KFC pumping money into National Relay Meets

Joseph Ross makes the presentation of the cheque to Charles George

Local Fast Food Restaurant, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) is once again providing sponsorship for the National Relay Meets.

The Relay Meets that is carded for February 23 at the Grenada National Stadium was officially launched before the media last week Tuesday.

During the launch that was witnessed by a number of coaches from the various secondary schools, KFC Financial Controller Justin Penny announced that the Fast Food Restaurant has, this year increased from $30,000.00 to $40,000.00.

Penny said although they are faced with economic challenges, they have been able to make sacrifices.

He said they are assured that once the Fast Food Restaurant invests in the youth, they are investing in the future of the country.

“We do hope that our sponsorship of this relay meet will all be of tremendous value, not only to the youth, but to everyone in the country,” he said.

The KFC Financial Controller disclosed that the Grenada Bottling Company has partnered with them in providing an additional $5,000.00 towards the success of the relay meets.

Co-ordinator of Sports Conrad Francis said the money would be used to provide financial rewards to the athletes.

Francis said first placed winner will receive $150.00, second placed $75.00, and third place $50.00.

Francis said it is expected that all of the secondary schools in the State of Grenada will participate in the relay meets.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Empowerment and Sports Veda Bruno-Victor pleaded for uniformity of the teams.

Bruno-Victor made a passionate plea to the coaches to ensure that the athletes are “well dressed.”

The Permanent Secretary expressed the ministry’s satisfaction that KFC has once again come forward to provide sponsorship of the relay meets.

She said the ministry is happy that it does not have to spend any money for the sporting activity.

“We are happy because our children would get an exposure, but moreso, because we promised that along with the (Grenada) Athletic Association we are going to lift the standard of the games,” she said.

The contract was signed between KFC’s Managing Director Joseph Ross and Bruno-Victor.

Ross said the true nature of his company continuing to provide sponsorship of the National Relay Meets is to see that Grenada produces another Olympic Gold Medalist, “Kirani James.”

James who is a resident of Gouyave, St. John’s rose to stardom last year after being the first Grenadian to win an Olympic Medal at the London Games.

“We hope this would assist and encourage others to follow,” Ross said.

Andre Thomas Nabbed in International Drug Ring

Andrew Thomas – accused of being part of an international drug ring

Police believe that they have made some inroads into an international drug ring operating outside of Grenada.

After thorough and intense investigations that took one year, members of the Drug Squad of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) have laid two drug-related charges on businessman Andre Thomas of Café, St. George’s.

Thomas is the nephew of the Deputy Political Leader of the newly formed National United Front (NUF) Ferron Lowe who is a barrister-of-law by profession.

He operates VSR Car Rentals along the Calivigny Main road and is also engaged in the rental of power tools.

Thomas is accused of trafficking in cocaine at the St. George’s Port on Friday, January 27, 2012, and also exporting cocaine from the St. George’s Port on Friday, January 27, 2012.

THE NEW TODAY was told by confidential sources that the amount of cocaine involved is one kilo. The drug was allegedly shipped from Grenada to England.

A high level source told THE NEW TODAY Newspaper that the cocaine was intercepted by the authorities in England, and the persons for whom it was intended have already been prosecuted there.

The 41-year old Thomas appeared before Chief Magistrate, Her Honour Tamara Gill on Monday and was remanded to custody at the Richmond Hill prison to re-appear in court on February 27.

He is being represented by female attorney-at-law, Aneka Johnson of the law firm of Ciboney Chambers.

Head of the Police Prosecution Department, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Damian Lee in response to a query from the presiding Magistrate said that the Prosecution will strenuously reject any request for bail.

ASP. Lee told the court that due to Thomas’ extensive connection they feared that had it not been for intervention by the police in the matter, the possibility existed that “a junior economy” would have been in the making in the country as a result of the monetary value of the cocaine.

The estimated street value of the cocaine was placed at 75,000 Pound Sterling, which is equivalent to EC$337, 500.00.

The court learnt that arrangements are being made to have three witnesses from the United Kingdom brought to Grenada to give evidence in the case.

