Support Victorious Victor Nazim Burke

By Clare D. Briggs

N.D.C – New Development Coming
Under sincere and honest politicians who are caring
Hundreds of Grenadians came out at the Trade Centre
on Thursday night to illustrate
How they diagnosed the leadership of N.N.P – those Nasty Notorious Pirates!

Elections is not yet in the air,
But they have already sat down and assessed the
country’s situation and for this they prepare.

How else will we succeed if we don’t have a framework
for a well-ordered and equitable society without inclusion and
reconciliation or if in Public office there is no integrity?

N.D.C has developed a policy Agenda
After consulting with people from various backgrounds as stakeholders.
They believe in “Investing in the future, today”,
So that our country can make headway by 2030.

That night you should have heard Tevin Andrews and
Ali Dowden – two youth leaders of the party.
Tevin envisioned about Plans for Carriacou and Petite Martinique;
while Ali Dowden spoke remarkably, even applauding our
Olympians, who reached their peak.

Educated, articulate, ambitious and inspirational, these
young people are, under NDC they will take our country’s
young people very, very far.
This party wants to foster oneness among Grenadians

As we develop National Sovereignty through patriotism
which we should pass on to upcoming generations
The building and strengthening of our institutions,
political and otherwise.

Will promote a peaceful environment, national consensus and
provide better care for our people and improve their lives
NDC has great plans for Agriculture and Agri-business,
Also small businesses, Tourism and Hospitality, Education,
Health-care and wellness.

They even involving Grenadians in the Diaspora,
Surely, more Grenadians will come home and build our country stronger
We have to change the NNP’s philosophy, where benefits are only for
one set of people and their family.
People from all around the country must bloom.

This is how it should be, if as citizens we are guaranteed
rights and freedoms
Look for development in I.C.T and energy,
Concerns for Climate change; Energy another form of Development
will be done with sustainability.
As our Leader ended by saying – what you want for yourself you must
want for others,
This is the vision of all of us for Grenada as NDC Supporters!

“Blaize” – The steel band movement is alive

The Grenada Steel Band Association (GSA) is on a drive to lift the image of the musical instrument through a series of pan concerts.

During a recent press conference, Executive Member of GSA, Michael “Blaize” Robinson said the association was strong and functioning.

Robinson announced that on October 2nd there will be a “Steel Band Jam and Rhythm Competition” at Spice Basket in Beaulieu, St. George’s as part of activities leading right up to next year’s carnival.

All ten steel bands on the island will be involved in the concert.

According to Robinson, during the first week of November all three steel bands from St. John’s will host a steel band extravaganza.

“The steel band movement is alive, vibrant and moving,” he remarked.

Manager of Republic Bank Angel Harps, which placed second in the 2016 panorama competition, Brian Sylvester disclosed that the band spent over $50,000 to prepare for the competition.

As a second-placed winner, the band will receive a prize of $40,000, which leaves a shortfall of $10,000.
Sylvester said the pannists put out more resources than what they get back and that this is done simply because of their love for the culture.

“A smaller band will spend a little less, a larger band will spend a little more, but on average it works out to be the same,” he added.

GSA is currently on a campaign to attract and recruit more young people to play pan.

Sylvester referred to the pan yard as a safe place to keep young people away from prison.

“We need to take care of our youth – down the road we don’t want to have issues and keep building jails, building correction centres, and (GSA) is the only organisation that has that level of youthful following,” he said.

According to Sylvester, among the 70 players listed with Republic Bank Angel Harps, 50 of them are under the age of 18 years.

He said the band enjoys “taking care of the nation’s future” although they are not being paid for that service.

“It is better to straighten that tree now than to have to pay to straighten them later on,” he added.

Manager of Coyaba New Dimension, David “Peck” Edwards who also addressed the media labelled their involvement in pan music as that of “a labour of love.”

Edwards said when a closer look is taken at the support mechanism involving parents, money cannot pay for that.

