LIME aiding victims of Structural Adjustment Programme

Four lucky LIME customers for a six month period will have the burden of their every day living made a little bit easier through LIME’s Structural Adjustment Programme.

The telecom provider in recognition of the challenges that are being faced on a month-to-month basis by its customers has decided to implement a programme to aid them.

The launch of the initiative took place last Friday in the presence of  corporate partners, the Grenville Credit Union, John’s Boutique, Rubis Gas, CK’s Super Value and Country Cold Store.

According to LIME’s Marketing Manager, Rawlston Mitchell the level of prizes that will be given out could see some breathing freely for six months.

“With two weeks left in the month we’re going to have two winners, one every week. At the end of April, we’re going to do a draw where two persons can win themselves $1000 each which will go towards their rent or mortgage and this is going to be compliments LIME,” he said.

“…In the month of May we’re going to have four customers (who) will win themselves groceries compliments the Country Cold Store and CK’s Super Value. We also have Rubis on board so we going to have customers winning up to $500 worth of Rubis gas for their vehicles”, he added.

Mitchell went on to say that during the month of June, four customers will have their Fixed Line, Mobile or Internet bill wiped out, up to the value of $500.

In addition, in July customers will win Carnival packages and tickets to shows, the month of August the focus will be on back to school items and in the month of September, four customers can win new accounts at the Grenville Credit Union for $500 each.

To participate in the promotion customers must pay their Mobile, Fixed Line or Broadband bills in full and on time and they will be automatically entered into the draw to win prizes.

Country Manager of Rubis, Charles Archer said he is pleased to be associated with the campaign.

“We know things are tough, things are tight presently and Rubis is certainly happy that we have a product, our fuel product that will be given out as vouchers that would help whoever the recipients are to make things easier during the month,” he remarked.

Marketing Manager of the Grenville Credit Union, Francis St Hillaire praised LIME for such an initiative.

“It is forward thinking, it is innovative but most importantly in our minds it shows that LIME is a caring corporate citizen because in this difficult time, anything you can give someone to alleviate the economic hardship will be well received”, he said.

General Manager of LIME, Angus Steele said the quality of LIME’s products and services and the satisfaction that customers receive from these products and services are worth more than cash revenue.

“Our aim for this campaign is to adhere to the frequent demands of our customers outside of their telecommunication need. This campaign evolves after witnessing the struggles of many customers to meet their financial requirements”, he said.

“This demonstrates that LIME is more than a good corporate citizen – we’re a company (whose) sole purpose is to improve the life of the people of our tri island state,” he added.

Roberts: Tyrants pass the bill

Trade Union representative in the Senate, Rae Roberts has delivered a stinging blow to the ruling New National Party government of Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell accusing the one-year-old administration of once more dealing in the dark of night.

In his contribution to the debate on the Grenada Citizenship by Investment (Amendment), Act 2014, Sen. Roberts made it clear that he is opposed to the amendment which seeks to block the publishing of the identity of people granted citizenship under the programme.

He feared that change in the legislation would legitimise “government doing business in the dark of the night.”

“Business in the dead dark of the night with all sorts of characters, the good, the bad and the evil – that’s what it is, business in the night,” he told the Senate.
He also said that the passage of the amendment marks a day of great shame as the government will use its overwhelming majority to deny Grenadians of information to know who are granted citizenship under the programme.

Roberts touched on the utterances of Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Dr Mitchell who indicated that the original Bill which allowed the publishing of relevant details for persons granted citizenship was a mistake, noting that the change pulls away transparency from the programme, and is now a clear indication that the PM wants to do business in the dark.

The trade union representative believes that Prime Minister Mitchell’s utterances and the amendment now made in the Senate deny the Grenadian people “the wisdom of knowledge” and the opportunity to scrutinise people granted citizenship under the CBI.

The retired public officer said that the NNP campaigned during the February 2013 general elections on transparency and openness but now it is “back to business as usual as was in the last 13 years.

He foresees implications from the CBI programme for Grenada such as “further visa restrictions, credibility problems and that the island will suffer immensely as it undoubtedly did in the previous 13 years under the NNP.”

Roberts believes that only “tyrants” will pass such legislation with questionable appointments of a number of persons to serve the CBI.

“We in the Labour Movement strongly object to the Chairman of CBI and his spouse as an Agent. They are very good people – but you can’t have the Chairman and his Spouse involved in such business transaction,” he said.

This is obvious reference to attorney-at-law, Leslie-Ann Seon who is the Chairperson of the Grenada Industrial Development Corporation and her accountant husband who is in charge of the CBI investment committee.

