PETNA Foundation to send mission team to Grenada next month

Earle Brathwaite – Founder of the Organization

Earle Brathwaite – Founder of the Organization

NEW YORK — The United States-based PETNA Foundation is planning a mission to Grenada next month to assist the poor and disadvantaged on the island.

The Foundation is partnering with the South Bay Community Church in Fremont, California to send the team to Grenada for one week, June 20-27.

The PETNA Foundation, which was formed several years ago by Grenadian Nicholas Earle Brathwaite, his wife Janice and Dr Stanley Long, has been working to help improve lives in some of the poorest villages in Grenada, Malawi and Tanzania and most recently underprivileged areas in the United States, Britain and Canada.

Brathwaite said that this year’s mission will include approximately 50 people who will be traveling to Grenada to volunteer their time and expertise to serve people in some of the poorest communities on the island.

“The current economic crisis has been difficult for everyone and this is an expensive trip for many in our congregation,” he said. “We believe, however, that this is a worthwhile sacrifice as we aim to demonstrate God’s love and try to ease the burden on some who may be more severely impacted than the rest of us.”

Brathwaite, who is the son of former Grenada Prime Minister Sir Nicholas Braithwaite, said the mission to Grenada will be partnering with several local churches and some other organisations including a couple of homes for the elderly, a school for special needs, two orphanages and the Programme for Adolescent Mothers.

The mission’s team will include health care professionals, business professionals (many of whom are handymen), teachers, retirees, pastors, interior designers/decorators and some of the youth in the Church.

“This trip and our desire to help the poor people of Grenada have been well supported by Silicon Valley medical professionals, our friends in the business community and the congregation of our church,” said Brathwaite.

He said that Silicon Valley doctors and hospitals have donated medical equipment such as blood pressure monitors, blood glucose meters, bandages, ointments, band aids and other personal hygiene and first aid supplies.

Crocs, a leading manufacturer and retailer of casual footwear, has once again donated over 1,000 pairs of brand new shoes. “We have several boxes of school supplies, bags and backpacks for school children. We also have several boxes of books, educational games and computers that will be provided to a couple of elementary schools and orphanages.”

Brathwaite, a veteran of the semiconductor industry, noted that “because our team includes several successful business professionals and business owners, one of our objectives is to try helping some people in the poorer villages start “cottage industries”. To help with that objective several of our team members will be providing training, equipment, advice and some materials to help interested individuals get started.”

He said that they are awaiting a response to an email to the Health Minister in Grenada as to whether the mission’s team would be allowed to host a Health Fair or free testing services at some of the village clinics.

The PETNA Foundation was a major financial supporter of the first New York University Dental programme. The Foundation has also one home and almost completely rebuilt another for two elderly ladies in St. Mark, as well as provided full scholarships and partial financial assistance to several students to complete undergraduate and graduate degrees, supplied over 100 computers to schools and individuals, distributed brand new shoes to more than 1,200 individuals and for several years have been financing a meals and books programme at one of the elementary schools on the island.

Additionally, and as a gift to the people of Grenada, according to Brathwaite, on the evening of Saturday June 22nd, one of their team members, Carl Ray, will be performing his One Man play on “The Power of Forgiveness”.

Carl Ray is a professional actor and comedian. He is also a playwright, motivational speaker and author of the book “Cured – The Power of Forgiveness”.

He grew up in the South (USA) and in 1962, while being questioned by a white man in Butler, Alabama, Carl responded by saying “Yes” and “No” instead of “Yes Sir” and “No Sir”. As a result, Carl Ray was beaten severely for being disrespectful. An hour later the same man went to Carl Ray’s home and shot his father eight (8) times while Carl looked on helplessly.

Carl Ray’s life would never be the same. For many years he was burdened with the guilt of causing his father’s murder.

Ray graduated from Tuskegee University and worked for thirteen years as an Electrical Engineer in the Aerospace Industry before pursuing a career as a stand-up comedian.

In 1984, Ray met a man who talked to him about the power of forgiveness. Ray attributes the act of forgiving the man who killed his Father as saving his life. The most spiritual moment of his life occurred the day he forgave his father’s killer. Forgiveness released him from his self-imposed prison.