“We know from day one whether you win panorama or not, you do not win financially, but we are willing to make that sacrifice. All we ask for is the support, appreciation, respect… and once we are able to get that we think we can work with whatever institution and grow the artform sufficiently enough so that the young people coming up would see a future in this thing,” he remarked.

Systems in place for Constitutional Referendum

The Parliamentary Elections Office is in a state of readiness to conduct the first ever National Referendum in Grenada, according to Supervisor of Elections Alex Phillip.

Supervisor of Elections - Alex Phillip

Supervisor of Elections – Alex Phillip

In an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY, Phillip provided this newspaper with an overview of the measures that have already been put in place for the October 27th Referendum.

He likened the referendum to that of a General Election and as such the Parliamentary Elections Office must be prepared to conduct the poll.

He disclosed that Presiding Officers, Registration Officers, Returning Officers, and Poll Clerks along with the Polling Stations and ballot boxes have already been identified.

He said the Electoral Office is now focused on ordering the ink that will be used for the eligible voters who will participate in the Referendum.

The Parliamentary Elections Office is working with a budget of just under one million dollars to conduct the Referendum.

The Supervisor of Elections credited the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with the financial assistance received for the exercise, the design of the ballots, and voter education.

Phillip spoke of his staff working assiduously in taking every effort to have things in place for the Referendum, which takes place in under four weeks.

He said the office has embarked on outreach programmes, designing the ballots, and a website as part of the educational process.

He pointed out that the Parliamentary Elections Office has taken on its own to conduct walk-a-rounds, and visits to most secondary schools including the T.A. Marryshow Community College (TAMCC) to encourage persons to get registered for the Referendum.

The island’s Electoral Office chief indicated that they have noticed “a sizeable increase” in the registration process in recent months.

During the recent launch of the Grenada Constitution Reform Advisory Committee (CRAC) one hundred meetings towards Referendum Day at the Grenada National Stadium, Phillip disclosed that as of August 25, some 69,312 persons are on the Voter’s list.

“We want persons to understand that if you’re not registered as an elector for regular elections you will not be able to participate in the Referendum,” he said.

The Office of the Governor-General issued the writs for the Referendum last Friday.

People wishing to be registered to vote in the Referendum have until October 4 to do so.

Those persons who have already been registered since the last General Elections in February 2013 do not need to register again.

The Supervisor of Elections confirmed that there would be Referendum Monitors comprising the Grouping of Civil Society Organisations, Churches, and Political Parties.

He disclosed that each group is expect to submit to his office by October 3rd the names of their Referendum Monitors.

The law provides for no less than three or no more than five monitors in each constituency.

Voting on Referendum Day takes place between 6:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Phillip is confident that with the use of modern technology, the voting results in the Referendum should become available within a short period of time after the polls have closed.

The Supervisor of Elections is encouraging persons to obtain and acquaint themselves with the seven Constitutional Bills that will feature in the Referendum.

The Bills have already been passed in both Houses of Parliament, and Dame Cecile La Grenade gave her assent on August 5 to the Constitutional Referendum Act.

From among the seven Bills are 69 proposals – the Caribbean Court of Justice and other Justice-Related Issues, which has nine proposals, the Elections and Boundaries Commission contains nine proposals, and Name of State with two proposals.

The others are Bill of Rights and Freedoms, which has 45 proposals, Term of Office of the Prime Minister with one proposal, Fixed Date for General Elections with one proposal, and Ensuring the appointment of a Leader of the Opposition, which has two proposals.

In order for changes to be made to the constitution, two-thirds of the people who participate in the referendum would have to vote in favour of any of the Bills.

“All systems are in place as far as the Parliamentary Elections Office is concerned,” Phillip said.

NDC launches 13-year Policy Agenda

The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has virtually launched its campaign for the next general election with the presentation of a 40-page document outlining its plans for the next 13 years.

