Gang Violence at Richmond Hill Prison

Prime Minister Tillman Thomas is being advised “to cast his eyes on the prisons” in his capacity as Minister of National Security as gang violence takes a toll on the institution.

The call has come from an influential member of the society in light of what has been described as a brutal chopping incident of an inmate last week Thursday by a group of other inmates who are believed to be associated with a gang operating inside the prison.

The NEW TODAY was told that an emergency meeting was held by the Ministry of National Security last week to discuss the alleged gang activities taking place within the confines of the prison.

Among the issues, which reportedly surfaced, was an allegation that during the fracas at the prison, a senior prison officer had kicked another officer as the situation got out of control.

An informed source told this newspaper that the officer denied kicking his colleague but slapped him in the face.

He said that while prison authorities would want the general public to believe that the constant violence at Her Majesty’s Prisons is due to overcrowding, it is largely based on illegal drugs and organised gangs.

However, the source who spoke on condition of not being identified said overcrowding is there while the prison population would always be more than what the prison was originally built to accommodate.

At the close of the October Assizes last month, Superintendent of Prisons, Derick John reported that as of December 18, 2012 the prison population stood at 492.

The source believes that the situation at the prison appears to be getting out of hand, and that the troublemakers need to be locked down.

Fingers are being pointed at a murder convict Anderson Thomas who is described as being a very dangerous and ruthless person as the leader of the gang that has taken over the drug business inside the prison.

According to well-placed sources, the incident that involved Thomas about one week ago resulted due to resistance put up by an inmate who once controlled the drug ring, and refused to join with a 15-member gang within the institution engaged in the illegal activity.

The source claimed that the inmate was given 24 hours in which to make up his mind, and due to his failure to co-operate with the Thomas-led gang he was physically attacked.

This newspaper learnt that two members of the gang held the young man’s hands behind his back while the gang leader used an object to chop him on the face and other parts of the body.

It is alleged that Thomas would usually attack other inmates who do not want to be part of his operations.

Investigations carried out by this newspaper reveal that in 2010, Thomas who works in the Carpenter shop inflicted a wound on a prison officer in the head.

Thomas is serving a prison sentence for the June 30, 2007 murder of Rennie St. John of Grand Anse, St. George’s.

 

Final Chapter in Limes Murder Chopping

Calvin Simon and Nathan Charles – finally sentenced for the offenses of murder

Closure has finally come to the June 30, 2007 chopping to death of 35-year old Rennie St. John of Grand Anse Housing Scheme at the hands of three men.

Calvin Simon who was 19 years at the time of the incident was the last person to be sentenced for the crime.

His two accomplices, Delon Honore and Anderson Thomas were already serving a prison sentence for murder.

Simon who pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of manslaughter last year has been handed a nine-year prison sentence by Madam Justice Clare Henry on Tuesday that is to run from the time he was on remand.

He was detained on July 1, 2007 and charged with murder, and in the May 2012 Criminal Assizes he pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

In handing down the sentence, Justice Henry ordered that the convicted man receive counseling in anger management, and in alcohol and drug use.

The chopping to death of St. John came after the deceased had delivered some blows with a cutlass on Honore two weeks before the fatal incident.

On the day of the incident itself, the three convicted men reportedly met St. John who was 26 years at the time of his death at the Dynamite Disco in The Limes and an altercation began between them.

St. John was chased by the three men, each armed with a cutlass, but fell in the process and repeatedly chopped on all parts of his body by his attackers.

The deceased man received 11 lacerations, and had one of his arms completely severed.

The sentencing of St. John’s was delayed due to some issues of his mental health that was brought to the attention of the court.

At the sentencing on Tuesday, defense attorney Cajeton Hood told the court his client who is now 24 years old entered the Mt. Gay Mental Hospital on two occasions – February 2006 and February 2007 – because he appears to have some level of instability and was in need of help.

The social inquiry report indicated that Simon appears to lack the capacity to remain focus for a prolonged period of time.

Meanwhile, Madam Justice Clare Henry has handed down a 22-year prison sentence on Nathan Charles for a murder that occurred in 2000.

However, from every indication, the convicted man has to spend a further two years at the Richmond Hill Prisons before he is released due to the time already spent in prison.

The court learnt that by this April, Charles would have already been incarcerated for 13 calendar years, which when calculated amounts to nineteen and a half prison years.

