THE CLEANUP INITIATIVE

Participants of the Coastal Cleanup Day, removes a
huge log from Chemin River

The Ministry of the Environment will be using the next few weeks to engage in several clean-up exercises on the island.

Last Saturday, the focus was on clearing debris from the Chemin River.

Following the cleanup of the river located in the Westerhall/Calivigny area last Saturday, International Coastal Cleanup Day, participants of the clean-up effort agreed that a machine be brought in to assist in removing some of the heavy logs which proved too difficult to move with simple manpower.

Coastal cleanup will be a month long volunteer effort in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique to remove garbage from the coastal zone and near shore marine waters.

The initiative is scheduled to end on October 15, 2012.

Last Saturday’s cleanup saw the removal of several plastics, old tyres and appliances from the river.

The Staff of the Ministry of the Environment, Foreign Trade and Export Development was joined by corporate organisations, St. George’s University (SGU) students, members of the community and the police in the effort to clean the river that separates the parishes of St. David and St George.

“We’ve counted hundreds of plastics as the major type of garbage in the area”, said Wayne Smart of the Education and Conservation Outreach group (ECO) of SGU who assisted with the data collection.

He added that there could be lots more underneath the debris that is backing up the river.

Former Minister for the Environment, Glynis Roberts, who presided over the exercise before quitting the four-year old government said that the Ministry’s effort was to collect some of the plastics and other garbage from going down into the sea, though she noted that most of the blockages in the river consist of bamboo and fallen trees.

The ex-Minister also explained that residents often have problems when there are heavy rains and the bridge in the area is blocked.

Roberts stressed the need to dispose of garbage properly and suggested that garbage be placed in a bag until it can be placed in a bin rather than throwing it away loosely.

The former Environment Minister applauded the support of the corporate community and others who contributed in one way or the other to the venture and encouraged communities to get involved in similar initiatives.

Petrol Dealer, Rubis West Indies was one of the corporate citizens that came out and contributed to the cleaning of the Chemin River for International Coastal Cleanup Day.

Country Manager, Charles Archer said his company is encouraged to participate in activities like these, since it aids in protecting communities for the future.

“Without a clean environment we really don’t have anything”, he said.

Another participant said, “The cleanup was enlightening, especially when you see your effort makes a difference”, referring to actually seeing the river flowing, given that it was stagnant earlier in the day when the cleanup started.

“Everyone should be encouraged to participate and assist in environmentally friendly projects”, said the participant.

NEWS RELEASE
Ministry of the Environment, Foreign Trade and Export Development
Email: tradegrenada@gov.gd, Website: www.gov.gd
Tel: (473) 440-2101    Fax: (473) 440-0775

For more information contact Public Relations Officer, Kareen Morain

Four projects from NTRC

The National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) has unveiled four projects aimed at expanding Information Communication Technology (ICT) throughout the country.

Among the selected projects approved to receive funding from the Universal Service Fund (USF) is one for “Capacity Building – Women and Girls in ICT”.

This is a project centered on increasing awareness about ICT as a catalyst for change in society.

The project targets women and girls and sessions on cyber security and the dangers that cyberspace pose to children and seeks to provide training on business application particularly for small businesswomen and women in ICT’s.

A component of the project will be an essay writing competition for secondary school students on the topic – using ICT as a tool for economic development in major sectors of Grenada.

Another of the selected project to be carried out by NTRC will be Telecoms Infrastructure/Services-Telecommunications services and access devices for persons with disabilities.

This project is geared at increasing the use of ICTs among people with disabilities.

It will involve outfitting the Council of the Disabled and 10 other agencies, which assist persons with disabilities in Grenada with broadband internet services, computer equipment and software.

These devices will be equipped with special software, which will allow persons with disabilities visual impaired) to effectively utilise the services and have increased access to ICTs.

The NTRC will also undertake a Telecommunications Cell Tower at St Patrick which is intended to increase the quality of mobile telecommunications services to residents in St Patrick by erecting a cell tower in St Patrick to bring wireless coverage to residents of Bathway, Levera and surrounding areas.

The other project to be undertaken will be the provision of Internet services via WI-FI at strategic public locations & Emergency public access phones.

This seeks to provide Internet access to persons in public locations via wireless Internet.

Under this project, wireless Internet will be installed in approximately 13 locations throughout the country including Playgrounds, particularly those in close proximity to schools.

Emergency phones will also be installed at 10 targeted areas throughout the country such as tourist attraction sites and high crime areas.

According to USF Administrator, Christa Burke-Medford, the projects earmarked for initiation are in line with the priority goals identified by NTRC to expand access to telecommunications services in the remote/unserved communities throughout Grenada, and to make the services accessible to members of the community by utilising the available Universal Service Funds.

