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Opposition Senator in Upper House says 2020 budget debate maybe his last

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by Linda Straker

  • Contribution to the 2020 Budget debate may be Ron Redhead’s last
  • The senate shall consist of 13 appointed by the Governor-General

Ron Redhead, one of the senators appointed to represent the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Upper House of Parliament, has informed the members that his contribution to the 2020 Budget debate may be his last.

“Mr President, I just want to say that this may, in fact, be one of my last presentations. You know, you are aware of the situation in the Lower House,” he told the 13-member house while wrapping up his presentation. “Politics is a numbers game and it has its players behind the scenes, in front as well and it has its people, so anything can play.”

Section 24 of the constitution says that the senate shall consist of 13 who shall be appointed by the Governor-General. Seven shall be appointed by the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister; 3 shall be appointed by the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Leader of the Opposition; and 3 shall be appointed by the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister after the Prime Minister has consulted the organisations or interests which the Prime Minister considers the senators should be selected to represent.

Following the March 2018 General Election in which ruling New National Party (NNP) won the 15 seats in the Lower House, Governor-General, Dame Cecile La Grenade, invited the NDC to nominate 2 persons to the Upper House. Senators Redhead and Kerryne James were accepted and appointed. The third person appointed in accordance with the constitution guidance was former Member of Parliament for the Constituency of St George South, Glynnis Robert.

On 20 November 2019, Tobias Clement, who represents the people for the constituency of St George’s North East announced that he has resigned from the NNP but will continue to represent his constituency in parliament.

“I have been elected by the people of St George’s North East to represent them and it will remain that way. I don’t think our constitution speaks to recalling MPs like that,” Clement told the media as he walked out of the parliament on 20 November 2019, minutes after listening to Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell present the 2020 Budget.

“We do have at least 3 years to go and I will also consider becoming Leader of the Opposition. One might wonder if in this deposition is having an elected opposition in the country is it a bad thing or having an opposition to government is it a bad thing,” Clement said, advising he will be consulting with the constitution for guidance before he announces his next step.

Tobias can choose to remain as a government backbencher or take up the position of Leader of the Opposition which has been vacant since the 2013 General Election when the NNP won all 15 seats for a second time. If he takes up the Leader of the Opposition post, he will then have the right to appoint 3 persons to represent him in the Upper House and this will automatically revoke the appointment of the 3 who were appointed by the Head of State.

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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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