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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

CIBC FirstCaribbean donates US$250,000 to regional Covid-19 fight

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Regional bank CIBC FirstCaribbean is moving to assist countries across the region to purchase much-needed Covid-19 testing kits.

The bank, through its charitable arm the FirstCaribbean International ComTrust Foundation, will donate a total of US$250,000 toward the purchase of the kits in the countries across its regional footprint. The bank will make the donation through its various operating companies across the Caribbean.

Chief Executive Officer of the bank and Chair of the foundation, Colette Delaney, made the announcement noting, “testing was one of the main weapons in the arsenal against the spread of the disease.” She added, “community spread is one of the main ways the virus is transmitted and testing is key to identify, isolate and treat those affected and limit its spread.”

Delaney thanked the region’s “public health leadership, medical professionals and frontline workers and others involved in the essential work of keeping our communities safe and functioning during this very difficult time.”

The donation follows the bank’s recent announcements of a suite of relief assistance to eligible clients including:

  • 6-month payment moratoria on existing loans and mortgages.
  • Temporary revolving or working capital financing options for our Corporate Banking and Business Banking clients.
  • A special waiver of late payment fees and default interest to all eligible Retail, Business, Banking, Corporate Investment Banking and Wealth Management Clients effective for the 6 month moratorium period for existing loans and mortgages.
  • Credit cardholders automatically benefitting from a payment waiver for 3 months based on their current account standing.

Delaney noted, “Our response has been in the spirit of partnership that has always existed between the bank and the people of the region. This two-pronged approach has allowed us to not only contribute to the national response in each of the countries in which we operate, but to directly assist our clients who are affected.”

Delaney also noted that many of the bank’s staff are choosing to make personal donations to the various relief programmes in their islands across the Caribbean and thanked them for their generosity.

“Our employees are known for their calm and professional response, particularly in a crisis. We thank them for their generosity and commitment to continuing to provide service to our clients in these most unusual of circumstances.”

CIBC FirstCaribbean has a staff of approximately 3,000 across 16 Caribbean countries.

CIBC FirstCaribbean

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Caribbean & World

Prime Minister’s National Address: 30 Mar 2020

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Press Conference – Prime Minister Dr. Rt. Hon Keith Mitchell

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Caribbean & World

Head of State requested to prepare Leader of Opposition instrument of appointment

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by Linda Straker

  • Clement is MP for constituency of St George North East
  • Resigned as a member of New National Party in 2019
  • Has spoken with Governor-General regarding instrument of appointment 

Tobias Clement, Member of Parliament for the constituency of St George North East, has confirmed that he has had a conversation with Governor-General Dame Cecile La Grenade requesting her to prepare the instrument of appointment that will make him the elected Leader of the Opposition in the Lower House of Parliament.

“I requested the instrument be prepared and right now I am awaiting further instructions from her office,” Clement said on Monday. He is not certain if he will be able to take his oath of office before the mandatory 7-day curfew which officially starts at 7 pm today. “I am really hoping it can be done today.”

Clement, in December 2019, implied he would be taking up the post of Leader of Opposition after he resigned as a member of the ruling New National Party (NNP).

In both the 2013 and 2018 General Elections, the NNP won all 15 seats in the Lower House of Parliament and on both occasions, Clement opted to be a government backbencher. However, as of mid-2019, he began indicating during parliamentary sessions, that he would cross the floor.

As Leader of the Opposition, he will have the right to appoint 3 opposition senators in the Upper House of Parliament, have a functioning office at the Parliament Building and operate his constituency parliamentary office.

He said that his goal is to first receive his instrument of appointment and then focus on appointing his senators. “We will deal with the appointment of senators in the future, the focus now is receiving the instrument of appointment,” he said without explaining his decision to take up the post amid a Limited State of Emergency.

Grenada is presently under a 21-day Limited State of Emergency as part of its social distancing measures to reduce the spread of Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

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