Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Round of 16 for Waggy-T Super Knockout tournament set


THE round of 16 in the Waggy T Super Knockout Football Tournament is set after almost a month of exciting football. The teams who were victorious in the preliminaries are now ready to edge closer and battle for the winner’s prize of EC$40 000. Glovers Spice Boys, Boca Juniors, Combine Northerners, North Stars, Petro Caribe Queens Park Rangers, Ball Dogs, Sunsetters, Mt Ritch, St David’s, Season’s Fashion FC, Forde Happy Hill and Bernie’s Ice Cream St John’s Sports, have all advanced after first round victories.

They join defending champions Hard Rock, LIME Paradise, NEWIM GBSS and Hurricanes, who earned byes into the round of sixteen, which gets going Sunday November 3rd with a double-header. In the final preliminary matches last weekend, North Stars, Petro Caribe Queens Park Rangers, Boca Juniors and Futgoff ladies, scores victories to stay alive in the competition. Goals by Jelson Rush- a double and a strike by Somor Frazer, gave North Stars a 3-2 win. Five Stars led 2-0 at the interval with goals from Gregory Sylvester and Shandie Date.    

In the other game last Saturday, Petro Caribe Queens Park Rangers also had to come from behind to beat Honved 3-1. Kerry Charles gave Honved the lead in the 35th minute with a well-taken free kick; but the River Road outfit found their touch in second period with goals by Brian Andrew, Irvin Smith and Patrick Modeste paving the way. Boca Juniors meanwhile, got the better of Fetter Boys 5-4 on penalty kicks, in what was the first penalty shoot of the tournament, a playing to a goalless draw during regulation time.

Meanwhile, Futgoff ladies beat Hurricanes 8-0 to reach the semi-finals of the ladies event. Akera Peters, Roneisha Frank and Merissa Charles scored two goals each with the others coming from Christa Stevens and Rockel Hood. Futgott ladies will meet St Patrick in the first ladies semi-finals on Saturday at the National Stadium. The first ever “Bag ah Money Bingo”, is also carded for Saturday, as Waggy T continues to promote his style of Sports and entertainment – “Sportainment”, as its being branded.

The round of 16 kicks of Sunday November 3rd with a double header. The opening game from six o’clock in the evening features a match-up between LIME Paradise and Combine Northerners. Paradise earned a bye, while Combine Northerners beat Spice Basket Marvalites 3-2 in the Northeast St George Derby earlier on. Game two brings together Petro Caribe Queens Park Rangers, who defeated Honved 3-1 last week and Season’s Fashion FC, who stopped Christian Strikers 2-1. Keen matches are expected, as the teams seek to stay alive in the competition and remain in contention for the winner’s prize.

Helping tourism to grow


Few would any longer argue against the centrality of tourism to the Caribbean economy. Thankfully, the days when officials in the region and beyond would suggest that tourism was too fickle a force to support diversification and spur development have long gone; albeit mainly through circumstance rather than conviction. It is now accepted that without the industry, much of the region would be in serious economic difficulty.

Despite this, tourism’s cross-cutting dynamics, and the often simple kinds of support it needs to remain competitive, the sector is still failing to attract the attention of policy makers and multilateral funding institutions.

This is hard to understand when over the past 20 years the structure of the Caribbean economy has been transformed from one that was agriculture-dependent and preference-based, to one where tourism, in all but a few nations, has become the essential provider of employment and national income; and, by extension, a principal source, directly or indirectly of the taxes that pay for public services from education and health care, to roads.

What is striking, in comparison to agriculture, which, essential as it is, contributes far less to GDP in most Caribbean nations, is how little detailed research and technical information is available on Caribbean tourism from which an informed view might develop.

For example, it is astonishing that most Caribbean governments do not yet have full tourism satellite accounting (TSA) – an approach that provides a globally accepted framework for measuring the direct contribution of the tourism sector to an economy. Such studies provide a complete picture of what the industry consumes nationally and how the tourism economy works in relation to the broader economy. Its value is that its detail and breadth enable governments to use it not just to inform their planning process, but potentially, if well considered, how best to use tourism to stimulate future economic growth.

It is not that this approach is being ignored – there have been IADB- funded projects for the Bahamas, Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad – but the process of extending such studies to every country in the region, including the Overseas Territories, is long overdue. It illustrates an area that external agencies ought to be addressing if they really mean what they say about encouraging Caribbean development, growth and prosperity.

The TSA requirement is just one of a number of areas where funding and delivery needs to be dramatically speeded up and extended if the region as a whole is to capture the benefits of the gradual
upswing in the world economy and key visitor feeder markets.

There are also many other tourism related challenges where the need is known but the funding agencies, despite their proactive language, are unresponsive.

For instance, Europe’s much criticised Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the Caribbean contains an extensive list of potential tourism related deliverables that in theory the development aspect of the EPA ought to support. However, try as they may, both public and private sector bodies from the region have not been able to identify any mechanism that can actually deliver this support.

Why this is serious is that the EPA’s listing relates to the fundamental needs of the industry if it is to be able in future to compete globally, and develop and sustain new feeder markets. It for instance speaks to the possibility of support for practical programmes that would support much needed marketing in languages such as Portuguese, Indian, Mandarin and Russian; language teaching; for help for website development; and much more which, if funded and delivered, would offer quick returns.

In others words, it is not as though the requirements have not been identified. As the extensive language in the EPA and the continuing representations made by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) to the international funding institutions demonstrate, there should be no doubt about the needs of the
industry. What is missing is a co-ordinated sectoral approach on the part of external agencies to meet the requirements of what has become the Caribbean’s single most important industry.

In particular, there is no delivery mechanism that is sensitive to the peculiarities of the industry, through which development support might be channelled in such a way that it is directed by those who understand the need.

In this context there is a European model that could be easily adapted. In 2002 Europe established an integrated programme for the Caribbean rum industry to enable it to become globally competitive by moving gradually from bulk to value added branded products, through a mix of measures aimed at upgrading the industry, and helping meet its marketing, training, environmental and production requirements.

The programme, which is based on cost sharing between the industry and the European Development Fund, has been notably successful, not least because it is controlled in such a way that decision making on what is funded is devolved and independent, and then administered by industry experts.

Unfortunately, the dead hand of bureaucracy seems to lie heavy on the potential of such a mechanism being adopted for other key Caribbean sectors.

Tourism and in particular its well-founded public and private sector institutions, CTO and Caribbean Hotels and Tourism Association (CHTA), and their joint  entity,  the Caribbean Tourism Development Company, offer the opportunity for a similar solution. However, to find officials in Europe or in the region, or in other multilateral bodies able to talk about the detail of such an approach seems all but impossible.

To achieve this it would seem to require both Europe and the region’s governments to recognise collectively the central importance of Caribbean tourism to future regional economic development, and then to develop, as with rum, an integrated tourism industry development programme located within or delivered through existing regional tourism organisations.

Tourism employs directly and indirectly one in every nine persons in the Caribbean and is the largest employer after the public sector. Understood and treated well, it has an extraordinary contribution to make to regional growth; treated poorly, it has the capacity, in decline, to damage economies and reduce government revenues.

David Jessop is the Director of the Caribbean Council and can be contacted at david.jessop@caribbean-council.org. Previous columns can be found at www. caribbean-council.org

Guyana–Venezuela: The consequences of ideology and avarice


The internal politics of Venezuela is playing a big part in the sudden deterioration of that country’s relations with its smaller neighbour Guyana after a period of steady improvement.

Elements in the military apparatus of Venezuela appear to be determined to press a spurious claim to two-thirds of Guyana’s territory. On present evidence it seems that, unlike his predecessor Hugo Chavez, President Nicolás Maduro lacks the clout to restrain them.

There have been two serious actions taken recently by the Venezuelan military. The first was on August 31, the very day that Maduro was paying an official visit to Guyana to issue with the President of Guyana, Donald Ramotar, a joint declaration of co-operation. Armed and uniformed Venezuelan soldiers entered Guyanese territory with a party of civilians. One of the civilians, a law student identified as Ricardo de Toma, is reported to have said: “We came here to carry out a civil exercise of sovereignty, but we do not understand what was Nicolás Maduro doing there (in Guyana)”.

The second military incident is the arrest and detention on 10 October of a survey ship used by Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp, which had been granted an exploration licence by the Guyana government in a southern Atlantic block named Roraima. Both the Guyana and Venezuelan governments say that the ship, the RV Teknik Perdana, was in their territorial waters. The fact is that the ship was in Guyana’s territorial waters which the Venezuelan government unlawfully claims.

A spokesperson for the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry is reported by the Venezuelan Newspaper El Universal to have said that: “Venezuela expresses its profound concern about the way in which foreign
vessels, authorised by Guyana’s government, barge into Venezuela’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zone without permission.”

