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Photography as Art — A refreshing view

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The Waving Art Gallery at Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) has had the privilege of displaying a very appropriate selection of art for the past six weeks.

During the time of the 35th Anniversary of the airport, Andy Johnson and “Links” have made the correct exposure and are now showing their photography as art.

The photographs on display show a variety of airplanes they have focused on—all taken at MBIA. To zoom in on the technical details would be a bit pedantic — you can see for yourself the proficiency of these two experienced photographers.

More compelling is the narrative — the beauty of Grenada posed against these sleek aluminium tubes that speed through the sky, their cargo predominately people.

Intriguing to the imagination is the stories of the people that these have brought to us. Visitors, foreign investors, students, “JCBs” (sorry folks), all with their own personal agendas for alighting here. The “just-come-backs” come for family — weddings, funerals, graduations, and a very few for showing off their newly acquired status and accents.

The students, promising doctors and veterinarians, willing to be a part of our local community for the years of study. The foreign investors — the least likely to engage, but yet coming for something that they desire. And of course, the tourists, who we always welcome warmly and we treat better than our own.

Photography in art has taken a bit of a back seat in the last few years. In the 90s in the Grenada Arts Council annual shows, works of photography were regularly seen by local photo-journalists like Harold Quash, Roland Benjamin, Jim Rudin, and Roger Brathwaite. In fact, Roger Brathwaite’s picture book of Grenada was published by the MacMillian Company. More recently, the work of Dave Lewis has shown in the Grenada Pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia, a series named “My Father’s Land”. Here he curates a small collection of his own work portraying his 100-year-old father, who still lives in Birchgrove, St Andrew. It has been a compelling body of work, seen by tens of thousands in the heart of Europe.

Perhaps in these days when everyone has a camera on their phone, and selfies are the order of the day, we have lost that thoughtfulness of yesteryear. It was expensive then — not only the equipment, but also to have the photos “washed” (developed). It was a slow process, many times you wouldn’t see the results till weeks or months after the snap. So in these days [with] everyone fancying themselves a photographer, it is good to see the attention these two young men have given to a subject. You can feel the passion, and isn’t that what art is all about.

The exhibition continues until 14 November. The Waving Art Gallery at MBIA is free to all. You will find it up the stairs — where you can also wave at your loved ones getting on or off the planes. It is managed by volunteers from the Grenada Arts Council. You can follow Andy Johnson and Linksprod (Alleon Gulston) on Instagram to see more of their compelling photography.

Grenada Arts Council

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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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