GTUC: Child Sexual Abuse and Domestic Violence have a direct impact on the workforce

Recognising that Child Sexual Abuse and Domestic Violence have a heavy impact on the workforce, the Grenada Trade Unions Council has lent its voice to the call for appropriate penalties to be accorded to perpetrators.

GTUC President, Andre Lewis and President of PWU, Rachel Roberts speak to reporters at the press conference

President of the GTUC, Senator Andre Lewis told reporters at a press conference that the issues of Child Sexual Abuse and Domestic Violence cannot be separated from the issues of the workforce.

According to Lewis, who is a member of the Grenada Senate, this vexing problem has a direct impact on productivity at the work place.

“That is why we must be involved in politics, we must be involved in social issues, we are not isolated from it – we cannot separate the workers’ issue from the wider societal issues”, he told the press conference held Monday at the GTUC Office at the Public Workers Union Building at Port Highway, St. George.

The trade union boss stressed that any parent who is at work at the time would be affected negatively by news that their young one was subjected to sexual abuse.

“Think about it, a parent who works in Company A is at work, gets a call that her child – a five year old – is sexually abused – what would be the state of mind, what would be the state of mind of her colleagues? Think about it. Think about the worker who comes to work every day after being abused by their partner, think about the impact it has on productivity, think about the impact it has on that worker,” he said.

Lewis is contending that any such affected parent will not be able to give of his/her best on the job.

“…Whether it is your child or not, given the cultural nature of our society, the outcry that came over the sexual harassment of the five year old and the killing of Ariel (Bhola) in November 2017 had dominated our concerns and talks for a long while”, he said.

“…That is why the Labour movement is lending their voice and would be more vigorously involved in making those demands. Yes, it impacts – we cannot separate ourselves, we cannot operate like a light switch … or be dissatisfied with the penalty that is being handed down and when you walk into the work place you switch on the light and therefore, your problems stays outside…” he added.
President of the Public Workers Union (PWU), Rachel Roberts echoed the sentiments of Lewis.

Roberts said that Child Sexual Abuse, Domestic Violence and Sexual Harassment are issues that affect parents at the workplace as in most cases the affected individual take “the stress of those issues with them into the work place”.

“They cannot be separated and the psychological, the emotional imbalances that those persons experience in the work place does have an impact on the other employees in the work place, on productivity within the work place,” she said.

“It does not just impact the workplace but it also impacts the children within the school system. And then we see we have a society of social problems and we wonder what is happening but it is because of those social issues affecting the people, affecting the workers…”, she added.

Roberts pointed out that the results are there to be seen within the society as one can see from “the behaviours of the children within the school system”, and also from “the bahaviours of the parents within the work place”.

Damion Joseph fined EC$1, 5000 for stealing

A St. George resident was fined $1, 500.00 on Monday for the offence of stealing after pleading guilty to a summary charge before Magistrate Tahira Gellineau at the St. George’s No. 2 Magistrate’s Court on St. John’s Street.

Damion Joseph – has 11 previous convictions for mainly stealing

29-year-old Damion Joseph, who has a total of 30 previous convictions, 11 of a similar nature, was unrepresented when he appeared before Magistrate Gellineau who read out the summary charge to him.

He pleaded “guilty with an explanation” to stealing items valuing just over $300.00 from an elderly man, who was at the time grocery shopping at the popular Foodland Supermarket on Halifax Street in St. George’s.

The victim, who was described as a retired foreign national, has been living on his yacht in Grenadian waters since 2012.

The police statement quoted the victim as saying that he recalled visiting the supermarket with a backpack, resting it inside of a shopping trolley but when he approached the cashier to pay for the groceries he realised that the bag was missing.

The elderly man alerted the relevant authorities and upon review of the security cameras at the supermarket Joseph was seen picking up the bag and leaving the supermarket with it.

Police investigators later retrieved the backpack in the vicinity of the nearby Market Square with all its contents except for a flashlight and EC$20. 00.

