Willingness to save the York House

Parliamentary Representative for the Town of St George, Nickolas Steele has said that he is open to discussions with the Willie Redhead Foundation on saving York House that was left badly damaged by Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.

The minister’s remarks were made at a post-Cabinet press briefing at the Ministerial Complex last week Tuesday following concerns raised by the foundation in response to statements made by Works minister, Gregory Bowen that the remains would most likely be demolished.

Since the passage of Hurricane Ivan, the remains of York house have been left in heavy thickset bushes.

The foundation has sent a letter to Minister Steele who is the Parliamentary Representative for the Town of St. George on the preservation of the York House.

According to Steele, on receipt of the letter, he immediately requested a meeting with a delegation from the foundation to engage them in a dialogue as to their concerns.

“… We are open to hear what their possible solutions may be and I for one will like to see the York House restored to its splendour,” the MP told reporters.

“…I’m hoping they have a solution that is physically possible and is economically viable and if it is I will be the first to fly the flag for them as well,” he said.

Attorney General, Cajeton Hood said the building as it is, creates a potential liability to government because the State will be deemed in law to be the occupier in case of an accident.

“I know the minister is concerned, the Cabinet is concerned, that something must be done very quickly,” he said, adding that, “what will be done we can’t say at this point in time because the Minister is engaging persons”.

Hood stated that some high court judges have raised concerns about the dilapidated building and its hazardous tendencies.

“Persons pass close to that building and some people even venture under the building during their passage to and from court. The judges have raised concerns, what if something happen, we’ll be liable and the public need to understand that something will be done as quickly as we can have it done,” he said.

During the press briefing, Minister Steele disclosed that government was in discussions with a number of Commonwealth countries to secure assistance for the building of a new Parliament building for the island.

“We have been in communication with the Australian government, with New Zealand government, the UAE as well as other potential donors or friendly governments on moving forward. We will be going ahead according to schedule (with the rebuilding),” said Steele.

Australia, which agreed to donate 5 million Australian dollars for the project, has recently pulled out from the project.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has agreed to contribute US$5 million towards the rebuilding.

According to Minister Steele, the reason why he is looking in particular at other Commonwealth nations for assistance and advice on the project is due to the fact that Grenada is also is a member of the Commonwealth.

“One of the reasons as far as we are concerned (that) Australia saw it appropriate to assist Grenada with the construction of the Parliament building is that Australia was recognising Grenada as a developing Commonwealth nation and Australia as a more developed Commonwealth nation offered assistance there in our Parliament building,” he said.

“Now that the Australians have expressed as I have phrased it, their inability to follow through on that commitment, I have reached out to other significant Commonwealth nations to seek advice and assistance as to a way forward because I think Grenada has a good position within Commonwealth nations to say that one of our primary institutions of democracy needs to be rebuilt,” he added.

The senior government Minister expressed confidence that despite the pull out of Australia, there would not be a delay in starting construction work on the project.

He gave assurances that once the government has a commitment from some other country with respect to the rest of money needed to complete the building, the public will be informed.

Resisting sexual imperialism

I am appalled at the militancy and arrogance with which President Obama seeks to impose his and the American government’s non-biblical sexual ethics on African nations in particular.

With stridency and prophetic passion he instructs these nations on the manner in which they should run their in-house business. Like Caesar Augustus he magisterially declares what human rights is supposed to encompass.

The funny thing is that the human rights bully pulpit from which he stands to speak is resting on a foundation which he has long since undermined and discarded, the Judeo-Christian world view.

Where else can we lay claim to human rights except from the book given by the Creator who gave these inalienable gifts to men as the U.S. constitution which the President seeks to destroy affirms? Certainly not from the Greeks. They forced Socrates to drink hemlock because he was exercising the right of free speech and they did not like what he was saying. As a “Christ figure” he died for speaking the truth.

In a culture that has long since jettisoned the absolute standards of the Rock of ages and now rests on the shifting sands of situation ethics or relativism, President Obama has no basis for making any moral and ethical demands of anyone. Besides, his moral perceptions are twisted and distorted.

What about the rights of the unborn or those born through aborted abortions? They are the weakest and most vulnerable people and cannot even speak for themselves or demand any rights.

Nobody hears their whimper or understands their pain when the surgeon’s scalpel and the saline solution terminate their existence before they could see the light of day. We can easily justify our sins while condemning the actions of others as evil because what they are doing does not fit our agenda.

