The Carriacou Wind Energy Project

Prime Minister Tillman Thomas has described the launch of the Carriacou Wind Energy Project as a very significant and historic moment for Grenada.

The US$5m project, which was launched at Top Hill Carriacou last week Wednesday, is an undertaking between the Government of Grenada, the European Union and GRENLEC.

It is the first ever Government/Private Sector Wind Energy initiative of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean.

In his address at the function, the Prime Minister said that it was “a very significant occasion” and that he was “extremely pleased to be associated with its launch”.

He noted that Grenada was successful in securing grant funding to the tune of $US3.2m from the European Union as a direct result of its lead role in championing climate change and sustainable development issues.

Prime Minister Thomas addresses the Carriacou event

The Prime Minister thanked Ambassador Valeriano Diaz for his support in making the project a reality.

“Energy is vital and reducing the cost of energy can bring long term benefit to our people and in this regard I want to thank Ambassador Diaz for his support”, he told the gathering.

Prime Minister Thomas stressed that the launch of the Wind Farm Project signifies government’s commitment to strengthening the pillars of growth and economic development.

Alternative sources of energy are among five pillars of economic growth identified by Prime Minister Thomas and his National Democratic Congress (NDC) government in propelling Grenada’s economy.

Ambassador Diaz in praising Grenada’s role in championing Climate Change and Sustainable Development issues stated that the initiative shows Government’s commitment to that cause.

He said the European Union is extremely proud to be partnering with the Government of Grenada and GRENLEC in reducing carbon emissions thus safeguarding the environment.

The wind farm project is expected to bring tremendous benefit to the people of Carriacou.

Several persons are expected to be trained both in the technical and managerial levels.

The Prime Minister (third from left) was among several officials who took part in the sod-turning event for the major wind energy project

The project also opens up scores of job opportunities during its construction.

According to the Acting CEO of GRENLEC, Clive Hosten, the sister isle of Carriacou will also benefit through the necessary infrastructural work to be undertaken in order to facilitate construction of the Wind Farm plant.

GRENLEC is contributing approximately EC$1.8m towards the project.
The Wind Farm Project is projected to reduce Carriacou’s dependence on fossil fuel by approximately sixty percent.

September 30th is cremation day for the gang

By Stone Crusher

The recent election of new executives members  for constituency branches in the South East St. George and South St. George constituencies must confirm to those in denial how much NDC rank and file supporters do not want the “gang man” and his infidels anywhere near the NDC leadership.

How much longer would this “red nastiness or communist” continue to live in denial and fail to accept that all of them in the gang are politically dead and finished?

According to a morning radio personality in the North – both the gang man and the box head casino man will get the shock of their lives when the elections are called.  What the gang man needs to do is to ask Andre Donald what this radio man in the North means by that.

It must be so distressing to the “frock ooman” (as simple and dunce as she portrays herself) who thought she had things tied up in the South to realise that is joke she making.

The reserved bench is waiting on the newly constituted team in the South St. George Constituency to ring the bell for the selection of a candidate to be recommended to the executive of the party for the upcoming poll.

That is the process in which the candidate is to be selected and not the other way around as the gang man and crew tried to ambush the constituency a few months ago.

Uncle Tilly is not a foolish man and made sure that an alternative route was plotted in case the destabilisers tried to capsize him.

Two persons are on stand-by waiting in case the Prime Minister has to ever summons them to get down into the trenches to hold onto the seat for Congress.

Stone Crusher understands that people who attended the last constituency branch meeting at which elections were held to constitute a new branch executive – wonder what manner of woman the “frock ooman” is.

It is believed that she did not say a word throughout the entire proceedings except to utter – “so they don’t want me…..?????” or words to that effect.

She did not even have the decency or courtesy to get up and thank the outgoing branch executive who were mostly partial towards her nor even welcome the incoming persons.

The “frock ooman” does not understand that charity begins at home. Does she expect the foot soldiers will hit the ground on her behalf when she shows so little courtesy and disregard to them?

It is clear that her God is a different God from the regular people here in Grenada and so will never understand what the real God is delivering unto her.

Is her new god the ALBA man? Look lady start to put on your thinking cap for once because the little red communist is dead.

The proof of the death of the new RMC/OREL leader came one night later after the meeting in the south when the NDC South East St. George constituency branch met to elect a new group to replace the one that was partial to the gang man.

Of course we know that the loser – the political degenerate who poses as a man of God and who does not seem to know that vengeance is the Lord’s – has been missing in action since election.

Whatever group there was in the constituency posing as executive branch has also failed the constituency. With general elections in sight, it is necessary for them to put their house in order and so the “can’t talk English” pastor has been rendered redundant and diminished.

The pastor did not show up since he knew that defeat was staring him straight in the face. Left with no one else to push his line, the gang man did not send anybody to put up a challenge on his behalf.

