PWU agrees to sign pension restoration and reform MOU

The membership of the Public Workers Union (PWU) last week Friday agreed to sign on to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the issue of pension restoration and reform to ensure that they are not left out of the process.

Public officers during last week Friday’s special meeting at the PWU building at Tanteen, St. George

This decision was taken by a majority vote, during a special meeting convened by Union President Rachael Roberts, at the Public Workers Union (PWU) building to ensure that members understand exactly what is taking place on their behalf.

“Whatever the membership says, that is my mandate and I will abide by the mandate of the membership… we have written to the Government today (Tuesday) asking to sign (the Memorandum of Understanding on pension restoration and reform) on or before (Friday) March 5,” Roberts told THE NEW TODAY.

The MOU was signed on February 19 with government by the representatives of five other unions and staff organisations – Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT), Royal Grenada Police Force Gazetted Officers & Welfare Association, Her Majesty Prison Welfare Association, and the Grenada Technical Allied Workers Union (TAWU).

The agreement outlined a number of key principles on the way forward towards the realisation of pension restoration and reformation including a commitment to see the framework “approved by June 2018”.

However, the MOU indicated that the “start date of new schemes shall be based on availability of funds and will be subject to discussions with the unions and associations.”

THE NEW TODAY understands that after the March 13 general elections any government, whether it be the incumbent or newly installed one will be obligated to adhere to the principles set out in the MOU which states that pension will be afforded to persons who entered the public service on a definitive or permanent basis as of April 4, 1983.

However, the PWU President is taking issue with principle number 4 under Phase 1 of the MOU, which sets out the minimum pension rate for eligible officers at 70%, after the completion of 26.666 years.

Roberts pointed out that “the Unions (had) agreed that it (70%) would be a minimum, a base figure to start off negotiations”.

She explained that “normally, pension schemes around the world start with 75% as the minimum,” and that “one of the things that we have to endeavour to do is to move the base.

“These are just the principles so that when we move forward and we negotiate, we negotiate for better for our membership,” she added.

THE NEW TODAY has been reliably informed that some decisions of the PWU President do not reflect the views of its entire membership.

Although last week Friday’s meeting started on a good footing, it ended with many members walking out before its conclusion after voting to sign the MOU.

Some members described the move by the PWU President to not sign the MOU, as a “political gimmick,” while others expressed the view that the “70% (minimum) is still better than nothing” and others felt that Roberts could have “signed the agreement and negotiate for a better pension rate afterwards.”

The PWU president acknowledged that while the body does “have internal problems…we will fix our problems.”

She did not wish to elaborate further on the internal squabble among public officers on the issue.

Complain of negligence at the General Hospital

A female St. George resident believed to be in her 60’s has complained to THE NEW TODAY about the care given to her 85-year-old mother at the St. George’s General hospital.

The woman who walked into this newspaper and broke down in tears said that her mother went in without a scratch on her body but came out with severe bed sores.

She claimed that her mother went in without sores but after two days at the hospital as a result of a stroke, she developed a bed sore.

According to the lady, her mother was admitted in the hospital on January 17 and on January 19 when she visited her, she noticed that “she had plaster to her back”.

She said that she inquired from the nurses what was the matter and was told that “it was just a little sore – nothing to worry about”.

The woman spoke of asking the nurses on more than one occasion to show her the sore on her mother but was assured that everything was alright and she did not need to worry.

She indicated that the nurses did not heed the request on the grounds that the dressing was just done and because they do the dressing every three days, they would not be able to show it to her.

The lady said that her mother was discharged from the hospital on January 29 and when she took her home and began changing her clothes decided to remove the plaster and then she noticed a “massive hole in her back.”

She said: “So I called them (the hospital) and I said what happened, they said, ‘we’re sorry take her to the Medical station to get it dress”…

I said did the doctor know, they said ‘well we had a right to tell him but we’re very sorry’…they said they will call the Medical station in her parish (to treat the mother).”

The lady indicated that nurses visited the mother at home to attend to the sore but it has gotten worse.

She stated that a doctor came to attend to her mother on Tuesday and explained to her that the sore is almost “down to the bone” but her mother “keeps bawling with pain, morning, noon, and night and it’s hurting me every day (to see her in such agony)”.

