Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A CLEAN SWEEP! – Darren Bravo guides WI to 3-0 win

THE margins of victory became smaller as the series progressed, and in the final match, Zimbabwe even gave West Indies a scare in a modest chase. Darren Bravo, however, was around to guide the hosts to a 3-0 sweep after his mix-up with Kieron Pollard had caused a wobble in the middle of the innings.

Unlike in the second ODI, the asking-rate was never going to be an issue with Zimbabwe having managed just 211, but the rest of the West Indies top six gave away starts. However, Darren Bravo, having taken his time to settle in, coolly kept collecting runs through the off side till victory was achieved in the 47th over.

Darren Bravo hits out through the offside, during
the third ODI match between West Indies and Zimbabwe
here, on Tuesday, February 26, 2013.
(WICB Media/Randy Brooks Photo)
Zimbabwe had their second batting failure in three matches and their seamers lacked penetration again. The only positive for them was the performance of their young legspinners, Natsai Mushangwe and debutant Tino Mutombodzi. The duo kept West Indies’ progress in check after the seamers had failed to break through.

Both Mushangwe and Mutombodzi were eager to flight the ball. They also got it to dip, drift and turn, and displayed admirable control for 22-year old legspinners. Ramnaresh Sarwan and Kieran Powell had eased themselves to a 46-run opening stand against the steady fare of Kyle Jarvis and Chris Mpofu but were tested by the introduction of leg spin from both ends.

Mutombodzi struck with his third delivery in international cricket, getting one to drift into Sarwan for the batsman to push it back for a return catch. Powell used the sweep effectively against the spinners and also played a few pleasing drives through the off side, only to throw it away for the third time in
three innings, lofting Mutombodzi to long-on while on 42.

Darren Bravo was cautious against the legspinners, but cut rare wide deliveries from both for fours. Both Mushangwe and Mutombodzi had already bowled seven overs each at the halfway mark, and Brendan Taylor had to bring on his part-time bowlers.

Narsingh Deonarine and Darren Bravo were motoring along without worry when the former clipped Hamilton Masakadza straight to midwicket. Two deliveries later, Darren Bravo took a start for a second run, Pollard responded, only for the left-hander to stop, and for Pollard to be run out without having faced a ball.

Veerasammy Permaul is congratulated by his
captain Dwayne Bravo after a strike.
(WICB Media/Randy Brooks Photo)
Dwayne Bravo came in at 121 for 4 and his quick 25 eased West Indies’ nerves before he holed
out to long-on. Denesh Ramdin joined Darren Bravo with West Indies 45 runs away, and the duo shut Zimbabwe out with a busy partnership.

The way the visitors had batted, it was quite a recovery with the ball for them to make a game of it. Zimbabwe went nowhere at the start, then began to find some direction, but soon sank further and further. Barring a short period when Vusi Sibanda and Brendan Taylor counter-attacked, they were tied down by a disciplined and varied West Indies attack.

To make matters worse for them, an ill Craig Ervine, their best batsman in the series, was not available. In his absence, the middle order, when called upon to rebuild another stuttering innings, caved in, barring some fight from Chamu Chibhabha. The wiles of Sunil Narine and Veerasammy Permaul, the accuracy of Dwayne Bravo, and the pace of Kemar Roach and Tino Best were too much to handle.

A score of 23 for 1 after the opening Powerplay said it all, as far as Zimbabwe’s start went. Despite their scorching pace, Best and Kemar Roach did not allow their lines to suffer and Zimbabwe had little opportunity to score.

They desperately needed some momentum after Tino Mawoyo and Masakadza went cheaply. It came from Sibanda and Taylor. Their stand was worth 55 at over run a ball, and Zimbabwe seemed to have made up for the tame start. But both batsmen were to fall in almost casual fashion. Sibanda tried to turn a Best delivery to leg, only for it to straighten slightly and for mid-off to take the leading edge. Taylor stepped out to loft the left-arm spinner Permaul, but ended up spooning it to cover.

Regis Chakabva is bowled by Veerasammy Permaul.
(WICB Media/Randy Brooks Photo)
Yet again, Zimbabwe’s middle order had a repair job on its hands, and this time, there wasn’t a lot of batting to come. The batsmen appeared clueless at times against Narine and weren’t able to do much against the variations of Permaul either. Regis Chakabva and Malcolm Waller both had their struggles ended by Permaul.

No. 7 Chibhabha was also uncomfortable against the spinners but retained his composure to target the seamers, especially Dwayne Bravo, later. With Kyle Jarvis willing to hang around, Chibhabha swung a few big hits down the ground to push Zimbabwe past 200 in a ninth-wicket stand of 41. But for an attack that had conceded 337 and failed to defend 273, 211 was too inadequate.

Summarised scores:
West Indies 215 for 5 (Darren Bravo 72*, Powell 42, Mutombodzi 2-35) beat Zimbabwe 211 for 9 (Chibhabha 48*, Sibanda 41, Permaul 3-40) by five wickets.

Lloyd fails in latest WICB presidency bid

Julian Hunte and Whycliffe Cameron of Jamaica will contest the WICB presidential elections after former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd failed in his nomination bid. To secure a nomination, a candidate needs the backing of two full members (regional boards) and Lloyd only had the approval his native Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) before the deadline for filing the application expired on February 22. The elections will be held as part of the WICB AGM, on March 27 in Barbados.

The presidential race is now a two-way fight between Hunte, who currently heads the WICB, and Cameron, who is vice-president. According to the amended rules of the WICB, none of the directors, who are part of the executive board, have voting powers from this year. That was one of the recommendations of the Wilkins Committee report, which was ratified by the board at its last meeting. Each of the six regional boards (Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Leeward Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Windward Islands) have selected two representatives who are allowed to vote, with the new president to be elected via a secret ballot.

Clive Lloyd, pictured here with Bishan Bedi, has
failed in his second bid for the WICB presidency.
The Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) president, Joel Garner, who was an integral part of the dominating West Indies team of the 1970s and ‘80s that Lloyd led, has put his hat into the ring for the vice-president’s role. Garner, who is one of the WICB directors, will face-off against Dominican Emmanuel Nanthan, president of the Windward Islands Cricket Association.

This was Lloyd’s second failed attempt to get a nomination. In the past he was not allowed to enter the presidential race on the grounds that he did not satisfy the required residential conditions, as he was staying outside of the Caribbean at the time. This time Lloyd had fulfilled that obligation, having moved back to Guyana after been appointed by the government as chairman of the interim management committee formed in the aftermath of the disputed GCB elections in 2011.