She disclosed that the bidding process for the selection of telecommunications providers to execute the telecoms infrastructure/services projects will commence within the upcoming month using existing procurement procedures in accordance with the USF Guidelines.

NTRC will then award contracts to successful bidders to execute and implement the projects within the coming weeks.

A total of $3.2 million has been allocated for the projects, however the full cost of the projects will be determined after the bidding process is completed.

NTRC Commissioner, Vincent Roberts said the building of a tower in the North of the country providing shared-access to all telecommunication networks for the first time is commendable.

He said the goal of the NTRC is to ensure that Grenada is fully wired as it can provide opportunities for people to take advantage of educational opportunities, develop their creative sides and create employment.

Coordinator of the NTRC, Aldwyn Ferguson said that Internet penetration in Grenada stands at 14% excluding mobile Internet devices.

The hypocrisy of it all

It is hypocritical in the extreme. The US Trade Representative has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) claiming that the Peoples’ Republic of China has given “extensive subsidies” to Chinese companies that produce automobiles and automobile parts for export.

This is the same US government that is effectively allowing rum produced in two of its Caribbean territories to be extensively subsidised to the detriment of rum producers in non-US Caribbean countries, even though this damage has been pointed out to US President Barack Obama in a letter from the Prime Minister of St Lucia, Dr. Kenny Anthony, in his capacity as Chairman of the 15-nation Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

President Obama is particularly vocal about the Chinese because he is in the midst of a Presidential election where he is campaigning for a second term, and Ohio is a swing state.

If he loses Ohio, he could lose the Presidency. Ohio’s economy and a significant number of its work force are reliant directly and indirectly on automobile manufacturing. Therefore, they regard automobiles and automobile parts that are exported from China at a cheaper price as a threat to them.

President Obama’s assertion that the Chinese subsidies “directly harm working men and women on the assembly lines in Ohio and Michigan and across the Midwest” is meant to show voters in Ohio that he is standing-up for them and, also, to blunt the criticism of his rival, the Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

Mr. Romney has long been critical of President Obama’s performance on the China trade issue, and he has pledged tougher action to enforce trade laws.

What is remarkable about the stance of both President Obama and Mr. Romney is that neither of them acknowledges the unfairness of the US government position on subsidies to US producers. For instance, massive government subsidies to US farmers, totalling US$10 billion last year, have given them an excessive advantage hurting farmers who can’t compete on the world market and others who are crowded out of their own domestic market because of imports of cheaper US subsidised agricultural products.

This same observation is now true of the heavy subsidies on rum production and marketing in excess of US$500 million a year that are being given to private companies by Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands – for which the US Federal government is responsible – to the disadvantage of rum producers in non-US Caribbean countries such as Barbados, Guyana, and Jamaica.

And while the US government is quick to take other countries to the WTO dispute settlement body and to apply punitive remedies when it wins, it is a dark stain on the US record in the WTO that it has still not settled matters with Antigua and Barbuda after being found in violation of its commitment under the General Agreement of Trade and Services by refusing to allow internet gaming from Antigua and Barbuda into the US.

That case was won in March 2004, and subsequent appeals upheld the main findings of the original Arbitration. The US response to losing the case was to withdraw the commitment that it was judged to have violated.

The stakes are very different with China which is now the world’s second largest economy after the US and the third biggest creditor to the US government as well as its principal foreign creditor. Access to the Chinese market for US goods and services is vitally important to the US economy, and both President Obama and Mr. Romney know that fact however much they may both be playing to the US electorate in the current election campaign.

The Chinese government has not taken the US government’s actions against it at the WTO lying-down.  In the very week that the US government filed its second complaint at the WTO against the Chinese government, the Chinese authorities submitted a case accusing the US government of unfairly raising tariffs on thirty of China’s exports to the US market including tires and kitchen appliances.

For its part, the US says that it applied the tariffs because the Chinese are “dumping” the products in the US. “Dumping” is an informal term for the practice of selling a product in a foreign country for less than either the price in the domestic country, or the cost of making the product.

So much mystery surrounds the real costs of China’s production given the huge role that the State continues to play in the economy, including in its commercial aspects, that the US government’s claim of “extensive subsidies” to the production of automobile and automobile parts and, also, of “dumping” may well be true.  It will be interesting to see what a WTO Arbitration Panel concludes.

What is clear is that the rules that are being applied in these trade disputes between the US and China are ignored in relation to small countries.

In the absence of joint action by small countries for reform of the WTO, and a severe deficit in global democracy, hypocrisy prevails.

