Castration or the Gallows!!!

Every time a minor is sexually abused in Grenada, there is a loud outcry by the public and within days of the incident it is back to business as normal.

The brutal weekend rape and killing of 9-year old Ariel should provide the perfect platform for us as a country and people to put on the table for discussion the best possible way to deal with rapists.

We have to find a way to curb the violent sexual desires of rapists in Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.

THE NEW TODAY is suggesting the possible introduction of a law to provide for castration of some of these sex offenders.

It is not a ground-breaking suggestion as castration is used in some parts of the world to deal with these undesirables in society.

Eight states in the U.S allow chemical or surgical castration of sex offenders -California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, Texas, and Wisconsin.

The treatment of sex offenders by castration through the use of certain prescription drugs is common practice throughout the United States.

Of the eight states, Florida in particular allows sentenced prisoners to choose surgical castration in lieu of prison time.

There is a known case in the U.S in which a convicted rapist was given a pardon by a Governor and went on to rape and murder at least two other women after his release in 1999.

In India, after the outrage following the recent gang rape of a woman in Delhi, the Government submitted a draft law proposing chemical castration along with an imprisonment of up to 30 years for rape convicts as part of the anti-rape law in India.

The relevant ministry in India is preparing a detailed bill and the recommended changes are under review.

This newspaper is calling on the legal authorities in Grenada to fast-track the accused person in the killing of Ariel through the system and to use him at the appropriate time as an example to all would-be rapists and pedophile.

The Labour Party government of late Prime Minister Sir Eric Matthew Gairy responded positively to the tremendous public outcry in the 1970’s when a young woman from St. David’s was raped and murdered by a Gang of Men led by the infamous “Precious” who had just been released from prison after serving a lengthy sentence for rape.

THE NEW TODAY is calling on the two major political parties on the island, as well as the smaller ones and the independent candidates to state publicly what they intend to do with rapists in our midst.

Our position is firm – castration – in some cases and those who do not submit themselves to that kind of punishment then the only alternative for them is the Gallows.

This newspaper would like to make some passing comments on the takeover of power in Zimbabwe by the military leaders and the downfall of the longstanding President, Robert Mugabe.

It is sad the way that this man who led his country to freedom from white minority rule in 1980 had to exit after holding onto power for too long through a dictatorship.

The Eastern Caribbean is replete with leaders who do not know when to quit and pass the baton onto more younger and fresh legs to take the development process to another level.

Leaders like Dr. Keith Mitchell in Grenada and Denzil Douglas in St. Kitts have been holding onto the leadership of their parties for over 25 years and are not grooming anybody from within to take over the mantle from them.

These leaders only talk about succession plans in the making but cannot point to anyone who they have groomed for the job at hand.

This newspaper finds rather interesting some remarks made this past week by a former senior member of Denzil Douglas’ administration, Dwyer Astaphan who believes that the former PM and now Opposition Leader in St. Kitts should have passed on the leadership a long time ago.

He said: “I think we have seen his (Douglas) best days …I think he should have gone long ago. He is the leader of the party since 1989 … and the fact that he holding on so long in the labour party it is frustrating the ambitions of younger fresh leaders with new and different visions to carry the party and possibly the country into the next dispensation.”

Astaphan went on: “In other words the people around him (Douglas), the only chance of them becoming the leader is over his dead body. I don’t know if that is an approach that encourages upward mobility and encourages brain power into your organisation to keep it relevant going forward”.

The once mighty and powerful Grenada United Labour Party (GULP) of Sir Eric died with him since he failed to put a succession plan in place.

Today, the sons and daughters of GULP are now scattered within the two major political parties on the island – NNP and NDC – due to Gairy’s failure to look beyond himself.

Is NNP heading in the same direction?

 

Ryan Sylvester pleads guilty to Grievous Harm

26-year old Ryan Sylvester of Happy Hill, St. George is now awaiting sentencing from a high court judge after he pleaded guilty on Monday to causing grievous harm to Avonel Antoine in a September 2016 incident.

The incident occurred in the vicinity of the St. George’s Fish Market where Sylvester and Antoine were seen exchanging harsh words to each other.

THE NEW TODAY understands that Sylvester is claiming that Antoine owed him some money and refused to pay him.

Sylvester alleges that they got into a quarrel around the Fish Market after which he walked away.

He spoke of going into a mini bus and when it passed in front of Antoine the injured man demonstrated some threatening signs towards him.