“She was in the hospital, they could have done something and she went with her skin pretty, with no marks on it”, the daughter said with tears in her eyes.

The distressed daughter is calling on the General Public to be aware of the negligence that takes place at the country’s top health institution.

She said, it’s carelessness, you don’t treat people so. I mean 85 years – you don’t treat people like that. So, I would like the public to know what’s going on because it happened to me, it could happen to your family, it could happen to anybody else…”.

“…It’s very, very sad, it’s painful. It means that she will die with it…I know one day the Lord has to take her but not like that.”

McQueen slapped with Non-Capital Murder Charge

A 53-year-old Security Officer of Grand Anse Valley is facing an indictable charge of Non-Capital Murder after allegedly causing the December 30, 2017 death of 84-year-old Franklin St. Paul.

Michael Mc Queen

The charge against Michael Mc Queen arose out of an altercation that occurred on October 15, 2017, during which it is alleged that he assaulted St. Paul on his property at Greystones in Belmont, St. George.

McQueen was allegedly allowed to reside at the property owned by the businessman who is a brother of retired High Court Judge, Justice Lyle St. Paul.

THE NEW TODAY understand that Franklyn St. Paul sustained blunt force trauma to his forehead and face after being struck and was admitted at the St. George’s General Hospital.

Initially, the police slapped a charge of wounding on Mc Queen but it has since been upgraded following the death of his victim.

It is also understood that the elderly man was treated at the hospital and discharged.

St. Paul was discharged and subsequently readmitted to the hospital where he died days later as a result of the severe head injuries sustained.

His death led to a full investigation into the October 15 incident at Greystones, which resulted in Mc Queen being re-arrested and charged on Monday with Non-Capital murder.

Represented by Attorney-at-Law, Sherrine Francis-Hackett, the murder accused appeared before Chief Magistrate, Her Honour Tamara Gill on Tuesday where the indictable charge was read out to him.

The Prosecution team is led by Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Christopher Nelson, QC.

The Magistrate’s Court is not permitted to grant bail for murder charges but McQueen’s attorney can apply for bail at the level of the High Court.

The accused has been remanded to the Richmond Hill Prison until his next court appearance on March 19.

Peter – the power seeker

I’m hearing that Peter David goes many mornings to Mt. Royal to be with Keith Mitchell.

I can imagine how giddy Peter David feels to be so near to grasping power. Or is he so near? Perhaps he is worried by the fact that the NDC seemed to bring a bigger crowd to their St. David’s rally than NNP managed to attract to their youth rally in Tempe where they spent some of the dollars given to them by, who? Venezuela again? on bringing to Grenada a Jamaican singer called Romaine Virgo.

So here was real freeness intended to seduce the masses of youthful Grenadians (most Grenadians are actually under the age of 18) plus the supporters were bussed or trucked in for free.

By contrast, everyone attending the St. David’s NDC rally came under their own steam, on foot or by bus, paid.

There was no Jamaican artiste yet the crowd was enormous!

This must have been a huge shock to Mitchell and his NNP. Maybe that accounts for the uneasy quiet that lies over the island in this pre-election period.

And when these two meet at 6.00 a.m, sometimes with Chester Humphrey in attendance as well, I wonder if they ever remember that under the PRG that Mt. Royal was largely used as a torture chamber.

Can David and Mitchell still hear the screams of those stripped naked and tied to a chair whilst electric wands were applied to their genitals? Do these screams still echo in what is now the official residence of the Prime Minister?

Mitchell may be unaware of it, but surely Captain Peter David would have known that Mt. Royal was a place used for torture of those who had voiced their opposition to the PRG?

And certainly, the Moscow-trained Chester Hunphrey must have known. After all David appears to have been involved in torture himself, judging from what we hear about his treatment of Dr. Japal.

I read on a local newspaper what Eammon DeFrietas said about Peter David when he picked him up one early morning. Eammon is a lawyer just like Peter and Peter has not denied what his colleague said about him.