When given the opportunity to address the court, Joseph told the Magistrate that he must have had a little too much ‘Jack Iron’ rum to drink as he does not recall what happened but was sorry for what happened.

He apologised to the elderly man who accepted it and decided to waive the theft of EC$20.00 and the cost of the flashlight.

The victim commended the police investigating officers for their swift action taken in an effort to get to the bottom of the matter.

In handing down sentence, Magistrate Gellineau noted the court’s disappointment with Joseph, the biological father of two (2), who is once more before her on a stealing charge. She reminded him that he has children looking up to him for guidance and urged him to change his ways and stay away from alcohol, especially Jack Iron rum.

Joseph was fined EC$1, 500.00 to be paid in three (3) months and in default serve nine (9) months in prison.

“In the fullness of time”

Mr. Leo Forde
Director
Grenada Sustainable Aquaculture Project

April 27th, 2019

Dear Leo,

Re: Grenada Sustainable Aquaculture Project

I am trying to figure out your motive for e-mailing me. WHY have you picked me and included me on your list of important personages which includes two government ministers and the Executive Officer of Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Unit?

Leo, I am an uncompromising opponent of the Citizenship by Investment Programme run by the Government of Grenada and the rest of the OECS. It demeans citizenship! I consider the CBI in our region a CROOKED programme which attracts UNSAVOURY characters. Grenada is well-known for attracting crooks who come posing as investors. It is like flies attracted to honey.

One would have thought that after our engagement with The Pirate of Prague back in 1997 when there was Grenada’s first economic citizenship programme, Grenada would have learnt its lesson.

Once can be considered a mistake but our Government has made it a habit.

Leo, let me hasten to add that I am NOT making any allegations about you. I am MERELY telling you exactly how I FEEL about this programme of which it would seem that you are an aggrieved party.

Well Leo, I am an AGGRIEVED CITIZEN as I look at how my government gives away the resources of we the citizens to all sorts of questionable ventures and/or characters in the name of development, jobs, love and caring for we the people.

And it is we the people who ALWAYS end up holding the shitty end of the stick, including the damage to our international reputation. Perhaps, Leo, you are holding it along with us at this time?

Have you participated in handing us this shitty stick?

Leo, permit me to also note that there is also a copy and paste version of the Grenada Sustainable Aquaculture project, the Antigua Sustainable Aquaculture Project. How is it going in Antigua?

(1). Grenada Sustainable Aquaculture Project Zero-Water Exchange Sustainable Organic Shrimp Farm:

When the Grenada Sustainable Aquaculture project was launched in February 2017, it fell below my radar. When I became aware that a shrimp farm project had been launched on the former site of a FAILED poultry project, I was rather confused. Quite sometime before the launch took place, I had checked out the websites of both Antigua and Grenada Sustainable Aquaculture and I had not seen any mention of freshwater shrimp farming in respect of Grenada or Antigua.

There was some information about A Better Way to Produce Seafood – high tech shrimp farming and fish farming out in the sea. About six months later when the media reported that nothing was going on at the project site, I had a look at the footage of the launch of the Grenada Sustainable Aquaculture and I also checked out its website.

Immediately, some RED FLAGS went up.

(1). Project Launch:

How could a Member of Parliament have the launch of such a significant project and there is no member of the community on the platform? Not even to chair the proceedings!! What a SLIGHT to the PEOPLE of the community. (But perhaps this really worked out for the best after all. No well meaning, upright citizen from the community has to bear the shame as the GSA hits the fan).

And when the international passport seller delivered his vote of thanks and ended with “in the words of the late great Maurice Bishop, forward ever”, I was so offended. He was obviously trying to play on the goodwill associated with this name. I wished that I could have wiped the smirk off his face with rotten eggs!!

(2). DF Aquaculture Capital Limited(DFAC):

Leo, I checked into the credentials of the passport seller and the team.

– Passport Seller: Founder/Director of Grenada Sustainable Aquaculture, Mr. Soren Dawody, seemed be just a passport seller, an international marketing agent of the Citizenship by Investment Programme.

