Drag racing at Pearl’s

The Pearl’s airstrip in St. Andrew’s was abuzz last weekend with two days of Drag Racing.
The Grenada Motor Club (GMC) welcomed thirty-three (33) race teams from Trinidad & Tobago, Antigua, Anguilla, Barbados and Grenada, for two days of racing.

Selection of cars at GMC 2016 Drags

Selection of cars at GMC 2016 Drags

Numerous race events were held on Saturday with final races held on the concluding day, Sunday to determine the top placing cars in the seven (7) speed categories.

“Races at the GMC Drags Competitions are open to street cars as well as custom built cars once they meet the stipulated safety requirements.

Race categories start at the 17 second bracket decreasing in time to the seven (7) second bracket.

Each car is required to race for a quarter mile, at their best speeds in the hope of capturing top places in their respective race classes.

The fastest cars at this event originated from Trinidad and Tobago, however, local racer Champ Maitland was an excellent contender from Grenada for placing in the nine (9) second category.

At the close of the day’s racing, the twenty five (25) foot custom-built Lumar Rail Car from Trinidad, driven by Rishi Kanick, had the best overall time of 8.1 seconds in the open class category, followed closely by ‘Royal Purple’, a Nissan Laurel driven by Trinidadian Gordon Rooks, with a time of 8.6 seconds.

Wazeer Khan, of team ‘Boost Factory’, Trinidad placed first in the 9 second category and Ajmal Mustapha driver of ‘Green Express’ placed second, Joshua Lewis from Grenada had best time in the 10 second category followed by Christian Tam from Trinidad.

In the 11 second bracket, Teerath Deosingh from Trinidad placed first followed by Renee “Buttaz” Edwards AKA Lady Horse Power from Antigua, while Cedric Johnson from Trinidad and Fabian Charles from Grenada captured first and second places respectively in the 12 second category.

Llewellyn Duncan and Denison Samuel both from Grenada took the top places in the 13–17 second class.

Kelvin Daniel of Barbados secured first place in the motor bike shootout and Kurlan Baptiste from Grenada placed second.

The final day of the event on Sunday was attended by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, Minister for Implementation, Alexandra Otway-Noel, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Grenada Tourism Authority (GBA), Richard Strachan.

According to GMC, Public Relations Officer, Ian DaBreo, the organisers were more than delighted with the execution of the event at the Pearl’s airstrip.

“We were pleased with the participation from both the local and regional racers as well as the support received from the public which contributed to the overall success of the event”, he said.

“GMC will continue to improve on the additions made at this event and are aiming to attract even more racers to Grenada for future events” he added.

DaBreo expressed special thanks to the list of sponsors including Title Sponsor Stag, as well as Steele’s Auto Supplies, Monster Energy Drink, Waggy T Rental & Sound Co, MTV, Timbers Restaurant, Prickly Bay Marina,  St. Augustine’s Medical Services, AllyDay Creative Projects, Grenada Bottling Ltd, Duty Free Caribbean and NG Electrical.

The GMC announced its plans for its second 2016 International Drags event which will be held in October 2016.

PRIVY COUNCIL STRETCHED, AFTER LORD NEUBERGER

By Dr. Francis Alexis

That the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom Privy Council (UKPC) over Caribbean countries should be abolished has long been advocated; by some Caribbeaners, like myself, and by some others; on several grounds.

The costs of appealing to UKPC are prohibitively beyond the reach of some ninety-five percent of Caribbeaners, denying them access to final appellate justice.  Also, as UKPC judges repeatedly say, they are far away from the Caribbean and so not familiar with Caribbean realities, unlike Caribbean judges. So, UKPC prevalence stunts the development of an authentic Caribbean jurisprudence.

Abolishing UKPC appeals promotes mental emancipation, enhances Caribbean dignity, and completes independence.

Such points stand erect when one is faced with what was said earlier this week by the President of the UKPC, Lord Neuberger, as Antigua & Barbuda hits the road to its Referendum on whether it should delink from UKPC and sign on to the Caribbean Court of Justice Appellate Jurisdiction (CCJ).

Neuberger indicated UKPC would be sorry to see Antigua & Barbuda go.

