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Pure Grenada’s sustainability efforts recognised

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Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean’s sustainable efforts were recognised as the destination walked away with three titles in the Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s (CTO) Sustainable Tourism Awards.

The ceremony was held in St Vincent and the Grenadines on Thursday evening.

The first award went to the Carriacou Maroon and Stringband Music Festival Committee for Culture and Heritage Protection. The committee ensures that the festival happens annually in the last weekend in April with a heavy focus on preserving the African heritage and traditions of Carriacou through an authentic display of maroon culture.

The festival offers visitors the chance to witness the traditional practice of a ‘maroon’ – a celebration offering thanks for the last harvest and asking for good fortune during the upcoming planting season. The stringband element of the festival is equally strong with the Celtic heritage of string instruments unique to Carriacou and Petite Martinique displayed at the popular ‘Strings in the City’ event which brings traditional musicians and dancers onto the streets of Hillsborough. The three-day festival is marked with traditional songs, dance, the eating of smoked food and cultural performances. The committee partners with community groups and the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) to ensure that students and children in the various villages in Carriacou and Petite Martinique are involved in the festival to pass on the traditions to the next generation.

The second award of the night was in the Nature Conservation category going to the Kido Foundation based in Carriacou. The Kido Foundation is a non-profit organisation, established in 1995, involved in the protection of critically endangered nesting sea turtles (Hawksbills & Leatherbacks) and mangrove planting. The foundation is also involved in youth environmental education, conservation practices, and the training of turtle/nature local guides.

Activities include night patrols on foot, tagging of turtles, the disguising of turtle tracks and hatchling monitoring. The Kido Foundation also supported the startup of a group called Carriacou Creative Women who presently make a number of items for sale, including bags from recycled material.

Recently, the foundation has been working with the local government in Carriacou and the GTA to transform the hiking trail on Carriacou’s highest peak ‘High North’ into a tourism attraction. Thus far, the hiking trail has been cleared and footpaths and locally crafted signage installed. Guides are also being trained to provide tours to visitors and locals inclusive of bird watching.

The third award went to True Blue Bay Boutique Resort in the Sustainable Accommodation category. For years, True Blue Bay Resort has incorporated sustainable practices into its operations from the management of water use to the use of biodegradable products at its restaurants and bars. This was a conscious decision taken by its proprietors more than a decade ago. Earlier this year, the True Blue Bay Resort took its commitment to sustainability to another level with the launch of its advanced Climate Smart Cocoa Pod Rooms. The rooms and suites feature solar panels to generate electricity, craft furniture made with ethically sourced materials and energy-efficient appliances in addition to thorough insulation to keep the rooms cool with minimum energy consumption.

Hotel Manager, Mary Calliste, accepted the award on behalf of the True Blue Bay Resort while GTA Product Development and Research Manager, Kirl Hoschtialek, accepted the other two and said, “We are honoured to be awarded and it is even more special that two of these awards went to initiatives of Carriacou and Petite Martinique. The people of the sister islands are passionate about the preservation of their natural environment and unique heritage.”

Speaking about the awards, Hon. Dr Clarice Modeste-Curwen said, “As Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation, I am extremely proud of the efforts of our stakeholders who are championing the cause for sustainable tourism. Because of their efforts, Grenada is on the map as a world-class sustainable destination.

The CTO Sustainable Tourism Awards was a major event of the 2019 CTO Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development. The awards recognise individuals, groups, organisations or companies in the Caribbean which have developed responsible and unique tourism products or are engaged in implementing sustainable tourism-related initiatives which embrace sustainable tourism core values.

Grenada Tourism Authority

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Caribbean & World

Public debt receives EC$354,018,921 – largest allocation in 2020 Budget 

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by Linda Straker

  • Grenada’s 2020 Estimate of Revenue and Expenditure is set at EC$1,146,010,705
  • Public Debt repayment receives largest allocation
  • Fiscal position continues to be strong, with expected primary surplus after grants of 6.8% of GDP, at end of 2019

Grenada’s 2020 Estimate of Revenue and Expenditure is set at EC$1,146,010,705 with the largest allocation of EC$354,018,921 going toward Public Debt repayment which, by the end of 2019 is estimated to be 55.8% of GDP.

The estimates were presented in the house on Wednesday, 20 November 2019 by Finance Minister, Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell. Members in the House of Representatives are expected to commence debate on the budget on Thursday, 21 November 2019.

Receiving the second-largest allocation is the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development, Religious Affairs and Information in the sum of EC$105,022,091 while the third-largest allocation went to the Ministry of Health, Social Security and International Business in the sum of EC$72,155,371.

Presented under the theme “Towards Vision 2035, Empowering our communities, Growing our economy, Protecting our environment, Strengthening our institution,” the Prime Minister said that Grenada is expected to continue its strong fiscal performance for 2020.

“Grenada’s fiscal position continues to be strong, with an expected primary surplus after grants of 6.8% of GDP, at the end of 2019. This performance is anchored in our adherence to the Fiscal Responsibility Act and backed by continuous reforms in both the Inland Revenue Department and the Customs and Excise Division,” the Finance Minister said.

Dr Mitchell said that the public debt ratio is on a path of decline moving from 108% in 2013, to 62.7% in 2018 and projected to be 55.8% by the end of the year. “It is instructive to note that this expected outturn is not only below the 60% target established by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), but it will also be achieved way ahead of the 2030 deadline,” he informed the house and a broad section of invited guests which included diplomats, senior public servants and members of the public.

The decline in public debt, the Prime Minister said has resulted in a reduction in debt repayment requirement by EC$101 million between the seven-year period of 2013 to 2020. “The reduction in the repayment obligation reduces the burden on future generations and creates the space needed to advance developmental programmes that would keep this nation on a path of growth and development,” he said.

The estimates provide for Recurrent Revenue to be at EC$786.2 million, Recurrent Expenditure at EC$633.7 million; Current Account Surplus EC$152.5 million; Capital Expenditure EC$225.3 million; Primary Surplus after grants EC$212.8 million; Overall Surplus after grants EC$145.8 million and Principal Repayment/Amortisation EC$287.0 million.

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Missing Teen: Wazerah Lessey | NOW Grenada

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Police are seeking the assistance of the general public in locating Wazerah Lessey, 14 years old, Student of Calabash Alley, Grand Mal, St George.

Lessey was last seen at her home on Saturday, 9 November 2019. She is approximately five feet six inches in height, slim built and brown in complexion.

Anyone seeing Wazerah Lessey or has any information about her whereabouts is asked to contact the Central Police Station at 440 2245; CID at 440 3921; police emergency at 911; police hotline at 444 1958 or the nearest police station.

Office of the Commissioner of Police

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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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