In a previous commentary, I had pointed out that shortly after Guyana issued the exploration licence for the Roraima block on 26 June, El Universal carried a story claiming that the Venezuelan Navy had “raised the alarm” about an oil concession granted by the Guyana government “in front of the Venezuelan Atlantic front of Orinoco Delta”. The unnamed source “revealed that the Navy was concerned about the way this issue is being tackled, namely, Venezuela’s claim over the Essequibo and its silence over multiple actions carried out by Guyana in the area”.  

Even earlier, in September 2011, when Guyana applied to the United Nations to extend its continental shelf, Venezuela’s foreign ministry described the application as an “irregular situation” and said it was working to protect its maritime rights.

The action by the Venezuelan navy to detain the survey ship shows a determination by the Venezuelan military to maintain and fuel hostility toward Guyana. A subsequent meeting in Trinidad and Tobago on 17 October between the Guyana Foreign Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett and the Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elías Jaua Milano resulted in a stand-off. They were unable to resolve the issue despite the formal language in a joint statement that they “recognised that the delimitation of maritime boundaries between their two States remains an unresolved issue and agreed that such delimitation will require negotiations”.

The effect is that, not for the first time, through the use of military force, Venezuela has again stopped Guyana from pursuing the economic benefits of its territory – both land and sea. And this is being done on a basis that has no legal foundation.

In 1899, an Arbitral Panel of distinguished judges reached a “full, perfect and final settlement” of the border dispute. The issue was re-opened in 1962 by then Venezuelan President Rómulo Betancourt for avaricious and ideological reasons, absolutely unrelated to legality.  According to declassified US State Department documents, Betancourt professed “to be greatly concerned about an independent British Guiana with Cheddi Jagan as Prime Minister” who he suspected “is already too committed to communism”. Betancourt is reported in the documents covering the period 1962 to 1965, as being “convinced that the area contiguous to the present boundary abounds in natural resources”. He proposed to both the British and the Americans that they agree to zone it for development by private funds from Britain and the US “under Venezuelan sovereignty”. This, he said, would stop “the danger of infiltration of Venezuela from British Guiana if a Castro-type government ever were established”. His position was founded on avarice and constructed on a cold war ideology that has cast a long shadow over Guyana.

This was the real basis for the Venezuelan claim even though Betancourt’s government’s position in the international community was that the decision of the Arbitration was fraudulent. The declassified documents reveal that neither the British nor the Americans gave him any encouragement or support. Nonetheless, he pursued it. And, over the years, nationalist hostility toward Guyana has been generated and inflamed in Venezuela on the bogus assertion that the 1899 award was a fraud, despite the fact that it was accepted at the time and not challenged for 63 years.

Regrettably, every Venezuelan government – until the latter years of Hugo Chavez’s Presidency – has promoted that false claim. They have done so even in the school system, so that every child grows up nurtured on it. The lie is now so all pervasive that even political leaders who know the truth are trapped by its consequences. That, in part, is the dilemma of President Maduro.

How does he break away from this claim to Guyana without being branded a traitor by those in the Venezuelan society whose interests it serves?

It is a dilemma which neighbouring countries, particularly Brazil and the countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), must help him to resolve.

A possibility now opens in proposals (the details of which are not yet known) from the UN Secretary-General’s Good Offices representative over the Venezuela-Guyana issue, Professor Norman Girvan.

Undoubtedly, Girvan’s proposals will be within the framework of international law and precedence. They should have broad appeal to any government that is willing to bring an end to this controversy that has hurt the potential economic integration and growth of Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole, and that has stood in the way of wider and deeper co-operation between Venezuela and Guyana that would benefit both their peoples.

Guyana’s development should not continue to be unfairly stunted by – nor should the country have to continue to live under – the threat of Venezuelan military intervention.

(The writer is a Consultant, Senior Research Fellow at London University and a former Caribbean diplomat. Responses and previous commentaries: www.sirronaldsanders.com)

A grim lesson


THE Caribbean island of Grenada recently observed a significant milestone – 30 years since the murder of the then Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, some of his Cabinet colleagues and scores of other Grenadians; and a US-led invasion that was to place the Spice Isle back on the road to democracy and stability.

Reports from the island indicated that there was a national holiday known as Thanksgiving Day in remembrance of what had taken place in the island in October 1983.

The Grenada story remains a sad tale in the lives of Caribbean people. It demonstrated what can happen in a small country where a dictatorship was allowed to fester, then was overthrown, and when its replacement turns its back on calls to restore democracy by holding general elections.

Grenada lies 90 miles north of Trinidad and Tobago and 153 miles south west of Barbados. Flying time there from Barbados is about 30 minutes. The Grenada experience was therefore not just an issue for that island alone, as many of its citizens live, work, and study not only in Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados but in many of the other islands as well. In other words, it belonged to the family of islands.

Grenada had erupted into political upheaval following the overthrow of the then Prime Minister, Sir Eric Gairy. He had ruled the island with an iron fist and when that ruthlessness reached a point of no return, Gairy was replaced by Bishop and his New Jewel Movement government. Despite repeated calls from other Caribbean leaders and commentators for the Bishop adminstration to hold elections, it refused to do so. With many people supporting the new Prime Minister, all that was requested was for him to legitimise his administration by way of the ballot box.

This did not take place and after four years (1979-1983), infighting started to surface among the government members over leadership sharing. It came down to a choice as to whether there should be shared leadership between Bishop and his Deputy, Bernard Coard. The issues could not be resolved and therefore resulted in Bishop being placed under house arrest. This led to many Grenadians taking matters into their hands by freeing him.

That lit the fuse and on that bloody afternoon Bishop and several of his government colleagues were executed, leading to a Revolutionary Military Council taking charge of the country and the imposition of a dusk til’ dawn curfew. However, peace returned to the island following an invasion by American forces supported by most other Caribbean governments, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago not being part of it.

Fractured relationship

Even prior to those events, relations between Grenada under Bishop and Barbados under Tom Adams had soured. Adams himself was also involved in a disagreement with his Trinidad and Tobago counterpart over matters relating to the invasion and that too eventually led to the Trinidad Ambassador to Barbados being recalled.

The events which had surfaced in Grenada must never be allowed to happen again in the Caribbean. They were very divisive, created disunity in the region and set the integration movement back since there were some who wanted to have no part of the Bishop regime.

Those who are old enough and familiar with the events that took place in Grenada around that time, have pointed to the refusal of Caribbean leaders to speak out against the abuses by Gairy. Let’s hope that history never repeats itself.

ENCOURAGING SIGNS – Grenada experiences economic growth during first six months of 2013


By Linda Straker

THE construction and manufacturing sectors contributed significantly to the expansion of Grenada’s economy activity for the period April to June 2013, according to the latest quarterly report from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB).

The economy is estimated to have expanded in the first six months of 2013 relative to the corresponding period of 2012. “The expansion was influenced mainly by developments in the construction and manufacturing sectors, with agriculture also contributing positively to economic growth,” said the report, which explained that construction activity rebounded in the first half of 2013, recording positive growth for the first time since 2006.

Some of the bigger construction projects were large private commercial projects, namely the Sandals La Source Resort renovation and expansion, and the new National Insurance Scheme commercial complex. In addition, some works have resumed at the Baillies Bacolet Resort and Spa.

“The expansion in construction was also supported by growth in the public sector capital programme, as evidenced by the increased outlays for capital expenditure. Public sector construction activity was primarily limited to the maintenance and rehabilitation of roads, schools and other public buildings,” said the report.

The April to June report, which provided reviews of all the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union members, said that in Grenada, the increase in construction activity was corroborated in part by a 16.8 per cent rise in the value of construction material imports.

“Construction activity was moderated by the pace of private sector residential construction projects, which is estimated to have slowed, based on a reduced rate of growth in commercial bank credit for home construction and renovation,” said the report, which is available on the website of the ECCB.

When he presented the 2013 Budget in April, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell said that with the exception of the Agriculture and Education sectors, most major sectors in Grenada including tourism and construction have suffered significant declines. He said that the downturn in construction had played havoc on our people, who are employed by and benefit from this sector.

He announced back then that in addition to the various public sector projects, Government will provide further stimulus to the construction sector by reducing the VAT on a number of construction items to 5 per cent from May 1, 2013 to December 31, 2014. These included sand, cement, roofing materials, steel, lumber and construction blocks.

Government is also foregoing VAT on construction services for projects valued at less than EC$400 000 over this same period. “Our commitment is to deliver a meaningful reduction in the cost of construction and to stimulate construction employment and economic activity,” he promised.

The report said that driven in part by increased domestic demand, production in the manufacturing sector is estimated to have increased in the first half of 2013 following a contraction in the corresponding period of 2012, with beverages leading the way.

