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Caribbean & World

A Different View… Are we indeed our own worst enemy?

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by Judy M McCutcheon

I am writing to you today from the skies and as I pulled out my computer, I got very excited at the prospect of writing for you.

While going through security at the Grenada airport, a female guard asked if I had stopped writing because she looked forward to my articles. I love the very essence of my audience and you looking forward to my articles is a big responsibility and one I take rather seriously. The company I work for Go Blue Inc. just recently concluded a leadership conference and judging from the feedback, it was a conference that provided great value to the participants. Why am I telling you this? Well apart from the fact that I don’t want you to miss the conference in 2020, I want to tell you about the power of the female tribe. I must admit that sometimes I am left with a sinking feeling in my stomach at how we treat each other, at how we rejoice at the mishap of other women. But when we come together, magical things happen. I have some of the most amazing women in my circle, ones that push me beyond the limits I’ve created for myself. I remember when this conference was just an idea I discussed with one of these women, then I remember calling another one to tell her about it and she said to me, “ For you my sister, I will do anything for your success.” Writing this brings tears to my eyes, as I think about the enormity of that statement.

As the planning for the conference got underway, I remember waking up one morning with this woman on my mind, she wasn’t a friend yet, so I wondered how I was going to sell the idea to her. I called her and before I could finish explaining, she had committed to be a part of the experience. I also want to tell you about another one of these women, whom I’d never met in person, she didn’t even know I existed, but I’ve been following her — well it was more like monitoring her movements on LinkedIn. I got her number — after all this is the Caribbean right? I sent her a text message, she responded acknowledging receipt of my message. We then had several back and forth about the conference and she committed to hosting the conference. As I finish this article, I am sitting in a café in Jamaica, waiting on this awesome woman to finish her interview so that she can assist me. I could have never thought that a mere week after the conference I would be flying to Jamaica on an emergency. This experience has left me wondering why are we socialised to compete against each other? At what point are we going to realise that there is enough of whatever it is we are fighting each other for?

As females, we compete on fronts that when you think about it does nothing to advance us. There are enough men, trust me on that, as a matter of fact, there is no form of scarcity, what we need is a mindset adjustment to come to that realisation. After all, we cannot believe in God and not have an abundance mindset. Growing up my mother used to always, boys and books don’t mix, when you are done with school, the boys will still be there. I am done with high school eons ago and guess what, boys are still there. Are we jockeying for positions at the office, are we vying to be the boss’s pet? Come on ladies we are bigger and better than that. What about supporting women own/led businesses? Why do we not feel the need to support each other in business?

There is a situation I’m watching unfold, it involves one of the Caribbean’s top female bloggers and while none of us knows the entire true story, the nastiness that has been meted out to her by females has left me wondering if we have indeed come a long way. The creators of Women’s International Day are calling for equality and indeed we should be given equal pay for equal work; but are we the ones helping to contribute to the inequality that exists?

From an early age, we are taught to be in competition with each other. Teenage girls are some of the meanest girls around. The cliques start from as far back as prep school. You are discriminated against because you are too pretty, too smart, too ugly, too “boyish” and a host of other foolishness that they dream up. Very early in the game, we are taught that women gossip and bitch about everything and that men are confident. Men it seems are more valued in society than women, so we believe that to get a seat at the table we must behave in a certain way. As women, we buy into that foolishness and it translates into us not liking or actively supporting other women. It’s difficult for me to understand why we view each other as enemies. I don’t think that women are my enemies, but I do have a hard time trusting some of them. I know lots of women, but I don’t feel especially close to a lot of them, it’s hard for me to be vulnerable with them because of that underlying fear of betrayal. And I am not too far off with those feelings because we have become famous for betraying each other’s trust. But how do we break that cycle? Are there stories about each other that we need to reframe? I’ve seen women who as they climb to the top in their organisations separate themselves from the women at the bottom. Is this necessary, or is this behaviour in response to the inequality that is happening at the top?

Madeleine Albright said that there is a special place in hell for women who don’t support other women and I am very inclined to believe her. I believe in supporting women whether they are in business or on the job. As a boss, I did everything I could to support and push the women on my team, yet it was some of those same women who tried their best to pull me down. I have made it my duty to support women-led businesses and I will continue to advocate that we support our tribe. There is so much for us to gain as a gender, in supporting each other. We shouldn’t feel threatened by each other. We need an inner circle where we can safely discuss our challenges at work, or at home or simply to celebrate each other. If there is a hell, I have no intention of going there because I did not support other women.

Some of my gravest moments have been because of other women, but some of my proudest moments have also been because of women. Some of my strongest supporters for my business are men, why? Is it that they see the value in the service we provide? I had one of my friends say to me that she is jealous that I had the balls to go out and start my own business, why be jealous, why not be proud of me. I’ve had one tell me all the reasons, why she will not support my business. I am not daunted in any way by that, I simply smile and move on and when I know of anyone who wants the service, she provides I recommend her. We have so much other crap that is thrown at us to deal with, I don’t think that we should also have to deal with not being supported by our tribe. I will continue to support women in all their endeavours.  I do it because I know that there is enough to go around for all of us, I do it because I know we are much better when we support each other, I do it because there is strength in unity. After all, if we don’t break the cycle, who will?

