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Oonya Kempadoo among honourees at Fundraising Gala

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by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • Grenada Community Library & Resource Centre celebrates 6th anniversary
  • Storybook Masquerade Fundraising Gala on 30 November
  • Honourees to receive recognition for promoting literacy

Founder of the Grenada Community Library & Resource Centre, Oonya Kempadoo, will be among the list of honourees at this year’s Storybook Masquerade Fundraising Gala to receive recognition for their role in promoting literacy.

Other honourees Alesia Aird, Ayisha John, Sibongile Dickson, Kerrisha Nelson, and Pastor Clifford John have all played their part in ensuring that the library located on Lucas Street remains open.

Operations Manager, Michelle Warren, believes it is deemed quite fitting to acknowledge the contribution made by those people who are key players in the formative years since the establishment of the Library in 2014.

“These are the key players and of course Oonya Kempadoo who responded to the closure of the public library and thought there was a need for a library in St George’s because the question was “How can we have a country without a library?” said Warren.

“Special friends of the library means that you have donated towards community building through literacy, love and collaboration which is our motto. So, once you purchase a ticket we refer to you as a special friend and we also share our annual reports with you. Any events that we have we will invite you. We share our newsletter with you and you are especially welcome to bring your children to the library and just support the library throughout the year.”

The Storybook Masquerade Fundraising Gala will take place at the True Blue Bay Resort on Saturday, 30 November 2019. “The event will celebrate the 6th anniversary of the library as a registered company. It is going to be a spice-filled evening with live music, a 3-course culinary experience and we are going to be featuring the book Buxton Spice. We are asking the public to come on out and support. We encourage businesses to make a gift to their staff if they don’t want to have a staff party,” Warren said. “Some people are not even aware that the library is here so I think one of the weaknesses that we have is public relations. We don’t have a budget for PR so we need people, volunteers, and special friends to help spread the word.”

Buxton Spice by Oonya Kempadoo

Part of the library’s mandate going forward is to maximise the advertising potential of social media to promote the activities of the library and to help generate much-needed funds to ensure that the library remains open.

Kempadoo’s novel ‘Buxton Spice’ chronicles the life of a racially mixed young girl by the name of Lula, growing up in Guyana in a time of racial tension between the East Indian and Afro-Caribbean populations.

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Caribbean & World

International Anti-Corruption Day | United Nations

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Anti-Corruption Campaign-UNDP Sudan Organized a Drawings Contest with the Faculty of Fine and Applied Art. Photo: UNDP South Sudan

On this International Day, I urge people everywhere to continue to work on innovative solutions to win the battle against corruption and to ensure that precious resources serve the peoples of the world.

UN Secretary-General, António Guterres

United against corruption for development, peace and security

Every year $1 trillion is paid in bribes while an estimated $2.6 trillion are stolen annually through corruption – a sum equivalent to more than 5 per cent of the global GDP. In developing countries, according to the United Nations Development Programme, funds lost to corruption are estimated at 10 times the amount of official development assistance.

Corruption is a serious crime that can undermine social and economic development in all societies. No country, region or community is immune.

To mark International Anti-Corruption Day, we will leverage the recognition of the multi-year “United Against Corruption” theme and will continue to support the 2030 Agenda, which forms the backbone of the campaign. In addition, the campaign will also have a youth component.

 

Corruption – An impediment to the Sustainable Development Goals: describes how corruption negatively affects us all.

Corruption – #YouthForJustice leading the change: describes the importance of empowering and mobilizing youth to fight for a corruption-free world.

United Against Corruption – Take action – Lead the change – Be the change: stresses that it is not enough to just know about corruption but that we need to take action, hold leaders accountable and become integer leaders ourselves.

 

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Government refutes allegations of closure

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The Ministry of Finance has observed a statement purported to be issued by Andall & Associates Inc. that suggests a decision taken by its management to close operation is in some way directly related to actions taken by the government.

It must be noted that the decision taken by the management of any entity to close its operations is purely managerial in nature and should not be attributed to government.

The Government of Grenada wishes to categorically deny this claim and empathises with the many workers that may be affected as a result. It is important to establish that tax compliance is the responsibility of all taxpayers and that government has no authority in law to waive taxes.