Output of beer expanded 29.4 per cent to 416 509 gallons, in contrast to a decline in 2012. Similarly, estimates for the production of rum, malt and stout indicate increases of 23.1 per cent, 20.0 per cent and 17.9 per cent respectively. Higher levels of output were also recorded for soft drinks (2.4 per cent). In other developments in the light manufacturing sector, paint increased by 6.6 per cent, and poultry feed by 9.0 per cent, largely reflecting a rise in export demand. These increases were partially offset by declines in the production of flour (11.6 per cent) and toilet paper 1.9 per cent.

Agricultural production is estimated to have increased in the first half of 2013 compared with the outturn in the corresponding period of 2012, driven mainly by improved planting conditions and higher domestic demand. Among the traditional crops, banana production rose by 21.2 per cent to 3 511 tonnes, while output of nutmeg grew by 30.1 per cent (53 tonnes).

By contrast, the cocoa crop yield declined by 26.0 per cent (165.0 tonnes), reflecting the cyclical nature of the crop output. Output of other crops (fruits and vegetables) contracted by 13.0 per cent, attributed to low yielding harvests. Fish production increased by 26.9 per cent, as more boats were put out to sea.

The report also pointed out that consumer prices in Grenada rose by 0.2 per cent on an end of period basis. The fiscal operations of central government are estimated to have resulted in a slightly larger deficit, due to an increase in capital expenditure.

The total public sector debt grew, largely influenced by a rise in central government debt. Monetary liabilities expanded, on account of growth in net foreign assets, while domestic credit contracted.

Commercial bank liquidity was at a higher level during the period under review. The commercial banks’ weighted average interest rate spread between loans and deposits remained unchanged.

The report suggested that the pace of economic activity is projected to accelerate in the remainder of 2013.

Caribbean officials commit to cruise tourism initiative


Tourism officials from Grenada and Dominica have pledged their support to the collaborative initiative of the Cruise Alliance of the Southern Caribbean.

They did so during their brief remarks at a press conference held at the closing of Cruise Alliance of the Southern Caribbean Consultation last week Tuesday. This two-day consultation was held at the Hilton Barbados Resort and during it, representatives from 10 Caribbean countries met to discuss ways they could work together to combine their resources and ideas to enhance the Southern Caribbean’s cruise tourism industry.

From left to right: Director Cruise Tourism with the Barbados
Tourism Authority (BTA), Ryan Blackett; President and
Chief Executive Officer with the BTA, Urban Cumberbatch;
Divisional Manager with the Barbados Port, Kenneth Atherley;
Head of Product Development and Customer Service in Grenada,
Nikoyan Roberts; and Chief Executive Officer with the Dominica
Airport & Seaport Authority, Benoit Bardouille.
Addressing persons present, Head of Product Development and Customer Service in Grenada, Nikoyan Roberts, said: “Grenada remains very supportive of this tourism development initiative. It will seek to provide a lot of meaningful benefits to the partner destinations, least of all being our ability to measure and develop our ability to drive additional cruise numbers that are strong in value and that will provide economic returns to our population year round not just in the winter season.”

She continued, “We also see this initiative as being critical to our ability to polish and promote our product. We need to always strive to be overly competitive as we offer products and services, and for cruise business it is no different. We applaud the initiative and we look forward to partnering with Barbados and the other Caribbean destinations to bring this initiative through continuing partnering into reality.”

Echoing similar sentiments, Chief Executive Officer with the Dominica Airport & Seaport Authority, Benoit Bardouille, said his country is “always opened to initiatives that will bring closer Caribbean unity”.

“Dominica stands ready and very committed to the process. We will seek to co-operate [and] bring to bear the resources that we have to be able to help us to speak with a greater voice … as we come together in terms of our development… We don’t see each other so much as competitors. We see ourselves as partners in the business in terms of developing of our various territories based on the area of common interest we have, in terms of looking at increasing our traffic numbers [and] in terms of increasing the overall passenger experience.”(MG)

Headstone unveiled for 13 Grenadian soldiers – who died during US invasion


By Linda Straker

Thirty years after they were buried without a traditional funeral service, a headstone was last Friday unveiled with the names of the 13 Grenadian soldiers of the former People’s Revolutionary Army who died defending  Grenada when US soldiers invaded in 1983.

Their bodies were mistakenly sent to Cuba following the US Invasion of Grenada. However, after conducting the necessary identifications of bodies, the Cuban Government discovered that they were the bodies of Grenadian soldiers and returned them to the country.
A headstone for the 13 Grenadian soldiers who are buried
in one grave at the St. George's cemetery, was revealed.
Wreaths were laid in memory of the 13 Grenadian
soldiers who died on October 25, 1983.
“Before sending them back, the Cuba Government paid them their respect as soldiers who died defending Grenada and the revolution, but when they arrived here, the Interim Government at the time, headed by Nicholas Brathwaite, handed the body over to the undertaker, who buried them at 3 in the morning,” said Peggy Nesfield, who over the years has single-handedly on most occasions held a memorial event for them every October 25.

“They were soldiers who died defending the country and we should treat them with respect, regardless of who was the Government at the time,” said Ashley “Ram” Folkes, who this year spearheaded the project in which there is now a monument and a headstone where the soldiers were unceremoniously buried.

For the first time since the invasion, the National Celebrations Committee recognised the burial ground of the 13 soldiers and Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell laid a wreath on behalf of the country, while members of the October 19th and Martyrs Foundations paid their respects and shared memories at different times during the day last Friday.

“It took us 30 years to have this, so I am hopeful that in the future we will not only have this headstone, which is the site where they are buried, but a monument in their honour; maybe in another place where it will be more visual,” said Folkes, who is not ashamed to say that he served in the People’s Revolutionary Army.

There is a monument on the compound of the Maurice Bishop International Airport to remember the US soldiers who died during the invasion and every year there is a special ceremony for them both at the monument and at St. George’s University where a second monument is located.

It has been revealed that the former National Democratic Congress Government had a cabinet conclusion, which calls for building a monument somewhere on lands close to the airport to recognise the Grenadian soldiers. The airport at the time was under construction and was the location for a lot of the military fighting during the invasion.

Grenada seeking explanation from Venezuela government


By Linda Straker

THE Grenada Government has written to the Venezuelan Government seeking an explanation for the “accosting and intercepting” of fishing boats in international waters to the west of the island.

Nickolas Steele, Minister for International Business and Foreign Affairs, said that a letter of inquiry was dispatched to the Venezuelan Government via its Grenadian embassy to explain the circumstances that are resulting in the detaining of Grenadian registered fishing vessels.

“This is a matter we take very seriously,” said Steele, who explained that fishermen knew actually where they were located based on their GPS location. “They knew they were in international waters.”

Steele said that the letter is requesting a report on the matter, which will be followed by discussions on the matter. “When the report gets back from Venezuela, we will have discussions as friendly neighbours as to how to proceed, while ensuring that the rights of our cit-izens are not infringed upon and the relationship between Grenada and Venezuela is not degraded,” he said.

“We do share boundaries between Grenada and Venezuela and as such, sometimes there are disputes or misunderstandings. How we handle it will depend on how our relations continue in the future,” he said.

The fishing industry is an integral component of Grenada’s economic development. It contributed more than EC$35 million to the economy in 2012.

Gov’t wants to establish free trade zone


Legislation to establish a free trade zone in Grenada was among legislation tabled when members of the Houses of Parliament met for their regular monthly session on October 30, 2013.

International Business and Foreign Affairs Minister, Nickolas Steele, said that the Free Trade Act will allow for the establishment of a Free Trade Zone in Grenada.

“This will be a physical area which allows items to come in without charging duty to be assembled and exported,” Steele told reporters.

He explained that within the Free Trade Zone, companies will for example be assembling goods for export to other countries, which can result in increased employment.

“Customs will be taking strict note of what comes in and what goes out… If anything is to be sold within Grenada and CARICOM, then it will pay the duty,” he warned.

Steele said that there are similar free trade zones established in other regional territories and it’s working fine for them, and he also expects the same thing to happen in Grenada.

“By approving such legislation, we can now go out and market Grenada as a Free Trade Zone,” he said, without naming the areas that are being considered for the free trade zone.

Murder convict wins appeal and walks out of Court a free man


THE OECS Court of Appeal has squashed a guilty conviction of a man who was convicted of murder in 2011.

The offence, which occurred in 2008, concluded in 2011 with a guilty verdict and 12 years imprisonment for Tisagh Chase. However, on Monday, October 28, when the appeal was scheduled to be heard, there were no arguments in Court as the submissions presented by Chase’s legal team was indefensible by the prosecution.
Tisagh Chase
“The conviction was therefore squashed,” said Director of Public Prosecution, Christopher Nelson.

