Republic Bank invests $19,440 in Education

The prospect of academic advancement for many adults is often inhibited by costs and other challenges.

Republic Bank’s Manager – Business Support Services, Hermilyn Charles with Dr. Nicole Philip-Dowe and UWI Bursary Recipients

For the eleventh consecutive year, Republic Bank has made it possible for many adults to attain a degree, through its Bursary Programme, with the University of the West Indies, Open Campus-Grenada.

For the academic year 2018/2019 (Semester I), nine (9) students received bursaries totaling $19,440.00 (Nineteen Thousand, Four Hundred & Forty Dollars), to assist them with the cost of their academic pursuits.

In making the presentation to the students, Manager-Business Support Services at Republic Bank, Hermilyn Charles, congratulated the students on their commitment to self-development and encouraged them to continue striving to better themselves and their communities.

The Republic Bank Bursary Programme was launched in 2007, to provide financial assistance to adults who are unable to study full time, at a UWI Campus.

It supplements the UWI Scholarship Programme which offers full time study at any of the UWI campuses.

Bursaries and Scholarships are granted based on academic qualification and financial need.

Each year, the Bank commits $60,000 collectively to these programmes, and remains committed to empowering the lives of our citizens, through education.

The Gilbert family approaches CCJ for justice

The Gilbert family of Springs, St. George’s is seeking justice through the Original Jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) for alleged unpleasant and hostile abuse meted out to them at the hands of police officers in Barbados during a visit to the island on October 11, 2016.

Members of the Gilbert family who are still not happy with the situation

The case was electronically filed by the St. George’s-based Ciboney Law Chambers last week Tuesday, in what was Grenada’s first case to the CCJ, ahead of the highly anticipated November 6, referendum to adopt the appellate jurisdiction of the court.

In what is believed to be the first case of its kind to be brought before the CCJ, the Gilbert family was forced to take legal action against the Royal Barbados Police Force, following the embarrassing episode in which two sisters were detained for questioning in relation to the theft of a cellular phone belonging to a store owner mere hours before their flight back home.

Providing insight into the circumstances that led to the family taking this course of action against the Barbados police force, lead attorney on the case and Managing Partner at Ciboney Law Chambers, Attorney-at-Law Ruggles Ferguson said that his clients were treated “in a very hostile manner by the Bajan police and ultimately ordered to strip naked, stoop and cough in the police station.”

In an interview with THE NEW TODAY last week Thursday, Ferguson recalled that after giving statements to Bajan law enforcement officers “denying any knowledge about the cell phone…the police insisted that Tamika (one of the Gilbert sisters) change part of her statement (and) she objected on the basis that it was her statement and she was not prepared to change it”.

“…They (the Bajan police) told her listen, if you are not changing it then you would not be leaving here”, he remarked.

According to Attorney Ferguson, the Gilbert family case challenges what he described as a “breach” in the right of all four members of the family to freedom of movement within Barbados.

The lawyer who is anticipating a speedy hearing “within the next three months said that the Gilbert family applied for “special leave” to bring the matter to the CCJ, because “in the CCJ we can count on speed and even if the CCJ doesn’t agree with the point then it can still be taken elsewhere after.”

The former president of the local and OECS Bar associations said: “If leave is granted…hopefully we would be able to do a hearing via video conference. So, I am saying the issue of access is what this court is all about. It’s much easier to access that court than even our local courts”.

Ferguson also spoke of another matter pending in a Barbados court, in which another Gilbert family relative, who resides in Barbados and was with the family at the time of the alleged theft, took similar action against the Bajan police.

He felt that this case will positively impact the upcoming referendum, given that “the CCJ is a court being spoken about very theoretically, because Grenadians have not used the court.”

“This (the Gilbert) case, and the legal point that we are raising, is the first case of its kind before the CCJ…we are essentially contending that the freedom of movement includes the freedom to move within Barbados, free from harassment and undue interference,” he said.

The local attorney contended that what is most important in the Gilbert matter is access to justice for all and that is what should be in the minds of Grenadians going towards the referendum poll on November 6.