And it is entirely possible that Bishop, dwelling in Mt. Wheldale which directly overlooks Mt. Royal, could have heard those screams from his residence. Perhaps that is why so many victims of torture have testified that Bishop was present because although blindfolded they recognised his very recognisable voice.

It’s easy to slip down to Mt. Royal from the back of Mt. Wheldale. Also, perhaps that is why his wife Angela Bishop nee Redhead took his two children and left for Canada.

Former PRA Lieutenant

NNP – a party in crisis

With only a few weeks remaining before the general elections, the New National Party finds itself in an identity crisis. It is a case of the party not knowing itself anymore.

Consider this! Old stalwarts like former General Secretary Joslyn Whiteman and former PRO Terry Forrester have been sufficiently alienated to be now running independently and challenging the NNP candidates in St. David and St. George.

Consider this also: Keith Mitchell’s closest advisers are no longer the likes of Danny Williams and Roland Bhola. These pillars of the party have been replaced by the power hungry communistic Peter David and his atheistic handler, Chester Humphrey.

The reality is that a coup is well and truly afoot within the NNP. Old stalwarts who worked in the trenches to build the party have been pushed aside making room for political rejects and opportunists who failed in their bid to grab power in the National Democratic Congress.

Young and talented individuals like Kennedy Roberts, Devon Rachae and Dwight Horsford have either been forced to reconnect with old political friends or to pull away and remain quiet.

Hamlet Mark, an individual who is close to Peter David and regarded by many as a mercenary journalist, is directing the NNP’s election propaganda.

All of the above makes the question of succession within NNP a very worrying one. Is Keith Mitchell going to hand over the party to this group of hijackers who have a history of undermining and mashing up? Is Keith Mitchell really going to hand over the stewardship of Grenada to unstable elements like Peter David and Chester Humphrey?

This is the kind of thing that must have the business community and Civil Society trembling in their boots.
And how does heir apparent Gregory Bowen feel about this? Or Tony Boatswain? Or Clarice Modeste? And what kind of agony Nimrod must be feeling in his retirement as he watches the situation unfold?

This whole scenario paints a frightening picture of chaos and instability within the NNP as Peter David and his group press forward with their plan to seize power within the NNP using the cover of Project Grenada.

Is this the legacy that Mitchell wants for Grenada?

The time has come for NNP stalwarts and foot soldiers to stand up and save the party from the fast approaching chaos.

The New National Party is facing nothing less than the threat of the loss of its identity and Grenada can hardly afford to be once again plunged into the trauma of a civil war within a political party.

It is now time for the NNP resistance! Come on Clarice Modeste. Come on Yolande Bain-Horsford. Mobilise the NNP women and save the party from the loss of its soul. The alternative will be so ugly and bad and that it will make what these guys did in NDC look like a joke.

In the final analysis blame for the current crisis within the NNP could be laid at the foot of its aging party leader who like the dictator, Robert Mugabe, did no succession planning.

The existing scenario is one that should concern not only NNP stalwarts, but indeed all who will be voting on March 13th.

Supporters of the NNP who reside in the Town of St. George should carefully consider how or if they vote.

They might serve their party and Grenada better by spending March 13th relaxing on any of our beautiful beaches instead of staining their fingers for Peter David and his parasitic friends.

True Revolutionary

Vote him out!!!

Dear Dr. Keith,

I must first congratulate you on your exceptional dance moves. Your dance moves are a clear indication of physical fitness and commendable rhythm. And word has it, that your dance moves are labeled as the highlight of the NNP rallies. What an accomplishment! When one who is conscious-minded would expect real issues to take center stage. Wishful thinking!

In the 2018 Independence Rally which I am convinced was more of a watered-down version of an NNP rally, I listened as Dr. Curwen stood with pride and elation to introduce you to the audience. She shared that your accomplishments Sir, are second to none. I was in awe. I immediately began to mentally question what accomplishments was she speaking off. And then it came to me.

You have accomplished a legacy of manipulation. You Sir, continue to manipulate your supporters that you are the best man for the job of Prime Minister of Grenada. You have been in the capacity of Prime Minister for close to 18 years and yet your thirst for another term has me baffled. This is not a dictatorship, this is a democratic country where change in government should be encouraged and favoured.