When the Jamaican Parliament passed three Acts to quit UKPC and join CCJ, UKPC, in 2005, struck them down for not having been passed in accordance with the procedure fit for altering entrenched provisions of the Constitution.

UKPC would not say what was that procedure. UKPC asked the lawyers for written submissions on the matter, but, having gotten these, UKPC still would not say. Instead, amazingly anticipating speculatively that sometime in the future governmental misbehaviour in Jamaica might result in the CCJ Agreement being violated, UKPC preserved its jurisdiction over Jamaica.

In that judgment, long criticised as being one in which UKPC went slipping and sliding out of orthodox principles, UKPC said it had no interest of its own to serve. No one had at the time so accused UKPC.

Later that year, though, for the first time, UKPC sat outside of London; going to The Bahamas, and holding court there; repeating the trip later. From Nassau, UKPC made a pitch to be allowed to stay in the Caribbean. That pitch, Neuberger, from London, renewed this week.

Implicitly acknowledging that the costs of UKPC appeals make such appeals a wild dream for most Caribbeaners, Neuberger said that UKPC would be looking to reduce those costs. Of course, even if that promise were to be kept, those costs might, in short time, be again restored to their historically prohibitive heights.

After all, Neuberger’s predecessor in 2009, Lord Phillips, complained that Caribbean cases were taking up a disproportionate amount of UKPC time, and called upon Caribbean countries to get their own final appellate court.

So, postures in some quarters of UKPC keep changing, as to how soon Caribbean countries should quit imperial premises, and also as to what Caribbean constitutional law should be. Such inconstancy imposed imperiously from outside does not promote development, it causes bewilderment.

Neuberger told Antiguans that UKPC is an itinerant court. The itinerancy of UKPC began and ended with the few trips UKPC made to The Bahamas in the circumstances set out above.

And, Sir David Simmons notes, those trips had to be paid for by The Bahamas. The Bahamas not chalking up money for further tropical forays, UKPC abandoned itinerancy as quickly as it embarked upon same.

Here, too, then, there is that inconstancy on the part of UKPC towards the Caribbean.

It is CCJ that is an itinerant court. Since its launching in 2005, CCJ, though seated in Trinidad @ Tobago, has gone to several countries: Barbados 2012 and 2013, Belize 2015, Guyana 2014 and Jamaica 2013.

Neuberger promised a pilot video link project between UKPC and the Caribbean. All these centuries, UKPC never provided training to talk about for Caribbean judges, nor equipment for Caribbean courts. By contrast, in the ten years CCJ has been around, CCJ has been doing all this, seeing to the installing of video link equipment in several courts.

Nor may one forget that inconstancy, which characterises UKPC, approaches to the Caribbean, seen above.

So there has been that slipping and sliding that went on in UKPC when UKPC struck down those three Jamaican Acts passed to move Jamaica out of UKPC and into CCJ.

To that must now be added the idea of Neuberger dangling before the Antiguans those promises just when the Antiguans are about to set out on the road to their Referendum. That Lord Neuberger made the presentation he did, at the relevant time, is surely something to ponder.

Moreover, what, if the Antiguans pass an Act to substitute CCJ for UKPC, and its validity is challenged all the way to UKPC? Might it be that, in such a case, some UKPC judges would consider recusing themselves? Can there be a convincing explanation of the kind called for by Sir David Simmons regarding the seemingly irreconcilable divide between Lords Phillip and Neuberger? On such matters, UKPC would be stretched, after Neuberger.

(Dr. Francis Alexis is a former Attorney-General of Grenada, and head of a government-appointed committee seeking to abolish appeals to the British Privy Council and to make the CCJ the final appellate court on the island)

SAASS and AHS are the Intercol 2016 Champions

It was a keen battle between the 18 secondary schools at the 51st Scotia Bank Inter-Collegiate games, in which the Anglican High School (AHS) retained their title in the Girl’s division.

It was the 18th overall victory for the school from Tanteen against their other female rivals in the competition held at the National Athletics and Football Stadium at Queen’s Park.

