New Supreme Court Registrar promised in May

Grenada is due to have a new Registrar of the Supreme Court from May 2.

Speaking at last Wednesday’s post-Cabinet Press briefing at the Ministerial Complex in St George’s, Legal Affairs Minister Kindra Maturine-Stewart said that the Acting Supreme Court Registrar, Yvette John will be assigned to the Deeds and Lands Registry to take charge of efforts to continue the modernisation of the Deeds and Land Registry.

THE NEW TODAY understands that the new acting Registrar is a female attorney-at-law who is currently assigned as an in-house lawyer with one of the nation’s state-owned utilities.

Minister Kindra Maturine-Stewart spoke of a new ‘deeds and land project’ in the making as approved by the Keith Mitchell-led government late last year to “deal with some issues identified by members of the (Grenada) Bar Association”.

In spite of ongoing digital improvements with financial assistance from the World Bank starting in 2014, these issues, the minister indicated, relates to the “integrity of the types of searches coming from the registry that were affecting commercial and other transactions.”

“As a consequence from the amount of searches, which usually takes place at the Deeds and Land Registry, imagine if one has to search a title 60 years back, one would assume that it will entail a lot of searches and what happened is that because of the volume of searches, most of the index books containing the relevant information over the years have become dilapidated and there were complaints from lawyers and members of the public that the records were in fact inconclusive”, she said.

“Cabinet late last year approved a ‘Deeds and Land project’, essentially to deal with some of the issues that have been identified by some of the members of the Grenada Bar Association…”, she added.

According to the female government minister under the project, staff at the registry will be trained in best practices in processing and recording of deeds and a procedural manual developed to guide staff in the execution of their roles and functions as it relates to the processing of deeds.

“Our acting Registrar now is slated to commence work on this project and this is expected as soon as the new registrar takes up work next month,” said Maturine-Stewart.

THE NEW TODAY was told that John’s appointment expired on March 31 but it is understood that she agreed to assist with the job throughout April.

An article dated March 26, 2014 on the World Bank’s website entitled “Grenada’s Land Registry goes digital”, said that Grenada was receiving assistance through a Technical Assistance Credit of US$3 million to improve its public service delivery by setting up and modernising the Grenada Lands Agency, upgrading its processes and technology, as well as digitising services.”

The World Bank article stated that “all departments that constituted the Grenada Lands Agency were connected through fiber-optic lines to allow for information sharing”.

“The quality of land survey registration and spatial planning improved radically, benefiting citizens and businesses…”, said the report.

It went on: “As a result the number of days needed to register a business and receive a company certificate declined from (10-20 days to 1-2 days) and Bills of Sale are filed and registered in one (1) day; the number of days to complete all property registration activities decreased from 77 days to 47 days and the number of days to register deeds decreased from 60 days to 30 days,” it added.
Going forward, the Government of Grenada had to oversee and support “integrating business processes of the land survey, physical planning, valuation, recording proprietors in the tax database, property registration and information search and integrating respective information subsystems into one (1) system”.

Last September, the Grenada Parliament approved an amendment to the Conveyancing and Law Property Act, which sought to cut down the search time at the Deeds and Land Registry regarding good title to property from 60 to 30 years.

According to Minister Maturine-Stewart, the amendment will take effect from “May 1” and will “greatly enhance the situation and the overall efficiency at the registry and of course will maintain the integrity of the entire system”.

“So, our several attempts really and truly are now coming to fruition, the parts and the pieces are now coming together. The ministry and the government of course will not rest until we bring back a sense of normalcy in our judicial system and I want to assure the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique that all facets of the judicial system are getting the attention at the highest level and is presently being addressed,” the government minister said.

Despite the reassurances from government, several of the island’s lawyers have been increasingly complaining about the poor state of affairs existing at the Supreme Court Registry.

Clico building to house civil courts and administration

The Government of Grenada announced last week that it has acquired the Second Floor of the Clico building on Young Street in St. George’s, which it said is currently being retrofitted to accommodate two (2) civil courts and the civil court administrative unit.