Despite Lloyd calling the controversial GCB elections held on January 27 this year illegal, a special executive board meeting held last Thursday nominated him as its delegate for the WICB presidential elections. But Lloyd needed the one of the other five regional boards to second his nomination.

In his attempt to garner more support Lloyd had even sent his manifesto to the T&T and Barbados cricket boards. Titled ‘Clive Lloyd’s manifesto - WICB presidency’, the three-page document stressed that West Indies cricket desperately needed a “second growth curve” and argued he had the right expertise and international experience as a former professional cricketer and ICC administrator to lead the board.

“My vision for West Indies cricket is to take our cricket out of the doldrums and to put us back at the top. To use my expertise, knowledge of and passion for the game, my credibility, integrity and international professional standing and every moral fibre within to reverse the fortunes of our WI cricket,” Lloyd wrote.

He signed off the document by quoting Winston Churchill, the former British prime minister: “’To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents.’ Today I believe I have been ‘figuratively tapped’ and offered an opportunity to do a very special thing. Cricket is one of the great unifying forces in West Indian history and culture and I would like to offer my services to people of the West Indies as the next president of WICB.”

However, the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board sidestepped the issue by deciding to act as a neutral observer instead of supporting any candidate, while the BCA’s stance remained unclear.

Europe’s changing relationship with the Caribbean

Last week, St Lucia’s Prime Minister, Kenny Anthony, issued a warning about Europe’s future relationship with the Caribbean.

Speaking in his capacity as outgoing Chair of CARICOM, he suggested the possibility of a reassessment as a result of the EU’s changing development policy towards middle ranking economies.

Speaking to CARICOM Heads Government in Haiti, Dr. Anthony suggested that such changes may lead to Europe, as well as CARICOM, having to determine not just the diplomatic, but also the political value of the existing relationship. His remarks echoed those of St Vincent’s Prime Minister, Ralph Gonsalves, at the EU-CELAC summit in Chile, who reminded Europe that the relationship between the EU and CARIFORUM was not just economic but ‘profoundly political’.

Europe’s approach to development after 2014 will, in effect, graduate almost all Caribbean nations other than Haiti out of bilateral development assistance. Although other options have been considered in Brussels, these would involve applying a formula that would reduce the amounts available to individual nations in the Caribbean and parts of Africa to an absurdly low level.

The new policy is intended to place the future development emphasis on the world’s poorest nations; move most development assistance for the Caribbean, other than Haiti, from national to regional support; and place its focus on issues such as private sector development, the environment, security and other cross cutting themes, using, most probably, delivery vehicles other than Cariforum.

Speaking about what has, in recent months, become a focus of attention for Caribbean Ministers and diplomats, Dr. Anthony said that the proposal by the EU to introduce the concept of ‘differentiation’ to determine support for ACP Countries could not have come at a worse time for Caribbean economies. They were caught, he suggested, in the most debilitating economic crisis since independence. Europe, he said, has made it clear that they may refine the principle, but they will not retreat from implementation.

Dr. Anthony also made the point that the relationship with Europe was becoming even more one sided, with the EU, as he put it, ‘seemingly having its way at every turn, on every occasion’.

In truth, Europe’s latest unilateral policy change is just one of countless examples over many years of the European Commission taking policy decisions irrespective of the spirit or word of its treaties with the ACP and the Caribbean, or the need to consult.

From 1997 on, when the EC unilaterally abrogated the Caribbean’s preferential arrangements for rum, it has in effect been marginalising the once special relationship though its actions on trade.

The list of policy announcements that have changed the relationship is extensive: the premature liberalisation of the preferential arrangements for rum, bananas, sugar and rice; the refocusing of the EU’s development priorities; granting all least developed countries duty and quota free access in 2001 when the ink was still drying on new preferential arrangements under the Cotonou Convention; the erosion of ACP preference through the further widening of access to the EU market; the effective division of the ACP through the creation of separate regional EPA agreements; threats to impose GSP if the Caribbean did not sign the EPA; the absence of any significant level of new development assistance associated with the EPA; the negotiation of free trade agreements with Central American, Andean, and other nations; and now the move to end bilateral development assistance.

The St. Lucia Prime Minister’s remarks have taken a long time coming, but go to the heart of the Caribbean’s future relationship with Europe. If nothing special is left, then the relationship will become transactional.

Despite much residual goodwill from those who work with the region in Brussels, they are a minority. Few people in the European Commission know or really care about the Caribbean. For the many in Brussels who make or introduce policy towards others parts of the world, there is little awareness of the detail of the painstakingly negotiated treaties or transitional trade arrangements that the Caribbean and the ACP have laboured over. Instead, the closeness has been lost and those from European nations with no historic ties pick apart the words and diminish their original intent.

What is clear is that a Europe of twenty seven nations now sees the world very differently to the former colonising powers, whose outlook too has changed. Instead of a mutual belief in interdependence and a shared economic and political history, and despite the recently agreed Joint Caribbean EU Partnership Strategy, the Caribbean has become for most in Europe relevant only in relation to security, its political voting weight in multilateral institutions, and immigration.

As a consequence there is little likelihood of a change in Europe’s approach to differentiation.

To make matters worse, the signs are that all development assistance will suffer following an agreement to reduce Europe’s overall budget.

In early February EU leaders agreed to cut Europe’s budget for the first time in the Union’s history. One by-product is that the 2014-2020 development budget will be significantly reduced with cuts to the European Development Fund (EDF) of 10.1 per cent for the Development Co-operation Instrument (DCI) by around 16 per cent.

What this is likely to mean, if the European Parliament accepts the reduced EU budget, which is far from certain, is that the countries and regions that will feel this most will be middle ranking economies such as those in the Caribbean.

If the region is to respond politically, as the two Prime Ministers imply, then it needs to be clear as to how it is going to do so.

It needs to start to frame the language of a relationship that is different. It needs to determine when and where it will withhold votes or support and consider how best to rebalance its future needs through support from newer partners.

None of this should be taken as meaning the Caribbean is blameless in its relationship with Europe, but rather to say that Europe and the Caribbean may be reaching the point at which their common history may start to diverge.

As Sir Ronald Sanders pointed out in a recent lecture in London on the Commonwealth and China, much of the value in relationships comes down to shared values and behaviour.

If in a Caribbean context, Europe, and in particular its bureaucrats in Brussels, are unable to demonstrate in practical terms they wish to engage with and support the Caribbean, the region will go elsewhere, learn metaphorically and actually a new language, and the EU’s Caribbean policy will, over time, become an irrelevance.

