Pan Men Still Calling for New SMC Board

Despite a payment of just over quarter of a million dollars to compensate the island’s steelbands for the failure to hold Panorama in 2017, a number of the leading pannists in Grenada are still calling for the dissolution of the Spicemas Corporation (SMC) and the firing of its Chief Executive Officer, Kirk Seetahal.

Panmen were getting ready outside the national stadium before the Panorama competition was called off

A total of $233,000.00 was paid out to the eight steelbands that were down to compete on Pantastic Saturday (August 12) with each band receiving $29, 125.00.

In interviews conducted by THE NEW TODAY with several members of the Grenada Steelbands Association, some are still demanding the dismantling of the SMC governing board in order to prevent the fiasco that occurred in Spicemas 2017.

The panorama competition was called off after the organisers failed to erect a stage in time for the show at the National Stadium at the Queen’s Park in St. George’s.

The Steel Bands Association reacted to the “no-show” by calling for the winning prize of $48,000.00 to be paid to all bands but the proposal was rejected by Cabinet which counter-offered with an appearance fee of $20,000.00 to be paid to each band.

THE NEW TODAY understands that the association found that to be insufficient and asked for the pool of money that should have been paid out on competition night to be shared equally among the eight bands which amounted to $233,000.00.

President of the Steelband Association, David “Peck” Edwards told this newspaper on Tuesday that the monies finally agreed upon comes at a great loss to most of the bands.

“We are happy that this fiasco came to an end because we have been going back and forth on this but, I cannot say that we are satisfied because we would have lost a lot”, he said.

“We invested much more than what we received. By accepting the pool and everyone receiving the same monies while that displays unity, most bands would have spent in excess of $29,000.00 – it (the money paid) comes at a loss for many of the bands”, he added.

According to Edwards, if the Panorama competition had taken place, the top three bands would have received more than what the association would have settled for.

He called for an increase in prize money for panmen going forward in 2018.

“With that loss going into 2018, if we can get a bit more to cushion what we had loss (that) would be good”, he said.

Member of Flow Commancheros, Stephen Greenidge told THE NEW TODAY on Monday night that the problem with pan can only be solved with the firing of the entire SMC Board.

He said: “In terms of being happy, we would be happy to see the Prime Minister or the Minister of Culture fire the entire SMC Board – that is what we would like to see in terms of us going forward. That would be the first step in making sure the same thing doesn’t keep repeating itself. It wasn’t just this year, it was last year and it was something that has been building.

“So, one of the best ways to ensure that something doesn’t happen like this again, and not just with pan but with any Carnival event, is to dissolve the SMC Board and have a new set of people who at least know what they are doing and for us to stop putting square pegs in round hole,” he added.

Devoted pannist, Karrie Fortune believes that more monies should have been given to the bands in light of the 2017 Panorama fiasco.

“I believe that more could have been requested to cater for the disrespect meted out to the bands of not having the venue ready for Panorama on Pantastic Saturday night, which was no fault of theirs. A share of the pool is a win to the body (SMC), who had that responsibility of ensuring that Carnival 2017 was a success including Panorama”, she remarked.

“…I join hearts and hands with all pannists to continue pressing for the resignation of the SMC Board, especially the head of logistics, who doesn’t seem to have Steel pan at heart, as he did not see it fit to have the venue adequately prepared for the staging of Panorama 2017”, she said.

Also speaking to this newspaper on Tuesday was Brian Sylvester, Manager of Republic Bank Angel Harps, who believed that some the bands were cheated out of being properly compensated for the competition.

Sylvester said, “While we were heartened by the speed and interest from our government in settling the issue, we must however, note that not all bands, especially the larger ones, would have been appropriately compensated”.

He stated that “in the interest of our culture, the pan movement and the financial constraints of our country, the offer was accepted”.

“…We now await the findings of the investigating committee and the actions thereafter, as a key element in moving forward from this disastrous past two years of pan, under the present SMC and its leadership”.

This is obvious reference to the Colin Dowe-led committee set up by Cabinet to determine the reasons for the failure of the 2017 Panorama competition.

