Animals intrude Dumfries Landfill

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Caretaker for the Constituency of Carriacou and Petit Martinique Tevin Andrews is claiming that the Dumfries Landfill on the sister isle of Carriacou has become a health hazard.

Andrews who was speaking at a public meeting of the NDC at Happy Hill, St. George’s last week Wednesday said the Landfill has now become a breeding site for mosquitoes, rodents and other pests because of the poor disposal of waste material.

The NDC Caretaker also said animals including goats, sheep, cows, donkeys and pigs from the nearby farms in Carriacou come onto the landfill that is not properly secured and eat the toxic waste material that are dumped there.

He spoke of contacting the Grenada Solid Waste Management Authority (GSWMA) about the problem and was informed that government owes the Authority over $18M in levies for waste material that has been collected on their behalf.

He said because GSWMA is owed that huge sum of money, the Authority does not have the resources to properly dispose the waste material, and to secure the landfill from the roaming animals.

Andrews called on Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell in his capacity as Minister of Finance to provide the necessary resources to the Solid Waste body.

“Dr. Mitchell, the people of Carriacou and Petit Martinique… we deserve better than that, it is time that you ensure that our health situation is looked after, and our landfill is looked after,” he said.

When contacted by The New Today Newspaper to comment on the situation at the Dumfries Landfill, GSWMA Operations Manager Lendon Bullen said, “I prefer not to comment, thank you.”

Donkeys are frequent visitors to the Dumfries Landfill in Carriacou

Donkeys are frequent visitors to the Dumfries Landfill in Carriacou

Dumfries is earmarked as the site for the relocation of the airport in Carriacou, and also a housing scheme to be financed by the People’s Republic of China.

G’da wants its name removed from EU blacklist

Grenada is gravely concerned to learn that it has been placed on a blacklist on the basis of submissions made by ten European Union jurisdictions.

This list suggests that the named jurisdictions are not doing sufficient to guard against harmful tax practices. This list is ill-conceived, ill-informed and lacking in transparency.

To date, Grenada has received two largely compliant ratings by the Global Forum on Tax Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, the international standard setting body for tax transparency. These ratings were based on an objective assessment of Grenada’s legal, regulatory and administrative infrastructure for the exchange of information for tax purposes.

This infrastructure is supported by the signing of 32 Tax Information Exchange Agreements and Double Taxation Agreements, 14 of which are with European Union member countries.

Grenada is also actively working at meeting its deadline of 2016 for the introduction of the Common Reporting Standard for the Exchange of Information.

In addition to the initiatives mentioned above, Grenada has entered into an agreement with the United States’ Inland Revenue Service for the exchange of information under the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

Based on objective assessments, Grenada was also recently upgraded by the CFATF to the category of jurisdictions not requiring enhanced supervision

Of note is the fact that Grenada has never received a request for information for tax purposes under any of its existing tax treaties, or for that matter from any European Union member jurisdictions.

Despite no longer operating as an international financial services centre, Grenada remains committed to the principles of tax transparency and the avoidance of harmful tax practices. Grenada continues to partner with the international community in the fight against harmful tax policies and practices.
Furthermore, Grenada stands willing and ready to sign information exchange agreements with any interested jurisdiction.

Grenada shares fully the concerns raised by the Global Forum in its letter of June 19, 2015, on the methodology used for establishing this so-called blacklist and calls on the European Union to move swiftly to remove Grenada from this ill-conceived list.

(The above statement was issued by the Government of Grenada)

“The Power to Make a Difference”

Nehemiah Pre SchoolEighty three (83) parents and teachers (including 14 of Republic Bank’s Staff) are today proud graduates of Phase I of the “Common Sense Parenting” and “Parenting for Literacy” Programmes, held under the Bank’s social investment initiative “The Power to Make a Difference”. The successful candidates from the three (3) participating schools – Nehemiah Pre-School, St. Andrew’s R.C. School and J.W. Fletcher Memorial Catholic Secondary School, received certificates of completion at a “graduation” ceremony held June 18 at the National Stadium.