If convicted, Thomas could be sent to prison for up to 20 years once convicted of drug trafficking and possession of an illegal drug.

 

Patrick Simmons: Best times for sports

Sports Minister Patrick Simmons – happy with the strides in sports

Five hard courts have been constructed over the last four and a half years by the Ministry of Youth Empowerment and Sports.

This was disclosed by Minister Patrick Simmons during a public meeting of the National Democratic Congress who said that the initiative to create more facilities for athletes was done under the leadership of Prime Minister Tillman Thomas.

Simmons said athletes now have the opportunity to go to a playing field and practice at any time with lights and not having to worry about the conditions of the facility.

Simmons also said the government was instrumental in creating the first national sports policy.

“That was best times for sports in this country,” he said.

 

PM, blow your trumpet!!!

THE NEW TODAY would like to focus on a recent announcement that Grenada can now benefit from a specialised category of visas issued by the United States for foreigners to enter the country and engage inlegal temporary employment.

Grenada has now joined a group of 58 select countries that are now able to apply for H2A and H2B non-immigrant visas to work in the United States as the visas allow American employers to bring in a number of foreign nationals.

The Tillman Thomas-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) might have been handed an “election gift” from Washington through President Barrack Obama in light of the February 19 national poll in the Spice Isle.

Are the decision-makers in the United States sending a subtle message to the Grenadian electorate as they ponder on whether to stick with the trusted leadership of Prime Minister Thomas and his Congress party or return to the days of ole through Dr. Keith Mitchell and his New National Party (NNP) brigade?

The timing of this announcement by the U.S Government should not be taken lightly.

The H2A and H2B non-immigrant visas have been used successfully by our sister CARICOM States like Jamaica and Barbados to find employment opportunities for their people and to help in the critical area of remittances.

As the worldwide recessions bites harder and harder, our people now have before them an opening to seek employment opportunities to improve on their lot in life.

This newspaper understands that this special category of visas was traditionally used to recruit workers for temporary jobs in the areas of farm and non-agricultural labour in the United States.

This development, if handled properly can provide meaningful employment for many skilled Grenadian workers who no longer will live in fear of going to the U.S to work on visitor’s visas that clearly preclude them from engaging in employment.

Our government should take a lead role in putting the systems in place to help recruit Grenadians to take opportunities that might be available in areas such as auto-mechanic body shops, landscaping, truck drivers, the tourism and hospitality industry and agricultural farms.

THE NEW TODAY did some research into the H-2A and H-2B visas and found out the following:

• Many of the (American) businesses filing H-2B petitions for foreign workers are “body shops” that have no actual “seasonal or temporary” need for labor. Body shops can petition for large numbers of workers and then essentially sell them off to companies that either could not get their own H-2B workers or did not know how to do so.

• While many H-2B jobs offer low wages of less than $10 per hour, a substantial number of H-2B visas go to more skilled workers who earn up to $40 per hour. Industries that are particularly heavy users of the H-2B program include landscaping, forestry, hotels and restaurants, amusement parks and leisure facilities, and seafood processors.

Prime Minister Thomas and NDC should make this an important issue in the remaining days of the February 19 general elections.

This “gift” to Grenada did not come during the 13 years of rule of Dr. Mitchell and NNP but under a Congress Administration that has consistently promoted a Good Governance agenda with accountability and integrity being the hallmark of its tenets in office.

This should be compared with Mitchell’s tenure in office in which Grenada lost big times with Canada when Ottawa was forced to impose Visa restrictions on our nationals in the face of madness that was taking place in St. George’s.

Both the United States and Canada were extremely concerned about Grenada’s open door policy in which all kinds of crooks, con-men and criminal elements were allowed to take advantage of its economic citizenship programme under which Grenadian passports were sold to some of the highest bidders.

It is a fact which the then NNP rulers cannot deny that some of their operatives used the selling of passports to become millionaires almost overnight.

One popular shopping centre in Grand Anse was built with some of the proceeds from the sale of Grenadian passports.