This was so different from a year ago when the gang man was running all over the place to help install his men to take charge of the various Constituency Branches. Do you remember the often repeated phrase from the hired media mercenary from Miami about PM Thomas not bowing to the demands of the Constituency Chairmen? It was very familiar to the chants against Comrade Bishop that he was refusing to accept the decisions of the Central Committee of NJM.

The RMC gang man is an adherent to the principles of Democratic Centralism and not one who appreciates the parliamentary system of government in which the Prime Minister wields power through the Grenada Constitution.

Under Democratic Centralism of the communist system, when the Central Committee and the Polit Bureau speak, no dog shall bark. If you defy then it was up to Richmond Hill prison.

It is clear that the gang man/counterfeit communist is only interested in three constituencies – i.e. his, the “frock ooman’s” and the box head casino man’s.

Every time Uncle Tilly tries to organise something in these constituencies, the gang man tries to mobilize his few supporters to try and put up resistance.

If the gang man has any political strength, why didn’t he hold a mass meeting to match the NDC massive crowd at those meetings held in the Grenville Car Park, Gouyave and Tivoli?

All the political lightweight could muster was a handful of persons on a beach at La Tante.

Gang man and infidels please take warning. The incoming Chairman of the new executive branch already indicated the process for the selection of a candidate for the South is not yet complete. ….. so the “frock ooman” should take a hint.

The process will soon take place in keeping with the dictates of the NDC Constitution. The true NDC’ites will make the selection and not the kind of mob rule that was held a few months ago that was orchestrated by the gang members.

The sooner this OREL counterfeit leader appreciates that Grenadians want no part of he, the mass murderer and the irrelevant trouble maker in the labour movement, is the better for him.

The gang man is the same old PRA coward who was the Political Commissar of the People’s Revolutionary Army in Grand Etang and showed off his true colours when Lieutenant KB visited the Camp to deal with him.

Ask the soldiers who were in the cap at the time ­ all of them reported that he threw himself out of a window and take bush. This man had to be replaced soon after by a new Political commissar because the rank and file soldiers lost confidence in him.

After seeing him in action in the last four years, the NDC supporters have also lost confidence in him. Uncle Tilly is the leader and no one else.

The gang man lacks spine and when the going gets tough he runs away from the scene and leave the others behind. That is not a leader. Even the NNP leader does not want him ­ but will use him to try and bring down the NDC.

The new RMC/OREL leader is not anybody to follow as a leader since he is the biggest coward one can ever dream of knowing.

This left over communist is dead already and his cremation is carded for the 30th September when the NDC Convention is held in River Sallee.

One NNP stalwart recently was overheard saying that there is no difference between a bounced cheque and the gang man. This evoked a loud laughter as if you know how close the person speaking is to the hierarchy of the NNP – you would know this kind of chat represents the sentiments of the leadership of the NNP.

No sooner than the Russian Oil tycoons landed in Grenada and spent the few days here, ‘karl hood’ started up with his rubbish of a no-confidence motion, the red nastiness raised his head with a different twist to his political mischievousness.

The NNP also started up their political vehicle and dispatched their truck with a load of rumours. Even this week, the NNP/OREL rumours started again with pole talk about Nazim Burke walking out of Monday’s Cabinet meeting, about Uncle Tilly wanting to fire Naz as Minister of Finance and replacing him with Franka.

The rumour mill also put out the propaganda that Glynis attended the Cabinet meeting with her resignation letter to hand to the PM. If Glynis has to resign, the letter has to be sent to the Govern or-General and not the Prime Minister.

The new NNP/OREL formation did not think out this piece of propaganda to have made such a basic mistake. But then again propaganda is just propaganda.

What is the interest of the Russians in Grenada currently? Oil and natural gas exploration? Are they likely to be carrying the bag for the new NNP/OREL friendship in order to try and destabilize Uncle Tilly and NDC?

Did they pass money while they were here to entice persons to vote for the latest No-confidence motion? Who get money and for what?

There can be no disconnect between the actions of the few greedy ones whose ALBA funds are thought to have dried up and others like the Russians who are committed to bringing the government to its knees and all of us with it.

While the NNP’s rumour mill proceeds to turn as part of its plans to dislodge the NDC, they are also focused on the electoral machinery – the new system of which they are nervous about.

Everybody knows the voter padding activities, which used to go on during the reign of the NNP in 1995 to 2008.

Everyone knows about the moving of registered voters from North West and St. Mark’s to areas less sure about in order to pad those constituencies for victory.   This new system makes no allowances for that level of voter padding and rigging by the architects of dishonesty and they are right now trying to besmirch the character of the decent Parliamentary Elections Supervisor and her team.

The NNP must not be allowed to get away with their constant attacks on the Supervisor of Elections since she is only standing in their way and preventing them from getting involved in rigging.