“People of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique – here is the question – if you are applying for a passport through an agent and you badly want it, most definitely you will give the business to the Chairman’s spouse. The perception is she can relate to him at anytime.

Sen. Roberts called on the Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce (GCIC) to stop remaining silent on the issue since “corruption has many features and the State and our leader ought to be challenged.”

The private sector representative in the Senate Christopher De Allie, considered to be a strong supporter of the ruling party, has often remained silent on controversial issues like CBI.

Senate sources told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that De Allie is usually critical in private but would not make any public pronouncements on these issues.

Roberts charged that the amendment to the CBI legislation is not good for Grenada and was convinced that the Mitchell regime does not want quality investors to come to Grenada to do business and create opportunities for citizens because he would publicise all the relevant information.

The trade unionist called for a divisional vote but his request was seemingly ignored by Senate President, Lawrence Joseph, a former government minister with a previous NNP regime.

In defense of the Bill, Parliamentary Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Ministry with responsibility for Information, Winston Garraway, accused Sen. Roberts of using his hatred for one individual, Dr Mitchell, to create divide on something that was good for Grenada.

Last month, government amended the Bill deleting one of the requirements – the names, addresses and nationalities of the applicants for passports and any dependents included in the applications.

Prime Minister Mitchell told the local media that there is no need to expose every name to the public.

He said there was an error in the drafting of the Bill as no other country publishes the identity of applicants for citizenship and as such, government was advised that this could be a serious hindrance to the programme.

Dr Mitchell said Government will do its own checks to protect the country and “there is no need to expose every single name out in the public. We thought it unwise to do so.”

Axcel Finance in Grenada

Patricia Bissesser – the country manager of the new financial institution

Patricia Bissesser – the country manager of the new financial institution

A financial institution with a difference is the term used to describe the entry of Axcel Finance, the newest financial institution in Grenada.

An official launch was held on Monday in the presence of Prime Minister of Grenada and Minister of Finance, Dr. Keith Mitchell to welcome the institution, which serves five Caribbean countries.

Located on the second floor of the Demerara Life Building in the city, Axcel Finance has said that it is dedicated to providing high-quality and innovative micro financial solutions to serve the needs of both individual consumers and micro-enterprises.

In addressing the opening ceremony, Country Manager of Axcel Finance Grenada, Patricia Bissessar said the institution offers Consumer Loans with a maximum of $10,000, to finance medical, travel, school tuition and supplies among others.
She singled out for mention the MicroBiz Loans with a maximum of $25,000, which provides credit to Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSME) to assist entrepreneurs.

“Our facilities are heavily used by MSME enterprises in areas such as retail, agro-processing, fishing, construction, small service suppliers. We do not seek any collateral from the borrower, other than a salary deduction letter,” she said.

Chief Executive Officer of Axcel Finance, Samuel Rosenberg who also addressed the gathering noted that the company’s activities in the region have created thousands of employment opportunities for customers.

“Prior to entering the market, an entrepreneur, Sandra, a singe mother who has been devoted to her small business selling children clothes, was unable to access a small loan to grow her business and meet the demand of her clientele,” he said as he alluded to one of Axcel’s success stories.

“… With just a small loan, Sandra is now running a successful business and employs another person,” he added.
According to Rosenberg the consumer loans applications are disbursed in 24 hours and Small business loans in seven days.

“We know the turn-around time is important; waiting for three months to get a response from your financial institution means three months of lost opportunity,” he said.
In his keynote address, Prime Minister Mitchell recalled that for centuries, Grenada has been engaged in successful micro, small and medium-sized businesses.

However, he said the persons involved in this segment of the financial market has “always been affected by two major factors: lack of capital to grow, and lack of managerial capacity.”

“It is for this reason that this Government has taken the strategic decision to support the establishment of micro-lending institutions here in Grenada. We believe that they occupy an essential and critical space in the financial market, which is not adequately being serviced by the traditional finance institutions,” he told the gathering.

“My administration also views this as the assembling of yet another essential piece of the architecture for the New Economy, as it relates to financing for Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises. We view the arrival of AXCEL Finance as momentous, particularly since Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises are one of the key pillars of the new economy and is an essential part of Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy,” he said.

According to PM Mitchell, the launch of Axcel Finance in Grenada is seen as “very significant” by his one-year old government, which campaigned on a platform of job creation to secure all 15 seats in the February 2013 poll.

“It is anticipated that several small contractors would be able to secure bridging finance, credit to purchase raw materials and supplies, as well as tools and equipment,” he said.

“It is my understanding from Mr. Rosenberg’s message that AXCEL Finance will offer loans for the people of Grenada to meet a range of personal needs such as education, healthcare and household items”, he added.