(David Jessop is the Director of the Caribbean Council and can be contacted at Previous columns can be found at www.

An IMF lead in Jamaica: Will other Caribbean countries have to follow?

Jamaica’s harsh experience with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to get a new $750 million loan, signals equally harsh conditions for many Caribbean countries in the not too distant future.

The burden of the tough conditions placed on Jamaica by the IMF falls entirely on the Jamaican people and Jamaican businesses.

Under a National Debt Exchange Offer (NDEX), Jamaican holders of Government debt instruments are expected to exchange such instruments for new ones that, in some cases, will have a lesser value and in all cases will mature over a longer period at reduced rates of interest.

The NDEX was launched on February 12 with a closing date of February 21. By the time, this commentary is read the results of the offer will be known.

There are several important aspects of the NDEX that should cause other Caribbean countries to be troubled.

First, the IMF has made it clear that if there is not an NDEX, there would be no loan. Second, while Jamaican creditors are categorically required to join the debt exchange, foreign creditors are not. Third, the length of time from the launch of the NDEX to its closing was a mere 9 days. It had the feel of a gun to your head – do or die.

The IMF justifies the requirement for the NDEX on the basis that Jamaica’s debt is “unsustainable” – the official debt to GDP ratio is over 140 per cent. It rationalizes not applying the same requirements to foreign holders of Jamaica’s debt instruments to join in the NDEX, by arguing that Jamaica must repay its foreign debt to give confidence to foreign capital markets in the future. In as much as the latter point may be arguable, it is clear that the IMF insisted upon it as a pre-requisite of its loan, and the Jamaica government had no choice but to accept it.

There are now several Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) countries that are in programmes with the IMF as lender of last resort. They are there, in part, because their debt to GDP ratios are more than a hundred per cent or very close to it. After debt servicing, they have little money left to provide goods and services to their populations.

Now that the precedent of a National Debt Exchange Offer (the world “offer” in this context is a misnomer if ever there was one) has been established in Jamaica, every Caribbean country that seeks an IMF loan, or an extension of it, can expect a similar requirement. This will have consequences for those governments that have borrowed heavily from local statutory bodies such as social security and national health organisations. If those bodies are compelled to exchange existing debt instruments for ones that are less favourable, they will be depleting monies contributed by the public for pensions and health care.

The unfairness of the NDEX is that the entire burden falls on the local population; the foreign creditors are assured of being repaid even though they too took the risk of lending and should be open to the same requirements that apply to local lenders.

If the NDEX was the only condition applied to Jamaica it would be bad enough. But, there is more. The government also has to increase taxes and introduce a raft of new ones. Spending must also be reduced. This means public service retrenchment and a cut back on infrastructural projects.

Whether this bitter medicine will cure the needy Jamaica economy, or worsen it, is left to be seen. What is certain is that Jamaicans are now in for a tougher time. The IMF Executive Board will meet in March to judge whether the government has met the pre-conditions for the loan of $750 million spread over four years.

The Jamaican government does not have much of an option. There are no “white knights” on the IMF Executive Board championing the cause of Jamaica or any other developing country in similar circumstances, and arguing for less harsh conditions. And, with 55 per cent of government earnings going toward paying back debt and 25 per cent being spent on wages, only 20 per cent is left for everything else - including education, security and health.

A few other Caribbean governments are at the same point as Jamaica or pretty close. Their fate will not be much different, unless they implement policies that reduce their borrowing significantly particularly within their own domestic economies; find creative ways of increasing export revenues including in tourism and the creation and sale of new services; reduce government spending on unnecessary projects; and encourage the private sector – both local and foreign – to take on more of the capital risk and to increase employment. In other words, governments have to re-think their roles – focussing on facilitation and regulation rather than competing with the private sector. Further, governments have to build genuine partnerships with the private sector and trade unions.

Caribbean governments also have to stop treating the opportunities that regional economic integration offers as though they do not exist or are not worth pursuing. The integration of the factors of production – natural resources, capital, management know-how and labour – can increase production and export earnings. Perfecting the Caribbean Single Market remains a vital step in this process. And, of course, that won’t happen if governments persist in the decision made two years ago to ‘pause’ integration.

A joint Caribbean approach to external debt negotiation, including with the IMF, would also give the region more bargaining strength. It is not beyond the creativity of regional technicians to work out how.

CARICOM countries should be swimming together; right now many of them are sinking alone.

(Sir Ronald Sanders is a Consultant, former Caribbean Diplomat and Visiting Fellow at London University. Responses and previous commentaries:

Men in need

WHEN one hears about disadvantaged or marginalised groups in society, the mind usually goes to persons with disabilities, poor persons, the elderly, the youth and women. One would hardly place men in that category.

After all, men are seen as the ultimate power brokers in our society. Men, having held the seat of power in our society from time immemorial, are seldom seen as needing special attention.

Nonetheless, there is a segment of the marginalised in our society that seems to be heavily constituted by those of the masculine gender – the homeless and vagrant among us. As one walks around the island, particularly in urban and commercial areas, one would notice that men seem to dominate this population; one cannot help but wonder why this is so.

In a cruel irony, could it be their masculinity – a symbol of power and entitlement – that is keeping them relegated to this downtrodden position? After all, men are seen as breadwinners; as being able to look after themselves. Does it then make them even more unlikely to find a helping hand when they are down and out? Certainly, it is not difficult to imagine that women – as the traditional primary caregivers – would be considered a priority for social services authorities and civil society organisations. It pulls on the heartstrings to see children suffering because of poor living conditions or risks to their safety, and it is not surprising therefore to see single mothers receiving the lion’s share of attention and support.

Meanwhile, most men who are living on the streets, or who are in untenable living situations at home or with relatives, do not appear to meet with such overwhelming public sympathy. That being said, one also has to account for individual idiosyncrasies. One major obstacle which social workers  and other caring persons would encounter is that can be extremely difficult to help those who do not wish to be helped. This may again go back to the cultural norm that dictates that a man should be able to look after himself – ego may therefore not allow him to seek the help that is needed, or accept any that is offered.

Whatever the reasons for this tendency, it is one that we would wish to see reduced. Just as the unique challenges facing other marginalised groups are studied and taken into consideration when devising initiatives to help them, it is hoped that similar care would be taken with dealing with the homeless and vagrant population.