You have accomplished a country where some young people (only those you know support you) are comfortable with sitting at home, doing nothing and receiving a monthly stipend from taxpayers’ purses. This by far is a disgrace. As a young person myself, I want to know the ethics of hard work. I want to experience the feeling of empowerment.

You Sir, have cornered those young people into thinking that no work equals pay because they support you. Do you believe that you will always be in power? What happens to them when you are voted out of office?

You have accomplished a debt that generations of Grenadian adults may never be able to repay. Surprisingly though, I cannot pinpoint one thing you have done with the monies you borrow. Dr. Keith, you were called upon to update the nation on the national debt figure. You are yet to do that. Rather, with a dictator’s tone, you said that the national debt is not important but the country’s willingness to repay its debt is.

If I credit a television from Courts, are you saying that the final Hire Purchase price is not pertinent to me? Because I have a job which means I have the ability to pay, that that is the only thing that matters? I beg to differ. You are a Statistician and the Minister of Finance, the national debt figure should be at the tip of your tongue. Is Grenada once again in boiling waters because of its inability to pay its arrears?
So, Sir, what should we make of this new development? Looks like you do not know what the debt figure is neither are you financing it.

You have accomplished a country of hopelessness. Imagine being a citizen of a country and you cannot progress from Point A to B because you either do not support the government or you are not politically affiliated. Ponder on that for a second Dr. Keith. For many Grenadians, this is their story.

A microscopic assessment of the RGPF is testimony to that. Police officers who are qualified for promotions based on their outstanding performances and commitment to the RGPF but are not NNP loyalists are ignored when promotion come up. You know that they should be promoted but stifle them because you are not certain that they support you or not. This happened to a family member of mine. He was told that “your name went up but the bigger boys weren’t sure if you supporting the PM boy.”

Sir, you should remember that nationality being Grenadian takes precedence over political affiliation.

Promotion and other opportunities should be merit-based and not politically connected! You are not a man for the people or of the people or else you will not see colour when it comes to the advancement of Grenadians.

You have accomplished a country where passports are selling like hot bread and butter. Among all the despicable things you have done Sir, this is by far the most unpatriotic. What qualifies you to sell Grenadian passports to foreign nationals on the premise of investment?

I understand that Grenada is a developing country which exposes us to economic struggles and the Citizen by Investment Program may be one of the tools you perceive can help curb the struggles we face here. However, I am yet to hear of any developmental programs and projects that you have implemented using funds from the sale of passports. Where is the money? What have you done with it thus far?

If I was in your shoes, I would use the time I have left in office to at least do something worthy of true praise. Improve the health care sector in Grenada. The average Jane and John Doe do not have “St. Augustine’s money” to use when they fall sick. We do not have your millions. And so, we need you to use some of this CBI money to enhance the health care in this country.

The General Hospital is quickly becoming a hospice and that is frightening. Moreover, no one is being held accountable when fatal errors are made there. Then again, I have to remember that I am speaking of the NNP government. When does anyone in this government take responsibility for their wrongdoings? Never!

Sir, I can recall when the briefcase issue unfolded, I was in secondary school at the time, I struggled to come to grips with this bold statement you made, “it’s me damn money, ah only sorry I didn’t get more.” You fearlessly echoed those words to the nation. You did not own up to your wrongdoing and that is a shame. It is hard to fathom the words that fall from your lips.

In an interview with your friendly network, you said if you were the NDC you would raise the white flag now. This was a cowardly statement. Clearly, you have accepted the fact that this election is competitive, things are not going to go down as they did in 2013. You really believe that Grenada is a one-party state and that all the people should be for you. Hence you are comfortable making derogatory remarks about supporters of the NDC. People have a choice here. And there are people like myself who will never support you because you are not a Prime Minister for all the people.

Dr. Keith, you have not done this country proud. On March 13th, I can only hope that the electorate demonstrate with their votes that your dictator style government will not work for Grenada. Your ideologies do not contribute to the development of Grenada. We demand change because if we continue on this path, an ocean floor of problems will surface. If we standstill and watch as you and only your people move up the ladder, then the equality and fairness that our ancestors fought for is futile.