(Sir Ronald Sanders is a Consultant and a former Ambassador to the World Trade Organisation)

Courts’ 2012 OECS Reading Competition

Sean Rush winner of District Two
competition in the Grenada branch of the 2012 Courts OECS Reading competition

A student of the St Patrick’s Anglican Primary School, Sean Rush won District Two competition in the Grenada branch of the 2012 Courts OECS Reading competition which was launched on Monday.

Six schools participated in the opening rounds of the two weeks competition which involves primary schools in the seven school’s districts of the Ministry of Education.

A corporate social community project funded 100% by Courts Grenada, the competition began in 2009.

In his Opening Remarks, Senior Marketing Officer, Deleon Walters explained that the initiative is among the many social projects undertaken by Courts that are aimed at giving back to the community geared at influencing positive change.

“Courts together with the Ministry of Education endeavour to provide opportunities that will harness the key characteristics of literacy among the nation’s children”, he said.

In her message to launch the competition, guest speaker from the Ministry of Education, Maudlyn James congratulated the participants from the various schools and told them that reading is not an easy task and those who master it can do very well and even use it as a mean to get opportunities.

“So, be the best reader today, share your passion with the world,” she told the pupils who had to read narratives in first round and news items in the second round.

At the end of the Monday’s preliminary round, Sean Rush won with 234 points, second was Tiandra Mc Kenzie of Chantimelle RC who scored 216 points and third was Zadie Barry of St Patrick RC who scored 213 points.

The other participants were Ruel Marraste of Hermitage Government, Sallisha Noel of River Sallee Government and Vonnel Samuel of Mt. Rose SDA.

Participants of the 2012 Courts OECS Reading competition

The judges praised the students for their generally high confidence level, fluency, eye contact, Interpretation and articulation but also identified areas of improvement especially in the area of voice presentation and delivery of the selected piece.

According to the rules of the competition, each child will receive a Certificate of participation during all rounds of the competition while the seven finalists will receive cash prizes.

The student placing seventh to fourth in the final Grenada competition will receive $500, the one placing third will receive $750, and the one placing second will receive $1,000.

The winner as well as the winning school will each receive $2,000.

The participating students who are between the ages of eight and nine will also receive book prizes and other attractive goodies from Courts.

The final competition will bring all winners in the OECS to compete for the title of “2012 COURTS OECS Reader of the Year” in Dominica.

LIME Teams UP With Mt. Moritz Community

LIME and the Mt. Moritz Community Development Organisation have forged a partnership which would enhance the work of the Organisation and by extension Mt. Moritz.

The Mt. Moritz Community Development Organisation has become famous for its monthly “Mt. Moritz Breakfast”, which is held on the last Sunday of each month.

The organisation is also well known for the assistance it provides to children within the community, social events which bring the community together, clean ups, recognition of outstanding persons in the community among other meaningful activities.

One of the mandates set by LIME is that of becoming more of an integral part of the communities in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

According to General Manager LIME – Angus Steele, “We like to be involved in communities and assist in meaningful ways.”

When Steele was appointed General Manager – LIME, just over a year ago he publicly stated that LIME would be more visible and that communities would benefit more from partnerships formed with the Company.

Since then he has met with various organisations in order to fulfil this promise.

Meetings were held with the executive of the Mt. Moritz Community Development Organisation, to identify ways in which LIME could partner with this group in order to make their work even more effective, realise more of their plans and develop new ones.

The Committee welcomed LIME’s offer to partner with them and the relationship is now official. Speaking on behalf of the organisation, Nicholas Harris said “We are pleased to have LIME on board and we look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship”.

Steele noted that “We will be true to the agreement with the Organisation and we expect this to be a fruitful and lasting relationship.

LIME and the Mt. Moritz Community Development Organisation have signed a three year agreement detailing both parties’ expectations.

The Mt. Moritz monthly breakfast will be held Sunday with a new look, having LIME as a partner.

The game of “survival”

Well we Grenadians have been witnessing our own Grenadian version of the survivor game over the past weeks. Our Ministers and NDC party officials have been shuffling and realigning themselves in preparation for the NDC Convention and the inevitable upcoming elections

What is really sad are the lengths that these party officials and supporters are willing to go to distance themselves from the current ruling fraction that is left.

Arley Gill has now publicly renounced and criticised Nazim Burke and others whom they sat next to and forged allegiances with for the past 4 years.

Peter David is taking the squeaky clean approach and claiming he never agreed with anything, never knew anything, never had the support of the Prime Minister and only wants to care for his people and constituents.

Need I remind you that both of these men were happily driving new cars, drawing fat salaries, travelling and sitting in their positions for FOUR years? If things were so bad why did they stay and not speak up before now?