Athletes of Anglican High School receives Champion Trophy from Scotia Bank official

Athletes of Anglican High School receives Champion Trophy from Scotia Bank official

In the boy’s category, the St Andrew Anglican Secondary School (SAASS) took away the trophy from last year’s winner, the Grenada Boys Secondary School (GBSS) with a mere eight point separating the two fierce competitors.

AHS was already leading the girls category at the end of day one of the competition some 39 point ahead of its nearest rival, St Joseph’s Convent, St Andrew while SAASS was leading in the boys division with an 11 point difference from GBSS.

On Day two, the battle was between the SAASS and the GBSS as the point standings for the lead continued to change hands among them.

However, when the final race was held, the boy’s 4 x 400 metres relay that was won by SAASS, the school from St. Andrew’s emerged with 369 points while GBSS ended with 361 points.

The Anglican High school captured the title of girls champion with 344.50 points, leaving SJC St Andrew at second place with 282.50 points.

There was intense competition from the schools on the Sister Isle as the Hillsborough Secondary School took third place in the girl’s division with 243 points and Bishop’s College also followed in third place in the boys division with 192 points.

Presentation Brothers College took 4th position with 145 points and fifth was Westerhall Secondary School (114 points).

SAASS in photo op after receiving Champion Trophy

SAASS in photo op after receiving Champion Trophy

In the girl’s division,  St David’s Catholic Secondary School (SDCSS) occupied the 4th place on 204 points and fifth was Mac Donald College.

Divisional champions for the games saw Kina Thomas of Bishop’s College taking Prep champion in the girls division with 36 points while Thaje Grant from Presentation Brothers College (PBC) has been named divisional champion in the boys division.

Female Sub-Junior Champion is Holly Charles from McDonald College who amassed a total of 36 points while male Sub-Junior champion was attained by GBSS’ Trent Simon (32 points).
Female Junior Champions is Reanna Joseph of Bishop’s College who amassed 29 points and Male Junior Champ was Adrian Thomas of Bishop’s College with 36 points.

Senior female champ is Olive Charles of SAASS with 42 points and Senior Mals Champ is Daren Modoo also of SAASS who finished the games with 48 points.

The historic visit and the embargo

For well over fifty years the American embargo was place on Cuba by the US. This action has brought tremendous hardship on the Cuban people.

I think that President Obama has made history and most definitely rescued himself and his political carrier of two terms in office, and more so the expectation of Latin America, Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean for this historic visit to Cuba.

What should follow the visit is the lifting of the embargo against Cuba. The US embargo has been considered a failed policy. It is almost ninety years since the last US President visited Cuba.

Every year when the embargo comes up for a vote in the UN, it’s always supported only by Israel and the United States – a trend that stands in the way of lifting the embargo.

Although Cuba is extending the olive branch to their old ideological enemy, they are somewhat very apprehensive when it comes to letting go of its old Soviet style government policies as its people were deeply convinced that communism was the solution for imperialism as the better system.

Today what we are seeing is Cuba as one of the last cold war countries to still salvage a little national pride in the eyes of its people.

Cuba was forcefully abandoned and left in the cold in 1991 with the fall and disintegration of the Soviet Union.  Cuba had to improvise after losing its economic lifeblood with a six billion dollars annual trade by the Soviet Union this bringing untold hardship to bear on the Cuban people.

President Obama did not only go to Cuba alone but he travelled along with lots of CEOs and NGOs to take a deep look at developing trade and commerce and the tourism sector.

Tourism in Cuba has increased by 60% sixty percent only from last year.  It is said that Cuba will receive 110 flights per day. What does that spell for the rest of the Caribbean Islands as tourist destinations?

Already Jamaica and the Bahamas made their positions very clear as to the US initiatives there and how much it can negatively affect those two major American tourist destinations.

There is also a great paradox within the Cuban population that while they are conducive to moving from a planned economy to a free market economy that most of them are fearful that their country will be bought out by the Cuban exiles that spend years in the US with a lot more money than what the local Cubans have.

This fear can put them in a very disadvantageous social position.

However, the other advantage they have is that Cuba is one of the few countries in the world to have a 100 % literacy rate.

As such, the socio-economic development can be instant as it relates to the country’s academic readiness.

Notwithstanding, Cuba has one of the world’s best health systems.

