Fire association losing patience Story byLovely St.Aime Joseph
In a press conference on Thursday President of the Fire Association, Shane Felix, says the body is making a final impassioned plea to the Ministry of the Public Service to address the issues of fire officers before the association has to take matters into its own hands.
Felix claims that problems persist with the Fire Chief’s modus operandi and that relations continue to deteriorate between the fire chief and fire officers. He adds that the association will soon be meeting with its members in an emergency session to decide what action needs to be taken on the matter.
Earlier this year the fire chief in a rare move addressed the issue saying that the claims by the fire association were false.
He went one step further and threatened to sue the association’s president, Shane Felix, for defamation of character.
Felix had previously outlined a number of offenses which the association claimed the fire chief was guilty of. Felix says to date he has not received any notification of a lawsuit.
Felix says if the Public Service will not act hastily to improve staff morale within the fire department then the association may have to undertake industrial action. Felix says contrary to popular belief the fire service is not a part of the essential services and therefore is not limited in its scope for industrial action due to the essential services act.
Felix says the last date of dialogue with officials from the public service was nearly two weeks ago; to this date he says there have been no proposed resolutions to the festering problem with the fire Chief.
Felix says the association hopes to meet next week Monday or Tuesday to discuss their next course of action.
Fire department on safe driving Story byWisnton Springer
Driver error is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents on the island. So says deputy fire chief Lambert Charles.
He says although there are other contributing factors such as weather and road conditions mistakes behind the wheel are the primary cause of automobile collisions here.
The fire service responded to a spate of accidents in the past few days.
Several people were injured and one road fatality was recorded on the holiday weekend. Charles admonishes motorists to proceed with caution. Charles says the department expected a spike in emergency response calls due to mass crowd events for the culmination of the carnival festivities but some mishaps can be avoided.
He says despite the up tick in emergency calls due to the festivities, the fire service was not overwhelmed.
Charles also commended the police department for a sound carnival traffic management plan which he says greatly enhanced the response time of ambulance and fire service crews in the city.
Vernon francois on fatal shooting Story bySant Justin
The Carnival weekend came to an end on Tuesday but not without blood shed. Police Commissioner- Vernon Francois says in spite of the tragic homicide, Monday and Tuesday was relatively calm and the Police were out in full force as promised.
Francois says the fatal shooting by police of a cutlass wielding armed robbery suspect on Monday night is indicative of the heavy police presence in the city.
However he says the reality is crime cannot be completely eliminated with illegal guns and weapons on the nation’s streets.
In relation to the chisel street shooting incident which claimed the life of innocent bystander Leevy Wilson, Francois says one person is in custody and a weapon has been confiscated. He also thanked the public for their assistance in the police investigations.
The police chief says the shooting is an isolated incident and not a setback for the law enforcement community.
He does not believe the fatal shooting will lead to resurgence in gang related violence on the island.
François also suggests a comprehensive review of the security plan for the Carnival season.
The Police Commissioner says as protocol, an investigation has been launched into the police shooting on Monday evening.
Francois has expressed confidence in a thorough and impartial probe into the incident.
The police have come under increasing fire from human rights activists over fatal shootings involving law enforcement officers which they claim have been inconclusive.
Foreign policy review Story byWinston Springer
External Affairs Minister Alva Baptiste says the China-Taiwan issue is not the centerpiece of the island’s foreign policy review
Dr. Kenny Anthony Administration is taking what it calls a strategic approach to world affairs which will be informed by the island’s national strategic interests.
Baptiste believes harping on the philosophical nuances of Saint Lucia-Sino relations is arcane and overly simplistic given the immense challenges facing the island.
The report of the special advisory committee charged with undertaking a comprehensive review of the island’s foreign policy posture which is overdue has been completed and will be discussed at the next cabinet meeting.
However, Baptiste says the treatise put together by the panel of foreign policy experts will be congruent with the island’s long term economic development.
In the past the minister has been quick to point out that the review is not an academic exercise.
With Europe in Crisis, dwindling foreign aid and an anemic jobless recovery in the US, The Dr. Kenny Administration believes given the new geo-political dispensation small island states must maintain ties with traditional partners but seek new diplomatic allies like the emerging economies of the BRICS.
With that said Baptiste is just back from Brazil which he says expressed interest in mutual aid initiatives.
Saint Lucia reestablished ties with Taiwan after the United Workers Party assumed office in December 2006.