Although, Suzuki Pan Wizards was not a part of the eight bands that were down to compete in Panorama 2017, member of the band, Michael “Blaize” Robertson stood in solidarity with the association in the battle with SMC.

“From a Steelbands Association point of view, I think we are quite satisfied with the way in which the new Minister (of Culture, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen) handled the matter. We have a lot to work out.

We have outstanding short payments from 2016 and even 2017 but we are hoping that financial and other issues will be worked out before the year ends”, he said.

12-year old loses life in fire

Two families are left homeless and one mother is mourning the death of her child who lost her life in a house fire last Wednesday night in the Tempe area of St. George’s.

Dennisha Dominic

Fire fighters were called to the scene only to find two wooden houses completely engulfed in flames and a mother screaming for her physically challenged daughter who was in one of the buildings.

Unfortunately, 12-year old Dennisha Dominic, who was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy perished in the fire.

Information reaching THE NEW TODAY indicate that Dennisha was a victim in a previous fire which resulted in her undergoing extensive treatment.

A police official told this newspaper that her body was found on the floor in what was determined as an attempt being made to escape the building from the raging fire.

There are reports that the mother of the deceased had left her alone in the house asleep and went out for a short time.

The mother said she is baffled as to what caused the fire as she did not leave anything on in the house.

In a video recorded at the time of the fire, the mother was heard screaming, “I did not leave anything on in the house”.

Minister of Social Development and Housing, Delma Thomas and Parliamentary Representative for the St. George North East Constituency, Tobias Clement visited the affected family the day after the fire.

Minister Thomas pledged support and assistance from the ministry to the affected families.

“I must say that it is indeed a tragedy anywhere there is loss of life. I mean the fire is one thing and we know that the family lost everything (but) when it comes to losing a loved one, it is indeed a tragedy for not only the family but the community or even Grenada”, she said.

“Therefore, we want to sympathise with the family on losing the young child and also empathise with them on losing their homes. As a ministry, we would give all the support that we can, not only material wise but you will appreciate that they will need counseling and other support from the ministry and our team will come their way in terms of assisting them”, she said.

MP Clement also mourned the loss of the child.

He said: “Miss Janice (the mother) and her daughter and her family they were friends of mine and family of mine too and it saddens especially when one thinks that the young lady in a disadvantaged position, she tried to get out and she could not, that makes it very, very sad for everyone…”.

THE NEW TODAY contacted the Head of the Fire Department, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Glenroy Corion on Monday and he indicated that the lawmen have still not been able to determine the cause of the fire but investigations are continuing.

Sheldon Monah wins appeal against the State

“It is not just a victory for me. It’s a victory for all who have been brutalised by the police and got no justice….”.

Sheldon Monah wins appeal in assault and battery case against Sgt. Kenny Smart

Those words were uttered by Green Street resident, Sheldon Monah who won his appeal in an assault and battery case brought against Sergeant of Police, Kenny Smart following an incident in February 2013.

The Justices of the Court of Appeal ruled in Monah’s favour in a ruling handed down last Friday at a sitting in St. George’s.

The case for the appellant was argued before the Chief Justice, Dame Janice Pereira and Justices Gertel Thom and Mario Michel by seasoned criminal defense attorney, Anselm Clouden.

Speaking to THE NEW TODAY newspaper on Monday, Monah said he is happy with the result as people have been brutalised in the past by the police and nothing came out of it.

“…I went through all the stages even though it (the High Court ruling) was in favour of the state (but) I continued fighting, bringing about victory for all”, he added.

Monah said now that he has won the appeal, he is considering taking further civil action against the State for the damages caused to him as a result of the incident.

Solicitor General, Dwight Horsford, who appeared in the appeal for the State, was unable to convince the Judges to uphold the 2015 ruling of Justice Jennifer Remy, who dismissed the case on the grounds that Monah and his attorney “failed to satisfy the Court on a balance of probabilities, that he was assaulted by Sgt. Smart while in custody at the South St. George Police Station.”

In commenting on the Court of Appeal ruling, Clouden alluded to the findings of the Court of Appeal Justices that “there were certain technical errors made (during the trial) by the omission of certain evidence by the trial judge that constituted an unfairness in the proceedings in so far as Sheldon Monah was concerned and they allowed his appeal”.