This concert is a gift to the people of Grenada by Carl Ray, The South Bay Community Church, The PETNA Foundation and Spice Basket. Although tickets will be required for admission to this concert, there will be no cover charge.

Towards a single Grenadian political tribe

It’s official! Peter said he wanted an end to tribal politics, but his newly-beloved leader (PM Mitchell) is only prepared to pay $40,000 to achieve it! In a manner of speaking, poor Peter gets only forty pieces of ‘green-tarnished’ silver for his beguiled efforts!

So the creation of one Grenadian tribe, presumably led by Keete as chief and Peete as shadowy-chief; conceived in political intrigue and dreams of a one-party state, cannot be accepted as a serious goal of national development.

If you run a country for thirteen straight years, and a mere four years later you are posing disunity as a national issue of grave concern, then you are in fact accepting that you contributed big time to Grenada being a divided nation. Although, of course, you do not openly admit to the sorry effects of your deeds and misdeeds.

When you are joined by what the original NNP-ites grudgingly call “THE

INCLUSION”, on account of the deal between the newly beloved leader and Peter and his cohorts, then all right-thinking Grenadians know that this is not for real. They also know that the delivery of unity of the Grenadian people, just as the creation of jobs for the youths is far, far, far away!

Those of us who are old enough know full well that there have been three dominant ‘tribal brands’ in our politics, the GULP, NJM and the NNP. In the case of GUP and NNP, you had to belong as a member, supporter or sympathiser to receive as favours that which should ordinarily be your basic right as a citizen of Grenada.

In the case of the NJM, the party type was outright elitist and there was no “freedom” or “openness” of membership.

Today one can find little hurricane-relief houses occupied by poor people painted in green and white. Some small business people have also painted their buildings in those colours. And there are party people who can only find green-coloured clothes to wear around town!

The situation in the Public Service is no different. Do you think that Timothy Antoine would be PS Finance today if he was considered or known to be an NDC supporter? Do you think that he is valued simply because he dresses up the Budget Speech with quotations from the Bible? Hell no! Look at the actions already taken against certain Public Officers and Police Officers.

Look out for impending actions against persons serving in Offices such as the Governor-General’s Office, the Ombudsman’s Office, the Integrity Commission, the Houses of Parliament and the Audit Department.

When persons there are victimised, before the end of 2013, are we as good citizens to take private note and remain quiet in the name of national unity? Should we all refuse to blog on these actions as Hamlet Mark is now resolved to sing a different song?

When justice and fairness cry out in the streets of Grenville and Gouyave, are we

to expect any help from Pastor Stanford?

Now tell me, was it really necessary to return our youth to the so-called NEW IMANI Program? And was Sir Carlyle not honourable and distinguished enough to continue to serve as Governor-General? Could Peter’s ‘newly-beloved’ leader not benefit from the wisdom and dignity of Sir Carlyle?

What do you have to say about appointments to the diplomatic service where no Public Officer is fit enough for a high level appointment? Under the NDC, there were two such appointees, nothing based on party politics. Guess the popular answer will be that that is politics.

Well, if all of that is simply common-place politics, then how does that lead us towards the goal of national unity?

Leading by favouritism, victimisation and political fiat cannot encourage national unity. Leadership that is money-chromed and narrow-minded cannot genuinely embrace national unity. Learning processes that fail to cause deep personal change cannot inspire national unity.

Labour that is lacking in dignity and honour cannot produce national unity. Laying foundations for economic development through Casino gambling while deliberately relegating and canceling the role of the Church cannot guarantee national unity.

Trigger your memory now of the one who spoke out at his Town Hall meeting in Hindsey School, following his resignation from the NDC Government. Recall his concerns over what he called tribalism, allegedly practised by the NDC. Today, he dare not protest at his newly-beloved leader over blatant examples of ‘tribal’ politics, NNP style.

In this case, tribalism as practised by his newly-beloved leader is obviously quite in order and fully acceptable to Peter David. He is certainly not about to withdraw from his reward-filled union with the NNP over such trivial matters. Talk about insincerity and pay-day politics!

