Moving forward with NHI

As part of the design phase of the National Health Insurance Project, the University of the West Indies, HEU, Centre for Health Economics (UWI-HEU) conducted two (2) sensitisation seminars with key stakeholders and social partners of the National Health Insurance in Grenada.

Participants at the UWI-HEU Training

The seminars were held on September 5th and 6th with the objectives of enhancing the knowledge of participants in the philosophy and operations of a National Health Insurance Programme and capacity building for its administration, once implemented.

The training was facilitated by resources of UWI, HEU of St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad who are the lead consultants on the NHI Project.

The presenters were Professor Karl Theodore – Director, Dr. Ashton Cumberbatch – Technical Advisor/Medical Specialist and Dr. Stanley Lalta – Researcher on the Grenada NHI Project.

Also present, in the capacity of Resource Expert, was Dr. George Gough – Chairman of the National Health Insurance, Belize who spoke about his country’s experience with the implementation of their National Health Insurance programme including the successes and challenges.

Belize officially launched their NHI in 2001.

Present at the sensitisation seminar on both days and addressing the participants was Minister of Health, Social Security & International Business, Nickolas Steele.

Day 1 targeted Senior Officials including the Board of Directors of the National Insurance Scheme, members of the National Health Insurance Advisory Committee and Senior Officials of the Ministries of Health and Social Development.

Participants on Day 2 included the social partners with representatives from the Trade Unions, Medical, Pharmaceutical and Allied Health Councils, GUT Group Medical Plan, Grenada Chamber of Industry & Commerce, Grenada Employers Federation, Police Welfare Association, Registry, Government Information Service, Grenada Food and Nutrition Council and private medical facilities.

Key senior managers of the National Insurance Scheme and the staff of the National Health Insurance Secretariat were also in attendance.

The information sharing sessions were part of the Design Specification of UWI-HEU’s contract to provide Technical Support in the Development of Skills and Capacity for managing the NHI and was the third such session facilitated by the team.

On July 4th and 5th, a two-day in-depth capacity building workshop was held with persons who may be involved in the operations of the NHI.

Participants at this workshop included representatives from the following departments:-

• Ministry of Health (Planning, IT, Epidemiology, Communications)

• Ministry of Finance (Policy)

• NIB (Director, Deputy Director, IT, Finance, Investments, HR, Accounts, Compliance, Statistics/Data Processing, Internal Auditor)

• NHI Secretariat (Project Head, Admin Officer, Secretary)

That two-day workshop was facilitated by Dr. Stanley Lalta and Roger McLean with support from Vyjanti Beharry, Kimoy Worrell and Charmaine Metivier, all of the UWI-HEU.

Deputy Director of the National Health Insurance – BVI, Roy Barry was present at that session in the capacity of Resource Expert and spoke about his island’s experience, challenges and successes.

The National Health Insurance Secretariat continues to work with UWI-HEU on the design phase of the NHI Project to ensure a successful implementation.

While the participants of the sessions were encouraged to share their knowledge with the members of their various organisations and groups, public discussions will be held throughout the tri-island with key groups at an opportune time to ensure everyone is aware and informed of the NHI.

Real issues – The walls of Silver Sands

I am not a “RING IN” person, but I am still able to put pen to paper, which I am doing, by joining the national refrain to save and protect our prized assets and natural patrimony – GRAND ANSE BEACH and Camerhogne Park from the new colonisers, whose ultimate goal may not be in our best interest.

The evening programme – “REAL ISSUES”, sponsored by Betty Ann Lazarus of MTV on Thursday, Sept. 13th, 2018 at which Sandra Ferguson and Randall Robinson were the guest speakers, brought into focus the need for eternal vigilance, if we are not to become 2nd class citizens in our own country.

The fact of matter is that we have a Physical Planning Authority that is impotent. If it ceases to exist tomorrow, it would make no difference as its authority has long been usurped by the politicians.