As a result of this, the accused got off the bus, ran after Antoine and then chopped him.

Antoine admitted that he got into a scuffle with Sylvester at the fish market after which the accused left the scene.

However, after some time he saw Sylvester running towards him with a cutlass, he tried to defend himself but was eventually chopped in the chest.

Sylvester who is being represented by seasoned criminal Attorney-at-Law, Anselm Clouden pleaded guilty to the offence before the presiding judge, Justice Shiraf Aziz at the No.5 High Court on the Carenage.

The judge ordered the accused to stay on bail on the same conditions while awaiting sentencing fixed for December 8.

Sylvester will have to report to Central Police Station on the Carenage every Monday and Friday between the hours of 6.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. and adhere to a 6.00 p.m to 6.00 a.m. curfew.

As part of the curfew, if any law enforcement officer visits the house, the accused is required to present himself at the front door, faling which he can be deemed to be in breach of the conditions.

Justice Aziz called for the customary Social Inquiry report be prepared in preparation for sentencing.

The judge hinted that it could be a lengthy custodial sentence given the fact that Sylvester spent 18 months at Her Majesty’s Prison for a similar offence of Grievous Harm and was released from custody in April 2016.

Deals on Wheels’ from Republic Bank

Republic Bank Grenada Limited has begun to share the Christmas Cheer with unbeatable deals offered at it Deals and Wheels Auto Show as part of its ‘Bigger Christmas Loan’ campaign.

A look at the vehicles that were on display at the event

The much-anticipated auto show held at Republic House, Grand Anse, St. George last Saturday was done in collaboration with six new car dealerships that were on site offering vehicles at reduced prices.

Steele’s Auto, Jonas Browne and Hubbard, Glean’s Garage, Mc Intyre Brothers, Anro Agencies and George F. Huggins were on the ground exhibiting signature brands like Toyota, Subaru, Nissan, Mahindra, Mazda, and Ford among others.

THE NEW TODAY newspaper visited the auto show and spoke with Manager of Commercial Credit at Republic Bank, Valentine Antoine who explained what the bank offered last Saturday to its loyal customers.

“We are offering a lot of specials to our many customers. You can get 100% financing for new vehicles, up to seven years to repay, no negotiation fee and an unbeatable interest rate of 5.5%”, he said.
According to Antoine, any customer who took advantage of the special offers at the auto show gets a chance to win a $20,000 prize.

“Once you obtain financing for a new vehicle or any of our consumer products for the Christmas Season, you have that opportunity. You will first apply the amount to reducing your loan or if you take something else, that doesn’t cost $20,000 you will get the balance in cash”, he said.

The auto show has been a Republic Bank event for over a decade.

Antoine said it is the aim of the financial institution to continue with the show for many more years.

“People like the excitement, they come out, they look for opportunities and they seize them – something that we hope to continue for a long time into the future. We want to spread the Christmas cheer”, he told THE NEW TODAY.

“We want to make sure our customers have the very best. There are competitors out there, but we know that we always have the best offer and on a day like today we’re showing it in full colours”, he said.

NDC donates school supplies

A number of schools within the parish of St. George will benefit from stationary supplies as part of a joint initiative between the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Town of St. George constituency group and friends of the NDC in New York.

Teacher at Wesley College accepts donation from NDC Candidate Claudette Joseph

NDC candidate for the Town of St. George, Attorney-at-Law Claudette Joseph visited Wesley College and the nearby St. George’s Methodist School at Queen’s Park, to make the first handover of supplies on behalf of the NDC Constituency Branch within the Town of St. George.

In an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY, Joseph, who is also a former school teacher said, the items, which included pencils, erasers, notebooks, rulers, crayons, colouring books among others are late in coming as they were expected on island in time for the new school year in September.

However, she said it is still a delight to be able to provide much needed assistance schools.

“We (NDC town of St. George constituency branch and NDC friends in New York) pulled our resources together and we purchased some school supplies. They were a little late in coming (because) we hoped to have (had) them in time for the opening of the new school year but that didn’t happen so they are here now and we are going to do this in at least five other schools in St. George,” she remarked.

In making the presentation to the St. George’s Methodist School, the NDC caretaker engaged the students in a short motivational pep talk and spoke of the NDCs commitment to making Grenada “a better place for everybody, especially for you (students) the future of the country.”

