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This Day in History: 22 September 1955

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On 22-23 September 1955, Hurricane Janet, an exceptional storm, ravaged Grenada. It broke all the rules.

The hurricane warning was broadcast by the Windwards Island Broadcasting Service (WIBS) from noon on 22 September, and with increased frequency and urgency thereafter. Unfortunately, people took insufficient notice of the warnings.

The population’s blasé attitude vanished with the arrival of hurricane-force winds and torrential rains at 6.30 pm. From this hour and until 6 am the next morning, Hurricane Janet, packing winds up to 130 miles per hour, punched, trod on, ripped up and otherwise laid waste Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. In Grenada, 120 lives, 50% of the housing stock and 70% of the nutmeg trees were lost.

In Carriacou and Petite Martinique, 27 lives were lost, 500 persons were injured, and almost the whole population was left homeless.

The estimated damage was US$20 million.

After the hurricane passed, to avoid the outbreak of disease, 80% of the population was vaccinated against typhoid. Prefabricated houses from Suriname — known today as Janet Houses — came as part of the international aid which flowed into Grenada.

Paraphrased from Grenada: A History of its People by Beverley A Steele

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Grenada

Opposition Leader described as guiding light in Parliament

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by Linda Straker

  • Dr Mitchell did not attend first regular sitting of Lower House
  • Described as grandfather of Lower House due to length of service since 1984
  • Current situation with elected opposition brings true meaning to practice of democracy

Joseph Andall, Member of Parliament for St Patrick West, said he expects Dr Keith Mitchell, who is the Leader of the Opposition, to be a guiding light in the Lower House of Parliament for all the members who are on their first term.

Dr Mitchell, who was unable to attend the first regular sitting of the Lower House on Thursday, 29 September 2022 since a new government was voted into office on 23 June, was described by Andall as the grandfather of the Lower House because of his years of service, beginning in 1984.

“I am a bit regretful that the honourable member for St George NorthWest, the father, some may even say the grandfather of the Parliament, is not here to hear this, but I expect him, given his longevity and his experience to be the guiding figure in this house,” said Andall.

“I expect him to serve the example of decency, dignity, and decorum in this House so that the young member from St John can have an example to emulate, so that the young member from Carriacou and Petite Martinique can say this is what I want to be like when I am serving my 9th term,” Andall continued.

There was no elected opposition following the 2013 and 2018 General Elections because the New National Party (NNP) candidates won all the constituency seats. Andall told the House that the current situation in which there is an elected opposition brings true meaning to the practice of democracy. “For the first time in many years, we have what is almost an ideal situation when it comes to the practice of democracy in our country. For the first time in many years, we are going to have a robust opposition.”

“We expect the debates to be maybe even fierce sometimes, but there is one thing I wish to impress on all my colleagues, those on this as well as others on the other side, we are adults, we represent a civilise nation, the eyes of the world are on us and therefore I implore all of us that even as the debate may rage on let us do so with a spirit of mutual respect and civility.” Andall is a former secondary school teacher and a linguist.

“There will be little ones looking on and we do not want them to be saying Lord, this is what Parliament looks like, mark me no share; we have an obligation to set good and proper examples.” Parliament has 9 members on the Government side and 6 on the Opposition side.

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Grenada

Revenue increase directly links to fuel and freight cap removal

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by Linda Straker

  • As of 1 October, freight capped back to 2019 levels
  • Revenue collection surpassed projections for first 6 months of 2022
  • Mid-year review focuses on the period January to June 2022

Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell explained to Members of Parliament during the first regular sitting on Thursday, 29 September 2022 that his administration’s decision to remove the cap on freight and petrol is linked directly to Government’s revenue collection agencies earning more than what was projected in the 2022 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure.

“The mid-year review prepared by the Ministry of Finance, clearly indicates that total revenue collected from tax, grant, non-tax revenue that the actual collections are more than the projected,” Mitchell told members while wrapping up debate on a EC$194 million Supplementary Appropriation Bill.

“We are happy that the revenue collections are doing better than projected, and it is because of that we were in fact able to address and take some of the fiscal measures that we have taken to ease the burden on the citizens of Grenada as it relates for example, to removing the cap on gasoline, to eliminating the petrol tax up to December,” he said. “It is recognising that revenue is performing better than projected that we are able to fiscally and prudently take those measures to help ease on average Grenadians.” Prime Minister Mitchell is also the Minister for Finance.

“And so, when we took the decision which will be implemented as of 1 October to cap the freight back to 2019 levels to ease the burden on the average citizen, we did so in the context that to date the collection from the customs department is more than projected. If it was less then it will be far more difficult if not impossible,” he said.

The mid-year review report of Grenada’s economy was among documents laid in the House by the Leader of Government Business for public scrutiny. It said that revenue collection surpassed projections for the first 6 months of 2022. The report focuses on the period January to June 2022 during which time the New National Party (NNP) led by Dr Keith Mitchell was administrating the country’s affairs.

“Public finances continue to bolster in 2022 with revenue collections for the first 6 months exceeding the target and the comparable period of 2021 by $62.2 million and $67.4 million respectively,” said the report which indicates that real GDP growth is expected to be 3.3% at the end of 2022.

“A primary surplus including grants of $58.2 million is estimated for 2022, surpassing the budgeted deficit of $34.2 million while a modest overall deficit of $1.6 million is estimated at the end of this year compared to a budgeted deficit of $97.9 million.” The report was prepared by the Ministry of Finance.

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Grenada

Active outbreak of acute respiratory infections (ARI)

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The Epidemiology Department of the Ministry of Health, Wellness, and Religious Affairs is closely monitoring an active outbreak of Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI) in the country.

Based on its most recent laboratory testing conducted on 27 September 2022, the cause of this outbreak is linked to the Influenza A virus subtype H3N2 or (AH3N2), Rhinovirus and Adenovirus. Confirmatory testing was done by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), which is based in Trinidad and Tobago.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Shawn Charles stated that the Influenza AH3N2 virus is very contagious and can cause severe illness, especially in patients who are very young or old or have chronic underlying medical conditions.

The main symptoms of Acute Respiratory Infections are congestion, runny nose, fever, cough, sore throat, body aches and fatigue.

As a result, Dr Charles advises that the public, including persons caring for sick persons and sick persons themselves, should practice personal hygiene that is known to be effective in preventing Acute Respiratory Infection.

They include, but are not limited to:

  • Washing hands frequently, especially after being in a public place or caring for sick people
  • Always sneeze or cough into a tissue or the bend of your elbow. Dispose of the used tissue in a bin and wash or sanitise hands afterwards
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes and mouth, to prevent introducing germs into your body
  • Regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces with soap and water or a disinfectant

The Ministry of Health, Wellness, and Religious Affairs encourages the public to take note and take all the necessary hygienic measures to protect themselves and their loved ones.

GIS

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