal process in motion.

However, Prime was in court to speak on behalf of DeBourg at Tuesday’s sentencing.

DeBourg is a former General Secretary of the ruling New National Party (NNP) and was once known to be part of the so-called “A” Team that had a running battle with current Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell.

The controversial Capbank was given a licence by the 1995-99 NNP government of Dr. Mitchell to operate a bank but it was barred from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) from using its Clearing House facilities.

DeBourg and his bank resorted to using the bank account of a well-known attorney-at-law as a clearinghouse for its cheques.

During the trial, the Prosecution produced evidence to the jury that DeBourg gave instructions for the alteration of the minutes of the Board of Directors of Capbank for the approval of a $10 million E.C dollar loan to his company, Native Hut Ltd., which was responsible for the building of South City Plaza at Grand Anse.

Over time, the loan was increased to approximately EC$50M and the court was told that all 25 stores inside the plaza was owned and operated by De Bourg and his late wife, Esther DeBourg.

The Prosecution also informed the court that De Bourg would often give instructions for CapBank funds to be used to pay off Native Hut’s expenses, such as utility bills.

PM Mitchell: IMF to disburse US$ 2.7 million for G’da

The Government of Grenada is poised to receive US$2.7 million in disbursement funds from the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) on December 22, under the three-year Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), which is into its final year.

This was disclosed by Prime Minster and Minister of Finance Dr. Keith Mitchell while delivering his EC$1, 100, 578, 144 Budget for the upcoming fiscal year to the nation last week Friday.

The Prime Minister  said the disbursement follows the IMF’s approval of the Fifth Review of the country’s SAP earlier this month.

Dr. Mitchell told a joint sitting of the House of Representatives, that his government expects additional disbursements from the fund and the European Union to the tune of EC$28 million in 2017.

Additionally, Dr. Mitchell said, the Board of Governors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has also approved US$10 million in budgetary support for Grenada at a meeting held last week Thursday.

He said the World Bank’s Board was expected to meet on December 16 to consider approving US$9.4 million in budgetary support for Grenada.

He also revealed that “the country stands to receive EC$60 million in additional budgetary support before the end of this year or by early January 2017, based on the strong performance of our Home Grown Reform Programme.”

According to Dr. Mitchell, government has already received “$192.9 million in direct financial support since the start of the Programme in 2014, some of which are grants or monies which do not require payback.”

He said the sixth and final review of the Home-Grown Programme is expected to be completed in June 2017.

Grenada was forced to address a severe fiscal situation in 2013 that was brought on by high debt payments – most of it created during the 1995-2008 rule of the country by Dr. Mitchell’s New National Party (NNP) administration.

Country Cold Store gives back

Country Cold Store has presented food baskets to 7 less fortunate citizens.

Erva Hector presents hamper to St. Patrick resident

Erva Hector presents hamper to St. Patrick resident

The recipients were chosen from each parish in Grenada, and also in Carriacou.

The names of the recipient were submitted to the Company by the Ministry of Social Services and presentations were made by various members of staff including General Manager, Ciscley Gabriel.

In presenting to the individual in St. David, Gabriel said “it is a humbling and satisfying (feeling) to be able to give back to society, especially at this time of year when people go the extra mile to show love for mankind”.

Unemployed parents, shut-ins, disabled persons and a cancer victim were among the recipients.

The Country Cold Store team journeyed throughout Grenada in order to make the presentations and the gift for Carriacou was sent in care of the Ministry of Social Services, Carriacou.

According to CEO and founder of the Company, James Lewis, “We believe in our people. They continue to patronise us and we feel very deeply about giving back to them”.

Country Cold Store’s customers are also winning great prizes in the Company’s 6th annual “Peel and Win promotion.”

Cisley Gabriel – General Manager presents to stroke victim of  St. David

Cisley Gabriel – General Manager presents to stroke victim of St. David

CCS was founded in 1969 from very humble beginnings and is now the leading importer/supplier of frozen goods.

Country Cold is also engaged in wholesales in dry goods and customers can get all their needs at its mini-mart at Perdmontemps, St. David.

Stakeholders concerned with cost implications of the new Building Code

The cost implications that can come with the implementation of a new Building Code in the country is an area of major concern for stakeholders in the construction industry.

Cross section of Stakeholders at the recently held consultation at the GBDS conference room

Cross section of Stakeholders at the recently held consultation at the GBDS conference room

Representatives from various entities, including banks, insurance agencies, contractors, architects and engineers expressed their concerns at a recent meeting with officials of the Grenada Bureau of Standards (GDBS) at the National Cricket Stadium on the roll out of the new Building Code, which has been adopted from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

In an interview with THE NEW TODAY, Head of the Materials Laboratory of the Bureau, Shevon Slinger said, the document introduces several changes including a new size limit for the drafting of floor plans, and the recruiting of professionals at an additional cost.

“With the new Building Code it’s not business as usual. …there is now a regulation for the size for a draftsman producing floor plans (and) once you go over that limit an architect needs to be the one to approve it or actually do the design.” he said.

“It (the new Building Code) requires a lot more professionals and with those professionals there is a cost attached to it,” he added.

Slinger expressed concerns that due to the “probable additional cost, the incentive to actually adhere to it (the measures set out in the new building code) may decrease.”

However, he was optimistic that “going forward (and) with future consultations with the stakeholders, we may be able to work something out and see how best we can address the issue”.

“There are a lot of changes that need to be made (and) will be made in the future to be better suited for Grenada…it’s not something that can be implemented over night,” he remarked.

He added that “what you would find is (that there are) a lot of informal constructions happening and that is the issue that we are trying to solve.  Slinger noted that participants at the consultation were also briefed on the services offered by the Bureau and its role in the implementation process.

The new Building Code, which was first introduced in July, was gazetted in August and is being implemented by the Physical Planning Unit of the Ministry of Public utilities in keeping with the Physical Planning Act of Grenada.

Another consultation was also held with block manufacturers at the GDBS conference room at Queen’s Park, St. George on a newly developed standard for the production of hollow concrete blocks.

The ‘GDS 6’is a specification for hollow concrete blocks, and falls in line with the OECS Building Code.

According to Slinger, who facilitated the one-day session, the GDS 6 is intended for use to “ensure that your blocks meet a particular standard so that when you are designing your building in keeping with the Building Code you don’t have to worry about your blocks.”

The GDS6 specifications for hollow concrete blocks, was recently developed by a GDBS Technical Committee, comprising a selected group of experts in the field.

Slinger said one of the hopeful outcomes is to get a general idea of whether “there are any changes that need to be made and how we update it (the standard).”