At one time the white man thought of Africa as the Dark Continent physically and culturally. Now Africa is showing greater enlightenment than those western nations which believed that they had the light. Yes, they have brought the light of the Gospel to Southern Africa and assisted the continent educationally and scientifically. But African culture thrived and flourished long before there were any American and European nation states.

Africa has nurtured and cherished moral values and transcendental virtues which these so-called enlightened nations are demanding that they discard. What gross impertinence!

I admire the principled stand taken by the President of the Nigerian Catholic Conference of Bishops in which he faced down the arrogance of western nations.

LifeSiteNews.com has the following comment: “The president of the Nigerian Catholic Bishops’ conference, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos, wrote to the President saying that the government’s decision “not to bow to international pressure in the promotion of unethical and immoral practices of same sex union and other related vices” is “a courageous one and a clear indication of the ability of our great country to stand shoulders high in the protection of our Nigerian and African most valued cultures of the institution of marriage and protection of the dignity of the human person.”

One would have thought that in an age when nations are supposed to be affirming their worth and distinctiveness their opinions and laws would be respected. But no, those who consider themselves more equal than others are imposing theirs on the ones whom they consider inferior or retrograde. They claim that this is the era of multiculturalism and pluralism but at the same time are intolerant of those who are different.

Hooray, Africa! Stand up for your right to maintain transcendent cultural values. When the wealthy try to pressure you by withholding their aid or grants the God whose standards you seek to uphold will provide for you. He has blessed you already with enormous natural resources and will show you how to discover and use it to benefit your people. Be reminded that righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.

One day the nations will stand before God to answer to him for the violation of his righteous standards. What will count on that day will not be the fake claims of having upheld human rights but having done what is right in the eyes of God.

Your final judge will not be an American, U.N., or a European president but the Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ, God’s appointed Supreme Justice.

 

Alfred Horsford

Time to step out of the shadows

This year, 2014, we should lay the responsibility on the doorstep of every Caribbean leader of government who continues to fiddle around, seek safe haven, and or practice business as usual within the traditionally safe shadows cast over our countries by western democracies.

We must articulate forcefully our desire that the Caribbean heads of Government demonstrate the requisite ‘chutzpah’ to step out into the sunlight, to fully embrace and avail our countries of all of the opportunities that new and emerging nations offer; advantages that can help us to realize the required growth and development that our region, and our individual countries in particular require so desperately.

It is time for every Caribbean country to join the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) that was inaugurated in 2001. No more excuses should be entertained. We need to stop moaning and groaning about the apparent expenses associated with holding referendums, as may be required by law in some of the territories, or the perceived fear of political interference in the court’s administration of justice.

Lord Phillips, the president of the UK’s new supreme court has virtually given us notice, by intimating that the time that the Privy Council is forced to spend on Commonwealth countries cases is disproportionate, and that former colonies should in fact set up their own appeals court. So what are we waiting for?

The time is ripe too for regional countries to join ALBA, and Grenada has wisely applied for membership. Admirably, most of our more pragmatic neighbours have awoken from their political stupors and have joined ALBA, in order to position their countries to reap the benefits of an association with that grouping.

As to the thinking of the critics against an ALBA association, and the brakes holders towards the CCJ eventuality? Generally the same people.

It always amazes me that the harbingers of doom who fear that joining ALBA would somehow prompt the US Congress to direct their President to declare war on Grenada, continue to blithely take for granted the ongoing economic life line that has been extended to us by Venezuela. This umbilical cord comes in the form of the benefits that we derive from the Petro Caribe arrangements for Grenada and other islands, without which, at this point in time, we would have been sucking salt, petroleum imports wise.

Look at the large petroleum tank the Venezuelans constructed at Queen’s Park! And the number of cultural, housing, and other projects we continue to receive gratis from that same Government that is in power in Caracas today!

Of course I expect that the naysayers would be quite alarmed, agitated, and motivated at this time, warning us to observe the present unrest in Venezuela!

As far as I am aware, there are two opposing groups of people demonstrating in Venezuela. One group supports the elected government, and the other opposes them. They both have their arguments, and the outcome is an internal matter that should be worked out by the Venezuelan people themselves, as long as no one group slaughters the other side as a means of resolving their differences.

We hope that the people of Venezuela could find a solution, shortly, towards settling their problems without more blood being shed.

I must point out that if and when the right wing opposition elements in Venezuela assume power, whether by the ballot box or otherwise, it would be an ominous game changer that would sound the death knell of the Petro Caribe arrangement that most of our region benefits so greatly from.

