The gang is getting real nasty

By The Stone Crusher

The late H.A Blaize told us before his death that the worst kick one can get is from a dying man.

This is so true given the events that are now unfolding within the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government between Prime Minister Tillman Thomas and a rebel gang.

With political reality hitting home, the rebels, sensing that their political days are numbered, are getting involved in all kinds of nastiness and more confrontational issues in the past few days to try and force the hands of Uncle Tilly.

This group has decided that if they cannot have their own way in NDC then Prime Minister Thomas must not remain in power to be their leader and it is better for the NNP to get back into power.
The main strategist for the gang is of the view that if NNP gets back into power, the leader will continue to engage in his old ways and that would be the platform for the gang to launch a fresh attack and hopefully win State power on their own.

How foolish!!! Who tell these myopic minds that the Grenadian people will ever trust them given their past record in 1979-83. Even when they were given a fresh start again in 2008, look how they have been behaving – wanting power at all cost.

The gang is refusing to accept the fact that politically they are dead and cannot be resurrected in Grenada. No one can clean them up of the blood that is still fresh all over their bodies from the tragic events of October 19, 1983 on the fort.

The rebels are putting out all kinds of silly statements in the name of the National Executive of the NDC that reminds one of 1983 when the Revolutionary Armed Forces put the Comrade Leader under house arrest.

The major difference between now and back then is that Maurice Bishop was placed under house arrest by the OREL/RMC faction within NJM while Prime Minister Thomas is not under house arrest because of our democratic system of government.  As such the PM is free to rally his troops against the dissidents
The gang man is so fresh and full of himself. Imagine this little political non-entity going around the place telling people that up to now nobody in NDC have thanked him for saving the day for Uncle Tilly in Parliament with the No-confidence motion brought by the Leader of the Opposition.

This little red nastiness should thank himself for not going against the government and creating a kind of history that would have been recorded against his name forever and ever. Is this the same man who has the unenviable record of bringing down two governments in 33 years? Look at it another way – every 16 years and 6 months, he is engaged in some kind of underhand deal to bring down a government.

And if he had voted with Keith to bring down NDC it would have meant that he record is one of bringing down three governments in 33 years. So in effect every eleven years, this little communist boy would be responsible for mashing up another government in the Spice Isle.

Not even Basdeo Panday in Trinidad holds that kind of record. That would have been held by an RMC/OREL relic of the Grenada Revolutionary era.

Gang man, this is St. George’s, Grenada and not Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. It is only in Trinidad that people engage in hijacking of vehicles and putting the driver in the trunk. The NDC supporters will not allow you to put any gun- real or imaginary ­ at the head of the Prime Minister and take over the country.

Uncle Tully gave you a free ride on the NDC bus and look at what you are trying to do the man. You want to kidnap the man and take charge of the bus at gunpoint with your RMC brigands.
Gang man, that will never happen because the NDCites are clamouring in loud numbers that they want to ride on Uncle Tilly’s bus and not on that of any counterfeit NDC leader. Worst yet a leader who has blood on his hands from back in the days of ’83.

Talking about Port-of-Spain, the NNP sell-off everything during their 13 years in government to the big folks in Port-of-Spain.
The members of the Gang and NNP concocted the US$150, 000.00 lie that was told about Uncle Tilly. Keith told us that the Republic Bank is the one that was involved in the financial transaction. How then does Keith know that Uncle Tilly has a bank account in Republic? Is it because NNP and Keith gave the Republic Bank people in Trinidad such a sweet deal with our local bank that Keith is now getting information from the said bank at will? Is it pay back time for Keith?

Is the NNP Leader now having access to people¹s private info in their bank account in exchange for selling the bank to them? What is it?

Gang man, remember that NCB was a creature of the Revolution under your own leader Bernard Coard. You should have been fighting inside the NDC government to help get back the bank into the hands of the State. Don¹t you think that Bernard Coard would have been proud of you? But instead, you are fighting Uncle Tilly who is not the real enemy for political power and control of the country.

Gang man, just stop and thinking for a moment about all the bad deals between Keith, NNP and the Trinis in 13 years of NNP rule.
The first stadium at Queen’s Park that started to crack before it even finished. Who built it? Trinidadians. What about the tragedy with the Dunferlime Housing Project? Who built it? Trinis. What about the sale of the two people’s bank that was started by the PRG? Sold to Trinis.

