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Government to adopt procedural guidelines for investigating financial abuse in the system

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by Linda Straker

  • In 2020, government will undertake comprehensive review of its recurrent and capital expenditure
  • Procedural guidelines established for investigating financial abuse in public service

Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell announced that during the first quarter of 2020, the Grenada Government will undertake a comprehensive review of its recurrent and capital expenditure as part of efforts to improve accountability in the public service.

This was disclosed while he presented the 2020 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure as he spoke about measures to be undertaken in public expenditure reform. “The review will also provide concrete recommendations to strengthen expenditure controls and the institutional mechanism for expenditure management, as well as improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public spending,” he told the house.

Referring specifically to the cellphone scandals earlier in the year in which a number of former public servants including members of parliament had tallied thousands in cellphone use while not serving, Dr Mitchell said the entire fiasco revealed significant expenditure leakages in the system.

“The misuse of cellphones by persons within the system and those who already left the system caused a major embarrassment to the government in 2019. A complete review has been undertaken and we have the results which indicted the persons who are already out of the systems and therefore should no longer have access to the service,” he said, disclosing that steps are being taken with the service provider to recover some of the money.

“We cannot allow systemic failures to manifest themselves through irresponsible expenditure and poor accountability. We must, as a matter of priority, improve our expenditure management systems so that we can protect and consolidate the immense economic gains we have already achieved,” the Finance Minister said.

It was further disclosed that the Attorney General’s office in conjunction with the Public Service Commission has established procedural guidelines for investigating financial abuse in the system with a view to imposing disciplinary measures on public officials found guilty of such abuse.

“These procedures are expected to take full effect in January 2020,” the Prime Minister announced but did not disclose the format of disciplinary measures in the guidelines.

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Grenadians represent at Caribbean Youth Leaders’ Summit

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Young Grenadian leaders Ali Dowden, Garvel Stanisclaus, Terick Frank and Zoë Hagley, represented the Spice Island at the recently concluded 6th Caribbean Youth Leaders’ Summit (CYLS). 

The young Grenadian delegates represented their respective organisations: The National Democratic Youth Movement (Dowden), the New National Party Youth Arm (Stanisclaus, Frank) and the Commonwealth Youth Council (Hagley).

The 6th CYLS was convened under the theme of “Promoting Youth Economic Empowerment for Sustainable Caribbean Development’ and was held from 21–23 January 2020 at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain, Trinidad. The summit brought together approximately 200 delegates, 150 of whom were youth from 13 countries and territories from across the Caribbean and the Americas Region. The overarching aim of the summit was to provide a platform for young leaders and youth development workers in the Caribbean to engage in a dialogue with stakeholders on how decent can be achieved for youth at national, regional and global levels.

The summit consisted of several presentations, and group discussions on the many issues surrounding youth employment in the Caribbean.

The participants were selected from National Youth Councils (NYC), the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC), youth organisations and other key youth development partners and stakeholders; including the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB); Commonwealth Secretariat; International Labour Organisation (ILO); United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC); and, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat.

Following the summit, delegate Dowden reflected on his attendance. He said, “For me the summit was an important opportunity for us young people from around the region, to engage on issues affecting us by sharing our challenges and providing solutions.” He continued, “Now that we’ve all attended, it is my hope that we will return to our respective countries and share the knowledge gained from the summit with our respective youth organisations.”

In light of the presentations and discussions at the summit, all delegates are committed to continue efforts for youth policy development, empowerment, inclusion, engagement and participation. The Grenadian delegates share the hope that the island will soon have its own National Youth Council leading up to the 7th summit in 2022.

Coalesce Consulting

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Additional $100,000 fine if Akim Andrew is found guilty of prescribing medication 

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by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • Andrew can possibly face hefty fines and prison term under Health Practitioners Act
  • Denied bail and remanded to Richmond Hill Prison until 28 January.
  • Public to request a medical practitioner’s credentials before undergoing treatment

19-year-old Akim Andrew will face a hefty fine of $100,000 and a term of imprisonment not exceeding three years for impersonating a doctor, and “Practicing Medicine without being Registered.”

If proven guilty of prescribing medication Andrew can possibly face an additional maximum fine of $100,000 and a prison term of 3 years in accordance with Section 113 of the Health Practitioners Act 2010.

Section 113 of the act states that “A person shall not prescribe any drug in relation to a medical condition or complaint unless he or she is registered as a health practitioner pursuant to the provisions of this act and is authorised by virtue of the regulations made pursuant to section 119. It goes on further to say that “A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $100,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding three years or to both.”

Former Chairman of the Allied Health Professional Council, Derick Sylvester, called attention to these two penal sections when interviewed on the matter on Thursday, 24 January 2020. Sylvester said the incident is quite unfortunate but indicated that this is an opportunity for the public to be more vigilant and to request to see a medical practitioner’s credentials before undergoing treatment. “The law requires that every medical practitioner must have their certificate posted in a prominent place so that is something that every person should look for when they go to visit a doctor or any health professional, and this is what the law says in Section 45, which states that the holder of a practicing certificate shall display the practicing certificate in a prominent place in an area where he or she conducts his or her practice.”

Andrew was denied bail when he appeared before Chief Magistrate, Teddy St Louis, at the St George’s Magistrate’s No. 1 Court on Tuesday and was remanded to Richmond Hill Prison until 28 January.

The Allied Health Professionals Council is responsible for vetting applicants before issuing licences to practice in the state of Grenada. In 2018, a call was made by the council’s chairman Dr Nicole Forte, for all Allied Health Professionals in Grenada to become registered as required under the Health Practitioners Act 2010. It is also standard practice for the names of licenced medical professional to be listed in the Gazette.

Sylvester stated the law cannot prevent someone from impersonating a medical professional or to establish an office to offer medical services, however, it is up to the Allied Health Professionals Council to ensure that all health professionals are certified and registered to practice and that the public ensures that they are provided with proof of that certification.

“I wouldn’t say there are loopholes within the system because you cannot stop anyone from just opening an office and say I am a doctor. So there are some things that you cannot do, so you cannot stop someone from doing that but the prospective patient has a duty to ensure that the doctor you are going before, is he someone that someone referred you to, or is it a case where you just walk in and see a sign and you decide to walk into the office? Then if that is the case you should look and ensure that person is qualified and by examining the certificate of that person,” Sylvester said.

A number of health professionals fall under the category of Allied Health including: Acupuncturist, Audiologist, Chiropodist, Chiropractor, Dental Hygienist, Dental Technician, Dental Therapist, Dietitian, Emergency Medical Technician, Emergency Medical Dispatcher, Herbalist, Homeopath, Imaging Technologist, Masseur, Medical Technologist, Naturopathist, Optician, Occupational Therapist, Podiatrist, Psychotherapist and Psychologist, among others.

Jerry Edwin, legal representative of Akim Andrew, stated that he is prepared to mount a vigorous defence on the behalf of his client whose ambition did not match his educational credentials. He indicated that the incident that led to his client’s arrest is violating the public trust by misleading innocent people at worst, and is no more egregious than other similar situations being perpetuated in Grenadian society where a public official was found to be holding a fake doctorate or a practitioner of naturopathic medicine having a televised programme without having the necessary qualifications.

Edwin refutes the claim that his client prescribed controlled substances or prescriptions, but admitted that his client’s situation is quite sad and one which requires him to be rehabilitated.

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Windrush scandal: 'A billion pounds can't buy back my happiness'

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Chiplyn Burton was denied entry back into the UK after a trip to Jamaica in the 1970s.



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