“The fact than an ordinary Grenadian can access the court and notwithstanding in its original jurisdiction, but the CCJ is there to deal with all cases…over the past 13 years of the court’s existence, there have been many cases from other countries and it’s certainly good in my view…it gives greater meaning to the court,” Attorney Ferguson said.

“So, the court stands on its own proudly, among all courts in the world but the important thing when we speak about the court… is that it gives our people access to justice,” he added.

Paying tribute to “Barbados and Guyana, who were like the guinea pigs in 2005, when they joined the appellate jurisdiction of the CCJ not knowing what the court would produce,” Attorney Fergerson pointed out that “we have judgments of the court…that are studied by academics throughout the world and coming for high praise too.

“So, we actually have a court that has been in existence and after 13 years, there is no major complaint about the court,” he said.

However, the attorney-at-law noted that “in fairness to any court the system of law is adversarial (and) there is always, will always be somebody dissatisfied with a judgment whether it’s the winner, or the loser of a case”.

In its original jurisdiction, the CCJ interprets and applies the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, which establishes the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), including the Caribbean Single Market and Economy and is an international court with compulsory and exclusive jurisdiction in respect to the interpretation of the treaty.

Statement by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell on pilfering at the General Hospital

Fellow Grenadians, it has become necessary to clarify recent statements about the inappropriate use of Government resources for personal benefit.

My statements were not meant to imply that all public officers are guilty of this, but it is important to face the ugly truth that this has been happening and continues to happen across the public service, not only at the General Hospital which was specifically referenced in response to a question on health.

The statements made at the recent town hall meeting in Brooklyn, New York were in no way different from previous statements made about the pilfering of supplies from various Government departments and the inappropriate use of Government resources. This is not hearsay, it is fact and I have repeatedly shared my concern about the corrupt practices across Government.

I do not share the view that raising this issue with fellow Grenadians in the diaspora was inappropriate. We call on them to give back to their home country, so we owe it to them to be honest about what is really happening here in Grenada.

There is no denying that there are many honest, decent and hard-working public workers who have given yeoman service, often going above and beyond the call of duty, serving the Government and people of this country.

However, the inescapable fact is that there are also some public officers who use their position to access Government resources for self-aggrandisement at the expense of the people of this country. It is the actions of this group of selfish and self-serving public officers that tarnish the image of what should be a noble profession.

This wanton disregard for the proper use of Government resources puts the entire country at risk. It undermines valiant efforts being made to improve the socio-economic status of the country and its people. When resources are used for purposes other than originally intended, it forces additional and unnecessary spending and jeopardises allocations for other equally important areas of service.

As a Government, we are entrusted with the mandate of furthering the overall development of Grenada. As Minister of Finance, I am personally appointed as the caretaker of this country’s financial resources, but it is not a task performed single-handedly; it is with the support of all public officers who are similarly entrusted with departmental financial accountability and we further rely on the honesty and individual accountability of each public officer.

I stand prepared to meet with our doctors and nurses who may have felt personally offended by my comments about rampant stealing at the General Hospital but I can categorically state that the intention was not to malign all health care professionals.

I reiterate my recognition and admiration for those who perform credibly, putting the health care needs of patients above all else. However, we cannot and must not turn a blind eye to the prevalence of corruption. Acknowledgement is the first step in correcting an ailment.

My intention was simply to underscore the detrimental effect of the actions of some, not only in the health service but across all of Government, including the Ministry of Infrastructure Development, Customs & Excise, Inland Revenue Department and the Marketing and National Importing Board where an inquiry is currently in progress.

I must reaffirm my sincerest gratitude and appreciation for all public officers who give good service. You are and will continue to be the backbone of Government operations.

I thank you.

Vehicular accident leaves man with fractured leg

Vehicle that was involved in accident

A Guyanese National is currently at the St. George’s General Hospital nursing wounds sustained as a result of a vehicular accident.

Sixty-year old Patrick Lonefield was struck by a vehicle along the Corinth, St. David main road on Sunday afternoon.

THE NEW TODAY understands that Lonefield was standing on the side of the road when a maroon Suzuki Escudo, licensed number PM 416 collided with him.

