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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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Hubbard’s assists GARP to meet in cool comfort

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Tuesday, 18 February was a very happy day for Grenada Association of Retired Persons (GARP), as their Welcome Centre on the Kirani James Boulevard received a brand-new air-conditioning unit to allow them to continue their numerous activities, for seniors, in comfort.

GARP, established for over 8 years, with more than 200 members, uses the centre to welcome ‘seniors’ (50 years and over) to engage in workshops, training, activities, events and outings, especially tailored for them. The centre also offers support for important learning curves for seniors, relating to their comfort with technology and modern-day communication methods and trends.

Carol Vazquez, Founder and President of GARP, who has made it her personal mission to grow the flourishing and much needed organisation expressed her delight. “We are a very busy and active group and the Welcome Centre is our hub! This generous donation from Hubbard’s will allow our membership to continue our regular activities in comfort. It is very much appreciated.”

Anthony Phillip, Manager of Hubbard’s Appliance Dept. who made the donation on behalf of the company commented; “we received a lovely letter from Ms Vazquez and felt the reason for the request was certainly an opportunity for us to positively affirm our corporate citizenship stance. Personally, I had not heard of GARP before, although I have seen activities taking place in front of the Welcome Centre. Assisting members of our community is vital, and in this case, assisting an organisation who are themselves assisting a sometimes-vulnerable sector of our community, can only be for the good,” he concluded.

The donated energy-efficient inverter unit, valued at approximately $4,000 will allow GARP to see a reduction in running costs and simultaneously acknowledge that all have a part to play in diminishing the country’s carbon footprint.

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Republic Bank National Learn to Swim Week launched

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The Republic Bank National Learn to Swim Week 2020 was officially launched on 22 February at a ceremony held at the True Blue Bay Marina.

After 5 years of dedicated support, the bank is pleased to assume title sponsorship of the National Learn to Swim Week programme, spearheaded by the Grenada Youth Adventurers (GYA).

The GYA seeks to promote water safety by providing basic swimming lessons to the general public, at no charge. The programme has been widely received, with growing interest and participation each year. It has since grown to become part of a much wider programme “Get Grenada Swimming.” So far, an estimated 3,400 persons have benefitted, with the aim to reach 8,000 persons by the year 2021.

The bank’s contribution of $15,000 will assist with training equipment; kickboards, noodles, goggles, t-shirts and stipends for the lifeguards/instructors who complement the volunteer team. Each year, an average 25 or more volunteers travel from the USA and UK and even as far as Australia to assist with the programme; one of whom is already on island for a 3-month stay assisting with the broader goal to ‘Get Grenada swimming’.

The Republic Bank National Learn to Swim Week 2020 will be held 14–18 April (Easter week), at these locations:

  • Annandale
  • Bathway Beach
  • Carriacou (Lumbadive)
  • Good Hope Pool
  • Gouyave (L’Anse Beach)
  • Grand Anse (Camerhogne Park)
  • Grand Anse (RC Church)
  • Grand Anse (Umbrellas)
  • Grand Mal (Go Cool steps)
  • Grenada Marine, St David
  • La Sagesse Nature Centre
  • Petite Martinique
  • Sauteurs Breakwater
  • Soubise
  • True Blue Bay Resort Pool

For adults who have always wanted to learn to swim this is your perfect opportunity. It is also a worthwhile programme to keep the children positively engaged during the Easter break. To sign up, or for more information, visit http://www.getgrenadaswimming.com or contact Deb Eastwood at 404-5237.

Republic Bank (Grenada) Limited

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UK parliamentarians visit Grenada | NOW Grenada

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A 6-member Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK (CPA UK) cross-party delegation of members and officials from the UK Houses of Parliament, visited Grenada from 19≠21 February. They also visited Barbados.

The visit was organised in partnership with the Parliament of Grenada and the British High Commission.

Their programme of meetings and visits addressed topical issues such as international trade, security, climate change and disaster resilience. During their time in Grenada, the delegation met with key parliamentary stakeholders, officials and leading civil society members.

Lord Mann of Holbeck Moor, on behalf of the delegation, said, “It was an incredible experience to visit Barbados and Grenada as part of a cross-party delegation. We touched on a range of issues, including trade, climate change and the fight against crime, all of which are important issues for both the UK and the region. Strengthening our economic, environmental and security partnerships will be of benefit to both sides. The delegation enjoyed meeting with Ministers and Parliamentarians, and I hope our valued relationship with the Eastern Caribbean will be further strengthened by this visit.’’

British Resident Commissioner to Grenada Wendy Freeman said, “I am very grateful to the MPs from the UK branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association for their valuable visit to Grenada. Not only for strengthening the parliamentary and commonwealth links but also for supporting the newly established British High Commission. Come back again soon!”

This bilateral visit to the region was the first CPA UK visit in several years. The programme provided an excellent opportunity to strengthen relations with the region, particularly on areas such as trade, climate change, security and social issues.

About CPA UK

CPA UK supports and strengthens parliamentary democracy throughout the Commonwealth. It focuses on key issues including women in parliament, modern slavery, financial oversight, security and trade.

Peer to peer learning is central to the way CPA UK works. CPA UK brings together UK and Commonwealth parliamentarians and officials, to share knowledge and learn from each other. It aims to improve parliamentary oversight, scrutiny and representation. CPA UK is located in,  and funded by, the UK Parliament.

British High Commission

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