Minister of Legal Affairs Kindra Maturine-Stewart

Legal Affairs Minister, Kindra Maturine-Stewart, who made the disclosure to reporters at last week Wednesday’s Post-Cabinet briefing, said the contractor, whose name was withheld, “has been working and will be working around the clock” to ensure that the space is “ready in the shortest possible time” to get the place ready for sittings of the court.

The minister also said government is also looking to secure the 3rd Floor of the building, which is currently occupied by the remaining staff of Clico in order to house the two (2) criminal High Courts.

“Government is currently in possession of the second floor of the Clico building and work has commenced affecting the necessary repairs…”, she said.

“With respect to the Third floor, it is anticipated that government will be in possession of same within the next week or so. Arrangements are presently being finalised to secure alternative accommodation of the remaining staff of Clico…and so very soon work will commence on the Third floor with the same sense of urgency,” the minister told reporters.

This new development follows the closure of the High Court facility in May last year at the LIME building on The Carenage in St. George’s, due to severe health concerns posed by radiation.

Speaking with THE NEW TODAY recently, President of the Grenada Bar Association (GBA), Attorney-at-Law Lisa Taylor, expressed disappointment that the High Court crisis is not yet resolved.

And although in making the announcement the Legal Affairs minister remained tightlipped as it relates to a timeframe for completing the retrofitting works at the Clico building, Attorney Taylor reminded THE NEW TODAY that “the minister has been out there saying in the public domain that she is expecting it (the court facility) to be ready for September.”

GBA president Lisa Taylor – is disappointed with the slow pace of government efforts to resolve High Court crisis

However, the GBA President finds this to be “very disappointing”.

“We have to remember (that) next year will be a year (one year) since we are without a court and I say that in the context that I don’t consider what we are experiencing with the temporary arrangements at parliament to be by any means a solution to the problem because that is very much a temporary thing and we don’t have the exclusive use even of the small space that we have there.

“The minister has gone in the public domain and said they are working to see it (Clico building) open by September (but) we think that it’s too far away and we (are) not happy about that.

In January, several lawyers staged a protest to express their frustration over government’s perceived laid back approach in dealing with the ongoing challenges within the judicial system.

One (1) month later in February, one of the affected lawyers, Attorney-at-Law Derick Sylvester expressed the view that an important constitutional provision is being violated, which if left unchecked, can evolve into a constitutional fiasco, referencing the delay of justice for those criminally charged, whose rights are being infringed upon due to the current lack of judges and the present state of the nation’s judicial system which is still without proper facilities.

Sylvester cited “a constitutional provision, which states that every person charged with a criminal offense must be tried within a fair and reasonable time by fair and partial tribunal established by law”.

Grenada’s legal system is also being plagued by other challenges, specifically with regards to the condition at the Supreme Court Registry

At present, the decayed condition of the ledgers, including the permanent loss of records and under-staffing issues are yet to be addressed by government.

Clico building on Young Street, St. George’s

Lawyers have also complained of the understaffed court transcription office which severely affects obtaining written transcripts required to facilitate appeals of both criminal and civil matters.
Minister Maturine-Stewart told last week media briefing that “considerations are being given to have two (2) additional courts, one (1) civil and one (1) criminal court to deal with the backlog” accumulated due to the closure of the courts in recent months.

“We are looking to have a total of six (6) courts operating in Grenada. Considerations are being given to have a resident master here in Grenada rather than one (1) who visits once per month for a week. We believe that this will play a crucial role in resolving pending case management matters and interim and other applications that are pending before the court”, she said.

The female minister also announced that “Cabinet has also approved the appointment of two (2) judicial research assistants” to assist judges by request of Madam Justice Paula Gilford, who is the Chief High Court Judge on the island.

These judicial research assistants, the minister explained, will work closely with the judges and will be responsible for conducting legal research, case briefing, reviewing legal documents, preparing drafts for reviews among other responsibilities.