PM Mitchell stressed that he has every reason to expect the presence of AXCEL Finance in Grenada to help further stimulate economic growth and by extension create more jobs.

Excellence is the key for Spice Island Beach Resort

Leading Grenadian and Caribbean hotelier, Sir Royston Hopkin says that a penchant for excellence is the key factor responsible for the success of his Spice Island Beach Resort on the Grand Anse beachfront while others around him feel the pressure of the recession.

Sir Royston also said that one of his strategies was to engage a strong and vibrant Public Relations team to help promote the hotel.

Presently, Spice has secured the services of PR outfits in both the US and British markets. “All the releases you’ll get, they crank (out) every release, everything that is done they crank it,” Sir Royston told reporters who were invited on a tour of the upgraded facilities at Spice.

He stated that because of the beefed up Public Relations effort, he gets a number of famous people like British decorated soldier, Johnson Beharry to stay at his hotel every year.

Beharry is a Grenadian National, living in the United Kingdom, who was given a Victoria Cross by the Queen for his heroics in Afghanistan.

“We had the other day Beharry in Grenada with Hello Magazine, the most under utilized man in the world. The man is the highest profile Grenadian in the United Kingdom, anything that is happening, you see him stand up next to the queen,” Hopkin emphasised.

“…He comes down here every year, no body has worried him, he’s my friend because we had our Investiture (with the Queen) on the same day and I met him for the first time and we’ve been friends so he came down with Hello Magazine.”

The Spice Resort boss is known to be unhappy with the failure of local tourism officials to utilize Beharry especially on promotional visits to Britain.

“He (Beharry) (holds) an Honorary Doctorate. He started as a private, now he is a Sergeant, very well respected but we don’t do enough with our own…”, he said.

According to Hopkin, the Hello Magazine came down with the decorated soldier and before they left Grenada,  a “big front page” article with Beharry and his stay at Spice was feature on the magazine.

According Hopkin, that kind of publicity keeps his hotel on top and this is something that he could not afford to pay for in terms of publicity and promotion.

Sir Royston who often recalls that he was a self-made individual after leaving school in Form Four proudly states that he was able to develop himself over the years for the betterment of his hotel.

He has also used his frequent trips around the world to stay and eat at some of the best hotels to get new idea for Spice.

“I eat in the best restaurants, I stay in the nicest of hotels, I get my ideas and that’s the only way because remember I am a product of Form Four C. I left school in Four C so I developed myself, so in order to develop yourself, you have to expose yourself to be able to understand what people want and as a result  … over the years I’ve developed a good lifestyle because I’ve worked hard and I’ve done well,” he said.

“When I was redoing the hotel, I wanted lovely beds because anybody that is staying here at their level are buying the best beds in the world but you spend a third of your life on a bed so I bought the best commercial beds that money can buy. All my guests say your beds are divine, so that’s the kind of thing and that’s how I’ve developed,” he added.

Another important factor for the success of Spice, according to Sir Royston was his commitment to: “Training, Training, Training.”

He indicated that local motivational trainer, Eddy Frederick, a close friend of the hotelier, would be doing a stint shortly at Spice to motivate the staff since “motivation” is always needed to help improve the performance of employees.

“In here, all my staff knows all the guests names. Even though I have 100 people in the hotel all my staff greet you by your name and remember your name from the time you came through – that’s training, training, training,” he proudly stated.

“… That motivational thing is what’s most important, knowing how to deal with your people”, he added.

Sir Royston was asked to comment on those local critics who envy his many awards and recognitions and often insinuate that he was paying out handsome fees in exchange for worldwide recognition.

He dismissed the notion and said the hotel often has a 99-100 percent score sheet with Trip Advisor and others who watchdog and monitor the industry.
“…People could say what they want, there comes a time when you can’t think about what people say,” he remarked.

Sir Royston also had a word of warning to those who frequently complain about the top dollars paid by guests to stay at Spice.

“People say Hopkin charging too much money, they don’t know Hopkin delivers the most money from any hotel to the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Accountant-General in the Ministry of Finance)”, he said.

“…I (am) not business with that (criticism). My thing is to educate people at the same time because I don’t have to tell you that I turn over more than the Nutmeg (association) sell for the whole of last year. That’s my business – but nutmeg sell $16 (million) and I turn over 19 (million dollars) so I don’t have nobody to boast that to,” he added.

Spice has over 200 persons, mostly locals on its monthly payroll.

Another board is in place

A Plant Protection Board  has been re-commissioned by government which also appointed a Board of Directors to run its affairs.

