Christmas Message from the Opposition Leader & Political Leader of the New National Party (NNP) Dr. Keith Mitchell

Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Mitchell – strive to be a better person

Peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind.

Ladies and gentlemen, fellow Grenadians; with that greeting, I bring you best wishes for this Holy Season of Christmas.

Grenadians are this year observing the Holiday Season against the backdrop of yet another difficult economic year, where they have seen their earning power further eroded in the face of continuing decline in the economy.

The year 2012 will go down as one of the most difficult ones in our modern history.

Given that reality, we appreciate that the observations of this year’s Christmas may be more muted than usual.

Obviously there will be fewer gifts to hand out and maybe a little less food on the table this year.

But as people of faith, we can hold on to some things that are deeper, and that cut to the real true meaning of Christmas.

The very essence of Christmas is built on the message of both faith and hope.

The Christ Child Jesus came into the world, lived and died, so that man can have a second chance. Inbuilt in the message of Christmas is that of redemption and revival. And it is that revival we can all look forward to in the New Year.

Even in the most difficult times, we as a people will not despair nor lose hope.

Yes, it has been difficult; and yes it has been challenging. But with our faith and our collective will as a people, we know we have the potential to turn things around.

And so, we can all look forward to beyond the Christmas season – and to beyond the pain and the hurt.

The coming New Year will provide new opportunities to restart all of our lives.

As a politician, my role — through the grace of God and inspired by the aspirations of you the people — is to offer a leadership that ushers a renewed hope.

With each passing year, I learn more and more through the example of the Christ Child about humility and service.

And even in the rough and tumble of politics, he has also taught us all about forgiveness.

My solemn commitment to you in this season of love, is to strive to be a better person in the leadership I offer to this nation, understanding the power of both revival and redemption.

While we will have less material things than normal this season – the greatest gift we can give each other is Love.

The most difficult times have not dulled our legendary sense of community – of neighbour reaching out to neighbour. That is the Grenadian spirit that is most embodied at Christmas time.

And so, we must use the season to look out for the least among us; for the most destitute; for the sick and for the lonely. And we must, as a people always be forever thankful for the other gifts we have been given.

We were spared any major national disaster this year, and the entire nation beamed with pride following the awe inspiring performance of Kirani James at the Olympics. His homecoming was a rare sign of national unity that was indeed needed and welcomed, and should inspire all of us as we go forward in the New Year.

The performance of our young people in academics, sports and culture continue to give all of us hope.

Grenada is a proud nation with a rich legacy with which we all can be proud.

The party which I lead has revived its organs, refreshed its leadership and has positioned itself to be at the vanguard of the Grenadian recovery we all look forward to.

And so as we observe this season of Christmas let us deepen our faith in our God and our nation, and let us move forward together.

As Leader of the New National Party and as the Leader of the Opposition, I want to wish every Grenadian – at home and abroad – the very best for the season.

We all look forward to even greater things in the New Year.

Remember always the Psalm that says: Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

Once again, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I thank you very much.

 

Republic donates $30,500 to charitable organisations

Management of Republic Bank with some of the Beneficiaries

The true spirit of seasonal giving was once again demonstrated by Republic Bank, when various charitable organisations were presented with annual contributions at a ceremony held at Republic House on December 14.

As part of its community outreach initiative, the Bank donated a total of $30,500.00 to eleven (11) charitable organisations throughout the island.

Among the recipients were the Dorothy Hopkin Centre for the Disabled, the Grenada Foundation for Needy Students, Cadrona Home for the Aged, Rotary Club Grenada East Vosh Eye Care Programme, the GRENCODA Books & Uniform Programme, and the Grenada National Council for the Disabled.

Chronic diseases such as cancer, kidney, diabetes, heart and hypertension are becoming increasingly prevalent among society.

Persons battling such diseases will also benefit through the umbrella organisations, viz. the Grenada Heart Foundation, Grenada Cancer Society; Grenada National Patient Kidney Foundation, Grenada Diabetes Foundation as well as the CHORES Support Group in Grenada all of which received donations.

During the ceremony, the Managing Director of Republic Bank, Keith Johnson said: “Republic Bank remains committed to assisting organisations such as yours. Our annual Christmas contribution to your various organisations is an expression of our unwavering commitment to giving back to the Communities we serve.”

Expressing thanks on behalf of the charities was Darnley Charles, President of the Cadrona Home for the Aged.

Charles thanked the Bank for pledging the annual gesture to the beneficiaries, despite the tough economic times.

 

 

 

 

Jewelry trade to be monitored

The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) is in the process of putting in place a protocol to govern the selling and purchasing of jewelry.

In recent times a number of people have reported to the police that they have been robbed of their jewelry, and concerns have been raised by the general public of “gold buyers” who are frequenting the country on a monthly basis to purchase “unwanted jewelry.”

Supt. Edvin Martin – invest in your personal safety

The issue was raised on Tuesday by Editor of THE NEW TODAY Newspaper, Wayne Modeste to Superintendent of Police, Edvin Martin during a press conference held at Police Headquarters on Fort George.