Minister Kindra Maturine-Stewart also disclosed that Cabinet has appointed a transcriptionist to support the court reporting unit to help reduce the backlog in pending Appeal cases.

In addition, she said a sub-committee of the Cabinet is presently aggressively looking at the construction of Grenada’s Hall of Justice and has reviewed several existing and new draft plans for the building and will soon be engaging the Grenada Bar Association and the public on it.

Task Force needed to deal with illegal fishing

Although complaints of illegal fishing in Grenada’s waters have been called a hoax by Fisheries Minister Alvin DaBreo, the Farmer’s Representative in the Senate, Dr. Dunstan Campbell has called for a Task Force to be established to properly investigate the claim.

Sen. Dunstan Campbell – the Famers’ Representative in the Senate

Speaking at sitting of the Upper House of Parliament at Mt. Wheldale, St. George last week Wednesday, Sen. Campbell said because this problem is not new to Grenada, he believes very much what the fisherfolks are complaining about.

“A year and a half ago, I remember a fisherfolk at Gouyave was robbed at sea by another vessel. We were told that the people on that vessel were speaking Spanish. We are now having the situation on the Eastern Side of the island where the fisherfolks are allegedly encountering because of what is being said but at that particular point where a FAD (Fish Aggravating Device) is located. The fishermen are fearful of going out to that area to fish, an area which is dedicated for our fisher folks to harvest the natural resources of our country…”, he told the house.

According to Sen. Campbell, Grenada belongs to its people and “it is our sovereign right and as such we should be protected in the harvesting of those resources”.

“… Some people are saying that it (illegal fishing) is not real, others are saying that it is life threatening. I have seen reports of ministry people reporting that these incidences were taking place and action should have been taken, but they were not taken, so we are at the situation where it seems to be a crisis and some people are saying that it’s a hoax”, he said.

Dr. Campbell indicated that he would like to give the benefit of the doubt to those fisherfolks who are convinced that illegal fishing is taking place and photos have been promised to confirm the allegation.

He suggested that government should set up a task force to address the situation.

“My advice is that at this critical moment we must bring together the main players – put in place an action plan, so that we can address the situation. The fisher folks, they got the right, they are the right holders for those resources. We have the duty bearers, the policemen, the members from the Fisheries department who are supposed to protect our fisher folks…”, he said.

“…In fact, I spoke to a senior member in the fisheries and this guy said that he was asked to go out in the middle of the night to locate the vessel with…the Coast Guard boat and he was scared for his life in that little boat and they were supposed to be going after a boat about 10 times the size of this little (Grenada Coast Guard vessel) …so it’s like the elephant and the ants”, he added.

Dr. Campbell went on: “We should not endanger the lives of our security forces so they too have the right to be protected. So, I am saying that we should get down on the table, bring all the facts together and develop an action plan to address this very serious situation”.

Noting that the fisheries sector contributed $16 million to the economy in 2017, the farmer’s representative Campbell also noted that the issue of limited bait for fishermen should also be addressed urgently.

He said: “While we are dealing with the situation of foreign intervention, legal or illegal we also have in the Fisheries Sector, the very serious concern of bait. So whether or not you are not catching fish because foreigners are taking the fish, you also have the situation where you are not catching because you do not have bait.

“While we should put together a task force to address the problem of illegal fishing, we should also take into consideration the situation of bait, Mr President. The Fisheries Sector contributed 16 million dollars to our economy in 2017, it is an important sector that we should not play around with”, he remarked.

Leader of Government Business in the Senate and Minister of Climate Resilience, Senator Simon Stiell said the complaint of illegal fishing in Grenada’s waters was looked into but the search crew came up with nothing.

“In relative terms, Grenada’s fishing waters are rich compared to those of neighbouring territories so we present ourselves as a very attractive target for illegal fishing and that has always been the case and that will continue…”, he said.