Gang man, what about the millions lost in the Garden Group hotel project? Lost because of bad advice from the Trinis to the NNP and the Paint Man. This is what the Gang Man and his infidels should be fighting and not with poor Uncle Tilly.

Gang Man, what about the millions lost by the Marketing Board with the project in the Lagoon? Another bad deal again because of the NNP connection with Trinis.

These are the real issues that the Gang should have been fighting along with NDC but sad to say, the rebel leader was too occupied with becoming the Prime Minister, and instead decided to concentrate on jooking down Uncle Tilly from the Throne.
But let the chief rebel know that this is Uncle Tilly’s time and not your time. In fact, the gang man¹s time has expired and the countdown has started for the remainder of his life as an elected member of the house.

The Stone Crusher is advising Uncle Tilly to go ahead with his public meeting in Gouyave on Sunday and forget about these little 2×2 destabilisers.

When they were in power in 1979-83, they branded everyone who did not subscribe to their philosophy as counter-revolutionaries and lumpens.

Now that they are not subscribing to the principles to the NDC ­ how should we call them? There is no need to give them any traction since the people have already spoken about their love and support or the simple, honest and decent man from Hermitage in St. Patrick’s.

Gang man, no one in this country will ever be able to see Uncle Tilly on the same political platform with you again. Go mount your platform with the union leader and the mass murderer who is refusing to come to reality that he was sentenced to prison for the deaths of the Comrade Leader and Jackie and others.
Uncle Tilly will have on his platform a whole set of decent people. If you do not want to believe The Stone Crusher then send your spies to Gouyave and Sunday to take pictures of the platform and the thousands of NDC members and supporters.

There will be no smell of bloody in Gouyave to remind anyone of the carnage that took place in October 1983.

No Central Committee inside NDC

Arley Gill – issued the Press Release without the Prime Minister’s knowledge

‘The NDC has no CENTRAL COMMITTEE’.

That’s the statement of Prime Minister Tillman Thomas as he reacted to a press release issued by a faction within his ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) headed by former Tourism Minister, Peter David, a leading figure in the ill-fated 1979-83 Grenada Revolution.

The faction is currently in charge of the National Executive of Congress and battling with the Prime Minister for influence in the affairs of the government.

The Central Committee was the all-powerful body that controlled the affairs of the 1979-83 People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) of late Marxist Prime Minister, Maurice Bishop and decided to strip him of his powers following a bitter internal leadership feud.

When Bishop was executed on Fort Rupert, reverted back to its original name of Fort George on October 19 1983, it was reported then that it was the Central Committee that gave the orders to a group of soldiers to carry out the killings.

Although David was not a member of the Central Committee, he held the position of Captain in the People’s Revolutionary Army (PRA), a vital component of the People’s Armed Forces.

This was the group that seized control of the State after the slaying of Bishop and set up the short-lived Revolutionary Military Council (RMC) to run the affairs of Grenada.

NDC General Secretary Peter David – instrumental in the planning of the beach fun-day

The RMC, headed by General Hudson Austin were removed from power when U.S and Caribbean troops staged a military intervention on October 25, 1983 to restore democratic rule of law on the island.

Following is the full text of the release issued by Prime Minister Thomas in reaction to an earlier statement put out by the David-led faction that currently controls the NDC National Executive:

I make this statement in my Constitutional capacity as Prime Minister and as Political Leader of the National Democratic Congress, in response to a Press Release issued yesterday, Sunday, by the PRO of the NDC.

As Political Leader of the NDC, I am able to say that Gill’s release was issued without my knowledge and approval.

While it is true that political parties contest elections and that victory enables a party to form a Government, the provisions of the Constitution of Grenada are supreme in every respect.

Accordingly, once a Government has been formed, that Government owes a duty of accountability to the electorate and the public.  The party has no such obligation.

The NDC Constitution is very clear on the relationship between Government and party.  It stipulates that “an NDC Government must pay regard to the views of its party”.  Clearly, it does not allow for the Government to be directed or instructed by the party in its DECISION-MAKING.  The obligation is to give consideration to proposals made by the party.

It would be a case of indifference and downright disrespect for a Government NOT TO ACCOUNT to the people after four years of SERVICE.  How could any self-respecting Government prefer to hide from the people and merry itself at this time in a Cook-up, fun games, instead of reporting on its stewardship?  There will of course be opportunities for this kind of event but July 8th is not a fitting day for such.