The Physical Development and Contract Act stipulates that certain conditions must be adhered to in the orderly and sustainable development of Grenada. This is so, in order to enhance our standard of living and to bequeath to Grenadians yet unborn a country no less viable than what we have inherited.

There seem to be however, a creeping trend among some of our compatriots that Grenada belongs to them, and that they can do as they like with it to the detriment of others, who are in the majority.

History is replete with examples, where a trend over-time becomes saturated, and is outlived or superseded by a more relevant and sustainable option. This current trend may well be in the final stage of its existence, as its relevance and ultimate goal does not appear to be in congruence with the aspirations and needs of the majority of Grenadians.

Norris Mitchell

Major far-reaching issues concerning CCJ referendum

The despicable ‘attitude and approach’ employed by the powers-that-be during the process for the 24 November 2016 first constitutional referendum since the nation’s 7 February 1974 Independence, remains for the second attempt to have Grenada accede to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in its final appellate jurisdiction on 6 November 2018.

Regrettably, the ‘educational darkness’ by which the constitution was introduced at Independence is synonymous by which the constitutional referendum is being undertaken, with great insult to the intelligence and sovereignty of the people.

Review the previously internet-circulated article “Grenada Constitution Reform: In Darkness!”, and its related links; particularly, this commentary presents various areas and aspects which need to be understood.

A Constitution of Grenada (Caribbean Court of Justice and Renaming of Supreme Court) (Amendment) Bill 2018, was laid in Parliament on 15 May 2018, but without having the key civil society stakeholders, including Grenada Bar Association, being familiarised with it.

On 29 August 2018, a government-sponsored yes-vote campaign for the referendum on the CCJ was launched in a so-called public consultation under the theme “Break the Chains of Colonialism for One Caribbean”, the occasion, however did not have any concerted conversation and circulation of the bill.

After the passing of the bill on 7 September 2018 by the House of Representatives, the Senate is expected on 14 September to do likewise from a political viewpoint.

However, the Senators have been asked to exercise soberness, substance and sincerity on the bill; also review the previous internet article, “Focus for Senatorial Debate on Grenada Second CCJ Referendum”, which indicates the scope and effects of the grave issues, especially with respect to Grenada not using the CCJ’s Original Jurisdiction to protect its people.

Notwithstanding the anticipated vote by both Houses of Parliament for the CCJ, and the loudness and bombardment by the proponents of the CCJ for a yes-vote at the referendum, Grenadians are warned to be very mindful of the risk of surrendering to the powers that-be, their ‘last reserved’ entrenched and safeguarded constitutional control, for participating in such a demanding, noble and far-reaching vote.

Past experiences, even as is evident in this recent time, should be the most compelling factor for negotiating on the CCJ referendum, by taking the powers-that-be to task and parading real people’s power.

Thus, it would be difficult to comprehend workers generally, and public officers specifically, having to pacify the harsh judicial, legislative and socio-economic irregularities and exploitations being faced, by voting for the CCJ under the present governance arrangement and outstanding grievances, without the labour-force gaining any sufficient and satisfactory solutions on the pertinent problems.

Whilst the powers-that-be, including the proponents for the CCJ, are demonstrating political posturing, rhetorical entertainment and emotional persuasions to grab, especially the unsuspecting electorate, by campaigning on the ridiculous theme, regarding breaking the chains of colonisation and completing regional independence, the pointed and substantial issue concerning the content and context and consequence of the CCJ Bill is not presented and explained to the people.

Herein lies ‘deceit and danger’; nightmares and regrets would come from loopholes, red-herrings and any treacherous acts to be discovered following the passing of the bill in the referendum.

Again, it cannot be over-emphasised that obtaining justice in a ‘corrupt and dark’ setting is about swimming against the heavy tide, fine prints, procedural hurdles, convenient technicalities and legal interpretations would bring gross disappointments and disadvantages.

Moreover, it must not be missed that the service of the CCJ can only be obtained after first fulfilling certain prerequisites and climbing certain steps, as declared in the five-part article,

“Is Grenada’s CCJ Referendum really about access to Justice?” (see parts one and two).