Supt. Martin disclosed that the issue was recently discussed at an Executive Meeting of RGPF and pointed to an informal and adhoc arrangement with the purchasers of jewelry and a number of Police Departments for verification of persons who have been selling jewelry to them.

The high-ranking Police Officer said that due to that arrangement, RGPF has had some success in that some persons who are involved in selling stolen jewelry have been caught.

“We are now looking at moving to the level where we can implement an actual protocol where there would be a set procedure for the purchasers to have proper identification of persons intending to sell (jewelry),” he added.

Just last week an advertisement carried in one of the weekly newspapers announced a gold-buying event taking place at a particular store in St. George’s from December 19-21.

Supt. Martin said while the RGPF would have concerns about the possible criminal stealing and selling of jewelry, there is also the legitimate business opportunity for persons who may want to porn or sell jewelry that they have in exchange for cash.

“Maybe it is serving a good purpose in one end, but certainly our interest will be to ensure that if there is any issue as it relates to crimes, that criminals do not have an opportunity to steal individuals jewelry and have a readily available market,” he remarked.

The senior Police Officer is confident that when adopted, the protocol will put systems in place to tighten control on persons who are desirous of selling jewelry by making obligations on both the seller and the purchaser to ensure that if there is any attempt by criminal elements to sell, the police should be informed in a timely manner before the sale takes place or immediately thereafter.

He said it is believed that once an illegal supply of jewelry is “killed” then the likelihood of stealing jewelry will then fall.

Just recently, THE NEW TODAY Newspaper learnt that an elderly couple who reside at Grand Anse, St. George’s were violently robbed of three pairs of gold bracelets by two men armed with a knife.

In another incident, a 74-year senior citizen of Mt. Gay, St. George’s was robbed off her gold chain and pendant.

Supt. Martin who is the Police Officer in charge of crime believes there is a high level of negligence on the part of homeowners in securing their property.

He complained that too many homeowners would leave their houses with windows opened, and doors unlocked while being away for long periods of time and they can easily become victims of house-breaking and stealing.

The Police Superintendent is advising homeowners to invest in their own personal safety and security as the nation prepares for the Christmas Season by taking precautionary measures to prevent criminal activity against them.

He said there have also been instances where persons retire to bed leaving windows and doors open only to realise during the night that there are intruders in the house.

“Security and safety occurs at different levels, and the individual also has a responsibility to practice good safety measures in order to ensure their own personal security,” he quipped.

Request for speedy trial turned down

Lindon Decouteau and Andy Patterson – allegedly robbed Franklyn Phillip

The cry of a well-known convict to have an immediate trial on charges of robbery with violence, and causing dangerous harm that have been laid on him has been turned down by Chief Magistrate, Her Honour Tamara Gill.

Lindon Decoteau of Telescope, St. Andrew’s who is jointly charged with Andy Patterson of Belmont, St. George’s are accused of violently robbing Franklyn Phillip of cash amounting to $69.37 on November 29 at Belmont.

Both men allegedly stole from Phillip, a 44-year old bartender some EC$40.00 and US $11.00, and while committing the act, caused dangerous harm to Phillip.

Patterson who has 11 previous offenses pleaded with Magistrate Gill for him to enter a plea and have the matter tried immediately in fear of having “to suffer” on the remand block at the Richmond Hill prison.

He said he has no problem if Magistrate Gill imposes a three or five years prison sentence on him.

The accused man said it is not easy to be confined in the prisons without having a visit from someone. He did not elaborate. Under prison rules, inmates are entitled to visits.

The accused charged that the victim was someone who is insane and on the day of the incident, Phillip drank from the rum that he and Decoteau had and then left them to go somewhere else.

According to Patterson, it was only when he confronted Phillip for money for the rum that the incident occurred.

The court learnt that the incident took place two days after Patterson was released from prison.

In turning down Patterson’s request, Magistrate Gill said she has been informed that the victim of the offense is hospitalised.

The magistrate indicated that in the event Phillip’s conditions change, the charge might have to be upgraded.

In addition, she said in order to have a trial she has to summon the doctors and other witnesses for the case.

Patterson and Decoteau are to be brought back to court today, Friday December 21.

 

Christmasmessage of Prime Minister Tillman Thomas

Prime Minister Tillman Thomas – things would be better

Fellow Grenadians, visitors, friends.

I bring you greetings on behalf of my Cabinet, my family and on my own behalf for a wonderful and festive season. Once again, it is the time of year that as a people we acknowledge and celebrate the birth of the Christ child, his life and legacy.

This is also a unique time of year for Grenada, our region and for the rest of the world as we are all still deeply affected by the lingering difficult economic conditions. It is however, the season of hope, peace and goodwill to all men, and in Grenada we have good reason to be thankful.

We must recognise the fact that most businesses and government have been able to preserve the jobs of the employees. We must recognise efforts of the GCNA in ensuring a better Christmas for our nutmeg farmers by paying more than EC$3 million in bonuses this year.