The public needs to hear from the Government on its Anniversary.  Anything short of this would amount to disrespect for the culture and the people.

I do not propose to attend to the issue of the unfortunate division affecting the NDC at this time, as evidenced by the statement put out by Mr. Gill, as PRO of the NDC.  For the present purposes, I will limit myself to say that it is inconsistent, intriguing, dishonest and lacking in good sense and sound judgment.

The Party created by the founding fathers of the NDC is one steeped in Parliamentary Democracy. The NDC has no CENTRAL COMMITTEE.

Government is faced with many pressing issues of national importance.  At the present time, our primary focus is on ensuring that we have a successful Carnival and that we make progress in addressing the existing financial and economic difficulties.

The Government will have a major presentation in Gouyave on Sunday, under the theme “PRODUCING OUR WAY TO PROSPERITY”.  Our call is to serve the people.  Our duty is to be obedient to that call.  Our task is to build a better Grenada for all.

Majestic Thursday: Beauty with a purpose

Organisers of the National Queen Show are intent on raising the nation’s awareness to breast cancer.

At a recently held press conference that was hosted by the Spice Mas Corporation (SMC), Member of the Board, Brenda Baptiste announced that a partnership has been formed with the Pink Ribbon Society as its community service platform for the show which would feature one representative from each of the seven Parishes including Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

The queen contestants would be featured at a tea party during which they would highlight the community service platform of breast cancer.

Another event geared at raising the breast cancer awareness is dubbed “pretty in pink.”

This would take the form of a fete to promote the show and give the contestants a greater visibility.

Baptiste promised that Majestic Thursday which takes place on August 9 will take a different format.

She said unlike the belief that it is a show where young women going on stage and displaying their physical beauty and other attributes, it would be “beauty with a purpose.”

The traditional queen show competition that includes the costume, talent, swim wear, evening wear and interview would be a celebration of “all things women.”

Within the segments of the show, women entertainers from Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago would be featured.

Brenda Baptiste – beauty with a purpose

They include Calypso Rose, Allison Hinds, Nadia Batson, Pamela Courtney, Lady Cinty and Nikoyan Bain.

PM Thomas: The statement is dishonest

Prime Minister Tillman Thomas – I am advancing the NDC Agenda

Prime Minister and Political Leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Tillman Thomas has labeled as dishonest a Press Release issued by the party’s Pubic Relations Officer (PRO), Arley Gill.

The release spoke about a special event in celebration of the fourth anniversary of the Party’s July 8th, 2008 general election victory, which takes place on Sunday at La Tante Beach.

Addressing the media on Monday at a hurriedly put together Press Conference that was attended by a number of Cabinet Ministers, the Prime Minister said that as Political Leader of the NDC, the release was issued without his knowledge and approval. (see Page ….. for full statement)

The Prime Minister said that funding for the activity that takes place outside the Gouyave Nutmeg Pool is from funds raised by the NDC.

“It is an NDC Administration, we’re mobilising the NDC base to be at that rally to give an account of our stewardship,” he told reporters.

Prime Minister Thomas disclosed that since June 21, a circular was issued about the fourth anniversary rally.

He promised to point out the persons who are advancing the NDC agenda on Sunday and at other subsequent occasions.

Some of the Government Ministers who were at the Prime Minister’s Press Conference

“The evidence is there. There is an NDC agenda, which I am advancing. There are those within NDC with another agenda as was stated clearly by the MP (Member of Parliament) for the Town of St. George in Parliament that his sentiments are with the motion on the vote of no confidence,” he said.

Minister of Information Senator Glen Noel who also addressed the media on the issue of funding for Sunday’s rally indicated that one of the main duties of any political party is to support its government.

Sen. Noel said the NDC raised funds and handed them to the Political Leader for clearing bills associated with the previous rally that took place at Grenville Car Park.

He disclosed that supporters of the government have been asked to assist in raising the finance needed for Sunday’s rally.
Sen. Noel appeared confident that the broad membership of the party who have been clamouring for the rally would be in Gouyave on Sunday.

He said it was only at last Thursday’s National Executive Meeting that a discussion about the fun day took place.