There is only one major disadvantaged facing the Cubans and that is – they are located in the hurricane belt, which could be very hectic for insurance companies.

My friends, let us make no mistake that the real reason that the US is so determined to continue to want to be seen as a major player in Cuba in my opinion is pure geopolitical ambitions.

Let us not forget that is was just last year when the Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Cuba he wiped off an old Soviet debt of thirty billion dollars US.

Added to that there is somewhat the start of a new arms race between the US and the Russian Federation prompting the West with great urgency after they were able to take a hard and serious look at the type of military hardware and cutting edge weapon that was displayed in Syria by Russia.

So anyone who wants to believe that the US is going back to Cuba to buy up all of the old American cars they better think again.

Kennedy Jawahir

Bike Fest Set for Easter Weekend!

The Easter weekend will be packed with many fun-filled activities, and notably, Grenada will see an influx of visitors for the 2016 Annual Easter Bike Festival, which will be held over the long weekend, from March 25th to 28th.

BIkes on Display at Port HIghway Bike Fest 2015The Grenada Bikers Association (GBA) anticipates over 230 bikes will participate in the festival. These numbers include visiting bikers from Tobago, Dominica, St. Lucia and St. Vincent in addition to a score of Grenadian bike riders and enthusiasts.

The weekend’s festivities will commence with a welcome party on Thursday 24th March at the Grenada Yacht Club, followed by a scenic tour and group social on Friday 25th; and the Annual Bike Exhibition at Port Highway on Saturday 25th; culminating with a coordinated island-wide bike ride on Monday 28th March.

St. Augustine’s Medical Services (SAMS) has once again partnered with the GBA as a sponsor of the event.

Dr. Lutz Amechi, Resident Physician at SAMS and a bike enthusiast himself, has lent his support towards the GBA and the event for many years.

“As a motor bike rider myself, I am excited that the Grenada Bikers Association is able to plan and successfully execute this Bike Fest each year. This is a niche tourism product which attracts visitors to our island and builds camaraderie amongst the various biking clubs in Grenada and the region.

“I applaud the efforts of the GBA in organising this social event and their proactivity in ensuring an ambulance and medical personnel are present for the motorcade. I encourage the riders to observe all safety procedures for a safe and incident free weekend”.

On Monday 28th, the streets will come alive with an array of colours as over 450 bikers and supporters will gather on Port Highway for the start of the island motorcade – the climax of the weekend’s activities.

Save Camerhogne Park, save the Rex Grenadian

As a citizen of Grenada, I am concerned about a trend currently taking shape in our country. Our island has a long and rich history of preserving our heritage and wildlife, but our government is beginning to abandon this principle.

Plans to overtake Camerhogne Park, for the development of the Riviera Hotel came as a shock to those of us in the community who value protecting sacred public spaces, indigenous and historic sites from urban takeover.

More than 4,500 Grenadians recently came together to petition this attack on one of our most precious sites that we – especially our youth use so often, and I was proud to be a part of this effort.

Now, we learn that the government plans to take The Rex Grenadian resort through the Land Acquisition Act. Minister of Health, Nicholas Steele, announced the government’s plans to take over The Rex under the claim that the hotel is “not serving the public at its best.”

I recall Mr. Steele saying something in his usual arrogant style which when researched left much to be desired of him. That has convinced me that he is rightfully placed with this political grouping – a perception held by so many which up to recently I used to refute.

This sort of vague statement (the hotel is not serving the public at its best) is worrying to those of us who have fought to protect Camerhogne Park from a similar government seizure.

There appears to be no line that this government is not willing to cross with regards to the appropriation of private and public lands alike, which could set a dangerous precedent for other businesses and public entities in Grenada and the Caribbean.

Much like our beloved park, rumours are circulating that the government’s actions against Rex could be motivated by pressure from a new foreign investor. It seems that this NNP government is less concerned about the public and more interested in making deals (that carry more questions than answers) with corporations that don’t share our values.

The question must be raised, though, what benefit would our island see from a new operator of the Rex Property and Resort? The Grenadian employs almost an entirely local staff, it has long and established relationships with local suppliers like CK’s Super Value and the Grenada Breweries (just to name two of the very long list), and the resort is one of the few hotels that encourages local people to host and attend large events like their famous New Year’s Eve Party, a Grenadian tradition.