This revelation seems to have come up now on the eve of the NDC party kicking them to the curb at their party convention.

Glynis Roberts is unfortunately pathetic and represents all that women in politics should not be. This parliamentarian sat back quietly having no opinion and not committing to any sides, being influenced by a charismatic Peter David while towing the line with PM Thomas.

She bobbed and weaved between both and made some bad decisions while completely ignoring her South St George constituents, basically she hung on until she could not hang on anymore and probably did not want to face the NDC convention.

Perhaps the worst legacy Ms. Roberts will leave is her move to increase salaries of security guards and other job categories by 100%, a move supported by Chester Humphrey.

A 100% wage increase is unprecedented anywhere in the world, any business person would tell you that a business simply cannot afford such a cost increase.

As a result of this at least one large Security Company has folded operation, some staff are going home and with other Security Company closures to follow in the coming months.

This move will leave Trinidadian and Barbadian security firms to acquire control of the Industry in Grenada.

Mr. Chester Humphrey publicly said that representing workers for him is a bigger thrill than good sex. Well, good sex must be at an all-time low ebb right now because many security guards are being laid off (as a result of the motion he supported for 100% wage increase) and their jobs replaced by electronic security and guard dogs.

I do hope that these persons now without jobs see the humour in this Mr. Humphrey. I should also point out that like Chester Humphrey, PCD was also very vocal against CCC and I am sure contributed to their demise, once again this resulted in the elimination of more jobs as a result.

I could go on and on about the manner in which some NDC players and supporters are now consolidating and going to all lengths to publicly distance themselves from Tillman Thomas’ NDC and are rallying around Peter David.

Mr. David is apparently now forming a new party made up of discarded NDC followers and bitter power hungry relics.  I would really hope that Grenadians are smarter than Peter David et al, give them credit for.

The fact is Peter David remains desperate for power, disloyal and a loose cannon maverick that should never be the leader of anything much less a party made up of a bunch of incapable sore losers.

According to Mr. Fredrick it’s a “comedy”, let’s just see how this “comedy” of errors plays out in this desperate game of survival.

The Survivor

IS THERE NO END IN SIGHT?

There was so much hope, and expectations, and solid promises, and a genuine need for a brand new beginning in 2008 – to move our people from where they had unfortunately found themselves, to some safer place where they could have lived in peace, with trust and confidence in those they had chosen to lead their public affairs, and chart a course towards a brighter and more prosperous future in the years ahead – that those who had been replaced by the majority of the Eleven against Four, really and truly felt that the change was for keeps.

But here we are, barely four years after that resounding victory at the Polls – and our Islands of Conflict are in more chaos, gross mismanagement, lack of leadership and division down the middle, that those who are supposed to be still in charge should be publicly ashamed to maintain that position.

We have earned the good/bad name over the years, of being the “Island of Firsts” – as we have always seemed to do or achieve many things before our neighbours in the Caribbean Region – some good, some bad, some indifferent.

For example – we were the first of the small Islands to achieve Independence in 1974; we were the First English Speaking Island in the Caribbean to stage a successful armed Revolution in 1979, and we were the First Island in the Caribbean to be invaded by the Mighty U.S.A. in 1983, to restore peace and freedom to our people.

And here we are again – as being the first Island in the Caribbean to have Five Elected M.P’s and Ministers of Government Resigning (one dismissed) from the Cabinet, and the Government remaining in control of the state.

And to add political insult to democratic injury – the same minority Government, by its Leader and Prime Minister, has since requested the Governor General to prorogue Parliament.

So that, in effect, our people are under the political control of a minority group of six M.P.’s, while the majority group of Nine M.P’s are denied their right to speak on behalf of the people, and represent the people’s interest in the House of Parliament, because the said Parliament has been put on hold or suspended indefinitely.

And the effect of that suspension – is that every Application, Motion, or Bill, pending to be placed on the Order Paper for discussion in the House of Parliament – all of them have to be submitted again when the prorogation is ended.

I could very well imagine the laughing stock our people and their politics have again become – in the region and further afield.

But in the midst of that Mickey Mouse state of affairs, that is ongoing in our struggling and declining economic conditions – the resigned members of the ruling party can be heard on Television and Radio making all kinds of ridiculous statements and accusations, as though they have been doing everything right and proper, and the remaining six in the driving seats are real culprits.

While in the same context, those speaking on behalf of the minority Government and the NDC Party as such – they are predicting that the Party Leader and his loyalists, will be taking control of the Party Executive this coming weekend at the Party Convention, and things will be different from then onwards.

How possible that maybe – time will surely tell as the situation unfolds, and the various pieces fall into the empty places.