Charles who was first convicted for the murder of Philomena Charles of Park Lane, St. George’s was sentenced to death.

However, that decision was overturned by the Privy Council in London, which ruled that the sentence was invalid.

The re-sentencing of the convicted man was delayed due to some issues with regard to his mental state.

He underwent mental assessments on three occasions from Dr. Hazel Da Breo, with the last one being on January 14.

The two sentencing were the final ones to be handed down by Justice Henry in this jurisdiction since she is due to leave sometime next week to serve in her homeland of Antigua

 

 

Think of Grenada!!!

The race is now truly on for the 2013 general elections in Grenada.

The moment the country was a waiting became clear on Sunday night when Prime Minister Tillman Thomas announced Tuesday, February 19 is the date for the much-anticipated poll that could shape the future of Grenada for the next 15-20 years.

A victory at the polls by the incumbent NDC could see the main opposition New National Party (NNP) in the political doldrums for many years if that party does not restructure and change its modus operandi.

If on the other hand Dr. Keith Mitchell and his party were to win the general elections, it would become another nightmare to remove him from office for a very long time given his thirst for power and his ability to do whatever is possible to hold onto power.

The two parties were able to pull out large crowds at their respective political meetings, NNP at Westerhall in St. David’s and NDC at the Bus Terminal at Sauteurs in St. Patrick’s.

THE NEW TODAY would want to believe that the NDC might have surprised themselves with the massive yellow power that heeded the call following the split in the ranks of the party in recent years.

It is now clear for all to see that the so-called popular leader, the expelled Peter David and his side including Arley Gill, Hamlet Mark, Joseph Gilbert, Glynis Roberts, Chester Humphrey and Lincoln “Torro” Depradine and others were not the persons largely responsible for the thousands who heeded the NDC call and put the party into power in the July 2008 general election.

This claim is nothing but a myth.

When Prime Minister Tillman Thomas stated publicly just over a year ago that he was the biggest asset for Congress and its chances in general election, the pro-David faction laughed and scoffed at him.

This newspaper is convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that Uncle Tilly was right on target. The likes of Peter David and his former revolutionary comrades would not have been able to convince the Grenadian people that the time had come to put them back into office following the bloody events of October 1983 at Fort Rupert.

The NNP will only win the February 19 poll if the Grenadian people decide to abandon Tillman Thomas and NDC and to bring back Keith Mitchell as the Prime Minister because of what he stands for in terms of the path for development of the country.

Without Uncle Tilly, the current NDC will stand not a chance in the next four weeks. Once he is on board with Congress and leads the party into the elections then the race is truly on as it is at the moment.

The next two weeks would be crucial for either party in their hopes of convincing the electorate that they have the better plans and policies to take Grenada to the next level.

The decision could hinge on the Election Day machinery that is put in place by both the NDC and NNP to get the people to the polls and cast ballots in their favour.

If anyone of them were to falter then the other who execute well will be in the best position to take advantage of the situation and move ahead to win the election.

This newspaper senses that the NDC camp was bolstered by Sunday’s turn out of its supporters, which sent a clear message to the NNP that the party means business with this election and will not be a push over on February 19.

As the country moves closer to the Day of Decision, everything must be done to ensure that the process is free and fair and all recognized political parties are allowed to participate and given an even chance to put forward their views to the electorate.

The Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce (GCIC) and the Grenada Hotel & Tourism Association (GHTA) will have to invite not only Prime

Minister Thomas and Dr. Mitchell to the debate among Political Leaders but also two others – Glynis Roberts of the National United Front

(NUF) and Michael Baptiste of the Grenada United Labour Party (GULP).

The two of them can lay claim with some justification to be included in the debate among the major contenders.

Mr. Baptiste is representing a party that has won several elections in this country, although not in recent times while Mrs. Roberts can claim with some justification on behalf of NUF that prior to the dissolution of Parliament, she was her party’s representative in the law-making assembly.

The country needs to hear what the GULP is seeking to offer to the

electorate and likewise the platform of NUF despite being only a few months old.

If none of the two major parties secure a majority of the seats, and either NUF or GULP won seats – who will they likely join to form a coalition government for the country?

No one can say for sure who Mrs. Roberts might be prepared to support while Mr. Baptiste might be more inclined to get involved in NDC as the lesser of the two evils.

It is doubtful that Mr. Baptiste will want to walk again in the same corridors of power with the NNP Leader, Dr. Keith Mitchell given their love-hate relationship in recent years.