This hotel was one of the first built by a foreign investor – shortly after the Issa Nicholas group took over the old Holiday Inn/Grenada Beach Hotel and established the Ramada Renaissance Resorts.

Taking this hotel and giving it to another hotel operator will send a message to the international investment community that their investment in Grenada is not safe and in the case of future ones will not be safe.

Much like Camerhogne Park, the Rex’s property embodies the “virgin” character of our Island, with open spaces and rural landscapes that attract tourists to Grenada over other overdeveloped Caribbean Islands.

For more than 20 years, the Rex Hotel has stood by the Grenadian people. The Rex was among the first early foreign investment in hotels to come to our Island in 1992 during a time of great hardship and has since become an established entity in our cultural history and tourism industry.

The government’s actions against Camerhogne Park and the Rex Grenadian are not independent; they are indicative of a broader aggression where the veil of “public good” is used to take away land and shut down respectable businesses in order to make way for new projects.

We must consider that these actions create a dangerous precedent that could jeopardise other businesses and community grounds on the Island.

There is room on our Island for improvement and development, but we must not sacrifice our culture of decency and integrity – let alone our heritage for the sake of greed.

We should respect institutions that have made significant investments not only into their own facilities, but in our most important resource – our very own local people as well.

Save Camerhogne Park, save the Rex Grenadian.

I will forever remain an advocate against anything that is not in the interest of Grenada.

Leave our assets alone!

The Struggler

Age of consent debate – a wider societal issue

An upward shift in the age of consent and increased penalties for sex crimes are  being called for, as concerned Child Rights Advocates in Grenada laments increases in all forms of sex crimes.

I call on lobbying groups to start discussions with the relevant government and non-governmental organisations in order to bring new solutions to address the scourge of sexual offences and increase the reporting of sexual crimes.

We are asking that social partners in the future make a determination as to whether or not we ought to increase the age of consent to have sex to the age of 18. This would seem to be consistent with the Constitution, which stipulates that a person reaches his or her age of maturity at 18; you can vote then and you can enter into contractual relations at that age.

So we are raising the question as to whether, against this backdrop, it is proper that persons below 18 years old can consent to sexual activities?”

Penalties for sexual offences were increased in September of 2012 when the 1987 enacted  Criminal Code was reviewed, prior to this, the sentence for sex crimes was a maximum five years.

After the 2012 review of sentencing, if a man has sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 13  he could be jailed for 15-30 years.

If he engages a girl between 13-16 years, he faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.

However, we recognise that stiffer penalties for sex crimes cannot be the only approach to addressing the growing problem.

We have got to work comprehensively with the Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Education, Churches and other social partners to instill, in young women in particular and men in general, an understanding of healthy relationships and the importance of exercising self control.

All stakeholders need to develop programmes to enlighten parents of their responsibilities; to educate men and women about morality and teach them that they have a responsibility not to exploit and take advantage of anyone.

We must do all that we can to stop the act of men exploiting young girls. Unfortunately, too many young girls can fall victim to sexual exploitation because of the lure of expensive phones and latest clothing and going to parties and getting their hair fixed. This exploitation is ruining our girl children and must be stamped out.

Senior Crown Counsel, Howard  Pinnock said recently that he knows the court pays attention to crime statistics and “will demonstrate abhorrence through their sentences”.

Of convicted sex offenders he  said, “Judges should be mindful that criminal sentences are meant to protect the society, to punish the offender, to rehabilitate him to deter others from all of these things and that the sentences ought to be such as to maintain public confidence in the Criminal justice System.” (Quote from  Chief justice of England and Wales Regina v Howels. 1999   WE ARE ASKING FOR MORE STIFFER SENTENCING.

Last year 2015,  the Police CRD (Criminal Record Department) spelt it out in full. It reported on complaints of all forms of sex crimes, which included incest, adult males having sexual intercourse with under-aged girls, the sexual assault of boys, indecent assault and serious indecency.

THE REPORT HIGHLIGHT THAT IT  IS  NOT JUST OUR GIRLS BUT THE BOYS ARE ALSO UNDER SEXUAL ASAULT.

