OIL & GAS: OUR PATRIMONY, GOVERNMENT’S SECRET

In the first part of this article, we indicated that the Production Sharing Agreement (“PSA”) between the Government of Grenada (“GOG”) and GPG dated March 31st 2008, for the “exploration, development and production of offshore petroleum resources of Grenada”, was for an initial period of 4 years and was manifestly disadvantageous to Grenada.

Because of the plethora of evidence that showed the PSA and the accompanying 40 year Exploration Licence literally gave away the patrimony of the people of Grenada, the NDC spent 2009 to 2012 working to undo the tremendous damage done by Mitchell and Bowen.

During that time, the NDC: (a) successfully defended the case brought against the GOG by RSM Corporation (Jack Grynberg); (b) thoroughly reviewed the agreements with GPG; (c) held discussions with GPG to obtain a better understanding of the circumstances surrounding the signing of those bad agreements and tried to negotiate a better deal and; (d) solicited advice from various experts in the field to help recover our patrimony.

Critically, in 2010, the NDC successfully concluded boundary delimitation with Trinidad & Tobago and was preparing to do the same with Venezuela when we demitted office. Delimiting our maritime boundaries with these two neighbours is necessary to avoid future maritime boundary disputes about where we are entitled to develop and explore for resources.

The NNP recklessly ignored this during its prior terms and again, in the period 2013 to present.

The PSA was not only one-sided in favour of GPG. It also deviated starkly from other similar agreements. At this time, it is not known whether the parties have signed a new agreement on terms more beneficial to Grenada or whether they are proceeding on the basis of the agreement signed in March 2008.

GPG, egged on by NNP, did not co-operate with the NDC administration. Nothing was done under the agreement between 2008 and 2012. For these reasons, we believe that a new agreement was not signed. That is why Government is refusing to be transparent about the current deal with GPG. The agreement is so reprehensible that the people of Grenada are to expect no benefits from the oil and gas sector in the foreseeable future. Any benefit will go to GPG and the third parties contracting with it.

Government continues to lie to the public, insisting that the agreement with GPG is not for public scrutiny. In fact, it is normal in the industry for Governments to make PSAs with private companies public. Often times, the entire agreement is published, as was recently the case with Guyana and its PSA with ExxonMobil.

Complete transparency is crucial as Government must fully account to the people, especially as it relates to revenue management. Only by publishing the PSA with GPG, will the people of Grenada understand the rights and obligations of the parties and the structure for revenue sharing.

Bowen and Mitchell are refusing to make the PSA public because if they do, their lies about how much Grenada stands to benefit will be fully exposed.

Bowen recently told the nation that so far we have received $20 million into our treasury from the oil and gas sector. However, there is no record of this ‘revenue’ in any of our previous Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure. The NDC challenges this administration to show us where in our estimates this revenue is recorded.

We all know of the announcement the Prime Minister made on March 11th 2018, the eve of elections, and the promise of plenty money that we should not put Nazim Burke in charge of. At the NNP convention on October 28th 2018, Bowen told the gathering: “Let us wait for the next year, when we can drill the wells, before we can say we are out of the doldrums economically.”

Yet, on GBN’s Beyond the Headlines on 7th January 2019 when confronted with his election eve promise, Mitchell responded: “I did not say it will come yesterday…based on where we are, I think we will see some results within the next four years.” Mitchell, Bowen and their minions can’t get their stories straight. That is because they continue to disrespect us by telling lie after lie.

On the same Beyond the Headlines show, the host highlighted to Mitchell, the lack of transparency about what’s happening with oil and gas. Mitchell’s response was: “Well as long as we have more information, we will bring it.”

Mr. Prime Minister, you do have the agreement between the GOG and GPG, bring it to us. Make it public just as the Guyanese Government made theirs public.

(The above was submitted by the main opposition National Democratic Congress)

Statement from Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development and Religious Affairs on the situation with St. Andrew’s Methodist School

The Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development and Religious Affairs advises the general public that normal school activities at the St. Andrew’s Methodist School have been disrupted due to concerns about the structural integrity of some sections of the school’s plant.

