Port Police wounded at Dance Party

Nyran Parris – was allegedly embroiled in a confrontation with a Police Officer

Nyran Parris – was allegedly embroiled in a confrontation with a Police Officer

An off-duty Police Officer, Hensley Mc Clean is nursing some wounds after being engaged in an altercation with a civilian.

A suspect, Nyran Parris who has been charged with causing grievous harm appeared in court on Monday before Chief Magistrate, Her Honour, Tamara Gill.

He was granted bail in the sum of $15,000.00 with two sureties and is due to re-appear in court on September 2.

A well-placed source told THE NEW TODAY Newspaper the incident occurred at a carnival activity last week Saturday night after Parris made several attempts to dance with the girlfriend of the Policeman.

The source said Parris who is a resident of Windsor Forest, St. David’s made the advances to the young lady when Mc Clean visited the bar.

This newspaper understands that when the policeman returned from the bar, the accused again approached the couple.

According to the source, Mc Clean who is attached to the Police Station on the St. George’s Port confronted Parris who allegedly pulled out a knife and started to inflict several chop wounds on him.

The injured Policeman was rushed to the St. George’s General Hospital where he was admitted as a patient.

The 25-year old Parris has been described as one who has a propensity for attacking Police Officers.

Last year, he allegedly physically attacked Immigration Officer, Edward Fortune who was clad in uniform at the St. George’s Bus Terminal.

He was charged for assault on the issue with Fortune. This court matter is also set for September 2, the day as the case for chopping Mc Clean.

This newspaper understands that Parris already has two convictions before local courts for possession of an offensive weapon and causing harm.

 

NDC Convention Will Decide Leadership

Former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas has dropped the strongest possible hint since the February 19 poll that he will not be contesting another general election on the island and will give up the job of Political Leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Thomas lost his seat, and Congress, which formed the government in July 2008, was routed from office in a 15 – 0 general election defeat five months ago by the New National Party led by Dr Keith Mitchell.

The former Prime Minister has been forced to clear the air on reports circulating last Friday that he had stepped down as NDC leader or was planning to do so.

Thomas said he told an interviewer that “I will not be contesting another general election, and people take it to mean that I will not be contesting the party leadership. I think people have misunderstood”.

Shortly after the results of the February 19 polls, Thomas said he was prepared to step down as NDC head and work with any chosen new leader of the party.

“The leadership is not something that I want to hold on to,” he said in an interview with the Trinidad Guardian.

“Once somebody comes forward, I am prepared to let that person take over the responsibility of leadership of the party.”

According to Thomas, he now awaits the NDC’s annual convention, when election to the party’s executive will be held.

“I will remain as political leader of the party until we have the convention in which all executive positions will be contested. If the people think I need to be on and lead the executive, I will comply to their wishes,” Thomas said.

“It’s at that convention the delegates will have the opportunity to make any changes, and people will have to respect the wishes of the delegates, whether or not they decide to make me continue or change the leadership.”

Former Finance Minister, Nazim Burke and ex-Education Minister, Franka Bernadine are considered as the front-runners to replace Thomas in any leadership change in Congress.

The defeated Youth and Sports Minister, Patrick Simmons is seen as a possible dark horse in the race.

Thomas, 68, said he has no immediate plans to contest another general election. However, he has not altogether ruled out that the possibility of running at the next national elections that are constitutionally due by 2018.

“I may not contest a general election again, but that in itself is not cast in concrete and circumstances can change,” he said.

The National Executive of the party was due to meet Thursday at which a date was expected to be set for the first General Council of Congress since the lost at the polls.

Under the party’s constitution, the date for the annual convention is set by delegates at the General Council sitting.

 

Scotiabank continues to sponsor Kiddy Cricket

Scotiabank continues to be the exclusive sponsor of the Kiddy Cricket Programme and the official bank of West Indies Cricket.

The bank and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), last week, signed a new five=year contract at the headquarters of the Jamaica Cricket Association to officially return it as the main sponsor/

The contract was signed by Dave Cameron, the new President of the WICB, Michael Muirhead, Chief Executive Officer of the WICB and Scotiabank Director of Marketing for the English Caribbean, Heather Goldson.