Attorney Joseph who is vying to become the next Member of Parliament for the Town of St. George in the upcoming general election, urged the school authorities to make the best use of the items and to ensure that the neediest students benefit from them.

NDC Candidate for Town of St. George, Claudette Joseph makes handover to students at the St. George’s Methodist School

“We trust that the schools would find the students most in need to give these supplies to and we know they would be put into good use”, she said.

“We want to see all of the students in and around the Town of St. George excel and this is our gesture in making sure that they have the materials that they need,” she added.

Other schools to benefit from Joseph’s kind gesture include the JW Fletcher Secondary School, St. Louis RC Girls School, St. George’s Anglican Senior School and the Park View Pre-school.

Joseph is locked in battle for the constituency against another attorney-at-law and former MP for the Constituency, Peter David.

Her opponent won the seat in 2003 and 2008 as member of Congress but is now a member of the ruling New National Party (NNP).

David and a number of his followers were expelled from NDC in 2012 at the height of a power struggle with then sitting Prime Minister Tillman Thomas.

Attorneys addressing Jurors in Oscar Bartholomew matter

The Oscar Bartholomew Coroner’s Inquest continued last week Friday at the St. David’s Magistrate Court with Attorneys Dr. Francis Alexis, QC and Nigel Stewart making lengthy statements on behalf of their clients.

The two lawyers sought to convince the 6-member jury, that their clients, Rural Constable Wendell Sylvester and retired Police Constable Edward Gibson have no case to answer in relation to the December 2012 death of 49-year-old Oscar Bartholomew.

The jurors were also addressed by Director of Public Prosecution, Christopher Nelson QC, who rose to assist the Coroner in terms of what findings should be found based on the evidence presented to the court.

The inquest is expected to determine by what means Bartholomew was killed and whether it was a case of murder or manslaughter.

After close to three hours of deliberations, the presiding Magistrate, Teddy St. Louis, took a decision to adjourn the matter to this Friday, when the court is expected to hear arguments from two other defense lawyers – Anselm Clouden and Peter David.

The two are the legal representatives for the other three police constables implicated in the death of Bartholomew – Rudy Felix, Kenton Hazzard and Shaun Garness.

At the time of his death, Bartholomew, who was born in Grenada but became a naturalised Canadian citizen was vacationing on the island with his wife.

He reportedly died in hospital after receiving a fatal beating inside the St David’s Police Station.

According to the autopsy, Bartholomew sustained more than 40 injuries, including multiple skull fractures and choked on his vomit after receiving blunt force trauma to the skull.

The report also spoke of blunt force trauma to Bartholomew’s chest and hemorrhaging in both lungs, especially on his right side.

NDC: Protect the children at all cost

“What we have to accept is that we are now in a crisis situation”.

Those were the words uttered by Chairman of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Vincent Roberts as he addressed members of the media on the rape and murder of 9-year old Ariel Bhola of Frequente in St. George’s.

Roberts said the NDC is willing to participate and use its influence to speak to whoever it can and to do whatever is necessary to bring the issue of child abuse and child sexual abuse to an end in the country.

Young Ariel was found dead by a search party the day after she was reported missing.

According to Roberts, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) believes that the issue of child abuse and child sexual abuse is a societal problem and should be dealt with from that perspective.

“We know that there is an economic component, we know that poverty contributes to a certain level of it. However, we also have to look (at it) in a broader way…”, he said.

Roberts recalled previous incidents in which prominent persons in society including a police officer, pastor and businessman were convicted in recent months on sexual abuse cases.

“So, clearly this is not something which is determined by one social status”, he said.

“The children of our nation are no longer safe and we must address it from that point of view”, he added.

The senior Congress official stressed that based on the frequency and degree in which these sexual offences are taking place calls for what he referred to as “an intense implemental approach” by government.

“…I say our government … because it is the government with the resources (and) our government should pool the resources and pull the resources together using the expertise of our Social Services Department, Ministry of Education, maybe our Ministry of Health and the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) to put a package of information together so that parents and children can know what to look out for and how to react”, he said.

“We think the same way we do preparedness for disaster, hurricanes, and earthquakes and so on, that we must have simulation in our schools, we must do role playing,” he added.

The NDC Chairman called on the various media houses in the country to play their part in the fight against sexual child abuse in the build up to Christmas by running some short awareness video clips, and animation.

