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Ron Redhead responds to blistering attack



My record is clean, I ain’t thief no vehicle.

This was the response given by Grenada government minister Ron Redhead as he denied any wrongdoing in the sale of a vehicle that was given to him by a businesswoman for use in the June 23, 2022 election campaign in which the National Democratic Congress (NDC) emerged victorious over the New National Party (NNP).

The senior government minister who is the Member of Parliament for the St George North-east constituency was responding to a post on Social Media which accused him of selling a vehicle made available to him in the campaign by the owner of Mt Pure Yolanda McQueen without her knowledge and consent.

According to the island’s Sport and Culture Minister, someone is deliberately “spinning” the issue as part of political mischief making.

He said the aim is to deliberately “tarnish people’s character” as the target of those behind the propaganda is to attack particular and specific individuals in Congress.

“I don’t want to get in a dog fight with who just putting out propaganda and this kind of thing. I won’t entertain it too much but…. this one in particular warrants a response,” he told THE NEW TODAY.

“Yolanda gave me the vehicle out of her kindness – I didn’t ask her for a vehicle – she gave it to me. That is really the truth about it and she could say that – I ain’t have to worry too much about that because she called me to put out a joint statement between myself and her,” he said.

Minister Redhead disclosed that the vehicle was sold but McQueen was informed about it based on the circumstances.

He said: “It’s not a case here she doesn’t know. What happened is that the person who I sold the vehicle for, he wants the vehicle transferred on his name. I told him all of that in terms of who the person is and we will get it organised.

“The last few days he was calling me and he could not get me – I was a bit busy and he called Yolanda and I made him aware of all of that (ownership title). I will be sorting that out completely next week.

“Yolanda and I just spoke about it earlier on today (Sunday) so I could safely say it’s not a case where the police (was called in) – that’s not true,” he said.

“I end up losing in the deal and I told Yolanda I will take the loss because she gave me the van free of charge during the campaign and I never had to pay anything for it …. and I appreciated that so I said that I could take the loss of $8000.00

“So the vehicle was sold, I had to recuperate the loss. The van has serious mechanical problems. I spent almost $11, 000.00 to get the van working and then the van shut down on me.

“For months now the van parked up behind the MP office. That’s the reality and I told her that I will have to sell it to get it off my hand to recoup my money and then we will have the transaction and Mr (name of purchaser of the vehicle) just went ahead and called her. That is all that happened.

“I personally was not driving Yolanda’s van. Yolanda’s van was for the team members to go to and fro from different points (in the constituency) – not for me.

According to Minister Redhead, he believes that there are some persons within the NDC itself who are involved in spreading the propaganda about the sale of the vehicle and doing nothing but “damage to the party.”

When contacted McQueen declined to comment on the issue as well as the claims being made by the senior government minister that she had reached an agreement with him to issue a joint statement to clear the air on the matter.

The businesswoman who is a member of the Board of Directors of the state-owned Grenada Development Bank (GDB) was also named in another recent Social Media posting as one who was not happy with an alleged loan of EC$2.3 million given to Minister of Mobilisation Implementation and Transformation, Andy Williams for his private sector business.

The minister has denied the allegation, saying that the loan was for only EC$600, 000.00 and that the discussions on the loan started under the previous NNP regime and that he has enough assets to cover the money that he borrowed from the bank.

McQueen was unsuccessful in getting the nod about ten months ago from a Congress panel that interviewed potential candidates for the rural St Andrew South-east constituency for the general election with the decision made to give the assignment to the current Minister of Education, David Andrew.

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Police bodyguard to former Prime Minister Keith Mitchell throws out journalist George Worme from Magistrate Court



At left is Sgt. Emerson Baptiste, the policeman bodyguard who was often seen in the company of Dr. Keith Mitchell (r) when he served as Prime Minister of the country

One of Grenada’s long standing journalists George Worme has written to acting Commissioner of Police Don McKenzie seeking an explanation for the action of Sergeant of Police Emerson Baptiste to order him out of the No.1 St George’s Court on Friday afternoon.

Baptiste is a former bodyguard to the defeated Grenada Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell who lost his job on June 23, 2022 to Dickon Mitchell of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) following the 9-6 result at the polls.

According to Worme, he visited the court to cover a story in which the police had brought before acting Chief Magistrate Francine Foster the murder suspect in the Vendomme homicide a few weeks ago.

He said he has not had any running with Sgt. Baptiste over the years and found it strange that he would take such harsh and drastic action against him.