Ruggles Ferguson, one of the lawyers for Chase, said there were 12 grounds for filing the appeal, but the ones which stand out was the “self defence” and “defence of another”. Ferguson explained that deceased Kevin Hillaire, who is the father of Trisha Haywood’s children, had ended their relationship, but he was not prepared to accept his new circumstance.

On the night of the incident, Hillaire, who was to be married to another woman in two weeks, entered Trisha’s house without invitation and a fight ensued between the two parents. During the commotion, Chase hid himself in the bathroom and called the police, but by the time the police arrived, Hillaire became a victim of his own knife. (LS)

CARICOM continues to assess the gaps in realising child rights, says B’dos rep


Progress made globally in ending all forms of violence against children remained uneven, says Barbados representative to the United Nations (UN).

Speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Ambassador, Joseph Goddard said that the actions taken by States were characterised by uncoordinated policy interventions and dispersed and ill-forced legislation. He revealed that they were based on scarce data and research.

He also stressed that violence against children was a violation of their human rights, noting there is an absolute need for CARICOM to continue to assess the gaps in realising child rights, and to implement, monitor and evaluate programmes aimed at filling those gaps, in order to advance the promotion and fulfilment of child rights.

“Sexual violence against children is a particularly heinous violation of the rights of the child, causing irreparable psychological and physical damage. It is insidious, shrouded in silence and secrecy, often enabled by cultural norms which disregard the rights of children and allow perpetrators to enjoy high levels of impunity.  The vulnerability and young age of the victims create favourable conditions for predators, making it far more likely that the abuse remains undetected, or continues for some time before detection. Child sexual abuse is under-reported and sexual violence against boys, even more so.”

Turning to youth crime, Ambassador Goddard emphasised that children and youth had become increasingly involved in crime and violence as both victims and perpetrators, lamenting that youth crime and violence had reached alarming levels.

On health, Ambassador Goddard noted that CARICOM is tackling non-communicable diseases. However, due to shifting cultural consumption and recreation patterns, childhood obesity was on the increase, and must be addressed by underlining the importance of sport and physical activity.

More must be done to help SIDS


In spite of the many successes, “more must and can be done to support Small Island Developing States (SIDS)”.

This was the strong assertion made by Minister of Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, as he spoke at the Seventh Global Environment Facility (GEF) Biennial International Waters Conference, held at the Hilton Barbados on Monday.

A large crowd was on hand for the opening ceremony of the
Seventh Global Environment Facility (GEF) Biennial
International Waters Conference.
He outlined that over the years, Barbados and other GEF members within the Caribbean region have seen positive changes in the development of the facility.

Lowe noted that more national projects were coming to the forefront relative to regional projects and that project types were moving from enabling/ capacity building activities towards medium- and full-sized projects, representing direct responses to national issues and challenges.

“In our own case, Barbados has expanded its national GEF Small Grants Programme as a measure to enhance engagement with the civil society community in furthering the national sustainable development aspiration. There is every indication that the interest is there and the programme is now receiving projects for funding evaluation that are quite innovative in scope and design,” he stated.

However, Lowe stressed that the ongoing replenishment process was an “important and appropriate forum within which this matter should be raised and addressed”.

“Barbados believes that there is a real need for special and deliberate consideration of SIDS issues within the GEF development framework, of which the replenishment process is a part,” he said.

According to him, with SIDS facing capacity and economic constraints, it was critical to identify and utilise all relevant methods and tools enabling the realisation of efficiency gains in all development endeavours.

“As vulnerable countries, SIDS have little latitude for wastage in time, effort and resources in all spheres of their respective development agendas,” he added. (JMB)


It’s all about the experience


It’s the experience, stupid!

This was actually the title for one of the sessions at the recently concluded Caribbean Tourism Organisation State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC 2013), which saw regional and international travel and tourism experts meet to discuss a myriad of issues affecting the sector, as well as possible opportunities toward which the region should be focusing its direction.

According to Aviation Consultant and Former CEO of Air Jamaica Limited, Bruce Nobles, regional airlines could play a greater role in adding the visitor experience, using something they ought to have a competitive advantage in.

Using culture to your advantage

Nobles noted that one of the things which made the Caribbean unique was its culture. However, he argued that we were not successfully using it to our advantage in the aviation industry.

“What airline truly represents the culture of the Caribbean?” he asked.

“When I was chairman of Hawaiian Airlines, I made it the Hawaiian airline. When you got on that airplane, you were already in Hawaii – the flight attendants were dressed in traditional Hawaiian outfits, the music and the meal service were all authentically Hawaiian – so you started your trip on the flight ... but who does that in the Caribbean? Nobody. The American Airlines, the Deltas, the British Airways, they are not going to do that, they just bring people, but they don’t start the authentic experience that only you can give,” he charged.

When asked what type of business model the regional airlines should adopt, Nobles said that it definitely had to be low-cost, but not necessarily very low-priced. It had to provide a quality product which ensured people received value.

“We can’t get away from the fact that the aviation business is a very expensive business with high fixed costs regardless of if people fly or not,” he remarked, further adding that people would be willing to pay what they had to as long as they felt they were getting good value for the money.

“If you can provide a safe operation that goes where people want to go [and] when they want to go, well-trained, friendly employees, with some kind of cultural advantage and a good value for the money, then of course people will fly,” he said. (RA)

Region needs to talk, says ex-boss of Air Jamaica


Former President and CEO of Air Jamaica Limited, Bruce Nobles, says that although the region is a significant market, not just for Caribbean carriers but also international, our downfall continues to be a lack of productive talking among the countries.

In a recent interview, the man who would have been at the forefront in assisting the Jamaica government in the divestment of Air Jamaica, said that even within CARICOM there was not sufficient talking, far less when one considered the fact that the Caribbean was also made up of the Dutch, Spanish, and French Caribbean.

Speaking specifically to why the merger between Air Jamaica and Caribbean Airlines did not create the fireworks it was purported to achieve, Nobles said he was not clear as to why that would have been the case.

 “The original vision for combining [the two airlines] was that we would combine into this large entity that could serve the entire Caribbean.

“Obviously, synergies with LIAT would have been the next step. It’s not clear to me why that merger has not worked as well as we thought it was going to when we did it. I’ve been away from it for a while. It is clear to me that is should have been... there is an opportunity in the Caribbean to create at least one airline that would serve within the Caribbean... But there are a bunch of different reasons and some of it is that the governments don’t talk to each other, or are not willing to cooperate.”

He believed that this bureaucracy and governments’ refusal the work together for the common good of the region was what also led to the downfall of RedJet, the most recent air-carrier causality in the region’s aviation industry.

Nobles, who is now the President and Founder of The Renwick Company, says he would like
to see the region be able to hold its own in the aviation industry. He believes we have a lot to offer and that the demand for our services is there, not only from those living the region, but from an even bigger Diaspora. Cooperation he says, it what will help make it happen. (RA)

C’bean must unite


The current crop of students must ensure that the concept of Caribbean unity becomes a reality.

This was the stance of retired UWI Cave Hill principal, Sir Keith Hunte, as he addressed the 2014 evening graduation ceremony of the Cave Hill Campus recently at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.

Moments after receiving an Honorary Doctor of Laws, Sir Keith underlined the importance of regional integration. He said,“This graduation ceremony is as good an occasion as ever to remind ourselves that though over the last 50 years significant progress has been made within the university…much more remains to be done.”

Pointing to the lows and highs over the years in reaching regional unity, he stressed, “Clearly, given the challenge of the relatively small size of our markets and the need to effectively mobilise all devices to expedite development of all dimensions, then you would have to argue what is the better alternative than building a strong regional community that would enable us to give of our best in terms of human development of ourselves and in terms of paving our way in the world.”

He therefore told the graduands of their responsibility in the ongoing process of community-building at the national, as well as at the regional level.

“You are a member of integration, the university. A number of people had predicted that it wouldn’t last and that it would break up. You have a duty to see that in your lifetime that is not possible. The university belongs to you and to your heirs and successors and so does the regional movement in the making,” Sir Keith argued, adding, “We cannot afford to drop the baton that has been given to us by the pioneers of integration, or stumble through irresolution or self-doubt.” (JMB)

UNDP report: Crisis prevention and recovery vital


Despite progress in preventing conflicts and disasters last year, many countries still face chronic crises and often remain mired in poverty.

“In many places around the world where conflicts and disasters escalated in 2012, we saw how crises can undermine development investment and cause terrible human suffering, especially in communities that are fragile and lack resilience,” noted Jordan Ryan, Director of the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, in a new United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report.

“Even when crises do occur, major opportunities for transformation often coexist alongside all the terrible disruptions that conflicts and disasters bring.”