He said, “I may be wrong but I am satisfied that the general awareness is there in society. We have had the motorcades, the demonstration, the media reports, the general awareness is there.

However, the education with regard to how to respond seem to be an area we can explore”.

“We do not have all the solution, we do not know if that would work as the solution. However, we cannot not try everything possible,” he remarked.

Roberts pointed at the lack of involvement of youngsters in traditional upbringing like involvement in the Scout movement, Cadets, and other civic organisations as possible factors contributing to the breakdown of discipline in the society.

He went on: “There is a drop in the number of children who attend Sunday school – what role are the churches playing? Children used to be busy (by) being involved in something, we have to come together as a nation, as a society and address this problem”.

“I said that I have seen a police officer convicted, it clearly means that it exists in the police force. Are we tolerant of it, are we turning a blind eye to police officers who are guilty – we have to revisit.

“A pastor was convicted – are our pastors and priests and religious leaders involved? Is there a cover up? I am not saying there is but if there is, it must be exposed.

“…A businessman was convicted – do we have business leaders involved? Are we tolerating it because of the influence – we must bring that to an end. Do we have politicians involved – are we tolerant of politicians who may be involved?

“The time has come where parents must put aside their political affiliation if there is and speak up. We must protect our children at all cost.

Roberts stressed that if the issue of child sexual abuse is not properly addressed it will only become a stain on the nation.

“How can we feel good boasting about the safety of our tourists walking the street at night, our people being able to leave things generally loosely in their vehicles and in their homes and at the same time our children are being victimised?” he questioned.

The NDC Chairman is adamant that society has to become intolerant of this kind of behaviour and no one should be exempted for getting involved in the abuse of children.

Co-op Bank wins two awards

As Grenada Co-operative Bank Limited (Co-op Bank) celebrates its 85th Anniversary, it holds true to its vision and mission, relentlessly pursuing all programmes and initiatives necessary to ensure that the Bank remains transparent and accountable to all its stakeholders, including customers and staff.

Ms. Julia Lawrence, Chief Audit Executive accepting the Good Corporate Citizen Award from Elizabeth Tempo at the ECCB Headquarters

Over the past two weeks, Co-op Bank was thrilled to have been the recipient of awards from two prestigious institutions.

The Bank was the recipient of the Employer of the Year Award on October 28 at the annual Business Award Ceremony of the Grenada Chamber of Industry & Commerce (GCIC), which took place at the Spice Basket under the theme “Strategic Realignment for Growth and Sustainability”.

The Bank has invested in its employees’ continued training, education and holistic development, not just through formal programmes of education, but through social activities for staff and their families, and a long running Employee Assistance Programme, which caters for the emotional well being of staff.

Last week, the Bank was the recipient of the Good Corporate Citizen Award for Educational Development from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB).

The ECCB awards for commercial banks are presented annually to Banks within the member states of the OECS that are adjudged to have substantially contributed to social advancement through community outreach programmes.

Co-op Bank has won similar awards in the past, most recently in the areas of Customer Service and Environmental Awareness.

The Bank’s contribution to educational development covered several areas:

(1). Career guidance and internships for school leavers.

(2). Support of adult education programmes.

(3). Comprehensive and affordable deposit and loan programmes:

Dr. Nadia Francis-Sandy – Executive Manager, Corporate & Commercial Banking accepting the Employer of the Year Award at the GCIC Annual Business Awards Ceremony

(a). Super Starter Education Investment Plan (EIP) Customers registered under this plan are provided with Star Points for academic excellence and also are given opportunities to win Scholarships to cover school and other expenses.

(b). Super Starter Higher Education Loan Plan (HELP). This product is affordable and flexible, allowing customers to make minimum payments during their course of study.

(4). Joint sponsorship of school competitions.

The Bank is a corporate sponsor of the secondary schools’ competition SGU Knowledge Bowl, which aids in preparing students for their final examinations.

Co-op Bank is honoured to be recognised for both its dedication to its employees and for the contribution made to the educational development of its community members.

N.D.C congratulates new steelband executive

The following statement was issued by former national calypso and soca monarch winner, Elwyn “Black Wizard” Mc Quilkin on behalf of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC):

The National Democratic Congress publicly congratulates the newly elected executive of the Grenada Steelbands Association led by President Jason Skeete.

We believe that this present executive has the capability and passion to take pan in Grenada to greater heights.

We are encouraged by the fact that they are already on the move meeting with the individual bands around the country.