Unrest is widespread in a number of countries in the world at any given time. But unrest is a sign of the times, a factor of the struggle people engage in to foster change and bring about a hopeful improvement of their livelihoods. It is a reality we have to come to grips with, and try to MANAGE as best as we could!

But people have to live. So here at home in Grenada we must set aside, once and for all, the irrelevant and dated ideological attitude some espouse, of fighting contrived leftists bogeymen that are supposedly hiding under everyone’s beds.

We have to come to grips with and fully comprehend that the times are evolving, and that there are new and exciting alliances out there to be forged between emerging nations of the world.

Dr. Mitchell, congratulations. As a citizen, I am fully supportive of your playing of the ALBA card. Now please, Sir, ramp up your administration’s efforts towards taking us to where we belong, under the umbrella of the CCJ.

Independence: We boast about being proud of forty years of independence, yet we seem to be incapable of letting go of the shirt tails of our former masters. What does it say about us as a people, that after 40 years of self governance, we are still finding excuses to retain the Privy Council as our final court of appeal.

Would it require a period of 80 years, post 1974, for us to grow up and become sufficiently self reliant and confident in our capabilities as a nation, to enable us to stand on our own feet?

Let us get real. The Queens representative’s residence (the Governor General’s house) has been lying in abject ruin for 10 years, since it was destroyed by hurricane Ivan. Today, a decade later, we still find ourselves running around the mulberry bush caught up in the vagaries of a donor negotiations frenzy that we deem necessary for raising monies to rebuild that structure.

Similar circumstances apply to the building of the new Parliament. This effort has been dependent entirely on promises of financial assistance made to the former (NDC) administration by the governments of Australia and the United Arab Emirates. Am I missing something here?

Has either Australia or the United Arab Emirates ever played a meaningful role in our history? Have any of these nations ever profited, governed, administered or maintained resident representatives in Grenada?

But Grenada is a blessed country. Whilst we continue to wage a never ending civil war of political attrition between the Green and Yellow camps; a senseless conflict that expends most of our energies fighting with OURSELVES, instead of uniting and coming together for the common good of our country’s development, all is not lost.

Because Internationally recognised periodicals like National Geographic and others, continue to promote Grenada as one of the listed destinations to visit in the WORLD, and individuals like our son of the soil, Kirani James, are still able to engender moments of pride for our nation’s people by flying our flag high, thereby bringing us glory and invaluable recognition on the world’s stage.

The recent opening of a Sandals property here should improve both our marketing and airlift potential, and our main export crops nutmeg and cocoa seem to be at last on a path to recovery after the devastation of hurricane Ivan.

I believe that the formula for Grenada going forward is a simple one. And this is really all that we can do. Every government administration that is formed by the candidates who win parliamentary seats in a free and fair election, should be supported by the entire populace, and given all of the encouragement necessary for them to carry out the job that they ask us to entrust them to perform.

When those administrations tenures are up, we examine their performances. If we are not satisfied with their stewardship in office, then, just as we exercised the democratic right to vote them in, we should exercise the option to vote them out, and give someone else the opportunity to fulfill yet another promise to us, of better days are coming.

 

 Roger Byer

No sign there!!!

On Thursday, February 6, vehicle PAD 499 was parked on a spot marked off on the Carenage, in the vicinity of Andall Supermarket.  There was no writing on the spot nor was there any posted notice stating anything, but there was a policeman ticketing at which time a man, decked in our national colours, came running to the vehicle and pleading to the officer, who asked him for his driver’s license, which was given while talks continued between them.

The man was heard to say among other things…”but there is no sign there” and continued to plead.

A number of persons, at different points among them were policemen looked on.  I would like to know if the policeman was justified to ticket that gentleman for parking in that area?

The gentleman may decide to pay the fine, since to contest it may be somewhat time consuming and costly, even though there is a possibility of him winning and by the way, I think that the public should be informed that a letter dated 20/1/2014 was addressed to the Commissioner of Police pointing out among other things, that the sign which was once there is no longer there and if that area is designated for persons to embark and disembark to and from buses that a sign should be so errected there expeditiously.

The Commissioner of Police acknowledged receipt of my letter by his letter of 23/1/2014, but to date no sign has been placed there and now here it is that a motorist is hastled/ticketed.

How long will this type of behaviour go on?