THE NEW TODAY would like to use this opportunity to appeal to the parties and their supporters to refrain from engaging in activities that can have the effect of damaging the country’s image in their quest to lay their hands on the seat of power and to always think of Grenada.

Batson Charged with Rape of 84-year old Woman

Sex Offenders Ramon Aberdeen and Carlson Batson – engaged in
sexual acts of different people

A 34-year old man from Springs, St. George’s has been charged with the rape of an 84-year old St. George’s woman.

The incident allegedly occurred last week Thursday at the woman’s home.

An informed source told THE NEW TODAY Newspaper that while being at home the elderly woman heard someone calling out to her.

The source said the woman believed it was her son and opened the front door only to realise that it was Batson

The accused man rushed inside the house, grabbed the woman and pulled her inside the bedroom where he sexually assaulted her.

Screams for help coming from the victim alerted neighbours who came to her rescue.

The elderly woman was taken away to seek medical attention from a female doctor at the St. George’s General Hospital.

Batson appeared before Her Honour, Magistrate Karen Noel at the St. George’s Number Two Magistrate’s Court on Monday and was placed on bail in the sum of $25,000.00 with two sureties. He is due back in court on January 31.

Batson is one of two men who appeared in court on Monday before Magistrate Noel on different allegations of sexual misconduct and were granted bail.

Ramon Aberdeen from Beaulieu, St. George’s was also put on bail in the sum of $25,000.00.

The 20-year old Aberdeen who has had four previous convictions between 2010 and 2012 of a different nature is charged with indecent assault.

However, he told the court he never did anything to the young lady who is the complainant.

In setting bail, Magistrate Noel ordered that Aberdeen has no communication with the complainant, surrender all travel documents, and that he reports to the Central Police Station on the Carenage, St. George’s every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

He is due back in court on January 24.

 

Industrial climate in the region

By Dr. Brian Francis

The New Year has only just begun but already there is mounting industrial tension in regional economies that can only leave one to wonder how all of this is eventually going to evolve.

First, in Barbados, the powerful Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) is at loggerheads with the telecommunications provider, LIME, over the company’s decision to terminate the services of some of its workers. In response to failed calls to reverse its decision to dismiss the workers, the BWU has threatened an Island-wide shutdown that LIME has described as grossly irresponsible at this critical juncture in the country’s economic life.

At the time of writing this column, there was no official word on further action on either side. However, a major strike at this time would have severe implications for the economy and therefore one could only hope that good sense prevails and that the relevant intervention by the Ministry of Labour results in bringing both sides back to the negotiating table so that a resolution to the ongoing dispute can be found as soon as possible.

Over in St. Lucia, the Government and Trade Union are locked in a rather tense industrial dispute over salary increases for public officers. Based on publicly available information, the Union is calling for a 15% increase in wages and salary for the next triennium.

The Government, on the other hand, according to the Prime Minister, has made an offer of a lump sum payment that would amount to roughly a 3% increase over the negotiation period. That offer from the Government is clearly in keeping with the dire financial and economic circumstances facing the country as outlined in a recent address to the Nation by the Prime Minister.

Indeed, Prime Minister Kenny Anthony hit the nail on the head when in his address to St. Lucians on January 06, 2013, he noted that: “We do not need indecision; we need certainty in these difficult times. I believe, like every citizen, in a just wage for fair and productive labour. What is fair or just is always debatable because so many factors come into play in arriving at a conclusion.

One thing is clear though: in the final analysis, the payment of a wage that is deemed to be fair and just depends on the employer’s ability to pay.”

Based on all that we have seen and heard over the past few years with respect to fiscal deficits, national debt, and the cost of living across the region, there is no doubt that public officers in St. Lucia as well as other Caribbean countries are badly in need of a pay hike.

But, at the same time, Governments can only agree to increases in wages and salaries if those increases are affordable now and in the future. Hence, the prevailing financial and economic circumstances in regional economies must be seen as the cornerstone of any salary negotiations.

In the interim, it is important for the Union and Government in St. Lucia to recognise that all available options must be brought to the table, whether conventional or not. And whatever the final outcome, protecting the country’s economy should be the broader goal in mind.

 

(Dr. Brian Francis, the former Permanent Secretary in the local Ministry of Finance, is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics at the Cave Hill Campus in Bridgetown, Barbados of the University of the West Indies)

 

 

 

 

Parliament is dissolved

All fifteen seats in Grenada’s 15-member House of Representatives are now vacant.