Of the 128 cases down for the 2015 May Assizes 56 are sexual offences. This is alarming.

In 2015 we conducted stop in the street interviews with a broad cross section of members of the public, in order to gauge the level of public feeling on the issue of the age of sexual consent.

Here are a few of the responses we got:

*My heart bleeds •  It’s ridiculous you say the present age of consent is 16 years old while 12 year olds are giving birth at the hospital. Where is the law then? The father has to sign the birth paper at the hospital. I find this to be total hypocrisy. Also granting a man who blatantly abused a child constantly bail to go out and do it to another “wow” while a man that takes food is remanded for years. The way law works in this country is ridiculous. Thinking about an innocent child whether they act like it or not is sick. So I ask you, what will be done different? How will this be monitored? Who will be monitoring the complaints in this corrupt place?

*Why is it that we are only focusing on adult males who have sex with under-aged girls? Should we not be just as concerned with adult men having “sex” with under-aged boys, too? Furthermore, how about the much overlooked issue of adult females having sex with under-aged girls and boys? Clearly, there is a double standard when the victims are little boys and also when the perpetrator is female; we just do not take those crimes seriously. It will make a difference if these old farts who prey on our girls will get a hefty prison term.

*How will raising the age of consent reduce sexual crime? In fact, if it is done, we will see an increase in statutory rape statistics simply because there are a lot of men who are having sex with girls age 16/17 who will suddenly now be committing a crime where there was none before. A change in law is going to determine…this is an issue for social transformation. Raise it and enforce it. Protect the youth.

Who are we trying to fool? Nothing will be done. The fact is, this sort of crap (incest, men sleeping with children, rape, men beating women) has been so common not only here. These behaviours have now become part of culture. It has been accepted as normal behaviour, and I don’t believe the law is serious about changing it.

*This is a little too late, but as they say, better late than never. I believe they should raise the age of consent, remove the statute of limitation, and prosecute those in positions of authority who used to sleep with, and even impregnate in some instances, our young women.

*Thinking that a individual at the age of 18 is more mature than a 16 or 17 yr old is nonsense, because the truth of the matter is a person could be 17 today then turn 18 tomorrow and  suddenly their whole mind changes magically and it is okay to have sex? Nonsense. Raising the age of consent will only cause more crimes.

A man at the age of 19 that was having sex with a sixteen year old is suddenly wrong now? All of a sudden. An individual is allowed to get their permits at 16 so why if you are being trusted to drive which is a life and death situation you cannot be trusted to have sex? Which is quite personal? It should not be raised.

Protection of our youths is crucial to the ethics and behaviour of our people. It speaks volumes of the government, society and agencies, when child protection is enforced and age consent is increased.

It decreases the potential for sex crimes against these young ones and heightens awareness that minors are not to engage in acts of ill repute and drive home a zero tolerance stance for the lawbreakers.

What is your take on this? We need you the public to speak out. The fate of our nation’s children is our business.

Cheris Reid-Allard
Executive Member
GNCRC

The boating tragedy

There will always be tragedies and they will always occur especially as man has no control over Mother Nature.

In 1994 the usual excursion to one of the islands up north took place.  The MV Providence Mc and Island Queen set out from Grenada to St. Vincent. The Providence Mc arrived at their destination and expected that the Island Queen would have docked earlier, but that did not happen.

Suffice it to say that the Island Queen with all fifty-four souls vanished into thin air and to date there is no record of what happened.

Accidents will take place despite all the stringent regulations that may exist.  Human beings by nature are adventurous and here lies the problem, if I may call it that.

However, there are always basic and fundamental things/principles, which ought to be in place to alleviate as far as possible a situation.

Listening to the program – Beyond the Headline – on Monday, February 15, quite a lot of points were raised which should enlighten all of what is entailed for safety at sea for all who venture or wish to venture out to sea.

The question arises – with all the most stringent regulations governing any matter, what causes something to happen which the regulations governs?

Simple, lack of common sense; lack of education in the main; not being pro-active; disregard for proficiency in any operation among other things (formal education), so that by nature man basically knows of danger.

