The functioning of the Public Accounts Committee

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is having difficulty in functioning, according to Chairman of the body, Dr. George Vincent, a member of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Dr. Vincent who is an Opposition Senator in the Upper House of Parliament used his contribution to the debate of the 2016 budget to highlight the difficulty faced by the committee in conducting the nation’s business.

He told his colleague Parliamentarians that over the last two years the committee has been having “real difficulties” in making the PAC functional.

He noted that during 2013, the committee could not move forward as the Standing Orders of the Parliament had to be changed to accommodate him as there was no Opposition Member in the Lower House of Parliament.

The ruling New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell controls all 15 seats in the Upper House following its clean sweep at the polls in February 2013.

Dr. Vincent announced that the committee has not had the opportunity to meet with the Office of the Clerk of Parliament for the last six months as both Houses of Parliament have been meeting regularly making it difficult for the staff to find time to make themselves available.

He suggested that if an additional Clerk cannot be made available then one of the Public Servants can be moved out as a substitute to provide the services so that “the government’s accountability can move forward.”

According to Dr. Vincent, the problem facing the PAC is further compounded by having no one to do the research as they have no staff to work along with, and at the same time they are not provided with a stipend.

However, he said having had three training sessions abroad, he is willing “to promote the democracy” in Grenada’s parliamentary system.

Dr. Vincent reported that the committee has so far looked at the 2008 government accounts, and has begun work on the 2009 accounts.

He acknowledged that the work of the committee is way behind and called for some assistance to be given by government “to get it going.”

The PAC Chairman indicated that the work of the committee, which is the people’s business, has to be publicised, but the room that is made available to them cannot accommodate the press.

The PAC provides an oversight of government’s programmes and accounts, and its purpose and duties include the promotion of accountability, to hold the Executive to account, and to provide an oversight of government’s audit.

The two key sectors to the functioning of the Public Accounts Committee are Government’s Audit Department, and Government’s Accountant General.

According to Dr. Vincent, the accounts for 2013 and 2014 from the Accountant General’s Office to the Director of Audit is yet to become available.

He said that at every meeting a different excuse is provided, the latest being “the charter of accounts is being changed,” and that the committee will receive the statements of 2013 and 2014 before the end of year.

The Chairman said they have noticed that the Accountants in the ministries and departments are not sending the information appropriately to the Accountant General’s Office.

The other members of the Public Accounts Committee are Government Backbenchers Clifton Paul and Tobias Clement, along with Senators Franka Bernadine and private sector representative, Sen. Christopher DeAllie.

No cause to celebrate Paris climate agreement

SAUNDERSThe results of the climate change conference in Paris (COP21) give no reason for small island states to cheer.

The agreement reflects many promises and little action. The one item of concrete action is merely an undertaking to evaluate carbon emissions every five years – and even that has no teeth.

What is not in the agreement is a firm, legally binding commitment to limit average global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Also not in the agreement is a legally binding commitment to provide developing countries with the funds needed to adapt to, and mitigate against the effects of climate change. There isn’t even a commitment to a fund, in the sum of US$100 billion a year; that was frequently touted before the conference began.

Once again, the industrialized nations of the world – the worst polluters – took advantage of the weakness of the smallest countries of the world, which are the least polluters and the biggest victims of climate change.

To their credit, through the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), representatives of small states did put up a good showing in Paris.

Armed with the latest statistics and bolstered by a structured expert report released by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, they argued for the containment of global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, showing that, at 2 degrees, destruction would be widespread and irreversible. But, in the end, despite all the hoopla, applause and celebration, small states lost.

Representatives of AOSIS countries might have been flattered by a brief visit to them by US President Barack Obama, when he declared: “These nations are not the most populous nations, they don’t have big armies they have a right to dignity and sense of place.” But, while President Obama was undoubtedly sincere in what he said, he also knew, even as he was saying it, that he could not deliver ratification by the US Congress of any agreement that limited carbon emissions or bound the US legally to warming no higher than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

So, the world has a so-called agreement, still to be ratified by the 196 participating countries, that only expresses an objective to limit global warming to “well below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels”. The goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius, as described by Amber Rudd, the British minister for energy and climate change, is merely “aspirational”.