“He (Monah) literally won his appeal and was awarded cost and they have ordered that the matter be sent for a retrial before another judge”, Clouden said.

In September 2015, Justice Remy dismissed Monah’s claims for damages in the case involving Sgt. Smart and the other co-defendants, the Commissioner of Police and the Attorney General.

The State was represented by attorney-at-law, Francine Foster.

Monah had applied to the court for compensation for assault and battery damages arising out of an incident that occurred on December 9, 2012, at the South St. George Police Station.

He was arrested by Sgt. Smart at a public meeting of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for allegedly heckling a political speaker, who was addressing the gathering assembled at the Morne Rouge playing field in Grand Anse.

Monah was slapped with a charge of Assault on a Police Officer, after he allegedly spat in Sgt. Smart’s face while he was speaking to him about his behaviour.

The accused denied the accusation and charged the officer with assaulting and battering him while in his custody at the South St. George police station.

He alleged that while in custody, Sgt. Smart physically assaulted him while another police officer, whom he could not identify “stood by and watched” without doing anything to stop it.

Monah also alleged that Sgt. Smart punched him in the face damaging his right eye, as well as wrapped an unidentified object around his neck, and threatened to “blow his head off with his gun” if he made any noise.

In his defence, Sgt. Smart said that he only transported Monah to the police station, where he handed him over to the diarist and returned to resume duty at the Morne Rouge playing field.

He said that he had remained at the police station for approximately 2 to 4 minutes after arresting Monah and it was a Police Constable who dealt with the arrested man and did not assault him as being alleged.

Monah was seeking damages in the sum of $2, 500, in addition to general damages and costs among other relief.

The female High Court Judge ruled in a counterclaim that based on the evidence the defendants (Smart, Commissioner of Police and the Attorney-General) had also failed to prove on a balance of probabilities that Monah assaulted the Police Sgt as alleged and the matter was dismissed.

Was the crucifixion of Jesus wrong?

In the beginning Adam and Eve had an excellent opportunity but Satan the evil, deceitful serpent got the better of Eve and Eve got the better of Adam opening the way for suffering destruction, sin and death.

Satan knew he could not beguile Adam so he approached Eve and was successful through Eve to implicate Adam. The Heavenly Father did not question Eve because He did not instruct Eve but instructed Adam on what must be done and should not be done.

Therefore, all responsibilities rested squarely on Adam to answer for his disobedience and that of Eve who were both reprimanded. The Heavenly Father then recognising salvation is required to restore mankind He promised His Son Jesus as a sacrifice for the restoration of man’s soul to live with him in eternity.

Throughout the ages the Heavenly Father observed each family within each generation providing indicators of reliable and capable families worthy to manage the responsibilities of upbringing His Son Jesus on the earth.

Despite Abraham’s courage to offer Isaac, moved the heart of the Heavenly Father to strengthen His resolve to offer Jesus as a sacrifice. Was the crucifixion of Jesus right or wrong?

At the right time as the Heavenly Father saw it fit He began to prepare the way for the delivery of Jesus into the world by sending an angel to Zacharias and months later to Mary with INSTRUCTIONS on what to do and not to do.

The Heavenly Father gave Adam instructions, He gave Noah instructions, and He gave Abraham, Joseph and Moses instructions. Should I continue with all the names He gave instructions?

The key word is “instructions” what to do and not to do as He directs to the end results. Mary was humbled mentioning the Heavenly Father hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden and kept the instructions in her heart to ensure the birth of Jesus into this world.

Despite being fatigued and sore she obeyed instructions and journeyed to Egypt to protect the child Jesus from Herod.

Jesus grew and began carrying out the instructions of His Heavenly Father despite being tempted by Satan he overcame to the stage of having his apostles and followers. He spoke many parables the apostles did not understand and upon explaining he mentioned if you do not understand earthly parables how you would understand Heavenly parables.

During his last days he had a supper and mentioned woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed. In another portion he said I go up to Jerusalem and would fall into the hands of sinful men, describing what they’ll do and then KILL him.