-Track Record of DFAC: I noted that you, Leo, were a co-founder of a company called DF Aquaculture Capital Ltd. I looked into that company and found it had been registered in the UK in 2016, just about a year before the “project launch”. It had NO track record and the only executive listed was Dawody. My heart sank. I have now noted that latest status of that company was very recently DISSOLVED via compulsory strike-off.

– Model in Sea: Another interesting thing is that there is a photo in the GSA brochure. It shows the shrimp farming model in the sea.

– Co-Founder: You, Leo, are named as the co-founder of DF Aquaculture Capital Limited, Grenada Sustainable Aquaculture Ltd. and Antigua Sustainable Aquaculture Ltd.

Among your impressive credentials, Leo, are the following:-

Former Commander of NATO Special Weapons Detachment

*Owned the largest international brokerage for Clerical Medical, Scottish Amicable and Old Mutual with offices from Hong Kong to Buenos Aires.

*Founded several international insurance companies with share valuations over $300 million

*Managing Partner of a $1.4 billion US Virgin Islands Real Estate Company that was under the auspices of the USVI Economic Development Commission

Leo, I have sought in vain to find references to you in relation to these ventures. You do seem to have a penchant for being photographed, particularly with celebrities. But, as yet, I cannot find any reference to your relationship with any of the named ventures.

To me, it is quite a contradiction. One would expect someone of the caliber presented to do the necessary due diligence and “dot their i’s and cross their t’s. So what really happened there Leo? Did you let your guard down?

According to the GSA website, “former Senior FBI Special Agents “had joined the “Advisory Board of Directors and Due Diligence and Compliance ………” What the hell happened?

(3). Zero-Water Exchange Sustainable Organic Shrimp Farm:

Leo, you know when I read the GSA brochure, I wonder who vetted the project from a technical perspective on behalf of Grenada. But those are not details that interest “our authorities”. I really wondered whether this project was a case of dazzling with brilliance or baffling with bullshit. I concluded the latter.

(4). Consultancy Services Agreement/GSA Creditor:

So many “bright” people have participated in the CHARADE of a project launch. It leads me to ask about “the money” and what was promised and to whom. Based on the Letters of Demand for payment, you have made us aware of the following:-

Leo Forde: USD6,450,000 – Consultancy Services Agreement

Gerard McKeon: USD785,000 – Consultancy Services Agreement

Dr. Tzachi Samocha: USD147,175 – Consultancy Services Agreement

Leo, your fees are phenomenal. Can you specifically advise what services you have already provided to this project, to whom and where since as far as we are aware NOTHING has happened.

(5)Enquiry into GSA:

Leo, I am not at all surprised that “egg” seems to have splattered on the face of “our authorities” in respect of the Grenada Sustainable Aquaculture Project. It is interesting that “an enquiry” into GSA has been publicly announced. This suggests – as we would say in the Caribbean – that “water more than flour”

Our Government is seldom minded to make announcements about the Citizenship by Investment Programme except to tell us how well it is doing.

Hopefully, in the fullness of time, the TRUTH about this project will emerge and we the people will be able to make OUR judgements about the CULPABILITY of the various actors in this project including those demanding fees for services.

Sandra C.A. Ferguson

Two Murders in Two Days!!!

In a matter of 48 hours, Grenada has had two homicides with the use of sharpened instruments following fatal incidents in the northern parishes of St. Patrick and St. Mark.

Lester Mark – appeared under heavy guard at the Sauteurs Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday

Dead are 23-year-old Curt Frazer of Mt. Craven, St. Patrick who was killed on Sunday morning and the other is 54-year-old, Dennis John of Waltham, St. Mark whose throat was slit while asleep in his bed in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Police have charged Lester Mark of Soubise, St. Andrew, but who resides at Beaulieu, St. George with Non-Capital Murder in connection with the death of Frazer.

Mark appeared on Tuesday at the Sauteurs Magistrate’s Court before Magistrate Karen Noel under heavy police presence as onlookers hurled several angry words at him.