Party Leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Senator Nazim Burke presenting the 13-Year Policy Agenda during the launch last week Thursday

Party Leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Senator Nazim Burke presenting the 13-Year Policy Agenda during the launch last week Thursday

The theme of Congress’ 2017-30 Policy Agenda is “Investing in our future today” and was presented last week Thursday evening by Political Leader Senator Nazim Burke to supporters gathered at the Grenada Trade Centre in Grand Anse, St. George.

Sen. Burke said the document defines 26 broad policy goals of the NDC that is intended for use as a guide in the decision-making process and provides a platform that puts young people at the centre of the decision-making table.

The document incorporates the vision of the NDC and its commitments towards building a stronger nation.

It focuses on 12 core principles – acknowledging the supremacy of God, Patriotism/love for country, demonstrating a high level of personal integrity, advancing the principles of self reliance, securing economic and social development, putting people first, empowering young people, education; protecting the poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged; protecting our women and children, recognizing the value of the Diaspora, and engaging social partners.

“What we are seeking to do today is to present to you, outside of a (general) election, where you can sit, read, reflect, ask us the questions, where you can raise your doubts and uncertainties, make suggestions and recommendations as to how these prescriptions may be improved,” Sen. Burke told the assembled audience.

“Never before in the post-independence history of our country has any political party laid out for the scrutiny and evaluation of the public-at-large outside of an election context, the policy, principles and guidelines that will guide its policy prescription as its choices as it seeks to govern the country,” the NDC Party Leader said.

Cross section of NDC executives on hand to commemorate the event

Cross section of NDC executives on hand to commemorate the event

“Let us agree collectively,” he said, that “this nation that we seek to build must be a nation for all… a nation, whose people will take pride in their culture, heritage (and) patrimony…where the environment is protected and preserved for the use and enjoyment of us today and also for those who come after us”.

The document went on to say: “The National Democratic Congress strongly believes that it is necessary and possible for positive development by creating opportunities for all Grenadians and at the same time protecting our environment…we must too ensure that our children and grand children can also enjoy them”.

After the February 2013 general elections in which the NDC lost all 15 seats to the New National Party (NNP), a decision was taken to review and re-develop the party’s policy position.

Over the past two years, Congress has held a number of consultations with party members, supporters, and persons in the private sector locally and in the Diaspora on the way forward.

According to Sen. Burke, an analysis of the local, regional and international realities were also undertaken as part of a “deliberate” approach in putting the policy together (and) the policy framework for a “well ordered society…

“Having heard from you, we tried to capture as best as we could, what we believe are the wishes and aspirations that you have expressed. We have put those in 26 broad policy goals, which we believe represent the policy goals that must guide our nation going forward”, he said.

“Between now, 2030 and beyond let’s pursue these goals…let’s see if we can agree to pursue these goals for our nation…let us agree on what it is we want to do, even if we disagree on how we are going to get it done”, he added.

Sen. Burke pointed out that “it’s ok to disagree, but (to do so) respectfully, with honestly and sincerity and put our nation first always…”.

“This is a moment when the nation must look beyond party and party colours and forge partnerships to advance the interests of the nation,” he said.

The launch of the NDC’s 2017-30 Policy Agenda coincided with the unveiling of the party’s new logo, which now incorporates a banner comprising all the colours of the National Flag – Red, Green and Gold.

ECCB Governor calls for fiscal responsibility

Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Grenadian Timothy Antoine is urging the governments of the sub-regional Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to maintain their fiscal discipline in monetary matters.

Antoine who took up the job of ECCB Governor just over six months ago was recently vacationing in Grenada and appeared on a local radio programme.

He said the need for fiscal responsibility is not just for governments to become fiscally prudent but also for the long-term protection of the regional dollar.

“I’m calling for that because we recognise that we want governments to have flexibility. When things are down, they should be able to spend more, when things are up, they should be able to spend less. To do that you have to be fiscally responsible”, the ECCB Governor told the host of the programme.