The N.D.C is conscious of the importance of pan music as an integral part of our culture.

We are very much aware of the positive social impact pan is having on our young people.

An N.D.C government will stand ready to give the Pan Association the support it rightfully deserves so that pan players can maximise their potential and the music itself will grow from strength to strength.

We further pledge that under NDC’s watch there will never be another Night of Shame but glorious pan music for local and visitors to enjoy.

In the meantime, we await the report of the inquiry into the 2017 Panorama fiasco.

Every year you come out playing without fear you keep on Jamming.

You getting better and better, Pan sounding sweeter and sweeter.

Pan man you are my inspiration, My symbol of determination.

“We condemn this brutal act”

The National Democratic Congress Women’s Arm extends its deepest condolences to the family of nine year old Ariel Bhola, whose life was callously ended at the weekend.

We of the Women’s Arm, most of us mothers ourselves, cannot begin to imagine the unspeakable pain and horror being experienced by her family in the face of this tragedy. We pray for strength as they endure and peace as they overcome this trying time.

“We condemn this brutal act and call on the Authorities to bring to swift justice the perpetrators of this heinous crime. It has not gone unnoticed that this is the latest in a series of similar acts perpetrated against our children, especially our girls,” said Women’s Arm President, Jenny Simon.

“We of the Women’s Arm continue our fight for greater enforcement of our existing laws and for a more serious approach by our judiciary to the protection of our Women and children,” she declared.

We also use this opportunity to express our condolences to the family of Alison Baptiste of La Poterie, St. Andrew on his untimely passing. We grieve with his family and send them all our thoughts and prayers.

The Women’s Arm will be visiting the families and will continue to pray that the souls of Ariel Bhola and Alison Baptiste rest in peace.

NDC Caretaker talks pension and wages

The Caretaker Candidate for the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the rural St. Andrew North West constituency, Phillip Alexander has given an insight into the party’s position on pension and wages in the country.

NDC Caretaker for St. Andrew North West, Phillip Alexander

Alexander, the NDC spokesman on Infrastructure, said that although the issue needs to be addressed by Congress, tackling the problem cannot be done in an ad-hoc manner.

Speaking on a popular radio programme on Monday, the NDC Caretaker stated that the issue of an overall pension package cannot be handled in its current construct as government pension is not all that should be considered.

According to Alexander, a wider pension package deal is what is needed to be put on the table for discussion.

“We need to give active consideration and we are giving that as we speak to what is a wider package deal for the entire pension and citizens who are on pension because that is where the challenge lies.

“So, the challenge is not just government pensions. The issue … must be part of a wider package. It cannot be an ad hoc decision, it must never be. That is why I am careful to make mention … and to explain to the nation that we need to find solutions to these things.

“We can’t just say we’re going to increase wages by the drop of a hat, that wouldn’t happen. We have to increase wages on the basis of changing the levels of production in our society; we have to become more creative.

“…We need to start thinking actively of getting alternative ways of working and more creative ways of increasing production in our society.

The issue of resolving pension owed to public officers is expected to be one of the major agenda items in the upcoming general election.

The Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government has written to the three public sector unions outlining a proposal to address the unconstitutional action taken by the left-leaning 1979-83 People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) to discontinue pension for civil servants with the creation of the state-run National Insurance Scheme (NIS).

The proposal calls for government pension benefits “to be paid to eligible officers in the form of a combined pension premised on the principle of a top up on the pension benefits paid by the National Insurance Scheme (NIS)”.

It said that “no eligible officer should receive a pensionable income stream which is less than fifty per cent (50%) of their final salary inclusive of the National Insurance Scheme pension benefits under this new proposed arrangement”.

The government document said in part: “This proposal is subject to the completion of a comprehensive data collection exercise as well as the undertaking of an actuarial study.

“Consequently, Government places on the table in principle the formula below for calculating the pension benefits under this new arrangement on the understanding that the cost of the liability has to be first determined and any agreement would be subject to affordability and sustainability:

*Pensionable Income Stream equals half of the difference between one’s NIS pensionable benefits and the value of sixty-six percent (66%) of the final base salary paid by Government plus the NIS pension entitlement.

THE NEW TODAY understands that the unions – Public Workers Union (PWU), Grenada Technical & Allied Workers Union (TAWU) and the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) – are currently engaging local experts to help formulate a response to the government proposal.