The Governor-General, Sir Carlyle Glean was asked to dissolve Parliament and set the stage for the February 19 general elections on the advise of Prime Minister Tillman Thomas.

The Prime Minister made the nation aware of the development through an address to the nation on January 9.

 

Tillman Thomas – announced the dissolution of Parliament

“Ladies and gentlemen, once again I bring you best wishes for a productive, peaceful and successful year. As I indicated in my new year’s address, the year 2013, despite the lingering challenges, will usher in some exciting possibilities.

We will see the implementation of many programmes and projects that we have been working on over the past four years. These programmes and projects constitute key elements of the foundation that we have laid for the growth and development of our beloved country.

This evening, I wish to address a matter that is current and important to all Grenadians. Since July 2012 the Parliament of Grenada has been customarily prorogued. Around the same time, there were a few resignations from government. Many were pondering the government’s options, given the prevailing circumstances and the electoral timeframe that our country is in.

One of the considerations at the time was the scheduling of our impending general elections. In order to responsibly and effectively hold a free and fair general election, the electoral machinery must be in place and ready to facilitate and conduct such.

Given the need to ensure that all Grenadians who are 18 years and over and are registered to vote, are given a fair chance to exercise their hard earned franchise, and against the background of the introduction of a new voter registration system, my government’s focus was on ensuring that the new system was properly put in place.

It should be noted that if an election was called before the new voter registration was put in place, the old system has to be used. This system, as many of you know, needed to be urgently improved, because, among other things, the equipment was obsolete and the list padded.

As a result the isolated calls for an early election before the completion of the new system, in my view, was irresponsible, self-serving and not in the best interest of all Grenadians. Every Grenadian needs to be given an opportunity to participate in a free and fair process of choosing a government.

Ladies and gentlemen, I now wish to convey that, in my view, much progress has been made with our electoral preparation. Many Grenadians have responded to the call to be registered. This has contributed significantly to our state of readiness.

As such I now wish to advise that today I advised His Excellency the Governor General to dissolve the Parliament of Grenada. This act paves the way for the setting of an election date within the next ninety days.

It should further be noted by all, that on the naming of an election date, the Governor General’s responsibility is to promptly issue the relevant writ. When this is done, voter registration ceases immediately.

Given my abiding desire and mission to ensure that all Grenadians who are 18 years and over and are registered to vote, can participate in the process, I further advise that I will be announcing the election date shortly to give the last opportunity for registration.

All such persons who are yet to register are urged to do so now. Your patriotic and civic responsibility is to exercise your franchise and to participate in the growth and development of our country”.

 

Keith Mitchell: Free at last! JUDGMENT DAY ANNOUNCED!

Allegation of sexual misconduct follows the former public officer

The atmosphere surrounding the Westerhall Playing Field engulfed in shouts of joy and anticipation as news spread of the February 19 date for General Election.

Chairman of the main opposition New National Party (NNP), Gregory Bowen was on the podium addressing party supporters during a rally at Westerhall, St David’s as the announcement was made by Prime Minister, Tillman Thomas as he addressed a mass meeting of his National Democratic Congress (NDC) in St Patrick on Sunday evening.

“February 19 – judgment day announced”, and “The day for liberation”, were two of the chants that came from the mouths of thousands of NNP supporters assembled on the playing field at Westerhall.

The NNP held the meeting to officially introduce its newest candidate, former public servant, Oliver Joseph who replaced disgraced Caretaker Gabriel Henry.

Bowen told the gathering that many of their supporters are yet to be registered and urged them to do so.

He also warned those already registered to check the registration list to ensure that their names are on the final voters list and to ensure that they are registered to vote in their own constituency.

Two weeks ago, a senior official of the Electoral Office disclosed that they had discovered one person who tried to register in two different constituencies and urged people to refrain from doing so since they would be breaking the law.

Bowen who is seeking to recapture the St George South East constituency disclosed that a team of officials from the Organisation of American States (OAS) will arrive in the country later this month to ensure that a free and fair election is held.

He encouraged registered voters to scrutinise the list to ensure that mistakes can be corrected in time.

Former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oliver Joseph also addressed a major NNP national meeting for the first time.

An NNPite entertaining his party supporters

Joseph charged that the propaganda machine of his opponents went into full swing as soon as he accepted the call to become NNP Caretaker as replacement for Henry.