Historically, government has made special arrangements and has worked with clients/taxpayers to allow them the opportunity to settle their legal obligations to the state via payment arrangement and other means. We, therefore, use this opportunity to congratulate the taxpayers who have worked and continue to work with the government to meet their responsibility.

However, there are instances where clients/taxpayers blatantly refuse to settle their tax obligations, some of which are collected from the ordinary Grenadians who purchase items and pay taxes like that of the VAT, that must then be remitted to the Inland Revenue Division, Ministry of Finance. As a responsible government, the collection of monies from the working class and the failure to pay over the same to the government while business owners enrich themselves cannot and will not go unchecked.

The government, therefore, encourages all taxpayers to file and pay their respective taxes to the Inland Revenue Division and further discourages any attempts to engage in any fraudulent or criminal activities at the Customs and Excise Division.

The government remains committed to engaging clients or taxpayers on the necessary payment arrangements that would allow entities to be in good standing with their tax obligations.

GIS

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Report of TAMCC settlement labelled fake news by union

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by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada 

  • Workers led by the Public Workers Union refuted settlement claims released on social media
  • Sixth week of protest involving 243 permanent workers employed by college council

A report circulating on social media to have stemmed from the Interim Chairman of the College Council, Augustine Vesprey, that a settlement has been reached between the Public Workers Union (PWU), and the TA Marryshow Community College (TAMCC) Council has been described as fake news.

The ongoing protest involving 243 permanent workers employed by the college council, is over the none payment of increments amounting to over $6.1 million over the past six years.

A release dated 6 December 2019 and entitled “Payment of increments to TAMCC staff” stated in part that the council had on 6 December 2019, presented the unions with a formal written offer wherein council will pay the $6.1 million increment in three tranches:

That the first scheduled payment will be made by 30 December 2019 in the sum of $1.5 million

The schedule for the payment of the other tranches will be made by 30 March 2020 upon the receipt by the council of the completed manpower and financial audit reports. These reports will become the basis for an understanding of the available financial leverage and, for ensuring prudence in the scheduling and payment of the remaining tranches.

Now into their sixth week of protest, affected workers led by the Public Workers Union (PWU), refuted the claims made in the release. “We are now seeing that there is a letter on Facebook stating that a settlement has been reached. We are not aware of any settlement. As a matter of fact, the last meeting that we attended with TAMCC, the chairman took this as a joke and to us, he was playing games,” said PWU President, Rachel Roberts.

Roberts said the union proposal still stands in that they are willing to accept their payment in three tranches starting with a $2 million payment in December and the other two tranches in 2020 at a reasonable time. “We went to a meeting with TAMCC and they indicated that at this time they can only pay $1.5 million. We indicated that what they will agree to would be a settlement in three tranches and the three tranches must mean that $2 million must be paid by December and the other $4 million, we would be able to accept it in 2020 in a reasonable time, so we didn’t give them a time frame,” she said.

The PWU president said the union is not clear as to when the next meeting will take place with the council on this outstanding matter and is also not convinced that the council’s declaration that they can only pay $1.5 million came as a result of consultation with cabinet. “The chairman indicated to us that TAMCC is only able to pay $0.5 million. When we stood our ground and we pressured the chairman he then went outside to make a phone call — but we are not certain that a true phone call was made because as he said he went outside to call the cabinet to determine what it is that the cabinet has decided to pay — and then he came back in and said the cabinet has decided that they will put in $1 million, but we are not certain that we can take his word for gospel.”

Meanwhile, President of the Lecturers Association at TAMCC, Adunni Johnson, said the lecturers will continue with the industrial action but he remains hopeful that a solution can be had very soon. He stated that the issue is much bigger than just a financial one, but also deals with the management of the college.

“The issue is not just a financial issue, the financial issue is just the icing on the cake but what led to the breakdown because there is little or no management at the college, so at present, we have to be hopeful but we remain between a rock and hard place,” said Johnson.

Johnson said it remains unclear if a report was submitted by the council to cabinet. Telephone calls to the Interim Chairman went to voicemail.

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