Given the ‘green’ political overlay pervading almost everything in the society since February 19th, one is constrained to ask, what is the definition of National Unity now being spoken of as an important public policy issue? So far, there has been no elaboration of the problem, its nature or its scope.

In such circumstances, it is fair game to contend that the real intention is to contrive a situation where there is virtually no examination or criticism of the NNP

regime, in the faked name of national unity. Put plainly, it smacks of a very cheap political ploy to create a one-party state. All of it is nothing more than cheap talk of unity.

Sadly, local politics appears to be getting cheaper and cheaper! Our democracy and our freedoms will both be devalued and diminished in quick time.

Money cannot buy national unity. Keete and Peete, you are wrong again!







Time to deliver

Grenada real nice for so.

Ah can’t leave here and go any other place to live because ah go miss out on the jokes among the people.

Let me say from the start that I am a strong supporter of the NNP and got most of my family members to vote for the Doc in the last election because of the promise to deliver to the people much better than what the NDC was doing in office.

Some of the people start watching me with bad eye but ah not bothering with that. I did what I had to do very genuinely for my party in getting them to vote for NNP.

Ah still holding out hope that the Doc will keep to his promise and deliver the jobs to the people in the first 100 days. The next two and-a-half weeks will mark the first 100 days in office for the NNP and hopefully the CCC project will start by that time.

The other day as I was going down the road from my home, a big NDC supporter called out to me and start to make fun about the jobs that were promised in the campaign.

He reminded me that Keith was talking about the amount of investors he had lined up and waiting on the horizon to come in the day after February 19.

According to the NDC man, it looks like Keith and them send out a small boat, using oars to go out on the horizon to bring in the investors. He find the investors that NNP promised to bring in taking too long to come ashore.

I too had to laugh with the NDC man because a week earlier another person met me and cracked another joke about the investors.

This one told me that he was standing on top a hill in Mardi Gras and looked out and saw a boat down behind Point Salines. He said the boat was just rocking in the water and on making a few inquiries, he was told that the boat ran a ground on some reef and was stuck outside dey with the investors. He said that up to now one investor can’t come ashore.

Another joke about the investors concern Keith himself and Peter. Ah fellar tell me that since February 19, Keith and Peter made two trips to Venezuela to meet with the new man who replaced Chavez. The fellar say that Keith and Peter hear that the engine on the boat with the investors broke down and it started to drift. So they really went to Venezuela to ask for assistance to locate the boat with the investors and them.

The last joke about the investors is about the man in town that some people now calling the little Mullatoe boy. They say the man was on radio talking about meeting with investors on a recent trip abroad but the only investor he could talk about is one that is interested in real estate.

Ah fellah say that Keith has to be careful with the Mullattoe because the man might only be looking for investors for Mt. Egmont.

But on a serious note, the doc has to do something quickly because a lot of NNP people are beginning to get restless because they have not gotten a job since the election.

Right now, some of them are praying to the Gods for rain to fall so that the bush can get big for them to get a little fortnight on the road to do some debushing. Things really hard outside dey. Even some NNP people are saying quietly that things get worst since the election.

A few nights ago, I was watching the news on TV and the girl who did a story said that the businessmen in Grenville (and most of them supported the NNP) were saying that things real bad and nothing was happening. The businessmen are now looking to see if things will pick up in August for the Carnival.

So like dem business people will have to wait quite August to get a little something. Thank God that I am not a businessman waiting on government to do something for me to make a dollar.

The bottom line is that a really thought that things would have been a little better by now. Dem NDC people laughing at many of us who voted for NNP on the promise of, “We will deliver”.


Delivery Train Driver

Resolving Caribbean economic problems

Brian FrancisFor the past four and a half years, Caribbean economies have been under a tremendous amount of stress brought about by a combination of domestic and foreign factors, leaving many economists and other intellectuals to ponder the way forward.

Consequently, several alternative policy prescriptions have been offered as possible solutions to the major economic problems facing regional economies. These solutions include stimulus packages in some cases, austerity measures designed to stabilise economies, and other specific ideas such as improving competitiveness of local industries to boost exports.