In making her statement that the target of 1.5 degrees is aspirational, the minister was sending a clear signal to the British industrial world that driving down carbon emissions from fossil fuels is not an immediate objective and therefore will not affect their business.

In truth, the climate change action plans submitted by 188 countries would lead to a temperature rise as high as 2.7 degrees Celsius. And, if that is not bad enough, the signatories to the Paris agreement are under no legal obligation even to meet that objective; they are legally free to enlarge carbon emissions further. So, no cause for small island states to celebrate over that one, and profound reason for them to worry.

At 3 degrees, the size of islands will shrink, productive areas will be under water, people will have to move habitats inland and many will be forced to migrate, legally and illegally. We have to hope that all the scientists who predict this scenario are wrong.

On the money side, the developed countries declined to insert into the Paris agreement their often-made oral commitments to transfer funds to poorer countries in order to help them adapt. Yet, all the studies show that even the US$100 billion a year that was promised would not be enough to help developing countries build up a power system quickly or cheaply enough on renewable energy sources rather than coal or oil.

Incidentally, even if the US$100 billion a year fund was achieved, access to it by small states in the Caribbean would be long and arduous, particularly if the criterion of “per capita” income continues to be applied as it is now by international financial institutions.

The portion available to the Caribbean region would be a small fraction of the total sum.

Some may argue that there are two aspects of the Paris agreement that are beneficial to small states. Therefore, attention should be paid to them. The participating countries recognised “the importance of averting, minimising and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including weather events and slow onset events”. But, liability is completely ignored because it was opposed by the polluting industrialised countries. Recognition of a problem is far removed from committing to action to cure it.

Then there is the single binding legal requirement in the agreement. Every country is now required to come back every five years with new targets for reducing their carbon emissions. But there is no sanction if they failed to meet their previous commitment and no sanction if they simply carry on business as usual.

COP21 in Paris may have been a triumph for some nations, but no self-respecting small island state should claim any satisfaction.

That is why, each small state individually and within the many organisations in which they are members, including AOSIS, the Commonwealth, La Francophonie, the Organisation of American States and others must now redouble their efforts to work on the developed country governments, but also to move beyond them to the conscience of the people of the industrialised world.

This is about survival and development – two defining challenges of this century for small states. It is the work of everyone – governments, businesses and civil society. All are involved and all could be consumed.

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

Smash the criminals!!!

The place is getting “hot.”

THE NEW TODAY is not referring to the weather since December has been one of the wettest months for the year due to the frequency of the rain.

The “hot” that this newspaper is alluding to is the upsurge of criminal activities on the island within the past month.

The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) needs to become more proactive and to take concrete and affirmative steps to send clear signals to the criminal elements that their behaviour will not be tolerated.

The absence of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Edvin Martin, who took a one-year sabbatical to pursue a Master’s Degree in the United Kingdom is surely missed at this point in time.

ACP Martin, as Head of Operations of the police force, was a very pro-active individual and often made the public aware that the police are around the next corner and can easily come to their assistance.

Under his watch, the lawmen were more visible especially around Christmas as RGPF is fully aware that criminal elements get more active during the busy holiday period.

The city is overtaken by certain elements late at night as not a single policeman is seen on foot on any of the streets.

St. George’s gives the impression that it is a ghost town in the night – and this is to the advantage of the potential troublemakers who are out preying in these deadly hours.

The constant flashing lights of police vehicles in many areas have seemingly become a thing of the past.

These lights have a very positive effect in sending clear messages to the criminals in our midst and even law-abiding citizens that the police are around and mean business.