The average Grenadian, especially the small business persons and the youthful population, should not vote for the CCJ Bill without understanding the essence and essentials of the 2001 Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas and particularly the proclaimed 14 February 2001 legal agreement establishing the CCJ.

Moreover, the people must determine the basis and rationale for enshrining this regional legal agreement, whose ‘primary supplementary’ purpose is about trade, into the Constitution of Grenada, and thereby threatening, or rather removing, their national constituent sovereign power.

Are Grenadians prepared to embrace neo-colonialism facilitated under the auspices of a kingdom controlled by the Heads of Caricom?

It must be noted that unfortunately to this date, there has not been any public response to the internet-circulated “Open letter: CCJ Bill 2018 – request for clarifications” by Grenadian Social Activist Sandra Ferguson, re CCJ Bill 2018: Making the Agreement Establishing the CCJ a Constitutional Instrument.

It would be instructive also to know the status of this Agreement in relation to the constitutions of the four countries having the CCJ as its final appeal court.

Within a climate of allegations, perceptions and/or realities of corruption by government institutions, as well as constitutional abuses and disrespect for the rule of law by the powers-that-be, the status of the electoral machinery to engender integrity of the CCJ referendum is critical to be assured.

Typical consideration is the legislative regulations for the conducting and concluding of the elections, with particular attention to the limitations and loopholes of the Constitutional Referendum Act and the Representation of the People’s Act.

Recall the internet-circulated articles, “Should the referendum be with the current elections provisos?” and “Could Grenada’s 2018 voting be declared unethical and illegal?”, making reference to the revealing reports by overseas democratic Elections Observer Missions, on the state of the local electoral machinery.

This unresolved case also may put a clear verdict on the credibility of the main opposition political party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) which had raised pertinent concerns, but has remained disturbingly ‘dumb and passive’; review the NDC Heartbeat column “Electoral Reform before another referendum”, as appears on the internet.

Equally of concern and significance is what follows after the powers-that-be would have had their way with the upcoming referendum.

That is, the structural arrangement and implementation phase on the CCJ Bill should also be advanced to the people.

The passing of the bill gives an implied authority to the politicians to remodel the supreme law of the nation, but resulting in a degrading value for the people.

As cited for a Constitution of Grenada Restructuring Act, the politicians are happily anxious to reposition and renumber the provisions of the constitution, as well as to draft new regulations for legal interpretations, after the passing of any constitution amendment bill at a referendum.

Are Grenadians then aware that they can vote for their ‘self-inflicted’ long-term autocratic rule at the CCJ referendum?

The CCJ Bill is not in the name, interest and authority of the people, neither are the affairs of the CCJ referendum under the knowledge, scrutiny and control of the people.

Whilst the action of voting yes or voting no is simple, the question for the referendum is not simplistic and the event would be historic with far-reaching consequences.

The challenge for the electorate is to decide whether or not the referendum will facilitate real justice for the masses, or will secure more privilege for special interest groups. Being uncertain and uninformed, Vote No; by exercising an abundance of caution, wisdom and safety.

Absolutely, there is nothing to lose by voting no to the CCJ, but much to gamble by voting yes!

J. K. Roberts

GBA calls for proper court facilities following opening of 2018/2019 Law Term

The Grenada Bar Association (GBA) has called on the Keith Mitchell government to provide at minimum, suitable facilities to temporarily house at least one criminal court and one civil court after the two facilities that have been prepared were deemed unsuitable by its users last week.

President of the Grenada Bar Association Attorney Lisa Taylor

The call was made three days after the opening of the 2018-2019 Law Year last week Tuesday (September 18), during a ceremony held at the newly renovated High Court No. 1 building on St. John’s Street, which has once again been rendered unsuitable.

The following day (last week Wednesday), High Court No. 3, which was temporarily housed at the CAIPO building on Upper Lucas Street, St. George had to be evacuated due to reports of rat infestation.

During an emergency extraordinary meeting last week Friday to consider the current crisis facing the court, the Bar passed three resolutions.