“This rally was planned long before. The previous executive meeting was on 17th May, and at that meeting no discussion of the activity in La Tante was discussed. And the only other executive meeting that was held after that was Thursday gone, and that was the first time it raised its head, and this activity (the rally) was in the news before,” he remarked.

In recent years, the NDC has been split into two factions with one remaining loyal to Prime Minister Thomas and the other supportive of General Secretary, Peter David who resigned as Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation a few months ago citing major differences with his leader and the fiscal policies of the government.

Political parties stage major events

Three major political events are planned for Grenada on Sunday involving the two major political parties on the island.

Prime Minister Tillman Thomas and his supporters in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have announced the staging of a public meeting at Gouyave, St. John’s in which a major statement is planned to mark the 4th anniversary of their ascension into power.

Former Finance Minister, Anthony Boatswain, Parliamentary Representative for St Andrew North-East, Roland Bhola and NNP Public Relations Officer Winston Garraway

Another faction with Congress, led by former Tourism Minister, Peter David is holding what is dubbed as a “Fun Day” at La Tante beach in St. David’s.

However, the main opposition New National Party (NNP) is using Sunday to hold its 25th Annual Convention at the St Andrew’s Anglican Secondary School (SAASS) under the theme, “Reviewing Our Past, Charting Our Future. NNP – The Only answer”.
The party led by former Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell is making an attempt to grab back the reigns of power in the 2013 General Election following its humiliating defeat at the July 08, 2008 polls.

Speaking to reporters Monday at a press conference, Parliamentary Representative for St Andrew North-East, Roland Bhola, gave assurances once again that the NNP is going to do things different if re-elected into office.

“Yes we have made mistakes, we have had shortcomings in our time in government and we have stand up and looked at it and we’re going to be a different innings,” he said.

Bhola, the General Secretary of the party, stated that NNP has looked at their past and one of the concerns identified was the issue of productivity that has to be addressed.

“We have sat and looked at the present situation, we have analysed what this present government is doing and we have asked ourselves what would we have done if we were in government and we know that there are many things… that we would have done different….”, he said.

“…There are many things we will do different if we return to office… I will not say in details what we going to do but one of the things I can tell you that must happen in Grenada when NNP returns to office is we must see greater capital injection into the economy, both local and foreign, private and public,” he added.
During its 13-year stay in government, the NNP government was often criticised for guaranteeing millions of dollars to foreign investors who did not perform.

The biggest was over 20 million guaranteed to U.S investor, E.J Miller who drew down on the money and left the island.
Presently, Grenada is paying back the millions owed to a bank in Belgium that guaranteed the funds for Miller to engage in the so-called Ritz Carlton hotel project at Mt. Hartman.

According to Bhola, the NNP is confident of winning the upcoming general election in 2013, saying that the ruling party under the leadership of Prime Minister Thomas “has outlived its shelf life”.

He said the NNP has thought long and hard about the theme to be used for Sunday’s convention and concluded the one chosen was the most appropriate to use since it is their belief that Grenada needs rescuing, bearing in mind that to move forward they must look back at what has happened over the years.

The Opposition member said they believe the Congress government is not answering the call of the Grenadian people and that the opportunity is right for the NNP but they must be prepared to do better.

He said: “The rally on Sunday the 8th will have a different flavour …we’ll be looking now at the way forward, we are going to be talking about hope for Grenada, we are going to be talking about rescuing, we are going to be telling you about our vision”, he said.
“Our mission is to rescue this country and we’ll give you the vision of the New National Party and the way forward…for years to come”, he added.

Sunday will see the election to top NNP executive positions followed by the party’s public rally at the Telescope playing field in St Andrew.

All is not lost with BAICO

Basseterre, St Kitts – June 29, 2012: The Judicial Managers of British-American Insurance (BAICO) together with the Governments of the Eastern Caribbean announce the agreement to recapitalise and sell part of the BAICO business to Sagicor Life Inc.

The Judicial Managers of BAICO together with the Governments of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) are pleased to announce that an agreement has been signed to sell the traditional life insurance business of BAICO to Sagicor Life, Inc. (Sagicor), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sagicor Financial Corporation.

The ECCU Governments have undertaken to provide funding of up to US$38 million to assist in restoring value to the transferring policies.

The sale was agreed after formal sale process, which resulted in strong interest from 7 parties with 4 final bids being considered.