Quoting a section of the Bible, Joseph warned that, “No weapon formed against me shall prosper!”

Allegations of sexual molestation against Joseph reared its head as the former public officer offered himself as a candidate for election to Parliament, the highest law-making body in the country.

A former student attached to the TA Marryshow Community College (TAMCC) raised the allegation against the NNP Caretaker in 2009 during a trip to Antigua to enlighten a group of students on the implementation of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME).

In an interview conducted with the now defunct Grenada Today newspaper in October 2009, Joseph was questioned about the allegation but denied that any such thing happened.

He hinted that he was a bit drunk from attending a party and merely stopped off at the student’s room in order to use the toilet.

According to Joseph, he spoke to the student’s grandmother and informed her that “if she (the student) said so (there was interference) then…if I did, I apologise”.

Joseph who joined the Grenada Public Service in 1982 and served in various positions including Director of Trade and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade accused the Tillman Thomas-led administration of victimization against him after their entry into government in 2008.

He said as soon as the NDC government came into office in July 2008, he was forced to operate with no office, all because of his perceived political affiliation.

He stated that his decision to get involved in frontline politics was a tough one but he is confident that he can win the St David’s Constituency against his main opponent, another former civil servant, Adrian “Persuader” Thomas.

Joseph promised the people that if elected into office, he plans to make regular visits to meet with them but reminded supporters that this is a critical election and that they must remain focused and not be sidetracked by lies and propaganda.

Opposition Leader Dr Keith Mitchell urged his new caretaker, “Don’t even listen to the negatives”, as he himself faced various allegations during his political career including a charge of alleged rape.

Dr. Mitchell announced that NNP’s official campaign for next month’s election would be launched on Sunday in St Patrick as the party seeks to “liberate” the constituencies from NDC Parliamentary Representatives for St Patrick East, Prime minister Thomas and St Patrick West that went to former Congress member, Joseph Gilbert in the last poll.

Former Finance Minister Anthony Boatswain will seek to retain the seat from newcomer to the NDC, Joseph Andall while a relatively unknown, Clifton Paul will be up against the Prime Minister for his St. Patrick East seat.

Dr. Mitchell who has been calling in recent months for PM Thomas to announce the election date, welcomed what he termed “Judgment Day”, adding that February 20th brings, “Freedom at last” for Grenadians.

The NNP leader is seeking a fourth term as Prime Minister of the country following his 13-year stranglehold from 1995 to 2008.

 

 

February 19 – D Day

Grenadians have just about four weeks before they go to the polls to elect a government of their choice.

Prime Minister Tillman Thomas used a public meeting of his ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) last Sunday at the Sauteurs Bus Terminus in St. Patrick’s to announce February 19 as the day for General Elections in Grenada.

Drumming erupted, conch shell blew as the crowd that was estimated to be in the vicinity of six to eight thousand got into a frenzy screaming and dancing as the sound system blasted a favourite NDC Song, “Nobody ain’t beating Tilly.”

In announcing the date, Prime Minister Thomas indicated that until the writ for the holding of the General Elections is issued by Governor General Sir Carlyle Glean, registration of voters continues throughout the country.

Prime Minister Thomas recalled that it was four and a half years ago the NDC took over the reins of government when it won eleven (11) of the (15) fifteen Parliamentary Seats.

He said the party was responding to the call of Grenadians for the kind of leadership that would best serve their interest.

“We responded positively and received a resounding mandate from the people,” he remarked.

PM Thomas admitted that this is now a testing period for the nation. However, he said NDC is the right choice to lead Grenada at this time and is ready to face the future.

The Prime Minister recounted what his party inherited when it assumed Office in July 2008 after breaking the 13-year rein of the New National Party (NNP) of former Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell.

He said the new administration found a bankrupt economy, large-scale unemployment with a quarter of the labour force not working and workers being laid off as well as chronic poverty in the country.

In addition, Grenada was one of those Caribbean Islands that had to struggle financially as a result of the global economic crisis.

According to the Prime Minister, the task of mobilising Grenadians to shape the future of the country cannot be put back into the hands of a reckless group.

He accused the NNP of having engaged in reckless behaviour while it was in Office, and gave the nation the assurance that the NDC would not engage in any recklessness.

The Prime Minister told the large gathering that during the past four-and-a-half years, his administration had to work very hard “to rescue the country” from hopelessness.