The NNP used to get its operatives in New York to collect the names of its supporters and bring them into the Electoral Office where they had certain persons in high places to be registered to come down to vote.

The NNP would also take blocks of votes from North-west and their other strong hold on the West Coast and get them registered in areas where they were vulnerable in order to top up their candidates.

The NNP is right now very nervous since it is no secret that Dr. Mitchell is not palatable to many of Grenada’s intelligent voters even though many of them are fed up with the instability of the ruling NDC.

Once Uncle Tilly takes charge on September 30 the cricket game is likely to change.

Parkes in, Simon out

Anthony Parkes – the new Chairman of the NDC group in South-east

September 24 is the date selected by the St. George South-east Constituency branch of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to identify its candidate for the upcoming general elections.

A well-placed source told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that the date was  agreed upon at a meeting held of the branch last week Thursday night to select a new Chairman for the group.

The meeting was not attended by outgoing Candidate for the constituency, former Foreign Affairs Minister, Karl Hood, who has filed a motion of No-confidence against Prime Minister Tillman Thomas and his four-year old administration.

Last week’s constituency branch meeting resulted in former Principal of the JW Fletcher Memorial School, Anthony Parkes being elected unopposed to head the NDC Branch.

Parkes, considered to be a strong supporter of Prime Minister Thomas replaced clergyman, Pastor Stanford Simon of St. George’s Baptist Church at Springs, St. George’s who is known to be a member of the so-called Peter David Group of dissidents.

Pastor Simon – no longer in charge of St. George South-east constituency

According to the source, a move was halted by some persons to use the meeting to select the new candidate to represent Congress in the national poll.

He said a decision was taken to hold the meeting on Monday in order to allow prospective candidates to fully prepare themselves in order to make presentations to the Branch on why he or she should get the nod for the general election.

The two names that are expected to feature are that of trade unionist, Elliot Bishop of Marian and Randall Robinson who lives in the Creighton area of the constituency.

One other name, which was previously mentioned as a possible candidate for the constituency, is that of Terron Gilchrist, whose contract was not renewed with the Ministry of Health.

Gilchrist who had earlier put up a series of posters in several villages in the constituency, aimed at promoting his ambitions to run as a candidate, has dropped out of sight in recent months.

He is considered to be a member of the pro-David faction of Congress and is not in good grace with supporters of the Prime Minister.

A party insider said that Robinson is considered as the early front-runner to get the nod as the Candidate in light of the role he has played in helping to reorganise the various village groups that help make up the Constituency branch.

He also spoke about the passage of a resolution at the meeting in which the branch sought to distance itself from the activities of the embattled Member of Parliament, Karl Hood.

The intention, he said is to inform the nation that the ex-government minister cannot take any action on their behalf whether in or outside Parliament and is acting on his own.

Over the past week, Prime Minister Thomas was able to strengthen his hand at the party level when election was held to fill executive positions in St. George South.

Political activist, Halim Chase who is considered to be a pro-Thomas supporter was narrowly elected as the new Chairman of the Constituency branch as replacement for the incumbent, Peter Spencer.

Chase has as his deputy, Lennox Adonis who at one time was considered as a possible contender for the post.

One party source told this newspaper that Adonis decided to pull out of the contest and to allow Chase to go forward as the new head given the amount of work he has done over the years for Congress in the constituency.

Prime Minister Thomas is said to be getting his troops ready for the September 30 annual party convention in which he hopes to regain total control of the party from the David faction.

Speculation is rife that during the convention, the Grenadian leader is expected to set the tone for Congress to get its machinery in place for imminent general elections.

Operation clean-up

The eyes of Grenadians are affixed on issues such as government’s failure to pay civil servants on time at the end of August and on the decision of Prime Minister, Tillman Thomas to take the necessary steps for the recent Prorogation of Parliament.

However, THE NEW TODAY is more concerned about the possible outcome of next Sunday’s annual convention of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to be held at River Sallee in the St. Patrick East constituency of the Prime Minister.

The occasion provides an opportunity for PM Thomas who is the Political Leader of Congress to take back full control of the National Executive and to begin the process of identifying a new breed of trust-worthy candidates for the upcoming general elections.

This NDC convention should formalise officially the break in relations between the Grenadian leader and the group of dissidents that includes the likes of Peter David and Joseph Gilbert.

THE NEW TODAY is very suspicious of the true intentions of those persons who have been leading the charge against the Prime Minister in recent years.

It appears that the David faction is working overtime to ensure that PM Thomas is not victorious in the next general elections and would stop at nothing when it comes to acts of sabotage.

Is it the intention of the group to re-emerge after a possible defeat of the Prime Minister at the polls and to make a fresh bid for the NDC leadership? Why would anyone engage in such wishful thinking?