The Board, which has not been in existence for years, was reconstituted as the Keith Mitchell-led Government seeks to bring back into effect a Board to discuss issues relating to the importation of plants, soil and animals and to advise the Minister on decisions to be taken

Agriculture Minister Roland Bhola told reporters at a recent post-Cabinet briefing that members of the Board have been appointed including two individuals who are not employed with government as required by law.

According to Minister Bhola, the Cabinet of Ministers accepted the recommendations made by his ministry for the approval of names based on the Plant Protection Act for the establishment of the Plant Protection Board

The Act speaks specifically to persons who should comprise the Board – the Chief Plant Protection Officer should be the Chair of the Board, an Entomologist and a Plant Pathologist, all of whom should be employees of the ministry.

Bhola noted that the Board has not been effective for some years now and unfortunately the Ministry of Agriculture has been operating without the services of an Entomologist and a Plant Pathologist.

He said the ministry has been able to seek the services of two Grenadians with the requisite skills and expertise to serve on the Board.

Minister Bhola also informed the media about a Cabinet decision to award a Consulting Contract to Roberts Caribbean Limited to work alongside his ministry in the upcoming months on its National Action Plan as it relates to forestry, climate change and global warming.

The initiative is in keeping with a 10-year strategic plan and national report of the United Nations’ Council to combat desertification.

The Agriculture Minister noted that there was an action plan in Grenada but in the last year the United Nations put out a 10-year plan on the way forward with the whole issue of forestry, desertification, climate change and other issues.

“So we now have to align our plan to meet the objectives as outlined in the 10 year plan,” Bhola said.

The work, he added is being done in collaboration with the state-owned National Water and Sewage Authority (NAWASA) which is working on a project in collaboration with the Brazilian Government that aims to achieve similar goals to what Roberts Caribbean Limited would be doing for government.

Government implements Land and Survey Board

The long sought after and much needed Land and Survey board will be news to many Surveyors as government is now implementing it.

Minister for Economic Development, Planning, Trade and Cooperatives, Oliver Joseph made this public declaration at a recent post-Cabinet Press Briefing held at the Ministerial Complex at the Botanical Gardens in Tanteen, St. George’s.

According to Minister Joseph, CAP 162 of the revised laws of Grenada recommends that all surveyors on the island must be licensed to perform his or her duties.

He said there are many surveyors in the country who are seeking the necessary license but are unable to do so because of the absence of a functioning Land and Survey Board of Directors.

“Now this board is extremely critical. For the last five years or so this board was not in place and therefore Surveyors could not receive license,” he told reporters.

He pointed out that the regulation stipulated that for someone to get the license that person needs to sit an exam to be set by the board.

“For five years there was no exam so none of them (Surveyors) was licensed and Surveyors came to us consistently – they say they have tried for four-and-a-half years with the last government to get the board operating and the board never met,” Joseph explained.

“The board will have the first meeting shortly, then they can set the exam and we can have license Land Surveyors because that is a problem in Grenada, having surveyors and they are not licensed and we are moving quickly to address this matter,” he said.

Joseph stressed that one of the problems regularly faced by surveyors is that they would always have to seek a License Surveyor to piggy back on in order to sign when they have done a surveying job.

He said this problem would now be rectified with the board in place.

Under the law, the Director of Lands in the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands will chair the Board of Directors.

Mt Reuil Water Supply to be served as back up in St Patrick

The Mt Reuil water distribution plant will be back in operation to help deal with a water shortage problems  at time by residents of St Patrick.

The National Water and Sewage Authority (NAWASA) took a party of local media workers on a site visit to the distribution plant to get a first hand view of the construction work taking place at the facility which was once abandoned.

The project, which is costing NAWASA $1.2 million, began in December 2013 and is expected to be completed in July.

Currently, NAWASA is using the Peggy’s Whim system to supply water to St Patrick, parts of St Andrew and St Mark but over the years a number of  problems occurred resulting in the utility not being able to meet the demand of the residents.

NAWASA’s Project Manager Dave Marquez said that the Mt Reuil system would serve as a back up to the Peggy’s Whim system in order to address the existing problem.
According to Marquez the Mt. Reuil plant has limited hydraulic capability, which means that it could only serve up to certain elevation.

“… Here (at Mt. Reuil) is only about 500 feet above sea level, Peggy’s Whim system is about 750 feet above sea level (and) that goes all to Chantimelle,” he said.

“The furthest here could reach is Rose Hill, we have storage tanks at Rose Hill which serves a wide area so in the event Peggy’s Whim is down at least you have some customers that will be happy,” he added.

Marquez disclosed that the amount of water that is coming from the river at Mt. Reuil even in the dry season can allow them to get about 1.5 million gallons per day.

