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Environmental activist calls for less talk more action on climate change 

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by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada 

  • Hayden Redhead and supporters engage in Global Climate Strike
  • Locals openly criticise campaign to demand radical action by government, local NGOs and church leaders
  • Non-enforcement of Abatement of Litter Act is cause for concern

Hayden Redhead has single-handled taken on a global environmental campaign in Grenada to raise awareness and demand radical action by our government, local NGOs and church leaders to not just engage in talks, but take decisive action to initiate the complete ban on fossil fuels and other environmentally harmful substances.

Redhead along with a few of his supporters are undertaking this climate strike locally, but they are joined by millions of protesters from around the world in solidarity with the planet as they engage in “Global Climate Strike”.

On Friday, 29 November 2019, Redhead stood near the Morne Rouge roundabout with placards inscribed “Ban fossil fuels. Go Green” and #climatestrike written on his t-shirt. His location put him in direct view of drivers without affecting the flow of traffic, and those in support showed their solidarity by tooting their horns or stopping to register their support.

Redhead was accompanied by his 9-year-old son Jared, a student of Westmorland Secondary, who held placards that read “There is no planet B” and a picture of the globe with a sign that said “Help!” Their protest is also timely as the United Nations 2019 Climate Change Conference, COP25, has begun talks from Monday 2, December in Madrid, Spain.

Redhead was asked whether the government is moving fast enough to address local environmental concerns. He said that although the government must be congratulated for steps taken so far to implement a ban on Styrofoam and single-use plastic bags, he believes more can be done. “The easy answer is no we are not moving fast enough. The environment and ecosystem are degrading at a faster rate and we are acting just as slowly as we did 20 years ago,” he said.

This is the second protest Redhead has staged; the first in September was dubbed “Global Climate Strike” where it was estimated that 7.5 million people globally took part by taking to the streets.

The need for enforcement of legislation such as the Abatement of Litter Act is also cause for concern. “We have rampant dumping of garbage all over this country and very little is done about it. We have an Abatement of Litter Act that as far as I am led to understand, the police have no papers so they can’t charge you if you litter right in front of them. So, if you are going to take the steps to implement policy then you have to enforce it,” he said.

Hayden Redhead on campaign

Redhead, who is commonly referred to as “Facebook Environmentalist” for his social media activism, has also taken the initiative to develop a simple climate manifesto to explain what an ordinary man can do to protect the environment. He also teaches young children about biodiversity and the impacts of climate change. However, despite his calls for action and receiving the support of many, Redhead said there are those locally who have openly criticised his approach to this issue.

“There needs to be a greater emphasis on management and educating the population because I have found in Grenada, that strange looks I get and the negativity from the population that I have gotten so far it is amazing. The people who honk and give me a thumbs-up are almost invariable foreigners. The locals give me a hard time, they don’t think we have a problem,” he said.

A major part of his protest is to raise awareness of the need for the government to strike a healthy balance between development and conservation.

“The air we breathe is not the same. The beaches are polluted. There are people who would not bathe on the Grand Anse beach anymore and for us to have gotten to that stage now says we have to take this seriously and we are still developing as if there is no tomorrow. Now I welcome the development, I love the jobs they bring, the income to the country, but we must force our leaders to strike an appropriate balance between development and the destruction of our ecosystem,” Redhead said.

Redhead said he will continue to push for legislative and real-time change through his activism and hopes that more people can come on board and assist in this global campaign.

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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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