THE NEW TODAY would hate to think that the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) is affecting the ability of the police to give true meaning to its motto: ‘To protect and Serve”.

Mr. Acting Commissioner of Police, the residents in St. Paul’s are once again complaining that the police station in the area is giving credence and teeth to Chain’s popular calypso, ‘Police Station closed”.

Several persons have called us to report that the front door to the station is once again closed after a certain hour in the night and the public is virtually shut out from entering the building.

What is the message being sent by the police to the civilian population in St. Paul’s and surrounding areas?

Are the police saying that they are only open to business  to the public during certain restricted hours?

What has become of the use of roadblocks to search vehicles and persons for illegal items especially in the Christmas holiday period?

It is true that criminal elements can use their cell-phones to call one another to alert them of the police presence in a particular area but our law enforcement officers have to come up with other alternative measures to stay on top of those who are a menace to society.

This newspaper is aware of the police working on a particular theory that the release of a certain person from the Richmond Hill prison has coincided with an upsurge of criminal activities in this particular period.

There is a saying that one swallow does not make winter. As such no one individual should be allowed to create havoc and fear in the minds of the population at this time of the year when the country should be enjoying the festive season.

The police have a duty and responsibility to arrest the recent upsurge of criminal activities on the island in light of the unfortunate report in a major U.S news network about Grenada being a place to be closely watched these days when it comes to criminal activities.

Our island is still a beautiful place and cannot be compared with the likes of Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Antigua, Barbados and St. Kitts when it comes to criminal activities.

Mr. Acting Commissioner of Police, get serious and wet the fire now as the public is aware of some discord between the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the High Command on strategy to deal with illegal activities.

The public should not be made to suffer as a result of infighting in the force for power and authority.

Labour speaks of corruption with CBI Programme

Labour Representative in the Upper House of Parliament has once again voiced concerns about Grenada’s controversial Citizenship By Investment Programme (CBI).

In his contribution to the debate on the 2016 budget, Sen. Roberts told the Upper house of Parliament that he is hearing “in between the corridor activity” of someone collecting US$250,000 for fast-tracking the applications of those seeking to gain Grenadian Nationality through the CBI Programme.

“I want to say to the Prime Minister… these are things we must keep a tab on. You can’t have people in the corridors of power engaging in behind the scene activity,” Sen. Roberts said.
He suggested that the Ministry of National Security must clarify what he has been hearing about persons within government circles collecting large sums of monies behind the scene.

Reports have been circulating in the country about the payment of US$250, 000.00 (EC$679, 225.00) from the account of a local legal firm to a bank account linked to a high-ranking member of the Keith Mitchell-led government.

Sources told THE NEW TODAY that the state-controlled Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) would have intercepted the banking information in keeping with regulations for local commercial banks to pass on information on monetary transaction over a certain sum.

According to a source close to the administration, a large chunk of the near $EC700,000.00 payment was used by the government member to make payments on a luxury property in the St. George’s area.

Sen. Roberts told the house that the 2016 budget is being presented during a period of severe economic hardship for thousands of unemployed Grenadians, and a most challenging time for even those who have a job.

He stated that pensioners too are severely challenged because they have to pay a long list of taxes to government as a result of the ongoing Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP).

“These are very dark days for workers in Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique,” he told Parliament.

According to Sen. Roberts, the country is also affected by “low wages, frozen salaries, increasing unemployment, and families… losing their homes because many are unable to pay their mortgages”.

In addition he said that some businesses are under relentless pressure because of the limited and, in some cases, zero spending power of the people of Grenada.

The Labour Senator stressed that he saw nothing exciting about government’s decision to regularise the status of 205 teachers out of 600.

He said it is unacceptable that the temporary teachers received confirmation into the system effective September 1st 2015 without receiving retroactive payment, although they were in the system since 1998.

“So they have lost 15, 16 years of dedicated service, and they all have… Teacher Certificate Education,” he added.