“Hence the reason why we see it fit to put back this plant in operation as a back-up to the Peggy’s Whim system and when this plan is in operation, the Peggy’s Whim system will have less work to do because we would just valve off our distribution network,” he said.

Civil Technician at NAWASA, Allen Gilbert is confident that the project “will deliver that which it’s meant to.”

“It would not directly feed or serve people just above the plant because as the project manager said we have some hydrological limitations, so the other system, the Peggy’s Whim system will serve the people just above this plant,” he said.

NAWASA’s District Supervisor for St Patrick, Lennox La Borde indicated that during the dry season and whenever there is heavy rainfall, the residents complain frequently but with this new distribution being put in place, he anticipates that the complaints will lessen.

Chief public servant, huh! The prime minister?

KhalicBy Arthur Kallick

Grenada Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell’s appearance on a local talk show was heralded by a reference to him being the “chief public servant”. Indeed, in the last 40 years of independence, no other sitting prime minister has ventured to reconfigure in the minds of citizens the role and function of this office.

For starters, public servants are appointed by the Public Service Commission (PSC). They are officers of the Crown and exercise their duties without partisan considerations. The public service rules prohibit public officers from holding elected office in a political parties or organisations. Their tenure is permanent in nature, as their continuance in the service of the state is not encumbered by the results of general elections (or so it was envisaged).

Section 81(1) grants the PSC the power to appoint, discipline, transfer or remove public officers. The prime minister, on the other hand is appointed by the governor general pursuant to Chapter IV Section 58(1) of the Constitution cited as” The Executive”. The prime minister therefore operates in a different realm and his conduct in public office is encumbered by a different set of rules and considerations.

What therefore would have motivated the handlers of PM Mitchell to attempt to spin this yarn in the minds of the Grenadian public?

It all started in 1995 with the assumption of office by the New National Party led by Dr Mitchell. He had said privately and publicly that the public service is a fetter to the accomplishment of the objectives of political parties. As a result, there has been a consistent drive to reduce the operating space of the public service and to undermine the role of the permanent secretary. The use of the famous Vote 340 has facilitated the development of a parallel public service staffed by party hacks.

The constitution empowers the prime minister to render an objection in the appointment to the post of permanent secretary. This has been used skillfully to create a climate of self censorship, as public officers are well aware that if they do not act in a manner that is deemed to be ‘politically correct’, they can kiss goodbye to any ambition to achieve the high office of permanent secretary. The concept of a meritocracy, therefore, is banging on a closed door shut tight by the vagaries of partisan political loyalty.

Concurrently, there has been a conscious attempt to redefine the role of minister in relation to the permanent secretary. Ministers now purport to exercise executive authority that is in the purview of the permanent secretary. In fact, a sitting minister described the office of the permanent secretary as the “chief accounting officer”. While the statement is factual, it is intended to diminish the other managerial functions which that office is supposed to perform.

Various issues have arisen, salaries included. It was under the previous NNP administration that whenever public officers get salary increases, which are subject to negotiations with public sector unions, government ministers automatically get the same increases. In most jurisdictions, remuneration for parliamentarians is the subject of deliberations by a select committee of parliament.

The net effect of this strategy is that lines are blurred as to what really is the role of the minister vis a vis the permanent secretary. The result is that the management of the public service and, by extension, the state, wallows in the quagmire of political interference that renders the service demoralised and inefficient. The country now has some 22 permanent secretaries including acting appointments but there are only 12 ministries.

The level of politicisation of the public service has blurred the lines between a professional public service and the political directorate. The only difference is that the directorate occupies office as a result of elections and the others do not. Huh.

Arthur Kallick was born in Trinidad and lived in Grenada until he moved to Canada in the late 1980s after completing secondary school. He has a Master’s in family counselling and child physiology from the University of Toronto. He is now a freelance writer and has been living in Grenada for the past six years, and at present works with Caribbean Family Planning unit as a counsellor

A Foreign Minister is wanted!!!

THE NEW TODAY is submitting that the time has come for the replacement of Nicholas Steele as our Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Steele has been found badly wanting on the issue of the four persons that the ruling New National Party (NNP) government had proposed to be appointed to diplomatic positions in Hong Kong.

The so-called “blue-eyed boy” of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has gravely embarrassed the country on his handling of the issue and is looking as a total novice in charge of such an importantr ministry.

In the first instance, Mr. Steele and his ministry demonstrated a clear lack of knowledge by approaching the Hong Kong Directorate on the appointments when in fact the letter should have been sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing.

Secondly, the Chinese had to inform the minister that he was literally asking them to do something that was not right and proper based on the 2006 diplomatic agreement signed in 2006 when a former Mitchell administration re-established diplomatic ties with the Chinese on the Mainbland at the expense of Taiwan.