The Common Sense Parenting & Parenting for Literacy Programmes focus on a practical approach to enabling healthy family relations based on a proven model produced by Boys Town, USA.

Participants were taught parenting skills to discourage negative behaviours, while encouraging positive alternatives to problem-solving, which will result in improved child-parent relations and reduction in violence and abuse.

Addressing the graduates, Republic Bank’s Managing Director, Keith Johnson, encouraged the participants to create a ripple effect, by sharing the new skills learned with other family members and colleagues at work.”

He also reaffirmed the Bank’s commitment to the 3-Year project, costing EC$115,000.00 (One Hundred and Fifteen Thousand Dollars).

The programmes were facilitated by Sr. Julie Peters, Director of The Franciscan Institute for Personal and Family Development, based in Trinidad and included a Training of Trainers component, to ensure the continuity of the program, locally.

One parent, Louisa Thomas, in commenting on the Common Sense Parenting programme, said, “this programme has equipped us with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to nurture and “train-up” our children; and to deal with the many challenges that accompany them from birth to adulthood.

She went on to say: “The training sessions have made us as parents and teachers, better able to: Build and maintain healthy and wholesome family relationships

* Prevent and correct misbehaviours and disobedience

* Approach discipline as a positive teaching experience

* Help our children deal with change and new situations

* Build and maintain effective communication

* Manage conflict, and

* Maintain self- control.

“It was an intense, educational, innovative and enjoyable occasion for us as we were molded into more effective parents and teachers.

They provided opportunities for us to share our learning, misconceptions and experiences through discussions, group work and role play.

Republic Bank congratulates the graduates and wishes them well in their new parenting approach and remains committed to effecting positive change in our communities through better parenting and literacy skills. Phase II of the program will roll out in the coming months.

Anglican Archdeacon defends CCG

Archdeacon Christian Glasgow of the Anglican Church has come to the defense of the Conference of Churches of Grenada (CCG) which has been under some criticisms for not speaking out publicly on several national issues.

In recent times, Talk Show Hosts, and callers to various call-in programmes have been accusing the CCG of not advocating on behalf of the people who are left in distressed situations because of government policies.

Delivering his weekly sermon at last Sunday’s mass held in St. George’s, Archdeacon Glasgow said the CCG advocates in corridors, and that the Church Grouping knows that it cannot be comfortable as long as there is inequity of one sort or another.

The Anglican Cleric reminded his congregation of the old proverb which says, “there is more ways than one to skin a cat.’”

This simply means, he said that there are more than one way to do things.

According to the clergyman, advocating is not only done by getting on the radio and making “a lot of ignorant noise”, as well as getting on the streets and jumping up with a lot of placards.

While recognising that these are some ways of advocating, Archdeacon Glasgow identified speaking through to power as the most important way of advocating for the voiceless.

“Getting your voice heard where it matters, that, to my mind, is the heart of advocating for the voiceless, and that’s what the Church does in more ways than one for, first of all, we must give ourselves to the Lord,” he said.

CCG is a member of the Committee of Social Partners which has committed itself to work for justice and equity in the interest of national development.
Some churches have been accused of not wanting to be critical of government policies because of an annual subvention given to them by the State.

Sol launches ‘Go Further’ Line of Fuels

The Sol Group, the leading supplier of energy products in the Caribbean, has launched its Sol Go Further line of fuels to customers in the Grenada market.

The new product is formulated to enhance fuel economy, giving consumers more mileage with every full tank of Sol gasoline or diesel.

“We aim to provide the highest quality of fuel and petroleum products to our customers, to enhance the performance of their vehicles and save them time and money,” said Country Manager of SOL EC LTD, George Bain.

“We are pleased to introduce the Go Further fuels to our Grenada team and customers. This product has already been introduced to territories elsewhere in the region, and we are confident that customers in Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique will also welcome the benefits of Going Further with Sol”, he added.

Sol Go Further gasoline and diesel are specially formulated to offer up to 10 km more per full tank, based on average driving conditions.