The new agreement will see Scotiabank almost doubling its investment in the Kiddy Cricket, and is the longest sponsorship contract that the bank has signed with the WICB in its 14-year history of supporting the game.

Heather Goldson hands over a kiddy cricket kit to student  Rojare Thompson of the Santa Cruz Primary School and Junior High, winners of the 2013 Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket Festival in Jamaica. Sharing in the moment are Dave Cameron, President of the WICB, Michael Muirhead - CEO of WICB, Scotiabank's Director of Marketing for the English Caribbean Heather Goldson and Linval Wright, President of the Jamaica Cricket Association.

Heather Goldson hands over a kiddy cricket kit to student Rojare Thompson of the Santa Cruz Primary School and Junior High, winners of the 2013 Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket Festival in Jamaica. Sharing in the moment are Dave Cameron, President of the WICB, Michael Muirhead – CEO of WICB, Scotiabank’s Director of Marketing for the English Caribbean Heather Goldson and Linval Wright, President of the Jamaica Cricket Association.

Scotiabank’s renewed investment in the programme comes as a clear commitment to the development of West Indies Cricket and an vote of confidence in the future of the game.

“We have seen significant progress in the Kiddy Cricket Programme over the last 14 years as title sponsors. We have reached over 750,000 children since inception, and have had the satisfaction of seeing Kiddy Cricketers rising to the pinnacle of the game as national and as West Indian players. We are fully committed to continuing to play our part in growing the sport, and building that next generation of cricket greats,” explained Heather Goldson, Regional Director of Marketing for the English Caribbean.

Commenting on the renewal of the contract with Scotiabank, WICB’s President and CEO, Michael Muirhead said “WICB holds the Kiddy Cricket Programme as a high priority initiative as it is the base of the cricket development path in the region and we are very pleased to renew this sponsorship with our long standing sponsor and partner Scotiabank.”

The new contract will allow the WICB to execute an expanded technical programme aimed at teaching foundation cricketing skills to the over 150,000 students who are currently enrolled. As part of the expanded programme, Scotiabank will be funding the provision of close to 10,000 Kiddy Cricket kits including bats, balls, and stumps to schools across the region.

Scotiabank’s Senior Vice President for Caribbean Region, Claude Norfolk was pleased to see the regional cricket sponsorship contract renewed as he believes in the power of cricket as a positive and unifying force in the countries that the bank operates.

“Scotiabank is proud to renew our regional sponsorship with West Indies Cricket Board. The programme has enjoyed tremendous success over the years as we impart not just foundation cricketing skills but pass on part of the valuable heritage and pride associated with West Indies cricket.

We recognize that cricket is one of the strongest unifying forces in the region and Scotiabank is proud to have played a pivotal role for more than 14 years in supporting the growth of the sport and passing on that legacy to the next generation.”

Kiddy Cricketers across the region will now also benefit from an investment being made by the Bank to provide additional technical coaches in schools, so as to meet the increased interest and participation in the programme. Twenty new coaches will be added to the current staff of 48 working with the students in the various countries. The additional coaches will now be able to provide longer hours of the technical supervision as coaches to PE teachers and students. All coaches in the programme will also now receive mandatory foundation coach training through a new partnership being developed by the West Indies Cricket Board in Association with University of Technology, UTECH.

As part of the new agreement, the WICB and Scotiabank will work together to provide students with increased opportunities to improve their skills, through friendly interschool games. The Board will roll out the piloted Scotiabank WICB Kiddy Cricket Festival regionally to all participating countries in the Eastern Caribbean. The Festival allows students to play a series of preliminary zonal games culminating in a final event with the top 8 schools in the island challenging each other for the title of top Kiddy cricket School and the Championship Trophy. The Festival which was introduced in the larger territories last year has proven to be an ideal opportunity for students to display their skills and coaches to identify talented players. These players are now being streamlined for further intense training and placement within their national teams. The first of these coaching clinics will be executed regionally over the holidays as a series of 14 summer camps for all top players from the tournament. The Barbadian camp will be held from August 12th to 16th at locations across the island.