Antoine announced that debts and other external payments due by regional governments are paid through the ECCB.

“It is more efficient for them to do it through us. It is more efficient for them to receive their foreign currency through us and to pay out through us because we have access to the whole system,” he said.

The ECCB Governor also looked at the strength of the Eastern Caribbean (EC) Dollar, which has been pegged to the US Dollar for the last 40 years.

One US Dollar is equal to EC$2.7169 since 1976.

According to Antoine, since then it was recognised that the United States was one of the sub-region’s major trading partners, it made sense to have the EC Dollar pegged to the US Dollar as a major international reserved currency because the Eastern Caribbean islands were doing a lot of trading in US Dollars.

Antoine said that by maintaining a strong dollar through the backing of the currency, the ECCB has been able to maintain stability in the system for the last 40 years.

“The value of the EC Dollar comes not from the fact that we issue the dollar… the value comes from the fact that the foreign reserves are there to back that dollar,” he remarked.

Another reason cited for the strength of the EC Dollar is that the ECCB does not print the money, although there is a necessity from time to time to replace the old notes.

Notes and coins are produced by providers in the United Kingdom, and Canada respectively for the ECCB.

Antoine said money is not lent by the ECCB to OECS governments by any fashion.

He said whenever money is issued, the bank has to ensure that it is backed by foreign currency.

“We have a limit on how much we can lend, and there is a veryparticular reason why we do that – to ensure that the EC Dollar is protected. If we lend them willy-dilly … the value (of the EC dollar) will fall and we don’t want that. This is why we’re very careful,” he said.

The Eastern Caribbean Currency Union comprises eight Territories – Anguilla, Montserrat, Grenada, Antigua/Barbuda, Dominica, St. Kitts/Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

IMF-World Bank meetings: a rare opportunity

Saunders (New)The October meetings this year of the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington DC present a rare opportunity for Caribbean government representatives to be heard by crucial decision-makers.

Ironically, what provides this opportunity is a matter most Caribbean governments would wish did not exist.  It is the withdrawal by US and European banks of correspondent banking relations (CBR’s) from Caribbean financial institutions.

The withdrawal of CBR’s has already badly affected several Caribbean countries.  Many Caribbean banks have lost their traditional CBR’s with US banks such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citibank, and also with British banks like Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland.

The loss of these CBRs has come at a high price, including (i) newly imposed minimum activity thresholds below which the account is closed, (ii) higher costs (often associated with due diligence) passed on to the consumer when establishing a new CBR, and (iii) pressure on the respondent banks to limit their exposure to certain categories of customers in order to maintain a CBR.

Some Caribbean banks have had to go further afield to find banks that would settle their transactions. Consequently, costs have risen, and ultimately they will be passed-on to every customer.  The cost of doing business is set to rise.

The problem will get greater.  For instance, the IMF has stated that loss of CBR’s “could disrupt financial services, including trade, finance and remittances, and lead to financial exclusion for certain categories of customers, particularly Money or Value Transfer Services and Non-Profit Organisations, which serve vulnerable segments of the population”.

In fact, money transfer operations in some Caribbean countries have already been forced to close down.  This has had an effect on remittances from the Caribbean diaspora in the US particularly to their dependents in the region.

If the transfer of remittances is severely affected, the social welfare cushion that it provides to the vulnerable in the Caribbean societies will be eroded, putting great pressure on the resources of governments that are already cash-strapped and debt-ridden.  This will be very difficult for all governments, and impossible for some.

Beyond remittances, if Caribbean countries – governments and the private sector – cannot do international business through CBRs, the countries will be cut-off from the global trading system.  This is not imminent but it is by no means impossible unless action is taken at the international level to remedy the very difficult problem that the loss of CBRs presents.

