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Citizens urged to rely upon weather information from Met Office

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by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • Nation urged to wait to on information from local MET Office and not social media
  • National Hurricane Centre forecast is not specific for Grenada’s geographical space

Stemming from Monday’s Tropical Storm Warning for Grenada which has since been lifted, the nation is once again being urged to wait to on information disseminated from the local Meteorological (Met) Office rather than sourcing information through social media.

The urge came from Senator Winston Garraway, Minister with responsibility for Disaster Management and Information, as he addressed the media during yesterday’s post-cabinet briefing following the passage of Tropical Storm Dorian.

Garraway acknowledged that there have been people who continue to question the reliability of the Meteorological Office forecast, and informed that for any weather prediction there is a certain degree for marginal error which can affect the accuracy of weather predictions especially with regards to long-range forecasts.

He also said although there are other trusted sources like the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) for weather information regarding developing weather systems, it is important to note that the forecast disseminated from the NHC is for the entire region and is not specific for Grenada’s geographical space. “Forecasting from the Met Office is evolving as well, but something that came out in our emergency meeting on Sunday that with every forecast the margin of error is 150 nautical miles…the reason why it is so important when the hurricane centre issues something it is so important for us to wait for what Met Office would say because they have the final say in their modelling within our geographic space to be as most accurate and precise as ever. When the hurricane centre gives you a forecast, they give you for the entire region, but Met Office contextualises specific to Grenada.”

From their assessment stemming from their emergency meeting, Garraway said there were some communication gaps observed that must be filled in order to ensure that effective, efficient and timely updates are provided to the public. “[Tropical Storm] Dorian apparently was providing some challenges for the forecasters and shortly after we were told Grenada will be placed under a Tropical Storm warning, there was a call back to say let’s hold because we are seeing some things that are not really settling so let’s wait until the afternoon,” he said.

“We had our emergency meeting of the National Advisory Council. At 4:20 pm we got a call saying at 5:00 the recommendation is for the country to be placed under Tropical Storm Warning. We continued with the meeting, obviously, I would have had to make calls and so forth to advise my superiors… but 5:10 pm we got another call saying again we want to change the advisory from warning to go back to watch and this has been the issue that we were confronted with throughout the day.”

Due to public perception that the Met Office weather prediction is not reliable, Garraway said this has allowed people to become complacent when an advisory is given pending an approaching weather system. He said contingency planning to mitigate against disasters is everyone’s duty and it is also the responsibility of the district teams to ensure that people take heed to the warning provided.

“District teams have a responsibility of working with the district to get people to realise that this is a prediction, it is not a definite factual statement that it will pass exactly the same path but within that zone. We need not let down our guard, but to be prepared at all times and that’s the constant fight that we have to do as disaster managers, to constantly remind our people, work with our schools, that’s why the NaDMA quiz is so important.”

The issue of persons getting their weather information on social media or disseminating wrong information online continues to be a challenge for NaDMA.

“This is why we have to be careful that when we give the information, sometimes we are criticised for delayed information, but it is better to delay and to be accurate than to be rushed and you do not get it right and often times this is the challenge. We have to stay on par with the challenge of social media and to let people know that listen you have to take this seriously,” said Sylvan McIntrye, Acting National Disaster Coordinator of NaDMA.

Tropical Storm Dorian’s unpredictability stemmed from its fragile structure which made it difficult to forecast because of its susceptibility to tiny disruptions that can affect both track and strength. Dorian has struggled against wind shear and dry air for the past couple of days.

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Conference on the Constitutions and Model Legislative Initiatives in the OECS

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The Government of Canada funded Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean (IMPACT Justice) Project hosted a ‘Conference on the Constitutions and Model Legislative Initiatives in the OECS’ on 5-6 December 2019 at Ocean Terrace Inn in Saint Kitts.

The IMPACT Justice Project is implemented from within the Caribbean Law Institute Centre, Faculty of Law, The University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus.

Topics on the agenda were: a comparative analysis of OECS constitutions; the standardisation of judicial pensions in the OECS; highlights of IMPACT Justice’s Model Business Names Registration and Trade Marks bills; the potential establishment of a sexual offences registry; arbitration in the OECS; providing for continuing legal professional development (CLPD) in small jurisdictions; the benefits of community mediation; and, gender-based analysis plus and the IMPACT Justice Sexual Harassment Model Bill.

The participants comprised of parliamentarians from Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. They were joined by representatives of the legal fraternity from throughout the OECS, with representatives from the Bar Associations of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the OECS Bar Association, and the Organisation of Commonwealth Caribbean Bar Association. Members of the media from Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines were also present.

The objectives of the conference were to enhance awareness of OECS constitutional provisions and to encourage consideration of IMPACT Justice drafted legislation by governments through explaining some of the key provisions and sensitising their representatives to the initiatives. The presence of the media also served to ensure that the information shared at the conference would be disseminated throughout the OECS.