Acting on the advice of engineers, and in consultation with the Board of Management of the Methodist School, the following actions have been agreed upon in the interim: –

*Classes for students of Grades K to 5, have been suspended until further notice.

*Grade 6 students will be accommodated in one section of the school which was cleared for continued occupancy, earlier this week.

The Ministry regrets any inconvenience this temporary arrangement may cause, and affirms that every effort will be made to accommodate all students and staff in the shortest possible time.

Thank you for your understanding.

Fake skills certificates detected in the region

Grenada is among six CARICOM countries that have been on the receiving end of fake skills certificates from CARICOM nationals especially Jamaicans who are seeking employment.

CARICOM Affairs Minister, Oliver Joseph said Jamaicans have been identified to be holders of most of those fake documents

This was confirmed by Minister of CARICOM Affairs, Oliver Joseph at Tuesday’s post-Cabinet Press Briefing in which he told reporters that the matter was discussed at the recently held Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) meeting in Guyana.

According to Minister Joseph, Grenada had two reported cases in 2018 where fake skills certificates were presented to obtain employment and Jamaica has been recognised as the country where most of the culprits came from.

At the COTED meeting, Minister Joseph said it was decided that the skills certificates should be standardised in an effort to eradicate the issue.

“That was discussed at the COTED meeting that I just came from – a number of fake certificates. The meeting took a decision on security features for these certificates, and Jamaica has been identified, as the country that the most fake certificates came from, and so they gave a commitment – the Jamaica delegation – to introduce security features in it that will ensure that no one could fake the certificate”, he said.

“…In Grenada, I know there were two reported cases. In some member states it was higher – these fake skilled certificates and the meeting did address that. The recommendation is that we should standardise the certificate with the security features in it, so that you minimise or get rid – if you could – of people producing fake certificates,” he added.

According to a report prepared by the CARICOM Secretariat for the COTED meeting, 168 fake skills certificates were identified in six CARICOM countries in 2018 and Jamaicans were the holder of 167 of those false documents, the other involved a Guyanese.

Of this amount, the volume of the fake documents some 148 were submitted for jobs in Trinidad and Tobago.

Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, St. Kitts-Nevis, and St. Lucia were the other targeted countries by the Jamaicans.

The skills certificate is part of a CARICOM law adopted by the 15-member block to allow nationals with certain skills to move freely and work in any of the participating countries without the need for a work permit.

State Could Pay Millions For Oscar Bartholomew’s Death

Oscar Bartholomew – died after a severe beating by cops at a police station

The Grenada government could be forced to dole out millions in compensation for the police killing of Grenadian-born naturalized Canadian citizen, Oscar Bartholomew following an incident at the St David Police Station in late December 2011.

Government is currently awaiting a report from the office of the Attorney General in order to determine its next course of action after a Judge ruled that the State is financially liable in the death of Bartholomew who is originally from the village of La Tante in St. David.

The 39-year old native was on the island vacationing with his Canadian wife when he was severely beaten while in custody at the St David Police Station and later died at the St. George’s General Hospital.

A civil suit for wrongful death was filed by Attorney-at-law Derek Sylvester, on behalf of Bartholomew’s estate and last week Thursday an oral judgement was delivered by Justice Wynante Adrien Roberts.

The Dominica-born female high court judge determined that the police officers and government are “vicariously liable” based on evidence and witness testimony presented in the case.

237 Rudy Felix – charged along with four others in connection with the incident

Economic Development Minister Oliver Joseph said Tuesday that government respects all court rulings and await communication from the Attorney General before deciding on how to respond to the judgement against the State.

Joseph is the elected Member of Parliament for the St. David constituency where Bartholomew was born.

One of the five police officers implicated in the death, Rudy Felix, who was the diarist on duty at the time of the alleged beating of Bartholomew in a holding cell at the station, was discharged from any financial responsibility in the death.

A written judgement is expected shortly and the Judge has ordered that the process move into the assessment phase, to determine the monetary compensation to be awarded to the estate of Bartholomew.

The assessment will take into consideration the extent of pain and suffering as well as Bartholomew’s earnings, had he lived to retirement age.

649 Edward Gibson – has since retired from the police force

THE NEW TODAY understands that the damages could run into millions of dollars for Bartholomew who worked as a carpenter in Canada when he died.