In recent times, we have seen more persons in civil society working to help these persons to get their lives back on track and we urge them to keep up the good work. However, given the gender aspect of this issue, perhaps men’s groups, such as men’s fellowships in churches across the island, might be encouraged to begin focusing their energies on helping their downtrodden brothers. Certainly, we have seen that the various women’s organisations have taken concrete action such as providing women with skills training and self-help opportunities, as well as providing shelter, counselling and support to women in abusive relationships.

Everyone needs help from time to time, but it can be hard to reach for it or accept it if you are expected to be the one who does the rescuing.

We need to create more welcoming spaces for our disadvantaged men to get back on their feet.


By Linda Straker

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has given the assurance that a budget will be presented in accordance with the island’s constitutional deadline of April 28.

“Usually the incoming government will want some time to plan this ceremony; we don’t have the luxury to delay the Parliament opening,” Dr. Mitchell told the media on Monday.

“With us having to meet a deadline in April, it means that by April 1 the Budget will have to be presented,” he said.

Over the years, the annual Government budget was presented during the month of December, however, in 2012 the former Tillman Thomas administration presented it in March. The former National Democratic Congress did not approve a budget for 2013 and thus with the constitution mandating that the island’s Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure be approved no later than April 28 of any year, the incoming New National Party (NNP) administration has made it a priority.

“It’s definitely a priority for me and we will work towards ensuring a sustainable one is presented,” Dr. Mitchell said.

Other top priority areas for the Mitchell administration are the investment climate and job creation.

“Job creation is key to the investment climate and we are talking with investors,” he said, while claiming that the discussion undertaken so far should not be made public.

The new Cabinet is scheduled to be named in a ceremony on Sunday and Dr. Mitchell has indicated that he will carry the title of Minister for Finance.

He told the press that although all his candidates were elected, there will be at least two or three who will not be receiving ministerial portfolios when the Cabinet is announced and instead will be opting to work only with their constituencies.

“I am aiming to keep it at 11 ministries, but there might be 12,” he said.

Sunday’s swearing-in ceremony for the new Cabinet is expected to be attended by a number of regional leaders and friends of the NNP administration. The function will be held at the National Stadium.

Media called on to be critical observers

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell told media workers on Monday that in the absence of an official Opposition in the island’s Parliament, they are expected to be “critical observers” of Government’s work and provide information to the public.

“We expect you to be critical observers, ensuring truth always … when you are truthful and providing information the public requires, you are not hurting Government, but actually enhancing its success,”
Dr. Mitchell told media workers in his first official briefing with the press on his first day in office since winning the February 19 General Elections.

Members of the press interviewing Prime Minister
Dr. Keith Mitchell on his first day on the job.
Dr. Mitchell and his New National Party created history last week when for the second time they were able to win all 15 seats in an election, resulting in no Opposition in the House of Representatives.

Urging that balanced and accurate stories are published, Dr. Mitchell is of the opinion that stories should not only be providing one-sided information, but Government should be given a chance to respond appropriately to stories that are not always favourable to the regime.

“A Government who doesn’t accept criticism is doom to failure,” he said.

Accompanied by most of the old security team, Dr. Mitchell was welcomed to his office on Monday
by Cabinet Secretary, Gemma Bain-Thomas. Staff of the Ministry lined the hallway to welcome the Prime Minister, whose office was blessed by Roman Catholic priest, Father Sean Doggett.

Describing the state of the island’s finances as “dismal”, Dr. Mitchell said that the Government has EC$86 million in unpaid claims while overdrafts with banks are at their peaks.

“The banks are saying that Government is unable to keep it manageable,” he said. (LS)

Grenada regains its right to vote at UN

By Linda Straker

AS of February 12, 2013, Grenada regained its voting rights at the United Nations after the island was able to pay US$40 100 to the Contribution Committee.

On January 15, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon listed Grenada among 22 members that lost their voting rights due to arrears in membership payment. Following the public notice, a number of member states paid off the arrears or established a payment plan to regain the voting right.

Allison Watson, from the UN Contribution Committee, said that Grenada made its payment on February 12, 2013 and has since regained the right to vote on resolutions at upcoming meetings or sessions which require members to vote.

Apart from Grenada, the original list also included Dominica which owed US$7 231, St. Lucia which owed US$35 727 and the Dominican Republic which was US$486 715 in arrears. As of February 26, none of the members regained their voting rights.

Under Article 19 of the UN Charter, a member which is in arrears in the payment of its financial contributions to the Organisation shall have no vote in the General Assembly if the amount of its arrears equals or exceeds the amount of the contributions due from it for the preceding two full years.

Member nations contribute to the running costs of the UN. A country’s contribution is assessed on its ability to pay.

Among the members with significant arrears are Venezuela, which owes US$5 113 575; Central African Republic US$168 551 and Comoros US$835 938.

Not all MPs will be appointed to Cabinet, says Dr. Mitchell

Though they were all elected as a member to the House of Representatives as a result of last week Tuesday’s landslide victory of the New National Party in the General Elections, not all will be appointed as a Government Minister to serve in the Cabinet.

Newly-elected Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell announced on Friday during a victory rally that at least two or three will be serving as backbenchers in the Parliament. The move, he explained, will give the affected members the opportunity to serve on the Public Accounts and other Committees in the Parliament. One will also be appointed as Deputy Speaker.

“The regulations require that elected Members of Parliament serve on these committee,” Dr. Mitchell told supporters as he explained the dilemma of having won all the constituencies in the February 19 General Elections in which the NNP candidates received almost 60 per cent of the votes.

Calling on supporters of constituencies who will be directly affected following the swearing-in of ministers on March 3, 2013 to understand the reason behind the decision, he said that whereas the MPs will have no problem with the proposal, supporters are sometimes the ones who cannot accept the outcome.

“Sometimes the Members will be quite happy with the situations, but the people are not,” he said, while reminding the thousands who attended the rally that the voting process is for the candidate to become a Member of Parliament and not necessarily for a Cabinet position.

“What I can assure you is that very members will have to serve you,” he said as he confirmed that the financial monthly package will not be different to a minister’s salary because although the affected MPs will not be a minister, there will be certain basic needs.

“Whether serving in the Cabinet or not, they will receive the same salary; no one will be marginalised,” he said, as he pointed out that he has received advice on how best to deal with the unique situation of no Opposition in the Parliament from local, regional and international leaders. (LS)

Humphrey retains top post on TAWU management committee

Chester Humphrey retained the top position of President General of the Technical and Allied Workers’ Union (TAWU) after 55 per cent of the membership voting in the Union’s elections last week Friday.