The Go Further line of fuels is known for its advanced formulation, including cleaning and friction modifying technology. With prolonged usage, motorists will be able to experience the benefits of better engine performance, emissions reduction, less corrosion, and improved fuel economy.

The International Organisation of Standardization (ISO) tested product was developed in response to extensive market research, which indicated that every day motorists needed a more reliable, economic, and performance enhancing fuel.

The launch of the Sol Go Further fuels in Grenada is in line with the company’s commitment to providing quality products and services to its customers.

Since the company first entered the Caribbean market in 2005, it has been making consistent efforts to invest in communities throughout the region.

The introduction of this innovative line of ‘Go Further’ products affirms Sol’s commitment to the continued investment in Grenada.

Sol, a Caribbean-owned company, is currently celebrating ten years of providing innovative energy solutions to individuals, families, businesses, and government organisations across the region.

(The above was submitted by SOL)

Fast Cash takes advantage of the south

Wall Street is being seen more and more as the banking mecca of the south with Fast Cash opening an office at that location.

Chief Executive Officer of Fast Cash in the Caribbean, Michel Williams

Chief Executive Officer of Fast Cash in the Caribbean, Michel Williams

It’s the third office to be opened on the Spice Isle by Fast Cash with the first being the Melville Street branch in the city in 2010 and the second one year later at Grenville, St. Andrew.

The latest launch took place at Wall Street on June 18 in the presence of Fast Cash officials and Member of Parliament for St George South, Alexandra Otway-Noel, the current Minister with responsibility for Implementation in the Office of the Prime Minister.

Operations Supervisor at Fast Cash, Dayna Francis-Roberts said the
opening of this office could only mean benefits for customers.

“This new office is intended to provide much better experience to our customers and business partners than the St George’s and the Grenville offices. The community of Grand Anse should look forward to getting good things from Fast Cash. It is committed to giving back to the community in which it operates,” she told the gathering.

MP for St George South, Alexandra Otway-Noel welcomed the opening of the newest Fast Cash office, describing it as a clear indication that the Grenadian economy is improving.

“Fast Cash obviously is recognising the needs of the people and improving its banking facilities to serve those people and this is the time now where we are more aware of technology. We are more aware of what is out there because of the Internet and because of what’s online and Fast Cash is taking the step to bring business to where the needs are”, she said.

“…Grenada’s situation continues to improve…Fast Cash at this point to be growing, is an indication that our country is moving in the right direction. In the last few weeks I have gone to several openings of several businesses…so Fast Cash opening at this time is a very good thing because a lot of businesses are looking for opportunities,” she added.

Chief Executive Officer of Fast Cash in the Caribbean, Michel  Williams said the mission of the company would not change but will only improve with the opening of this new office.

“Fast Cash mission is simply to provide financial services to our
customers and to do so quickly through our well trained personnel…thereby exceeding our customers expectation in terms of service delivery”, he remarked.

“…We are providers of capital and we do it efficiently and quickly – customers either qualify or don’t. They don’t have to bug us. We are here to do business and we treat our customers with that respect,” he said.

Williams expressed appreciation to customers for the support over the years and urged them to look forward to greater things in the coming years from the financial institution.

FastCash was established in 2007 on the island of Dominica, as a much needed quick lending financial option to traditional banks that provided loans at higher interest rates and stiffer conditions.

The police “Chickengate”

Recent developments within the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) can at best be described as quite disturbing.

THE NEW TODAY is referring specifically to reports of the discovery of a Driver’s permit racket, the investigation into “Chickengate”, the missing guns and reports that an Immigration Officer had to be transferred out of the Department on suspicion of facilitating human trafficking with the use of Grenadian passports to persons of Asian descent.

The hierarchy of RGPF should be put under scrutiny as regards the systems that have been put in place to limit acts of wrong-doing by the rank and file members of the force.

The Audit Department of Government has spent a considerable amount of time with members of the force over the years on the structures to be built to ensure greater accountability.

There is no reason for any “Chickengate” to go undetected for years if the “big boys” at headquarters at Fort George were on top of things.

A major problem with RGPF is favouritism with the so-called elite officers in the High Command showing favouritism in promotion and in selecting certain persons considered as their cronies to fill important positions.