Those positive dope tests

The eyes of the sporting world are not only on Jamaica but the entire Caribbean following the positive dope tests of several of the region’s world-rated athletes.

Our image has taken a whopping beating in the international community given our rise to prominence in recent years as an athletic powerhouse on the world stage.

In one month, the positive doping tests on the likes of Veronica Campbell-Brown, Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson – all Olympic gold medalists have resulted in the world focusing on us as cheats.

Questions will now be asked, and quite rightfully so of the region’s biggest athletic icon, Usain Bolt, his compatriot Yohan Blake and our own Kirani James.

One major Italian newspaper has already jumped on the bandwagon with a headline that suggested that Bolt is surrounded by dope. It is clear that a particular message is being conveyed to the international sporting world about our athletic prowess.

The recent dope cases involving our elite athletes in the Caribbean should be met with a response from our regional leaders at the level of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and not left only to Jamaica.

Our region has been put on the map due to our performances at international games like the Olympics and World games such as next month’s athletics meet in Moscow.

It is reported that the University of the West Indies (UWI) has the facilities to test each and every stimulant and vitamins that our athletics need to put into their system.

THE NEW TODAY is calling for systems to be put in place so that greater use can be made of these facilities in order to make our athletes drug-free.

The back and forth between Asafa Powell, Sherone Simpson, their agent and trainer on who gave what and when to the athletes will not solve the problem.

The athletes are fully aware of the fact that they – and not the coach, trainer or whoever are the ones responsible for what goes into their systems.

There is an old saying, “If in doubt leave out”. And by extension, if the athletes utilise the facilities at the University of the West Indies, they would know whether or not it is safe or risky to take anything that can result in them failing drug tests.

As a region, we need to take stock of the problem and come up with solutions that can ease the pain that each of us will feel when our top athletes are being viewed with suspicion in very much the same way those from Eastern Europe felt during the days of the Cold War.

It is quite obvious that as medical technology improves, more and more athletes who attempt to beat the system will be caught and exposed.

Our athletes have made us proud not only in terms of their individual performances but also played a major role in promoting the region in terms of tourism. This cannot and should not be under-estimated.

THE NEW TODAY would also like to make a few passing comments on the island’s huge indebtedness to our many wide and varied creditors.

The Keith Mitchell-led government needs to clear the air on reports that the island has defaulted on a major loan payment to the British government on funds that were borrowed for the construction of the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA).

This announcement was first made by Roman Catholic priest, Father Sean Doggette who is part of a religious group that has been advancing proposals for the island to engage in negotiations with all creditors to deal with an unbearable debt of EC$2.3 billion.

This information was confirmed to our news desk by the Press Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister who indicated that the government took a deliberate decision not to make any payments on that particular loan to the British government.

However, one day later, Prime Minister Mitchell did not seem to know as the Minister of Finance that Grenada might have defaulted on the long-outstanding debt payment to the British.

The Press Secretary and Fr .Dogette seem to be aware but not the Prime Minister. How come he did not know? Does he get regular briefing on these things from PS Finance, Timothy Antoine and the Accountant-General?

If indeed, there was a default by Grenada it could lead to a possible further downgrade of our creditworthiness by agencies such as Standard & Poor’s and Moody. This country can ill afford to go below its current SD ratings from Standard & Poor’s. How much lower can we go?

Our severe debt problem has its genesis in the 1995-2008 period of Dr. Mitchell and his previous NNP government when it borrowed a few critical loans at high commercial interest rates for projects that either did not materialise or could not have been considered as being part of the productive sectors of the economy.

As Dr. Mitchell has reminded us, he is now much wiser as a leader and has come back to the fore as a much better leader and therefore one expects him to fix the debt problem.

THE NEW TODAY is anxious to see this debt situation successfully dealt with because it has the potential to either make or break this country.

JAIL EXPERIENCE!

J – JUSTICE

A – AWARENESS

I – INMATES

L – LIABILITY

 

I’ve just been release from Jail for the ultimate ‘god’ of this world ‘the love of money’ 1 Timothy 6:9; 10, (please read in the good book of life – BIBLE). Possess by men of greed and high powers seeking to dominate and have supremacy over God’s creation.