“As a people of faith, we should never permit this country to be in the hands of a gambling mentality of the New National Party,” he said.

The rally that set the stage for the commencement of the campaign presented the entire 15-member NDC Team of Candidates, two of whom are women, who will be contesting the elections.

Ten of the candidates are newcomers to the political arena on the NDC platform.

The NDC Political Leader expressed satisfaction with his team of candidates, which he said would take on the task during the government’s second term in Office.

He described the team as one that represents the rich blend of youth and experience.

The Prime Minster is confident that with such a “high Caliber team” in place, he has come to the decision that the time is right to seek a fresh mandate from the people of the country.

“We need a trustworthy capable and talented team to develop policies and effectively present the programmes that would reflect the new realities of the global village,” he said.

“We are united in our dedication to the people and in our determination to lead this country into a new era of economic and social well being,” he added.

The NDC Political Leader indicated that his party, which was formed in 1987, has remained committed to the democratic principles on which it was founded, and will remain a valued-driven movement.

In his almost forty-minute address, Prime Minster Thomas recounted the achievement of the Congress Government over the past four years.

He said his government’s first priority was to stabilise the economy and to stop further job losses.

According to him, this was achieved by the bold and brave actions taken, and by providing opportunities for gainful employment and expanding the social safety net programmes.

The Grenadian Leader said jobs were also created in the agriculture sector through the farm labour support programme and incentives were given to the private sector as a means of keeping their workers employed.

Government had also provided a one hundred percent waiver on interest and penalties to people who were negligent in paying their taxes

Looking forward, Prime Minister Thomas identified a number of infrastructural projects that are due to take off.

He announced that the Grenville Market Project that is being constructed at a cost of $25.6m is eight percent complete.

The NDC’ites were out in their thousands to demonstrate that yellow power is alive and kicking

Other projects to come on stream include the new hospital with teaching facilities at a cost of $178m, a University Campus at Hope, St. Andrew’s, the construction of a Parliament Building with support from the Government of Australia and the United Arab Emirates, the Government Office Complex at Lowther’s Lane, St. George’s, and the Halls of Justice.

Prime Minister Thomas said his government recognises the significance of education in the development of a nation and as a result are committed 15 percent of the total national budget to education.

The Prime Minister spoke of the legacy of his government in Office for four years.

He said Grenada has seen the best years of agriculture revitalisation in the post revolution period, the best years of educational advancement since independence, the best years of youth development and sports in decades, and the best years of good governance since 1974.

“I am unshakably convinced that the NDC is the right party to lead Grenada at this time,” the NDC Political Leader said.

 

NNP makes several promises

Keith Mitchell ready to govern Grenada for a fourth term

The 2013 Election campaign has begun and Opposition Leader Dr Keith Mitchell is among the first promising no victimisation of opponents and a removal of spite and hate in politics.

Addressing thousands of supporters during a rally at the Westerhall Playing Field on Sunday, Dr. Mitchell told supporters that Grenada has suffered enough through political division and promised that on his return to office following the February 19 General Elections, he would not try to get back at the Tillman Thomas-led “Government and his cahoots” despite the NDC’s planned attempt to prosecute NNP ministers for alleged corruption in office.

The former prime minister said that a re-elected NNP administration would rid the country of politics of hate and spite, which he said had hurt the image of Grenada immensely.

“NNP has no time to waste harassing people”, said Dr. Mitchell who had brought several lawsuits against critics over the years.

Dr Mitchell accused the Tillman Thomas government of chasing away foreign investors since assuming office following the July 8, 2008 General Election due to constant attacks.

He told the large gathering that an NNP government would not attack foreign investors.

The NNP Leader pointed the way forward for the party through heavy focus on job creation and providing opportunities for economic development. He did not elaborate on the plans to be pursued by a new NNP regime.

However, Dr. Mitchell disclosed that a team of experts is being put together to work with public officers to undertake a comprehensive survey of the situation with respect to government within a few weeks of coming into office.

He announced plans for an analysis to be done of the debts of statutory bodies, the amount of monies owed to regional and international institutions, as well as the private sector.

In addition, a new NNP government headed by him will reform the tax system including the 15% Value Added Tax (VAT), which he has labeled as burdensome and unnecessary.

Prior to the 2008 general election, the NNP of Mitchell had given the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) assurances that it would have introduced VAT but it never did.