The suspect was brought before the court unrepresented but indicated to the Magistrate that Attorney Derick Sylvester is expected to accompany him on his next court date.

Mark, a security guard with Mega Force Promotions, has been remanded to the Richmond Hill Prison until May 21 when he will be brought back to court for mention.

Frazer was killed after a football game held at Fond, St. Patrick.

THE NEW TODAY understands that Frazer and friends had an altercation with Mark who had been manning the gate at the Pure Grenada Cup football game.

There are conflicting reports about what might have triggered the physical confrontation between the two of them.

18 year old Azim Phillip – is assisting police in the Waltham killing

One report suggests that Frazer and his friends tried to enter the arena for the football game using fake tickets and the murder accused who was on duty told them that they would not be able to pass through and this was followed by an exchange of harsh words including threats.

After the game, the deceased and his friends were spotted drinking at a nearby shop in Fond when a truck approached them.

According to an eyewitness, Mark also known as Bolo, was on the truck and as it was passing someone was seen throwing water on him.

He reportedly got off the truck and was soon involved in a physical confrontation with Frazer who received two stab wounds to the chest from a knife which allegedly broke in the body with the blade remaining embedded in the deceased.

The injured Frazer was rushed to the Sauteurs Medical Station for treatment and then to the St. George’s General Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

One person associated with the football game reported that they had observed Mark in a number of altercations with patrons seeking to enter the gates earlier in the evening.

Christel Antoine – was discovered by a jogger on Grand Anse Beach

One of the persons was the stepfather of the murdered man, who is responsible for ground maintenance at Fond.

After Fraser was stabbed, the accused is said to have gone to the Sauteurs Police Station, not to surrender himself but to file a report that he had been “ambushed”.

But witnesses were able to reach the police station to alert the police of the stabbing while he was there and he was then taken into custody.

Two other relatives of Mark – his brother and his father have also faced murder charges in the past.

Mark’s father had been tried for the death of a man whom he had hit with a bat at a St Patrick playing field several years ago and a brother was also charged for the stabbing death of a Soubise man about two years ago.

Mark is the nephew of politician and former St Patrick East Parliamentarian with the ruling New National Party (NNP), Clifton Paul.

The Preliminary Inquiry into the murder charge slapped on Mark is due to begin on June 4 when witnesses will be called to the stand by the Prosecution.

Police are also investigating the most recent homicide in which John, a British national was killed while asleep in his bed.

A source close to the investigation told this newspaper that John was living in the house with his 51- year-old cousin who was awakened from his sleep around 12.00 a.m. on Tuesday to the sound of the deceased pulling open his room door.

After turning on the light in the room, the cousin noticed the deceased bleeding and holding his neck, but was unable to get him to talk as he sat on the floor, leaned back on the bed and died.

Curt Frazer – stabbed and killed outside a shop near Fond

John who had suffered a severe neck wound was pronounced dead at the scene by a medical examiner.

A post-mortem was scheduled for Wednesday.

According to the source, the killing could be drug related based on information being gathered by police investigators.

18 year old Azim Phillip, a resident of the nearby St. John parish has been picked up by the police to assist them with their investigation.

In another weekend incident, police have ruled out foul play in the death of the 30 year old female whose body was found on Grand Anse Beach last Friday morning.

She has been identified as Christel Antoine of Black Bay, St. John, who left her home the day before.

The body was discovered by a jogger and police believe she may have encountered some medical issues which resulted in her death.

Botanical Gardens set for Launce Aux Epines

Renowned agriculturist Dennis Canning is again embarking on another initiative aimed at preserving this country’s natural environment.

In addition to maintaining over 40 acres (combined) of organic agricultural lands spanning three parishes, Canning is now venturing on the establishment of a mini botanical gardens in Launce Aux Epines, St George.

“It is my intention to put a park in that area, to establish reserved space for the exhibition of our unique flora for locals and visitors alike to enjoy”, a beaming Canning revealed.