You seem to like dancing so much, I think you will make an excellent dance teacher. When you are voted out of office, that should be an exciting career path for you because you can’t sit down.

The Graduate

2017 Panorama – Opportunities For Learning

The events of Saturday evening on 12th August, 2017 at the National Stadium, were unfortunate to put it mildly, but possibly inevitable. There is no greater motivation to rise than a view from the bottom, the absolute bottom. We have sadly, I propose, arrived there.

The details of which person(s) did or did not do what will be revealed in due course by others qualified so to discover. This commentary’s focus is to expand the discussion. What is the value of music to us – as a people, as a culture, as a nation?

Let me declare my hand up front. I am a rusty, classically trained musician, church choir member and a world music collector. These facts are the reason I feel compelled to address this topic.

Music is and does many things. In societies like ours where comprehensive formal records don’t exist, it tells our history. Creative efforts engage parts of the brain often under-used. Creativity is unlimited in its application. Its deployment in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) could transform our economy and nation.

The music industry itself, once developed, yields careers for many singers, dancers, musicians, producers, song writer, theatre practitioners to name but a few.

However, in order to get to that destination, we have to start with valuing our culture, of which music is a part.

Our devaluation of this artform, I believe is the reason we arrived at the panorama that never happened.

Steel pan or ’pan’ is the only musical instrument invented in the 20th Century by people in our own geographic region. Panorama is its greatest national stage. Compositions are normally produced and arranged locally and played by multiple generations in many pan houses.

Panorama should be a highlight of carnival at its premiere venue, not a sideshow to a weekend of parties. We, the citizens of Grenada, demand it. We must say so vociferously and consistently now and forever, so all will hear and eventually act. These include the organisers of carnival – SpiceMas Corporation Inc., the industry collective – Steelband Association, the policy makers – our politicians, the facilitators – Government departments and staff, the entrepreneurs – party promoters and associates.

Only when our nation elevates the role of music in our society will the travesty of the promised Panorama 2017 be prevented. ‘Pan is we culture!’ We must strive to keep it a part. Our society shall be much poorer without it and carnival’s true significance will fade into oblivion.

As a post script, once we address the last panorama’s issues in Grenada, dare I hope for a panorama in Carriacou carnival sometime soon?

M. Johanna Tamar

High unemployment and economic mismanagement

Many will acknowledge that unemployment is and remains the Caribbean’s number one socio-economic challenge. Grenada is no exception. The problem is intractable, pervasive and so important that Dr. Mitchell has OVER THE PAST NINE YEARS, embraced it as his “Political punching bag” owned by the NDC.

Many leaders particularly in the developed world, due to inadequate statistical departments and a paucity of good data, have misrepresented their unemployment rates for political advantage. This has led to a reliance on regional institutions and organisations like Central Banks, regional banks, the IMF and the World Bank by many for trusted information. They are seen as trusted and reliable sources of data particularly on growth rates and unemployment.

So, leaders and countries cannot lie when it really counts. They can’t lie to regional and international institutions if they intend to borrow money for example. They may lie to local constituents but they cannot lie when dealing with regional and international institutions. These institutions also understand and track these rates.

The situation becomes more acute when countries find themselves in financial trouble, like Grenada did, with too much debt, high fiscal deficits and low or no growth and cannot pay their bills due to bad behaviour and ill-discipline.

During the period 2008 to 2013, the official unemployment rate in Grenada, based on statistical information was 32%. Despite this Dr. Mitchell repeatedly choose on every occasion to tell the country that it was 50%.

This was his mantra for the 2013 elections. Many of his minions also repeated that inaccuracy with blinded enthusiasm.

Very instructively, immediately after the elections, the unemployment figure suddenly dropped to 40% according to Dr Mitchell. This is without the government having no time to proverbially find its feet.

Then, came a shocker! In a letter dated 25 June 2014 with the accompanying memorandum of economic and financial policies, he stated that in September 2013 Grenada’s unemployment was 33 and a half percent. WOW! Check the IMF website for verification. Incriminating evidence!

So, who is lying? He is telling the truth for International organisations and damn lies for the gullible Grenadians who apparently do not read. Since then, he has reverted to telling Grenadians that unemployment was over 40% before NNP and claiming it is now 29% as a result of shady counting of Imanis as employees.