Is there a difference from being ill-treated and killed by nailing to a cross or obeying instructions to offer a sacrifice? How many sacrifices offered to the Heavenly Father that was accepted without his instructions on how it should be done?

Was the Heavenly Father incapable of instructing how His Son should be offered as a sacrifice acceptable to Him? Jesus said at His coming those who pierced his side would weep and wail etc.

Jesus cried to His Heavenly Father – why hast thou forsaken me? Was it right to obey the instructions of the children or the Father? Again, did the Heavenly Father instruct it?

To date our generation is impacted negatively in various ways because of disobedience to the Heavenly Father’s instructions.

Ashby Charles

Insuring the Caribbean’s future

Insurers and re-insurers are facing major losses in the wake of the damage done in the Caribbean and the United States by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. These losses will have a direct and immediate impact on insurance premiums across the entire Caribbean and the Eastern seaboard of the US.

Higher building and flood insurance costs coming on top of the costs of rebuilding damaged properties will prove to be too expensive to many home owners and proprietors of businesses.

Consequently, even as reconstruction takes place in the several islands that were hammered by these violent storms, there will be many abandoned sites for many years to come. Persons who find the costs of new insurance too high might simply opt to collect insurance payments, if they were insured, and walk away.

Those homeowners and other proprietors, who were not insured or were under-insured, have an even greater problem. They have to find the money from their own resources to rebuild and they might well find that an impossibility. Hurricanes don’t only destroy properties and take lives, they also create unemployment and increase poverty – something that those who deny Climate Change and Global Warming need to understand.

A government report on the US economy revealed that the hurricanes led to the first job losses since 2010.

The labour market lost 33,000 jobs in September alone.

Insurers and re-insurers will raise their rates for certain in the coming weeks. Some might collapse under the burden of pay-outs from the hurricanes. Those that survive will increase premiums not only because they have to recoup their losses but also because they have to cover the enlarged risk posed by bigger and fiercer hurricanes.

Global insurers and reinsurers have already issued profit warnings. For instance, Lloyd’s of London has announced that it expects net losses of US$4.5 billion from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Lloyd’s 80-plus syndicates are reported to have already paid out more than US$160 million in claims from Harvey and more than US$240 million from Irma with more claims to come from the ravages of Hurricane Maria.

And, Lloyd’s of London insurer, Beazley, said losses from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and a series of earthquakes in Mexico would reduce its 2017 earnings by about US$150 million. US property insurer Chubb Ltd. estimated after-tax losses of up to US$1.28 billion from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, with claims arising from Hurricane Maria not yet taken into account.

So, insurance premiums will increase, and a few insurance companies might even decline coverage of certain properties unless they are satisfied that they are built to withstand Category 5 plus hurricanes, which has become the new normal.

It should be fairly obvious that insurers and re-insurers will take the view that the rewards of providing insurance cover might not be worth the risk, given the ferocity of hurricanes. The only thing that would persuade them to take a different and more favourable position is the legislation and implementation of codes that require all buildings to adhere to high standards of resilience.

Governments throughout the Caribbean, including those that have been spared hurricanes in recent years, will now have to legislate new building codes and they will have to police their implementation with stringent penalties for builders who fail to meet them.

In this regard, there is a lesson to be learned from Mexico City, where in the wake of repeated earthquakes over 30 years, the government legislated tighter building codes and better construction materials. Those building codes saved Mexico City from a worst disaster than it experienced last month. But, less devastation would have occurred had enforcement of the codes not been deeply flawed and uneven.

So, the two lessons from the Mexico City experience are that strong building codes are an absolute necessity and strict enforcement is also vital to save lives and protect property.

As hurricane-damaged Caribbean countries now begin the long and tortuous process of rebuilding, legislation of stronger building codes and enforcement of those codes are imperative not only to withstand the force of more powerful storms, but also to convince insurers and re-insurers to continue giving property owners adequate insurance coverage.

Caribbean countries, that have not suffered from hurricanes in recent years, ought to follow the same pattern. Allowing rebuilding at standards that applied previously is a prescription for catastrophe. Year after year, the region could be faced with a cluster of countries being decimated as has occurred this year. And, if that were to happen, the region could become uninsurable, leaving little or no opportunity for rebuilding and ruining economies irreparably.