Simeon Green

 

New ATM in Grenville

GPSCCU Branch Office on Canal Road Grenville

GPSCCU Branch Office on Canal Road Grenville

The Grenada Public Service Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. officially blessed its New ATM at its branch on Canal Road in Grenville on Febuary 25.

The President of the Credit Union Phillip Telesford was on hand to cut the ribbon at this momentous occasion. This is the GPSCCU’s third ATM facility, and the President remarked on the occasion that this initiative was one that was fuelled by the need to serve the growing membership in the area better.

The Blessing was done by Father Jimmy Mc Donnell of St. Andrew the Apostle RC Church, Grenville, with cutting of the ribbon by the GPSCCU President. The first user of the machine was Francis Balwant, GPSCCU Board Member in Grenville.

This ATM is part of a network of ATMs under the CONNEX brand which is owned by the Grenada Co-operative Bank, Grenada Public Service Co-operative Credit Union and the Caribbean Credit Card Co-operation.

An introductory promotion called “Stash of Cash” was announced in which anyone using the GPSCCU Connex ATM in Grenville would get a chance to win extra cash from the machine. Simone Fletcher was the first winner in the promotion.

The GPSCCU Connex Canal Road, Grenville ATM joins a fleet of sixteen ATMs on the CONNEX network which is utilised primarily by the members of the Grenada Public Service Credit Union and customers of the Grenada Co-operative Bank Ltd on the island. This allows them nationwide access to their funds, 24 hours daily in many different locations.

The Peter deSavary saga!!!

A decision handed down by one of our three high court judges should attract the attention of government.

It relates to a multi-million dollar judgement against Peter deSavary who has been given ambassadorial status by Grenada.

An insight into the EC$2.7 million judgement of Justice Madam Margaret Mohammed is contained in the front-page issue of this week’s edition of THE NEW TODAY.

The judge was not too kind in her remarks about Mr. de Savary and one of the major concerns of this newspaper is whether this investor is best suited to hold diplomatic status on behalf of the Government and People of Grenada.

Apart from labelling the investor as one who was “at best tenuous” and also “inconsistent” in his evidence, the Lady Judge raised a serious red flag concerning the project proposal that he had submitted to the then Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government in the 2003-2008 period to get concessions for the planned hotel for the Grand Anse beach.

These are the words of the learned high court judge, not THE NEW TODAY: “…Mr. De Savary’s evidence under cross-examination …was at best tenous (tenuous) and inconsistent. He first stated that in the application for planning approval he may or may not have been intending to develop a hotel. Then he said he could not explain what “Hotel” is being referred to in the application for approval for “the development of Hotel”. Yet he later admitted that in part he was applying to the authorities for permission to put a hotel on the beach which he called “Hotel” as depicted on the Master Plan but he then stated that the application for planning approval for “Hotel and living accommodation” was an error”

Justice Mohammed went on further to state: “If I am to accept Mr. DeSavary’s explanation that it was an error, then I have to accept that the Defendant misled the relevant authorities in its application for planning approval but there was no evidence presented by the Defendant to indicate that it attempted to correct this error with the planning authorities such as an amended application. Indeed there was no evidence to demonstrate that it was an error since it was based on this very same approval that the Defendant proceeded with the refurbishment of the buildings and additional construction at Mt. Cinnamon.

The judge was using strong words indeed…. Misleading the State to get certain concessions?. Was some kind of fraud committed?

The other statement in the judgement that should be of interest to the powers-that-be and should define any possible future relationship between the State and Mr. deSavary is this:

Here is what Justice Mohammed said: “I do not accept the weak explanation proffered by Mr De Savary that the application for “Hotel and living accommodation” was an error. Mr De Savary appeared to me to be a shrewd businessman with extensive experience in the area of tourism/hotel/ real estate development for the last 36 years. In my view, any shrewd businessman who was about to undertake such an extensive project would have taken all the appropriate steps to ensure that the proper application was made in terms of the type of accommodation which the Defendant intended to provide at Mt. Cinnamon”.

Where is the Physical Planning Department and Grenada Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) in all of this? These are two critical components of the government with responsibility to help look into all projects submitted for concessions.

How come it took the judge to point out the “error” as Mr. deSavary called it in what he had submitted to government and got concessions for in selling the idea that he was building a hotel on Grand Anse beach – something that was never done.

Did Mr. deSavary deliberately mislead the State and got concessions to do something that he never intended to do in the first place? Should the Port Louis Marina developer and his company be called upon to account for these concessions that he may have not rightfully been entitled to from government?