There is an Inspector of Police who spent several months on assignment with the Audit Department to get a better appreciation of the systems that are needed for better accountability and transparency within RGPF?

Where is this officer? Has he been fully utilised by the High Command? Did he help to enhance and improve on the existing accounting systems in place within the force? If not, why?

Those at the top within the High Command should shoulder some of the blame for a breakdown in things and the opening up of the door for some of their colleagues to engage in acts of wrong-doing.

It is difficult to put a system in place for an arm of the force such as the Special Services Unit (SSU) at Point Salines to receive 100lbs of chicken each week and to pay for exactly what was received and not one cent extra.

If the person receiving it was facilitating wrong-doing then the Police Force had a duty and responsibility to have a system of checks and balances.

If the SSU books are audited on a regular basis there would be an early red flag and the scam would be quickly spotted and nipped in the bud.

The Prime Minister in his capacities as both Minister of National Security and Minister of Finance should be particularly concerned about any alleged financial wrong-doing in the force.

This become even more important since fingers are being pointed not only at a particular officer but another top one with links to some of those who sit inside the Cabinet Room on a weekly basis.

The Director of Audit should be called in to help with an independent investigation into “Chickengate” and to allow the chips to fall where ever they may fall.

THE NEW TODAY will not easily buy into an investigation of the allegation by only police officers.

Mr. Commissioner of Police, this newspaper is still waiting to hear from you about the outcome of the so-called investigation into the report made to you by a female police officer who has since resigned and left the country about being raped at a police house by a Superintendent of Police and being sexually molested by two others.

As a matter of fact one of the persons named in the report to Commissioner James has since been promoted under his watch. Given the above why would this newspaper have total confidence in the police conducting a fair and impartial investigation into “Chickengate” in light of some of the names being called as possible culprits?

As regards the alleged racket in the Traffic Department, this is nothing new within RGPF since some officers often abuse their positions in this unit to engage in graft and corruption.

The word on the ground for sometime now was that the going price to acquire a driver’s licence from the police on the black market was $EC500.00 or sexual favours.

The alleged perpetrators of the scam could be seen every weekend at some popular bars drinking whiskey and other high priced drinks and always surrounded by a host of female companions. Was this a red flag that was missed by the High Command?

How come John Public was aware of all the happenings and not the “big boys” on the Fort? Is the Special Branch being used to only monitor persons considered as opponents and hostile to the current regime?

Mr. Prime Minister and Mr. Commissioner of Police, the taxpayers of this country have been called upon since the return of the New National Party (NNP) into governmental power in 2013 to make sacrifices to address a fiscal deficit that should be blamed squarely on those who took this country to financial ruin between 1995 and 2008 through an ill-advised policy of borrow and spend.

It is time for greater respect to be shown to the usage of their hard-earned funds and to bring an end to a growing culture in this country in which some government employees, not only in the police force, use their positions of authority to enrich themselves through all sorts of illegal activities.

Constantinian Order to manage projects

The Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George which has
pledged one million Pound Sterling towards the development of a number of projects in Grenada will be monitoring the management of these projects, according to Vicar General of the Diocese of St. George’s-in-Grenada, Fr. Clifton Harris.

Fr. Harris – identified the projects for funding

Fr. Harris – identified the projects for funding

The high-ranking clergyman told the Government Information Service (GIS) that the Constantinian Order manages those projects that it gets involved in around the world.

Two weeks ago, the Grand Prior of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George and ProtoDeacon of the Holy Roman Church, His Eminence Renato Raffaelel Cardinal Martino lead a delegation to Grenada, and during a Thanksgiving Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in St. George’s announced that the Order will be funding a number of local projects.

Fr. Harris said while it is too early to say when the money for the projects will be made available, he has observed that while the delegation was in Grenada they were almost beginning “to put pen to the cheque.”

“We are going to get it (the money). I don’t know the break down as such as yet. We still have to wait a little while, but I can tell you this… the Sacred Constantinian Order if they promise you they will give – true to the projects,” he said.