In fact, for the first time the 2018 budget statement says unemployment was over 40%. Budget statements are written with precise figures. It should state what the rate is and not the political games of saying over 40%. Oh! what games the NNP plays! So any young student doing research on Grenada’s unemployment, cannot be helped by the government’s budget document 2018.

In the said letter of intent, Dr Mitchell stated that “The Grenadian economy has faced unprecedented challenges over the past decade. In addition to the long-standing problems of low growth and high unemployment, the country has faced its largest natural disaster and the most prolonged recession since independence. This in turn exacerbated its already weak fiscal position, despite our attempts to strengthen it in the context of the previous two IMF-supported programmes. These challenges have been feeding each other in a vicious circle, coming to a head in 2012-13 in a full-blown fiscal crisis.”

According to the Inter American Development Bank, small economies in the Caribbean were the hardest hit by the global financial crisis from 2008. So here is the truth! A truth that has nothing to do with the blame of mismanagement of the economy heaped on the NDC that Dr Mitchell, who has been telling this to his minions and his “Ah eating food” cabal.

The world economy has enjoyed modest recovery from the worst recession since the 1930s. Under strict IMF monitoring, some gains were made. There is some construction and some jobs but more noise than jobs. Too much noise, and little truth.

The fact is that the regional projection of 2% growth for 2018 is suspect and there would not be milk and honey flowing as the NNP want Grenadians to believe. The call for hundreds of young people to line up for the opening of Silver Sands Hotel in March this year was just another wicked lie inflicted on our nation’s young people.

Every rational thinking person would have seen that the hotel would not be ready. By a far shot it may be ready for November/ December.

And the deception continues. So too is high unemployment. Our young voters will have to decide on whether they continue to be deceived like docile sheep going to the slaughter house. Or, whether they will stand proud and choose positive change to bring decent, transparent and respectful leadership and governance to our dear Grenada.

The Watchman

Why March 13?

Never has the government of Grenada named March 13 as a significant and memorable day and public holiday. The events that took place on that day, 39 years ago in 1979 are still not part of the educational curriculum, much less mainstream political debates and discussions on the island. Therefore, the current Prime Minister’s decision to name March 13, 2018 as the next general election date leaves one questioning his intent.

There is currently an emptiness, a historical and collective memory void around March 13. It’s not named as a day of significance unlike October 25, the day our island was invaded by US troops and oddly celebrated as Thanksgiving Day.

Considering that March 13 was never deemed significant enough to be named yet the actions that took place on March 13, 1979 reverberate across the Caribbean region and global progressive world. What memories are the Prime Minister and his government trying to erase or replace that void with?

Former Prime Minister Ben Jones of The National Party (TNP) declared March 13, 1990 as the date for the general elections that year. That electoral process saw the National Democratic Congress claiming victory when it won 7 of the 15 seats with a voter turnout of 68.4%.

I hope that our current Prime Minister is not reducing the significance of selecting March 13, 2018 as a way to “get back” at that devastating loss for The National Party.

This exercise of attaching the general elections to the Revolution anniversary without ever formally naming it as such reeks of a historical revisionist project where the historical record of what happened on that day is being reinterpreted to fit another agenda.

If the government in power had policies, programs and even a political ideological stance that reflected the progressive goals of the New Jewel Movement and People’s Revolutionary Government, then this move would not have been so odd. However, the current government continues to prove that profit, privatisation and political maneuvering outweigh the need for accessible, affordable and high-quality education, healthcare, food, land and housing.

One of my concerns is that the results of the 2018 general elections will erase and revise a significant part of Grenadian history that was never commemorated in the first place. A dangerous and irresponsible move by the government and one that seems to imply that the people’s best interests were not considered as the government has failed time and time again to even educate the people about that period of history.

How is it that as a child raised and schooled on the island until I was 18, I never formally learned of the revolution until I began my undergraduate studies at a university in Canada? The shame that I felt for not knowing was real and valid but I also felt such a betrayal by the education system that nurtured my learning for all of those years. How could students in Jamaica be learning about significant parts of my history when I was not?