The project includes the restoration of an apartment building destroyed during hurricane Ivan in 2004, along with the Park.

According to the entrepreneur, seeing the preliminary work on his dream of establishing more green space and preserving flora unique to Grenada is giving him great Joy.

“While I have worked abroad moving back and forth for many years, my focus now is doing whatever it takes to be a part of any restoration effort to ensure that as many spices, other trees and flora unique to this spice isle is preserved”, he said.

“We are obligated, canning added, to ensure the value of Agriculture, to our health and well-being is given the necessary attention”.

The elderly St. Patrick entrepreneur noted that many persons would have opted for the construction of revenue generating projects but since he decided to reside permanently in Grenada “my focus is to continue with investment for the development of agriculture and the preservation of the environment”.

Last year, Canning undertook the reconstruction of a number of agricultural roads in his community.

The Agriculturist has vowed to continue to play a key role in championing for the reduction of weedicides and pesticides and boasts of undertaking a one-man campaign against the use of gramazone (weedicide) several years ago.

Canning considers Grenada to be the Eden of the western hemisphere but expresses concern at the rapid pace of infrastructural development without adequate allocation to agricultural development and land preservation.

He is hopeful that the botanical garden/nature park in the making will also provide a green relaxation space for the public and visitors.

Grenada’s Botanical Gardens at Tanteen is now utilised to house the Ministry of Education and the Ministerial Complex for several government ministeries and departments such as the Passport & Immigration Office of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) and the Government Printery.

CLICO rent money from government should make its way into the hands of local Policyholders

The Grenada Trades Union Council (GTUC) has called on the Keith Mitchell-led government to take steps to ensure that monies from the Treasury to pay rent to CLICO for use of its building on Young Street to house several high courts should end up in the hands of local policyholders who cannot get paid due to the financial collapse of the insurance company.

Sen. Lewis – Taxpayers money should not be use to offset any other liabilities of CLICO

TUC President, Senator Andre Lewis told reporters that the rent money due to CLICO should make its way back to former policyholders to help offset the losses endured by them since its collapse.

He said that while the TUC applauds and welcomes the move by the government to secure the CLICO building as the new home for the law courts, it believes that measures should be put in place to ensure that “these monies go towards meeting the cost or reimbursing of our local citizens who have been robbed of their monies by the failure of CLICO.”

“We applaud the move to find housing for the local courts, this is long overdue. At the same time, we want to ensure that taxpayers monies are not being used to the benefit of CLICO, but whatever it is that our tax monies go towards in the form of rental, we are calling for discussions to be held that these monies go towards rectifying long outstanding amount of the monies that are due to our people”, he said.

“What we want to ensure is that taxpayers money does not make its way into the coffers of CLICO or anywhere it goes ought to reach down to our locals who have lost money in CLICO”, he added.

Sen. Lewis pointed out that Grenada should follow the example of Barbados and Trinidad in looking out for its people on the CLICO issue.

“It is for the authorities to take our concern – I can’t see how they would have any difficulty with our concern. In other words, our money that goes towards the CLICO building rent must not go offshore or must not go to offset any other liabilities that CLICO has outside of first and foremost the persons of the ordinary working people”, he said.

The CLICO Building on young Street will be used to house local courts through a lease agreement

The TUC President made mention of the Grenada Seamen and Waterfront Workers Union (SWWU) that has lost millions through the CLICO debacle.

He said: “These are ordinary working people, these are people who have given their lives and years working on the docks – when they lose their money what do they turn to? They don’t have a Parliamentary pension to get as how the government after one term they (are) getting a gratuity and getting a pension, they don’t, and therefore, it is in this context that we are saying show patriotism, show nationalism.

“…Just as how we applauded when the government paid off some people, the lower end people first in (the collapsed) Cap Bank, we are saying, we are demanding that taxpayers money…yes … we are saying… because it is CLICO, just the word CLICO, just the name CLICO and associating that with our taxpayers money, coming out of our coffers, these monies, we are demanding must make its way towards rectifying as much as possible, creating a dent in what has been owed to our local people,” he added.