The reason that the global banks in the US and Britain are withdrawing CBRs from the Caribbean and other small countries in the Pacific and Africa, is manifold.  But, at its centre are the several requirements of organisations such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (the Global Forum), including the ‘black list’ of countries that they have produced in the past.

Beyond these two powerful organisations, other countries, such as the US, and regions like the European Union, have created their own lists.   The combination of these measures, supposedly directed at anti-money laundering and terrorism financing activities, weighs heavily on the decision of Banks in the US and about whether or not to provide CBRs.

The fact that Caribbean countries have been branded as ‘tax havens’ and the region has been dubbed ‘high risk’ for financial services, effectively spoiled their chances of keeping CBRs that they enjoyed for years.

The global banks in the US and Europe simply do not want to take the risk of having to pay heavy financial and other penalties for the slightest incident that allows money laundering or tax evasion, however remote it may be.  And, it does not seem to matter that the majority of Caribbean jurisdictions are compliant with FATF and OECD rules or that they have signed agreements to automatically provide tax information to the US and more than 12 EU countries.

So, why do the IMF and WB meetings in October provide an opportunity?  The first reason is that both the IMF and the WB are now engaged on this issue.  Both institutions recognise the immediate and possible long term damage to Caribbean countries if remedial action is not taken swiftly.   They have both established small states machinery and are ready to work for, and with, Caribbean governments to address the problem.  Significantly, the Managing Director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde has spoken on the issue personally.

In July, at a meeting of the US Federal Reserve, she said: “I am concerned that all is not well in this world of small countries with small financial systems. In fact, there is a risk that they become more marginalised.  All actors have a part to play: countries need to upgrade their regulatory frameworks, regulators in key financial centers need to clarify regulatory expectations and ensure consistent application over time; and global banks need to avoid knee jerk reactions and find sensible ways to reduce their costs. There is a lot at stake. For both the big and the small.  For all of us”.

That is an important intervention, and one which Caribbean representatives can seize as they engage in a high-level dialogue with Ms Lagarde herself and with senior officials of the WB.  The engagement is not a guarantee of change, but it is chance to begin the process of formulating solutions to a problem whose gravity should not be underestimated.

It is not a problem that will be contained in the Caribbean.  If economic circumstances become dire, waves of migrants and refugees will wash-up on the shores of the US, Canada and Europe; so too will the narcotics whose trade will benefit from increased poverty and unemployment.  Even money laundering would increase as, inevitably, the cross-border flow of money and other means go underground – far away from the reach of regulations, controls and law-enforcement.

(Sir Ronald Sanders is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States and the OAS.  He is also Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London and Massey College in the University of Toronto.   The views expressed are his own.)

Lawyers called upon to join the education drive on the referendum bills

Attorney General Cajeton Hood has appealed to lawyers on the island to engage in the process of educating the public on the seven bills to be voted upon in next months referendum poll to amend the Grenada Constitution.

Hood made the call last week Tuesday while addressing a special sitting of the Supreme Court on the occasion of the opening of the 2016/2017 Law Year.

“I believe that not just the (Grenada) Bar Association, but each lawyer has a duty, because we are in a special place of knowledge of the law and how it is interpreted and applied to explain to every citizen with whom we come in contact, what the importance (and the meaning of the referendum is to us in Grenada,” he said.

“And that’s an appeal I strongly make to all of us,” he told the lawyers who attended the opening session.

Hood, the principal legal adviser to the Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) administration, urged his colleagues in the legal profession to “join the Grenada Bar Association” and encouraged them to “take pride in what they do in the profession and to ensure that whatever is done will uplift the profession in terms of professionalism, ethics, hard work and delivery of services.”

AG Hood was named earlier in the month as part of a seven-member committee appointed by government to monitor the activities of lawyers in the country following growing complaints by members of the public against them.

THE NEW TODAY has called for the removal of one committee member in light of allegations made against him including one that is currently before the court.