Medical evidence showed that Bartholomew was rendered unconscious and fell into a coma after the police beating.

There was also evidence that he received severe blows to the head even while unconscious in the cell.

The 2013 Coroner’s Inquest had discharged police officer 748 Kenton Hazard, while the other four, 675 Shaun Garness, 649 Edward Gibson, Rural Constable Wendell Sylvester and 237 Rudy Felix were indicted to face manslaughter charges.

However, the Judge in the civil case held Hazard liable for the death of Bartholomew and he along with Gibson, Sylvester and Garness will have to pay personal damages, according to the High Court judgement.

It was on Boxing Day in 2011 that Bartholomew and his wife stopped at Petit Esperance so his wife could go to the bathroom at the St. David’s Police Station.

Bartholomew reportedly mistook a female police officer for an old friend and gave her a vigorous hug before allegedly realising his mistake.\

675 Shaun Garness – a lot of fingers are pointing at him

Police officers who witnessed the event viewed the hug as an assault against an officer and arrested Bartholomew.

The wife emerged from the bathroom to hear her husband screaming inside the building.

The next time Bartholomew’s wife saw her husband, he was being carried out on a stretcher and then taken to the hospital where he died amidst a national uproar after news circulated throughout the island about the brutal beating incident inside the police station.

Meanwhile, defense attorney Anslem Clouden has told THE NEW TODAY that he intends to make a move to have the manslaughter charge against police officer Felix dismissed in the Bartholomew case.

Clouden said that based on the civil judgement which released Felix from financial liability in the wrongful death lawsuit brought by Bartholomew’s estate, he will make representation to have the criminal charge against his client quashed.

Rural Constable Wendell Sylvester – ended up on the wrong side of the law

The attorney explained that there is a stage in criminal proceedings where if the evidence is tenuous and weak, a no-case submission can be made.

“Felix is freed from any financial liability toward the estate of Oscar Bartholomew. He had not participated and we had maintained that throughout, in what transpired at the police station.

“The next step would be an approach to the Director of Public Prosecutions, having regard to the findings of the Court that Felix is not civilly liable.

“We are going to make representation at the appropriate time to have Felix discharged from criminal responsibility, based on the evidence that was adduced during the civil trial.”

Felix was the diarist on duty on December 26, 2011 when Bartholomew was taken into custody by police after he embraced a female police officer.

The police officer has maintained that he remained at the duty desk at the police station and had not entered the cell at any time during the alleged beating of Bartholomew.

748 Kenton Hazard – one of the five officers implicated in the incident

Clouden said because they have not yet started the criminal trial there will be an opportunity, as set out in the law, where he can seek to have his client freed from prosecution for manslaughter.

“If there is insufficient evidence, or if the evidence is so weak, that no Jury, properly directed, could convict, then at the stage of a no-case submission, he ought to be freed.

Clouden could not say when the criminal trial would commence since difficult court conditions and a scarcity of Judges have been delaying criminal trials in the Supreme Court.
Director of Public Prosecution Christopher Nelson was not immediately available for comment.

However, other legal sources have said that because civil proceedings are held to a lesser standard of proof than criminal proceedings, one cannot say for sure that Felix would be discharged from a Jury trial.

Do something for cocoa!!!

Over the Last 2 or 3 years , I have remained silent on some activities that can further assist Grenada or lack of them as I observe.

What is going on in the Grenada Cocoa Association “Limited” now that the 2019 Labour Day has come and passed?

I shall begin these documentaries with the hope that they may transform Grenada and “Grenada Cocoa” and Grenada Chocolate soonest.

The following is the First in a Series of Actions that should be taken to broaden the scope of cocoa and chocolates in GRENADA:-

(1). The “Carlton Cocoa Station”

This Cocoa Station, located in a major 3-Point Road Junction to St. George’s and Grenville in almost the centre of the cocoa Industry needs a drastic change including a facelift and transformation into a major Agro-tourism attraction, linked with the Grenada Hotel & Tourism Association.