Any right-thinking person can conclude that Mr. Steele is ignorant of the contents of the agreement and might not have read it to understand what was possible and not feasible at all.

The Chinese might now be viewing Grenada as jokers in the field of diplomacy for this “senior” government minister to make such a basic mistake and diplomatic bungling that even a first year university student in International Relations ought to understand the principles involved in diplomatic letter writing.

It has been known since the late 1990’s that China is now considered as the sovereign state in diplomatic relations involving Hong Kong and that any letter on foreign policy ought to be addressed to the authorities in Beijing.

This “Hong Kong Tragedy” involving Minister Steele raises a very fundamental issue of the criteria used by the NNP government to appoint persons as diplomatic representatives of Grenada and the issuance of diplomatic passports.

This newspaper is submitting that our Foreign Affairs Minister made another major blunder by awarding the four nominees diplomatic passports long before the Chinese authorities made a determination on Grenada’s request to get them accredited to Hong Kong.

The four diplomatic passports should only have been granted to the persons so named in the official communique after it was a fait accompli that China had facilitated the process to make them diplomatic representatives of Grenada.

If these persons are now not accredited diplomats of Grenada, should they be allowed to hold onto these diplomatic passports?

What was the consideration of Mr. Steele and company in trying to flout diplomatic norms by seeking to get China to allow them to operate as diplomats? Who are these people Mr. Steele? What did they promise or were promised in return for their service? Sir, please tell us something about their track record.

This “Hong Kong Tragedy” also brings back into sharp focus the Eric Restenier briefcase issue and his appointment as an Ambassador of Grenada.

THE NEW TODAY is not focusing on the allegation that Dr. Mitchell collected a bribe of US$1 million for the appointment or “approximately US$15, 000.00 as he told the nation back then as reimbursement from Ambassador Resteiner for the PM’s travel expenses to Switzerland.

The issue is that Mr. Resteiner was appointed as an Ambassador and had a Grenada diplomatic passport and that no country was prepared to give him the necessary accreditation.

During the Richard Cheltenham Commission of Inquiry into the Briefcase matter, two senior public servants – current Cabinet Secretary Nadica Mc Intyre and the retired PS in Foreign Affairs, Adrian Haynes – testified about the efforts that were being made to find a country to accredit the fraudster Resteiner as a Grenada diplomat but no one wanted to touch this controversial figure.

Are we seeing a replay of the bad old days of Eric Restenier and others with this latest attempt to appoint persons as diplomats in Hong Kong and now rejected by the Chinese on the Mainland?

The Prime Minister has said on several occasions that his desire after the second 15-0 victory at the polls is to look after his legacy.

The Nickolas Steele handling of the “Hong Kong tragedy” is not serving to enhance this legacy of the PM Mitchell.

THE NEW TODAY is calling for the removal of Mr. Steele as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and for him to be replaced by someone else who is more versed in the subjected matter like Deputy Prime Minister, Elvin Nimrod.

Mr. Steele ought to be told that the running of our Foreign Affairs Ministry is not like selling vehicles at his family-owned business at River Road.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs is the face of the nation and the modus operandi of Mr. Steele in winch he caused a major diplomatic embarrassment to the government and people of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique is something that the country can do without at this point in time.

The person holding the post of Foreign Affairs in the Cabinet of any country is like the Prime Minister of the country – not only the conscience of the nation but the only other person who is authorised to sign documents at the level of the Unite Nations on behalf of the country..

Is Mr. Steele fitting the bill?

Garvey Louison Defeats PM Keith Mitchell in Court

Accountant Garvey Louison (r) with his Barbadian lawyer Sean Lewis (l) on the precincts of the high court

Accountant Garvey Louison (r) with his Barbadian lawyer Sean Lewis (l) on the precincts of the high court

An elated Garvey Louison feels that high court judge, Justice Margaret Mohammed vindicated him on Monday in the face of attacks on his integrity as an Accountant by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.
The judge ruled in favour of Louison in a case in which Dr. Mitchell was seeking to remove him as the court-appointed Liquidator in the winding up of the now defunct GRENADA TODAY newspaper.
“ I feel exonerated in the face of these serious accusations that were  leveled against me. I was accused of being unprofessional, bias, lacking enthusiasm and generally not pursuing the matter (of the Liquidation) with vigour”, said Louison in reference to remarks made against his professional integrity by PM Mitchell.
According to Louison, the accusations by PM Mitchell “are not true at all” and if he had allowed them to go unchallenged they would have go directly at “the heart of my professional integrity”.
The qualified Accountant who once served as Accountant-General and PS in the Ministry of Finance secured the services of Barbadian Attorney, Sean Lewis to defeat local barrister-at-law, Venescia Francis-Banfield who was retained by PM Mitchell.
Justice Mohammed also awarded Louison cost of $2000. 00 against Dr. Mitchell and ruled that the Grenadian leader presented no evidence before the court “to satisfy me of misconduct or wrongdoing on the part of the Liquidator…”.
As a public service, THE NEW TODAY reproduces some of the main aspects of the decision as handed down by Justice Mohammed.