(1). That the Government of Grenada must provide, at minimum, suitable facilities for temporarily housing one criminal court and one civil court no later than Friday, September 28, 2018.

(2). Provided suitable facilities are made available by this deadline and are approved by a committee comprising the Bench, the Bar and other relevant stakeholders, the Grenada Bar Association will then advise whether it may be prepared to occupy those facilities and advise our clients and the public to do the same.

(3). The Grenada Bar Association demands that the Government of Grenada must provide suitable accommodations to house all High Courts of Grenada and ancillary offices no later than December 31, 2018.

Addressing the opening ceremony, President of the Grenada Bar Association (GBA), Attorney-at-Law Lisa Taylor said, the crisis facing the court is unacceptable.

She brought into focus “the systemic historical neglect that has bedeviled the judicial system” over the years adding that “what is required now going forward is a type of urgent prioritisation (on government’s end to provide adequate facilities to house the high court).

Attorney Taylor, was echoing the sentiments expressed by Chief justice of the OECS Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Dame Janice Pereira, who in her remarks marking the opening of the new law year, which was broadcasted live from St. Kitts and Nevis to the other 8 member states and territories simulcast, radio and Internet, urged governments of member states to give priority to providing adequate court facilities to ensure the proper and timely delivery of justice to the people.

Chief Justice Dame Janice Pereira, who urged persons to voice interest in having matters addressed

According to the Chief Justice, who took time out to note the local court crisis and in the island of St. Lucia which also closed its court this year due to security reasons, “the lack of proper court facilities is as old as the court itself.

“51 years on since the establishment of this court, little if anything has been done – Court rooms are still housed in ill-suited buildings which have posed attendance security and health risks to court users and occupiers,” she remarked.

The Chief Justice said: “Whilst courtroom closures are understandable following the passage of hurricanes and the like, it is unacceptable that court users and operators have been consistently placed in harm’s way in respect of their health and security.

“These failures pose a real threat to access and delivery of justice,” she noted, while urging the heads of governments “in all member states to prioritise the construction of Halls of Justice and make them a reality”.

Dame Janice also reflected on another issue which has been plaguing the court for years, involving the current capacity of the court offices or the lack of it thereof, to produce transcript of court proceedings and the frustrations currently experienced by litigants, practitioners as well as judges.

“This deficiency,” she said, “cannot be overstated,” noting that “transcripts of court proceedings are vital to the appellate process in the bulk of cases”.

“This current incapacity, has been rendered so by the failure of many governments to provide the courts with the needed personnel and equipment for the production of transcripts”, she added.

The Chief Justice recalled that “pleas have been made directly by me to governments… particularly in those states, where the resultant delays in the ability of litigants to prosecute their appeals have become especially troubling”.

“These failures are threatening and in some cases have resulted in a denial of access to justice,” she stressed, while urging governments “to support the court with measures that will ensure that the transcripts are prepared in a timely manner and to ensure a better quality of the delivery of justice”.

The Chief Justice Pereira called on the people of the region to show an interest in having these matters addressed.

“You the people of the region must be interested and must voice that interest of having those matters addressed. The courts are there to serve you and you must become engaged in the change that you wish to see,” she declared.

Following the ceremony marking the opening of the new law term, outspoken Attorney-at-Law Anselm Clouden alluded to the deficiency in the court system in an interview with reporters.

Clouden said: “You have appellants who have appealed their convictions and sentences – some for the past 8 years and their appeals cannot be heard because there is a deficiency in the preparation of transcripts, a lack of man power (and) proper recording”.

“Transcripts, when prepared are sometimes inaudible…and there seems to be no end to it”, he added.

Byron Bernard faces additional charge of Escaping Lawful Custody

Sendall Street, Grenville, St. Andrew resident, Byron Nicholas Bernard, who was recaptured by lawmen on September 13, after his latest three-day escape stint, was taken to the Grenville Magistrate’s Court last week Friday to face an additional charge of Escaping Lawful Custody.