Humphrey, who received a total of 652 votes, beat his opponent Paul Sylvester by 215 votes. The management committee comprises Andre Lewis as First Vice President; Gordon Raeburn as Second Vice President; Bert Paterson, General Secretary; Trevor Xavier, Assistant General Secretary; and Khary Delves as Treasurer.

The Committee also includes Godwin Thomas, Shirlyn Mitchell, and Shirlene Herbert as Trustees.

Patricia Fleming-Baker – Sec./Chair Women’s Affairs
Richard La Touche – Sec./Chair OSH Commission
Peter Cox – Sec./Chair Sports and Cultural Commission

Watson Benjamin – Ordinary Member
Martin Moore – Ordinary Member
Rodney Thomas – Ordinary Member

Denort Corian – Alternate 1
Alfred Lewis – Alternate 2
Glendon Lewis – Alternate 3

The newly-elected management committee will be presented to the general membership on Saturday, March 2 at the National Stadium when the union holds its triennial convention. (LS)

‘Taste of St. David’ is new monthly community festival

By Linda Straker

IN an effort to encourage economic activities in the parish of St. David, the St. David’s Day Festival Committee members have agreed to organise a monthly event that will commence at the St. David’s Day Festival, which will be held on Sunday, March 3.

Chairman of the committee, Dr. Peter Radix, said that after consultation with persons in the parish, the Committee has agreed to launch “Taste of St. David” on Sunday as part of the annual St. David’s Day Festival.

Chairman of the St. David’s Day Festival Committee, Dr. Peter Radix.
“The Festival will be used to introduce the monthly ‘Taste of St. David’ event, which will be held on the first Sunday of every month,” he said.

Sunday’s event is expected showcase the food and culture of the parish at the Marlmount Pasture and Resource Centre.

“However, every month we will choose to focus on something different and unique about the parish, so for example in April the focus will be a taste of music, featuring the work of musicians and those in the music business from persons in St. David; in May it will be all things Carnival and in June it will be all things root crops.

“Each month the activities will reflect the adopted theme. Yes, all events will have food and drinks, but the focus will be on something that fits into the season or time of the year,” he said.

Chief Executive Officer of the Cultural Foundation, Livingston Nelson, said that the foundation endorses such an event as it will be an opportunity to showcase traditional and contemporary cultural activities in the parish.

“At the same time it will provide the medium to expose the cultural activities that are unique to the parish and for persons to learn about its history.”

Sunday’s festival will be preceded by the Pure Spice Awards on Saturday, in which four persons and two business places will be recognised for their contribution towards the development of the parish. The cocktail ceremony at Marion House in Petite Esperance will commence at 6:30 p.m.

CABI helping region fight poverty

OVER the last 100 years CABI’s work has helped to make significant contributions in the fight against poverty.

That is according to the CABI’s Executive Director, International Development, Dennis Rangi, as he spoke at the Americas and Caribbean Member Country Consultation at the Amaryllis Beach Hotel in Barbados last week Wednesday.

Barbados’ Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture,
Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Michael King
(left) and CABI’s Executive Director, International Development,
Dennis Rangi, at last week Wednesday’s consultation.
Some of the participants in attendance at last week
Wednesday's consultation for the Centre for Agricultural
Bioscience International (CABI).
“CABI is an international, intergovernmental, not-for-profit organisation that improves people’s lives worldwide by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment. CABI originated in 1910, which means that we have now turned 103 years old, and are still growing stronger... The impact of our work is global and it ranges from working directly with farmers to providing innovative solutions at the higher level in industry,” he said.

With that in mind, Rangi said that since its establishment, CABI has been behind the identification of various significant disease-causing pests leading to the development of pest management programmes across the world, including resistant crop varieties.

“This region has also been quite instrumental in our exploration for biological control agents and facilitating the supply of the same to other developing member countries. And there have been some spectacular successes; for example, against the sugar cane stem borer, coconut whitefly and the pink hibiscus mealybug to mention but some,” he said.

Rangi added, “Given our intergovernmental status, CABI develops its programmes in close consultation with its member countries through the Review Conference, which is CABI’s supreme governing body, and Regional Consultations such as this one. We are hoping to identify ways of working with you to support member countries in the region in their quest to address the challenge of food security.”

He said that they will review the progress made in addressing the priority areas identified during previous consultations; identify the key emerging issues influencing and impacting on sustainable development nationally and regionally; share country experiences; and develop regional plans, identify synergies and agree ways of working together. (JRT)

Organisation continues to offer help to local partners

MEMBER countries of CABI are being given the assurance that the not-for-profit science based development and information organisation, will continue to work with local partners to transfer knowledge and skills with the view of building capacity.

That is according to the Chief Executive Officer of CABI, Dr. Trevor Nicholls while addressing those attending a recently held seminar hosted by that organisation.

“Our aim right through all of this, is to improve lives and livelihoods around the world, by applying knowledge to solve problems in both agricultural and environmental situations. We work on behalf now of 48 member countries, a very colourful flag board, that goes all the way from Anguilla here in the Caribbean to Zimbabwe in Africa, but stopping off at many places such as India and China in between,” he said.

Nicholls noted that while they are a small organisation, they have a large global footprint with over 20 locations worldwide and employing hundreds of persons, with the organisation’s work split into two business units – publishing and international development.

Speaking to some of the initiatives they have undertaken particularly as it relates to food security, Nicholls said that they have been working to help farmers to lose less of what they are growing, so that they could feed more people.

“This initiative really has two key strands to it. It has the strand of a global knowledge bank, which is an open access resource providing data for the identification and prevention of pest and disease attacks on groups, but also giving us a way of tracking the global spread of pest and diseases. But that is really a complement to the local expertise of plant clinics on the ground, and CABI runs these plant clinics in partnership with local and national organisations to provide advice that is specific for farmers, and helps them with their crops day to day,” he said.

With that in mind, he said that such clinics and the plant wise programme are already being run here in Barbados. Moreover, he revealed that plant clinics are being run in over 20 member countries and they are in discussions to spread the programme’s reach into other territories. (JRT)

Region endorses Regional Aid for Trade Strategy

CARIBBEAN officials who met recently in Haiti, have endorsed the Regional Aid for Trade Strategy to assist the region in becoming more competitive.

This issue is highlighted in the Communiqué following the Intersessional meeting in the French-speaking territory.

According to the document, the Conference endorsed the Strategy which is regarded as a critical tool for mobilising resources needed for the region to enhance its competitiveness in the international market place.

“Preparation of the Strategy, which was supported by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), was the subject of consultations across the Caribbean Community including with representatives of civil society,” it was pointed out.