Prime Minister Thomas should go beyond the utterances he made lastSunday at the NDC rally at Tanteen when in reference to the H-2A and H-2B visas, he said that the U.S government did this for Grenada in order to repay St. George’s because the island “once again has an enhanced image internationally”.

The Prime Minister needs to go beyond the statement, “This is a significant development. Grenada’s good name has been restored. There is value in a good reputation”.

The 2013 elections is a most defining one for the country since the most critical issue is whether the people would continue with integrity, good governance and accountability or return to the possibility of 10-15 years of an agenda based on “ah want to eat a food” regardless of the source of the funds.

A country gets the government it truly deserves.

The people of the Tri-island State are fully aware of the delivery record of the NNP in terms of the millions that were squandered with fly-by-night investors resulting in the death of the small hotels like No Problem Apartments, Cedars Inn, the Village Hotel, Maffiken Apartments, the Poultry project at Victoria, the desalinations plants in Carriacou and Woburn, E.J Miller and the Ritz Carlton hotel at Mt. Hartman, the Call Centre, and the MNIB fiasco in the Lagoon.

Let’s prove soca man, Lavaman wrong when he says, “Is so we dey”. Our destiny is in our own hands regardless of which side is using a war chest of dollars to win Election 2013.

Passing of “a patriot”

Michael Denis Lett – served as an NDC Government Minister

The National Democratic Congress is deeply saddened by the passing of Mr. Michael Denis Lett, a stalwart of our party and a patriot, whose contribution has left an indelible mark.

The nation will remember his heroic stand in defense of the People’s Right of Access to the La Sagesse Beach in 1973 and his willingness to sacrifice his freedom in defense of his principles.

His dedicated and enlightened leadership of the Ministry of Agriculture has directly led in the emergence of Agriculture as one of the leading growth sectors in our nation’s economy.

He will be remembered for his selfless dedication to service, his wisdom and patience as a leader, his ability to work across the political divide and his love for his constituents.

The Political Leader, Executive and members of the National Democratic Congress express our condolences to the members of Mr. Lett’s family, his Constituency of St. David’s, as well as the staff of the Ministry for Agriculture and the nation as a whole.

We will always treasure the memory of this illustrious son of the soil.

May his soul rest in peace.

 

(The above was submitted by the National Democratic Congress)

 

Butch Stewart: We are more than excited

Sandals Chairman, Butch Stewart – confident of the success of the project

The Operators of Sandals Resorts are forging ahead with plans to develop a first-class hotel on the island.

Late last year Sandals acquired the LaSource Hotel at Point Salines, St. George’s and gave a commitment to develop on what was already existing.

At a Media Luncheon held at the hotel last week Friday, Chairman of the Sandals Group, Butch Stewart said the designs for the newlook Sandals LaSource Resort are being produced and that the rooms being built will add a new flavour to the tourism product in Grenada.

Actual ground breaking for the expansion is scheduled to take place on February 15, while a new opening date set for December 20.

That expansion takes into account the construction of a five-story room block.

Sandals will expand with 131 suites. Out of that number there will be 48 suites of an Italian flavour.

The resort will comprise three villages that include a Caribbean Village.

According to Stewart, right throughout the hotel there will be butler suits.

Upon completion there will be eight restaurants that include a French Restaurant Italian, Japanese, Caribbean, a steakhouse, and a sushi bar.

The Sandals Chairman said his group is more than excited about the project in Grenada.

“We are excited about the destination of Grenada, we love (it). We think it’s a perfect place,” he remarked.

According to the top Jamaican hotelier, the Sandals Group are making sure that the hotel plant on Grenada ends up being a five-star, with the hope of having it extended to a sixth Star.

The Sandals Chairman again used the occasion to extend an olive branch to local hoteliers who might be fearful of competition.

He gave a commitment that his group is willing to provide any help to the entire hotel community.

“Any help that Sandals can give, or any partnership we can work with to every hotel, big or small, we are here to do just that,” Stewart said.

 

Workshop for female politicians

Female politicians Delma Thomas, Glynis Roberts and Alexandra Otway-Noel

Eight female politicians preparing to contest the February 19 General Election

Have taken part in a workshop on Advancing Women’s Transformational Leadership Training for Gender Justice in the Caribbean.