Police Officers escorting Byron Nicholas Bernard to the Grenville Magistrate’s Court last week Friday

The repeat offender, who appeared unrepresented before Magistrate Nevlyn John, is also facing a previous Escaping Lawful Custody charge, as well as charges of House Breaking and Stealing and Indictable Arson charges.

The accused was scheduled to appear in court on the charges on September 10 but managed to escape custody from the lawmen for a second time.

Police caught up with Bernard three days later at an abandoned house in the Dunfermline, St. Andrew area and he was returned to prison.

The St. Andrew man had found himself in trouble again with the law approximately 2 months after being released from prison in April after serving a 6-month prison sentence for House-breaking and Stealing.

Bernard was detained in June for questioning in connection with the burning of a two-storey house and setting fire to a white van in the Telescope area.

The alleged incident related to the May 20 shooting death of Cainisaac Edwards, referred to in some quarters as “The Don” in Telescope.

Bernard escaped police custody within days and remained on the run for approximately 2 weeks before police caught up with him.

He was recaptured on July 2 hiding in some bushes in Telescope and slapped with charges of Escaping Lawful Custody and Arson.

The repeat offender also has a number of convictions of a similar nature recorded against him including one for Manslaughter, which dates back to 2013, for which he received a sentence of 4 years in prison.

Bernard is back in court on October 3 when the Preliminary Inquiry into some of the charges slapped on him is due to start before a Magistrate.

Huggins continues its support towards Grenfin Swim Meet

The Grenfin OECS Qualifiers event has once again been endorsed by George F. Huggins through its Lucozade Brand with just over $5000 in sponsorship to host the swim meet.

CEO of Huggins Anya Chow Chung hands over medals to Grenfin President, Dwain Gellineau

The challenge trophy along with medals were handed over to the President of Grenfin Swim Club, Dwain Gellineau at a short ceremony held last week Wednesday at the Huggins Board room on the Kirani James Boulevard.

After the swim meet to be held from September 27-30, a total of 35 swimmers will be selected to represent Grenada at the 2018 OECS Championship to be held in Antigua in November.
Lucozade Brand Manager at Huggins, George “Porgie” Cherubin who spoke on behalf of the company said, “we at Huggins, we at Lucozade trust that this year 2018, will be bigger and better. Today our contribution covers the purchase of all the medals and trophies for the meet. A supply of Lucozade and Ribena products for resale at the event and other logistical support including tents, coolers and of course personnel to assist in selected areas.

“(Our) total contribution is just over $5000 – the largest individual sponsorship for the meet. That does not include the challenge trophy that was part of last year and is included this year and of course bids for the people officiating at the meet.

“Huggins and Lucozade and Ribena has been with swimming in the good times and the bad times and we stand ready to be with you when that time for bigger and better facility would eventually materialise.

President of the Grenfin Swim Club, Dwain Gellineau said the 4-day swim meet will give swimmers an international feel for swimming at the competitive level.
Gellineau indicated that this is the second year that the club has used a 4-day format for the competition rather than a 3-day event in the past.

This, he said is being done “to allow our swimmers to be exposed to the events that are offered at the international meet which are normally the longer events – 200 metres, 500 metres and by extending the meet to four days, we now allow swimmers to take part in those bigger events and still have a rest period in the other events”.

“…The meet is the second major swimming event on our calendar after the national champs which is normally held in February of every year, held by GASA. (There would be) medals for the first, second and third place. There will be age group trophies, for all the age groups and the female and male category, as well as the Huggins challenge trophy for the overall top club at the end of the meet”, he added.

Representatives of Huggins, GASA, and Grenfin were captured together in this photo opportunity

President of the Grenada Amateur Swimming Association (GASA), Peron Johnson commended Grenfin Swim Club for collaborating with the umbrella body to host the meet and also thanked Huggins for its contribution.

Johnson noted that a number of very talented athletes have often emerged from the hosting of the event.