Sen. Roberts felt that the confirmed teachers should have received “a reward” for their service over the years when they were temporary in the system.

He also indicated that there are other public servants in the system who remain temporary for 10 to 15 years, and because of their status are unable to access loans or be able to do anything to better their lives.

“It is grave injustice to have employed a worker for 15, 20 years and at the end of his working life, just simply say, goodbye, go home in poverty,” he said.

The Labour Senator appealed for doctors and nurses who are in temporary positions for years to receive the same treatment as a group of Police Officers who were recently appointed to senior positions.

The veteran trade unionist also made some passing comments on the national debt of approximately EC$2.7 billion, describing it as “a financial curse.”

He charged that eighty percent of the debt that was recently restructured with the bondholders was a creation of the “flamboyant Minister of Finance” and it was very unnecessary.

“The Mt. Hartman hotel project, the Ritz Carlton, the Riviera Hotel, the infamous Garden Group – all of these are the debt we are now spending to pay,” he said.

Sen. Roberts quoted from a section of a presentation from his predecessor, Sen. Chester Humphrey made to the Senate about the national debt on December 12th 2007.

Humphrey who is now President of the Senate, said at the time: “It took five hundred years and many administrations, more than five hundred years from the arrival of (Christopher)

Columbus up to 1995 for us to engage in a national debt of $373M… It took the Keith Mitchell Government 13 years to take the national debt to $1.7BN.”

Sen. Humphrey, who is now aligned to the Mitchell-led regime as part of the so-called “Project Grenada” initiative with former Congress members Peter David and Joseph Gilbert, was seen with a light smile on his face as Roberts used his quotation.

PM Mitchell has often been accused of raking up the national debt through a massive borrowing and spending spree during his earlier 1995-2008 rule of the island.

Air Panama to service Grenada from January

The inaugural flight of Air Panama that was first scheduled to land at the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) on December 3 and then on December 10, is now expected to begin its service in the New Year.

Minister of Health Nickolas Steele told the media during a post-Cabinet Press Briefing that the delay was due to the fact that Air Panama Officials “needed to put some of their logistical and administrative pieces together” before commencing the flight into Grenada from January 2016.

However, days before Minister Steele updated the media on the status of Air Panama’s inaugural flight, President of Milagros International Investment Corporation (MIIC), Jefferson George told a local television newscast that the decision to postpone the flight on two occasions was due to the fact that it was not financially viable at the time.

It was announced in St. George’s last month that Air Panama had partnered with the corporation to launch a twice-weekly flight from Panama into Grenada.

According to George, much more marketing of the Grenada destination was needed to make the flight become financially viable.

He said the postponement of the flight on two occasions was based on a change to the company’s strategy, as Grenada is not well known on the Latin American market.

“At the end of the day it was not… financially viable to operate a charter to prove that we can bring Air Panama here (into) Grenada at the risk of putting the entire programme in jeopardy. So we think that was financially prudent and also a better business move to work on the marketing, put things in place,” he remarked.

George disclosed that the financial investment needed to have the flight operate into Grenada is in excess of US $100,000.

During his contribution to the 2016 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, Opposition Senator Dr. George Vincent alluded to lack of information from government on the tourism industry, querying if there was a policy in place.

“Do we have a policy on going forward with tourism?” he asked.

Dr. Vincent, who served as Tourism Minister in the 2008-13-led Tillman Thomas-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government, stressed that there was a policy framework in place under the former administration, which guided the process.

He also told the House that questions he had filed in the Senate about the cost of airlift have been taken off the Order Paper and as such he was not able to get the information he was seeking.

General Manager of Spice Island Marines, Glyn Evans, now chairs Grenada’s Airlift Committee, the body responsible for helping to increase stay-over arrivals at the international airport at Point Salines.

Sandals LaSouce adds more rooms

With a Pure Grenada, nature centered theme, the world renowned Sandals La Source will be adding 24 suites to its already 125 room resort at Point Salines.