We must recognise the untiring efforts of our OECS governments and the welcomed payment to BAICO policy holders in excess of EC$5 million. We must also recognise the fact that we were able to continue all of our safety net programmes ensuring that our disadvantaged, were cared for.

It is with the expectation that things would indeed be better and with a renewed sense of hope that we look to the future. Collectively, we look forward to increased growth in the economy, the arrival of the first guests at the new Sandals La Source Resort, and the resultant benefits to our local our farmers and small business owners; to reaping the benefits of the exploitation of our oil and gas resources, in collaboration with Trinidad and Tobago; to the implementation of the many projects that we have been able to bring to the commencement stage.

Therefore I encourage us all, as a people, to use the opportunity of Christmas to be thankful for what we have and what we have been able to achieve. As the turn around continues, albeit slow, the onus is on each Grenadian, every single one of us, to put our shoulders to the wheel to produce our way to prosperity.

Our efforts have begun to pay off and our economy is slowly on the rebound.

However, we must recognise that the challenges remain and resources are limited. We must therefore spend wisely and be prudent. I encourage you to purchase and utilise more locally produced fruits, vegetables and products, especially during this period.

As we enjoy the festivities that accompany the celebration of Christmas, we must remember and pay special attention to those who are less fortunate, challenged or incapacitated among us.

We should take some time to read the Christmas story to some of our retirees or the children at the various children’s homes. They too deserve our love and our attention during this season.

I wish you all a season of peace and joy as we work together, hand in hand, to build a more sustainable future for all.

The Garden Group fiasco

The controversial Garden Group Hotels project, involving the operators of five small hotels in the south of the island was one of the lost-making ventures undertaken by the former Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) that governed the island from June 1995 to July 2008.

A report put together by a group of financial experts concluded that the national debt of Grenada grew by a staggering EC$58.4 million dollars due within a one-year period due to government guarantees provided to the Garden Group project, the Marketing & National Importing Board (MNIB) for its Lagoon Road project, and the Call Centre.

According to the report obtained by THE NEW TODAY newspaper, the island did not get any value for money from these “speculative” projects that got backing from the Mitchell government.

As a public service, this newspaper reproduces in full the information that was obtained by the financial experts after reviewing the files of the Garden Group

 

GARDEN GROUP HOTELS LTD (GGH)

Owned by Government of Grenada (GOG)- 25%

 

2002

July 29, 30

Act No. 20 of 2002 authorizes the Minister of Finance to guarantee payment of principal and interest with respect to a US$8.9M bond to be issued by GGH to Intercommercial Trust and Merchant Bank Ltd, Port of Spain, Trinidad (ITMB).

 

GGH was incorporated in Grenada and is situated in Grand Anse, St Georges. GGH was seeking to rebuild, renovate and refurbish hotels owned and operated by the shareholders of GGH and to introduce administrative and managerial reorganization and effective marketing of the properties. In order to raise the necessary capital, GGH proposed to issue fixed rate bonds to ITMB in the amount of US$8.9 million.

 

GGH offered GOG shares in GGH as consideration for a guarantee by the Minister of Finance of the payments due with respect to the bonds to be issued to ITMB.

 

“And whereas the Minister of Finance is desirous of guaranteeing the payments due …in view of the fact that hotels generally are an important constituent of the tourism industry in Grenada”

 

Parliament authorized the Minister to guarantee the principal amount of US$8.9 million plus interest at 10.25% per annum to ITMB on terms as the Minister considers to be fair and reasonable. Any liability incurred as a consequence of the guarantee shall be a charge on the Consolidated Fund.

August 9

CMMB provides a 10 year bond to GGH for US$8.9M at 10.25% interest guaranteed by the government.

 

August 21

Memorandum of Understanding signed (See August 19/04)

 

November 7

GGH pays US$4.5 million to Grenada Co-operative Bank to discharge old loans.

 

2003

January

US$2.5 million is paid to CLICO International Life, apparently to purchase an EFPA earning 9.25% interest.

 

May 3

GGH pays NPL US$5,000

 

May 30

NTA Primis Limited (NPL: Neil Seepersad & Nigel Thomas) based in Port of Spain, Trinidad signed a contract with GGH where NPL was to provide architectural designs, to provide financing of works and to act as the approved contractor and project manager for GGH. (See August 19/04)

 

June/July

Visit to London/Geneva to open bank accounts. (See August 19/04)

 

June 11

GGH pays NPL US$110,419.96

 

July 18

Sod Turning and July 21 is official start date. (See August 19/04)

 

July 24-29

GGH pays NPL US$135,000.00

 

September 2, 25

GGH pays NPL US$250,000.00

 

September

Hurricane Ivan and with default NPL is unable to pay ITMB (the provider of bridge funding) resulting in several High Court judgments levied against NPL in Grenada and Trinidad. Neil Seepersad and Nigel Thomas apparently have personally guaranteed the loan from ITMB.

 

Thomas split from Seepersad and met with DeAllie of GGH to discuss a Novation Agreement among NPL, GGH and ITMB with respect to the assigned debt to ITMB of US$600,000.