Policies included in the sale

The business being sold is made up of Group Pensions and the following traditional life policies issued by BAICO in Anguilla, Antigua, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Lucia, St Kitts & Nevis, and St Vincent & the Grenadines:

*Universal Life policies
*Term Life
*Whole Life
*Endowment
*Home Service Life

Approximately 17,500 policyholders are expected to benefit from the sale, restoring the policy values for nearly 2 in every 3 BAICO policyholders.

It should be noted that under the terms of the sale, all valid and in-force life policies as at the  Scheme Effective Transfer Date will be transferred to Sagicor without any amendment or change to the respective policy, allowing policyholders to benefit from the terms they historically agreed with BAICO.

Completion of the sale

The life insurance business will be transferred to Sagicor once all necessary approvals for the scheme of transfer from the relevant Courts and insurance regulators in The Bahamas (where BAICO is incorporated) and throughout the ECCU countries are received.
It is expected that the approvals for all countries will take a further 3-6 months, at which point the transfer of the business can be finalised. The Governments will work with Sagicor and BAICO to finalise this as soon as possible.

It is intended that the entire business described above will be transferred at the same time.  However, as a precaution, if any approvals are delayed or not received within the next four months, the parties can agree to transfer the business in stages.

Sagicor and its commitments to the ECCU region

Sagicor is a highly respected insurance provider operating across 19 countries in the Caribbean as well as in the UK and US. Its parent Sagicor Financial Corporation is a listed entity in Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago and the UK.

Sagicor has a financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) from A.M.Best. Group revenue reached US$1.4 billion for the financial year 2011 and Shareholders’ Equity and Assets stood at US$578 million and US $5,4 billion  at December 31, 2011.

Sagicor Life Inc. is already a regulated entity in all of the ECCU countries involved in the transaction. Sagicor has demonstrated its commitment to the ECCU region by:

*Agreeing to set up an ECCU Consultative Committee, to play an oversight role (including compliance, anti-money laundering, capital adequacy and corporate governance) in relation to the performance of the Business;

*Placing its ECCU business into a separate ECCU-based entity within 12 months of completion of the transaction; and

*Committing to listing at least 25% of the shares of the ECCU Entity on the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange within two years of its commencement of operations.

What should policyholders do?

Policyholders whose policies are proposed to be transferred need not take any action at this point. However, prior to the completion of the sale, policyholders are encouraged to continue to pay, and if necessary bring up to date their life policy premiums, to representatives at existing BAICO branches within the ECCU in order to maintain their policies.

Policyholders will be provided with further information (either directly or by local advertising) about the proposed transfer of the business in the coming months as Sagicor and the Judicial Managers of BAICO seek the necessary Court and regulatory approvals.

Once the transfer is completed, Sagicor will contact affected policyholders to inform them of the change in ownership of this business.  On completion, Sagicor will assume BAICO’s place as the legal issuer of the transferring policies, and policyholders will be able to once again operate their policies in accordance with the contract terms.

Payment of outstanding Claims, Maturities, Surrenders and Bonuses

The obligation to pay certain unpaid amounts to policyholders under these policies (being claims, maturities, surrenders and bonuses) will transfer to Sagicor with the business, and the ECCU Governments have arranged funding for the payment of these in accordance with the terms of the policies.

The payment of claims will be subject to the claimant meeting the requirements of the policy terms, and signing an appropriate release.

What about policies that have lapsed?

The ECCU Governments are mindful that, during the past three years, due to the uncertainty about BAICO’s future, many policyholders may have stopped paying their premiums.  In many cases, this will have resulted in them allowing their policies to lapse.

The Governments, Sagicor and the Judicial Managers of BAICO are currently considering whether it will be possible to offer to reinstate policies that have lapsed in this period and further information regarding this issue will be communicated to affected policyholders prior to the completion of the transfer.

Policyholder Queries

Many policyholders may not be aware if their policy is current (for example, they may have ceased paying premiums some time ago, but the automatic loan feature of their policy may have been triggered, meaning essentially that the accumulated value of their policy was used to pay their premiums).

If policyholders have queries, they can contact their local BAICO branch to find out  the status of their policy.

In conclusion, the sale represents an excellent outcome for traditional life policyholders, and reflects the ECCU Governments’ and Judicial Managers’ continued efforts to work to identify solutions for individuals and institutions affected by the BAICO collapse.