On the other side of the same coin, there seems to be a lot of speculation about the resigned drop-outs getting together to contest as a group, when the times comes around – or some running as Independents.

Whatever there maybe in store, for the near or distant future, the next two or three months are not going to be easy sailing – for those in control nor for our people in general, and a whole lot of sacrifices will have to be made.

We are nearing the end of another month, and Government workers wages and salaries are soon to be paid – so they waiting to see where from.

The source of funds for the last month payments still remain a secret, and the Finance Minister and his team remain silent on the matter.

Against that background of the Government side, the private sector is also going through a very difficult period – and the many persons I have spoken with are all singing the same lamenting song, that things are so bad they will have to reduce their labour force to remain in business.

And needless to go into any details about the chaotic state of the Economy as a whole, and the absence of any signs in any sector – that things can begin to change for the better anytime soon.

All the ole talk about the economy and finance as a whole, are centered around who we are owing millions and who we will be borrowing from – to make the fiscal ends meet.

I have mentioned it before, but it is worth repeating – that the conditions are so bad, and weekly getting much worse, that some of those existing under that level of pressure and financial deprivation, can become so desperate that they could take extreme measures in the given circumstances to try to survive.

Those still in control with that reduce lot as ministers – they certainly have a heavier responsibility to discharge, as long as they continue to hold unto the power base as the Government of the Tri-Island State.

And to make the bad matters even worse – now that the Parliament has been suspended, they do not even have the Opposition to offer a contrary opinion or share any of the business.

I suppose it can be claimed – that with five Ministers having resigned or dismissed, their ministerial salaries are a saving for the Treasury.  But on the other hand, with no Parliamentary Meetings to attend, all the M.P’s are still receiving their salaries as Members of Parliament.

And since that state of affairs is indefinite, because of the Prorogation of Parliament – I will venture to answer my question in the Headline of this article by saying, I can see no end in sight for the rest of this year.

Boating accident to go before the Coroner

Martin Baumont – lost his life due to an accident at sea

A Coroner’s Inquest will most likely be held into the death of an English national following a boating mishap that occurred in the waters of Grand Anse Beach three weeks ago.

Martin Beaumont who was having a swim just outside the Spice Island Beach Resort lost his life on September 9 after allegedly being hit by the propeller of a boat which goes by the name, “Yolo,” that is owned by medical doctor, Michael Radix.

A legal source told THE NEW TODAY Newspaper that police are continuing to actively investigate the matter, and that a full Coroner’s Inquest would be held in keeping with local laws.

The source who spoke on condition of being anonymous said during the inquest all of the evidence would be laid and the matter would proceed from thereon.

This newspaper learnt that at the time of the incident, the 55-year old Beaumont who resides at Lance Aux Epines, St. George’s was swimming along with his friend, Andrew Peters who also resides at Lance Aux Epines.

Both men were heading towards Quarantine Point, St. George’s when the incident occurred.

Reports suggest that as the swimmers were approaching their destination, the 85HP Yamaha Engine speed boat which was occupied by Dr. Radix and his wife passed over them.

The swimmers were rushed to the St. George’s General Hospital where Beaumont who worked at the University Club was pronounced dead.

Dr. Radix was interviewed by police about the incident at the Coast Guard Base in True Blue, St. George’s.

Sandra writes Peter David

September 13th, 2012

Hon. Charles Peter David
Member of Parliament
Town of St. George

Dear Hon. David,

Greetings Hon. David!
Permit me to clarify that I write in my individual and personal capacity.
It appears Hon. David that you are currently the “man of the moment” in the current political conjuncture and it may even appear that “your political star” is in the ascendancy.
Besides your loyal supporters in the Town of St. George, it appears that your popularity with the leadership and others in the New National Party has soared since your resignation from the Cabinet.  And your hobnobbing with the side has not escaped the notice of we the people.

(1). Common Mantra:

I have been following your public utterances since your resignation from the Cabinet and frankly Hon. David, I am amazed at how your utterances mirror those of the Hon. Leader of the Opposition.  Since this seeming “rapprochement” between yourself and the Hon. Leader of the Opposition, I have concluded that it is either a case of “great minds think alike” or both yourself and the Hon. Leader of the Opposition are sharing the same scriptwriter.
The following are the common elements of what appears to be the shared mantra:

* Foreign investment lamentations – we need to woo foreign investment!  We have sent negative signals to foreign investors.
* Contrition   – I made mistakes.
* Ridiculing the Hon. Prime Minister – prior to elections, the Hon. Leader of the Opposition referred to Tillboy.  Now you and his detractors in the NNP make thinly veiled references to the Hon. Prime Minister, which come across as an attempt to demean and ridicule his simplicity and lack of pretense, his deep faith and his determination to stand resolute on some things about which he feels strongly.  We hear terms such as pomposity, grandiosity, self-righteousness, among others.
* Invoking Mama: While I have not yet heard any reference by the Hon. Leader of the Opposition this round, I note that you, like the Hon. Leader of the Opposition did when he was in government, are now invoking the spirit of your mother. (May God rest her soul!)