 

September 30 Financial statements for GGH prepared by Agostini reports in part:

 

Short-term Investment: US$2.5m Clico Intl for EFPA

Non-current liability: CMMB Bond due 2012 for US$8.9M

Fixed assets: Construction in progress US$2.3M

 

October 2, 29 GGH pays NPL US$1,250,000.00

 

November 18 UBP Account opened, Geneva. (See August 19/04)

 

December 22 GGH makes a payment to Bancaire Privee of US$260,000 where MNIB has a bank account.

 

December 23 Garden Group Hotels Limited from the proceeds of the CMMB US$8.9M bond issue, remits a payment to Societe Bancaire Privee

 

2004

February 4 Instruction to purchase Societe Generale (SG) 120% Bond for US$2,500,000 (See August 19/04)

 

February 9 The first interest payment is due to CMMB but it is not paid until May 6, almost three months late.

 

February 23 Subscription for SG Bond (See August 19/04)

 

March 4 Request for Line of Credit of US$1.5M against Bond (See August 19/04)

 

March 15 Approval of US$1.5M Line of Credit- SBP (See August 19/04)

 

March 18 GGH pays NPL US$625,000.00

 

April 28 Instruction to SBP (Societe Bancaire Privee S.A.) to sell Bond (See August 19/04)

 

May 5 GGH pays NPL US$360,000.00. Total paid by GGH to NPL is US$2,723,419.96.

 

June 1 NPL meeting with Board to advise new structure (See August 19/04)

 

August 3 Meeting with Minister of Finance (See August 19/04)

 

August Construction work ceased in August 2004 due to nonpayment of contractors.

 

August 19 NPL provided a project summary:

 

It states the project has focused on the Cedars/No Problem hotels and then Camerhogne Park. The Maffiken site is being prepared for renovation and construction work. Village Hotel will be the last existing site to be developed based upon the Marketing Plan for the overall Group. To date there has not been confirmation of the status of the Beach Facility.

 

Here is the financial status of the project in US$:

 

Contract Price 14,500,000

Work certified to date is 35% 5,075,000

Payments received to date 2,723,420

Amount due to NPL 2,351,580

Amount financed by NPL 1,096,352

Amount NPL owes contractors 1,255,228

2,351,580

 

Secondary Financing:

 

The first phase of financing is completed. The second phase is being finalized unitizing the Monetization of Life Policies Structure. This will provide for the line of credit using A+ rate securities lodged with First Caribbean Bank or Republic bank with the issuance of the Letter of Credit to Deutsche Bank providing the US$12 million to complete the project.

 

The real estate sales at the Cedars are anticipated to yield US$300,000 per unit for the first 20 units = US$6,000,000 with the Beach facility at US$500,000 for 12 units = US$6,000,000.

 

Proposal for Completion:

 

Sale of Societe Generale Bond to settle contractors

Complete the secondary line of financing of US$12 million

Full time GGH CEO/Project Manager for day to day operations

Comprehensive marketing plan to be finalized

Identify operator/management group to ensure specification are consistent with their requirements.

Revise the construction program in line with contractual obligations

 

September Hurricane Ivan hits Grenada.

 

November 29 Caribbean Money Market Brokers Ltd (CMMB) writes to Hon. Anthony Boatswain, Minister of Finance re: GGH US$8.9M Bond Issue. Further to our November 23 meeting we indicated that CMMB would provide you with a briefing on all the information available to us from our records and various meetings and discussions with parties involve with this project.

 

We will also state our position and provide some recommendations as to a possible course of action that you may wish to take as a significant shareholder and guarantor of the above bond. Please see the attached 5 appendices. Both Sean Spiers, COO and Robert Mayers, Director sign the letter for CMMB.

 

Appendix 1 Summary of US$8.9M Bond Details & Current Status

Issue date: August 9, 2002 and maturity August 9, 2012

Interest rate: 10.25%

Moratorium: 1 year for interest until August 9, 2003

Guarantor: GOG

Principal outstanding: US$9,835,626.41

Interest outstanding: US$504,075.85

Current status: Interest payment in default

Payment schedule: see Appendix 5

 

The first interest payment that was due on February 9, 2004 was paid May 6, 2004, almost three months late. The second interest payment for US$504,075.85 is outstanding and requests have been made to GOG and GGH. In addition there is a late payment penalty of US$18,947.73.

 

Appendix 2 Disbursement of Proceeds of US$8.9M Bond Issue

 

Bond Issue 8,900,000

 

Legal Fees 167,596

Arranger Fees 200,250

Interest @ 7.75% 137,950

Trustee, agent fees 10,000

Expenses 146 515,942

 

Net proceeds plus interest earned 8,542,708

 

Disbursements:

Nov 7, 2002 Grenada cooperative Bank 4,497,367

Jan 3, 2003 CLICO International Life 2,500,822

July 29, 2003 NPL 35,000

Aug 25, 2003 NPL 150,000

Sep 22, 2003 NPL 100,000

Oct 1, 2003 NPL 1,000,000

Dec 22, 2003 Societe Bancaire Privee S.A. 259,518 8,542,708

 

Appendix 3 Project Update

 

This is based upon discussions with Keith Braveboy and David Lander, both directors and shareholders of GGH.