To do this, the outside should be made into a virtual flower garden with special selected plants and special Cocoa plants properly maintained showing off our unique “Grenada Cocoa” such as the “Criollo Type and the Best “Trinitario” & Forastero type of Clones. Their biological names such as “Theobroma cacao” should be in bold letterings with a brief summary on Grenada Cocoa.
Perhaps, a school in St. Andrew could be asked to adopt the project and do the historical research necessary.

Similarly this should be done for the over fifty year old Nutmeg tree planted by the Noel Family several decades ago with the name “Myristica fragrans” etc and a brief write up on the living legend should be done.

The Grenada Cocoa Association should liaison with the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) to regulate traffic in the area . Speed Humps should be placed at Strategic Points in the Highway there to enable reduction in hustling Buses and other vehicles with warning signs and so on.

Besides the front of the Building, the sides and the back should be developed and linked with Tourist Tour operators and so on. This change will more than triple the amount of persons who visit the site now.

But even more important, is the Carlton Building, the building should be painted in either the National colours or in the Brand Colour for our “Grenada Cocoa” or of our Grenada Chocolate Jouvay brand. Bold lettering of the Carlton Cocoa Station should be made and inscribed on the Building to be seen from either direction.

Then the Tours to and of the Carlton Cocoa Station should be more professional even to the extent of having the tourist visitors be prepared and briefed for the Carlton Tour before reaching there; possibly on Tape or on Diskette.

The Tour Guides should be dressed appropriately remembering that this is a tour of a Food Plant. Possibly there should be an outlet for Cocoa tea cold and hot for chocolates such as “Bonbons “ and Truffles etc. Also tourist gift packages including dry pod packages and so on.

This is the first in a series of ideas and concepts for public discussion and implementation to help Grenada.

Dr. E. Reginald Buckmire

Labour Minister Peter David was booed and heckled on Labour Day

It was a tough time for Minister of Labour, Peter David at the annual Labour Day Celebrations held at the La Sagesse Playing Field in St. David on May 1.

Adrian Francis – was recognised for outstanding labour relations work over the years

The Labour Minister came in for his roughest treatment ever as a senior member of the Keith Mitchell-led Cabinet of Ministers as workers took after him with their grudges against the administration on the thorny issues of pension and gratuity, the docking of public workers salary and contract work.

The workers heckled, jeered and booed Minister David as they were not prepared to listen to any word that came from him as he sought to reassure workers that the ruling New National Party (NNP) was supportive of the working class in the country.

Labour Day celebrations were held under the theme “Social and Economic Justice, a must! – Respect Workers Rights”.

The traditional march was attended by workers from the seven different unions making up the Grenada Trades Union Council (GTUC) – Bank and General Workers Union (BGWU), Seamen and Waterfront Workers Union (SWWU), Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU), Commercial and Industrial Workers Union (CIWU), Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT), Public Workers Union (PWU) and the Grenada Manual Maritime and Intellectual Workers Union (GMMIWU).

The workers demonstrated their anti-government through the many placards carried as they marched from Belle Vue, St. David to the La Sagesse Playing Field.

After being called out for his absence and non-intervention on workers issues by some members of the Labour Movement, Minister David received resounding boos from the angry workers and half way through his speech, the song Amazing Grace were heard being sung from the stands.

Minister David was not daunted and still delivered, noting that his history of indentifying with the working people is well documented.

He said amidst the shouts of booes: “I am now in a position over the last twelve months to find fair and equitable solutions to the number of industrial relations problem that confront working people and employer. As we face many challenges together… I know it might be easy to fall into a circle of mistrust but on this continuous march to empowering workers and to do right by all, we must be careful, not to let style nor personality get in the way of unbreakable commitment.

“From where I sit as Minister of Labour, we are more hopeful today than we were a year ago, that we will find fair legal solutions to these challenges that face workers in this country. We may sometimes bother about the details, we may sit across the table on different perspectives at times, but we have no doubt that this coming era shall be working people’s era,” he added.

President of the TUC, Senator Andre Lewis responded immediately to many of the statements made by the Labour Minister in his address.

Workers as they danced and chipped to music on the May Day march down from Belle Vue to
La Sagesse Playing Field

Sen. Lewis charged that Minister David cannot be a member of the present government in light of his pronouncements that he was for the working class in Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.