Former Foreign Affairs spokesman James Chang was appointed the new Taiwanese Ambassador in June following the SLP’s protestations over the conduct of his predecessor Tom Chou.
Despite its adherence to the one China policy, the SLP administration has been reserved on the issue since regaining the reins of power in November 2011.
New conway homes Story byLovely St.Aime Joseph
The Ministry of Physical Development, Housing and Urban Renewal on Thursday handed over the keys to ten new homes to Conway residents.
The handover of houses forms part of the Conway Relocation Project. Ten new housing lots located in Fond Manger were handed over on Thursday following a brief ceremony at the Marigot Secondary School Auditorium.
Housing Minister Stanley Felix, says he’s proud of the progress made with the project. He encouraged the beneficiaries of eth new house lots and property to take full advantage of the new milestone of home and land ownership.
Chief Housing and Urban Renewal Officer, Jenny Daniel, says Saint Lucia has a housing problem in terms of availability of affordable housing for the population. She says at present the demand for affordable housing outweighs the supply. This she says has had many serious consequences.
The ten housing lots are located in Fond Manger, Castries. For the most part, the residents of the Fond Manger community have embraced the project and look forward to working with their new neighbors to develop the community.
Botch carnival results Story byWinston Springer
The Results of the 2012 Carnival band of the year competition has been revised after the calculation of the points were botch by the judges.
According to a press statement from the Carnival stakeholder committee a special meeting of the St. Lucia Carnival Bands Association was convened Wednesday night to address issues regarding the results.
The body responsible for the cultural celebration confirms the methodology used to tabulate the points for the participating bands during the annual; parade was flawed and the accounting error was confirmed by the Judges Coordinator.
The final result of the 2012 Band of the Year competition was released following the exercise.
Although Rituals retains the band of the year title, and Saint Lucia Spirits came in second, Red Unlimited finished in 5th position and not third place as previously announced at the stakeholders’ committee press conference on Wednesday.
Stakeholders happy with broadcast Story bySant Justin
The Carnival Stakeholder Committee has expressed confidence in the broadcast of Carnival events throughout the season.
Exclusive rights to broadcast the spectacle were granted to Choice TV as part of what the committee says was a bidding process
The decision which prohibited other media houses from covering certain activities was unsuccessfully challenged in court.
In spite of the controversy, the Chairman Carnival Stakeholder Committee- John Joseph is content with the choice.
Joseph says the committee will explore avenues to generate revenue and focus on a balanced playing field in relation to broadcast rights.
He the size of media market must also be taken into consideration. Joseph says the committee is also concerned about the unwelcome intrusion of non band members or invaders who may have contributed to an early end to festivities for some revelers.
Although rumor is rife about of a three year lifespan for the Carnival Stakeholder committee, the Chairman says he has received no confirmation of the extension.
Super J hurricane guide Story byWinston Springer
A special edition of the Super J IGA annual Hurricane Guide was presented to the National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities last Friday.
This edition is formatted for persons with visual impairments. The chain worked closely with the Director of the National Emergency Management Organization, Dawn French on the guide.
Sancha Raggie of Super J says the company publishes a hurricane guide annually and welcomed a guide Taylor made to this segment of its customer base. Executive Director of the National Council Lancia Isidore, says people with disabilities are faced with many challenges including personal safety during natural disasters.
She says the council will manage the distribution of the Hurricane guide in the communities and schools where visually impaired students reside and are enrolled.
Raymond Thompson of the St. Lucia Blind Welfare Association commended the initiative. He says the Blind Welfare Association is in constant contact with visually impaired persons.
Therefore it is well placed to ensure the distribution of the hurricane awareness guide
Fire association losing patience
Fire department on safe driving
Vernon francois on fatal shooting
Foreign policy review
New conway homes
Botch carnival results
Stakeholders happy with broadcast
Super J hurricane guide
Subventions from government are paid to all aspects of Saint Lucia Carnival. That means taxpayers subsidize everything from bands, to shows and community events. The cash injection is in addition to the bulk funding provided by government to the entity that manages the festival – for the past two years that has been the Stakeholder Committee and before them it was the CDF. Three Carnival bands including the reigning Band of the Year have dropped out of competition due in part to funding constraints. Other associations like the National Carnival Queen Committee and tent leaders have lamented dwindling sponsorship dollars and the need for government funding.
But is it fair to expect Saint Lucians to pay for a product they ultimately have to purchase in the way of costumes, tent shows and events?
Is it realistic for Carnival stakeholders to expect government to subsidize their contribution to the festival?