 

We understand that GGH has an investment in Target Financiere S.A. to the value of US$2.5M. We have no documents and the Directors do not know its current value or whether there were any liens against it. However given that the Group has paid US$2.47M of its building costs and only US$1.285M has been disbursed to NPL then the balance must have been borrowed elsewhere and possible secure against this investment.

 

We understand GGH is seeking additional financing to complete the project. CMMB has not been approached.

 

We estimate GGH will require funding of US$10.168M over the next year at least until the Garden Inn project is up and running.

 

The value of construction works completed to date is US$5,075,000 of which US$2,473,420 has been paid and the balance of US$2.6M remains unpaid.

 

Construction work ceased in August 2004 due to nonpayment of contractors.

 

Appendix 4 Suggested Course of Action

 

Meet with GGH Board to determine current status of project.

Liquidate investment in Target S.A. with funds to be placed with CMMB and set aside to make interest payment on the bond.

Pay outstanding interest immediately

Reconstitute the Board of Directors

Dispose of less valuable properties

Finish “Garden Inn” and put into operation

Maintain GOG shareholding of 25% in GGH

Ensure NPL has no further involvement in the project.

 

November 30 Handwritten note on the November 29, 2004 CMMB letter reads:

 

“P.S. This matter should be discussed urgently with the Garden Group Board of Directors”

2005

March CMMB is owed US$20.5M (GGH plus one other loan) and wants a land swap for debt

 

May 24 Nigel Thomas of NPL wrote to Sendjer Shefker, Director of Target international Funds ltd, in London re GGH and MNIB. He set out a list of requests for various financial information including names of investment houses, etc in relation to the projects and Neil Seepersad.

 

2007

January 17 Leisa Kisto, attorney from Rinzai Chambers in Trinidad and Counsel for NPL writes to Angus Friday, Chairman of GGH requesting payment of US$2,159,383.15 by January 24 othewise she will start legal proceedings. She states that her client Seepersad advised her that the project came to a halt due to Hurricane Ivan, an event which clearly falls under the Force Majeure provisions of the contract.

 

June 7 Letter from Tourism Minister – Brenda Hood, to E.S. Mahon, Director of Risk, ITMB, acknowledging the debt of US$600,000, arising out of an “assignment/agreement between NTA Primis Ltd and Intercommercial Trust & Merchant Bank”

 

Unknown NPL assigned debt of US$500,000 plus interest it has with GHG to Intercommercial Trust & Merchant Bank in Trinidad in exchange for payment of US$600,000 (see July 30, 2002)

 

2008 ITMB retains Bruce Procope to send a letter to Prime Minister Mitchell seeking repayment of US$600,000

 

April PM Mitchell responds with consideration of crown lands as security

 

April 22 Thomas states that the offer from the GOG of 2025 Bonds in the sum of US$696,958.93 was deemed to be insufficient and as such failed to meet the requirement of the Board of Intercommercial Bank Ltd.

 

June 8 Leisa Kisto, attorney from Rinzai Chambers in Trinidad wrote to the Chairman, GGH re outstanding payments under contract dated May 30, 2003 for GGH development and referred to her January 17, 2007 letter. She again threatens legal action of payment is not made to NPL.

2009

April 7 Nigel Thomas provides an outline statement.

 

Policeman accused of wife beating

A domestic dispute between a Police Officer and his former wife has lead to charges being laid against the couple.

The Policeman, Alva Roberts who is originally from Birchgrove, St. Andrew’s and now resides at D’Arbeau, St. George’s has to answer a charge of causing harm to Brenda Roberts with whom he shared a dwelling house.

A well-place source told THE NEW TODAY Newspaper that the couple was having domestic problems for a long period of time.

The source who spoke on condition of not being identified said as a result of the continued conflict between the two, the wife moved out of the house and went to live with her mother at D’Arbeau, just a stone’s throw away from where her ex-husband lives.

The source indicated that because of the sour relationship, the Roberts’ had to seek frequent counseling at the Community Relations Department of the Royal Grenada Police Force.

However, things took a turn for the worse in the early part of the month as they became engaged in a public conflict after the Policeman, attached to the Traffic Department accused the wife of having an intimate relationship with another man.

The police officer allegedly caused damage to his ex-wife’s face during the conflict and in retaliation, the woman reportedly threw stones at him.

According to the source, the woman used several obscene language and told her former husband that he would suffer and that she wants noting to do with his house.

Charges of obscene language and throwing stones were laid on her.

 

The Positive Change Services

By Kenny Smart

As a Sergeant of Police with approximately 24 years experience, I have witnessed first- hand the harsh reality of the negative impacts of drug use and the abuse of drugs on individuals across the Grenadian society.

I have therefore, after much deliberation and research, decided that the time is long overdue for us to take a stand once and for all to try to eradicate this scourge of Society that is wreaking havoc on our nation and more especially our youth…the very façade of our future.