“…The day of reckoning is coming brothers – a day of reckoning is coming. Don’t forget that on the eve of the election we signed the MOU (for 25% Pension and Gratuity) but they do not realise that it has an election cycle”, he said.

In a direct response to some of the achievements of the NNP regime over the years as outlined by Minister David, the TUC boss said: “We are not interested in things you have done two years ago, we want (to) know what are you doing now, what are your plans for us…you are the best government in recent history? Maybe, after you have placed mountains and mountains of taxes on us, so obviously the economy will grow. Once again the minister is asking us to trust in him, but that can’t happen, it is important for us not to get side tracked”.

President of the Commercial and Industrial Workers Union (CIWU), George Mason said the gains that are being boasted about by the Mitchell government remind him of the opening line from a book by Charles Dickens called a “A tale of two realities”, which read, “It was the best of times and it was the worst of times”.

Mason explained, “Presently, Grenada is a tale of two realities. The economy is buoyant, robust, growing, there is plenty money, we have found and are still exploring for oil and gas. Over 30,000 persons are receiving some form of assistance from our Safety Net Programmes. We have a low crime rate; unemployment is at an unprecedented low. This is one tale.

“…The other tale is that public workers are being treated as pigs for the slaughter house. When you have a pig, you feeding it to eat.

So, what you have happening is government doles out the pittance from the increases in taxes as salary increases and they in government have a policy of attrition, which is to every 10, you get three. So eat, be merry but your Saturday coming.”

Mason was not short on relaying his disappointment in Minister David for his lack of commitment towards workers and called on government to limit the Minister to just one government portfolio.

“The Ministry of Labour presently has two employees…the Labour Commissioner and one Acting Senior Labour Officer. The Senior Labour Officer has been acting, well I don’t know if he is…George Clooney.

The Minister has two essential portfolios – Labour and Foreign Affairs but when labour issues are hot, he is whisked away to foreign…he cannot talk, he cannot be found…that is the other tale. We call on government to relieve the Minister of Labour to concentrate on Labour or Foreign affairs…we call on government to employ more Labour officers,” he said.

President of the Bank and General Workers Union, Justin Campbell called out David to stop hiding and address the workers on the issue of pension and gratuity.

“The Teachers Union, Public Workers Union, and TAWU, they are going through a battle with government in order to get their pension and gratuity. They have been marginalised, Pension and Gratuity is for all of us…”, he said.

“…Where is Comrade Peter David and Brother Chester Humphrey? Up to today, we haven’t heard anything from the Minister. I don’t know if he is in the garden hiding but Brother Peter David come out, come out and address the nation, address the nation, about our pension and our gratuity. We don’t want Mr (Anthony) Boatswain (MP for St. Patrick West) to come and speak to us – you’re the Minister of Labour, come out and speak to the workers. Hon David, with due respect, as Minister of Labour, you have failed us…what a shame on the Keith Mitchell Administration,” he added.

President of the Public Workers Union (PWU), Rachel Roberts also addressed the minister on some of the negatives being experienced by Public Workers.

“Let us ask him to take a stand and do what is right to award workers social and economic justice because it is a right, not a privilege. We therefore call on government to stop the contract work, stop the indecent work, stop the victimisation, stop the arbitrary assignment and transfer of workers, stop disadvantaging workers. Workers should not be deprived of a security of tenure, deprived of increments, salary increases and freedom to join a union…

“…Mr. Minister of Labour, allow public workers to enjoy the economic gains of the fastest growing economy, just like you and your family and all…we are your people, please give us equal privileges.
Government stop designating Imanis as trainees, they are workers, stop the fake employment. Government, respect our rights to a constitutional pension, it is not an NNP favour.

President of the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) Lydon Lewis spoke directly to the Ministry of Education, whom he said wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars that could have been used for school repairs on the National Secondary School Games.

“The Ministry of Education has abandoned schools for many years and currently we are seeing only this week, the collapse of a large primary school (in) St. Andrew that has to be abandoned. Schools are in desperate need of repairs, desperate need of maintenance and supplies, schools need lightening facilities, proper toilets, yet the same Minister of Education spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a sports that did not make sense to prove to teachers that they can do it. The money that was spent on the National School Games should have been spent on the repairs of schools throughout the length and breadth of Grenada,” he said.