Baptiste told the journalist that he was putting him out of the court on the grounds that he was not properly dressed to be inside the building.

However, a check on the Notice Board at the St. George’s No.1 Magistrate’s Court showed that the journalist was not in violation of any of the Dress Codes posted for the public’s attention, since he was wearing a company’s T shirt.

The journalist said that Sgt. Baptiste who served for several years as a top bodyguard to ex-Prime Minister Keith Mitchell would have known of the many battles between him and the former Grenadian leader over the years.

“I would hate to think that Baptiste would stoop so low to be drinking bush for Keith Mitchell’s fever against me and THE NEW TODAY by trying to belittle me in front of other police officers inside the court.”

“I am not taking this lightly as it amounts to an attack on Press Freedom by an Officer of the Royal Grenada Police Force. I am waiting for the response to my complaint from the Police High Command and by extension Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell who is the Minister of National Security and holds the portfolio of Minister of Information.”

A former high-ranking officer of RGPF in commenting on the issue said: “In my opinion no journalist should be hindered in the execution of their duties in a democratic state. The media is the fourth Estate, one of the pillars that drives and controls the functions of a democratic State by virtue of performing their duties. It would be a travesty if in truth and in fact that the hindrance of George Worme to execute his duties is political.”

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G’da takes a step closer to free universal secondary education



Grenada is moving to free secondary education for all primary school-aged children from September, according to Education Minister Senator David Andrew.

Speaking during Tuesday’s sitting of the Senate, the Education Minister announced that beginning this September all students who sat the CPEA exams earlier in the year will be guaranteed a place in a Secondary school “as we move towards universal secondary education.”

According to the senior minister in the one-year old National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, the ministry is fully aware that there will be a need to give support to those students “who probably found themselves at the lowest end.”

He said that officials in the Ministry of Education have already been approached “to begin putting together systems of support for those students.”

He noted that in the past the ministry had Literacy Co-ordinators in place but many of them are still in the system although not deployed in the places where they are supposed to be in order to provide that particular function at the school level.

“We are going to do an audit of that as well but we are going to engage several other avenues to ensure that both in the summer that (we) prepare them to go into Secondary school and thereafter we provide support for them but every child will be placed in a Secondary school in 2023 September,” he said.

Minister Andrew disclosed that unlike previous years, the Ministry of Education will no longer release the positions of students who sat the CPEA exams.

“The ministry recognizes that we have erred in how we have been releasing the CPEA results over the years. We have been releasing publicly scores (and) student ranks,” he told the sitting of the Upper House of Parliament.

This, he said was done primarily to validate positions and high scores of students and in the process resulted in schools being felt pressured “into preparing students rigidly for particular examinations to make sure that a certain number of their students get features in the top subjects.”

He stated that the ministry has been encouraging this to some extent but recognizes that the publication of the scores of students are in fact a violation of the Education act.

He said that Section 161, subsection 5 states “the minister may publish the results of an assessment together with a commentary on them by the Chief Education Officer but not so as to identify individual students or teachers.”

In addition, he pointed to Section 23 subsection 27 which indicates that “a student’s record is privileged information for the use of the institution and the Ministry of Education officials in the performance of their functions and is not available to any other person or institution without the written permission of the parent or if the student is 18 years of age or older.”

“In other words we have violated the rights of the students by mass publicising scores,” he remarked.

Minister Andrew stressed that it is not a matter of government not willing to celebrate success but there is the emotional fall-outs for persons who get compared with other students, as well as complaints from persons about “the physcho emotional discomfort that is faced when it comes to that period (the release of the results).”

“I don’t want anybody to run away with the notion that this is an attempt to throw cold water on celebrating success but we ought to comply and function within the ambits of the Education act as a Ministry of Education,” he told the Senate sitting.

According to Minister Andrew the list with the 2023 CPEA students will be published only in alphabetical order.

“There will be no scores and ranks published from the Ministry of Education because we are going to operate in keeping with the provisions of the Education act,” he said.

The Minister disclosed that the schools will receive scores for the students that they sent up and ranking in order “to do their own individual assessment (and) monitoring to determine where they’ve gone wrong, and what are the areas and avenues for upgrade, set benchmarks and do the necessaries in keeping with the act.”

He said that the individual students will receive a performance card from the Caribbean Examination Council that gives details of their performances in each of the tested areas, their strengths, areas of weakness and this will be available to them and their parents from the school.

The minister indicated that contrary to report circulating on the island the CPEA results have not arrived in the country as yet but expect it very soon as promised by the regional exam body.