The report, released this week, highlights UNDP’s achievements in preventing and responding to conflict and disasters in 2012.

“From Latin America and Caribbean nations, where high levels of crime and violence often exacerbate poverty; to Syria, where a deadly conflict and ensuing humanitarian crisis continues to extract a deadly toll; and to the Philippines, where Typhoon Bopha killed more than a thousand people and displaced hundreds of thousands more. All of these crises impede development, reinforce inequality and blunt
efforts to lift people out of poverty,” UNDP Administrator Helen Clark stated in the report.

She pointed out that there was much tragedy in the course of the year – from the Arab States region to the Horn of Africa, the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Sahel, and to the Caribbean and the Americas, where Hurricane Sandy caused much damage and destruction.

“As the report shows, 2012 was an extraordinary year for UNDP to advance its commitment to bring the benefit of development to countries beset by crises,” Ryan added. “Given the indisputable challenges that confront our times, crisis prevention and recovery must remain a vital and core part of the world development agenda.” (TL)

HONOUR OBLIGATIONS


BARBADOS’ Minister of Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, is urging the international community to honour its long-standing commitments to Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Referring to the 1994 Global Conference on SIDS, he said that support had been requested at that time “for international co-operation and partnerships under these various facilities to address the related vulnerabilities and to honour their obligations made thereunder”.
From left to right: Senior Environmental Specialist of the GEF,
Astrid Hillers; Barbados’ Minister of Environment and Drainage,
Dr. Denis Lowe; and head of UNDP Water and Ocean Governance
Programme, Andrew Hudson, listen attentively to a presentation
by Project Manager UNEP/SEASTART IWLEARN, Khristine Custodio.
“Though appreciable gains have been made, 20 years hence, the call for such support still remains,” he added.

Making the feature address at the Seventh Global Environment Facility (GEF) Biennial International Waters Conference, Lowe said that the establishment was “uniquely placed to assist SIDS in bridging the gap between environmental and socio-economic vulnerability on one hand and environmental stewardship responsibility on the other”.

Saying he was aware that negotiations were ongoing for the sixth replenishment of the GEF Trust Fund, the minister nevertheless expressed hopes that the financial commitments ultimately agreed upon will exceed or at least match those pledged for the 2010-2014 GEF-5 programming phase, in spite of the global economic climate.

“With Global Biodiversity assets continuing to decline and the imposed challenges associated with climate change increasing intensity and frequency of occurrence, support to the GEF to exercise its mandate requires no less favourable a consideration. Noting the area of specific focus at this conference and reiterating the importance of coastal and marine resources to the sustainable development of SIDS territories, it is additionally hoped that significant improvement in the allocation to the International Waters Portfolio is realised,” the minister remarked.

The four-day event, which began on Monday, was held at the Hilton Barbados. (JMB)

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Goals galore at Waggy T Super Knockout Football


The goals and excitement of the Waggy T Super Knockout Football Tournament have been lighting up the National Stadiums as teams battle for the EC$40 000 winner’s prize.

Fans were given a treat last weekend as 21 goals were scored from four matches. The ladies from the St George’s University stole the spotlight last week Friday, with a handsome 11-0 win over Happy Hill. They were superior on all fronts – out-passing and out-classing their inexperienced opponents.

St George’s University (SGU) ladies scored six goals in the first half and one less in the second period, as they raided consistently into enemy territory. Brianna Smith led the scoring with a hat-trick, while there also braces from the booths of Meha Bhargara and Kristin Mulry.  Goals by Aimee Roberts, Jennifer Spinozzi, Gillian Roberts and Genevieve Devany complete the rout. Also on Friday, Ball Dogs beat Police 3-0, in one of their better performances this season.

The GFA Premier Division team was more composed and organised than their opponents, putting together several exciting build-ups, much to the delight of fans. Lyndon Joseph struck a bullet from just outside the 18-yard box in the 18th minute to put his team on the score sheet. Akimo Abraham doubled the score in the 48th minute when he pounced on a ball inside the area that the defenders failed to clear. Danny Frederick put the icing on the cake in the 78th minute, netting from inside the penalty area.

 Meanwhile, St David’s announced their arrival with a strong and enthusiastic display last Saturday, which saw them comfortably beat Mt Horne Sports 3-1. However, it was Mt Horne, who opened the scoring in the second minute of play when Melvin Charles blasted home from inside the penalty area. But, this only spurred St David’s into action as they hit back almost immediately with the equaliser from Rondell Thomas and David Moses made it 2-1 in the 61st minute. Alex Mitchell then fired a bullet from 25 yards out in the dying stages to make it 3-1.

In the other encounter, Bernie’s Ice Cream St John Sports beat the St Andrew’s Football League (SAFL) 2-1. They fell behind from a goal by Shane Date in the 13th minute; but fought back to get the better of the exchanges with strikes by Gammon Paul  in the 48th and Chad Phillip in the 60th. The thrilling action resumes this weekend Friday and Saturday with another four Matches. Five Stars face North Stars in the opening game six o’clock Friday evening, while Petro Caribe Queens Park Rangers tackle Honved. Another two games are on Saturday when Futgoff ladies meet Hurricanes and Boca Juniors take on Fetter Boys.

US policy and the Caribbean


Thirty years ago this week American and Caribbean forces landed in Grenada. Depending on one’s point of view, it was a rescue mission to restore democracy and civil rights, an illegal invasion of a sovereign Caribbean nation, or possibly both.

At the time it divided the region’s governments. For those who supported the US, it enabled the emergence of a strong alliance of conservative Caribbean interests in government and the private sector just as it appeared that the Caribbean and Central American region was fracturing ideologically, and becoming divided in its political and social thinking.

Seen from an alternative perspective, it was, for the Caribbean left, and those who aspired to fundamental change in the region or the adoption of aspects of the Cuban socialist model, a defeat. It made clear that factionalism would destroy political objectives and that holding elections, even in situations deemed revolutionary, provided legitimacy to a government.

It indicated too that the US would not hesitate to act unilaterally in the Caribbean if it felt its interests were threatened. It marked a moment when the UK was no longer the nation that was considered by the region or by the US as having the primary responsibility to respond in a crisis within the Caribbean. It demonstrated that the UK had considerations and concerns independent from the US, and revealed before, during and after the intervention, significant differences in the ways that Cuba and the Soviet Union thought about the hemisphere.

More generally, the US intervention in Grenada played a pivotal role in the cold war, enabling President Reagan to demonstrate US will to the Soviet Union; showed that no President would ever again accept hostage taking situations, real or implied; removed Grenada from US concerns and considerations about the insurgency and political situation in Central America; and met many of the Republican Party’s late cold war ideological requirements in the Hemisphere.

Looking back, however, what is without doubt is that the military operation brought to an end an increasingly unpredictable and dangerous internal situation; although with the loss of many Grenadian, US and Cuban lives.

Now, three decades later, much of the hurt has healed; the airport which was both literally and figuratively fought over, has been renamed Maurice Bishop International and as originally planned, is facilitating tourism’s growth; and Grenada’s Government is developing initiatives aimed at trying to return the economy to growth through the encouragement of investment and the delivery of new government initiatives.

Today, however, the region’s relationship with the US could not be more different.

In the years since the 1980s, the world and the US have moved on. The cold war ended, economic globalisation proceeded, trade preferences were eroded, and the Caribbean became largely marginal in US and European thinking as new priorities and strategic concerns emerged.

So much so that when the US Vice President, Joe Biden, met with Caribbean Heads of government in Trinidad in May, just days before the arrival of the Chinese President, Xi Jingping, Trinidad’s Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, characterised the exchange as being at times, brutal.

In Trinidad, the Caribbean made clear its perception that US interest in the Caribbean had become marginal, that relations have been soured by a number of trade disputes, and that the US is not providing enough assistance in relation to security, tax and other issues on which the US is seeking Caribbean compliance. Since then little has been heard about a planned summit with President Obama.

In the past such differences and new ideas to strengthen the US-Caribbean relationship would have been discussed at the annual Miami conference on the Caribbean. These events, organised by the Washington based body, Caribbean Central American Action (CCAA), enabled Caribbean governments, the private sector and interested parties from Canada, Europe, Japan and elsewhere to focus on the region and its needs.

Since its high point in the years before and after the Grenada invasion and, with CCAA’s help, the legislating of the Caribbean Basin Initiative, the Conference has gone through highs and lows, but as its Executive Director, Sally Yearwood, points out, it has never deviated from its central purpose of bringing the issues of the region to the forefront for debate and for action.

This year, in a long overdue move designed to place the conference at the heart of discussion on future US-Caribbean policy and the changing investment and trade relationship, it has relocated the November 20-22 event, to Washington.