Before the Court is an application (“the Application”) to remove the Court-appointed liquidator, Mr. Garvey Louison (“the Liquidator”) forthwith; to replace him with Mr. Rupert Agostini and for the Liquidator to submit and file into Court an audited report of his accounts and/or a report of the assets of Grenada Today Limited (“the Company”).

The facts which give rise to the Application are on: 19th October, 2005 the Petitioner (Keith Mitchell) filed a petition to wind-up the company on the basis that it owed the Applicant the sum of $191,000.00 pursuant to an award of damages made in High Court action GDAHCV 2001/0333.  The Company was ordered to be wound up by Henry J on 27th October 2009 and the Liquidator, whose name was put forward by the Petitioner, was appointed by the Court and he was directed to exercise all his powers pursuant to the Companies Act (“the Companies Act”).

The grounds for the Application are:

(a). the Liquidator has failed to comply with his duties pursuant to the companies Act;

(b). there has been undue delay by the Liquidator to gather and account for the assets of the company;

(c). the Liquidator has failed to indicate to the Petitioner the location of the liquid assets of the company;

(d). the Liquidator has lost interest in the matter since he has failed to communicate with attorneys for the Petitioner and to attend Court; and

(e). the Petitioner desires to bring the liquidation to an end and to receive monies due and owing to him

The Liquidator has opposed the Application and has asked the Court to strike it out for the following reasons:

(a). there is no evidence from the Petitioner in support of the Application;

(b). he has complied with his duties set out in the Companies Act; and

(c) he has not lost interest and has vigorously pursued the matter.

The issues which arise for determination are:

(a). What is the test in law to remove the Liquidator?

(b). Does the Deponent have standing to make the Application to remove the Liquidator?

(c). Has the Deponent (a legal Secretary who filed an affidavit on behalf of the Petitioner) shown due cause?

(d). Should the Liquidator be removed?

It seems to me that in this jurisdiction, any person who moves the Court to have a Court-appointed Liquidator removed must establish that he/she is a proper person to make such an application and he/she must adduce evidence to persuade the Court that there are good grounds to exercise its discretion to remove liquidator.

It is undisputed that the Petitioner (Keith Mitchell) has not filed an affidavit in support of the Application. It is therefore necessary that the Court examines the principal affidavit and the supplement affidavit filed in support of the Application to determine if the Deponent has established a legitimate interest in the relief sought

In the principal affidavit and the supplemental affidavit the Deponent has made the following against the Liquidator namely:

(a). that since the date of the Liquidator’s appointment he has failed to comply with his duties under the Companies Act:

(b). that the only work the Liquidator has done since his appointment in 2009 was to cause an application to be filed on the 13th July 2011 seeking an order to summon various persons whom he believed were capable of giving evidence and/or to produce documents in their custody  relating to their employment with the Company, on its affairs, list of assets and/or accounts receivables and financials of the Company;

(c). that since July 2011 the Liquidator has lost interest in the matter and was the sole cause of the undue delay experienced;

(d). she knows that Counsel (Francis-Banfield) has made several unsuccessful attempts to contact the Liquidator by telephone

(e). the liquidator failed to attend Court on the 18th of September 2013

(f). the Liquidator failed to respond to correspondences and telephone calls; and

(g). the Liquidator and his staff made certain statements and gave certain assurances.

For each allegation, which was not within her direct knowledge, the Deponent failed to set out who informed her/or what was the source of her information and belief for making the aforesaid allegations. Even with respect to the allegation of delay, she failed to set out details of such delay.

The Deponent has also made the following allegations based on the Petitioner’s belief:

(a). that the Petitioner fears that the assets of the Company may be dissipated;

(b). that the Petitioner fears that he will not be able to enjoy the fruits of his labour

(c). that the Petitioner is asking the Court to make an order to remove the Liquidator

However, again the Deponent fails to provide the basis for such allegations such as who and/or what informed her knowledge information and/or belief for making such statements.

In the Principal affidavit and the supplemental affidavit the Deponent states that she is a legal secretary. In paragraphs 3-6 and 8 of the supplemental affidavit she refers to being “informed by Counsel” but she fails to state her place of employment or whether she is employed by the Petitioner, a Law Chambers or otherwise.