She said: “With such strong club structure in place, I can clearly say that your source of swimming is in good hands because without clubs there is no GASA. We at GASA, we hope that the partnership you have started with the club will not only strengthen as we seek to forge even greater and bigger linkage with you in terms of the development of sports.

“…It is through this partnership I must say with George F. Huggins, through its Lucozade brand that we saw the emergence of outstanding swimmers who have represented Grenada regionally and internationally and has made us proud. To all our swimmers who would be the beneficiaries of this partnership with George F. Huggins, I charge you to make the upcoming competition four days of friendly rivalry, where you would see new records being established and personal best performances achieved,” she added.

Johnson disclosed that the Good Hope pool has been developed to make the area more conducive for the hosting of the swim meet.

SCHOOL TEACHER AND A COACH AMONG FIVE CHARGED FOR SEX-RELATED OFFENCE OF MINOR

By Nisha Paul and Carrema Lewis

Police have arrested and charged five men including a secondary school teacher and a coach in connection with a series of alleged sex crimes against a 14-year-old secondary school girl.
THE NEW TODAY understands that another suspect from the sister isle of Carriacou, described as a boat captain, is currently being sought by the police for questioning in connection with the sexual-related incidents.

Alfred Bishop – accused of engaging in sexual intercourse against a minor

THE NEW TODAY was told that charges of sexual assault were laid on Nicholas Benjamin, the school teacher from H.A Blaize Street late Wednesday and was expected to make his first court appearance on Thursday.

The remaining suspects who appeared before a Magistrate’s Court last week have been identified as Lee Cuffie, 34, Alfred Bishop, 22, Roger Louison, 37, and 19-year old Arnold Brathwaite.

Bishop has been described as a Construction worker of Hope in St. Andrew, Cuffie is from Vincennes, St. David, the unemployed Brathwaite resides at Grand Bacolet, St. David, and Louison is from Grand Anse.

Louison, a Roof Installer, is facing 4 indictable counts of Sexual Intercourse with a female above 13 and under 16, while Brathwaite is facing 3 counts of the same offence in connection to the alleged incidents.

Both suspects were represented by Attorney-at-Law Derick Sylvester when they appeared last week Friday before Magistrate Karen Noel at the St. David’s Magistrate’s Court.

Each suspect was granted bail in the sum of $50, 000 with 2 sureties each.

Coach Lee Cuffie – is also facing sexual assault charges

Louison, Bishop and Brathwaite will make their second court appearance on December 7 at the St. David’s Magistrate’s Court.

Cuffie, who is a Coach at a popular secondary school on the island, appeared at a St. George’s Magistrate’s Court last week Friday and was charged specifically with Indecent Assault and Sexual Assault.

He was placed on $35, 000.00 bail with one surety with specific condition – surrender all travel documents, request permission from the court to travel overseas, have no contact with the victim or complainant, and report to the St. David’s Police Station once weekly.

Cuffie was also ordered by the sitting Magistrate to report to Central Police Station on the Carenage every Friday.

The accused will appear in court for a second time on December 10 at the St. George’s Magistrate’s Court.

In the case of Bishop, he appeared at the St. David’s Magistrate Court on Monday and was granted bail in the sum of $50, 000.00 with two sureties.

He was ordered to have no contact with the complainant or witnesses in the matter and to seek the permission of the court to travel abroad.

Nicholas Benjamin – school teacher charged with sexual assault

Reports suggest that the victim was sexually assaulted on an individual basis by all the suspects and later informed a family member about what had happened to her.

Asked whether the suspects were part of a sex ring as reported in some quarters, a well-placed source who is familiar with the investigation, said, “No”.

“One of them first had sexual interference with the girl and told his friend who then went and do it with her. This friend told another friend what he did to her and he then went and do the same thing to her. This is how it happened”, he remarked.

“A few of them did the same thing to her. We expect to arrest some others shortly as the investigation is continuing. The CID is on top of it – so more fellahs will be brought to court shortly” he said.