Given this reality, what is needed is a unified approach and therefore I am appealing to all relevant stakeholders to join in the combat and champion this worthy cause.

I have, in collaboration with several health professionals in Grenada, put together a comprehensive Program and currently developing the relevant strategic approach to enable us to tackle and curb the problem of drug use, sellers and those financing the drug trade in our country.

The drug problem is a real one, hence the need for a rehab approach and the need to support the legal framework against illegal drug use.

The following is a brief outline of what we have agreed on so far and we are in dire need of your input and co-operation in any or all areas since it is absolutely imperative that we work together.

 

THE MISSION STATEMENT

 

*To Realise a Drug Free Society for every individual, nationals or non-nationals, to co-exist peacefully.

 

THE MANDATE

 

*An integrated and proactive approach to heighten the awareness of drug abuse and its negative effects on the Grenadian society, which is a holistic attempt to speak to both the healing of the Body and the Mind.

 

Against this backdrop, the following approach will be taken:

 

*Focus on Community open house discussions (such as visits to homes, primary and secondary schools, as well as the tertiary institutions, informal conversations about drugs, especially with the youth)

 

*Seminars and Workshops (Powerpoint Presentations and other Mediums will be used to sensitise the public about drug use and prevention and what to do when you spot potential victims)

 

*Launch-A-nationwide competition for the most Drug Free School or Community

 

*The POSITIVE CHANGE SERVICES will establish an office in any community it is working to facilitate its services to that community.

 

*From time to time medical practitioners will come into the community to work with addicts and assist in detoxing them and the addicts will also be exposed to hydrotherapy.

 

In our efforts to eradicate drugs and rehabilitate our brothers and sisters across the Grenadian society, it is our intention not to leave any stone unturned and therefore we will continue to appeal to all affected through motivational activities and work towards the establishment of a rehabilitation facility.

The Positive Change Services will operate an open-door policy and therefore the Public will be updated shortly on its location and related information.

Having said this, I want to extend to all a blessed Christmas and I particularly appeal to our young people to stay away from drug use, as we celebrate and look forward to a promising new year. Happy Christmas!

We look forward to your support and any expressions of interest and you are welcome to contact us.

 

(Kenny Smart is a Sergeant of Police with the Royal Grenada Police Force)

 

 

Do not allow yourselves to be taken for a ride

By The Stone Crusher

 

As the Christmas approaches, we cannot help but keep on the foremost of our minds the upcoming general elections – the likely results of which seem to be frightening to some in the event that the corrupt and unorganised were to be returned to office.

As was mentioned in another medium, we are caught up between a rock and a hard place, almost – thanks to the coward gang leader and crew and their consistent acts of destabilisation against the very administration they were elected to be a part of. No wonder they are finished today.

As one man put it – on one hand we have a shepherd with a few of his sheep lost in the bushes, while on the other we have “Alibabah” and his 14 thieves licking their chops on the sidelines waiting to resume the culture of abject dishonesty and inferior leadership which placed Grenada in the column of disrepute for all to see.

Interestingly, the latter group is aided and abetted by elements of the resistance to the entire thirteen years prior to July 8th, 2008. This only goes to show how self-seeking most – if not all of those we have in our politics – are.

Who would have ever thought the likes of the “irrelevant element” who helped to sponsor the murder of so many Grenadians between 1979 and 1983 by his involvement in the gun trade that brought arms under the guise of barrels of grease would be today making private meetings with the same opposition politicians whose leadership he said attracts the baser instincts in our Grenadian people?

Because he and his brigands could not have their way to tie up the head of Uncle Tilly, they are today seeking to be spoilers in the upcoming poll to see if they can take away enough votes in key constituencies to install the same people he and his cohorts once labeled with good cause as inferior. How puerile!

While all of this is going on, the arguments of the Call Center continues with several people getting to understand properly how the relatives of KCM managed to skim off the top and run, leaving us the people with total ownership of a business entity that only had millions of debts and nothing else to show for it.

What is interesting here to note is that every business must have income and expenditure. If the expenditure is higher than the income, then the business will fail in short order. It must be the other way around for the business to make sense.

A main source of the Call Center’s business was telecommunications – the telephone in particular. But the Call Center was not meeting its telephone obligations to Cable & Wireless at the time. One must appreciate that if a business is not paying its expenses, it can be inferred that the operators of the business might just be diverting the income away from the business and therefore away from the books.

Where did the income of the Call Center go? It surely did not go in meeting the main expenses of the business. What was done with the millions in guarantees that it got from the taxpayers money under KCM and Company? Did anybody pocket the Call Centre money?

What THE STONE CRUSHER can recall is that the NNP government found it necessary to divert the over EC$4million dividends from Cable & Wireless earmarked for the Treasury to pay the outstanding bill of the Call Center to them (C&W).

The people are not fools and do understand and know the “hankey- pankey” that the Call Center was for those who operated it – including the relatives of the then Prime Minister. It is instructive to note that the expenses of the Call Center remained unpaid – when any fool were to look at its figures.