The driver of the vehicle, who is a resident of Crochu, St. Andrew reportedly lost control of the vehicle after it passed over a manhole in the road.

The injured man sustained a fractured leg and other injuries to his face, head and arm and is currently warded at the General Hospital.

The life of Grenada’s third Bishop celebrated

Remembered for his witty comments and anecdotal stories, the life of Grenada’s third Bishop, Bishop Sydney Anicetus Charles was celebrated at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception last Friday.

Bishop Charles – was laid to rest with a Book of the Gospels, the Chalice and the Crucifix

His mass of Christian Burial was held in the presence of Governor General, Dame Cecile La Grenade, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and governmental officials.

The body of the popular Bishop was entombed in the Cathedral Crypt below his predecessor Bishop Justin Field, OP, who died in 1969, and above his successor Bishop Vincent Darius OP, who died in 2016.

The funeral service was presided by current Bishop Clyde Martin Harvey who in welcoming the congregation said: “We have come to give thanks for a wonderful human being, a son of parents who must be well pleased, even in his dying.”

In delivering the homily, Bishop Harvey who like Bishop Charles is a Trinidadian, reminded the congregation that one must first bring their truth to God before their death as the fallen Catholic cleric did.

“Today we come to place before God the truth of Sydney Charles as we have seen only a glimpse of it in his life and ministry. We do so humbly because only God knows the fullness of that truth – we do so gratefully because the glimpses we have seen, including those we counted yesterday evening, fill us with joy”, he said.

Undertakers carry the body of the late Bishop to his final place of rest

“…This is not only about Bishop Sydney, it is about all of us. Every funeral that we come to…the question that each and every one of us has to ask, from the Governor General, down to the sacristan…what is my truth. If I were to walk out of this church into the valley of death, what is the truth that I bring before my God?”, he questioned.

Bishop Harvey went on: “We have to be able to face that question if we are truly Christians. If we run away from it, don’t expect God to run away and I have known too many situations in which he has faced people with their truth and they have preferred to continue suffering, rather than confront it so that they might die in peace”.

The newly anointed leader of the Catholic faithful in Grenada believes that Bishop Sydney Charles died in peace.

“Uncle Sydney confronted that truth throughout his life…One of the things that I think would remain with me… is that in so many people’s lives, there are those moments in situations of doubts where you are not sure whether you’ve done the right thing. I see that fairly regularly and whether it is your own death or the death of someone else, the grief that you feel and the pain that you feel is because there is some area of darkness where you are not sure what you’ve done.

“… I was very concerned, when one day Bishop Sydney said to me…he said hide the responsibility…it took me a few weeks to realise that he was still carrying a sense of responsibility of the burdens of his office – while he was Bishop, especially in those revolutionary years and that he had to make his peace with God about what he had done. The lesson in that for us is we always must ask ourselves, don’t wait until the end.

Bishop Sydney Charles started his service in Grenada in 1975 and remained the Bishop until his retirement in 2002.

Government officials were out in numbers for the funeral service of the very popular Catholic Bishop

He often joked during the tense period of the 1979-83 Grenada Revolution of the leftwing New Jewel Movement (NJM) that the island had two Bishop – he as leader of the Catholic church and Marxist leader, the late Maurice Bishop.

Documents discovered after the collapse of Grenada’s revolutionary experiment indicate that Bishop’s People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) took objection to the statement out of concern that the Catholic Bishop might be seeking to challenge the supremacy of the left-leaning regime.

Bishop Charles chose to become a Grenadian Citizen after stepping down and remained in the country after his retirement at his home at Morne Jaloux, St. George.

He did not retire for long as he was often seen celebrating mass at Catholic churches throughout Grenada in the face of a shortage of priests on the island.

He was active up to the age of 91 when he fell ill.

Bishop Charles died at the St. George’s General Hospital on September 4 at the age of 92.

Regional Artiste to Grace 2018 Spicy Divas Stage

The versatile A#keem

At least two budding regional artistes have been confirmed to make guest appearances in the 2018 Spicy Divas Spice Up ‘D’ World Show set for November 16 at Spice Basket in Bealieu, St. George.