All Caribbean countries are vulnerable, and any of them could be a victim. In this connection, the legislation, implementation and policing of stringent building codes designed for the greatest resilience has to become the benchmark for the entire region.

The time to legislate and implement that benchmark is now. Waiting for a disaster before taking these measures would be a huge mistake for which the entire Caribbean would pay dearly with few, if any countries or agencies, coming to their rescue.

All governments and their disaster preparedness organisations should begin spreading a message that resilient building across the length and breadth of their nations is essential. No person likes to expend money, particularly if no immediate benefit can be seen for the expenditure. But, regret for not spending to achieve a higher level of resistance would serve no purpose in the wake of another hurricane’s devastation.

(Sir Ronald Sanders is the Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to the US and the OAS. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London and at Massey College in the University of Toronto)

Lovely 1 discontinues service to Grenada

Grenadian traffickers have been dealt a serious blow with the decision of The Lovely 1 passenger ferry to discontinue its services between St. George’s and Trinidad and St. Vincent.

Lovely 1 Captain Neville Wade, who has more than 50 years in the shipping business

THE NEW TODAY understands that the ferry, which started travelling to and from Grenada during the last week in April, left the island on August 23 and has not returned since.

The double-decker boat, which has a seating capacity of 350 persons, operated through local agents Paddy’s Shipping.

It was used as an alternative by traffickers to travel weekly to Trinidad due to the high cost of air travel to fly in the region.

Lovely 1used to leave the St.a George’s port early on Wednesday mornings and returned on Fridays.

THE NEW TODAY understands that the boat owner discontinued service without giving reason.

A source close to the shipping agents told THE NEW TODAY on Tuesday, that on the day before making its final voyage from Grenada, an official “just said hurriedly that tomorrow was the last.”

Unconfirmed reports are that the boat had to go and dock because something went wrong with the engine, while rumours had been circulating for some time that the boat might discontinue the service because of high fees charged by the Grenada Ports Authority.

The Boat’s owner, Captain Neville Wade who has more than 50-years of experience in the shipping business could not be reached for comment on the issue.

GUT: More teachers should be regularised

Although the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) is pleased that the process to regularise teachers in the service are continuing, the body is not happy with the due diligence being done on the issue by government.

President of the union, Lydon Lewis has criticised the Ministry of Education for not doing the proper due diligence needed to ascertain how many temporary positions are within the system.

The Ministry announced that 70 temporary positions will be made permanent in the system and another 31 will be reviewed for regularisation.

New Parliamentary Secretary for Education, Senator Kate Lewis told reporters at the weekly post-Cabinet Press Briefing that government recognises “the importance of having our temporary teachers given permanent positions because we want them to have a comfortable life as well as to have easy access to debt financing”.

According to Sen. Lewis, when the status of the next batch of temporary teachers are regularised, it will bring to about 380 the number of teachers being made permanent employees and reducing the original number by more than half.

An interview process was conducted on Wednesday by a Panel which was supposed to consist of three members – the Chief Education Officer or his designate, an independent person and a member from GUT.

However, Lewis told THE NEW TODAY newspaper in an exclusive interview on Tuesday that the Union opted out of the panel in order to avoid conflict of interest.

He said the GUT took the position that its responsibility is to be there for teachers if they levelled any complaints about the interview process.

“We would not be part of that interview process because we would have to act as judge if there are complaints after the process is completed. So, it does not make sense with us sitting around the table and then come back and have to act on behalf of aggrieved teachers. That’s why we have refused a sit around the table”, he told the newspaper.

“We asked them to complete the process and when the process is completed we would do our due diligence to determine whether or not the process was clear and transparent and that the best persons for the positions available were selected”, he said.

According to Lewis, he is happy that some temporary teachers will now be made permanent in the service as this is long overdue.

He especially singled out the Physical Education Teachers and teachers from two of the newest schools on the island – J.W. Fletcher Catholic and the Grenada Christian Academy.

Lewis said: “We believe for a very long time the P.E. Teachers especially should have been regularised and they would be in this coming rounds. I am happy that new schools that were set up like JW Fletcher and Grenada Christian Academy would be having their batch of teachers regularised because they came in when the school was formed and therefore there are permanent vacancies”.