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Female lawyers take over the magistracy



For the first time in Grenada’s history, an all-female cast of barristers-at-law are serving in all the Magistrate’s courts on the island.

Heading the list is Francine Foster who is now serving as Grenada’s Acting Chief Magistrate following the departure of Teddy St Louis from the position on Wednesday.

Former Minister of Legal Affairs Kindra Maturine-Stewart is now sitting on the bench for the first time after receiving her letter of appointment Wednesday from the Office of the Governor-General Dame Cecile La Grenade after it was approved by the St Lucia-based Judicial & Legal Service Commission (JLSC).

Legal sources told THE NEW TODAY that Maturine-Stewart will be assigned to the No.3 Traffic court in St George’s.

Foster, the new acting Chief Magistrate is moving from Grenville to occupy the No.1 Magistrate’s Court in the city.

Her replacement in the Grenville Magistrate’s Court will be Kinna Marrast-Victor who was previously assigned to the St David’s Magistrate’s Court.

Female attorney-at-law Sabina Gibbs is now moving from the Traffic Court to take charge of St David’s.

Longstanding Magistrate Nevlyn John will serve in three courts – Sauteurs, Gouyave and the sister isle of Carriacou.

Magistrate Tahira Gellineau is continuing to sit in the chair at the St George’s No.2 Magistrate’s Court.

A lawyer with over 20 years of experience in the profession was asked to comment on what is now emerging as a clear imbalance in the Magistracy as only females are now sitting on the bench.

He told THE NEW TODAY that the females were getting the jobs not because the males were not attracted to the positions due to the low salaries being offered.

“I don’t think so. It is just reflecting the times, the female people dominate the profession not only in law but in terms of lawyers they are now more female lawyers – about 75%,” he said.

“We men are just dropping out of existence in all professional bodies – even the Engineers which we thought was the safest for the male, the females are not in the majority but they are coming very close to it,” he added.

According to the senior lawyer the females are also dominating among the judges sitting on the bench.

“Look at the benches, it is the ladies (who are sitting) on the benches as judges and now the Magistrates. Our men – we ain’t doing nothing,” he quipped.

A senior female lawyer who also commented on the issue said, the male barrister is more inclined to accept a position as a judge and not as a Magistrate because of the prestige that goes with it in the society.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Legal Affair issued the following release Thursday on the appointment of the new Acting Chief Magistrate and reassignment of Magistrates on the island.

The Ministry of Legal Affairs, Labour and Consumer Affairs announces the appointment of Her Honour Francine Foster as Chief Magistrate (Ag.) with Magisterial responsibility for Southern Court No. 1, effective June 1, 2023.

Her Hon. Foster holds a Bachelor of Laws, LLB from Hugh Wooding Law School and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the post of Chief Magistrate (Ag.), having served in various capacities within the legal system, for over a decade. She has also served as Crown Counsel in the Ministry of Legal Affairs, Deputy Registrar, Supreme Court of Grenada, Magistrate (Ag.) for the Southern District, Magistrate for the Northern and Southern Districts, and her most recent position as Magistrate for the Eastern District.

In addition to the appointment of Her Hon. Francine Foster to the post of Chief Magistrate (Ag.), the Court will also see the reassignment of Magistrates and the appointment of a new Magistrate. These reassignments and new appointment areas follows:

The Hon. Kindra Mathurine-Stewart has been newly appointed as Magistrate for the Traffic Court, Grenada. A highly qualified lawyer with thirteen years of experience in both public and private service, she is an accomplished advocate with a great passion for serving justice through the law.

Having previously served as Minister for Legal Affairs and Minister of Carriacou and Petite Affairs, Hon. Mathurine-Stewart brings her excellent legal skills to bear on behalf of the people of Grenada, by bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to the bench.

Hon. Sabina Gibbs will be reassigned as Magistrate on duty at the Western St. Mark and Eastern St. David Districts and Hon. Kinna Marrast-Victor will be reassigned as Magistrate on duty at the Eastern St. Andrew District.

These assignments are meant to enhance the efficiency in dispensing justice, as well as ensure that justice is not delayed, and outcomes are reached in accordance with law.

We take the opportunity to thank outgoing Chief Magistrate, His Honour Teddy St. Louis for his exceptional service for over ten (10) years. During his tenure, he saw a significant increase in the Court’s caseload, and he also helped lead the Court through the implementation of new case processes, as part of our response to COVID-19. This also includes the recent launch of our E-Litigation portal in Grenada.

We wish him well in his future endeavors.

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