Tell me something, is this where the fate of humanity lies? There I was unemployed and unable to meet my obligation to your Magistrate Court, but having an awareness that when I’m employed it is incumbent of me to fulfil same, the Judicial System found it necessary to convict me to Her Majesty Prison (H.M.P), now that I’m employed. Isn’t this ironic? We often say cut cost on overheads and Government resources are limited, but here I am a liability to Government.

Where is the cost effectiveness in this decision making? They denied me my responsibility to your Magistrate Court hence this imprisonment was an injustice to tarnish my reputation as a young man aspiring to build a life through God and for my future family.

I was alone, afraid of the dark silent night, mystified in a world of my own, beyond the mind’s eye. I found a new awakening of scenery never ending; fear and joy which to choose, but one scene played “ be not afraid or dismayed for I the Lord thy God is with you…for I’ve not given you a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind…”; only to realise that it’s my meditation according to Joshua 1:8 in the good book of life, for meditation produces success; this awakening of the mind’s eye through insight and foresight were God given to stimulate the sense of amicable solution. My inmates were my inspiration in making this sentence ease-burden.

I call them friend, family and fathers who understood what life is even though they too are in Jail. Never give up were the words of fortitude spoken during our morning’s assembly called ‘Parade’; an inspirational moment lead by inmates to encourage and motivate unto good works through positive article reading, our Heavenly Father’s Prayer and our National Anthem, also the manoeuvring of Officers across the yard, displaying an intricate match towards the inmates.

I had an aesthetic cell called C#19 Landing, where I had a picturesque view from ‘Hotel California’ meaning the Jail. Here I am scoping out the Kirani Boulevard, all the way to the Cruise Terminal – Grenada my Country an aquatic paradise tranquil in the sun.

We are all cognisant to build positive minds despite the outcome and we had a virtuous woman highly favoured by God, being instrumental in tutoring us on career building, who is a civil servant.

We called her ‘Principal’ very dedicated in shaping men of purpose; an industrious woman I call her according to Proverbs 31 in the good book of life.

She will say “be mighty men of valour and purpose and sustain life’s creation through God’s eye”, after all we are disciples giving leadership to mother-earth. I quote from the Bible which says “Train up a child in the way he should grow and when he is old, he will not depart from it…” From my understanding we are to teach children the power of having wealth both spiritually and socially.

This is the recipe for a well balance and healthy life through the wisdom (the spiritual capacity to see and evaluate life and conduct from God’s point of view) of God who is the just Judge.

And even though we may be a liability, life’s sentence is only determined by Him (Jesus Christ) who is our ultimate Saviour and Father of all.

My lesson learnt – I was not imprisoned for my mind had the freedom to conquer. In other words, your mind plays an important role in your victory and hence my mission was to fulfil the will of my Heavenly Father (Jesus Christ) through Prayer and Praise, so no matter where life takes you, you never allow circumstances to defeat you, and on the contrary, take advantage of every opportunity and try to get the best out of every situation you face.

On the journey of life, you will observe more than once how the things we think will harm us in the end become great blessings.

Maybe someone wants to hurt you but God will use that very thing in your favour. Success is determined more by our attitude towards the things that happen to us than by the situation itself.

If you want to be a success and prosper in all your dealings the Bible says you must meditate on the word of God Day and Night.

If you learn to see the good in every situation and have the virtue of perseverance, with God’s help you can overcome the difficulties that lie ahead.

A positive attitude is a powerful force and a wise man will hear and increase in learning and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsel…! Thank you inmates and be still and know that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…!

Take notice and remember – JAIL is no place to be, so act with prudence, listen attentively and think wisely.

A true friend in Christ

SHALOM!

 

MARIAN CRICKET AND FESTIVAL WEEK A HIT!

 

By Elliot Bishop

 

On a scale of one to ten, the Marian Sports, Cultural and Development Club deserves a nine plus, for the just completed Wind Ball Competition and week of activities at the village of Marian in South East St. George.

The two activities were well planned and executed in an atmosphere that reflected discipline and organisation to the highest order.

Twelve teams competed in the Wind Ball (fifteen overs) competition, sponsored by Mr. Raymond Lewis, a senior citizen in the area, he himself being a former athlete; while residing in Trinidad, he represented the Guardians Sports Club and competed against top athletes at the Southern Games during the 1960’s.