The Union President believes that more permanent positions need to be filled and the ministry’s due diligence should have seen that.

“What we are not happy with is the Ministry’s justification as to the number of teachers to be regularised. Based on the information we have now is that we have 135 persons and we’ve only been told that we have just about 71 vacancies.

“The question is what happens to the rest of the teachers who are interviewed and are not successful and would not be placed permanent. We believe that the ministry needs to do more due diligence in determining the actual number of vacancies and thereby putting more teachers permanent.

“We appreciate the fact that they would be made permanent – what we have a problem with is the ministry determining the number of positions they have available.

“…We believe that all of the teachers in the current dispensation … should become permanent; because when we ask them how the teachers would be treated, are they holding on for anybody, are they going to be sent home, the answer is no.

“Therefore, it clearly gives us the idea that these teachers are not holding on, they are not in any vacant position; therefore, their position should be made available and they should be placed on permanent”.

Social Partners or Partners in Crime?

Grenada has no opposition in the Lower House of Parliament. As such, people were hopeful that the Committee of Social Partners would play an effective role in helping to hold the government to a degree of accountability. Sadly, this appears to have been a vain hope.

Almost from the moment it was installed, the NNP regime has been on a reckless rampage against the laws and institutions of Grenada. From the removal of the Commissioner of Police and the Cabinet Secretary, to the appointments of Tafawa Pierre as FIU head and Steve Horsford as CEO of the citizenship programme, the government has shown that it considers its 15 – 0 electoral victory as a blank cheque to do whatever it wants, regardless of law or constitution.

Dr. Mitchell has blatantly refused to table the half-yearly reports on the CBI programme before the parliament. He has left the nation totally in the dark regarding the state of the national debt. At his party’s women’s rally, he insulted two young opposition politicians and all Grenadian women. If one’s intention is to denigrate men by calling them women, the inference is that women are somehow inferior.

Dr. Mitchell advised those who were protesting his plans to dispose of Camerhogne Park to “go to hell”. He believes that citizens with physical disabilities have no right to express themselves on national issues. His “disabled people and all” comment was as ugly as it gets.

In March, the government announced an investigation into bubbul in its safety net programmes. Seven months later, it has been quietly covered up, even though Senator Stiell said on “Beyond The Headlines” that the inquiry was a sign of NNP’s transparency. Why is Gregory Bowen so silent on this matter?

Recently, the country has been faced with a barrage of sex crimes, prompting the Ministry of Social Services to organise marches and motorcades. At the same time, a serious allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor was made against a senior government minister.

Not a question was asked!

In the face of all these and other questionable deeds, the Social Partners have maintained a deafening silence. Is it because some of its members have received government subventions, honours, jobs, contracts and other inducements?

Unless they stand up for the interests of the Grenadian people, they will be rightly seen as the NNP’s Partners in Crime.

National Patriot

Over 40 prison officers recruited

The staff at Her Majesty’s Prison at Richmond Hill, St. George has been increased by another forty-five young men and women following a Passing out Parade last Thursday at Camp Salines in the south of the island.

Some officers were seen performing their drills

The newly recruited prison officers were trained by members of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) and received three months of rigorous training and exercises.

Held under the theme, “Discipline and Commitment – The Key to Correctional Excellence”, the passing out ceremony was held under the patronage of Commissioner of Police, Winston James, and Commissioner of Prisons, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), John Mitchell.

Minister of State with responsibility for Disaster Management and Information, Senator Winston Garraway was also present.

The training programme was based on a new standard created for Custodial Security, Level 2 NVQ, together with other elements introduced by the Police Training School.

Commissioner of Prisons, ASP Mitchell encouraged the new officers to be on the alert at all times, as the prison is filled with reformed and non-reformed prisoners.

“From now until the day that you retire, the eyes of inmates, the eyes of your fellow officers and colleagues, the eyes of the general public will be on you. You will be subject to Monday morning quarter backs…you would be subject to 20/20 hindsight vision. Every action you take or you don’t take would be subject to intense scrutiny. This is just a fact of life for you from now on”, he said.