Head table at the announcement of Sandals LaSource additional room stock

Head table at the announcement of Sandals LaSource additional room stock

This announcement was made during a media conference at Sandals La Source last week, by Chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart in the presence of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.

This is the first addition made to the resort since it officially opened for business in December 2013.

Project Manager at Sandals Resorts, Terrence Des Vignes outlined to the poll of assembled reporters the concepts the rooms will follow.

“We want to do something around the nature, around a lagoon. So, what we are trying to do is sell it as a Grenada product…the artwork will be generally with respect to Grenada.

“The rooms are good size, it’s 500 sq ft. You’ll have a soaking hot tub on the balcony, you have a shower and a bathtub inside the room for those who want more privacy but what you do is you overlook a lagoon with nature, inside that lagoon.

“When we took out one or two of the ponds throughout this property, we collected all the crayfish and all the tilapia and we placed it in that same pond and some indigenous ducks and a lot of iguanas.

An insight into what the rooms are expected to look like upon completion

An insight into what the rooms are expected to look like upon completion

According to Des Vignes, the rooms which will be built by Quinn Construction company will see approximately 100 men working on the ground.

The Chairman of the multi-million dollar resort said that Sandals LaSource has been breaking grounds in Grenada as well as internationally and this addition to the room stock is just another way of continuing the growth.

Stewart said: “The range and quality of the accommodation are really superb in every which way. You can see it in the finishes, you can see it in the luxury, and you can see it in the equipment of the rooms and the suites. We have had great reaction out of the trade and the travel size of the business, from all works and we really want to continue evolving.

“These 24 suites that are being built, there is a little area that fits perfectly in front of a nice little lake, so you get lake views, its environmentally friendly,” he added.

Prime Minister Mitchell welcomed the additional rooms, noting the benefits that Sandals Resorts have brought to Grenada in the past two years.

“We are all aware of what Sandals has done to this country and to our product…we are constrained in terms of direct money from government and we will try and do as much as we can with the resources we have but if we marry what we have with significant activity or with persons and groups like Sandals, a combination of what Grenada can give directly and the marketing potential of those persons that I mention a while ago, we take off in wonder,” PM Mitchell said.

Local Hotelier, Sir Royston Hopkin, a close friend of Stewart gave full support to the new rooms being added to the resort by the colourful Jamaican entrepreneur, saying that it did not come as a surprise to him.

“In conversations with Butch over the years, he always did say it is not feasible (to run a successful resort of the kind) under 250, 275, 300 rooms. Butch, I want to say how happy I am that you have taken the steps to add more rooms because while you have…. to benefit from your investment … Grenada is going to benefit just as good with you being here…there is nothing to stop you and there will be nothing to stop us here in Grenada once we have you leading the charge”, he said.

Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Yolande Bain-Horsford who was also present noted that the additional rooms being constructed by Sandals is just a start to the 2000 room stock Grenada is aiming towards.


Sisters and Brothers of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique:

At this very special time of the year, I bring you greetings from my colleagues in the National Democratic Congress, my family and on my personal behalf.

There is always an expectation of good tidings at Christmas. Whatever the season means to each of us, it is my desire that we will all  find it  joyful and fulfilling as we remember the hope that Christmas represents.

The messages of love, self-sacrifice, sharing, prudence and constant prayer, need to characterise all our lives, as together, we work to build a better Grenada.

As a country, we must strengthen our determination to carefully and prudently navigate these difficult economic waters that we find ourselves in. We must work together to inspire hope and help change the things we can. We must make a thoughtful contribution to turning around our circumstances while celebrating each victory.

While there are many challenges ahead for us individually and collectively, there is nothing that compares to the resilience and strength of each and every  citizen of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, at home or in the Diaspora.  Fortunately, we have God and our experiences on our side to help chart this difficult course.