“…We need to speak facts, the matter has been taken seriously by the Ministry of Fisheries and discussions have been taking place again at very senior levels. The Coast Guard, Mr President has been engaged beyond the small rubber dinghy that was mentioned – thorough investigation has taken place. The Coast Guard with its sea worthy vessel have been out patrolling, Mr President and are increasing their patrols but the feedback that we have received thus far, that’s not saying there isn’t a problem, but the reports thus far from the Coast Guard who are the most qualified formal means of assessing the situation, have said they are yet to find any evidence of what the Senator on the other side have spoken of,” he added.

However, Sen. Stiell welcomed the idea of a task force being put in place and described it as “an excellent suggestion”.

“The suggestion from the member that there be the establishment of the task force, which must include the Coast Guard; must include our fishermen; must include government; must include our fishing communities is an excellent suggestion and one that we will put forward because this threat is real; whether it is being exaggerated or whether it is being underplayed enough to get to the heart of it”, he said.

Uncorked Beer & Wine Festival

In just a few days, Grenada will host its annual Uncorked Beer & Wine Festival at Quarantine Point Recreational Park on May 5.

Cross section of audience enjoying last year’s concert

The festival will bring together beer and wine lovers as well as Grenada’s leading distributors and manufacturers of beer and wine in a safe setting where patrons can sample drinks and have the opportunity to buy their favourites from vendors.

Patrons will also be treated to a live concert with Grenada’s top entertainers, Thamara ‘Song Bird’ St. Bernard alongside the band Apollo; Laura Lisa and DEM Band and Lyndon Langdon on the Saxophone.

Trinidad’s champion pannist and arranger Duvone Stewart will be a featured artist at this year’s event who will serenade the audience with his hit renditions.

Persons who have attended previous Uncorked festivals gave rave reviews and expressed their desire to patronise future events.

Uncorked is the first of its kind in the southern Caribbean.

The annual event was first held four years ago by WG Promotions which was recently rebranded to Clique Entertainment.

This year’s title sponsor for the event is Silversands Luxury Resort which will also be featuring their splendid selection of fine wines from all over the world and delicious food prepared by their in-house chefs.

“We are very pleased with the support the event has received in previous years and are happy with its growth. It is our vision for Uncorked to become one of the most anticipated events in Grenada and the Caribbean attracting visitors from across the region and further afield”, said Wilvorn Grainger, Spokesperson for Clique Entertainment.

“We are also proud to give Grenada’s manufacturers and distributors a platform for their products and to educate patrons on how to pair their food with drink and more”, added Grainger.
Persons wishing to attend the event, can visit www.cliqueentertainment.gd or visit the event Facebook page ‘Uncorked’ to learn more.

Third Grenada Invitational at Stadium

I attended the third Grenada Invitational on Saturday 13th April 2019, and my reaction was similar to that of the first two competitions staged.

I enjoyed the meet thoroughly. The organisation of the event was spot on. The track and field officials carried out their duties in a most competent and efficient manner. There were no delays. The scoreboard worked. The Ushers were polite, and the services – bathroom facilities and food catering were conveniently placed for patrons usage.

I was delighted to see for the first time my favourite female athlete –Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce perform live. She won her event, the 100 metre A for women without breaking a sweat. It was also good to witness two young up and coming talented overseas sprinters perform. Canadian Andre DeGrasse who placed second in the 200 metres, and Adam Gemilli of Great Britain who won the 100 metre A event.

Our top Grenadian Competitor BralonTaplin did not disappoint the home crowd, as he won the 400 metre A event in fine style for the second year in succession.

Another major International athletic star competing in Grenada for the third time, Justin Gatlin, unfortunately pulled up close to the finish line in the 200 metres A, seemingly suffering from a hamstring problem.

The off field entertainment provided by a troupe of young Grenadian dancers, and the local singer Boysie, was measured, appropriate, and well produced so that their contributions did not overshadow the athletics competition, but complimented it.

Congratulations and thanks must go out to the athletes, both local and foreign, the entertainers, the field officials and the games organisers for producing an enjoyable evening that was well spent.