The female candidates contesting the upcoming poll are Glynis Roberts of the National United Front (NUF), Franka Alexis-Bernadine and Merle Byer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and five from the New National Party (NNP) – Delma Thomas, Alexandra Otway-Noel, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen, Emmalin Pierre and Yolande Bain-Horsford.

The workshop was organised by the Grenada National Organisation of Women (GNOW), in collaboration with UN Women, the Caribbean Institute for Women in Leadership (CIWIL), and the Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS)

The initiative took is part of a regional project to support women’s equal participation in politics, decision-making and the advancement of transformational leadership by women in the Caribbean.

The workshop also focused on leadership roles but simple etiquettes such as physical presentation, posture, as well as what the women engaged in politics should and should not do when facing the media.

Only three of the eight candidates addressed members of the media in the session held last week Friday at the queen’s Park National Stadium.

According to NUF’s Political Leader, Glynis Roberts, she is ready to take up a leadership position in the country for the third time.

Having served as a government minister under the NDC government until her resignation last year, and her stint as Parliamentary Representative for South St George Constituency, Roberts said she believes that politics is not complex, but merely requires simplicity and honesty.

Second time runner for the NNP in the St Andrew North West constituency, Delma Thomas stated that taking part in politics is a challenge particularly relating to her family life.

However she is confident and prepared to work on uniting the people of Grenada despite their different political affiliations and in creating employment for the people.

Newcomer Alexandria Otway-Noel (NNP) said she is prepared for the challenge as she keeps her eyes focused on developing the tourism industry, and looking to help in creating industries and employment in the country.

NDC Ready For Battle

Supporters of the Congress – committed to the campaign

The incumbent National Democratic Congress (NDC) is ready to face the battle as it seeks to secure a second term in Office.

The party held a massive rally at La Sagesse, St. David’s on Sunday and gave a clear indication that it is prepared to face whatever attacks may be thrown at the Congress stewardship in government over the past four years.

In his address, Prime Minister and Political Leader, Tillman Thomas recognised that the campaign is an important one for his party and said that the outcome of the polls will determine where the country will head as a nation.

He charged that in the four-and-half-years of Congress Government, they have laid a foundation and it is now time to build on the groundwork that was laid.

He warned the people of Grenada against allowing any other political party to derail the integrity that has been restored in the governance of the country.

The NDC Political Leader said the main opposition New National Party (NNP) that has been in Office for 13 years was only able to deliver to crooks and conmen at the expense of the country.

“Nothing should be done to derail or undermine the foundation that has been laid in the governance of this country,” he told the large gathering.

Prime Minister Thomas impressed upon the people of Grenada to be concerned about their future by selecting at the polls the people who are trustworthy and capable to forge ahead with sound policies and programmes.

Deputy Political Leader, Nazim Burke believes that the 2013 General Elections would be the most decisive elections since post-independence.

Burke told party supporters and the rest of the nation they would be called upon on February 19 to choose between Prime Minister Tillman and the Opposition Leader, Dr. Keith Mitchell.

“You will be called upon to decide on February 19th whether you want a Prime Minister who is accused of accepting $500,000.00 in a briefcase, or whether you want Tillman Thomas,” he said.

Burke stressed that every organisation finds its character in its leader.

Without calling names, the Number Two Man in the Congress accused some of the expelled members of the party of being in collusion with the opposition NNP in an attempt to unseat the government.

However, he said the NDC is confident that the people of Grenada will give Congress a second term to complete the mission that was started four years ago.

There are unconfirmed reports that one of the expelled Congress members was spotted at the NNP public rally at Sauteurs on Sunday helping in the distribution of green jerseys.

The same official has reportedly been campaigning in St. Patrick asking some persons to vote for NNP and not NDC.

Chairman of the NDC, Franka Bernadine who also addressed the Congress rally in St. David’s told supporters that as much as they are in a joyous mood there is serious business before them.

Bernadine said that on the February 19 – Election Day – they must make sure that the country continues with Congress.