The NNP boss said that if the party formed the next government in St. George’s, it will reduce the amount of government ministries in order to cut the monthly payroll.

According to Dr. Mitchell, one of the first undertakings of his administration would be to provide a stimulus package to aid the areas of agriculture, construction, infrastructure development, manufacturing and information communication technology.

He said the NNP will be bringing back on steam the Imani programme that targeting young people by offering them employment skills and opportunities to develop life skills and an education for a monthly stipend.

It was replaced by the NDC’s Grenada Youth Upliftment Programme (GYUP), which Congress described as a more upgraded programme.

The controversial Micro-Enterprise Project, which was scraped by the NDC government in 2011 after discovering an abuse of the system, will be restored, according to Dr. Mitchell to provide soft financing for small businesses/entrepreneurs

The former Prime Minister disclosed that a fund will be established to assist distressed hotels and that his government will engage LIAT to increase flights to Grenada, failing which they will seek to get other airlines to visit the island.

In his previous stint in office, Dr. Mitchell pledged that Grenada will not give LIAT funds for its operations.

The controversial Public Integrity Bill, which calls on public officers to disclose their assets, will be fully implemented.

Dr. Mitchell said that elected officials will have to make full disclosures of their assets, what they acquired over the years, how they acquired it and what they are leaving office with.

The NNP leader who is known for his passion of Cricket promised a return of regional and international cricket to the National Stadium and to reopen the Private Block of the St. George’s General Hospital, which he said was closed under the Congress leadership.

Health Minister, Ann Peters could not be reached for comment on the allegations made by Dr. Mitchell with respect to closure of the private block at the hospital.

Oliver Joseph: “I did not do it”

A dark cloud of suspicion looms over the head of former civil servant, Oliver Joseph, the newly installed candidate of the New National Party (NNP) for the St David’s Constituency as contrasting statements surface against him in connection with alleged sexual misconduct involving a former student.

Speculations are rife as the country prepares for the February 19, 2013, General Elections that the main Opposition party may have moved from an accused female abuser to an accused sexual molester.

In 2009, an allegation against the then public officer surfaced when a former student attached to the TA. Marryshow Community College (TAMCC) accused Joseph of sexual molestation.

A sea of green in Westerhall; NNP supporters turned out in their thousands

In an interview conducted with the now defunct Grenada Today newspaper in October 2009, Joseph was questioned about the allegations leveled against him.

He confirmed that he was part of a team that traveled to Antigua with TAMCC students to enlighten them on the implementation of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME).

He denied that he had sexually molested the student.

Joseph said then “that he had returned from a party with both lecturers and on his way up to his room in the hotel asked the student who resided on a lower floor to use her bathroom.

He admitted that he later learnt that the student informed her grandmother that he attempted to kiss her but there was no talk of rape.

According to the GRENADA TODAY report: “When asked if he (Joseph) attempted or asked the student for a kiss, the senior civil servant who was seeking to give the impression that he might have been under the influence of alcohol from the night of partying responded: “…I…don’t…I came from a party…can’t recall”.

In the interview that was conducted, Joseph said that he spoke to the student’s grandmother and informed her that “if she (the student) said so then…if I did, I apologise”.

Prime Minister Tillman Thomas whose government was only 15 months in office vowed to take action if the allegation could be substantiated.

“A government spokesman told this newspaper that the administration had been aware of the incident but that family members of the girl are reluctant to come forward with the evidence”, the newspaper report said.

In a telephone interview with Joseph last week Wednesday, the new NNP Candidate disclosed that the allegation against him was investigated by an official and presented to the Public Service Commission (PSC) which vindicated him.

He did not disclose the name of the person who did the investigation.

He also said that the young lady in question admitted that the incident as alleged against him “did not happen”.

In an interview with the NNP Public Relations Officer, Terrence Forrester regarding the allegation against Joseph last week Wednesday, the top party official told The New Today that he had listened to an interview with a Meaningful Television (MTV) reporter who asked Joseph about the allegations against him, and the new prospective candidate said there was no truth to the allegations.

“We (NNP) will have to stand by his (Joseph’s) word unless otherwise presented with evidence”, Forrester said, adding that as it stands now the matter is just hearsay.

The NNP propaganda chief says he is personally not aware of the allegations against the new NNP caretaker but cannot say if a committee responsible for appointing caretakers was aware of the accusations against Joseph before he was identified to taker charge of the constituency.