There is a school of thought in the country that the Revolutionary elements known to be giving guidance and advise to the dissidents are of the opinion that the return of Keith Mitchell as Prime Minister would see him make the same mistakes and provide them again with a platform to launch an attack on him and win state power in the following general election as the leaders of NDC. What a big joke and loud laugh!!!

PM Thomas will have to be prepared to shift gears after the convention and be more aggressive and assertive.

His Congress party has been battling three major enemies for sometime – the difficulties of running a country in a hostile world environment, a group of power hungry dissidents, and thirdly the main opposition New National Party (NNP) that is thirsty for power.

What is clear is that with each and every passing day, the Peter David-led group is becoming more and more isolated and can only resort to more desperate acts in their anti-Tillman Thomas crusade.

The Prime Minister will have to rise to the challenges and move speedily after the Convention to execute “operation clean-up” in three crucial constituencies – The Town of St. George (Peter David), St. Patrick West (Joseph Gilbert) and St. George South (Glynis Roberts).

A population that is already suspicious will not take too kindly to the inclusion of any of the trio in the NDC line-up for the next general election.

The Prime Minister still holds the key in his hands on whether the electorate is prepared to give NDC a second term in office given the disappointment created by the mutiny.

It is now his calling to show leadership of mettle by deposing the likes of David, Gilbert and Roberts and introducing into the politics the kind of persons who are more willing and inclined to subscribe to the key core values of his Congress party.

Of the three MP’s, history might turn out to be most unkind to Mr. David. He was poised to take over the leadership of the party in the near future but a lack of foresight has been his downfall and major weakness.

Mr. David has struck us as a person who in the past 10 years demonstrated the greatest amount of impatience as a politician and squandered his chance to be considered as a possible future leader of the country.

If only the MP for the Town of St. George had concentrated on doing his work as a Minister whether in the area of Tourism or Foreign Affairs, he might have been able to convince the electorate at the right time that the Prime Ministership of the country should be entrusted into his hands.

In too many quarters in the country, Mr. David is considered as “too greedy for power”, and one who “can’t wait for the thing” to be given to him by the people.

Was it a case of the MP for the Town of St. George allowing himself to be misled by the small group of people known to be around him? Was the bigger picture too big for him to understand and handle?

There is something called “the right timing” in politics and Mr. David seems to have missed the boat. The NDC will have to move forward without him being on board with the rest of the team.

His recent utterances have only helped to make many persons become more distrustful of him.

Many are wondering if he had ever been a minister in the government given the senior portfolios that he once held. And so far, it is most disappointing that the former Minister of Tourism has not put forward any credible alternative action plan to take the country forward.

Operation Clean-up should also help to pull the rug from under the feet of ex-Senator Arley Gill and Lincoln “Torro” Depradine who have been putting out public statements as representing the Public Relations Department of Congress.

No longer will these people be able to operate under the aegis of the Congress banner with their public utterances clearly aimed at belittling the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Thomas has an opportunity to turn the September 30 Convention of Congress into another major historic date on the party’s calendar of events as it begins the serious process of returning to the people for another five year term in office.

Equipment from South Korea

Grenada’s Ministry of the Environment was the recipient last Friday of new equipment costing US$20,000 from the Government of South Korea aimed at helping in the development of its Coastal Zone Management Plan.

The equipment will be used to facilitate research work that is to be conducted on the South and South-East Coasts of Grenada spanning from Telescope in the east to Point Salines in the south.

Minister Roberts takes receipt of the equipment from South Korea

In accepting the equipment, Minister for the Environment, Glynis Roberts said the donation reflects the strong relations that exist between the two countries and will serve to further strengthen the ties.

According to Minister Roberts, the Ministry of the Environment has placed Coastal Zone Management as a priority area for Grenada, in light of the likely impact of Climate Change on its coastlines, bearing in mind that most of the island’s important infrastructure lies along the coasts.

She emphasised the importance of conducting the relevant studies that will provide information for the development of a Coastal Zone Management Plan.

“The equipment being handed over today is important to provide baseline data for effective coastal zone management and to conduct studies such as sediment-logy and oceanography”, she said.

The Government of Korea’s representative, Sungsoon Yoon who is also from the Korean Maritime Institute said the provision of equipment and training is included in the project plan.

Yoon pointed out that the equipment may not be “enough” but will be “very useful” in developing the Coastal Zone Management Plan.

Four government officials were trained recently in Korea for the facilitation of the project. The officers will be able to train others to use the equipment.

The handing over ceremony also marked the continuation of training in Grenada on the use of the equipment.

One of the trainees, Senior Environment Officer in the Ministry of the Environment, Paul Phillip said the equipment will be used as part of the project’s monitoring programme.

The equipment includes a leveling profiler and Phillip explained that this piece of equipment will be used to collect information such as angles, length and depth of the coast from the beaches.