The family of the sexually abused minor, through their lawyer, Attorney-at-Law Dawn De Coteau, addressed the issue of child sex abuse following last week Friday’s hearing at the St. David Magistrate’s Court.

She said: “The family are devastated that they are here (at court) today because of the sensitivity and nature of the matter and expressed gratitude to officers attached to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) for their quick response to the report made.

“They really want to thank the CID (which) worked swiftly from the time that matter was brought to CID’s attention – it was a matter of hours as opposed to days for action to be taken and the family is grateful for that.

“The family would like (for) me to reiterate that if there’s any child who believes that they are being abused whether sexually or mentally to raise it (with) a teacher or the police because it is extremely concerning.

Roger Louison – is one of the persons accused of committing sex crimes against the secondary school girl

Information reaching THE NEW TODAY is that police investigators have not closed their investigation into the matter involving the 14-year old student and that more arrests could be made within the coming days.

The arrest of the 5 accused sex offenders came the same week as the launch of the Special Victims Unit and Sexual Abuse Hotline by the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) in an attempt to address the festering issue of sexual abuse in the country.

There are also reports that CID officers are working on a sexual-related offence involving two male students from River Road and Tempe against an under-aged school girl from a secondary school located on the outskirts of St. George’s.

In addition, a 50-year old construction Worker of Mt. Moritz, St. George is being investigated for allegedly engaging in sexual Intercourse with a 6-year old of the same village earlier this month.

Grenada Veterans donate to J.W. Fletcher Catholic School

Two students of the J.W. Fletcher Catholic Secondary School at Archibald Avenue, St. George were on the receiving end of EC$1, 000 last week Friday, to assist them with their educational needs.

Group photo of the receiving students accompanied by members of the Grenada Veterans charitable group

The initiative by the Grenada Veterans of Foreign Services (GVOFS) is one of several undertaken by the group in their quest to positively impact the lives of students in Grenada, who are in need of support, particularly, their Alma Mata, J. W. Fletcher.

As part of the gesture, the group also presented 50 students with school supplies and the school itself received over 500 books for the library, as well as a set of computer mouse and keyboards.

According to Founder of the New York-based GVOFS and Retired Military officer, Joseph Robert Grainger, this is the second time the group has reached out to the school for the year.

“We know there are a lot of children out there who need that extra push, that extra handout so that they can be where they need to be at (because) we don’t want to have any child left behind and we decided to create this organisation in 2012 and have donated to about 15 schools on the island,” Grainger told THE NEW TODAY in an interview following the handing over ceremony.

Students accepting EC$ 1,000 donation from Founder of the Grenada Veterans of
foreign Services (GVOFS), Joseph Grainger

“I use my retirement money…straight out of my pocket to do this,” he quipped.

All together the donation amounted to just over EC$3, 000.

Acting Principal of J.W. Fletcher Catholic Secondary School ,Laurel Bartholomew, who would be in charge of the distribution of the $1, 000 for the 2 students, expressed thanks to the veterans group for the generous assistance.

PM Mitchell makes a pitch for CCJ among students

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell made a plea to tertiary students on the island to support the move towards the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) instead of continuing with the London-based Privy Council.

Prime Minister Mitchell and attorney-at-law, Robert Branch of the CCJ Advisory Committee listen attentively as former CCJ President, Sir Dennis Byron addresses TAMCC students

Dr. Mitchell attended an interactive session last week hosted by the CCJ Advisory Committee at the T. A. Marryshow Community College (TAMCC) where former CCJ President, Justice Sir Dennis Byron was the guest speaker.

In addressing the students, the Grenadian leader said that a vote in support of the CCJ in the upcoming November 6 referendum will be a vote for the future of the country.

He reiterated that there is nothing political about acceding to the CCJ as the final appellate court.

“It is unfortunate that when issues of national importance are before us, sometimes petty political interests come into play. The CCJ is above and beyond partisan political interests.

This is not an NNP issue, it is not an NDC issue, this is a national issue. Don’t let anyone tell you anything different, this is about you, it’s about your future,” he remarked.