At the end of the celebrations the PWU was once again announced as the champions of the march, while long standing union member and past President, Adrian Francis was recognised for his outstanding work in Labour relations over the years.

Government offers conflicting position on Venezuelan refugees

Conflicting statements are coming from the Keith Mitchell-led government St. George’s in the last few days regarding Grenada’s position on accommodating Venezuelan refugees.

Health Minister Nickolas Steele told reporters a week ago that Grenada will not turn back Venezuelan refugees

At the weekly government press briefing on Tuesday, Economic Development Minister Oliver Joseph said Grenada’s security forces already have a plan in place to protect the country’s borders from refugees seeking to escape hardship and political violence in Venezuela.

His comments are in direct opposition to pronouncements made by Health Minister Nickolas Steele, one week earlier before another briefing.

Minister Steele had said then that Grenada’s borders are not closed “to our Venezuelan neighbours”.

He was responding to a question on whether Grenada had been in any official discussions about taking in Venezuelans fleeing the political unrest.

One week later Minister Joseph took an entirely different stance and made it quite clear that Grenada is protecting its borders from illegal entry by refugees affected by Venezuela’s political crisis.

“We have the Coastguard. There is a boat patrolling our shores. We are monitoring closely the events, because we have seen an increase of Venezuelans going to Trinidad,” he said.

The senior Cabinet minister also said Grenadian authorities have not seen any significant signs of Venezuelans trying to enter the island.

“We are coming up with plan, the security forces have a plan to deal with it in the event that happens”, he remarked.

Meanwhile, resident Venezuela Ambassador to Grenada, Jorge Guerrero Veloz has said his country does not have a refugee crisis and they have made no request to Grenada in that regard.

In addition, Steele’s “open borders” comment was criticised Tuesday by Attorney-at-law, Anslem Clouden, who said Grenada’s own economic crisis means “we cannot afford to take in refugees”.

During an interview, Clouden said, “Given the state of our economy, teachers cannot be paid (pension and gratuity), and a plentitude of other problems of an economic nature, I heard the minister(Steele) say that we are open to refugees coming in from Venezuela.

“Where are we going to put these people?”

Economic Development Minister Oliver Joseph – gave a different version of the Venezuelan refugee issue

Clouden said Grenada’s social structures, facilities and amenities are already “overworked and strained” and could not possibly withstand an upsurge of Venezuelans entering the country.

“Where are we going to house them when we need housing for our own people?” he quipped.

Clouden called Steele’s comments “a Buck Rogers statement”, referring to the maverick character of television fame.

“I see no political benefit emerging from them. We cannot afford to take in refugees here in Grenada at this stage of our economic crisis.

“If you can’t pay your teachers that goes a long way in spelling out the economic malaise we are in.

Venezuela has been facing great hardships, food shortages, power outages and clashes with paramilitary forces for several months now and many have been heading to neighbouring countries including Trinidad.

Last month, Trinidad announced that from May 31, Venezuelan nationals in that country, legal and illegal, would be able to register and work for a period of one year.

Over 80 Sexual Offences on the May Assizes list

Over the years, sexual crimes have been and continue to dominate the assizes list, with more than 80 offences of a sexual nature listed for adjudication in the May Assizes, which opened in St. George’s on April 30, with a total of 181 matters on the cause list.

Ex Vice-Principal Devon Francique – accused of child molestation

Among them, is the highly anticipated rape trial of former Vice-Principal of a primary school in the south of the island Devon Francique, which is scheduled to commence next week Tuesday before female High Court Judge, Justice Paula Gilford.

Francique, who is known to be involved in the modeling industry, was arrested and charged in March 2014, for the alleged rape of a 7-year-old student of his own school.

He was associated with the Las Espacias Modeling Agency and had acted as a judge in several cultural events including the annual Carnival celebrations, especially with the mas bands.

When the accusations first surfaced back in 2014, the School Vice-Principal was already under the police radar after an incident at the school in 2013, in which a male student was accused of holding down another male student and having illegal sexual intercourse with him.