©All Rights Reserved.

Judy McCutcheon is a partner in the firm Go Blue Inc, a Human Development Company. www.goblueinc.net

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Caribbean & World

Co-op Bank and Grenada Nurses Association commence new relationship

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On 5 December 2019, Grenada Co-operative Bank Limited and the Grenada Nurses Association Inc. (GNA Inc.) forged a new business relationship.

At a ceremony held at the bank’s head office on Thursday, 5 December 2019, the two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding that offers preferred terms and conditions to members of the GNA Inc. and their spouses when seeking credit facilities from Co-op Bank.

Signing on behalf of Co-op Bank was the bank’s Chief Operating Officer, Deon Moses, while President of the GNA Inc., Nurse Patricia Strachan, executed on behalf of the nurses.

Nurse Strachan stated that this agreement is first of its kind for the association and described the occasion as a “great moment”, especially as there are limited opportunities existing for nurses. She believes this will enable members to become more empowered to advance and invest in their development once this opportunity is tapped into.

Moses reaffirmed Co-op Bank’s commitment to help build our local economy and people, and sees this relationship as another way it is manifested. He also pointed to the bank’s mission statement which highlights the bank’s commitment to contributing to the wellbeing of citizens where it operates.

Both organisations hope this relationship will be long-lasting and be mutually beneficial.

Co-op Bank

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Cuban nurses to temporarily fill vacancies

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by Linda Straker

  • 30 to 40 nurses from Cuba will be contracted to help fill vacancies within healthcare systems
  • 50 persons will undergo nursing assistants training through National Training Agency

In early 2020 Grenada will be contracting between 30 to 40 nurses from Cuba as a temporary measure to help fill vacancies within the healthcare systems as part of a short-term measure adopted by health administrators aimed at reducing the impact of nurses who are leaving the system and taking up jobs in places like the United Kingdom.

Health Minister Nikolas Steele said government is finalising arrangements for the nurses following the visit of a delegation to Grenada a few weeks ago. “This is a stop-gap measure,” he said, admitting that over the years nurses with experience are leaving the system. “Unfortunately, we are losing our nurses to first world countries,” he said. He did not share the number of nurses who have left the system in most recent times.

Besides Cuba, Steele said that Grenada is also looking to import nurses from Ghana and India. The final agreement will include housing for the nursing professionals.

While the government will be importing the qualified registered nurses and those of high-level qualification, Steele said that 50 persons are desirous of becoming nursing assistants while undergoing a one-year training through one of the certified national training centres of the National Training Agency (NTA).

“We are still on schedule for a January start of our nursing assistants programme. We are in final negotiations with La Boucan and the national training authority of Grenada as well as our Ministry of Youth and Education to finalise the training of 50 nursing assistants, in two batches of 25,” the minister said.

The curriculum is expected to meet the criteria of the Nursing Council, the National Training Agency and the Ministry of Health. The training will involve both theory and practical.

La Boucan Creative Centre is owned and operated by former Health Minister Ann Peters, and her husband Francis Urias Peters. As a recognised national training centre, its programme will be accredited by the National Accreditation Board.

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China proving EC$34.8 million in aid to Grenada

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by Linda Straker

  • EC$38.4 million in aid will fund Cricket Stadium renovation and other projects
  • Over 1,800 Grenadians have attended training courses in China
  • Chinese government has implemented several China-Aid framework projects

China is to provide EC$38.4 million in aid to the Government Grenada which will see the funding used for the Cricket Stadium renovation and other projects.

On 9 December, Dr Zhao Yongchen, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to Grenada and Hon. Peter David, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Labour of Grenada signed the Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of Grenada.

According to the agreement, the Chinese government will provide a grant fund of 100 million Chinese RMB yuan (EC$38.4 million) to the Grenadian government to implement the Cricket Stadium Renovation Project and other projects.

Ambassador Zhao Yongchen said that under China-Aid framework, the Chinese government has implemented many projects for Grenada such as Low-Income Housing Project, Rebuilding of Grenada National Cricket Stadium and Athletic Stadium, and Technical Cooperation on Agriculture.

A statement from the Chinese Embassy in Grenada said that since 2005 more than 200 Grenadian students have studied in China sponsored by the Chinese government and over 1,800 Grenadians have attended seminars or short-term training courses in China.

The Chinese hospital ship Peace Ark visited Grenada twice, providing free medical service to the Grenadian people. The Chinese government also donated police vehicles and medical equipment to the Grenadian government.

“All these projects are funded by the Chinese government grant assistance. He hopes the signing of the agreement will further enhance the bilateral cooperation under the Belt and Road initiative and promote the social and economic development of Grenada,” the statement said.

Minister David, on behalf of the Grenadian government, expressed his sincere appreciation to the Chinese government and people for the generous assistance. He acknowledged the support from the Chinese government to Grenada in infrastructure, education, sports and many other areas and said that Grenada is willing to deepen the cooperation with China under the Belt and Road initiative.

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