The value and the positive exposure realised for Grenada, an Internationally advertised tourist destination, due to the worldwide recognised sporting network ESPN’s live television coverage of the meet that was beamed to appx 120 million viewers for a three hour period cannot be underestimated.

Roger Byer
Morne Jaloux
St. George’s

The secret deal!!!

Several Grenadians now feel a sense of betrayal by the New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell on the oil and gas deal reached with the Global Petroleum Group (GPG) of Russia.

The citizens of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique have to rely on media sources outside of Grenada for the little bits and pieces of our potential oil and gas resources in the face of an almost deafening silence by government.

And our people have been comparing the transparent manner in which Guyana, a fellow member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) as Grenada has been very open in its dealings with the U.S giant, ExxonMobil which is engaged in oil and gas drilling in its waters.

The Guyanese people have been kept abreast by the government in Georgetown about the potential financial benefits to the country from each and every oil find that is made by Exxon.

There was another oil find in Guyana’s territorial waters three weeks ago and the following report was made available not only to the people of Guyana but the world-at-large.

It reads: “ExxonMobil made a new oil discovery at the Yellowtail-1 well offshore Guyana, the company announced.

This marks the 13th discovery on the Stabroek Block and adds to the already 5.5-billion barrels of oil equivalent in the block.

Yellowtail-1 is also the fifth discovery in the Turbot area, which is expected to become a major development hub.

Yellowtail-1, which is located about six miles northwest of the Tilapia discovery, was drilled to a depth of 18,445 feet (5,622 meters) in 6,046 feet (1,843 meters) of water. Drilling on the well commenced March 27.

“Similar to the Liza area, successive discoveries in the Turbot area have continuously grown its shared value,” Mike Cousins, senior vice president of ExxonMobil Exploration and New Ventures said in a company statement.

“Our success here can be attributed to our industry-leading upstream capabilities, the strength of our partnerships and our ongoing commitment to growing Guyana’s offshore potential.”
ExxonMobil previously stated there was potential for at least five floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels on the Stabroek Block producing more than 750,000 barrels of oil per day by 2025.

ExxonMobil affiliate Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited is the operator and holds 45 percent interest in the Stabroek Block while Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd. holds 30 percent interest and CNOOC Petroleum Guyana Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC Limited, holds 25 percent interest”.

Why can’t our own government in Grenada tell the nation what percentage of the financial take it will get from the GPG deal? Why this continued secrecy?

THE NEW TODAY is not blaming GPG for any advantageous position that it was able to secure from government since as a private sector business concern its primary objective is profit-making and not losses from its investment.

GPG would have advanced millions to the NNP government over the years and will certainly want to recover it down the road once oil and gas have been discovered.

And it should be noted that the government has never told the people who were its team of negotiators who met with the Russians to hammer out the oil and gas exploration agreement.

At least, the 2008-13 National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas was very transparent in giving the names of its team led by Dr. Carl Mitchell that negotiated the boundaries between Grenada and Trinidad when the current Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peter David was the line minister in that period.

What it is that GPG found in Grenada’s territorial waters? Is it both oil and gas or only gas?

It should be noted that the Russian company signed an agreement in which government was noticeable absent with a company in Trinidad for all the gas that can be exploited in Grenadian waters.

This agreement did not mention anything about oil.

There is now a Chinese company in the mix from all reports and Grenadians have no information on how much the new entrant into its oil and gas business will be taking away from the deal.

It begs the question – why is the Grenada oil and gas deal covered in so much mystery?

It is only a few in the NNP regime who seemingly know anything about this secret deal between GPG and the Government of Grenada.

Why should oil and gas patrimony become the personal domain of a few in the country like Prime Minister Mitchell and his Energy Minister, Gregory Bowen?

SAMS offering Ante-natal Classes

St. Augustine’s Medical Services (SAMS) has commenced a brand new initiative – monthly Ante-natal classes for expectant parents.

Ante-natal, or parent-craft classes, help prepare mothers and their partners, for the arrival of their newborn.