The Vicar General indicated that it is a lot of money that is being pumped into the projects, and Grenadians will benefit immensely.

He is happy that funding will now be made available for the rehabilitation of the Sheila Buckmire Memorial Library in St. George’s which was not in use for a prolonged period of time.

Fr. Clifton said another project that will be beneficial to the country is the New Life Organisation (NEWLO) at Palmiste, St. John’s which gives young people who have not been successful at school a second chance to be of value to society.

The other projects to receive funding are the Dorothy Hopkin Home at Tempe, St. George’s, the Senior Citizens Homes at Grand Anse, St. George’s, and Top Hill, Carriacou, St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, and the Girls Centre at Grand Anse.

The Senior Roman Catholic Cleric said the projects earmarked for funding by the Constantinian Order can be considered as the beginning of more to come for Grenada.

He disclosed that apart from the named projects that will receive immediate funding, the local Roman Catholic Bishop, Vincent Darius had put forward to Cardinal Martino and his delegation some others which directly involves the Catholic Church in the Spice Isle.

According to him, Bishop Darius made a request for grant funding to be made available for the rebuilding of the St. David’s Catholic Secondary School at La Sagesse, St. David’s.

Fr. Harris said the delegation visited the school at its current location at Petit Esperance, St. David’s and was able to get a first-hand view of its deplorable condition.

The Constantinian Order also visited the J W Fletcher Catholic Secondary School, and according to Fr. Harris, the Church Group is interested in building an audio-visual block and some additional classrooms for the institution.

The Vicar General disclosed that the Constantinian Order is looking at the possibility of establishing a regional office in Grenada.

He said the investment being made in Grenada by the Church Group which is involved with humanitarian and charitable work in various islands of the Caribbean will see Grenada benefitting in a great way.

Fr. Harris noted that it was just another branch of the Constantinian Order being extended, and from that branch comes fruits which will start to bear.

He said he sees the visit by the officials from Rome as bringing a renewed hope to Grenada and the Church’s activities on the island.

The Vicar General said the Roman Catholic Church is not known to be blowing its trumpet, but a lot of persons are now recognising the humanitarian work that the Church has been doing over the years.

“Not just giving out rice, but even hospital equipment that the Church has been assisting with. Our Schools alone, I think we have the largest number of schools on this island educating our people,” he said.

The Roman Catholic Church has one of the largest following of religious denominations in the country.

IMF puts out report on G’da

The Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) has once again expressed concerns over the high level of unemployment in Grenada.

In its latest bulletin on the performance of the island’s so-called self-imposed Structural Adjustment Programme to cure a fiscal deficit, the Fund said that “unemployment remains elevated” in the Spice Isle.

Both the ruling New National Party (NNP) and the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) continue to trade words on the unemployment rate in the country.

The Keith Mitchell-led administration has put unemployment at 29% of the workforce while Congress maintains that it is higher and keeps growing.

The cash-strapped government in St. George’s has been forced to turn to the IMF and the World Bank for assistance as Grenada in 2013 was forced to default on debt payments due to a host of commercial creditors for loans that were borrowed at high interest rates.

The fund has helped the island to broker a deal with the commercial creditors in which the Mitchell government would have to start making payments on the outstanding loans from next year.

As a public service, THE NEW TODAY reproduces in full the latest report put out by the Fund on the situation in Grenada:

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has completed the second review of Grenada’s economic performance under a three-year program supported by an arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF).

The completion of the review enables the disbursement of SDR 2 million (about US$2.8 million), bringing total disbursements under the
arrangement to SDR 6.04 million (about US$8.5 million).

The ECF arrangement in the amount equivalent to SDR 14.04 million (then about US$21.7 million, or 120 percent of Grenada’s quota at the IMF) was approved by the Executive Board on June 26, 2014.

Following the Executive Board’s discussion on Grenada, Mr. Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, said:

“The Grenadian authorities have achieved important results in the context of their Fund-supported economic program. Fiscal targets have been exceeded, important reforms of the fiscal policy framework have been put in place, and significant progress has been made in restructuring public debt. Stronger economic activity has supported program implementation, although unemployment remains elevated.