The goals of the Strategy are upgrading key economic infrastructure; enhancing competitiveness and facilitating trade expansion and diversification; and deepening regional integration and maximising gains from external trade agreements.

To achieve these goals, priority attention will be given to transformational projects in Maritime Transport, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Energy.

The Conference agreed the Strategy would be formally launched under the auspices of the Chairman of the Conference and looked forward to the participation of the President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), other development partners and institutions.

CARICOM welcomes progress made on CLICO, BAICO

MINISTERS of Finance and the Central Bank Governors across the Caribbean have been urged to move swiftly to complete their deliberations on national and financial stability reports.

This is one of the issues emerging from the recent CARICOM Intersessional meeting held in Haiti.

The final communiqué said that the Conference received the report on the initiatives taken by the Committee of Central Bank Governors to develop a framework for financial risk assessment in the region, as well as a Regional Crisis Management Plan and welcomed the progress now being made.

The Conference also noted the work being done by the Central Banks and other regulatory bodies on the preparation of national and regional financial stability reports inclusive of a risk contagion matrix to identify potential risks in the regional financial system.

The issue of British American Insurance Company/Colonial Life Insurance Company also came up at the meeting.

According to the Communiqué, the Conference welcomed the progress made in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) and Suriname regarding the resolution of the obligations to policyholders following the financial difficulties of British American Insurance Company and other CLICO subsidiaries.

According to the document, “The Conference noted that formulating a regional solution to address the liabilities of CLICO International Life Insurance was still a work-in-progress and urged the Technical Team overseeing the process to complete its proposals at the earliest opportunity.”

The Conference was, however, mindful of the importance of establishing a reformed supervisory and regulatory framework for financial institutions which operate cross-border in the regional financial space and welcomed the steps being taken by the ECCU in this regard.

On the matter of transportation in the region, the Conference expressed the firm view that transportation be a high priority on the Community’s agenda and mandated that a Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) be convened specifically to consider the key issues.

The recommendations of that meeting are to be brought to Conference at its next meeting in July in Trinidad and Tobago at which a session would be devoted to the issue.

Need for conversation on future of Caribbean economies

CARIBBEAN economies need each other to survive in the prevailing economic conditions.

St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony made the call in an address to the CARICOM Intersessional meeting in Haiti.

“The unvarnished truth is that our economies need each other to survive and prosper. Trinidadian manufacturers cannot prosper if regional economies are anaemic with little prospect to return to high levels of growth,” said Dr. Anthony.

“Trinidad and Tobago needs regional economies that are strong, vibrant and fully capable of financing demand for goods and services,” he remarked.

The St. Lucian Prime Minister said that there is need for a “big conversation” about the future of our economies, not just the future of CARICOM.

“For that reason, I hope we can, at our Summit in July, focus on the future of our economies. It would be an opportunity to chart a new paradigm for growth, review the role and performance of our regional institutions to determine how they can help in these times and better assist us to restore growth to our economies,” said the St. Lucian leader.

“It makes little sense to rehearse the tale of woe now sweeping our region. Suffice it to say that three of our Member States are now in the embrace of the IMF. Others are battling debilitating economic conditions. Only recently, the President of the Caribbean Development Bank put seven of our countries on the watch list of countries carrying ‘unsustainable debt’.”

He stated also that the CLICO/BAICO issue languishes, only partially resolved, thanks to the generosity of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.

“The fate of the remaining policy holders in the Eastern Caribbean is the subject of debate on political platforms in Barbados on the eve of the general elections in that country.”

Dr. Anthony said another burning issue is the proposal by the European Union to introduce the concept of “differentiation” to determine aid and support to ACP Countries.

 “Differentiation,” he said, “is just another word for the ‘graduation’ of states. This could not come at a worse time for Caribbean economies, caught in the most debilitating economic crisis since independence.

“The truth is that our relationship with Europe is becoming even more and more ‘one sided’ with Europe seemingly having its way at every turn, on every occasion. Europe had its way with bananas, sugar and the EPA. Now, it is about to have its way with ‘differentiation’.”

Dr. Anthony stated that this issue must be fought resolutely, with all the diplomatic will and resources at our disposal.

“As Prime Minister (Dr. Ralph) Gonsalves reminded the Europeans in Chile, the relationship between the EU and CARIFORUM is not just economic, but profoundly political.”

According to him, Europe as well as CARICOM will have to determine not just the diplomatic, but also the political value of the existing relationship.

He said it is clear that the Caribbean has more work to do to rebuild our bridges with the ACP specifically, and Africa, generally. As it is well known, Africa is yet to agree with the European Union to establish their version of the EPA.

“There were constant references to the experience of the Caribbean, I believe, to justify Africa’s caution in its attempt to reach an accord with Europe. The disappointment of members of the ACP in our Community was palpable and real.”

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Sandals donates footballs to GFA

Sandals Resorts International has made a contribution to the Grenada Football Association (GFA) by donating a number of footballs. President of the Grenada Football Association, Cheney Joseph made the request to Sandals Procurement Division Group Manager, Jordan Samuda, while he was in Grenada last October.

The international resort group which recently purchased the La Source Hotel will be operating under the brand name Sandals LaSource Grenada.

Sandals immediately offered to assist the association and has indicated their interest in developing synergies with the local community.

As a result of the President’s request, Sandals LaSource Grenada has ordered an unspecified amount of co-branded footballs which will assist the GFA with its ongoing development programmes. 

Samuda in responding to the President’s request said “We are here to stay and we want to show the people of Grenada that we care about the same things they do.”

He is hoping that a long term relationship will be forged between the Grenada Football Association and the resort. Samuda believes there are opportunities for both the GFA and his facilities in football once they are up and fully functional. (LS)

Profound implications of changing energy balance

No one should be in doubt: the global energy balance is changing rapidly with profound political and economic consequences for the way countries and regions relate to one another.

During the latter part of last year a consensus emerged that the United States was moving faster than anyone had previously thought to become first energy self-sufficient, and then a net exporter of natural gas. How this has occurred, why it has turned previous predictions of continuing US energy dependency on their head, and how it will change geo-strategic relationships, is only gradually beginning to be understood.

What is happening is that the US domestic energy sector has been advancing rapidly on all fronts. 