The classes are tailored to work in tandem with the ante-natal care, which most expectant mothers receive from health care professionals during pregnancy, including appointments with a midwife, or an obstetrician.

Administrative Executive for SAMS, and mother of three, Mrs Amechi, shares her experience, “Being pregnant can be an exciting and also a scary time. Having classes, where you can receive information and advice, can help lay the groundwork for approaching the BIG event, and the challenges and surprises beyond, with confidence.”

Classes, which are currently being held on the second and fourth Friday of each month at SAMS, will assist mothers with preparing a birth plan and educate them on arrangements and choices, which can be made for labour and birth, in advance of the event.

They will also address how to remain healthy during pregnancy and the adjustments required in caring for a newborn. Areas such as; a healthy diet and nutrition, the importance of hydration, vitamin intake, exercise etc., will also be discussed in the educational sessions.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Pauline Peters, made a point of inviting SAMS to participate in a workshop under the USAID Maternal Child Survival Programme; “Helping Babies Survive – Essential Care for Small Babies – Training of Trainers”- held Nov 7 & 8, 2018.

This was successfully completed by several members of the SAMS nursing team.

Dr. Amechi, Resident Physician and part owner of SAMS stated, “We are very pleased to be addressing an area of such importance. Educating both expectant parents, and the nursing staff, in childbirth and infant care, is a positive move towards addressing infant mortality rates, by looking at simple factors which can improve or even pre-empt possible challenges in both areas.

“We appreciated the further acknowledgement of our standing as an integral part of the health care community in Grenada, as seen by the invitation extended to our nursing team by the Ministry of Health,” he concluded.

St Augustine’s Medical Services wishes to advise that ante-natal classes are normally recommended 8-10 weeks before the baby’s due date (30-32 weeks pregnant) but introductory classes on baby care can also be attended early on in the pregnancy.

Persons wishing to attend classes at SAMS are requested to call in advance to book a place.

(Submitted by St. Augustine’s Medical Services (SAMS)

“Pump it up”

Last Sunday, the streets were awash in a beautiful sea of daisy, a lovely shade of yellow.

Just over 4,000 people participated in Co-op Bank’s 11th annual “Pump it Up” Family Fun Walk, a spectacular event put on by Co-op Bank as the main feature of its Healthier Lifestyles Program.

The event was sold out just under two weeks before the event – proof that “Pump it Up” is a highly anticipated event.

Following a countdown which included a warm up session led by the Body Image Health Club the walk began at 4:00 p.m with the crowd of participants departing the Morne Rouge playing field toward the National Cricket Stadium.

Some participants took the challenge route which was used again this year, diverting up Lowther’s Lane, down Marrast Hill, through River Road, and onto the National Cricket Stadium.

In 2017, for the first time, Co-op Bank announced its collaboration with Jonas Browne & Hubbard (G’da) Ltd, FLOW and Guardian General Insurance (OECS) Limited to pool resources for the benefit of one major sustainable initiative – the re-establishment of the Carlton Home.

Antillean Group was welcomed on board in 2018 as the fourth Benefactor, and in 2019, Coyaba Beach Resort joined the team of Benefactors to add its contribution to the initiative.

In his remarks to the participants during the closing ceremony, Managing Director of Co-op Bank, Richard W. Duncan spoke of the benefactors as being “fully committed to supporting those who are battling substance abuse so that they can make a valuable contribution to their families and society.”

He stated that “the significant financial contributions of these companies to date have gone directly to a trust fund, which will be managed by the board of trustees made up of the initial benefactors and the Bank.”

This year, the contributions of the Benefactors totaled a significant $65,000.00 which has been placed in the Trust Fund created for the initiative.

As is customary, Co-op Bank contributes $1.00 per mile for each registered participant: 721 participants in Carriacou resulting in a $2,700.00 contribution and 4,174 participants in Grenada – 3,966 on the regular route and 208 on the challenge route – resulting in a contribution of $17,000.00.

The total amount raised since 2016 including Benefactor contributions now stands at $240,053.64, almost halfway to the goal of $500,000.00 which the Bank hopes to attain by 2021 toward the re-establishment of the Carlton Home.