The pig falls into the sea with no land in site, yet it swims to the land (instinct).  To enhance our common sense or lack thereof, we educate or try to educate a people with a view that they should not take risks.

Hence we should be pro-active, knowing of the likelihood that anything can happen, all necessary steps should be taken to avoid the possibility of any mishap (the recent mishap).

Persons specifically trained or having gained a very high standard of proficiency by way of love for, years of experience or formal training in a vocation should not be immoderately removed from an entity thus endangering the efficiency of the operation.

Excellent idea to have a department of Marine Affairs, but can we afford the upkeep of such?  Don’t get me wrong.  Common sense dictates that the knowledge of the risks that some Grenadians take whenever there is an activity/attraction, basic precautionary measures must/should be taken/put in place for the Sailing Festival, The Bill Fishing Tournament, Carriacou Regatta or the occasion like Carriacou Carnival.

Leaving out all the International Regulations governing Seafarers, common sense dictates that the Protective Services should have been in full operation during the festive season.  Let us not fool ourselves about it.  Trinidadians, Barbadians, Vincentians, foreigners as well as locals flock/take the opportunity to go to Carriacou at such a time not only because of the festivity, but also for at least one other reason.

So that just as the Protective Services is not only put on alert but also in many cases leave of officers is cancelled so that there will be adequate number of persons available to manage any situation whenever there is a Grenada Carnival, an Intercollegiate Sport meet, the opening of the Athletic Stadium and so forth.

So too, this should have been the case for the Carriacou Carnival.

Sad to say that nothing of the kind had been done and as a result the unfortunate lost of lives.

My condolence goes to the families who lost their love ones.

Simeon Green

Grenada at a political deflection juncture; where next?

The citizens of Grenada are wary, and deeply concerned about the reckless manner in which the government is dealing with state assets. For years, Dr Mitchell and his administration have been disposing of national assets in a very loose and covert manner. Many a time, these dealings have either been easily forgotten or gone unnoticed by the general public. This is a situation for grave concern, and the consistent restraint symbolises the lack of vigilance and action on the part of the Grenadian people.

For too long, hundreds of acres of lands have been taken away from the people, and handed over to so-called foreign investors. These actions are taken by government without explaining the true nature and terms of such agreements. More times than not these shady deals collapse, leaving heavy burden on taxpayers while adding to the national debt stock.

Most recently government announced a US$2 billion dollars project for the south of the island. This project will no doubt involve a few hundred acres of lands. The people are yet to know whether the lands in question are freely given to the investor or whether the lands are being sold.

What is the arrangement made between the government and the investor, in respect to the hundreds of acres of land involved in the project? The people need to know. Is the property sold? If so, how much did the investor pay for the property? Is it a public-private partnership, where government contributes the lands and the investor provides the financing? Then should this be the case, what percentages of the share will government own on the investment?

How much concession is government willing to compromise on this project and for how long? Any government worth its salt should be willing to provide these answers to their trustee without having to demand it from the people who voted them to act on their behalf.

The authorities are often found rabble rousing, trying to stir up public emotion after those deals are already negotiated and settled. The present fight for Camerhogne Park is a typical example of a government that is out of touch with the will and wishes of its people. A petition of over 15,000 signatures to save Camerhogne Park for use by Grenadians has been simply brushed aside as not being legitimate. Instead what the authorities see as legitimate is the selection of a committee to look at the ramification of the project and mediate the way forward.

After almost 20 years of corruption and victimisation against the people of Grenada, it is inconceivable that the NNP administration is now boasting of having all stakeholders under their wings supporting all their policy agenda. This includes some of the NNP’s most former bitter political enemies.

Let me interject, a word to the wise is sufficient… if this administration’s track record means nothing to all stakeholders who are presently colluding with Dr. Mitchell to keep him in power and create further hardship for Grenadian and Grenadians.

How can the global community be motivated to come to our assistance to offer budgetary support to a country led by an administration that they have little or no faith in? This must be the context and picture from which the social partners must view the current saturation, and not for just selfish and political gains or reasons.

The National Democratic Congress has had many challenges in the past trying to restore Grenada creditworthiness from the mutilation inflicted by the New National Party administration’s poor leadership of the economy. Due to the lack of public knowledge of the economy, the real benefits of such efforts often times go to waste.