Maintaining social cohesion and support from all stakeholders remains critical to completing the reforms and putting Grenada on a higher, sustainable, and more inclusive growth path.

“Grenada is well advanced in its ambitious fiscal adjustment and in restoring debt sustainability. Safeguarding the fiscal performance achieved thus far and carefully monitoring budget execution will help achieve this year’s fiscal objectives. A final round of adjustment will be needed, as planned, to achieve the program’s fiscal targets for 2016. An agreement on debt relief with the remaining stakeholders will be necessary to return public debt to a sustainable level.

“Recent reforms to the fiscal policy framework are a major step forward to promote durable fiscal discipline and support debt sustainability over the medium-term. The comprehensive reforms include the introduction of fiscal responsibility and public debt management legislation, and reforms of the tax incentive regime and of the framework governing state-owned enterprises and other parastatal entities.

“In the context of the exchange rate peg, continued structural reforms are needed to strengthen competitiveness and boost potential growth. These reforms should focus on lowering production costs, including in the energy sector, and improving the investment environment. Strengthening social protection programs should aim at promoting inclusive growth.

“Good progress has been achieved in advancing the regional strategy to strengthen the banking system, coordinated by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. Full implementation of the strategy will be essential to preserving financial stability.”

Top GMTA awards presented

Beverley Steele Presents Steele Plaque Award to Gordon Browne for his Outstanding Achievements

Beverley Steele Presents Steele Plaque Award to Gordon Browne for his Outstanding Achievements

Over eighty students were recognised last week Thursday for sitting the Associated Board Royal School of Music (ABRSM) exams for the school year 2014-2015.

The awards were presented at the Grenada Music Teachers Association’s (GMTA) annual music recital, which was held at the St. George’s Gospel Hall located on H.A. Blaize Street, St. George’s.

Friends and family members of the students and music community were in for an exceptional treat as students who received distinctions or merits in their exams, were rewarded with the esteemed privilege of performing their piece in the recital; over 20 pieces were performed throughout the programme.

The hall was abuzz with excitement as students who sat the exams
eagerly awaited their turn to receive their official certificate from London.

Of particular note were the outstanding performances of the candidates currently enrolled in the Netherlands Model School Music Programme, which was implemented at the Boca Secondary School in November, 2014.

The four programme candidates who took the exams secured 100% Grade 1 distinctions with their five entries.

The highlight of the evening and much-anticipated climax were the
five GMTA trophies presented to students with the highest scores in piano, band instruments, string instruments, theory and overall best performance.

Godson Browne, teacher at the Boca Secondary School and in the Netherlands School Music Programme, snagged two of the top five awards. He received the Hurst Band Trophy for his winning performances on the snare drum and xylophone and also snagged the coveted Steele Plaque, for receiving highest overall score in the entire Caribbean during this year’s exams.

Shermella Lee with Two Trophies for Her Performance in Music Theory

Shermella Lee with Two Trophies for Her Performance in Music Theory

Klye Antoine, another candidate of the Netherlands Model School Music Programme and student of the Boca Secondary School, was awarded the
Branch Piano Trophy.

Keiron Daniel earned the Budhlall String Trophy for his proficiency on the Violin and Shermella Lee was awarded the Roberts Theory Trophy.
Managing Director of Netherlands Insurance,  Richard Strachan, sponsor of the Model School Music Programme, congratulated all the students who sat the exams and expressed his delight with the results from the Model Music Programme.

“Netherlands Insurance has always expressed its support and commitment to music and the arts. It was a natural choice for our company to support the Model Music Programme, when the opportunity arose”, he said.
‘It is also very heartening to see such excellent results arising from the programme in its first year of implementation. We are looking forward to seeing even greater results in the coming years” he added.

Music has been a CXC subject for over twenty years in Grenada with very few students taking and passing the exam.

The Netherlands Insurance Model School Music Programme seeks to educate students in the proper fundamentals of music to significantly increase the number of candidates sitting and passing the exams, and to develop our home-grown talents in this art form.