The Minister of Education and Human Resource Development who is now the party’s Candidate for the Town of St. George, pointed out that a country cannot be built unless education forms part of the development.

“Education breaks the poverty cycle,” she said.

Newcomer to the political arena, Randal Robinson also joined in making a case for the NDC’s return to government.

Robinson who is the Candidate for the Constituency of St. George South East said the last thing Grenada needs is “fly-by-night politicians” whom he said come with “sweet words and great plans”, and was confident that NDC would never be categorised as such.

According to Robinson, the time has come for Grenadians to assess the issues and carefully plan the solutions.

The rookie politician who is associated with the tourism sector through his river tubing reacted to a poem that was featured during the NNP’s rally at Westerhall, St. David’s last week that sought to belittle him.

He said his investment in the tourism sector with the award-winning Grenada Adventure provides direct employment to 20 young people and has borne fruits.

“River Tubing has twice been voted the Princess Cruise Line Tour of the Year,” he remarked.

In what could be described as Robinson’s seriousness with being part of the NDC for the 2013 general elections, he planted a flag of the Congress on the stage.

He declared that the flag was planted as a sign of his conviction that the NDC is the only political party that can bring hope to the people.

The St. George South East Candidate said he has offered himself as a servant to be part of the system of representative politics.

 

Co-op Bank providing distance learning through HELP

Co-op Bank’s Managing Director Richard Duncan and EFA’s President John Evans

Grenadians who are desirous of pursuing online studies now have the opportunity to do so through an initiative introduced by the Grenada Co-operative Bank Limited.

The bank has partnered with the Florida-based Education For Advancement (EFA) in an effort to provide educational opportunities to Grenadians who want to pursue tertiary education distance programmes any where in the world from the comfort of their home.

As a means of providing the financial support, Co-op Bank has introduced a loan programme that is called “Higher Education Loan Plan” (HELP).

At the media launch last week Thursday, Co-op Bank’s Managing Director, Richard Duncan indicated that the alliance is just “another building block” of the bank’s customer relations strategy.

Co-op Bank is providing One hundred percent financing towards the cost of tuition, fees, books and any other online material to anyone needing to accessing HELP.

However, the amount one can be qualified for depends on his ability to service the debt.

Requirements needed in access HELP includes an acceptance letter from the school, and security.

Duncan said the alliance with EFA also represents a deliberate and definite move in contributing to the country’s socio-economic development.

In its quest to finance education at all levels, the bank’s Managing Director said the financial institution delivers a set of products and services that meet international best practices.

He recalled that in 2009, the bank crafted and launched HELP and that a $5m loan was secured from the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) with the specific purpose of financing the programme.

According to Duncan, financing any post primary or post secondary programme of learning that leads to some form of certification is not just limited to academics.

He said that skilled programmes rank side by side with the standard traditional professional studies.

“So higher education for us is not just the traditional academic lines. The vocational lines also are common,” he added.

The Co-op Bank Managing Director impressed upon his audience the need to start looking at ways in which they can finance their children’s education.

He said that a small saving from the birth of a child on a monthly basis will result in them having to borrow far less when that child turns 20.

President of EFA, John Evans cited the need for countries like Grenada to be able to compete on a global level.

Evans said that in order to achieve that it is important that the work force is developed for that purpose.

He stressed that online education can now serve as a means of developing themselves, and be able to provide opportunities for more persons to learn.

“We are bringing the education to you. And you now have the opportunity through EFA to pursue everything from High School right through to Associates, Bachelors, and Masters Level,” he said.

Evans disclosed that EFA is already in partnership with learning institutions from Britain and the United States.

 

Quality Leadership takes centre stage at election campaign

Prime Minister Tillman Thomas making his entry into the rally

Prime Minister and Political Leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Tillman Thomas has brought to the fore the issue of leadership in the country.

During a massive rally of the incumbent NDC at the Roy St. John Playing Field at Tanteen in St. George’s last week Sunday, Prime Minister Thomas reacted to statements made by Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Mitchell that the upcoming General Elections is based on quality leadership and the economy.