The Justice Margaret Mohammed judgement would clearly leave any reasonable and right thinking person to start to raise concerns about Mr. deSavary’s suitability to be a person to be associated with the sale of Grenadian passports as a new stream of revenue for our cash-strapped government.

If the judgement is to be taken in its rightful context then this investor is questionable as an agent – directly or indirectly – with the Citizenship by Investment programme.

The other issue of concern to us relates to the disclosure by the Minister of Education, Anthony Boatswain that the free school book programme of the former Congress government of Tillman Thomas was riddled with financial irregularities.

What is disturbing is the announcement by the minister that government took the decision not to proceed with a recommendation by the Audit Department to ask the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) to investigate and probe into the alleged wrong-doing.

Why would a Cabinet of Ministers venture into an area that it has no competence, capacity and capability?

Imagine the Audit Department pointing to corruption and wrong-doing by persons in the civil service and our government taking a decision to give them a little slap on the wrist.

The international community is watching and looking on at what is happening in Grenada. Is this how our authorities are dealing with taxpayers money? Why prevent and stop the FIU and Police Force from doing the investigation?

There is another aspect that is cause for concern with what Minister Boatswain was telling the nation.

It relates to the lack of systems that were put in place by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance to adequately run an important government programme and to take steps to ensure that corruption and mismanagement were minimised.

Is it any wonder that Grenada is now into a deep fiscal crisis given the laissez-faire approach to important financial matters by the senior officials in the Government Ministries and Departments and indeed the political directorate?

 

Money missing from free School Books Programme

The ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell says thousands of dollars are missing from the free School Books programme but did not point an accusing finger at any member of the former Congress government of Tillman Thomas.

Speaking at a post-Cabinet press briefing on Tuesday, Education Minister Anthony Boatswain said that the programme was not successfully run and blamed School Principals and other civil servants for the loss of thousands of dollars.

He said that the one-year old NNP administration will be making adjustments to the programme that was considered to be one of the most successful initiatives of the former regime.

Boatswain disclosed that based on an audit conducted by the Department of Audit, it emerged that there were serious financial irregularities in the operation of the programme.

He said that between 2008 and 2011, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration of then Prime Minister Thomas spent close to $13.6 million on the school book programme but it was affected by many shortcomings.

“The funds that were supposed to be collected from the students in the various schools and turned into the Treasury, in 90% of the cases studied, those funds were never turned into the Treasury,” he said.

According to Minister Boatswain as it stands now in excess of $100,000 is still outstanding to the Treasury from the programme.

He said the audit report also revealed that financial rules were not adhered to and although receipt books were given to every school for proper accounting purposes, in most instances those books were discarded resulting in no proper accounting of the funds collected.

The minister did not identify the schools and principals that were culpable.

However, he said the Audit Department suggested that the Police and Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) be called in to investigate the matter but government opted against this approach as the Mitchell administration felt that the parties involved did not mean to commit such “fraud.”

He added that upon further investigation of the free schoolbook programme, it was discovered that there were serious wastage and an abuse of the scheme.

The senior government minister pointed out that at the level of the Ministry of Education and at various schools, hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of books were ordered and never used and are just there collecting dust.

“In one instance a series of books were ordered (4500 copies costing roughly $360,000) and never used because it happened to be the wrong book,” he said.

According to the Education Minister, this happened because the parties involved in making the purchases were not working as a unit since everyone was doing their own thing.

“So the School Principal must be ordering books unknowing to the Curriculum Department (in the Ministry of Education) and in many instances the schools were ordering books in excess of their requirements because a Publisher might go to that school and in contravention of the procedures, the Principal might strike a bargain with that Publisher and order books, such books not being the prescribed text on the curriculum,” he said.

Minister Boatswain told reporters that government is now owing the suppliers of the free schoolbooks given to the nation’s students under Congress close to $1.5 million due to poor administration and poor management of the programme.

He said the Mitchell government has decided on a different approach in order to avoid a reoccurrence of what happened under the NDC administration.

“We will be putting structures in place to ensure while the programme continues there will be proper accounting procedures. We’ll also put in place structures to ensure that only the required number of books will be ordered and there would be one authority responsible, that would be the Permanent Secretary with the Chief Accounting Officer and therefore Principals of Schools will no longer be allowed to order books without consulting the Permanent Secretary within the Ministry of Education,” he remarked.

In addition, Minister Boatswain stated that the NNP government is now setting the stage for the implementation of E-Books since the goal is to replace books with Tablets.