Keturah George

St. Lucia’s female rising star Claudia Edward and solo Reggae artiste Prince Naphtali from Trinidad and Tobago will join local performing artistes Darren Jackson, A#kim, Christel Laguerre, Rachael Benjamin and Ginger, who is of Jamaican decent and the 2013 Calypso Monarch, Keturah George, on the Spicy Divas stage.

Since its inception in 2013, Spicy Divas has targeted female artistes but Event Organiser, Nigel John, told THE NEW TODAY last week Friday that the lineup for 2018 has been tweaked to also engage male artistes.

21-year old Prince Naphtali who was born in Grenada to Trinidadian parents, is originally from Belmont, St. George but moved to neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago approximately four years ago to pursue a career in music and acting.

“…I have been very successful so far”, said the soloist in an exclusive interview Monday with this newspaper.

Grenadian-born Reggae artist, Prince Naphtali

“I can’t say how overwhelmed I am just to be returning home. I am most excited because people don’t really know me as a singer, as Prince Naphtali, so when they see me, they would be surprised,” he added.

In addition to the male performer, John said, at least 15 amateur singers will be engaged in a pre-show competition, dubbed ‘One Shot to the Grand Final,’ to be held on Saturday (October 6), which will result in at least 5 of the best getting a chance to gain additional exposure on the Spicy Divas platform.

According to John, the competition, which will be staged at the gazebo at the Botanical Gardens in Tanteen, will see the competitors performing one original song and judged based on their “voice, performance and image”.

Those selected for the final show, will then go through extensive training preparation with at least three experts in the areas where help is most needed as identified by the judges.
Interested persons can choose to register for the ‘one shot to the grand final’ competition at the national museum before or on the night of the show.

St. Lucia’s Claudia Edward

John said the aim of the Spicy Divas show is to provide young and upcoming artistes with a platform to obtain greater exposure and opportunities.

“What is happening is we are establishing a platform that will give local artistes regional and international exposure. The competition is not being ran like any other competition, where you (judge) just for prizes. What we are setting them up for is a bigger exposure within the market space”, he remarked.

John also said that these artistes will get a promotional profile spot on the Spicy Divas website, which is geared at promoting original talent.

“If anyone wants to invest in these local acts…they would want to see what they have (and) these artistes will be profiled and displayed (on the website) anyone looking in, will see everything they need to know about the artiste, their demos, videos, bios et cetera,” he added.

Additionally, John said, “the artistes will be paid (an incentive) to perform on the night of the event” but he did not reveal the figures that will be paid out to them.

Republic Bank Right Start Youth Football Tournament

The 2018 Republic Bank Right Start Youth Football Tournament has begun with 15 teams from 22 schools battling for honours in the competition.

The tournament which began last Thursday is into its 15th year and Managing Director of Republic Bank, Keith Johnson, referred to it as a milestone achievement for the financial institution.

Fifteen teams in the 2018 competition

In an opening ceremony held at the Kirani James Athletic Stadium at Queen’s Park, Johnson said that many of Grenada’s national footballers were once children of the Republic Bank Right Start Cup.

He recalled that at a recent tournament in which Grenada was represented in both male and female football it was noted by an official that the entire Girls’ Under-15 team was comprised of young ladies who participated in Republic Bank’s Right Start Youth Football Tournament.

“…We were particularly proud of that achievement. We hope that with the continuation of our sponsorship of youth football, that that transition from youth to representing the country will continue and get even stronger”, he said.

According to Johnson, the bank has pumped in $1.5 million in the tournament over the last 5 years and is extremely grateful to have contributed to “creating and enhancing the talent within our young footballers”.

This year the bank has brought in a new trophy as the champion trophy used in the competition for the last three years was handed over to last year’s winner, Mc Donald College, which have won the tournament three years in a row.

Johnson encouraged participating teams to strive towards that kind of achievement.

He said, “I want to congratulate our second triple champions, Mc Donald College…some years ago we had St. Mark’s winning three years in a row, so we had two teams winning three years in a row – St. Mark and Mc Donald College and this is (the) challenge I throw out to any team…to go for the triple crown because there is a special prize awaiting triple crown winners.”