The Senior Environment Officer added that this information will enable them to determine whether a beach is losing or gaining sand.

The funding is provided to Grenada by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) as part of the Expo Yeosu 2012, which was held in Korea.

The total cost of the project earmarked for Grenada with funding from the South Koreans is US$500,000 and includes technical assistance.

Expo Yeosu, which was held over a three-month period, concluded in August where Grenada had a permanent booth.

The US$20, 000 equipment that was donated to the Spice Isle

The booth design depicted the Marine under water sculpture at Moliniere and generated much interest among researchers, students, tourists and television crews.
The expo was held under the theme, “the Living Oceans and Coast”.

Joelle Frederick lands first model assignment in Miami

Seventeen year-old Joelle Frederick has gotten her first break to pursuing a career in modeling in the United States.

The daughter of talk show host Eddie Frederick and Andrea Redhead-Frederick was able to showcase her talent last Saturday at Nordstrom, Dadeland Mall, North Kendall, Miami in the State of Florida.

The young Frederick is one of two contracted Grenadian Elite Models. She recently migrated to the US to both further her education and modeling career.

Having migrated to Miami at the end of August, she reconnected with John Bilboa – Director of Elite Latin & South America (ELSA) to get going with her contractual obligations.

THE NEW TODAY was told that upon discovering that the young model has American status, the handlers immediately forwarded her to Wilhelmina Models – one of the most prominent agencies in the fashion industry worldwide.

Located in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami, Wilhelmina Models also work with various licensees as well as hundreds of local model management firms across the U.S and globally to garner a variety of talent.

Joelle’s assignment on Saturday took her to the revolutionary approach to modeling the fashions of Topshop Topman @ NORDSTROM (British Style).

She was one of thirteen young fresh models who brought some excitement to the Dadeland Mall.

She received assistance in making her debut from Richard & Deby Coard and Family, Richard Hosten and Johnathan Steele.

Joelle is said to be excited to be included as one of Wilhelmina’s Models and is in line to be awarded “a packed schedule to support the modeling career she so craves”.

The young model has a passion for ballet – a path she has followed from the tender age of three.

Women in the Good Governance Agenda

Eddie Frederick in full flow at the NDC Women’s conference

Women of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) have been charged with the responsibility of giving birth to the good governance process of their political party.

The women who are grouped under the Women’s Arm of the NDC gathered at the Youth Centre last Sunday for a one-day retreat that was used to examine their role within the 25-year old Political Party.

Motivational Speaker, Edward Frederick who led the charge to fire-up the women indicated that since they found “their voice” earlier this year, they have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in Congress.

Frederick, as the Feature Speaker at the retreat, is confident that the action of the Women’s Arm of NDC under the leadership of its President, Jennifer Simon-Rapier would break the cycle of dependency towards decadence, selfishness, greed and corrupt leadership.

A cross section of the women who attended the major meeting of the National Democratic Congress

He admonished the women to stop playing small and claim their place.

“As women you had many obstacles flung in your way… but you moved on,” he told the gathering.

Frederick suggested that the NDC women should celebrate their “deliciousness” after taking the bold move to regroup.

However, he said that in as much as the NDC Women’s Arm needs its members, it can do without a bunch of women whom it has to carry on its back.

The feature speaker urged them to be fired-up and do what needs to be done and to make the difference as women in the good governance agenda.

“I invite you to become courageous, to stand for what you believe in, stand on your purpose as committed women in the struggle to sanitise and fumigate your organisation,” he said.

Frederick alerted the NDC women of the need to be willing to stand alone as the journey becomes lonely, especially when they believe in things that they passionately care about.

He also admonished the women to refrain from being tardy in their dealings since they now have to assume the leadership positions in almost all spheres of life in the country.

He said that with men having failed the nation, the women have become powerful enough to determine the atmosphere in the homes or anywhere else since each woman has the potential to be a leader.

Frederick believes that had it not been for the efforts of the women, the children would be more desperate than how they are today because of the failure of the men to stand up.

He said the women are needed in the Churches, schools, as well as at work and at play, and there is no question in his mind that the country needs them now more than ever in leadership roles.

“You are needed by us men for your powerful intuition,” he interjected.

The session was also addressed by President of the NDC Women’s Arm, Jennifer Simon-Rapier who commissioned her troops to stand in solidarity with the leadership of the party.

Simon-Rapier made a clarion call for the members to stand firm behind the NDC and the government.

“As women you had many obstacles flung in your way… but you moved on,” she said.

She warned that there are those who wish to see the strides of the NDC derailed and its efforts turned back.

This is an obvious reference to a group of dissident Members of Parliament who have been making a string of public statements critical of Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, Finance Minister Nazim Burke, and the fiscal and economic policies being pursued by the administration.