The Caribbean ideals of Alister McIntyre

Sir Meredith Alister McIntyre was born in Grenada but for much of his life, dedicated to promoting the interests of the Caribbean, few knew his birth place. What they knew was that he belonged to a group of West Indian thinkers whose identity was West Indian and who worked assiduously in the collective interest of the region.

Since his passing, Caribbean people have heard many well-deserved tributes to him, each recounting aspects of his life that had a common theme – his deep commitment to the Caribbean region.

From the 1970s, there was hardly any significant event in the trade, finance and international political experience of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in which Alister McIntyre was not an active participant.

Among his many contributions, there are four specific areas that have left an indelible mark on the region’s development. These are: his work as part of the technical support team for the Caribbean negotiators of the 1975 Lomé Convention, the first aid, trade and investment agreement between the European Economic Community (EEC) and the African Caribbean and Pacific Group, his participation as a Commissioner in the historic West Indian Commission (1990-1992) and in the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery; his stewardship of the CARICOM Secretariat as its second Secretary-General (1974-77); and his role as Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (1988-1998).

Sir Alister had the dubious distinction of being the only CARICOM Secretary-General under whose tenure from 1974 to 1977, no Heads of Government meeting was held. Disagreement between Trinidad and Tobago’s Eric Williams on the one hand and Guyana’s Forbes Burnham and Jamaica’s Michael Manley on the other, militated against meetings.

Notwithstanding no meeting of the Caribbean leaders, McIntyre held CARICOM together through Ministerial meetings. While others were staying away from the Caribbean house, he kept the lights shining brightly.

In his tribute to Sir Alister, Sir Shridath Ramphal – a close friend and intellectual collaborator with McIntyre in the cause of Caribbean integration – remarked, “he had devoted his life to Caribbean unity and was already, as he went, worrying over the darkening of the regional scene that threatens”.

It would have been heart-rending for McIntyre in his twilight years to watch the regional integration project pause and even reverse. In company with Ramphal, William Demas (another iconic Caribbean figure) and political personages such as Jamaica’s P.J. Patterson, Barbados’ Sir Henry Forde and later Owen Arthur, he had helped to construct the foundations for a Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) and had proposed reasoned solutions to the problems of implementing regional decisions.

During the short period of his Secretary-Generalship of CARICOM, McIntyre had proposed the establishment of a Caribbean Commission that would comprise a high-powered trio who would implement the decisions of heads of government – something, which for the most part, fell through the cracks in the Secretariat for lack of executive authority and resources.

His idea was developed by the West Indian Commission on which he served with Ramphal (as Chairman), William Demas and ten other West Indians, distinguished in their fields.

The idea, as Ramphal described it in his memoir (Glimpses of a Global Life) was to establish “a small group of some of our best people drawn preferably from public and political life, engaged upon that task of making regional things happen and making things happen regionally”.

While heads of government accepted many of the West Indian Commission’s recommendations, contained in the seminal report entitled Time for Action, they rejected the notion of a Caribbean Commission. In the result, the deficit in implementing decisions of CARICOM remain large, causing one of the greatest criticisms of the regional integration project.

The Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), another of the proposals of the West Indian Commission, did come into being 14 years after it was recommended. At a heads of government meeting in Jamaica in 2006 under P.J. Patterson’s leadership, the CSME was launched to provide the foundation from which Caribbean countries and Caribbean companies could become globally competitive and capitalise on opportunities for market access that could be delivered by joint bargaining with other countries and regions.

P.J. Patterson exhorted the gathering of all CARICOM countries at the highest levels “never to abandon that passionate commitment to the full advancement of the region which has allowed us to fulfil this part of the dream today”. Five years afterwards, at a Retreat in Guyana in 2011, the Heads decided to “pause” the single economy process – a decision that the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, described in a letter to the Secretary-General as “sliding backwards” in a dynamic world. Alister McIntyre must have wept, witnessing the dissipation of his labour and that of his fellow West Indian visionaries.