The Wind Ball Competition started in the year 2005 with four village teams and has grown from strength to strength each year, spilling over to neighbouring villages like Calivigny, Woodlands and La Borie.

Attendance to the games also increased by leaps and bounds, with hundreds of spectators turning out to support their favourite team.

This year’s competition was exciting from start to finish. Last year’s champs COTTAGE were determined to regain the trophy, but newcomers GRENLEC and HOT SPURS took the initiative, while Favourite COCOA LIONS failed to get pass the semi-finals.

In the end, it was the dark horse in the race, DOWN THE ROAD STARS that came off with the trophy and the title – 2013 Raymond Lewis Wind Ball Cricket Champions.

The Marian Festival Week, 30th June to 6th July followed on the heels of the Wind Ball Cricket with members of the club attending church service at the Marian Pentecostal Church on Sunday 30th June, followed by very interesting activities the following days such as Panel Discussion, Drive-in Movie at the playing field, Games Night at the Multipurpose Centre, Bon Fire Night and Story Telling and the Miss Marian 2013 Pageant on Friday night, the third queen contest to be held in Marian.

Miss Shania Dickson was crowned the winner, with first runner up Miss Cassie Grappy and second runner up Miss Cherise Bishop.

The week of activities ended with a morning fitness exercise at the playing field, followed by a Street Fiesta which included sale of various products, vegetables, food and drinks, health booth and music among other activities.

Looking back, while the club ought to be proud of the success of the twelve weeks of Wind Ball Cricket and the Marian Festival Week, the Marian community gained the focus of attention for the entire period, but the winners in the final analysis are the youth who were focused on friendly rivalry in the sporting and festival activities.

Maybe community activities like these can be a deterrent to control the rising crime and violence among the youth. Think of it!

 

 

Government provides millions for poultry and small business development

Young entrepreneurs and poultry farmers throughout the country will be the recipient of millions of dollars in loans and grants from the five-month old Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government to improve the quantity and quality of local poultry and to develop small businesses.

Government has established a Small Business Development Fund at the state-controlled Grenada Development Bank (GDB) through which $3 million has been earmarked to assist existing and developing young entrepreneurs.

Minister for Economic Development, Trade, Planning and Cooperatives, Oliver Joseph, disclosed during Government’s post-Cabinet press briefing last week Tuesday that the fund was established in keeping with his government’s promise as outlined in the 2013 Budget of Revenue and Expenditure (Holding Budget) earlier this year.

Joseph said that the maximum a small businessperson will be allowed to borrow from the fund is $50,000.00.

Loans will be granted to successful applicants at a rate of 6% interest with a maximum period of 10 years to repay.

Under the arrangement, the monies are expected to be accessible to successful applicants within two weeks.

Minister for Communications, Works, Physical Development, Public Utilities and ICT, Gregory Bowen, gave details about government’s assistance to poultry farmers.

Bowen said that in excess of $300,000.00 has been set-aside at GDB for quite sometime now specifically for the poultry association.

He hinted that no one was able to access the funds because no acceptable proposal was put forward by persons involved in the industry to obtain funding for their projects.

Bowen said that Cabinet made a decision that of the $300,000.00 sum available, a grant of $40,000 would be given to the association grouping poultry producers to be used mainly to enhance outreach programmes and to strengthen administrative capacity.

He added that another portion of the grant funds would be used to consolidate the association’s membership status within the Caribbean Poultry Association, as dues and other administrative undertakings have not been paid to ensure that Grenada becomes part and parcel of this network, which is of extreme importance to ensure that all standards within the poultry industry are met.

The senior government minister disclosed that another $40,000 would be given in the form of a grant to the Grenada Bureau of Standards to implement the new CARICOM standards for poultry products.

Government said its intention is to establish a revolving fund of $100,000.00 at GDB to be used to secure feeds for poultry farmers.

A further sum of $150,987.12 has also been assigned to the small business loan fund through GDB to be used specifically for poultry farmers.