The group, which includes ex-ministers, Peter David and Joseph Gilbert, are at odds with the government on issues such as ALBA funds from Venezuela and the establishment of a casino for gambling on the St. George’s cruise ship port.

Simon-Rapier condemned what she said was the latest attempt calculated to make the working people of the nation lose confidence in the government.

She also addressed the critical issue of an imbalance between both sexes and made specific reference to the use of words such as Chairman and Foreman which is a clear indication of the exclusion of the woman in society.

Simon-Rapier said even in today’s society, some men regard women as being inferior.

“The very language we speak on a day-to-day basis reflects the unequal status of the woman,” she remarked.

Simon- Rapier also felt that housewives are degraded even when these women are supposed to be an important person in the society and stressed the need to educate society about the values of women.

The NDC Women’s President announced that the organization is looking at adult education classes for women so as to enable them to live brand new lives.

She pointed out that education must be the key to confront the problems that are now faced by the nation.

Community development is another area to be pursued by the Women’s Arm.

Simon-Rapier said with the four-year old Government of Prime Minister Tillman Thomas having inherited a situation of bankruptcy when it took office in July 2008, coupled with the financial meltdown in the world, a new attitude has to be developed by everyone to conduct community work in their area.

“The answer is not to call on the government, but to recognise the people in our area to see what skills, what material can be provided,” she added.

Former Vice-President of the Women’s Arm, Maude Brizan-Hutchinson was recognized as the featured NDC Woman at the retreat as a result of her unwavering faith in God, her commitment to the NDC, and her love for Grenada.

She was also commended for being a true Grenadian patriot who continuously promoted democratic governance.

The retreat, which attracted a gathering of some 450 to 500 persons, was held under the theme, “Women With A Good Governance Agenda.”

Exploring oil & gas resources

Nazim Burke – our hands are being held by the sister nation (T&T)

The National Democratic Congress-led government of Prime Minister Tillman Thomas is moving to ensure that Grenada begin to seriously explore its hydrocarbon products.

Minister of Finance, Planning, Economy, Energy and Co-operatives, Nazim Burke last week disclosed that Grenada signed a co-operation agreement with neighbouring island Trinidad and Tobago for energy development.

This recent agreement with the twin-island Republic is a further step to a maritime boundary delimitation treaty signed between the two countries in April 2010 that will advance the joint exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons in the maritime areas in Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada.

The Maritime Boundary Delimitation Treaty signed on September 3 by Minister Burke and Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Energy and Energy Affairs, Kevin Ramnarine, lays the foundation for cooperation in areas such as the development and implementation of technical programmes, projects and activities, the conduct of joint seismic surveys and joint exploration, and the implementation of joint development plans for the unitisation of hydrocarbon reservoirs existing in the respective continental shelves of both countries.

According to Minister Burke, the agreement allows for cooperation in the sharing of seismic data so that information Trinidad have about oil and gas location they will share with Grenada and what Grenada have will be shared with Trinidad.

He said the agreement also makes provision for Grenada to hire seismic companies to do searches in Grenada’s waters to determine where deposits are and will share the revenues from those searches.

He explained that the selling of these data could bring in a stream of revenue even before the country starts to reap its oil and gas.

Minister Burke said the agreement would also enable Grenada to establish a joint development zone and will ensure that the two neighbouring States for the first time in the history of the Caribbean region, will cooperate in conducting seismic searches of their maritime waters to determine what hydrocarbon resources are available and where they are located.

“For the first time it will allow us to cooperate in the field of training of our people, where Trinidad will help to train some of our own people to prepare them for entry into the hydrocarbon industry”, he remarked.

“An area designated as an area which will be developed jointly by both countries and both governments establishing a joint working group of experts from both sides and determining when and how we would put blocks of our respective maritime spaces on the international market for sale, exploitation and exploration”, he said.

Minister Burke stated that based on the program of work developed and identified, it is the intention of both governments to go to market jointly with a block for exploitation and exploration as early as March 2013.

The senior government minister pointed out that this would mark a very historic step in the history of Grenada and its official entry into the oil and gas industry.

Minister Burke believes that the Caribbean sits on the largest reserve of energy resources in the world – wind, geothermal, solar, waste, and all the renewable resources but the irony of it is that the region also has the highest energy bill per capital.

“It is wonderful to know that as we enter that industry our hands are being held by the sister nation, CARICOM nation which is one of the oldest oil producing countries in the world”, he said.

Minister Burke also disclosed that Grenada is working with Trinidad and Tobago to solve its energy problems.

A Dark Time for the Caribbean

The importance of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries acting jointly to address their development needs has become acute.

With high levels of debt to GDP ratios, widening budget deficits, deteriorating terms of trade, dwindling aid flows, and shocks to their economies by a decline in tourism earnings and a grave contraction of the financial services sector, the majority of CARICOM countries are reeling.