Dr Mitchell’s New National Party is a ruthless political party that will stop at nothing to gain and maintain political power. The NNP mantra of jobs and more jobs and zero taxation has helped them to win many elections leaving behind huge trail of debts of unmanageable proportions, which resulted in the detriment of the country and the people.

For the first time in his reign, Dr Mitchell is being boxed in by the IMF. This resulted from his refusal to pay external creditors. Had he not submitted to the IMF, no credible financial institution was willing to sit or listen to him on the basis of his extremely poor management record. He anticipates at the end of the IMF program later this year, he will squander some of the gains realised from the painful sacrifice Grenadians were asked to make during two-and-a-half years in an effort to hoodwink the electorate.

It will be remiss of me not to call upon Grenadians to become more political astute by getting more involved and engaged in the political process, to first bring an end to the politics of spite and victimisation and work towards the types of changes needed to take the country into the future and live the Grenadian dream.

JM

Baffled and confused

The Grenadian populace are still baffled as to why CRAC (Constitution Reform Advisory Committee) and the Government are hell bent on holding a referendum on constitution reform at this time.

It is regrettable that 95% of the Grenadian populace know little or nothing about the contents of our current constitution.

Grenada received this document over forty years ago; this document was handed over by the British Government, after Grenada received its independence in 1974. Since then, this document failed to occupy the average Grenadian household.

Grenadians at home and abroad have been calling on the Keith Mitchell administration to mash brakes, on the referendum to reform section of the constitution, and allow a process of extensive education on the details of the document.

Should this be allowed to go forward, the masses will be better able to make a more informed decision on matters relating to constitutional reform.

Suffice to say, all these calls are being totally ignored by the players, which beg the question: on whose behalf are these changes being contemplated?

It must be established, that the constitution is not a private document as some might think; neither is it a document for only legal minded people, but instead it is a document that constitutes the fundamental rights and freedoms of the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique and should be accessible to the public at large.

It is alleged that over ECD 2 million will be spent on the present reform process.

Of the over 25 items presented by CRAC to the Cabinet for consideration, few items were selected to go forward. The Government is yet to explain to Grenadians, how the country and its people will benefit from the list of items selected by the Cabinet for constitutional reform.

Considering the limited changes proposed by the Cabinet and the overall cost to put the machinery in place to effect such change, leads one to question the wisdom as to whether the cost may far outweigh the benefit.

There are some other worrying signs that have unfolded, and some still unfolding in the country.

The populace is dealing with an NNP administration that lacks transparency and integrity.

This Keith Mitchell government is running Grenada with an iron fist, and is not prepared to listen to anyone on the ground because they won all fifteen seats in the last election.

The high-handed decision to join the ALBA group, the arrogance displayed in passing the Casino bill, the implementation of the electronic crimes bill, the alleged sale of Camerhogne Park, the reckless attempt to acquire the Rex Grenadian Hotel, and the Citizenship by investment program, are some of the major decisions taken by the Government where little or no consultation was carried out with the populace.

In recent times the Government appears to be more desperate to try and deliver some tangibles before announcing an election date.

The recent IMF report states the public sector wage bill is still unsustainable and the administration must find ways to further reduce expenditure.

One has to bear in mind the IMF three year support program will soon end with Government. The union and Government will soon have to sit to negotiate increase in wages, subsequent the three year wage freeze.

Added to this, the government must continue to raise revenue to start paying millions of dollars periodically to the creditors (bondholders).

It is doubtful that Dr. Mitchell will wait until next year to call general election. The thinking is that he will ask for a new mandate to avoid the pending obstacle, which he knows will not work in his favor.

The policies and programmes of Dr. Mitchell have failed to live up to the expectation of the people. The administration has contravened its own mandate to solve the unemployment problem and create a better standard of living for the people.

The widely held view on the ground is that the people are fed up and frustrated with politicians, but they also believe that the policies and programmes of the National Democratic Congress was far superior to that of the New National Party.

The matters of constitutional reform and policy position will be fleshed out by the people when they are called upon to make a wise decision in casting their votes for the direction the country should go re-constitutional reform and general election.

Jerrry Marryshow