Although the sale is structured specifically to transfer the ECCU traditional life policyholders to Sagicor, the sale is also beneficial to all other policyholders and creditors of BAICO who are not covered by the terms of the sale by reducing the remaining liabilities of BAICO.

The Judicial Managers and the ECCU Governments continue to work on solutions to recover assets of BAICO as well as to pursue those responsible for the collapse.

The Judicial Managers and the ECCU Governments wish to reiterate their appreciation to all those affected by the BAICO situation in the region for their patience as this work progresses.

(The above was issued by the Judicial Managers of BAICO and the Governments of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union)

Agreement with Europe begins to kick

A statement credited to Alexander Walford, Policy Officer of the Caribbean-European Union (EU) in the European Commission, says that eight Caribbean countries have not implemented tariff cuts on EU goods as required by the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) signed in 2008.

This is not surprising news for two reasons. First, very few of the 14 Caribbean countries that individually signed the EPA with the 27-Nation EU collective had the resources to implement the undertakings for tariff cuts that they gave. Over the last four years, many of them have not put the required machinery in place and many more of them have not ratified the EPA.

Subject to correction of recent developments, at my last count only Guyana had ratified the EPA and introduced legislation in Parliament that identified the tariffs that would be cut and the timing of such cuts.

The second reason that it is not surprising that eight countries (of which Jamaica is specifically named) have not implemented the tariff cuts is that the signing of the EPA coincided with the global financial crisis that adversely affected many Caribbean economies.

Hit, by a decline in revenues from decreased tourism, high energy costs and little investment, the removal of the tariffs on EU imports as required by the EPA, would cause all governments to lose much needed income.

Mr. Walford is reported to have said that Jamaica, being part of the international trade community, risks sending the wrong signal in not living up to its obligations. The report in the Jamaica Observer newspaper credits Mr. Walford as saying that Jamaica is yet to signal its intent to the European Union. Worryingly, he is also credited with saying that the EU could treat the issue as a dispute and refer the matter to arbitration.

Arbitration would be an expensive course of action to take.  But, it is one that the collective 27-nation EU could far more afford to do than could the eight Caribbean nations which would have to act individually. It is important to recall that, while the EPA was signed by the 27-EU nations collectively through the European Commission, Caribbean countries had to sign individually. It was not an agreement between the EU collective and a CARICOM or CARIFORUM collective.

A responsible EU, concerned about economic stability in the Caribbean, would acknowledge the difficulties that the region is facing and try to engage in a constructive dialogue that would waive the tariff reductions at this time, and, in a spirit of cooperation, negotiate a period of deferment.

Indeed, it would seem appropriate that this is precisely what all Caribbean signatory states to the EPA should be aiming to do, and they should be doing so collectively through the CARICOM Secretariat.

It is unfortunate that the EU spokesperson would talk of “arbitration” and not negotiation. It is up to the Caribbean countries to place the option of re-negotiation firmly on the table, and while each of them has signed the EPA individually, they must fight their corner collectively.

It is certain that if some of the small island states of the Caribbean are among the eight who may be taken to arbitration, they do not have the means to do so effectively. This was always one of the perils of the EPA, but it is one that Caribbean governments accepted when they signed it.

However, at the insistence of Guyana’s then President, Bharat Jagdeo, who had held out to the last minute from signing the EPA, there is provision for the Agreement to be reviewed after five years. Fortuitously, the end of that five-year period comes up in a few months in early 2013.

In the light of the experience of all aspects of the EPA so far – including the huge challenges that many Caribbean countries would confront if they implemented the tariff cuts on EU goods – the Caribbean countries should call for the review of the EPA, and prepare the case for a renegotiation of some of its aspects.
The Secretariat of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) has in place a unit that monitors the EPA, and so do some Caribbean countries individually.

The time may be appropriate to pool the work of these units into a regional whole and to prepare well-researched and professionally prepared arguments that could be jointly put to the European Commission. It is certain that, with their great financial and human resources, the EU will be well prepared for a review of the EPA.

Given the fact that the EU is still in negotiation for full EPA’s with countries in Africa, the European Commission would be loath to surrender ground to the Caribbean that would affect their position.

On the other hand, the Caribbean experience, if well presented, could lead to changes in the EPA with which all the developing regions of Africa the Caribbean and the Pacific could better live – and so, too, might the EU.