Francique allegedly stood bail for the accused student who was arrested and charged by the police.

An official of the Ministry of Education conducted a search of a computer at the primary school in the south and discovered a number of pornography material and submitted a report to his superiors in which he allegedly pointed fingers at Francique.

The accused child molester, who was 39 years old at the time of the alleged rape is currently on EC$25, 000 bail with two (2) sureties on the conditions that he report to the Central Police Station twice weekly, stay at least 100 yards away from the school and have no contact with the alleged victim.

Francique’s trial was due to start Monday but was adjourned to next week on the discretion of the judge.

Twely Joseph – Charged with the murder of Ariel Bhola

Senior Crown Counsel Howard Pinnock is leading the case for the State while the accused is being represented by longstanding attorney-at-law, Anselm Clouden.

Another highly anticipated matter coming up in the May Assizes involves 18-year-old Twely Joseph, who was arrested and charged for the alleged rape and slaying of 9-year-old Ariel Bhola of Frequente in Grand Anse, St. George.

The death of the young girl caused an uproar in the country, as her body was found days after she was reported missing, brutally ravaged, in some bushes close to where she lived.

All evidence pointed to the accused teenager, who was recently committed to stand trial in the High Court on indictable charges of Rape and Non-Capital murder.

Out of the 181 matters on the May Assizes list, approximately 20 are for murder and manslaughter, while the remaining figure is shared between arson, grievous/dangerous harm, robbery with violence, Burglary and stealing by reason of employment.

Minding Your Legal Affairs

The Employee’s Rights – Part IV

In the last article, The Employee’s Rights – Part III, we started to look at leave entitlements under the Employment Act. In this Part, we will address Maternity Leave.

Entitlement to Maternity Leave

Maternity leave is for female employees who have a baby by reason of a pregnancy. It is in addition to any other leave, including annual leave (vacation leave) and sick leave.

Conditions for Grant of Maternity Leave

The employee must have been continuously employed with that employer for a continuous period of 18 months or more before the date of her expected confinement. For a daily paid worker, continuous means 105 days worked in the 18-month period; and

The employee must have informed the employer at least 3 weeks before maternity leave is to start that:

She will be requiring maternity leave because of pregnancy; and

She intends to return to work for the employer.

Period of Maternity Leave

Maternity leave is 3 months, provided that the mother gives birth to a living baby or one who lives for more than a month.

If the baby dies at birth, or within 1 month of birth, the maternity leave ends 30 days after the baby’s death.

An employee can choose to return to work before the expiration of the 3-month period, but upon at least 2 weeks’ notice to the employer, and the production of a medical certificate of fitness, if the employer asks for one.

Entitlement to Pay during Maternity Leave

An employee who is entitled to her pay during maternity leave must be paid the difference between her NIS benefit and salary/wage as follows:

*For a monthly paid employee, salary for 2 months of the maternity leave;

*For a weekly or fortnightly paid employee, wages for a period of 4
fortnights; and

*For a daily paid employee, a fifth of her wages earned in the 12 months immediately prior to the commencement of her leave.

An employee is only entitled to 3 occasions of paid maternity leave, provided that those occasions are at least 2-year intervals.

Maternity pay must be paid to the employee as a lump sum no later than the first day of maternity leave or, if the employee so chooses, in the same manner in which she is ordinarily paid, that is, weekly, fortnightly or monthly.

(Submitted by the Grenada Bar Association)

RELEASE FROM THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS GRENADA SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY

A routine audit of the Grenada Solid Waste Management Authority has shown that the allegations which surfaced late last year that the Authority’s credit card had been misused are false and completely without any basis.

The audit was conducted by the Auditor General’s Department as part of the routine work of this department.

It had been alleged last year in some public media that the Authority’s credit card had been used to purchase airline tickets and pay for accommodations and meals in the UK for a Grenadian national and his wife; all of which had nothing to do with the work of the Authority.

The audit has now shown that this is completely false.

A spokesperson from the Grenada Solid Waste Management Authority labelled the allegations as being mischievous and scandalous at the very least, and called on those media houses to report responsibly and to check their sources.