The Mitchell-led ruling New National Party (NNP) government has started a public education exercise to try and woo the electorate to give it the required two-thirds vote in the referendum to replace the Privy Council with the CCJ as the final appellate court in the jurisdiction.

Grenadians rejected the CCJ bill almost two years ago in the first-ever referendum to be held since the island attained its independence from Great Britain on February 7, 1974.

Dr. Mitchell made a plea for the active engagement of the nation’s youth in matters pertaining to the CCJ.

“The CCJ is not just about this period in our history, it’s about the future of the country. That is why I believe it’s necessary for you to be actively involved in what this means and how it affects your future, how what is now our final court is affecting your present and your future”, he said.

Prime Minister Mitchell expressed confidence in the population to make the right decision to vote for the CCJ and for the Trinidad-based court to adequately dispense justice for citizens.

“I am convinced that we are mature enough, we are capable enough and we are clear about what is best for us. I am clear that we have the quality of jurists and personnel within our region that we should as a Caribbean people have our own final court in our hands”, he told the students.

In addressing the college students, Sir Dennis encouraged them to begin envisioning a world where they are the leaders.

He recalled that as a young man, he looked forward to the day when the region would have control of the judiciary.

Opting for an interactive approach, Sir Dennis addressed questions relating to the impartiality of the court, the role of the CCJ in spearheading reform in the judicial process, equal access to justice and ensuring that justice is equitable for all.

On the subject of bias and impartiality, the former CCJ boss noted that if there is an appearance of bias, not even actual bias, it is the duty of the judge to recuse himself/herself from the case.

Regarding concerns about judgments against government, he noted that several orders have been made against regional governments and in all cases, these have been honoured.

In addition to its mission to promote and protect the rule of law as a court of final appeal, the CCJ has also played a critical role in spearheading reform in the judicial process.

In Grenada itself, the CCJ assisted with the design of a system to address a serious backlog in civil cases which was successfully implemented over an 18-month period, resulting in the total elimination of the backlog.

Sir Dennis said the CCJ has proven that it is responsive to the needs of the society and is willing to take action that will have a direct impact on the lives of the people.

“We have already demonstrated in Grenada that practical problems that affect the society, we can remedy them immediately and be available for immediate action to support improvements in the way justice is done”, he added.

A number of public awareness activities are being held by the Advisory body in the run-up to the referendum.

GDB pays dividends to government

Chairman of the Board of Directors of the state-controlled Grenada Development Bank (GDB), Pastor Stanford Simon has said that 2017 was another profitable year for the financial institution.

According to Simon, GDB for the second (2nd) consecutive year in the bank’s history was able to pay dividends to its sole shareholder, the Government of Grenada.

A cheque written in the amount of $53,766.00 was paid to government on September 11 and Simon said he is proud of this accomplishment.

“Thanks to the GDB’s continued improvement and financial performance, today for the second time in its 53 years history, the Bank is able to pay dividends to the Government. I am honoured to share in this momentous occasion as GDB continues to make advancements that would go down in the annals of history”, he said.

Simon is also quoted as saying that the continued improvement of the Bank’s performance can be largely attributed to a clear and well-articulated vision and strategic direction with 2017 marking the first of the Bank’s five-year Strategic Plan designed to steer the Bank to a more customer focused and development-oriented institution.

He reiterated that GDB continues to play a significant role in the sustainable development of the country by bridging existing gaps in all sectors including housing, tourism, business and education.

“Grenada Development Bank being able to pay dividends to Government is testimony that the Bank is more than meets the eye. As a matter of fact, our latest annual report will show that in 2017 the Bank disbursed approximately $20M, with most of this amount being circulated within the local economy aiding in the creation and sustenance of six hundred and forty-eight (648) jobs thereby stimulating economic growth and development in the tri-island state”, he said.

Simon added that the contributions being made to the Grenadian economy will only increase in the upcoming years, as the Bank will continue to fulfil its developmental mandate while simultaneously thriving to remain viable within the local financial environment.