Despite our many challenges, we must be mindful that there is still an opportunity to be neighbourly, kind and caring each day of the year, but especially at the Christmas season.

The atmosphere of goodwill, peace and caring that permeates this time of the year is always comforting and joyous.  As we reflect on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, his example and messages must inspire us to be good examples to others, especially our young people.

As we celebrate this season, I encourage you to spend quality time with your family and those who are dear to you. Share with those who are less fortunate including the shut-ins, the elderly and the vulnerable.  Stop to appreciate those who have made a meaningful contribution to your own development and success. Live life one day at a time.

Let us all find creative ways to celebrate the birth of Christ amid the difficulties that characterise our world. Use the traditions of our past as stepping stones to  create a new and brighter future for ourselves, our children and for generations to come.

Let us all resolve to become more patriotic and united as we strive to build a better nation; a nation that will serve the needs of all, and lay  the foundation for a sustainable and prosperous future.

In closing I take this opportunity to wish us all peace on earth and goodwill to men.

May you enjoy a Merry Christmas and God’s blessings for a successful and prosperous 2016.

Senate President calls for establishment of Fishing School

President of the Senate, Chester Humphrey has made a strong appeal to government for the immediate establishment of a fishing school with the help of Cuba.

During conclusion of the debate in the Senate on the 2016 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, Sen. Humphrey reminded Senators that Cuban assistance in Grenada’s fishing industry became a reality during the 1979-83 leftwing Grenada Revolution.

According to the leading leftwinger in the country, the help from communist Cuba in the area of fishing during the rule of the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) of late Marxist leader, Maurice Bishop, was responsible for the phenomenal rise in the country’s fish catch.

He said that apart from the Cubans teaching long-line fishing, the local fishing community were taught how to grow lobsters.

“I want to suggest very strongly… that a fishing school be established with boats,” the Senate President told the Upper House.

Sen. Humphrey believes this will be an important dimension in “attacking the unemployment problem” as well as raising the country’s productive capacity.

He suggested that the establishment of the fishing school which will include sea-fearing can be done as part of the T.A. Marryshow Community College, and believes that the Cuban Government will be willing to help with the venture.

He also said he believes that other countries such as Japan and Peru will be able to provide assistance.

During his contribution to the debate, Opposition Senator Dr. George Vincent also made a plea for the establishment of a fishing school, and for the creation of fish farms.

Dr. Vincent said fishermen must be encouraged to use the available technology in their fishing expedition.

He told the Senate that with the use of Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD) lots of Blue-fin Tuna are caught weighing about 12 pounds.

Dr. Vincent suggested that a farm can be established to grow these fish to the maximum 200-pound weight, and that it can address the quality of local fish.

FAD is a man-made object used to attract ocean-going fish such as Marlin and Tuna.

Meanwhile, Farmers Representative in the Upper House of Parliament, Senator Keith Clouden warned that encroachment and fishing in Grenada’s territorial waters by fishermen from some of the neighbouring countries threaten the county’s fish stock.

Sen. Clouden expressed fears that if government continues to fail to invest in some adequately-equipped coast guard vessels with the capability to conduct surveillance patrol, the country would not be in a position to stem the problem posed by foreign fishing vessels.

He called on government to acquire “two proper vessels that can do the east and the west coasts (of Grenada) simultaneously” as there was a distinct possibility that “our fish stock could be depleted”.

Sen. Clouden who spoke of appreciating the support being given by Japan in providing fish plants to Grenada, feared that the country may end up having those facilities,  no fish for the fish markets if encroachment and illegal fishing continues without intervention by the State.

He told Parliament that local boat owners have voiced concern  to him over a license obtained by a foreign fish exporter for fishermen from a neighbouring country to fish in the local waters.

The Farmers Representative also called for an urgent audit to be conducted on the Department of Fisheries so as to ascertain how project funds are being utilised.

He said boat owners are seeking to find out who benefit from projects that are under the control of the Fisheries Department.