In her remarks at the opening of the event, High Commissioner of Canada to the OECS, Her Excellency Marie Legault, pleaded with the delegates to ensure that the model legislation provided and the legislative drafters trained by IMPACT Justice are utilised to meet the needs of the region’s countries and to enhance capacity where possible. The Hon. Pam Webster delivered remarks on behalf of the OECS Assembly, offering thanks the Government of Canada for providing the opportunity for regional parliamentarians to gather in such a forum and noted that these initiatives help to assure the region that Canada is serious about its development. She concluded that development projects such as IMPACT Justice are a worthwhile investment in the region.

Government of Canada

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St George’s Leo Club World Leo Day 5 December 2019

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On 5 December 2019, the St George’s Leo Club, celebrated World Leo Day, 62 years of global service!

In 1957 in Abington, Pennsylvania, Bill Graver asked his father, Jim Graver a member of the Glenside Lions Club, “Why isn’t there a Lions sponsored service club for young people?” That question was a catalyst for action to form a youth arm of Lions Club International, which resulted in the chartering of the first Leo Club on 5 December 1957, sixty-two years ago. Thirteen years later, on 25 February 1970, the St George’s Lions Club chartered the St George’s Leo Club.

Leo Elmo with students of Constantine Methodist School

As this day marks a significant milestone in Leoism and Lionism history, the St George’s Leo Club conducted a literacy project at the club’s adopted school, Constantine Methodist. The resounding message that was the theme of the day, was the importance of literacy. To bring across that mantra, fun and exciting activities were held to captivate the students’ interest. Our Leo ‘Elmo’ mascot visited the junior grades and engaged in interactive chatter about reading and its importance, whilst encouraging them to always read. Next, an active reading session was held with Elmo and a junior grade, followed by a creative reading and writing piece with a senior grade, where prizes were given to the most innovative writers. Additionally, with the sponsorship from Grenada Schools Inc., we were able to donate over 100 books to the school’s library, together with stationery items compliments Bryden & Minors.

The day’s activity was filled with literacy reading and writing fun with Elmo, thanks to the kind assistance of Waggy T Rentals and Sounds Company, along with a very artistic literacy cardboard picture frame, made by PressiiBoo Dessins.

St George’s Leo Club, wishes to express sincere appreciation to all who made this day truly magical. As we continue our work of service and support in our communities, we encourage our young people to join our cause, as with more hands-on-deck, we definitely can make a greater impact.

Come next year, 25 February 2020, the St George’s Leo Club will be celebrating 50 years! A number of community projects will be held in commemoration of this jubilee. We look forward to the continued support from wellwishers, our communities and country.

St George’s Leo Club

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4H District Quiz a success

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The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands congratulates participants of the recently held 4H District Spelling Bee Competition.

The involvement of children and youth in the 4H Movement provides an opportunity for 4Hers to study the importance of agriculture in a quest to ensure food and nutrition security for all. The keenly contested competition attracted participants from 4 Districts, which saw the duo of Joel Alexis and Aiden Victor, students of Woburn Methodist School and St Mary’s Junior School respectively, being crowned the 2019 winners and bestowing championship honours to the St George’s District.

Victor following his team’s win said, “This is the fifth trophy I have won in academics. I got my spelling words only last week, but I had to stay up late to study. I would tell anyone to keep trying until they get it right.”

“It was study practice and more practice for me; I feel really proud of this accomplishment. This goes to show that you can never study enough,” said Alexis.

Through two rounds of competition, the students were required to spell words from six different categories namely, Fruits and vegetables, Careers in Agriculture, Pest and Diseases, Tools and Equipment, Food and Nutrition, and Climate Change.

Team St George amassed a total of 90 points. At the end of the official competition, teams St David and St Andrew were in joint second place. However, following a tie-breaker round, St David was declared second-place winner with St Andrew having to settle for the third spot. The combined team of St John and St Mark had to settle for fourth position.

Assistant Agricultural Officer and 4H officer responsible for St Andrew, Anna Abraham, expressed satisfaction with the success of the competition. “I think the children did extremely well, they participated well, which shows that they were well prepared by their leaders. Getting the children involved in educational activities is one of the main aims of this competition; 4H is not just about gardening, it’s about activities like these also. “

Chief Agricultural Officer, Daniel Lewis, commended the effort of the 4H unit. “I am highly impressed with the standard of the competition and the quality of the spelling competition. It was highly competitive and in a competition like this, it really allows students to learn and even improve their diction. Congratulations to the 4H team, parents who provided support and teachers who assisted these students. The ministry will continue to support the 4H movement, as it represents a platform for growth and development of our students in the agricultural sector.

Ministry of Agriculture and Lands

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