The discussion must be on where did the income go? Who collected the income? Where was it diverted? KCM, Gregory and Tony et al must address the Call Centre and the millions in guarantees from government to this entity.

To tell the nation that C&W’s dividends went to offset expenses to the company does not lead to an end of the conversation. What did the main relative of the then Prime Minister do after the crash of the Call Center?

By the way where is this cousin? This man along with the former Big Up in Cable & Wireless and an ordinary girl who was just a Secretary in a legal firm were listed as shareholders of the Call Center – and the documents in our registry will support this.

Stone Crusher knows for a fact that the Call Center was not owned by the state in total when it first started to do business.

Gregory Bowen knew this but instead choose to try a fast one on Lew Smith last week Tuesday morning when he appeared on the programme known as “To The Point”. If only Lew had done the necessary research before the programme he would have caught Gregory once again telling a blatant lie.

Can Gregory look at Michael Baptiste straight in the face and tell him that Call Center was always owned 100% by the State. If Gregory attempts to do that then he has forgotten that Mr. Baptiste was at one time the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) when he was Leader of the Opposition after the 2003 general elections.

Gregory, please do not forget that Mr. Baptiste was able to call in Timothy Antoine (PS Finance) and Patricia Antoine (former Accountant-General) in the Ministry of Finance and grilled them on the operations of the Call Centre.

Gregory, the Finance people confessed to the Public Accounts Committee that they did not know the means or method used by the NNP government to acquire the shares of the private shareholders of the Call Centre.

Short-memory Gregory, please read the following concrete recording from the Hanshard of our Parliament, which attests to that through the words of your own Leader, then Prime Minister Dr., the Rt. Hon. Keith Mitchell.

The Stone Crusher reminds Gregory that KCM made the startling revelation when he was put to the sword by Michael Baptiste on the amount of money that his family members had owed the State on the Call Centre deal.

The words of KCM in Parliament as taken from Hansard:

 

“Members should not be imputing that any company received a certain amount of money from government, Mr. Speaker- by the way the figure is $9.0 million – and that government got 40 per cent for $9.0 million investment. This is absolutely false Mr. Speaker.

“The Government has provided a guarantee for the $9.0 million. Sorry, a guarantee of $9.0 was given, plus the government invested $9.0 million, Mr. Speaker.

“What is being pointed out here is that the nine million dollars will be repaid by the company starting in March. So the government is not putting money that is not coming back to the government. The money is being returned to the government. So, it’s like a loan, Mr. Speaker. And, the money will be repaid from March. And, we’re still getting 40 percent.

“In other words, we return — the money is being returned to us, and we’re still getting 40 percent shares. So, the government, for no permanent investment in the company is now getting 40 percent, and hundreds — over a thousand jobs are being created. Mr. Speaker, I just want to clarify this. I think that it is very important that that information be made clear.”

 

Gregory, those are not the words of Michael Baptiste or one of your perceived enemies but the words that came from the lips of your leader, The Right Honourable, Dr. Keith Claudius Mitchell.

Gregory, please do the honourable and decent thing in the New Year by going back on the programme with Lew Smith and apologise to the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique for your deliberate attempt to mislead them on the shareholders of the Call Centre.

Gregory, when Dr. Mitchell answered then Opposition Leader – Mr. Michael Baptiste, he said enough to indicate otherwise. Stop trying to fool us, Gregory with your nonsense. Shame on you, Gregory.

What we have to ask is what was done and when to make the government of the day 100% shareholder in that shell of a company that was Call Centre? Gregory, leave Dr. Mitchell alone to clean up his own mess with the Call Centre because not even the mainstream top civil servants in the Ministry of Finance knew how the government acquired the shares of the private shareholders like the Crooked foot Man and the big wig from C&W.

But then Gregory, you have a vested interested to try a cover-up with Call Centre because when the Russians got involved in the company, the American lady swore in an affidavit in a U.S court that Lev Model used to pay the tuition fees of your daughter.

Gregory, how come you never filed a lawsuit in the U.S against the Rose lady for that bombshell that brings into sharp focus your honesty, decency and integrity. Maybe the Wild One was afraid to go after the American Lady in a U.S court because you would have had to go on the witness stand.

As a people who are getting ready again to vote in a general election, we have a right to know where our monies went under the tenure and stewardship of Dr. Mitchell, Gregory and NNP that has caused us so much financial pains today.

Dr. Mitchell, Gregory Bowen and Anthony Boatswain must tell us all we need to know about the Call Centre transaction and stop mounting political platforms and calling in on radio stations and appearing on national radio and television stations telling us they did what they did to save jobs.

While they were doing that to save jobs – somebody was robbing the nation of the income to the Call Center. Who was that somebody? We want to know who is that and where did the income that was supposed to be going to the Call Center go? Who pocketed the income and left us holding a bag of debt.

As we see in the recorded words of Dr. Mitchell, himself in the Parliament when he was Prime Minister – at some stage the company was owned 60% by his family members and others with the remaining 40% owned by the state.