PM talks about Sir Anthony Bailey

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has said that although he had reservations about the awarding of a Grenadian Knighthood to Sir Anthony Bailey, he takes full responsibility for the controversial appointment.

The Knighthood granted to Bailey by Governor General, Dame Cecile La Grenade was revoked by Grenada in August, after a scandal arose in Britain concerning Anthony Bailey and Baroness Patricia Scotland.

During a recent post-Cabinet Press Briefing hosted by Minister of Health and International Business, Nickolas Steele, he announced that a committee comprised of legal representatives made the recommendation for the granting of the knighthood.

Steele along with Minister of State with responsibility for Education, Senator Simon Stiell have shied away from giving the names of the members of the committee that met and approved the Knighthood for Bailey.

Prime Minister Mitchell who facilitated a media conference last Wednesday at the Ministry of Works conference room at the Ministerial Complex did not make any reference to any committee meeting to consider the award to Bailey.

He said that Baroness Scotland and Sir Anthony had requested a meeting with him in his office.

“I know Patricia Scotland – I know about her. So we give them (an) appointment and one of the problems that the Prime Minister has is when people walk into their office, sometime the first thing that they want is a picture. Could you imagine the former Attorney General comes in and ask for a picture and I say no I am not taking a picture with you…you are in a difficult spot.

“…They had an appointment with the Governor General. They then claimed that they have this Constantanian Order and they give medals and blah blah blah blah, all kind of things were named. To tell you the truth, I had my reservations but I did not put that down as a final thing but I had my concerns.

“The fact is the government that I am leading did agree to it based on what we thought was in the country’s best interest. The minute we found out there was some issues it was cancelled, so I am not going to duck responsibility and put that on anybody. I take full responsibility for it, it’s a mistake and should not have been done.

Prime Minister Mitchell stunned reporters when he disclosed that Bailey had even requested to be made Ambassador to the Vatican.

“No way”, the Prime Minister said was his response to the request.

According to Dr. Mitchell, he has had no affiliation or friendship with either Baroness Scotland or Bailey although this is the perception of many persons.

He spoke of not supporting Baroness Scotland in her bid to land the prestigious post of Secretary General of the Commonwealth.

“Baroness Scotland did everything to get Grenada’s support to be Secretary General. I am on papers with her and Bailey but she knew that Grenada agreed not to vote for her…I was open out there supporting the Antigua representative (Sir Ronald Sanders).

“ In fact, when she won at the Heads of government meeting and she got the support of all the European countries…we in the Caribbean, most of us did not(support her)…when she finally won on the second ballot, she was so nice to me before, she passed me like a license but yet when something happened I’m in front page with her as me and she and Bailey (are) some close friends…” he said.

The Prime Minister confirmed that Bailey’s appointment was officially revoked and he was formerly written to inform him of the decision.

Fr. Clifton Harris: Saints are not distant Figures

The Diocese of St. George’s-in-Grenada has saluted the Beatification of Mother Teresa of Calcutta who has been canonised as the Patron of Missionaries.

Celebrant at the Mass, Father Clifton Harris greets the Sisters of Charity

Celebrant at the Mass, Father Clifton Harris greets the Sisters of Charity

Mother Teresa who was born in India went on to form her own Religious Congregation known as the Sisters of the Missionary of Charity in 1948 which has spread throughout the world including Grenada with an estimate 5,000 Religious Women, bringing relief to the poor and destitute, and the sick.

She died on August 4th 2016 and was canonised by Pope Francis in Rome.

The local diocese, which is served by the Sisters of Charity in St. George’s, St. David’s and Carriacou, celebrated the Canonisation with Holy Mass of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in St. George’s.

Diocesan Administrator, Fr. Clifton Harris who was the Celebrant indicated that Mother Teresa’s service was one of love for one another, especially for the least among those in society.

Fr. Clifton noted that Mother Saint Teresa has demonstrated that at the core of justice is the understanding that life is precious.