He said that disbursements would be made in allocations after presentation of satisfactory reports on the use of the funds by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Under the arrangement, annual audits of the funds will be conducted by the Audit Department under the auspices of the Director of Audit.

Minister Bowen also announced that government will be moving ahead with plans for the commercialisation of the three state-owned estates in the country – Diamond, Mt Reuil and Grand Bras.

He said that a committee headed by Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Senator Simon Stiell has been established to undertake the commercialisation process.

Other members of the committee are Fitzroy James representing the Ministry of Finance, Ken Francois and Ronald O’Neal of the Ministry of Agriculture, as well as a representative each from the Grenada Trade Union movement and the Ministry of Legal Affairs.

Bowen said that the committee would have the authority to negotiate and enter into contractual arrangements with selected persons to manage these estates to ensure that the farms are efficiently run, leading to increased and improved production.

 

Former Prime Minister condemns payment to MP’s without portfolio

Former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas has, for the first time, addressed the payment being given by the State to three Members of Parliament (MP’s) of the New National Party (NNP) who are not Government Ministers.

The NNP won a landslide victory in the last February General elections by winning all 15 seats in the House of Representatives.

However, no place was made in the Cabinet of Ministers for Tobias Clement who won the St. George North East Constituency, Clifton Paul (St. Patrick’s East), and Yolande Bain-Horsford (St. Andrew’s South West).

Thomas who appeared on an independently produced radio programme last week Wednesday described the decision to pay the three MP’s from State resources as an abuse of the process.

The former Prime Minister described as “demeaning” the Office of being a Parliamentarian the move by the Keith Mitchell-led NNP administration to pay the three non-governmental Parliamentarians.

“This is a distortion of what Parliament is meant to be. A person does not have a responsibility or a job description and you’re using taxpayers’ money to just pay them,” he remarked.

Thomas told the host of the programme that when someone is being paid as a minister he has a responsibility of ministerial duties.

He indicated that provisions are there for MP’s to be given a stipend and not a salary to take care of their constituencies.

The former Prime Minister said it is not appropriate or fair to the nation to pay someone who has a job description and a great responsibility as compared to someone who does not have that responsibility.

At the swearing ceremony of the members of the new government last March, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell disclosed that all three Members of Parliament who are not among the group of ministers will be empowered to fulfill the expectations of their constituents.

“They will be given the resources to do the job that you, the people elected them to do. In that regard, we are currently looking at a construct that will allow us to increase the constituency allowances to the three Cabinet Members to do the work in their constituencies,” he told the swearing ceremony.

Of the three non-government MP’s, Clement is the only one believed to be fully employed elsewhere with St. George’s University (SGU) and is reported in some quarters to be earning a monthly salary of between US$5-8, 000.

 

Tillman Thomas: ‘I don’t intend to run again’

Tillman Thomas – position would not define me

Tillman Thomas – position would not define me

Former Prime Minister and Political Leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Tillman Thomas has given his strongest signal that he would be bowing out of frontline politics.

The 66-year old Thomas informed the host of a radio programme last week that he has no intention of contesting another General Elections in the country.

The former Prime Minister lost the St. Patrick’s East Constituency to newcomer, former School Principal, Clifton Paul who ran on a ticket of the New National Party (NNP) which swept the polls in the February 19 General Elections winning all 15 Parliamentary seats.

Thomas told the host of the programme that he is now more concerned about seeing the NDC re-organised and that once someone who is suitable to replace him in the constituency is identified, he will do whatever he can to advance the cause of the party.

An attorney-at-law by profession, the ex-Prime Minister said he will always remain Tillman Thomas, as position does not define him.

“Position wouldn’t define me. I’m a Grenadian, whatever I have to do for Grenada I would do it. I don’t have to be the Prime Minister, I don’t have to be a leader to do something for Grenada. Whatever I could do in my capacity I would do it for the advancement and well being of our people,” he added.

“I could equally be effective in what I have to do as a private citizen than holding a position,” he added.

Speculation is rife that ex-government ministers Nazim Burke and Franka Alexis-Bernadine are considered as the early front-runners to replace Thomas once he decides to bow out as NDC Leader.