In addition, he charged that the local boat owners are facing “stiff competition” from senior staff members within the Fisheries Department who are also engaged in fishing.

This, he said is a conflict of interest and an issue that has to be addressed.

Sen. Clouden did not provide the names of those government employees who are engaged in fishing activities.

Under legislation passed in Parliament, public officers are required to make declarations to the Integrity Commission, headed by retired high court judge, Justice Monica Joseph about their sources of income.

Country Cold Store brings Christmas cheer

As a gesture of goodwill, the Management of the Country Cold Store Ltd (CCS) donated Hams and Turkeys to several charitable organisations throughout Grenada for Christmas.

Cisley Gabriel - General Manager presents to Richmond Home

Cisley Gabriel – General Manager presents to Richmond Home

The company sought assistance from the Ministry of Social Development in order to identify one organisation per parish to receive the gift.

The recipients were the Richmond Home – St. George’s, Hillsview Home for the Aged – St. John, Charles Memorial Home – St. Mark, Cedars Shelter – St. Patrick, Cadronna Home – St. Andrew, Missionaries of Charity – St. David and Tophill Senior Citizens Home – Carriacou.

Presentations were made by a team from CCS headed by General Manager, Cisley Gabriel who Gabriel noted as she presented the package to the Matron of the Richmond Home: “At this time of year we are pleased to bring cheer to the residents and caregivers at the Home.  We feel compelled to give back, especially to those who have given so much to our country and our business.”

Representatives from all organisations accepting gifts from Country Cold Store expressed profound appreciation and wished the company well in the future.

In addition to the hams and turkeys, Country Cold store gave approximately EC$10,000 in cash and products to other causes during the Christmas Season.

Customers at CCS are also winning big during the company’s 5th annual “Peel and Win” promotion.

Customers spending $100 and over get an opportunity to select a card, peel off the sticky tab and win great prizes including discounts off their purchases, products and the grand prize – a $250.00 shopping spree.

According to Gabriel, CCS always give back to its customers and will continue to do so.
Country Cold Store wishes everyone a peaceful Christmas and a successful New Year.

Government providing $1.5M towards Constitutional Reform

Leader of Government Business in the Upper House of Parliament, Senator Simon Stiell has announced that $1.5M is being provided in the 2016 budget to support the referendum on constitutional reform which is expected to take place in the first half of 2016.

Six Bills to effect amendments to the Constitution had its first reading two weeks ago in the House of Representatives.

They are Name of State, Term of Office for the Prime Minister, Fundamental Rights and Freedom, Establishment of an Elections and Boundaries Commission, Constitution of Grenada Caribbean Court of Justice and other Justice Related Matters (Amendment) Bill 2015, and Constitution of Grenada Restructuring (Amendment) Bill 2015.

Sen. Stiell who is the Representative of the ruling New National Party (NNP) on the Constitution Reform Advisory Committee (CRAC) told the Senate during his contribution to the debate on the 2016 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure that it has taken the country more than 30 years to get to the current stage in constitutional reform.

He believes there is significant inner value in the proposed amendments to the Constitution since there are 70 individual proposals within the six Bills.

The Leader of Government Business stressed the concept that constitution reform should not be a one-off activity, and that it should be a continuous process.

“This is just a start, it’s not the end. What may not be considered today, may be considered at a future point,” he said.

However, Political Leader of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Sen. Nazim Burke told Parliament that the NNP government needs to take a closer look at the constitutional reform process.

Sen. Burke recalled that government was presented with a recommendation by CRAC of which NDC had membership that arising from a consultation from the Grenada Trade Centre, that the people should like to have the right to recall a Parliamentary Representative, but this was rejected by the Cabinet of Ministers without any explanation.

He noted that the process towards constitutional reform is not being driven by the will of the people, but rather by the will of the Cabinet of Ministers.

Speculation is rife that Congress intends to mount a “no-vote” campaign in the proposed referendum.