US production of crude oil is forecast to increase sharply up to 2019, and US natural gas production is set to outpace domestic consumption by 2020, so that by 2016 the US will become a net exporter of natural gas. All of this is occurring because technological advance and a lessening of environmental controls have enabled a significant increase production from shale and other tight formations as a result of hydraulic fracking and horizontal drilling. This is occurring just as US energy consumption is in decline as a result of the introduction of fuel economy requirements for vehicles; liquefied natural gas (LNG) is gradually offsetting diesel fuel consumption; and renewable energy for power generation is growing at a much faster rate than the use of fossil fuels. 

Until recently, the consensus, based on conventional methods for the recovery of oil and gas, was that the US would remain a middle level producer requiring imports far into the future. However, recent commentaries from the US Energy Information Adminis-tration, a government statistical body; by BP; from the International Energy Agency (IEA), an OECD-based Governmental body; and others make clear that that this is no longer so.  

In a recent presentation to the Atlantic Council, Dr. Fatih Birol, the Chief Economist of the IEA, demonstrated how the development of shale gas and tight oil using non-conventional methods would enable the US to overtake Russia as the world’s principal gas producer by 2015 and pass Saudi Arabia to become the leading  global oil producer by 2017. This was he suggested the biggest change since World War II with implications for the whole world.

All of this is occurring as a vast new find of oil has just been made in Iraq, the exploration of the ‘high north’ as a result of the melting of the Arctic sea ice is actively being considered, and some industrialised nations, have decided to move away from nuclear energy. 

Although there are no forecasts of any dramatic fall in energy prices, the suggestion is that despite global economic recovery and growing demand for energy in advanced developing nations as they return to significant levels of growth, prices will first stabilise and then soften slowly after 2019.


The implications of what is happening in the US and to a lesser extent Canada – which has huge but yet-to-be exploited shale deposits – are considerable. 

By 2035 the US is forecast to be energy self-sufficient, a net exporter of oil and LNG and to have returned to robust economic growth. It is expected to bring back onshore many manufacturing operations and jobs as new forms of high-tech based industrialisation occur using domestic energy. 

Together with China – which has invested billions of dollars in US companies involved in fracking – it will in effect create a new bi-polar world in which some surprising countries may become energy-rich in relation to the size of their populations and economies, while regions such as the Middle East presently central to US thinking, may come to be seen very differently.

Assuming environmental reservations are overcome, some of the less likely energy producers that could begin to emerge as a consequence of fracking technology are, according to experts, French Guiana, France itself, the Ukraine, Brazil, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Israel, Kenya, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda.

The geopolitical consequences for the world of all of this are only just starting to be considered. Europe – which has just announced that it is to negotiate an ambitious EU-US Free Trade Agreement – will free itself from Russia’s gas hegemony; China will become the biggest consumer of Middle East oil and will have to become a significantly greater player in that region; Saudi Arabia will need to diversify its influence and relationships; the US may change its posture on the Middle East; and it will confirm the Pacific Rim as Washington’s long-term focus, effectively redrawing the economic and political map of the world.

Apart from the obvious implication that the countries of the Caribbean Basin will have to reorient the way they think about the world and their place in it in years to come, these developments have more direct implications.

Closest to home, if France lifts its ban on fracking imposed in 2011, there will be rapid development of the French département d’outre-mer of French Guiana, which remains remote from most of the Caribbean. This will bring into focus the future economic weight of the far southern Caribbean if, as many expect, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana add oil to their list of mineral deposits and join Trinidad and Venezuela as nations that are resource rich.

Trinidad and Venezuela too may have to reorient their thinking about their regional oil and gas relationships if, as some suggest, the US were over time to develop concessional energy programmes providing LNG alongside regional renewable energy programmes. Reconsideration may also have to be given in the medium term to proposals for refinery development, LNG terminals, and oil and gas storage in the region, and the viability of proposed regional energy projects.

It is of course important to recognise that there are significant environmental concerns associated with the technology used in fracking whether in populated or remote areas. There remain questions too about the implications for greenhouse gas emissions if there is to be greater use of fossil fuels. However, history suggests that Governments’ concern will continue to lie first with energy and physical security.

For these and many other reasons, the energy revolution under way suggests that in less than twenty years the world, its relationships and where future economic weight lies in Caribbean, may be very different. 

(David Jessop is the Director of the Caribbean Council and can be contacted at Previous columns can be found at

Only human

Most of us have role models that we look to for inspiration, admire and hope to emulate in some fashion during our lifetime.

It may be someone who is at the top of their profession, someone of exceptional character, a person who pushes him or herself to the highest echelons of sport or someone who has overcome incredible adversity.

If that role model acts in a way that is a serious affront to that elevated status, many of us become confused and cannot help but feel let down in someway and cheated.

These feelings were most certainly felt after Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius – who only six months ago achieved the feat of becoming the first double-amputee runner to compete in both Games – was alleged to have murdered his girlfriend at his home in the early hours of last Thursday morning.

The story has exploded in the local South Africa media and has also garnered steam in the international media.

It has been reported that his deceased girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, who was a 29-year-old model, was shot four times – in the head, hand, chest and arm – at his exclusive Silver Lakes estate home in Pretoria.

He is however denying the murder in the “strongest terms”, according to a statement released by his management company last Friday, the same day he appeared in court, consumed by grief.

It must be said that the biggest tragedy in all of this is that Steenkamp prematurely had her life taken from her, but the high-profile nature of Pistorius’ celebrity has kept the media focus mainly on his actions, the views of his family, the moves being made by his multitude of sponsors and the ensuing case evidence that will emerge. 

One South African journalist wrote of how his parents and children, one of whom wrote an inspirational school essay on the athlete not too long ago, have been quite traumatised by the event. Pistorius, who was born in Pretoria, was a symbol of hope in a country with a violent apartheid history and represented the fact that it possible for all South Africans to fight for equality. “His life story was often told as a parable of hope that the country really was in the process of remaking itself after apartheid,” wrote Donald McRae of the Guardian newspaper.

There were some rumours floating around in the hours immediately following the incident that he had mistaken his girlfriend for an intruder, but now that he has been charged with murder, friends and acquaintances are voicing their shock.

Although this circumstance is much more grim due to the death involved, one cannot help but recall Lance Armstrong’s recent fall from grace, where he admitted to using banned substances in his quest to win multiple Tour de France titles.

He, too, was highly revered the world over for his superhuman feats and his fall deeply stung the belief and optimism of many of his fans.

If these two instances and many more, such as the tragic case where NFL player Jovan Belcher shot the mother of his young child and himself in early December, have taught us anything, it is that we must remember our heroes are human and are susceptible to the pressures and rigours of this world like everyone else.