Speaking about the objectives of the conference, which is co-sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce and the Organisation of American States, Ms Yearwood said that the decision to hold it in the US capital will enable Congress, the administration and key bodies to hear and meet with participants at the conference and representatives from the region.

“CCAA has always committed itself to holding a Conference where business and policy meet”, she says. “The conference is not a single-issue or single-country event but offers a wide ranging agenda that focuses on policy, specific sectors, and new trade and investment opportunities. It is intended to offer a space for the Caribbean and Central America to address common goals and concerns within a public forum”.

She also suggests that the conference enables, at a time when budgets are tight, participants to pursue either their own commercial or government agendas while being able to understand from the plenary sessions the bigger picture driving the private or public sector decision-making process in the US.

Participants already confirmed to speak include representatives of the US administration, business leaders, international financing institutions, and government and private sector leaders from the region.

Much of what happened in Grenada in the early 1980s, either in the region or beyond, has never been fully or honestly explained, but these are matters one day to be written about at length.

More importantly, there is now a pressing need for a much stronger but balanced US-Caribbean relationship that recognises that the US, with Europe and Canada, remain the most significant trade and security partners at a time when, quite rightly, the region’s relationships are diversifying in ways that embrace the interests of newer friends.

(David Jessop is the Director of the Caribbean Council and can be contacted at david.jessop@caribbean-council.org. Previous columns can be found at www. caribbean-council.org)

Citizenship crisis


Even as much of CARICOM debated the implications of the October 4 CCJ ruling in the case of Shanique Myrie vs the State of Barbados, another situation was unfolding in the northern end of the region which will again test the spirit of regional integration and fraternity enshrined in the ethos of CARICOM. Thankfully, the Secretariat has finally taken a formal position on the humanitarian crisis developing on the island of Hispaniola.

Late last month the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic (DR) ruled that the parentage of hundreds of thousands of persons born on Dominican soil from as far back as 1929 now makes them ineligible for automatic citizenship, essentially rendering them stateless. Reports indicate that this decision will affect an estimated 250 000 persons, nearly 210 000 of whom are of Haitian descent.

In announcing the September 23 ruling, DR officials said there would be a “path to citizenship” created for those affected, but the details of this are still unknown. It will be interesting to see whether the DR responds to CARICOM’s appeal to “adopt measures to protect the human rights and interests of those made vulnerable by this ruling and its grievous effects”. It was only in July of this year that the Dominican Republic’s President Medina made an appeal at the CARICOM summit for his country to join the regional bloc of which Haiti is a member. But surely, this is no way to treat a neighbour, never mind a potential family member! In its statement issued, CARICOM noted that it is “deeply concerned” by the ruling. It added that “The implications of tens of thousands of persons being plunged into a constitutional, legal and administrative vacuum by the ruling are a source of deep distress to those affected and one of significant disquiet for our Community”.

And well it should be. Hundreds of thousands potentially face mass deportation, and though they may be of Haitian descent, many of them have as many ties and affiliation to Haiti as they might have to Barbados, Trinidad, Jamaica or Grenada. Already a popular destination for Haitian immigrants, the United States too has an interest in these persons’ citizenship being reinstated. Barbadians would have seen the diplomatic nightmare that sprung from the statelessness of Cuban-born Raul Garcia – and that was just one man. The magnitude of the situation in the DR is in the hundreds of thousands.

Another interesting realisation provided by this situation is that there are decidedly different lens through which citizenship is viewed. We in the region attach great sentimentality to the notion of citizenship. Perhaps this is heightened by the fact that as young nations, we are still giddy from the joy of achieving independence. In a letter to the Dominican Republic’s President Medina strongly protesting the court decision, PM Gonsalves waxed philosophical about the meaning of citizenship. “The highest office in the land is that of citizenship. It is an inward grace from which springs the bonds of national community in the landscape and seascape of the country of one’s birth…” he wrote. Yet, in recent times, we have seen several CARICOM territories adopt – or moot the idea of adopting – programmes of citizenship by investment.

The Myrie ruling has spurred much discussion about desirable and undesirable visitors. Now the Dominican Republic’s constitutional ruling gives some food for thought on desirable and undesirable citizens. Here, we have persons being disowned by the country in which they were born and raised and whose culture and language is all they know, while in other countries, the State is actively enticing high net worth individuals to buy their way into what one PM describes as “the highest office in the land”…

MEASURES NECESSARY


By Linda Straker

Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell, has disclosed that Grenada will be implementing a three-year home-grown structural adjustment programme within the first quarter of 2014.

Though the full programme is yet to be developed, he indicated that it will involve measures that will affect the population in various ways and thus, he anticipates that there will be fallouts from sections of the society.

“I do expect a fallout from the decisions to be taken,” Dr. Mitchell told the media in a news conference on Monday.

“I do not enjoy doing this at all. I wish I did not have to do this. I don’t expect people to love me for doing this,” he said.

“We are forced in a corner where we have to do something,” he added.

Measures to be taken will include: reducing the income tax threshold to between EC$30 000 to EC$36 000 to rates that will be between 10 per cent to 15 per cent; increase the percentage for those who earn more than EC$60 000; improve compliance of fees at government departments where fees are collected;  cut back on wastage in all forms such as in rental of buildings to house government offices and reducing the public stand pipes; reduce advisors to government; and working out an arrangement with trade unions as it pertains to salaries for public officers.

With regards to salary reduction like was done in Barbados, the Prime Minister said that this will not be an option for Grenada. “I will not be able to cut anybody’s salary,” he said.

Describing the trip to Washington as very successful, he said that creditors appear to have appreciated the need for debt relief and they are willing to help the country get out of the current situation with regards to its debt burden.

“The country must in return show that it is helping itself … when we are expecting people to help us, we must show that we are helping ourselves,” he said.

The complete structural adjustment programme will be a fundamental component of the 2014 Budget, which is expected to be presented in the early days of December 2013. By that time, Grenada would have signed the agreement with the IMF.

‘Winty’ buried in Grenada – Family complies with court order


Hundreds came out for his funeral service, but just a few dozen came out to witness his burial ceremony, which happened ten days after for former parliamentarian, farmer and leader of the People’s United Labour Party, Winston ‘Winty’ Frederick.

Under overcast conditions, sections of the Police Band led the procession from the River Sallee junction to the cemetery to his final resting place.

The body of Winston ‘Winty’ Frederick is carried to
the tomb by members of the Royal Grenada Police Force.
Winston Frederick’s coffin is lowered in
the tomb by members of the Police Force.
“The man was a big man in the society, you aint see what he getting,” said a passer-by, who stood in admiration as the music from the police band and the military parade reminded the community that there goes a man who made his contribution to the development of Grenada at the highest level – the Parliament.

Having a burial ten days after a funeral service is not the normal practice, but a section of his family saw the need to file an injunction on the day of the service as they felt his final resting place should be in the USA next to his wife.


The court ruled last week Friday that “Winty”, as he was affectionately called, will be in a tomb at the River Salle Cemetery in the parish of St. Patrick.

The 70-year-old Frederick, who served as parliamentarian from 1990 to 1995, died on September 24 and was scheduled to be buried on October 11 following the official funeral service, which was attended by a number of persons including Government ministers, senior public officers and former parliamentarians.

However, during the service, an officer from the court served the undertaker and pastor with court documents, which showed that the Court had granted an injunction which was filed by two of his six children to stop the burial.

The children, who reside in the USA, were seeking the Court’s approval for the body to be buried next to his wife, whose final resting place is a cemetery in New York City. His wife died in USA and was buried there and the children who filed the junction were claiming that both parents should be buried next to each other.

Arguments in the matter were initially heard in the Court on Monday, October 14, which ended with a recommendation to mediation and a final hearing date in Court for 2 p.m. on October 17. After almost four hours of private presentations in the judge’s chamber from lawyers, children and other associates, the judge ruled that Frederick will be buried in Grenada on Monday, October 21.

Frederick moved to the USA in 1995 after losing his bid to return to the Parliament as a candidate for the Grenada United Labour Party. He returned in 2005 and openly supported the New National Party, but within months launched the minority People’s United Labour Party. Frederick was the only candidate for the 2013 General Election and received a total of 11 votes.

“We are pleased with the ruling of the court … we believe he will be at peace here at home under the blazing sun,” said his son, Winston Frederick Jr.

Int’l community to help Grenada restructure its debt


By Linda Straker

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell says that the international community is willing to assist Grenada with restructuring its debt and providing external financial support, but the country will have to show that it is willing to make its own sacrifices.

“We expect significant reduction in our debt size and debt programme, we expect to see reduction through a haircut, we expect to see the debt move over a long period with a lower interest rate,” Dr. Mitchell said in an interview after meetings with representatives from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the OAS last week Friday.