Attempts by Grenadians such as Dr. Nicole Phillip-Dowe of the University of the West Indies, Open Campus – Grenada to lobby the Ministry of Education to review the curriculum and include books and articles on the Grenada Revolution continue to fall on deaf ears. Young and older Grenadians are writing and engaging in numerous creative works that tell complex, different and memorable stories of those Revolutionary years and their ongoing impact; yet our own government and leaders refuse to acknowledge those works and their significance.

This political exercise feels to be part of a historical revisionist project that sells this idea that Grenadians never engaged in collective liberation work. Despite one’s views about the Revolution, it is our duty to tell our own stories, to hold the pen that illustrates our contributions to global liberation struggles.

It is irresponsible that the only time the government chooses to put March 13 in any spotlight is when a general election that has become more of a pappyshow and about fetes is taking place and less about a transparent democratic process of the citizenry exercising their civil and political rights.

March 13 is not about which political party wins victorious. March 13 belongs to the people, to the historical and collective memory of the Grenadian populace. It belongs to those who risked their lives for freedom and liberation. That day and others such as November 18 (Bloody Sunday) and January 21 (Bloody Monday) which should be integrated into the teaching of Grenada’s road towards independence.

Indeed, days such as October 25 should be a public holiday but that day should also be renamed to remember Grenadian revolutionaries and our allies who we lost on that day. March 13 should first be named as the liberatory and revolutionary day that it is.

Perhaps this is an opportune time for the Grenadian people to take to the polls and remind the political parties vying for leadership that unless your political platform addresses the material, political, social and cultural needs and sovereignty of the working class and marginalised in our communities, then you can head back to the drawing board.

Onward to March 13.

Truth Seeker

CID remains committed to ridding the nation of child sexual abuse

Highlights of last week Friday’s demonstration against child sexual abuse

As part of continued efforts to raise awareness on the issue of child sexual abuse, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF), together with the Ministry of Social Development, schools within St. George and representatives from the Child Protection Authority (CPA), engaged in a demonstration from Tanteen to the National Cricket Stadium last week Friday, calling for an end to child sexual abuse and encouraging victims to report cases.

The marchers were addressed by Deputy Inspector of Police, Terrence Mason who had a warning to child molesters.

“Molesters we want to let you know the statute of limitation is zero when it comes to sex offences and (at) the CID, we pledge, will hunt you down, find you and will bring you to justice,” he said.

The RGPF has confirmed that the vast majority of child sexual abuse takes place within the home and family circle, presenting a huge challenge for police investigators.

Speaking at a brief ceremony at the Tanteen Netball Court, the Deputy Inspector said, the focus now must be to bring perpetrators to justice and assist victims in dealing with the after effects of mental trauma, et cetera.

“Putting a perpetrator in jail, just to prevent him from committing further crimes does absolutely nothing for victims of such crimes. We plead (to) our nation’s citizens to not condone such acts,” he declared.

The police officer stressed that while “the CID would not remain as mere spectators while you (children) are victimised…the duty to protect our nation’s children is not just merely with the police.”

He warned that when persons are aware of these outrageous acts against children and remain silent about it, “your silence makes you as despicable, as the perpetrators of those crimes.”

According to statistics from the Child Protection Authority (CPA), in 2017, there were a total of 118 reported cases of child sexual abuse.

Child Protection Officer at the Child Protection Authority (CPA), Anderson Richardson said, these statistics are quite worrying and exhorted victims to continue to speak out.

“We had 118 cases last year; 118 cases is too much,” he said.

However, this figure is said to be much higher as the RGPF indicated that between January and June 2017, more than 150 cases had been reported.

Last month, Social Development Minister, Delma Thomas, met with the Commissioner of Police to discuss the way forward in setting up a specialised unit with specially trained personnel to deal with victims of sexual abuse.

In providing an update on the discussions, Minister Thomas told the gathering that “we do have trained officers already”.

“We will also set up a hotline and at present, the Legal Affairs department is looking at the offender’s registry”, she said.

In recent years, sex crimes have dominated the Criminal Assizes, with a total of 55 cases down for adjudication in the ongoing Assizes.