Prizes were awarded for largest registered groups and individuals.

Largest registered community group – SPAR

Largest registered family – Hilda Stephen &Family

Largest registered church group – St. George’s SDA Church

Largest registered school-based group – St. Joseph’s Convent, St. George

Registered workplace group (micro) – Compass Shipping & Axcel Finance Team

Registered workplace group (small) – Coyaba Beach Resort

Registered workplace group (medium) – Grenada Nurses Association

Registered workplace group (large) – Geo. F.Huggins

Youngest registered female on foot – Kahlasee Felix

Youngest registered male on foot – Jovi Fletcher

Youngest registered baby girl in stroller – Eliana Sylvester

Youngest registered baby boy in stroller – Kanniel Telesford

Most senior registered female – Auslyn Williams

Most senior registered male – Mike Francis

Wildcard prize – Kristen Kerr

This year, there was a prize for a wild card winner – a registered participant not falling within any of the individual prize categories.

At the end of the prize giving ceremony, participants were entertained with the scintillating sounds of one of Grenada’s most popular live bands -Mystic.

Co-op Bank wishes to commend all participants for their stance on healthy living and for their support toward the re-establishment of the Carlton Home.

The MNIB fiasco – one year later!!!

It’s approaching one year since the MNIB fiasco hit Grenada like a storm. Mr. Ruel Edwards was removed from the helm of the MNIB and placed at the Ministry of Finance. Mr. Elvis Young was put to act and I do believe he is still acting. Keep in mind this was the accountant under Mr. Edwards who allowed the funds to be so called mismanaged.

Does Mr. Young have the managerial skills and acumen to put MNIB back on its feet?

I wish to express my disappointment with the PM for the handling of the matter but I shouldn’t be disappointed as it well known how close he and Ruel were. However, I expected that along with Ruel the entire board and Managers who sat idly by while all the bad decisions were being made would be removed.

To my amasement the Board of Directors basically remained the same with only three changes Mr. DeAllie, Colin La Barrie and Mr. Michael Stephen. Is the PM so confident of the competency of the remaining members? Why are they still active? Is the defense of ‘I didn’t know what was going on acceptable”?

The same managers continued to draw their huge salaries and benefits while doing very little to improve the current situation of the company or to make the harsh decisions that have to be made.

The managers seem to be having a ball of a time engaging in other activities on the company’s time, which is evident from their movement on a daily basis.

The rest of the employees from middle management right down are disgruntled. As they should rightly be. Last year we heard pension plan, insurance plan and bills weren’t paid. Are things different now?

When was the last staff meeting to address the concerns of these brutalised workers?

The PM who is directly responsible for MNIB doesn’t have to be told how important an institution as MNIB is to the economy and to every family that exist within this country. MNIB was established to market farmers produce locally, regionally and internationally.

Mr. PM, why have MNIB stopped exporting produce? Do you no longer care about our balance of trade? Mr. PM, who is investigating the daily operations of MNIB to ensure things are being done right and square pegs are not in round holes?

Since politics is the only language we understand, let me explain to the PM: If all the farmers who work with MNIB are happy, they would influence their families and workers to vote for you. You do the Math!! Remember you need the votes as the public servant and teachers are already upset with you.

The Integrity Commission seems to be making a mockery of our resources and time. What is the status of the investigation? Where is the money from the commodities sales? Were the companies that brought MNIB to court right or wrong? Is Mr. Edwards right or wrong for suing you?

After one year I am still sadden by the MNIB situation, this company should be the heartbeat of the Grenadian farming community.

I applaud the workers who continue to hold the fort and labour with little pay and benefits. When delivering produce to the pack house I wonder how these workers remain so cheerful and pleasant.
Mr. PM, I recommend the following:

*Change the board

*Evaluate and change the managers

*Meet the workers and have a discussion

*Close down the Grenville outlet

*Give MNIB some new vehicles

Worried Farmer