While reiterating that important to all these promised assistance is approving and implementing a “home-grown restructuring programme”, he said that Grenada was promised soft loans and grants which can put the island on a path of “sustain economic activity with ability to meet its challenges to the most vulnerable citizens”.

Upon taking up office following the February 19, 2013 General Elections, Dr. Mitchell, who is also the Minister for Finance, declared that Grenada was unable to pay its creditors and was seeking the assistance of the international community to restructure its debt.

Since then, there have been a number of activities aimed at coming up with a solution to restructuring the debt situation. Among the activities was a visit from a delegation representing the IMF, the Caribbean Development Bank and other donors who met with a number of stakeholders, including the Grenada Trades Union Council and the Business Community.

The Conference of Churches Grenada has also held two workshops aimed at explaining the debt to its stakeholders and at the same time, deciding on recommendations and suggestions to the Government.

These recommendations, which were presented to Economic Affairs Minister, Oliver Joseph, noted however that whatever strategy is decided on should not impact negatively on the vulnerable and marginalised.

Grenada, at present, is unable to receive any external funding, but with the implementation of the home-grown restructuring programme, it is expected that the island will be able to have access to approximately US$300 000. Though a formal announcement outlining the component of the programme is yet to be announced, Prime Minister Mitchell recently indicated that there will be a reduction in income tax threshold from EC$5 000 to EC$3 000.

“Whatever happens, the majority of people will still not be paying taxes because most people are not earning EC$3 000 a month,” Dr. Mitchell told a recent meeting held in the parish of St. John last week.
At present, income tax is 30 per cent on earnings above EC$5 000 per month.

Monument recognising fallen soldiers to be unveiled


Thirty years after the massacre, a monument will be unveiled today, Friday, October 25, to remember the Grenadian soldiers who died in the line of duty on both October 19 and 25, 1983.

The announcement was made by Dr. Terrence Marryshow, chairman of the Maurice Bishop and October 19th 1983 Martyrs Foundation, during the annual service held at the Fort George to remember those who were killed on October 19, 1983 as a result of internal conflict within the senior members of the Grenada Revolution.
Chairman of the Maurice Bishop and October 19th
1983 Martyrs Foundation, Dr. Terrence Marryshow. 
“This year to mark the 30 years since this atrocities, we will be remembering the soldiers who died for this country,” he said.

The monument will be located in the central cemetery and be inscribed with the names of the 13 soldiers who died.

The US government has a similar monument with the names of the 19 soldiers who died in Grenada during the invasion. It is located at the St. George’s University (SGU).

For the first time in 30 years, the National Celebrations Committee has organised a week of activities to commemorate the October 1983 atrocities, which ended the island’s revolutionary period and re-established a democratic Government to the island.

Besides the National Celebrations Committee events, there are other private initiatives to commemorate both October 19 – the day that former Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, several of his cabinet colleagues and civilians were killed; and October 25 – the day the US military invaded Grenada and eventually collapsed the revolutionary government.

The Committee will be holding the annual church service at the St. John Anglican Church from
10 a.m. and at 1 p.m., wreaths will be laid at the St. George’s cemetery. As with tradition, wreaths will be laid at the SGU monument at 5 p.m.

Last week, Grenadians had the opportunity to view “Forward Ever: The Killing of a Revolution”. Directed by Bruce Paddington, this comprehensive, gripping and revealing documentary tells the story of the Grenada Revolution. The film features extensive, previously unseen file footage, as well as old and new interviews with many of the key players of the time.

Observing under the theme, “Thirty years of Peace and Stability: Bringing families together”, the week began on Thursday, October 17, with a history quiz in all schools and an exhibition of the revolutionary period at the National Museum on October 18. (LS)

Water Management a developmental priority for the region


There is a call for every country in the region to place water management at the top of its list of development priorities.

This is according to President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr. Warren Smith, in his address to the 22nd annual conference of the ‘Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association’s recently held at the Hilton Barbados Resort.

He pointed out that managing and securing access to water and sanitation for all is, perhaps, the biggest challenge facing Caribbean leaders and, indeed, all world leaders today.

“All of the key development challenges facing our Region, including energy generation and usage; food security; natural disaster management; and environmental protection are closely linked to effective water management.

“If we accept that water is a key driver of economic and social development, then water managers … must lead the charge to find new and innovative approaches to address the formidable challenges facing the sector. Primary among these challenges are inadequate tariff structures; inefficient water supply networks; and inadequate access in rural communities. We can also add to this list inadequate wastewater management systems coverage; weak data management capacity for water resource management; high per capita usage; and a shortage of capacity, especially in the areas of planning and risk management,” he highlighted.

The president also indicated that the water and sanitation sector is one of the keys to the achievement of our development mandate. He went to reveal that in the past four decades, CDB has placed an estimated US$120 million into the sector.

“Currently, we have ongoing interventions in Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Lucia. Water will continue to be a centre piece of the Bank’s development assistance over the medium term.”

Dr. Smith further revealed that rainfall data for the last 40 decades point to a decline in freshwater availability.

“We note this trend, especially in the northern Caribbean, where the decline was by as much as 50 per cent in some countries. When we compared per capita consumption in the Caribbean with that of similar regions of the world, it was 50 per cent higher than expected. In addition, unaccounted-for water across this Region ranged from 17 per cent to 66 per cent,” he noted. (TL)

Curriculum change needed


ONE recipient of an honorary degree from the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, is of the view that emphasis must be placed on reviewing our curriculum to match demands presently.

Such a view was expressed by Sir Henry Forde, as he delivered the feature address at the graduation ceremony of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, held at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex in Barbados.

He also called for a greater concentration to be placed on the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

“I believe that if we are to move the region forward rapidly, emphasis must be placed on urgent reviewing of our curriculum to match the demands of our economic developmental requirements. In the ’40s and ’50s, the emphasis in our educational system was on the Classics. So that during that period, even our scholars, who later excelled in the Science, such as your Chancellor, Professor the Honourable Sir George Alleyne, began his studies as a scholar of the Classics.

“In the ’60s and the ’70s, the focus was on the Humanities, and so some of our brightest minds, such as your Deputy Principal, Professor Eudine Barriteau, was a Humanities scholar.”

He continued, “I share the views of the Honourable Dr. Keith Mitchell, that if we wish to compete globally, we need to encourage more of our students to concentrate on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

“I note that Cave Hill has started the process by rebranding its Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences as the Faculty of Science and Technology. Let me be quick to say, however, that a concentration on Science and Technology does not mean ignoring the Humanities.”

Sir Henry received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws during Saturday morning’s ceremony. The Rt. Reverend Dr. Rufus Brome and Dr. Jennifer Obidah-Alleyne also received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws during the ceremony. (MG)

Support the Caribbean Court of Justice, says Sir Henry Forde


GRADUATES of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus are being encouraged to be supportive of the Caribbean Court of Justice.

This advice was issued by Sir Henry Forde during his delivery of the address during Saturday’s graduation ceremony at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex in Barbados.

Noting that their “most challenging task is the same that my generation faced – that is, to integrate the English speaking Caribbean islands,” he called on the graduating Class of 2013 to “protect, defend and support your university and all other regional institutions, such as the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). Already its jurisprudence is making a difference and will influence the development of the Common Law to answer new challenges that we face as a region”.

Furthermore, “The CCJ is the final Court for Guyana, Belize and Barbados. In its original jurisdiction it is also the final Court for all the countries of CARICOM. This great institution should, like the Privy Council and the Supreme Court of the United States of America, be respected.” (MG)

Regional private sector told: Step up your game


Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, Beverley Nicholson-Doty, is appealing to the regional private sector body to step up its investments into the challenge-plagued tourism industry.

Addressing delegates at the opening ceremony of this year’s State of the Industry Conference, which was held in Forte-de-France, the Tourism Commissioner for USVI pleaded for the continued help of private sector partners to upgrade and enhance the tourism product which she said was “critical to maintaining our competitive position in the global marketplace”.

“A vibrant tourism sector requires a firm, yet flexible and astute partnership between the
public and private sectors,” Commissioner Nicholson-Doty remarked, adding that the region was falling behind in remaining competitive as the most sought-after warm weather destination.

“We have faced many challenges – from slow growth, unpredictable airlift and onerous taxation; both external and internal – which impacts the cost of vacations to our region. And we have also lacked the political will to move our regional marketing programme along fast enough,” she explained.

She also noted that many of the region’s governments had invested significant resources into improving public infrastructure, but the private sector’s input was needed, particularly in the area of marketing resources to help drive tourism offerings.

Our competitors may not be able to match our destinations’ natural beauty, she claimed, but remarked that they made up significantly for it in the resources and sheer will needed to reach the Caribbean’s goals.