Thomas first entered frontline politics in the 1984 general elections when he won the St. Patrick’s East Constituency on a ticket of the original NNP that was formed by three centrists groups – the Grenada National Party (GNP), the National Democratic Party (NDP), and the Grenada Democratic Movement (GDM).

This US-backed grouping was put together on one of the ward islands of St. Vincent in the aftermath of the October 1983 U.S military action in Grenada to put down a military junta that had seized power in a bloody coup in which Marxist Prime Minister, Maurice Bishop was killed.

Amidst fears of a possible victory at the polls by deposed former Prime Minister Eric Gairy, Washington with the backing of some Caribbean leaders ensured that the three centrists groups formed a single political party to contest the poll and to form the government.

Thomas was appointed as a Junior Minister in the Ministry of Legal Affairs to serve under the former GDM leader, Dr. Francis Alexis.

He later left NNP along with Dr. Alexis and former NDP leader, George Brizan to form NDC in 1987. Thomas was elected as Party Leader of Congress in October 2000.

The former Prime Minister also commented on the sorry state of affairs with the NDC’s public relations.

He said the party has recognised that it needs to be more vocal on issues of national importance that is affecting the country since the NNP took Office last February.

Thomas indicated that when people do not receive information they are unable to form the right opinion.

“We need to be commenting on what is happening in the (Royal Grenada) Police Force, what is happening with the CCC, what is happening on the educational front”, he said.

“We need to be commenting on issues, even that recent Bill that was passed (in the Lower House of Parliament), the Electronic Crime Bill,” he added.

 

A Call for Public Education on ICT Bills

Trade Union representative in the Senate, Rae Roberts tells the Government that it must engage the people in consultation the same way it pursued their votes to win the February 19, 2013 General Elections.

Senator  Rae Roberts - “some people have never heard about this bill”

Senator Rae Roberts – “some people have never heard about this bill”

In his presentation during the debate on several Electronic Bills last week Tuesday, Sen. Roberts said he was deeply concerned that the overwhelming majority of the population were not aware of what’s in the proposed legislation already approved by the House of Representatives.

He told the sitting that while the Workers’ Movement strongly supports the Electronic Filing Bill 2013; the Electronic Transaction Bill 2013; the Transfer of Funds Crime Bills 2013, the Electronic Evidence 2013, the people must be educated so they can have an appreciation of the value and the consequences.

He said, ” In our hands is a Bill that endeavours to make a significant cultural shift in the lives of all Grenadians and the vast majority don’t know what is in this Bill – some people have never heard about this bill”.

Sen. Roberts told the Government Senators that their boast of the Prime Minister’s leadership of ICT in the region will have greater impact and weight if 80/90% of the population is knowledgeable about the technology and are using it to the maximum; therefore, they must not keep the people in ignorance.

Making a special plea for the youth, Sen.Roberts said, it was a shame that the Government talks so much about greater involvement of youth in the democratic process but that is not reflected in consultation with respect to the Electronic Bills.

”Young People – the future of the nation – the same young people our Prime Minister speaks off with a passion”, said Sen. Roberts. ”They are the ones who use the technology more than anyone else. We parents are often times struggling to keep pace” he added.

Meanwhile, Government has again failed to provide answers to any of the five questions asked by Sen. Roberts during the session.

The questions were presented at the previous sitting of the Senate in June, about a month ago.

Sen. Roberts wants the Administration of Dr. Keith Mitchell which made a clean sweep of the 15 seats in the Feb 19, 2013 General Elections, to inform the nation ”what are the emoluments being paid to Ministers of Government, parliamentary secretaries; including allowances for constituencies.

A question re the employment of Senior Advisor to Government, Dr. Patrick Antoine requires the terms and condition for his employment, including his emoluments, and allowances.

Also being asked of the Government is to provide a list of all new workers, including advisers and consultants who were given contracts of employment commencing February to May 31, 2013 as well as their emoluments and allowances.

Other questions posed to the Government and await answers are, ”How many overseas trips were made by Government Ministers, Advisers, and Consultant between February and May 31, 2013 and whether or not they were sponsored by International Organisations?

Speaking on the adjournment of the Senate, Sen. Roberts said, he hopes the Leader of Government Business will not take another month to provide the answers.