Guyana and Suriname are the notable exceptions having recorded steady economic growth in recent years, largely due to export earnings from their mineral resources especially gold.

In my last commentary I drew attention to the real possibility that the European Union (EU) – one of the biggest aid donors to the Caribbean region – could reduce their level of aid to all Caribbean states, except Haiti, because they are Middle Income Countries.

While the European Commission has stressed that no firm decision has been made on aid reduction to African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states, under the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2014-2020, a “differentiated approach” to aid is being adopted.

Already, under this approach, the EU has eliminated traditional aid to 17 countries that are Upper Middle Income countries, and 2 large Middle Income countries. The EU has made it clear that its differentiated approach “represents a budget for investment and growth to ease the pressure on (EU) Member States’ finances, focussing on Europe 2020 priorities, impacts and results”.

And while the European Development Fund (EDF), under which aid is made available to the ACP states, is being kept separate from the EU Budget, it seems inevitable that the EU – now consisting of many countries that never had colonies in ACP countries – will insist on applying the “differentiated approach” to giving aid to them.

In the Caribbean, this means that in calculating allocations for the 11th EDF (2014-2020) Haiti will continue to be a beneficiary and all others could see aid reduced except “on the basis of country needs, capacities, commitments, performance and potential EU impact”.

In other words, “needs” alone will not be a sufficient basis for aid to Middle Income Countries; their “commitment” and “performance” will also be key determinants.

That is why my last commentary stressed two points: first, the issue “should command the urgent attention of all Caribbean governments, the CARICOM Secretariat and the Caribbean Development Bank”, and second, “if ACP Middle-Income countries are to justify why aid should not be reduced now, they must be prepared to show how it will be used effectively to transition to diversifying their economies, enhancing their productive sector, and standing on their own feet.  A begging bowl is not enough”.

There have been many responses to that commentary, but one of them from a Trade Specialist, David Lewis of Manchester Trade based in Washington, was particularly forthright.

Lewis’ life’s work has been Caribbean oriented. But, he harbours grave doubts that Caribbean governments, the CARICOM Secretariat and the Caribbean Development Bank are prepared to act in a meaningful way.

He said that they “are so out of touch with reality in politics and economics in the Caribbean and more so elsewhere that they will be playing ‘catch-up’ to no avail on this one”.

He was also dubious about Caribbean organisations actually “showing how the region will transition to diversifying their economies, enhancing their productive sector, and standing on their own feet”.

Lewis is not alone in his misgivings. EU Representatives in the Caribbean have bemoaned the fact that governments have not actively pursued funding for regional projects that would benefit their countries individually as well as the region collectively.

They have also expressed deep concern about the private sector in almost all CARICOM countries failing to produce projects that could attract EU funding and gain access to EU markets.

Other regional commentators have also lamented the reality that, in a beggar-thy-neighbour and non-productive approach, many CARICOM governments have sought solutions to their economic problems in national efforts only, shunning the real benefits that could derive from regional action as well.

National efforts for alleviating the budgetary strains on Governments and for a few infrastructural projects have focused recently on getting help from China and Venezuela.  But, regardless of how generous and unquestioning these two governments may be now, their contributions, while welcome, are stop-gaps; they are not addressing fundamental weaknesses that persist.

The EU’s frustration with Caribbean governments and their institutions is not exceptional; other countries and agencies have also expressed their disappointment and dissatisfaction.  Among these agencies is the Canadian International Development Agency which has identified the Caribbean as a priority for its aid.

It is significant that it is since May that the European Commission first advised Caribbean representatives in Brussels of the decision to use a “differentiated approach” to aid.  While in ACP representatives have been engaged in lobbying and presenting the counter arguments in Brussels, there is urgent need for high-level representation to EU governments, particularly the newer ones that have little knowledge of the Caribbean beyond statistical information.

If with the help of the Commonwealth Secretariat and the World Bank, CARICOM countries and the Dominican Republic could secure an International Conference on the Caribbean to address their fundamental difficulties of debt; a change in the criteria for concessional financing; differential treatment for trade based on their small size and limited capacity; deepening regional integration to allow for the creation of pan-Caribbean undertakings that are competitive; and, crucially, building machinery for transportation and storage of agricultural products within the region, many of their problems could be addressed through a co-ordinated approach by donor countries and agencies.

But, first the Caribbean would have to assemble a single dynamic team to prepare a convincing plan with measurable outcomes, performance criteria, and a viable implementation mechanism.  Otherwise they won’t be believed.

It is a dark time for the region; emerging into the light requires regional ingenuity, regional commitment and regional action.

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

The economy standstill – but more parties

No one in the Government seems prepared to tell our people exactly where monies are coming from to pay salaries and meet other expenses, or to finance the bursted Budget  – so quite naturally speculation is running wild and having a hey dey.