In the campaign for the February poll, the NNP promised to deliver a free laptop computer to each student if elected into office to replace Congress.

After it won the elections, the party then announced that it would instead be giving tablets instead of laptops.

 

EC$2.7 Million JudgEment Against Peter deSavary

Peter de Savary - lost a major court case in Grenada

Peter de Savary – lost a major court case in Grenada

A British couple have been awarded more than one million U.S dollars by a high court judge in Grenada against Ambassador Peter deSavary over a deal that went sour on a promise to build a hotel on the famed Grand Anse beach.

High court judge, Justice Margaret Mohammed last week Wednesday delivered the written judgement in the Number 3 high court in a matter involving Bruce and Suzanne Mc Ness against Spiceland Limited that is controlled by deSavary, another British subject.

Appearing for the developer of the Lagoon marina project was Queen’s Counsel Dr. Francis Alexis in association with the law firm of Joseph & Joseph that involves President of the Senate, Lawrence Joseph and his wife Anande Trotman-Joseph while the British pair had secured the services of Senior Counsel from neighbouring Trinidad, Douglas Mendes in association with Delany & Associates out of Barbados.

Justice Mohammed used harsh words in her 23-page judgement to describe the evidence given by deSavary in his defense following the lawsuit filed against him in the local court.

The judge said that at times the evidence given by deSavary “was at best tenuous and inconsistent” and she was not impressed with “the weak explanation” offered by the multi-million dollar investor on his application to government seeking concessions for the promised hotel on the Grand Anse beach.

deSavary, appointed a Special Ambassador by a former Keith Mitchell-led government in St. George’s, is now a key player in the plans by the one-year old New National Party (NNP) administration to raise funds for the Treasury through the sale of Grenadian passports.

A search on the internet showed that deSavary along with local barrister-at-law, Michelle Emmanuel-Steele, the wife of Foreign Affairs Minister, Nickolas Steele were jointly promoting themselves in an association to woo clients to purchase the passports.

Suzanne Mc Ness is a female lawyer in England and along with her husband Bruce who was described as “a professional trustee” had entered into an agreement in November 2007 with deSavary’s Spiceland Limited to purchase one of the villas that he was promoting as part of a multi-million dollar hotel that he had intended to build on the island.

The controversial deSavary had decided to embark on several development projects in Grenada under the 2003-08 New National Party (NNP) government of Dr. Mitchell when he acquired the yachting marina at the Grenada Yacht Services (GYS) in the Lagoon.

He purchased a few other properties on the island including Cinnamon Hill that was once owned by hotelier Richard Grey, a property that overlooks the Grand Anse beach.

Bruce and Suzanne Mc Ness decided to purchase a villa from the deSavary outfit at the asking price of US$972, 500.00 and decided to back out of the arrangement when the British developer allegedly failed to deliver on his promise to build the hotel.

Justice Mohammed was harsh on deSavary and chided him for giving flimsy excuses for his non-performance when he was cross-examined by the attorney for the British couple.

She said: “…Mr. De Savary’s evidence under cross-examination …was at best tenous (tenuous) and inconsistent. He first stated that in the application for planning approval he may or may not have been intending to develop a hotel. Then he said he could not explain what “Hotel” is being referred to in the application for approval for “the development of Hotel”. Yet he later admitted that in part he was applying to the authorities for permission to put a hotel on the beach which he called “Hotel” as depicted on the Master Plan but he then stated that the application for planning approval for “Hotel and living accommodation” was an error.

“If I am to accept Mr. DeSavary’s explanation that it was an error, then I have to accept that the Defendant misled the relevant authorities in its application for planning approval but there was no evidence presented by the Defendant to indicate that it attempted to correct this error with the planning authorities such as an amended application. Indeed there was no evidence to demonstrate that it was an error since it was based on this very same approval that the Defendant proceeded with the refurbishment of the buildings and additional construction at Mt. Cinnamon.

“I do not accept the weak explanation preferred by Mr De Savary that the application for “Hotel and living accommodation” was an error. Mr De Savary appeared to me to be a shrewd businessman with extensive experience in the area of tourism/hotel/real estate development for the last 36 years. In my view, any shrewd businessman who was about to undertake such an extensive project would have taken all the appropriate steps to ensure that the proper application was made in terms of the type of accommodation which the Defendant intended to provide at Mt. Cinnamon”.