She fails to depose her authority for swearing the Principal affidavit and supplemental affidavit. Indeed there is no evidence that she is authorised to swearing the principal affidavit and supplemental affidavit on behalf of the Petitioner or any other person in support of the application.

She does not even provide a reason to account for the failure by the Petitioner to file an affidavit in support of the Application.

The Application before the Court is not procedural but is for a final order to remove the Liquidator which has significant implications for the reputation of the Liquidator.

In my view, the Deponent has failed to comply with the requirements of CPR 30.3. At best the information contained in the principal affidavit and supplemental affidavits are allegations and is not in the Court’s view evidence in support of the Application.

Further, the Liquidator has even refuted the aforesaid allegations made by the Deponent. The Liquidator has stated that upon appointment he commenced control of the company in October 2009.

He corresponded with Mr. George Worme, the then Managing Director of the Company on the 2nd November 2009 seeking all relevant information. He examined the Statement of Affairs delivered to him on or about the 27th November 2009 by Mr. Worme, in accordance with section 389 of the Companies Act.

The Liquidator has also stated that he conducted further investigations in respect of the assets of the Company in November 2009 by interviewing former employees such as Ms. Jose Joseph, an Administrative Assistant at the Company.

He requested specific information relating to the affairs of the Company. He examined statements relating to the Company’s National Insurance payments and liabilities. He attended Court and applied for and obtained orders made on 11th December 2009 that Mr. Worme deliver to the Liquidator a Statement of Affairs and list of all assets held by the Company within 10 days.

He attended Court and applied for and obtained a further Order vesting all or any property, real or otherwise of the Company in his possession. He published a report giving notice to the Creditors of the Company, including the Petitioner, of the cash of the Company and identifying the liabilities of the company as at 21st December 2009.

He also caused witness summonses to be issued summoning certain former staff members to Court for them to be examined under section 420 of the Companies act.

He stated that the only time he has failed to attend Court was when neither he nor his attorney was notified by the Supreme Court Registry of the hearing of the 18th September 2013.

He denies appointing Mrs. Francis-Banfield as his legal representative in this matter and that he changed his business address. He states that his address was and remains True Blue, St George’s, Grenada.

According to Court’s records. Mrs Francis-Banfield’s notice filed on 23rd April 2013 states that she replaced Justis Chambers, who were the attorneys on the record for the Liquidator, yet at the hearing of the witness summons on 18th September, 2013 she announced that she was appearing for the Petitioner, although she was the attorney who issued the witness summons filed on the 23rd April, 2013, as Counsel of the Kiquidator.

As such the affidavit of service for the said witness summonses were for the persons who were summoned to attend Court and quite reasonably there was no evidence of the Registry notifying the Liquidator since according to the Court’s records Mrs. Francis-Banfield was the attorney on record for the Liquidator.

In light of his confusion, I accept the Liquidator’s reasons for his failure to attend Court on the 18th September 2013 and I do not find that this is an act which demonstrates a lack of interest on his part.

The Liquidator has denied any delay on his part. He stated that between October 2009 and July 2011 he was conducting interviews and compiling information on the status of the assets and liabilities of the Company.

He states that on 20th January 2012 he attended Court with respect to an application to have the Court examine certain parties under oath, and it was only in March 2012 upon receipt of the perfected order he was able to issue the summons for persons to attend Court to be examined.

He stated that the persons, who have been summoned although not examined as yet, are aware of their obligations to return to Court.

In light of the Liquidator’s evidence, the allegations made by the Deponent in the principal affidavit and supplemental affidavit have been refuted by the Liquidator and are baseless.

I therefore agree with the Liquidator that the Deponent has failed to adduce evidence to establish that she has a legitimate interest in the relief sought and as such I find that she has no locus standi in seeking the reliefs in the Application.

In light of the Liquidator’s evidence which has been already set out aforesaid, I find that this is not a case where the Liquidator has done virtually nothing….

In my view the Liquidator has not been unprofessional, biased or dishonest. There has also been no evidence to satisfy me of misconduct or wrongdoing on the part of the Liquidator, and he has not adopted a relaxed or complacent attitude in pursuing the liquidation.

In hindsight there may be some criticisms which may be leveled against him such as contents of his reports, but when one looks at the totality of the evidence it would be unfair to the Liquidator and unnecessary, expensive and disruptive to remove the Liquidator. I can find no reason to remove him for due cause.

The Application is dismissed. The Petitioner to pay the Liquidator the costs of the Application assessed in the sum of EC $2,000.00.