(Sir Ronald Sanders is a Consultant and former Caribbean diplomat)

$235,000.00 Drug Burst at Cherry Hill

Cherry Hill Fishermen, Myron Lett and Shane Fletcher – caught with 105 pounds of marijuana

Police have made a major drug burst in Cherry Hill, St. George’s – an area known for the use of the illegal substance.
A team of police officers from the Drug Squad and the Rapid Response Unit of the Royal Grenada Police Force, last week Thursday, confiscated three fine bags containing a large quantity of marijuana on a beach in the area.
The 105 pounds of drugs, with an estimated street value of $235,000.00, were taken in as soon as it was being landed by a fishing boat.
Myron Lett, a 30-year old fisherman who was allegedly receiving the marijuana was detained by the policemen engaged in the operation.
The lawmen immediately went after another man, 28-year old Shane Fletcher who was trying to escape with the boat.
The two fishermen were charged with possession of illegal drugs and trafficking and appeared before Chief Magistrate Tamara Gill at the St. George’s Number One Magistrate’s Court on Monday and were each granted bail in the sum of $120,000.00 with two sureties.
Magistrate Gill ordered the Cherry Hill residents to surrender all their travel documents, and to report to the Central Police Station on the Carenage every Monday and Friday between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
The suspects are being represented by attorney-at-law, Peter David who has returned to private practice after deciding to quit the Tillman Thomas-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) government as its Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation.

School Teacher jailed for sexual offense

Aaron Hercules – betrayed the trust of students placed in his care

Another public figure has been sent to jail for a sexual offense.
School Teacher Aaron Hercules has been given an 18-month prison sentence by Madam Justice, Margaret Price-Findlay, three days after the same judge handed twice time Calypso Monarch, Biko Lewis a 20-month prison sentence for unlawful carnal knowledge of a 15-year old student.
Hercules, a resident of Fontenoy, St. George’s, was found guilty of indecent assault last week Thursday by a nine-member jury that comprised six women and three men.
The jury returned a majority verdict of seven to two at High Court Number Two on conclusion of the trial that lasted three days.
Hercules who was 32 years of age at the time of the incident is accused of committing the sexual offense sometime between March 1 and 31, 2009 against a child who was a student at the school where he taught.
The child who was then 13, complained that Hercules had engaged in acts of touching her private parts.
A court official told The New Today Newspaper that throughout the trial, Hercules who gave a sworn testimony from the witness box, maintained his innocence.
The case was successfully prosecuted by Crown Counsel, Criss-Ann Greenidge, a young female attorney employed with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for the past five years.
Incidentally, Greenidge had also been the State Prosecutor in the case involving Calypsonian Biko.
News of the schoolteacher’s uncharacteristic behaviour with students at the St. George’s Methodist School where he taught first came to light by Education Minister, Senator Franka Bernadine who gave assurance that her ministry would not put up with any relationship between teachers and students.
Civil society had also engaged in a street march from the vicinity of the school at Queen’s Park denouncing Hercules’ behaviour.
There were other reports circulating in the country that the schoolteacher had engaged in a number of inappropriate behaviour with students, and civil society felt he had betrayed the trust placed in him as a schoolteacher and should be removed from the system.
There are eleven (11) matters of sexual offenses on the current list of the assizes, which concludes next month.

Attempted suicide at Mont Toute

Police are baffled over the reason why a school teacher would have wanted to take her own life last Sunday.
THE NEW TODAY  Newspaper has been reliably informed that the 26-year old female teacher is warded at the General Hospital in St. George’s after consuming a non-prescribed substance.
An authoritative source said the young lady who resides at Mont Toute, St. George’s allegedly mixed sevins powder in a glass that contained rum and coca-cola.
The source who does not wish to be identified said the school teacher confessed to the medical staff at the hospital that after mixing the substance with the rum and coke she drank two mouthfuls.
Shortly after consuming the mixture the Mont Toute resident started experiencing blurriness in her vision and was rushed to the hospital after calling out for help.
The source said no reason was given for the schoolteacher’s action.
Police are treating the matter as a case of attempted suicide. It is not clear whether the police might press charges against the individual.
Earlier this year another schoolteacher who resides at Mt. Carmel, St. Andrew’s attempted to take her life.
The 19-year old teacher tried to commit suicide by using a multi-coloured bedspread, which she tied to the roof of the house.