The recruits give a display of their slow and quick marches

“…You must always remain inquisitive, you must always remain suspicious, you must always remain very thorough in the execution of your functions. If you do not do that, you will be unfit for duty. There are inmates who spend most of their time planning how to destroy the intrinsic values or to degrade the system and processes to penetrate our security. You will encounter the worst of society, those who have committed the most hideous crimes and yet show no signs of remorse. On the contrary, you would encounter fine spirited inmates who have seriously embraced rehabilitation for the reintegration into society. I urge you to know the difference, but one thing is constant, they are all inmates,” he added.

Acting Superintendent of Police, Gregory Mathurine who delivered the Commandment’s Address told the ceremony in his address that the newly trained officers can contribute to the transformation of Her Majesty’s Prison.

He said the recruits were exposed to topics such as the history of the prison, structure of the prison, as well as the role and responsibilities of the various ranks.

According to Mathurine, the recruits were lectured on life skills which is seen as critical “in the transformation and the remodeling and reshaping” of the minds of inmates.

“…I am saying that they (the recruits) must have life skills and as a result communication was a big factor”, he said.

The Commandante also identified interpersonal skills and relationships, as well as personality type, conflict management as critical areas that were focused upon as part of the training regime.

He stated that one of the critical factors that help de-motivate and bring “our fellow officers into problems is how they manage their monies and (it was) also included in this programme (as) an aspect of financial management”.

Junior Officer, Nike Baptiste delivered the Valedictorian address on behalf of the 45 inmates and looked back at the time spent at the training school.

He said: “Today we acknowledge the people we met, reflect on the lessons we learnt, remember the tears and the laughter and the memories that we created during our stay at the training school as junior officers.

“We remember these experiences as for some of us, it was our first time being on our own away from our parents and loved ones…”, he added.

Baptiste pointed out that “a deep sense of fear ate the pit of our stomachs” and that “the fear of failure, the fear of the unknown and the fear of the future” often times occupied the minds of the recruits.

However, he said that the newly enlisted prison officers were well trained to take on the responsibilities that lie ahead.

“…We have what it takes to push boundaries and to effect positive change at Her Majesty’s Prison in whatever small measures as we serve, protect and rehabilitate…”, he remarked.

In the special awards section Baptiste received the highest award – the Baton of Honour while Tomica George ended up with the award for Highest Aggregate, and the Best Turned Out Female prize was awarded to Krystal George who was also recognised as Best at First Aid and Best at Drills.

The Best turned out male was Dwayne Modeste, Best Female at Physical Training went to Shemica Roberts while Best Male at Physical Training was adjudged to be Christon Courtney.

Ayo wins local leg of Courts OECS Reading Competition

Eight-year old Ayo Taylor of First Choice Junior School has emerged as the winner of the 9th Courts OECS Reading competition held last week Tuesday at the National Cricket Stadium at Queen’s Park, St. George.
Ayo will represent Grenada at the OECS level of competition in St. Lucia on a date to be announced by the organisers.

8-year-old Ayo Taylor

The youngster walked away with the $2000 grand prize while her school was also awarded matching funds of $2000.

There were six (6) finalists in the competition with Philon George of St. Joseph’s R.C. taking the second placed prize of $1000, while Jordyn Christopher of St. George’s Anglican Junior School walked away with $750 for the third spot.

The other participants were Dejon Baker of Harvey Vale Government School on the Sister Isle of Carriacou, Rehan Belfon of the Samaritan Presbyterian School and Mickel Toussaint representing St. Patrick’s R.C. school and $500 each.

The finalists were also given certificates of participation, book prizes and a starter saving account compliments the GUT Co-operative Credit Union.

THE NEW TODAY understands that due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in Dominica, the 2017 final has been postponed to a date to be announced during the first quarter of 2018.

Unicomer Grenada Ltd. has expressed sincere gratitude to the Ministry of Education and the GUT Co-operative Credit Union for their immeasurable support to the competition for yet another year.

“To all those who actively and inactively participated, your contributions have made reading 2017 a resounding success and Unicomer Grenada is truly grateful,” the company said in a release issued Tuesday.