Neither the Minister of Finance, as the person whose primary responsibility is centered in and around the financial matters of the state, nor the Prime Minister – as the leader of the pack who has to answer to the people in the final analysis – seem prepared, able, or willing to say it as it is.

And while this game of silence continues, the Economy as a whole and the daily needs of our people, continue to go further and deeper down the annals of frustration, deprivation and hopelessness.

And the dangers inherent in that state of affairs must not be treated lightly or overlooked – because while some people can stomach or tolerate shortages, and even make wider sacrifices, a whole lot of others cannot rise to that level, and their re-action and responses can be a real menace and even dangerous.

So that while the power-controllers are not disclosing or sharing the bad news, and leaving the people in suspense and in need – the under-current menace could explode in different ways as the economic situation deteriorates.

And in the midst of that level of uncertainty and growing concern, even the sitting of the House of Parliament remains a mystery and hovering in Limbo, after the summer recess.

Parliament traditionally goes on recess every year for the month of August and a week or few days in September.  It is now a full month and a half and no word to-date about when Parliament will re-open.

Of course the motion of No Confidence in the Government of Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, filed by M.P. Karl Hood, is pending for debate and voting – but that should not be a good reason for prolonging the recess indefinitely.

After all is said and done, Parliament is the Business place of the people – not of any political party – and the business of the people must be carried on at all times, regardless of the consequences.

And if one of the pack that was elected by the people, chooses to make a fool of himself – by going to the very house asking his comrades to vote against the Leader and Prime Minister who got him into the House in the First Place – then so be it, why not let him do so.

Against that background, while we are talking about Election within the year – it seems that the Election and Registration office is having problems in getting the voting Cards to those who have already registered.

So while the appeal is for the people who have not done so, to get registered – a lot of those who did so months ago are still waiting for the cards.

And in the meantime we are hearing about the new parties coming on stream, or the old ones being revived in readiness for the Polls – whenever that maybe.

The latest one (MIC), Movement for Independent Candidates, is really a brand new innovation.

I have not seen anything in writing about what the party stands for, nor what the members plan to do if successful – but having heard that our current St. John’s M.P. is going to contest the next Elections as an Independent person – I got the impression that those making up that group are mere rabble rousers, and not a serious political party as such.

But whether they are saying one thing and planning to operate as something else, that is a matter for the group as such and the people who will support them in an Election.

As the situation stands at present, there seems to be at least five parties showing an interest in the political affairs of the state – although only the two now holding seats in Parliament look serious about gaining control of state power.

On the other hand however, there seems to be a strange pattern of behaviour running through our people’s action, when it comes down to getting their names on the voters lists for pending Elections.

It is generally agreed – that the majority of our people went to the polls in July, 2008, to Elect the existing NDC Government in control, because they were fed up with the behavior of our NNP Leader and Prime Minister – and they wanted change.

To say that the said majority is now fed up, and badly disappointed with the non-performance and continuing division of the NDC lot – is putting it mildly.  But to decide that they are not getting registered because they are not going to vote at the next elections, whenever it is called, that is going too far in my humble opinion.

As a people, we all have to live and play our part in the development of our Islands and its people – because this is our homeland.

Politicians come, they do whatever and they move on – but we the people are always there for our families and those coming after us – and we should not be abandoning and neglecting those responsibilities and duties, on the same basis as that applied to our political likes and dislikes.

By abstaining from voting – and leaving it to the others to choose those who will be representing us for the next five years – we are in fact saying to them, choose whoever you like or approve of and we will be satisfied.

And then for the said number of years, we just have to swallow whatever is handed down and shut up.

Everything about that decision must be wrong, and those persons who are planning to behave in that way must re-consider their options.

True enough, the current lot in control badly disappointed us over the past four years, and they seem intent on prolonging the chaos to the very end – even though things look hopeless.

But however long it may last, life goes on after they have given up and under the control of whichever group may take over.

And quite naturally, all of us who continue to live in these islands – would be subject to whatever is happening and be affected by the decisions, and therefore we should play some part in choosing the decision-makers.

It is understandable how so many are feeling, based on the promises made and the reliance placed on those who seemed so genuine and reliable.

But that is how things unfold at times, and in politics more so than in life generally – some people say and promise all sorts, but for one reason or another they fail to produce when given the opportunity.

However, we who have to live in our homeland cannot and must not give up trying to find a group that will stand up and fulfill the promises made.

Throughout history we have seen countless examples of persons who have used power for their own purposes, rather than for the purposes of the whole social group.  And power is temptation to look after yourself, your friends and your group.
But despite the foregoing, we cannot wash our hands of all responsibility to choose those who will be controlling the power base – because in so doing we will be giving up our rights to be heard when things are going the wrong way.

It is to be the hope that our people do get registered to vote, and exercise that right to choose those who will be controlling our nation’s destiny – when the time comes around.