What is clear, therefore, is that when it comes to finding solutions to our economic problems, there really isn’t any shortage of ideas. For example, prior to the 1980s most Caribbean countries followed closely the import substitution industrialisation development paradigm that sought to grow and develop our economies through a set of inward-looking policies that led to the emergence of manufacturing as a major driving force in regional economic development.

Several decades earlier, Sir Arthur Lewis advanced the strategy of “industrialisation by invitation,” based on the recognition that as small economies with limited savings and investments, it was necessary to allow foreign capital to play a major role in our economic transformation since local resources alone could not have brought about the kind of social and economic development that was badly needed in the Caribbean at the time.

Today, every country in the region now depends heavily on foreign direct investment as a driver of economic growth and development and has even put in place attractive incentive schemes to help direct available financial resources our way.

If, therefore, the problems facing Caribbean countries cannot be blamed on a shortage of meaningful ideas, why have our economies continue to struggle financially and economically? Is it a case of bad luck? Is it a case of bad policies? Is it that we just can’t do any better given the hostile nature of the global economy?

I would think the answer might be found generally in a combination of all of these factors. Equally important, I also firmly believe, too, that the problems facing Caribbean economies continue to linger because we have consistently failed to do the little things that are important to keep our heads above the level of the swirling waters around us.

Indeed, there is no shortage of issues to draw from. Take, for example, our budgetary process and consider this simple question: Why do our countries continue to allocate expenditures to generate a deficit on the current account? If any of our policy makers can justify this practice, then, I rest my case.

To sum up, therefore, the challenges facing Caribbean economies cannot be blamed on a lack of proper ideas. Hence, to resolve Caribbean economic problems we simply have to resort to “basics” and start doing the little things that matter.

And a reasonable place to start is the preparation of our annual estimates of revenues and expenditures since those estimates duly represent our twelve-month planning tool and have the potential to make or break our economies going forward as we have seen time after time.


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

NAWASA embraces technology to enhance delivery to customers

NAWASA continues to support action in the field of human resources development, most recently investing in training for thirty (30) employees to the tune of $26,000.00.

Beneficiaries participated in a four-day workshop from May 6-9 geared towards individuals that are using, maintaining and supporting NAWASA’s Customer Information System (CIS).

This system, which was implemented in August 2010, brings together all aspects of customer-account data and billing.

It allows for proper documentation and updating of customer interaction and performs functions such as Billing, Customer Service, Service Orders, Monthly and Yearly Reporting, Collections and Cashiering with more speed, efficiency and accuracy.

The workshop was facilitated by Peter Platthy from North|Star.

According to Information Systems Manager at NAWASA, Vernon O’ Brien the workshop held at NAWASA’s Dusty Highway Conference Facility, was convened because there was a need to reinforce the skills of users.

In addition, he said that procedures and processes to ensure optimum performance from all functions of the system also needed to be reviewed.

“CIS Users are better able to utilise the many aspects of this system, to the benefit of not only the Authority, but the customers we serve, making required information more easily accessible” O’Brien added.

NAWASA’s General Manager, Christopher Husbands who also commented said, “we’ve spent considerable capital to upgrade the technical capabilities of the system and we must ensure that the human resources aspect is efficient as possible to improve the level of service to our customers.”


Sayers Brothers charged

Police have charged four members of the Sayers Family of Windsor Forest, St. David’s in connection with a chopping incident that took place in the village almost two weeks ago.

Courtney, Patrick, Glenroy and Henson Sayers have each been charged with causing grievous harm to Desmond Honore on May 5.

The 54-year old Honore was allegedly attacked by the men in retaliation to an earlier incident in which Honore chopped off the head of a kid belonging to the Sayers Family that was destroying the crops in his garden.

The injured man received a serious chop wound to the right side of the head and other injuries to the body by the men who are all his neighbours.

THE NEW TODAY was visited last week by the wife of the injured man Sharon Honore who said that although the family was repeatedly spoken to about the goats that were destroying her husband’s peas and potato slips, no effort was made to control them.

The newspaper understands that the accused persons have been granted bail pending their court appearances.