Declaring the tournament open was Minister with responsibility for Youth Development, Kate Lewis who commended Republic Bank and other stakeholders for their dedication towards the sport and the development of youth in Grenada.

“I think sportsmanship is knowing that it is the game and we are as only good as our opponents and whether we lose or win, we should always give 100%. I pause to salute all the participating schools, coaches and teachers because it takes (a) special person to dedicate and commit to the development of our young people through sports”, she said.

“The mere fact that we are all standing here today speaks to the commitment of everyone to the development of football in our country…”, she added.

The female government minister went on: “…I must commend the sponsors, Republic Bank Grenada Limited for the sponsorship and contribution to the development of football and by-and-large the development of the young people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. Over the years you have not only provided lip service but
you have demonstrated good corporate and social responsibility”.

Eight weeks of football action is expected from the participating teams throughout the duration of the tournament.

End of Pure Grenada Music Festival 2019

Chairman of the Pure Grenada Music Festival has announced the cancellation of the Pure Grenada Music Festival 2019.

Dieter Burkhalter – Chairman of the Pure Grenada Music Festival

Dieter Burkhalter says that they’ve enjoyed and appreciated the amazing responses from organizers, volunteers and patrons alike to PGMF 2016, 2017 & 2018 and were excited about the possibilities for PGMF 2019.

However, the Pure Grenada Music Festival has been a great financial responsibility and expense that Mr. Burkhalter has undertaken for the past three years, and although he’s been happy to do what he can to ensure the success of this event because he truly believes in it and the opportunities it could bring to the people of Grenada, he would be unable to shoulder the financial risk a fourth time.

An event like this one can only be sustainable with a collaboration between the private and public sectors.

Him and his team have been putting forward a great effort to curb these obstacles, but with just seven months left before the next scheduled festival, he must make the difficult but necessary decision to cancel next year’s event.

Mr. Burkhalter assures the public that he remains committed to music and to the development of music here in Grenada and will for sure find other ways to inspire growth and progress among the aspiring Grenadian musicians.

Perhaps in the future the team would be able to overcome our current difficulties and the Pure Grenada Music Festival will return to shores of Grenada, but for now, this is the course of action they must take.

For any further inquiries please contact us at info@grenadamusicfestival.com

HIGH COURT SITTINGS STILL ON PAUSE

Members of the Grenada Bar Association were expected to visit the CAIPO building at Upper Lucas Street on Wednesday to decide whether or not the facility is suitable enough to facilitate court hearings.

The CAIPO Building on Upper Lucas Street

This was disclosed by Legal Affairs Minister Kindra Maturine-Stewart, who said that remedial work took place at the facility over the weekend, after rat droppings were still discovered, when the facility was reopened last week Friday.

Members of the Grenada Bar Association (GBA) refused to use the building for sittings approximately three weeks ago when the court was preparing to sit for the first time following the opening of the New Law Year.

The No. 1 High Court, which was renovated prior to the opening of the New Law Year, however, was also deemed to be mold infested.

These incidents have led to the Bar Association issuing a statement requesting that the authorities provide at minimum suitable court facilities to temporarily house at least one criminal court and one civil court no later than last week Friday (September 28, 2018).

However, after extensive cleaning of the facility, Minister Maturine-Stewart admitted that rat droppings were still observed at the facility last week Friday and that additional remedial steps were taken over the weekend.

“The CAIPO Building is commissioned as of today,” the female minister told THE NEW TODAY on Tuesday.

Court building on St. John’s Street, which houses the No. 1 High Court

According to Minister Maturine-Stewart, while the Bar has not said that they are not prepared to use the facility following extensive cleaning, members were expected to visit the facility to make their assessment on Wednesday.

“I understand they (the bar) will be doing that (assessing the CAIPO building) tomorrow (on Wednesday),” she said.

THE NEW TODAY understands that members of the Bar met on Monday to discuss the way forward.

However, when contacted for a comment on Tuesday, President of the Bar, female Attorney-at-law Lisa Taylor affirmed that there are discussions ongoing with the Attorney General and others and was “not in a position to make a definitive statement” at this time.