Fortunately, with the advent of Mia Mottley’s leadership, as Prime Minister of Barbados with lead responsibility among CARICOM heads of government for CSME, energy and resolve have returned to the process.

McIntyre knew from experience learned in the front line of regional bargaining, that, as small states, Caribbean countries need to pool their resources in order to be recognised in the global arena and to give themselves the chance for effective negotiation with countries more powerful than they are. He also knew that it was harmonisation of foreign trade policies (and its international politics) by CARICOM countries that allowed Ramphal and Patterson, backed by technical experts such as he, Demas Frank Francis (Jamaica) and O’Neil Lewis (Trinidad and Tobago), to negotiate the best trade, aid and investment deal that the Caribbean has ever achieved – the Lomé Convention with the then EEC.

Division within CARICOM on external issues, such as the current failure at the Organisation of American States to sustain a regional identity from which the strength of CARICOM countries derive, would have disappointed McIntyre. He acknowledged that CARICOM is a community of sovereign states, but he also knew that the exercise of individual state sovereignty in alliances with countries outside the Caribbean, weakens the region and, eventually, each state. His credo was: “We do it better when we do it together”.

His ideals will live on and they will be kept alive, because they are right, sensible and, in the end, in the region’s interest.

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

Woman among Vincentians remanded on drug charges

A 32-year-old woman is among three (3) Vincentians and one local from the sister isle of Carriacou who were arrested and charged last week Friday in connection with the discovery of EC$31, 752.00 worth of marijuana and a smaller quantity valued at just over EC$30.00.

Zeiki Miller – granted bail in the sum of $3, 000.00

The suspects have been identified as Vincentian Store Manager, Nyasha Bellingy, along with her nationals Zeiki Miller and Clifford Samuel, 26, and Frank Allard, 43, from Carriacou following police operations on the sister isle and on the Carenage in St. George.

All four appeared Monday before Magistrate Tahira Gellineau at the St. George’s No. 2 Magistrate’s Court to face drug trafficking and conspiracy charges.

The drug suspects were assisted in court by Attorney-at-Law Derick Sylvester, who opted to make bail applications on this occasion for only Allard and Miller, which met with no objections from the Police Prosecution team but reserved applications for the remaining suspects.

Attorney Sylvester indicated to the court that he plans to make proper bail applications on behalf of the other drug suspects on the next occasion once properly retained.

Nyasha Bellingy – the lone female arrested in EC$31, 000.00 drug bust

The Police Prosecution team indicated to the court that they do not intend to pursue Miller in connection with the 24 lbs of marijuana which was seized on the mainland.

THE NEW TODAY understands that the Drug Squad of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) intercepted the drugs as soon as one of the suspects came off the Osprey shuttle from Petite Martinique and Carriacou.

Cliffton Samuel – entered the state illegally

However, Miller is specifically charged along with the female suspect in connection with six (6) grams of the illegal substance found in their possession on Carriacou.

The Vincentian man, who sported a Rastafarian hairstyle, was granted $3, 000.00 bail with one (1) surety in connection to six (6) grams of marijuana while Bellingy was remanded to the Richmond Hill Prison.

Allard, a builder by profession, had strong support from members of his family in court and was granted bail in the sum of $60, 000 with two (2) sureties for the larger quantity of ganja that was found.

The bail condition set requires the suspect to report to the Carriacou Police Station every Wednesday between the hours of 6.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m.

Frank Allard – managed to post $60, 000.00 bail

In the case of Samuel, who is employed as a Labourer in St Vincent, he was charged for the discovery of the 24 lbs of ganja and additionally for entering the state illegally.

Magistrate Gellineau also issued a summons for another drug suspect, whose name was given as Crispin Alexis.

THE NEW TODAY understands that Alexis who resides at Walker in St. Andrew is wanted by the Drug Squad for questioning as he is considered as the ring leader in what is considered as a major drug ring involving the Vincentians.

Miller and Bellingy are due to appear before Magistrate Teddy St. Louis at the Cariacou Magistrate’s Court on May 22.