“‘One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean’ cannot be just a feel good slogan, it must be the strategic marketing reality of our region if we are to survive the aggressive marketing efforts of major destinations around the world,” the Commissioner noted, as she called for a collaborative approach to our marketing efforts.

“It is time for all of us, both public and private sectors, to walk the talk of product development, and, of course, regional marketing. We are not asking for charity – support for regional marketing is a solid investment in the economic development of our countries,” she further added. (RA)

CTO tongue lashing


BIG on lyrics, slow on implementation.

Commissioner of the United States Virgin Islands (USVI), Beverley Nicholson-Doty, lambasted regional leaders for failing to put the necessary action behind rolls of solutions placed on the table to drive the Caribbean’s main economic motor forward.
Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) and
Commissioner of the United Stated Virgin Islands
(USVI), Beverley Nicholson-Doty.
Nicholson-Doty was speaking in her capacity of Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), at the opening ceremony of the 2013 State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC 2013), which took place in Martinique.

The conference usually marks an occasion for ministers, technocratics and other tourism practitioners to meet and discuss various issues facing the industry, as well as share on global trends taking place in tourism and travel.

The Commissioner, who took up her post as Chairman a year ago, lamented that the USA was able to take and build on a concept which was initiated by the Caribbean, while we still remained debating and discussing.

On the issue of a region-wide marketing programme, she said, “Brand USA is leaps ahead of us, promoting a concept we initiated in the Caribbean. Yes, they implemented a concept we have been discussing for more than a decade... we know this concept works.

“Brand USA has the data that shows the increased travel to the US since the programme’s implementation. And we have the proof that when we’ve implemented a cohesive marketing programme our visitor arrivals have increased. Unfortunately, we seem only to have the will to truly work together when there is a crisis.”

She also complained that we continued to shy away from appreciating and capitalising on the obvious linkages between tourism and agriculture, construction, health, education and the financial services sector.

“The global market is growing so rapidly that if we fall behind, it is going to be so much more difficult and much more expensive to catch up,” she stated, petitioning member governments to honour their commitments on time.

“This delay makes it more challenging to keep those members who have honoured their membership and marketing commitment to remain fully engaged.

“It’s time to move beyond the talk and into serious action. It’s time to get so uncomfortable that we are forced to address the challenges of the most tourism dependent region in the world,” she added. (RA)

CARICOM a success, says PM Stuart


TO date, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has been a huge success.

This is according to the Prime Minister of Barbados, the Honourable Freundel Stuart, who spoke at the Inter-Faith Service in Commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on Sunday at the St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral.

Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart (centre) speaking with Canon Noel
Burke of the Anglican Church (left) and Monsignor Vincent Blackett
of the Catholic Church (right) at the Inter-Faith Service in Commemoration
of the 40th Anniversary of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
on Sunday at the St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Cathedral.
“By an objective standard, on the basis of an objective evaluation, the regional integration movement over the last 40 years has been a resounding success. The people of this region are closer today than at any other time in this region’s history and they are voluntarily closer – because I imagine that there were times when they would have been close, but not because they wanted to be, but because the arrangements of the 17th and 18th and 19th centuries put it beyond their capacity to determine what was good for them. But today, our people meet freely and move freely.”

He said that he felt this even when he was a young man growing up in a small village in St. Philip where there were families from other islands in the region, living in harmony, going to church together and socialising with each other in peace without their being “suspicious of one another”, and he felt that this had to be representative of what was happening in other parts of Barbados and the region.

Stuart said that this same unity still exists today and in fact, it has grown, and this is something that he has observed on many occasions.

“I am happy to be here this morning and to witness the colour and the variety of which this service is composed and which it so accurately reflects. In our variety, in our diversity, there is an undercurrent of strong unity,” he remarked.

Joking that he would be around to speak at the 80th anniversary of CARICOM, he stated that until then we must be grateful for the last 40 years and all that we as a region were able to achieve during this period in health, education, culture, sports and other areas as it augurs well for the future of the regional integration movement. (PJT)

Region’s future in the hands of the people


IT is up to the people of the region to determine the future of this regional integration movement known as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

This is the advice that the Prime Minister of Barbados, Freundel Stuart, gave to Caribbean citizens at the Inter-Faith Service in Commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on Sunday at the St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Barbados.

FAITHS UNITE: Members of the various faiths – Christian, Hindu,
Muslim and Jewish – in attendance at the Inter-Faith Service in
Commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of the Caribbean Community
(CARICOM) at the St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral on Sunday. 
Quoting from Henry Kissinger, “the future has to be shaped or it will impose itself as a catastrophe”, he stated that likewise, the future of this regional integration movement would depend on the steps that we all take as citizens of the various Caribbean islands in promoting the growth of this movement and all of the benefits that it contains, and he as the leader of Barbados has already pledged his support in this regard.

“We cannot afford the luxury of just drifting along. We have to determine at every point what kind of Caribbean we want, what kind of people we want to be in this region. What kind of integration movement we want, how we want to relate to one another, what standards of right and wrong, good and bad, just and unjust, fair and unfair, blamelessness and blame worthiness we want to be part of our everyday life in this region. It is not beyond our capacity to do this, and I want to pledge the commitment of the Government and people of Barbados to this noble effort.”

Stuart said that a huge part of achieving this would be for all of the persons from the different islands in the region to focus on their similarities and not their differences.

Quoting from Trinidadian calypso, “We are the same race from the same place that made the same trip in the same ship”, he stated that while some persons may want to question the validity of this statement, they cannot deny that as a Caribbean people, we stand a better chance of surviving and even thriving if we work together.

“Though you may want to question the iron clad accuracy of everything that he said, the truth is that we all belong to one another, and that as a Caribbean people, we are better together than we would be divided,” said Stuart.

The Prime Minister said that it takes us back to 1967 when they were meeting to get other member states to join CARIFTA, when one of the leaders spoke about needing the conference to succeed in order for the islands in the region to survive. That conference did succeed and we did survive and many conferences have succeeded since then, and today, the region is stronger than ever before and we must continue along this path.

“Today we are a stronger and more vibrant people than at any other time in our history. We cannot all rest on our laurels; we cannot live our lives in the past. It is the future that we have to shape.” (PJT)

Alliance needed for strong cruise industry


Barbados cannot stand alone as a cruise destination if its objective is to have a successful cruise tourism product.

Speaking at the opening of the Cruise Alliance of the Southern Caribbean Consultation held on Monday at the Barbados Hilton, Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, noted that tourism players gathered in Barbados over the next two days would seek ways to leverage the assets of the Southern Caribbean in an effort to boost business to the region.

Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard
Sealy (right), in talks with Secretary General and CEO of the
Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), Hugh Riley.
The aim, he said, is to collaborate with regional tourism partners to form “a working cruise alliance” in an effort to transform the cruise tourism landscape.

“This consultation is not about Barbados as a cruise destination; we are simply the hosts – a conduit for what I hope will be a binding, working cruise alliance,” he told those gathered at the Consultation, which attracted tourism partners from across the Caribbean, including the French and Dutch Caribbean, as well as officials and players in the local tourism sector.

“All of us here are cognisant of the fact that we cannot stand alone as a cruise destination if our objective is to have a successful cruise tourism product. We are all cognisant of the harsh economic climate in which we are obliged to operate. We are only too familiar with the growing numbers of destinations which have recognised tourism as a viable pathway to sustainable growth of their economies. Many of these destinations are easily accessed by our traditional cruise tourism source markets,” he said.

“Our call to action therefore is for us to put our heads together to craft something that is compelling; a series of Southern Caribbean itineraries that will make coming this far south worth the cruisers’ while. Competition is great, the economic conditions are not favourable, but we need to be aware of the fierce urgency of now and not be found wanting when our routes are no longer seen as profitable to the cruise lines,” Sealy further remarked.

Noting that “there is something very compelling about our several stories” and that cruise itineraries could evolve as a consequence to tell that story, Sealy stressed that every effort was made to bring together some of the best minds in the industry to share their views and experiences, to ensure the crafting of a strategic path, for marketing the Southern Caribbean region as a new destination for cruisers.

“Our aim is to build a stronger, more competitive identity for participating destinations, through a clearly articulated sense of common purpose, harmonized promotion and distinctive marketing strategies,” added.

“These objectives will be sealed by the signature in this forum of a memorandum of understanding, which clearly outlines the commitment of all our countries to this initiative and our belief in the survival of a unique Southern Caribbean Cruise Brand,” the minister pointed out.

Sealy also observed that in forming the alliance, tourism players will collaborate with the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), headed by Secretary General Hugh Riley, to ensure that the goals of the alliance line up with the objectives of that organisation for the region. (RSM)