Doctors and nurses call on PM Mitchell to apologise

The heads of three organisations representing heathcare workers on the island have reacted sharply to offensive statements made by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell at a Townhall Meeting in Brooklyn, New York in which he labelled some of them as thieves.

Patricia Strachan, Rachael Roberts and Marvin Corion who are calling for apology to be issued

The Presidents of the Public Workers Union (PWU), Grenada Nurses Association (GNA), and the Grenada Junior Doctors Association GJDA) held a press conference Monday to call on Prime Minister Mitchell to retract his statement alluding to in-house pilfering at the General Hospital and to offer an apology for maligning the character of the workers there.

PWU President, Rachael Roberts told reporters that her body is disappointed with the statement in which the Grenadian leader was heard accusing doctors and nurses of stealing items from the hospital.

She described the statement as “derogatory” and “heartless” and pointed out that the health professionals are “aggrieved” over the issue.

“As we normally say, health is our wealth and to have our Prime Minister make statements that undermine the integrity of the health care system and the competence of our members is very, very sad and it affects us, not just because they are statements that are damaging to us but because they are statements that can have psychological effects and are having psychological effects on our members…”, she said.

According to Roberts, the words used in New York by PM Mitchell can affect the character of the healthcare workers as well as “their competency, skills and knowledge and their ability to perform their duties and we ask our Prime Minister to (retract) those statements, to make an apology to our health care professionals and our support staff also”.

“We believe that as a leader understanding the negative implications of your statements, Mr. Prime Minister, we expect that an apology would be forthcoming,” remarked Roberts.

“We do not want that apology to just be made within Grenada, it must also be made internationally – so we want the diaspora to hear the apology because the derogatory statements were made in the diaspora…”, she said.

The PWU boss pointed out that there have been no reports of wrongdoing in the health care system and no report of an investigation being made into alleged wrong-doing.

She felt that the statement made by the Prime Minister could follow the health professionals into the future.

Roberts said “This (statement) does not just imply that healthcare professionals are unprofessional, are not performing their duties efficiently but it will impact on them throughout their healthcare life, internationally and locally.

“…It means as healthcare professionals, other persons would be looking at them negatively and should they want to go overseas, migrate or want to take up employment elsewhere, this statement would definitely impact on all of us.

“… It also undermines the quality of healthcare system here in Grenada – that persons overseas would see our doctors and nurses as incompetent, so please Mr. Prime Minister retract your statement.

Roberts said she was confident that the Prime Minister would offer an apology to the health professionals as being demanded by the organisations representing them.

“He is the leader of our nation and leaders when they err are big enough to come out and say I have erred and I apologise. So, we expect that apology and we would not say, we do not want to think that our Prime Minister is so egoistic that he would not want to apologise to the nation.

“That (apology) would raise the respect of the Prime Minister if he apologise because it would demonstrate that our Prime Minister is one who is humble, he is a person who respects justice and who has the interest of the nation at heart. So, we expect an apology, we are confident that he would apologise because we know that he is a man of integrity.

“… We know that he would apologise and we know that our Prime Minister is a God-fearing person and we know what the bible teaches…we know that our Prime Minister would apologise – there’s no two ways about it, we’re confident about that.”

Prime Minister Mitchell issued a statement on Monday to clear up misunderstandings over what was stated at the Town Hall Meeting in New York, but Roberts responded by saying it only adds to what he has already stated in New York and “does not address the incompetency that he spoke about.”

GJDA President Marvin Corion stated that Grenada’s relationship with the American-owned St. George’s University (SGU) could be affected by the utterances of the Prime Minister.
Corion said: “The statement implicates just more than healthcare throughout the nation, but in a sense, what our dear Prime Minister (should) be cognizant of, is that we have a university on the island and we have students from around the globe coming to that university and many of these students they attend our hospital to receive training.

“What are we saying about the quality of education that these people are receiving at our hospital? What is our Prime Minister saying? Is there merit to what he is saying? Is there truth to the level of incompetence that he speaks of? This is very damaging to us as a country. That university (SGU) contributes