Justice Mohammed also took the side of the Mc Ness in the face of assertion from deSavary that the Master Plan that he had for the hotel did not specify the exact nature of the hotel that he intended to build.

In her judgement, Justice Mohammed noted that, “The Master Plan was given to Mrs. McNess in March-April 2007. According to Mrs. McNess, Guy Gittens (an employee of deSavary) showed her the area on the beach which was earmarked for the luxury hotel. He told her that the Defendant had begun discussions with the Marriott Group and that as an owner of a villa she would have access to the hotel and its-up market facilities.

“This was in part consistent with Mr. De Savary’s evidence that the Claimants were informed by representatives from the Defendant that it was in discussions with owners of hotel brands but that these were only exploratory discussions. Mr. De Savary was adamant that his representatives, Guy Gittens, Mark Scott, and Robin Chapman all told him that they did not represent the “precise nature of a hotel to be constructed” to the Claimants but this was inconsistent with Mrs. Mc Ness evidence that Guy Gittens showed her the area on the beach which was earmarked for the luxury hotel.

“In the absence of Mr. Gittens being present to refute Mrs. Mc Ness assertion, I accept Mrs. Mc Ness evidence. I cannot accept Mr. De Savary’s assertion since he simply was not part of that conversation.

In the multi-million dollar judgement against the deSavary outfit, the judge ordered that his company repurchase the promised villa for which the English couple had secured a loan from a local commercial bank to enter into the arrangement with the Port Louis Developer.

The order of the court was that:

* The Defendant is to repurchase the villa at the price of US $972,500.00.

* The Defendant is to pay interest on the sum of US $972,500.00 at the rate of 7.5% per annum from the 13th April, 2010 to the date of payment.

* The Defendant is to pay the Claimants legal fees, stamp duty and charges paid pursuant to the purchase of the Villa in the sum of US $22,996.25.

*The Defendant to pay the Claimants prescribed costs to be calculated by the parties.

NB: In the next issue of THE NEW TODAY, an edited version of the judgment delivered by Justice Mohammed against the deSavary company would be published.

Teachers start protest action

One year into its five-year term in office, the Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government in St. George’s is facing its first potential unrest on its hands.

The Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) has given the all clear to its members to start wearing red armed bands to send a signal to government that it is totally unhappy with the manner in which it was handling thousands of dollars owed to its membership in the form of back-pay.

In an address to the nation, President of the Union, Lydon Lewis announced that with effect from Wednesday, the teachers will be engaging in a limited form of protest action in order to send a message to government that the time had come for action.

He gave government until mid-day Tuesday (March 4) to indicate to G.U.T when payments will be made, “otherwise the Union will do whatever is necessary to have Government meet its commitment to the members of the G.U.T”.

“We wish to further advise Government that payment outside of seven (7) working days of midday of Tuesday 4th March will result in heightened industrial action by the Union”, Lewis said in the national broadcast.

Following is the full text of the address:

Fellow Grenadians, Brothers and Sisters, Teachers all, Good Evening:

I greet you today with a heavy heart, empty pocket and bitter disappointment. Our Government has yet again failed to deliver on its promise to the working people of this country.

Today I wish to address three (3) critical issues:

* The pending homegrown Structural Adjustment Programme;

* The breach of the Collective Agreement by the Government; and.

* The issue of the Lecturers at the T.A. Marryshow Community College.

The pending homegrown Structural Adjustment Programme

Brothers and Sisters, the impending imposition of the Structural Adjustment Programme with the I.M.F (dubbed locally as the Home Grown Structural Adjustment Programme) threatens to rip apart the heart of the Grenadian Worker.

While in principle the Grenada Union of Teachers is not opposed to the Government getting its fiscal house in order, and thereby taking the appropriate measures to do so, those measures should not be implemented at the demise of the working people of the country.

As a Union our fundamental role is to protect the interests of our members, and in so doing safeguard the development of our country. Before the GUT can sign on to any agreement with Government, we must have full details of the programme so that we can fully understand the implications for our members.

In that regard, we urge Government to treat the Union as a true partner in this process and not as pawns in their bid to get the I.M.F and World Bank funding.

As a first step in demonstrating our good intentions of working with the Government to design a Win-Win progarmme; we will soon be submitting for the consideration of Government our own Memorandum of Understanding; in which we will be outlining the specific measures and polices we think Government should implement if this programme is to receive full support from the GUT. We therefore reiterate our role as a partner in this process.