(2). Town Hall Meeting of Sept. 6th:

I am still a little puzzled as to the purpose of your Town Hall meeting on Thursday last, September 6th. It is a really good thing that I changed my mind about attending your meeting! What is a Town Hall meeting that does not see it fit to open up the floor to questions?  There are so many questions that I would have wanted to ask

* Ambassador Peter de Savary:  For example, there are questions that I would have wanted to ask about the appointment of Ambassador Peter de Savary!    Did Cabinet make this appointment?  Was this appointment made before you left Cabinet or after you resigned from Cabinet?

* Ambassador Georges Cohen:  And what about Ambassador Georges Cohen?  What can you tell us, Hon. David, about this foreign investor and the contribution of his investment to Grenada?  How many Grenadians does he have employed on his private island?  Does he pay property tax”?  Or does being an Ambassador exempt him?  How many non-nationals does he employ?  Did he play a role in Grenada establishing diplomatic relations with Morocco under your watch as Foreign Minister?  Can you update the nation on his role as Ambassador to the United Nations Office in Geneva?  To which Mission is he reporting?  From whom has he been receiving briefings?

* Zublin, the St. George’s Revitalization Project and Casino Gambling:
I would have also wanted to comment Hon. David, on my disappointment and my disbelief that the matter of Zublin’s casino could have been a matter causing such deep division to mash up the party and the government to the detriment of the country. Because you KNOW Hon. David that the matter of a licence for casino gambling is not about the interests of people of Grenada.
It is about Zublin’s St. George’s Newport settling its dispute with Harbour Holdings from which it accepted an advance payment of US$520,000 in 2007 re an agreement to sell Lot 8 and procure a licence for casino operations that would be passed on to Harbour Holdings. Since St. George’s Newport later rescinded the agreement, Harbour Holdings took legal action.

I would have also wanted to ask whether Zublin contributed to the NDC election coffers and whether any pre-election promises were made by high-ranking NDC officials to Zublin.

* Extinguishing of a Public Right Away to Quarantine Point:
Also, I would have wanted to ask you, Hon. David, about the extinguishing of a public right away to the Quarantine Point. I would have wanted to ask you whether you lent support to this ill-advised and traitorous act by the government of which you were a part and, if you did, what was the basis for this action?
As a former Minister of Tourism, were you in a position to provide the nation with any statistics/other data on the performance of Mariposa Residences as a tourism facility? Who were these people for whom the “powers that be”, of which you were a part, have took away the public right of access of we the people and whether these people had a special relationship with and access to the “powers that be” in the hierarchy of the National Democratic Congress?

(3). Defending Workers Rights:

I noted that the venerable Senator representing Labour heaped praises on both yourself and the Hon. Joseph Gilbert for the defense of workers’ rights, citing support for the amendment to the Labour Relations Act, which, he has claimed, two other Comrade Ministers had sought to “bury”.
With utmost deference to the Hon. Senator, who has the longest record of unbroken service in the Senate, permit me to respectfully point out the following:

* Labour Relations Act:  The Hon. Senator was a member of the Senate when the original Act was passed. I am completely baffled as to how an Act, which minimises the role of the Ministry of Labour and the Labour Commissioner, was passed. It is my respectful view that the Hon. Senator, the Grenada Trade Union Council, the then Labour Commissioner, the then Attorney General and the then Minister of Labour owe the people and particularly the workers an explanation.
* CCC Contract:  Maybe “so much water has passed under the bridge” that we have forgotten, conveniently or otherwise, that it was the Hon. Joseph Gilbert who precipitated the stand-off with CCC when he unceremoniously fired them.  The Hon. Prime Minister then had to do an about turn to save face when the ramifications of the Hon. Gilbert’s action were understood.
So it is really Hon. Gilbert who should take the rap for “doing” former CCC workers out of a job. Even I supported Hon. Gilbert’s action to rid Grenada of the cancer CCC had become. I expected that Hon Gilbert would have acted deliberately and responsibly. In light of what has played out, the following questions ought to be asked:

*Who was responsible for briefing Hon. Gilbert on the state of the contract with CCC? Was he briefed or was he misled? And if so, by whom?  Was disciplinary action taken against anyone?
*Did Hon. Gilbert act in his own deliberate judgment or did he confer with senior officers and the Management Team of the Ministry of Works?
*Was Hon. Gilbert aware of the Roughton Report, the Grenada Technical Audit?  Did any of the senior officers in his Ministry bring this report to his attention?
*Did Hon. Gilbert confer with members of the Cabinet on his decision? Did he in turn brief Cabinet on the ramifications of a decision to fire CCC?
*Why wasn’t Hon. Gilbert disciplined by the Prime Minister? Was the Prime Minister’s failure to discipline Hon. Gilbert a case of affiliation to a “St. Patrick’s boys club”
*Are big road works projects – which increases the opportunities for significant kick-backs – the only way in which road works can be done in Grenada?
*Didn’t the NDC administration of 1990-1995 undertake significant small scale community road works throughout the country during the period of voluntary structural adjustment?

(4). Yellow Meanness and Green Meanness:
I noted your magnanimous declarations and reference to tribalism and “meanness” – we cannot exchange a green meanness with a yellow meanness and call that change. Exactly what MEANNESS are you referring to Hon. David? Are you confounding calls for accountability with meanness?
You came into office on the platform of a party, which offered change, which offered to restore integrity and good governance to Grenada. Are we now to assume Hon. David that you and other members of the National Democratic Congress came into office under false pretence?

Permit me to remind you Hon. David that it was the government of the New National Party that sought to disenfranchise you, WASTING thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ money to seek to debar you from representing the people of the Town of St. George.
Do you remember the November-December 2005 convention at which the NNP leadership chanted you down as FOREIGNER? Do you recall the ‘line of march” of the convention – ‘this country is our country! We will not allow any foreigner to take it!!’
Do you recall when the Attorney-General and the Special Legal Advisor to the Cabinet called a press conference to:
* Advise that you, Hon. Peter David was a foreigner
* Advise that Sen. Brenda Hood should be declared the people’s representative since you were disqualified and could not be one of the people’s representatives in the honourable house

That is the DISRESPECT that the New National Party administration showed for Grenada and in particular for the people of the Town of St. George!! You are SOOOO popular with the NNP these days! Have you forgotten?  Have you forgotten how Sister Cammy and all the other loyal supporters STOOD with you in spite of the insults and harassment that they had to endure?
I even wrote an article or two in solidarity. HOW MUCH did it cost taxpayers, Hon. David, as the NNP engaged in this SPITEFUL charade right up to the Privy Council?  Do you remember that NDC stalwart, Kent Joseph, even put in a nomination as an independent candidate just in case attempts were still made to debar you for putting yourself up for office in the July 2008 elections?
Do you recall the SLEAZE campaign that the NNP sought to orchestrate against you in August 2005? Permit me to refresh your memory. Senator Einstein Louison, one of your former revolutionary comrades, hosted a press conference, accompanied by Hon. Brenda Hood and the Prime Minister’s Press Secretary, Barry Collymore.
Senator Louison advised the members of the media as follows:
* That a senior member of parliament, a member of the opposition, was facing multiple fraud charges in the United States.
* That these fraud charges had massive repercussions for national security and the image of Grenada.
* That the State Department and the United States Embassy in Grenada were involved.
Minister Louison’s statement resulted in the following:
* Within hours of his statement, the U.S. Embassy in St. George’s issued a public statement denying its involvement and the involvement of the State Department as alleged by Senator Louison.
* Some government official was calling media houses, asking them NOT TO BROADCAST/PUBLISH certain aspects of the story.
* The New National Party issued an apology to the U.S. Embassy in Grenada for statements made by the Minister of National Security at the Press conference. (See Grenada Informer, Friday, August 5th)

To add further insult to injury, the NNP statement was brazen enough to “call on the local media to be FAIR and ACCURATE at all times in the reporting of this particular allegation, ensuring that all the FACTS are in place BEFORE broadcasting to the Grenadian people this story”!!
This is the nature of the NNP beast. “Old people” would say Hon. David, “WHEN YOU KNOW SOMETHING IN THE DARK, YOU DO NOT NEED LIGHT TO SHINE IT IN THE NIGHT”.
While the NNP continues to “big you up” just remember Hon. David, that diplomacy has been defined as “saying ‘nice doggie’ until you find a big stone” (no pun intended!)  For your sake, Hon. David, we trust that the “nice doggie” will not turn out to be you!