It now begs the question – was the takeover of 100% ownership of Call Centre by the state (then under Dr. Mitchell’s leadership) done to exonerate his family from liability? Dr. Mitchell told us that $18 million dollars from the Treasury were involved in Call Centre in which the Crooked Foot Man was the main player.

Look how KCM handled the taxpayers money – not his. He could not care how many millions were lost in bad deals. Compare this with his own money. Up to now he does not want to pay Rodge Jones from his own pocket for work done on the apartments in New York.

Maybe, if Rodge had to get taxpayers money, he might have gotten it already from KCM. But when it comes to dipping his hands into his pocket to pay from his own bank account, KCM giving all kinds of trouble.

The nation should not be surprised if the Pit bull PR man in NNP gets the usual 5.00 a.m. call with instructions from KCM to reply to the Call Centre questions on behalf of the leader. Michael Creft used to get the regular 5.00 a.m telephone call with instructions about certain money matters.

By the way Dr. Mitchell – have you received further communication from your lawyer in New York since you advised the nation that you knew nothing about the upcoming court-related matter with Rodge? When will you start to speak the truth for once on the New York matter?

Stone Crusher feels that what a man is in his personal life he carries with him to his professional life and so if you want to be Prime minister of this country again you need to prove that you have changed and that you are worthy of the nation’s trust!

People of Grenada, do you recall Dr. Mitchell and NNP telling this nation that the Call Center was supposed to buy computers for every school in Grenada. Where are the computers? Now KCM has changed his tone and is telling the nation that his administration – if elected – will provide every child with a computer.

Isn’t this the same man who opposed the provision of free schoolbooks for the nation’s children? What pappy show is this? The electorate must make a pappy show of KCM when Uncle Tilly calls the thing in 2013

The NNP inner circle is talking big of a 14-1 victory at the polls but they are suffering from a foot in mouth disease. These people are saying that in order for Dr. Mitchell to succeed should NNP be elected, he would need to win the goodwill of the people and for the first two years in office at least $100million would have to be found for spending to keep the people on their side.

Where is KCM likely to get that kind of money from? Has Van Brink been invoked from the dead? Have Rita Regale, Larry Barnabe, David Rowe and Resteiner come out of jail yet? Who other crooks the NNP have in mind and from where, this time, to facilitate the washing of their dirty money for them?

When the offshore money ran out in 2000-02, the NNP was forced to borrow millions at commercial interest rates and that is why the nation debt got so high that it nearly touched the sky under KCM.

Only recently, Patrick Antoine, the NNP front man admitted on a recent programme seen on television that KCM and his government borrowed at high commercial interest rates thus resulting in a he spike in the national debt.

Grenadians – do not be fooled! You have to live with the decision you make when general elections roll around. Go with the group whose leader you can trust with your dollars!

Another five years of KCM and NNP will sink Grenada for good since their phrase is nothing is wrong with massive borrowing since no one can take Grenada and sell it for debts owed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CIBC gives generously for cancer

Country Manager, Nigel Ollivierre presents Dr. Barrymore Mc Barnette with the cheque

CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank on Tuesday handed over a cheque for $4,050.00 to the Grenada Cancer Society.

The presentation was made during a brief ceremony held at the St. George’s General Hospital.

The funds were raised by CIBC FirstCaribbean staff in Grenada together with over 3,000 CIBC FirstCaribbean employees, friends and family in the Caribbean who joined more than 13,000 employees, family and friends of Team CIBC in 60 different Run sites across Canada – to take part in Canada’s CIBC Run for the Cure, uniting employees of the CIBC group of companies in a common cause.

Throughout the 17 countries where CIBC FirstCaribbean operates, the inaugural CIBC FirstCaribbean “Walk for the Cure” was described as an historic event!

The Grenada team focused on the town of St. George, distributing information on cancer prevention and recognising its symptoms during September.

As part of this initiative, the Bank staff made donations and CIBC FirstCaribbean Head Office matched the donations made by the Bank staff, to hand over to a local charity – The Grenada Cancer Society.

The bank’s Country Manager, Nigel Ollivierre said the financial institution is happy to partner with the Cancer Society in its fight against cancer, adding that the most people encountered during the promotions knew someone infected or affected with cancer.

Ollivierre pledged his company’s support to the cause of the Cancer Society and gave a commitment to continue to engage in activities to further educate people on the issue of cancer and seek ways to find a cure for the deadly disease.

Medical doctor, Barrymore Mc Barnette who received the cheque from CIBC said that cancer is now the leading cause of death in Grenada and that on a weekly basis new patients are diagnosed with new forms of cancer.

Dr. Mc Barnette felt that the contribution from the bank would go a long way in helping patients battle the disease since treatment is very expensive.

He noted that recently the Society contributed $5,000.00 towards a patient affected by breast cancer to seek treatment outside of Grenada.

In Grenada, breast cancer is the leading type of cancer in females and prostate cancer in males.

Cuban Oncologist Hector Diaz Esquiro was on hand to witness the presentation.