Closure of Black Bay Murder Case

Murder-convict Albert Griffith – sentenced to 15 years

Murder-convict Albert Griffith – sentenced to 15 years

The final chapter in the Black Bay, St. John’s murder trial has come to a close.

Sentence has been handed down on the last of the three men, Albert Griffith of Grenville Vale, St. George’s who only entered a guilty plea to the lesser offense of Manslaughter during the October 2012 Criminal Assizes in the death of Anthony Frederick on February 8, 2008.

The other two men, Che Phillip and Kenny Morain Braveboy who were jointly charged with Griffith had already pleaded guilty to Manslaughter and were sentenced by High Court Judge, Justice Francis Cumberbatch last year.

Phillip turned State witness after he accepted the plea of the lesser offense in 2010, and on April 18, 2011 Braveboy’s charge was reduced to manslaughter.

High Court Judge, Justice Rajiv Persad, last week Wednesday, handed down a 15-year prison sentence on Griffith.

The sentence is to run from the time of Griffith being placed on remand five years ago.

The 59-year old Frederick was gunned down inside of his supermarket, “All Class Shopping Centre,” as he attempted to stop a robbery that was taking place at his business premises.

Griffith gave the police a caution statement in which he admitted to participating in the robbery.

Additionally, Phillip, his co-accused who staged the robbery with Griffith had given evidence against the convicted man as the person who pulled the trigger of the gun and shot Frederick.

That was collaborated by all of the other witnesses who pointed out that Griffith who was wearing a mask was the one who entered the supermarket and fired the fatal bullet.

Coroner’s inquest delayed

Dr. Francis Alexis, QC – lawyers are not dragging their feet

Dr. Francis Alexis, QC – lawyers are not dragging their feet

Another stumbling block has hit the commencement of the Coroner’s Inquest on Monday into the death of Peter Oscar Bartholomew.

Bartholomew died on December 27, 2011 at the General Hospital as a result of injuries he allegedly sustained at the hands of a group of Police Officers at the St. David’s Police Station one day earlier.

The 39-year old Bartholomew who gained Canadian Citizenship was at the time visiting his homeland with his French-speaking Canadian wife, Dollette Cyr Bartholomew when he was allegedly beaten by the Police Officers.

Five Police Officers, 649 Edward Gibson, 237 Ruddy Felix, 748 Kenton Hazzard, Rural Constable Wendell Sylvester, and 675 Shaun Ganness who was absent from the court on Monday were originally charged with manslaughter in connection with Bartholomew’s death.

However, the charge was quashed by High Court Judge, Justice Septimus Rudd which gave way for the Coroner’s Inquest.

Due to the absence of defense counsels, Anselm Clouden and Gerald Douglas from the court, the decision was taken to push back the start date of the inquest to August 26.

Another of the defense lawyers, Queen’s Counsel Dr. Francis Alexis who is representing Gibson sought to address the misconception that the group of lawyers are dragging their feet on the matter and are not taking it seriously.

Dr. Alexis told the court that Clouden who is representing Felix is out of the State on official business with the Government of the United States.

The court also learnt that Douglas too is out of the State because of a prior commitment.

Douglas took over the case file representing Sylvester, Gannes and Hazzard, from barrister-at-law, Cajeton Hood who has since become the country’s Attorney General.

Coroner of the eastern Division, Teddy St. Louis was also mindful that the criminal assizes is now in session in deciding against starting the Inquest.

With both Clouden and Douglas having to attend to matters at the assizes, St. Louis was cautious in setting a date during the course of the assizes.

Two of the summoned jurors were excused from being considered to serve during the inquest.

One of the jurors informed the court that he has had close family ties with the deceased man, while the other juror spoke of having close connection with one of the five Police Officers.

But lawyer, Derick Sylvester, who is representing the interest of the Bartholomew family said the police officers could face new charges once the inquest wraps up.

“Our law says, post the coroner’s inquest, the five-member jury panel would be in a position to determine whether or not the charges should be murder, manslaughter or acquittal,” Sylvester said in a phone interview from St. George’s with a Canadian newspaper.

“And I can assure you that the latter would be almost impossible because the society is so incensed with this incident that every time it comes to the fore, you know, you have the public outrage and the public outcry,” he said.