(5). No Confidence Motion:
Since the motion of no-confidence filed by the Hon. Karl Hood, it appears that the New National Party, like hyenas and vultures sensing “a kill” have become emboldened. Diplomacy has gone out of the window and the Leader of the Opposition is slipping back into his old rants.
He has confidently predicted that Hon. Tillman Thomas will lose his Parliamentary seat and he seems to have begun another phase of his campaign as he rolled out his recycled programmes in his address to the nation on September 6th.
Is the opposition NNP receiving some assistance from the Prime Minister’s erstwhile high profile colleagues and their comrades who are now targeting the PM’s constituency with a view to undermining his support base?
The question that we the people are pondering, Hon. David, is WHO will be the “Casca who drives the dagger in the back of Caesar”, to result in the pre-mature crash of the government – unleashing the “feeding frenzy” to deliver Grenada back into the hands of the New National Party.
Thank you, Hon. David, for the opportunity to offer these queries and observations.

Sandra C.A. Ferguson

NDC to hold crucial convention

Sen. Franks Berandine – likely to become the new Chairman of the NDC

Education Minister, Senator Franka Bernadine is tipped to become the new Chairperson of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) when the party holds its annual convention Sunday in Telescope, St. Andrew’s.

A party spokesman told THE NEW TODAY that this is one of the major changes expected at the meeting of party delegates in which Prime Minister Tillman Thomas is seeking to regain full control of the National Executive from former Tourism Minister, Peter David.

He said that the pro-Thomas camp does not expect anyone to mount a serious challenge to Bernadine who is also favoured to be named as the party’s candidate for the Town of St. George in the upcoming general election.

Pastor Stanford Simon has been acting as Chairman of the Congress party following fraud-related charges brought by the police earlier in the year against the holder of the post, Kenrick Fullerton.

Speculation is rife that Simon who is considered to be a part of the David faction will not put up his name for election to the post.

The spokesman said that the current Treasurer of the party, Bernard Isaac is being lined-up to replace David in the key party position of General Secretary.

Deputy Political Leader, Nazim Burke, the country’s Minister of Finance and Energy is expected to retain his position within the party.

Bernard Isaac – eyeing the job of General Secretary

According to the spokesman, Prime Minister Thomas and his key advisors are putting the necessary systems in place to deal with a possible disruption of the convention by pro-David supporters.

“We are planning for a worst case scenario. There is talk on the ground that the rebels are mobilising to send people to try and mash up the convention. We are prepared to deal with that. Some of them (the rebel leaders) might just be bold enough to show up at the convention”, he said.

“This is a most important convention on plotting the way forward for us with the general elections just around the corner. We expect to come out of this convention as a united team since these people (rebels) will soon become history. They know what is facing them after Sunday. None of them will be able to go around the country posing as NDC people”, he added.

THE NEW TODAY was told that there is expected to be a heavy police presence around the convention hall at the St. Andrew Anglican Secondary School (SAASS) to deal with any possible disruption by elements supportive of the David faction.

The ex-Minister of Tourism was a prominent figure in the ill-fated 1979-83 Grenada Revolution, which collapsed after Marxist Prime Minister Maurice Bishop was executed on October 19, 1983 following a bitter feud for leadership with his hardline deputy, Bernard Coard.

After migrating to North America to study law, David returned to the country and got involved in frontline politics once again with Congress.

He resigned three months ago as a member of the government when a former revolutionary colleague, Senator Glen Noel identified him as among persons who was allegedly part of a conspiracy to unseat Prime Minister Thomas.

The convention was shifted from the River Sallee Government School to SAASS after a site inspection.

This newspaper was told that a Protocol Committee from Congress took the decision to make the change in venue since it was felt SAASS was more convenient to accommodate the large number of delegates and other persons expected to attend the activity.

All of the 15 constituencies including Carriacou and Petite Martinique were advised to submit their list of delegates to Treasurer of the party Bernard Isaac in an effort to give the organisers a clear indication of participation.

It is not clear whether David will make an appearance at the Convention to deliver his report as the outgoing General Secretary of the party.

In delivering an address at a recent Town Hall Meeting to constituents in the Town of St. George, David said that he had informed Prime Minister Thomas that he would not be offering himself for any of the Offices at stake.

There are unconfirmed reports that David might prepare a report and give it to someone to bring to the convention.

NDC insiders have said that David’s decision not to seek re-election on the National Executive is “a smart move” to avoid being humiliated at the Convention since he no longer has any control over the various constituency branches.

Recently, a number of constituency branches that were controlled by David had elections for a new executive and the persons elected are considered to be now loyal to Prime Minister Thomas.

These include St. Andrew’s North West, St. George’s North West, South St. George, St. George South East, and St. David’s.

The convention, which is being held under the theme, “NDC Building A Winning Team To Continue The Mission,” will roll over into a mass meeting that is expected to begin at 5:00 p.m. with a Professor in Political Science from the University of the West Indies expected to deliver a keynote address.