It must be stated that the slow pace of progress in this process is not the fault of the Union, but it is largely due to the government lack of disclosure of the elements of the adjustment programme.

The breach of the Collective Agreement by the Government

Brothers and Sisters, the failure of the Government to meet its payment to our members on time, has now become a recurring decimal. Our Union has been very patient and understanding with the Government. The facts will show that we re-negotiated the payment schedule in an attempt to give Government the time needed to make the payment. In other words, we have in good faith demonstrated kindness to our administration; but let it be known the Union kindness should never be construed as weakness on our part.

Friends, this is the third time Government has failed in its promise to deliver, and what make it worse is that on this occasion, the Government has given no date for the payment.

Moreover, we received this information on Tuesday 25th February; (3) days prior to the scheduled payment. This in our opinion represents a serious breach of trust; and it is outright disregard and blatant disrespect for the members of our Union and the Grenadian people.

The Minister of Finance and senior officers of the Ministry of Finance must have known before Tuesday that there will be a delay in payment and should out of common decency indicate to the Union that they are unable to pay.

Everyone in this country knows that teachers are the ones who are constantly asked, as public servants, to assist in the financing of their duties. Everyone in this country knows that teachers do not only budget for their families but that they also budget for the children that are in their care. Teachers provide bus fares, school materials, clothing, raise funds, repair schools and act as after school baby sitters. All parents complement our teachers for taking care of their children when they are unable to do so.

Therefore the money we receive as salaries are used to care for others and without those monies many school children will be left unattended to. As Teachers, we do not have the Heart to leave our school children unattended; we therefore ask Government to seriously rethink its present position of non-payment.

The issue of the Lecturers at the T.A. Marryshow Community College

The third issue that is of utter confusion to the G.U.T is Government refusal to honour traditional custom and seasoned practice of providing the budgetary support to the T.A.M.C.C so that the Lecturers there can receive their back pay. We are stunned as to Government rationale and cannot understand the reason for the non-payment.

The Lecturers at the College are our members too and therefore we must impress upon Government to make the finances available to the College, thereby avoiding low worker morale and subsequently industrial action.

My Brothers and Sisters, this is the time for affirmative action; we can no longer accept Government callous behaviour.

As a Union we have agreed as follows:

Give Government up to 12 (Noon) on Tuesday 4th March to indicate to the G.U.T when payments will be made, otherwise the Union will do whatever is necessary to have Government meet its commitment to the members of the G.U.T.

We wish to further advise Government that payment outside of seven (7) working days of midday of Tuesday 4th March will result in heightened industrial action by the Union.

In the meantime, the Union will begin our mild protest action to show that we have had enough; that it is time for the Government to show some respect and good faith.

Our mild protest action begins on Wednesday 5th March with the wearing of Union Jerseys and Red Hand Bands.

We call on all Teachers to join in this activity. Let us fight for what is rightfully ours.

Brothers and Sisters stand strong, remain focus on the cause!

Long live the Grenada Union of Teachers!

Long Live the Working Class of this country!

I thank you.

SPETCO and Belmont Estate collaborate to clean up river

A clean up exercise of the river by staffers of Belmont Estate

A clean up exercise of the river by staffers of Belmont Estate

Members of the St Patrick Environmental and Tourism Organisation and staff of Belmont Estate and gave up part of their Sunday to contribute to the well-being of the environment.

They spent almost five hours cleaning the area of the river which runs in front Belmont Estate to the area known as the pan bridge.

The clean-up is the first in many to be held over the next few months as part of a critical water source project undertaken by SPECTO under the auspices of the Ministry of Environment, with funding from the German Institute of Cooperation.

The project focuses on the Pointzfield River, a natural water resource for many communities in St Patrick.

The quality of its water is however deteriorating due to pollution from trash and a build-up of debris.

Further blockage from heavy rainfall results in flooding posing a serious threat to people who live close by.

As a result urgent measure are needed to ensure that the Pointzfield River remains a safe source of water that will contribute positively to food security and livelihoods.

The cumulative impact of upstream activities also have a profound impact on the quality of the water and habitats of the Pointzfield River, hence these areas are being addressed first.

A key component of the project is a public awareness campaign that will provide community members with information on best practices to mitigate pollution, ways to conserve the quality of our water supply and the importance of protecting our watershed and eco system.

The project will also include building protective barriers. In addition to assisting with the clean-up campaign, Belmont Estate is collaborating with SPECTO by providing office space and the venue for meetings, consultations and in public awareness.