Bellingy, Allard, Samuel and Alexis are scheduled to appear before Magistrate Gellineau for mention on May 9 and 17, with the matter set to start on May 22.

Curtis Baptiste on trial seven years after rape

MORE THAN SEVEN YEARS after he was accused of the rape of a child, Victoria resident Curtis Baptiste will stand trial in the Criminal Assizes of Grenada which opened Tuesday in St George’s.

Curtis Baptiste – the original developer of the poultry farm in St. Mark

Baptiste, who is now seventy-five years old, was accused of raping a thirteen year-old girl and criminal proceedings had been initiated against him as far back as January, 2011.

However the matter had been dismissed by former Magistrate Jerry Seales, before all witnesses in the case had been heard in the Preliminary Inquiry.

The decision was appealed and in 2013 the Director of Public Prosecution, Christopher Nelson received a favourable ruling following Judicial Review.

The Justices ruled in 2017 that Seales had an obligation to hear all the evidence in the PI before rendering a decision on whether to dismiss the case or commit Baptiste to stand trial in the High Court for rape.

State Prosecutors are relying on the evidence of a key witness who claimed to have seen Baptiste in the act of committing the alleged rape of the minor.

The trial of Baptist comes at a time when new sentencing guidelines are being introduced that would see mandatory jail time for offenses such as rape and defilement of a female.

The new guidelines, crafted by the Supreme Court are expected to come into effect by June and they may be in force by the time Baptiste faces a Jury of his peers.

The senior citizen could face more than a decade in prison if found guilty.

Earlier this week DPP Christopher Nelson was delighted that after seven years they will now be an opportunity to bring Baptiste to justice.

The self-styled businessman had gained national prominence due to his involvement in the first poultry project in Bon Jour, St Mark.

The Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government had injected millions into the project that failed to get off the ground.

Journalistic hitmen!!!

It is high time to take action against rogue media elements that are allowed to slander the names of people and companies with no repercussions.

For some time now an online site called Caribbean News Now has launched a vicious and slanderous attack on Sandals Resorts, clearly with an agenda that is supported by either pitiful politicians or vested hospitality interests that want to see one of the few proud institutions of the Caribbean fail.

It shows their deceit, it shows their hatefulness and it shows their lack of patriotism.

In particular, a gentleman by the name of Melanius Alphonse seems to have a particular obsession with Butch Stewart and his company – maybe Butch refused to give him a job. The latest assault by this so-called author is so devoid of commonsense it leads me to believe that the owners of this ‘news’ organisation must be equally culpable, or they would not let anything of the sort be published.

Alphonse is trying to suggest that Sandals Resorts has in some way been illegally charging guests to its Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort, taxes and retaining it instead of remitting it to the government. This in spite of the fact that the company is not only audited on an annual basis, but the Premier of the TCI Sharelene Cartwright-Robinson herself is on record as saying that there was no issue with Sandals paying its taxes.

But more than that, this pseudo news site tried to bring opposition leader Washington Missick into the mix, claiming he said Sandals owed US$164 million in unpaid taxes, which Mr. Missick has since refuted.

But shamelessly this website is insisting that the man said, what he said, he never said! Utter madness!

But one only has to revert to commonsense to expose the utter nonsense of Alphonse’s attack on Sandals. In other words, why would a company expose itself to retain 40% of a 12% tax, which would amount to only a few dollars, when all it has to do is increase its room rate to make the same money?

The argument by Alphonse is so illogical it reeks of bias and vindictiveness.

Is this what the media has come to in the Caribbean? Once upon a time we upheld a certain standard, now these literary mercenaries and assassins are being allowed to poison the hard work of real entrepreneurs like Butch Stewart, who have toiled for decades building a company that provides not only massive revenue for many governments throughout the region, but tens of thousands of jobs for Caribbean people.

Isn’t there a Caribbean Media Association? I would like to hear what they have to say about these journalistic hitmen.

Ernest Amadoe