He reminded the congregation that based on the life of Mother Theresa, they need to reflect on how they treat each other.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that all life are protected, honoured and celebrated, even when it seems to be a burden,” he said.

The Celebrant referred to a phenomenon called “individualism” which is today overtaking the society.

“It’s me, myself and I, and I take care of my own if I have the extra time I will do something for my neighbour,” he told the congregation.

Two Carmelites Nuns are seen venerating the Blessed Mother Teresa

Two Carmelites Nuns are seen venerating the Blessed Mother Teresa

Fr. Clifton said that he is rather moved to celebrate and offer the Mass that recalls the memory of Mother Teresa who received the Nobel Prize in 1979 for her works of charity.

He recalled that he was still a student studying for the priesthood when Mother Teresa visited Jamaica in 1986, and left her footprints through the mission houses that she established.

The Celebrant indicated that the experience he has had of Blessed Mother Teresa reminds him that “Saints are not distant Figures.”

He said while Mother Teresa and Saint John Paul ll are modern saints, mankind do walk and talk with future saints.

Fr. Clifton regarded two of his Dominican Brethren, Fr. Gilbert “Peace And Love” Coxhead, and Fr. Francis Xavier Corr, along with Bishop Emeritus, Sydney Charles as future Saints.

“They may never be canonised, but they are people of heroic virtue in every sense,” he said.

Bishop Charles was instrumental in having the Sisters established themselves in Grenada on July 27, 1985.

Although he has retired, Bishop Charles continues to minister to the Sisters by celebrating Holy Mass with them on a weekly basis.

The Diocesan Administrator recognised the work that the Missionary Sisters of Charity has been rendering to the local diocese by visiting the sick, suffering and the dying.

Since coming to Grenada, the Sisters have established a soup kitchen in St. George’s, and have undertaken pastoral work throughout the diocese.

Burke: Diaspora is important in national development

Political Leader of main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Senator Burke has cited the need to integrate the Diaspora in to plans for the long term development of the country.

Political Leader of the NDC, Sen. Nazim Burke

Political Leader of the NDC, Sen. Nazim Burke

This is one of 12 core principles announced by the Party Leader in the newly developed 13-year (2017-2030) NDC Policy Agenda presented to the nation last week Thursday.

“Our Government must be committed to taking the necessary steps to incorporate and ensure the participation of Grenadians living in the Diaspora in the long term development of our country,” Sen. Burke said as he pointed to some of the benefits that can be derived as a result.

It is said that there are approximately 350,000 Grenadians living abroad.

Sen. Burke noted that many of these persons are “highly educated (and) have skills talents that we don’t have and badly need in our country.

“Many of them are retired people who are simply looking for ways to contribute to somebody or to some cause. Many of them are high net worth individuals who are looking for places to invest. Many of them have worked in international corporations of high repute and have made international connections and networking and wish to somehow use their contacts to give assistance to our country,” he said.

However, the Congress leader pointed out that, “In spite of this potential, 42 years have gone since our independence and no government has been able to develop a plan for integrating the Diaspora for the long term development of our country”.

Describing this as a “tragedy”, Sen. Burke cited the need for an improved and modern health care system in the country.

He stressed that there are many persons living in the Diaspora who would like to return home but are reluctant to do so due to what he referred to as the “poor health care system” that currently exist in Grenada.

He said the NDC believes “that those who are out there love Grenada and want to help, serve and contribute to Grenada (but) it must not be a one way street”.

“…We must understand that they too have interests and we must be prepared to listen to their needs and interests and circumstances and see how we can make this arrangement mutually beneficial because at the end of the day we can all benefit from it”, he remarked.

Congress is trying to regain the seat of power which it lost in a devastating 15-0 defeat at the polls to the New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.

The party has already put its supporters on watch for a possible snap poll before year-end by Dr. Mitchell who is seeking a record fifth term in office.