The Prime Minister said if ever there was any quality leadership in Grenada, the record will show that it was in the past four years under Congress.

He likened Dr. Mitchell’s leadership to one that was lacking in quality and morality.

“When it comes to quality leadership… the National Democratic Congress has provided quality leadership to the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique,” he said.

During his 13-year stint in government between 1995 and 2008, former Prime Minister Mitchell was often dogged by charges of corruption and faced allegations of visiting the home of an imprisoned conman in Switzerland, Eric Resteiner and accepting a bribe of US$500, 000.00 in exchange for a diplomatic posting.

Dr. Mitchell has consistently denied the allegation despite a sworn affidavit filed in a U.S court by Timothy Bass, the former Chief Bodyguard of Resteiner that he secretly videotaped the financial transaction.

Prime Minister Thomas reiterated that the February 19 General Elections would decide the country’s future

“It would be the most important decision the electorate would make in the history of our island. The challenges that Grenada face today require leadership with integrity, vision to take Grenada forward”, he told the large audience.

“We cannot entrust our future to the reckless and rudderless. We cannot, again, put ourselves at the mercy of those who have proven themselves to be corrupt and inefficient,” he said.

The NDC Political Leader is confident that his NDC team of Candidates is on the victory march for the poll due to be held in the next 18 days.

The 25-year old political party ended the 13-year reign of the NNP at the 2008 July polls, and is now seeking a second term in Office.

Prime Minister Thomas noted that the Grenadian people were coming out in their thousands at the party’s rallies to support the NDC’s Victory Team on the march towards a second term.

He said that in 2008 the NDC was the heartbeat of change in the country and has restored integrity, as well as putting down the foundation to continue rebuilding the economy.

He noted that Congress is campaigning on its performance record in the first term in office.

According to PM Thomas, despite all the challenges faced, his government has achieved much and that one of the benefits brought to the people was the “energy for the poor programme.”

Prime Minister Thomas said 183 families were assisted through that programme at a cost of $250,000.00.

Families who were using wood as their main source of cooking were given a stove and a six-month supply of gas.

The NDC Political Leader warned his supporters against becoming complacent with the Election Day only a few days away.

He recognized that there is a lot of work to be done to ensure victory, and that everyone and every hand needed to come on board to help defeat their opponents.

However, the Prime Minister pointed out that Congress would not sell its soul to the highest bidder by accepting “underhand money” for its campaign.

“We have a responsibility to preserve and protect the heritage of Grenada, and you must join us in preserving and protecting the heritage of Grenada,” he said.

“Our vote is not for sale… No mafia family should buy us out. Grenada’s assets are not for sale,” he added.

The Congress platform has been accusing the NNP of accepting millions in campaign financing from Russian investors who had signed an earlier deal with the Mitchell government to exploit the island’s underwater oil and gas resources estimated to be a few billions.

The NDC has signed a maritime boundaries treaty with Trinidad and Tobago and was making moves to try and exploit a particular block of natural gas resources that lies along the boundaries between the two countries.

The Grenadian Leader advised his supporters not to be deterred by the hype, glitz and the glamour that is being showcased by the NNP in its high profile campaign.

Prime Minister Thomas announced that his government is about to start construction of a new water cistern at the Princess Alice Hospital at Mirabeau, St. Andrew’s, and to refurbish the doctor’s and pharmacist quarters at the Paradise and Petite Martinique Medical Stations.

In addition, he said remedial work will be carried out on the Vincennes Medical Station at St. David’s.

There will also be upgrades for the Drug Abuse and Rehabilitation Centre, Gouyave Health Centre, Grand Bras Health Centre, St. David’s Health Centre, Princess Alice Hospital and Sauteurs Health Centre to the tune of $13.5m.

The Grenadian Leader also addressed the issue of the national debt, pointing out that in 2011 his Congress government paid off $252m, and $345m in 2012.

The Mitchell government has often been accused of moving the national debt from the paltry figure of $373 million in 1995 to $EC1.7 billion when it lost power, due to massive borrowing to engage in non-productive enterprises.