This is why we as parents, guardians and other authority figures must impress upon our children the difference between right and wrong, regardless of who is carrying out the act, that we should be all equal in the eyes of the law and that we are all ultimately responsible for our own actions.


Hundreds of Grenadians gathered at the Trade Centre to witness the swearing-in of the island’s ninth Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell, following Tuesday’s General Election.

The swearing-in ceremony was witnessed by the other winning candidates, members of the diplomatic corps, permanent secretaries and supporters.

Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell, taking the oath of office
on Wednesday, February 20, 2013, following his New
National Party's win in the General Elections.
Governor General, Sir Carlyle Glean, and
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, during the ceremony.
Members of the New National Party, representatives of the
diplomatic corps, permanent secretaries and supporters
attended the swearing-in ceremony.
Addressing the gathering following the presentation of his credentials from Governor General, Sir Carlyle Glean, Dr. Mitchell pledged to work for the good of the country and declared the weekend national days of prayers.

He also announced that he will be meeting with senior management of the public service to be briefed on the state of affairs of the country. (LS)

Grenada to benefit from EU-funded project

By Linda Straker

Grenada is among several Caribbean countries that will benefit from a grant provided to the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) from the European Union to support fisherfolk as part of an effort to improve food security.

CANARI recently received the £1 032 099 grant from the European Union, via its EuropeAid programme, to improve the contribution of the small-scale fisheries sector to food security in the Caribbean. This will be achieved through building the capacity of regional and national fisherfolk organisation networks to participate in fisheries governance and management. 

The four-year project covers fisherfolk working across the Caribbean, including in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. 

A news release from CANARI said that building the capacity of the fisheries sector is critical to address the region’s growing concern with food and nutrition security. “Since 2005, the Caribbean has recorded food import bills of more than £3.5 billion and rising food prices have compounded this challenge,” the release elaborated.

A CANARI release said that the fisheries sector in the CARICOM/CARIFORUM region employs over 182 000 persons, directly or indirectly. These are mostly small-scale fisherfolk from rural communities who lack other income-earning opportunities. The fisheries sector is therefore especially important to these rural communities, which usually exhibit a higher percentage of poverty than the national average. 

Involving small-scale fisherfolk in fisheries management and governance is critical to ensure that fishing methods are sustainable, fisheries livelihoods are protected, and food security and nutrition are improved. 

The specific objectives of the project are to: 

1. Strengthen the regional Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisations (CNFO) and its network of national fisherfolk organisations in Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) countries/territories. 

2. Build capacity of regional and national networks of fisherfolk organisations and their individual members to participate in Caribbean fisheries governance and management at the national and regional levels. 

3. Enhance communi-cation within and among networks of fisherfolk organisations for exchange of information, collaboration, and development of consensus on policy for the governance of Caribbean fisheries in relation to food security. 

4. Improve the effectiveness and equity of participation of fisherfolk in decision-making processes in governance of Caribbean fisheries in relation to food security. 

The project is being implemented by CANARI, in partnership with the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES) of the University of the West Indies and Panos Caribbean in association with the CNFO and the CRFM. 

Former St. George South MP gracefully accepts elections outcome

Leader of the National United Front, Mrs. Glynis Roberts, says that she gracefully accepts the outcome of the February 19 General Elections and took the opportunity to reassure Grenadians that her commitment to community and national development remain undaunted.

“It has been humbling and an honour of duty to have represented the St. George South constituency as its elected Member of Parliament from 2003 to 2013,” she said in a statement, which was disseminated on Tuesday night following the elections in which the New National Party won all 15 constituencies.

She gave reassurances that it’s not the end of her political career and the people of Grenada will always be first. “I would like to thank all supporters and well-wishers for their effort and contribution to the National United Front during this election campaign,” said the statement.

At 8:27 p.m. on Tuesday, February 19, 2013, Mrs. Roberts called the elected representative for St. George South, Mrs. Alexandra Otway-Noel, and offered congratulations. At 9:22 p.m., she then called the Political Leader of the New National Party, Dr. Keith Mitchell, and also offered congratulations and best wishes.

“On behalf of the Executive and Members of the National United Front, Mrs. Roberts remains committed to building the National United Front along the lines of politics of inclusion, articulating politics of a different paradigm with the message shared at many of the meetings during the election campaign,” the statement said. (LS)

Historic win! – NNP defeats NDC, sweeps all 15 seats for a second time

By Linda Straker

Political Leader of New National Party (NNP), Dr. Keith Mitchell, created history on Tuesday, February 19, when for the second time he was able to achieve a landslide victory by winning all of the 15 constituencies in two General Elections.

“This is not Keith Mitchell’s victory, this is your victory, this a victory led by the Almighty God,” he said when he finally addressed supporters at a celebratory gathering on Tuesday night at the Roy St. John playing field.

 Dr. Mitchell, whose NNP was booted out of office in 2008 by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) of outgoing Prime Minister Tillman Thomas when they won 11 constituencies, said he hoped that the victory will result in him leaving a legacy of having united the people of Grenada.

Supervisor of Elections, Judy Benoit, in presenting the preliminary count, announced that each constituency was won by the NNP, which had only four seats in the last parliament. Almost 85 per cent of the 62 146 people who were eligible to cast a ballot in the General Election voted for the NNP. In total, the NNP received 31 014 while the NDC received 20 326 votes.

 “As I watched your faces through the campaign ... I am even more deeply committed that all of us must be a united family,” Dr. Mitchell told supporters. 

“I have accepted the awesome responsibility that you have placed on my shoulders, me and my team,” he said, adding he was accepting the challenge with “the greatest humility”.

In an emotional plea for the various national stakeholders, such as the trade union movement and civil society, to work with his administration for the improvement and development of the country, he said: “Join with us to build the country. I cannot afford another failure.”

Expressing his disbelief at the clean sweep, Dr. Mitchell said: “I have asked Almighty God what I have done to deserve this,” insisting, “This is not a Keith Mitchell victory, it is your victory.” 

He said he wants his legacy of 30 years in public life to be “that I have done all I can to unite the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique”.

The results were a harsh blow for Thomas and the NDC that sought to portray itself as a united party following the infighting that led to the dismissal and resignation of senior cabinet ministers, including Tourism Minister Peter David and Foreign Affairs Minister Karl Hood.

On his Facebook page, Randall Robinson, who contested against Gregory Bowen for the St. George South East seat, said: “We lost every seat. The people have rejected our party completely. A sad day for us, but we will survive.” 

Congratulating the New National Party on its resounding victory at the polls, Robinson said that “the people have spoken loudly and we must respect their voiced protest”.