The Leader of the Opposition and Castries Central MP Richard Frederick hosted a press conference on Monday in relation to the ongoing Jack Grynberg affair.
Tuesday’s press briefing followed the government’s announcement of Jack Grynberg’s arbitration suit filed against the country over an oil exploration deal.
Leader of the Opposition- Stephenson King says the announcement is his prediction coming to past.
King also sought to question the information dispensed by the Office of the Prime Minister and the time lapse between its release.
King says the country will face an expensive litigation process once the case reaches the court level, as in the case of Grenada.
Amongst the issues outlined by the opposition leader - his assertion Dr. Anthony ignored the advice of his then Attorney General to seek legal advice before signing the Grynburg deal. Attorney and Castries Central MP Richard Frederick expounded on that point.
The UWP remains adamant the Grynberg issue could not have been resolved during its term in office.
According to the government – in his suit Grynburg alleges the Stephenson King administration signed and retrieved a renewal agreement of the oil exploration deal he had signed with the previous Dr Kenny Anthony administration.
RSM Production Corporation also alleges Stephenson King later terminated the agreement by letter and opened the area under contract to competitive bidding.
RSM is claiming force majeure – that despite its original and renewed contract under the SLP it could not carry out exploration due to its inability to define Saint Lucia’s borders in relation to its neighbours.
And while the press conference brought forward no new information on the issue, the opposition again called on the Prime Minister to address the matter publicly.
PM budget Story byCarmy Joseph
Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony delivered the policy portion of his 2012/2013 Budget address on Tuesday afternoon.
Two areas were most anticipated in the address that began a little after 5PM. The first – that of job creation followed an extensive explanation about the current economic condition of the country.
Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony says the country’s economy is
expected to grow by just over 2% owing largely to sectors like construction and tourism. Delivering on his “jobs, jobs, jobs” promise – the Prime Minister says his government intends to deal with the unemployment program in two parts.
One of the programs the government intends to implement is NICE, based on the LEAP program outlined by the SLP in its 2011 election manifesto.
That program will be managed from the Prime Minister’s office and will run for a two year period. The Prime Minister says it is expected to provide 2,000 jobs during that time. The VAT announcement meanwhile came just about two hours into the Prime Minister’s address.
While in Wednesday’s newscast we will have more on the VAT proposals outlined by the government we can tell you that the VAT tax rate is 15%.
Additionally VAT will replace a number of what has been described as “nuisance taxes” such as cellular tax, consumption tax, and environmental levy.
The Prime Minister also announced businesses that make less than $180,000 a year will not be required to register for VAT and that hotels will pay an 8% rate of VAT until April 30, 2013 after which an assessment will determine the future rate for that sector.
A number of the goods that will be exempt from the tax were also announced – they include cheese, unsweetened biscuits and chicken.
Alva on ambassadors Story byCarmy Joseph
External Affairs and International Trade Minister Alva Baptiste says the government has made no diplomatic and ambassadorial appointments.
This after sources confirmed to HTS News former Tourism and Social Transformation Minister Menissa Rambally would be appointed Saint Lucia’s next UN Ambassador.
Minister Baptiste explained such announcements could not be made due to a number of protocol issues.
Further – the Minister maintains all foreign appointments would be made at the same time by his Ministry.
Baptiste has also cleared the air on the end of appointments for foreign diplomats and ambassadors.
He says all contracts for these foreign agents appointed by the previous UWP administration were allowed to come to their natural end.
His government – he says – did not terminate any contract or recall any foreign diplomats and ambassadors.
The Minister has given no indication of when his government will announce the announcements to the various foreign posts.
Former UWP Laborie candidate Keith St Aime ended his appointment as Saint Lucia’s Ambassador to the UN last month.
Story byLovely St.Aime Joseph
On Tuesday 8th May 2012 at about 2:30 am officers attached to the Gros islet police station responded to a report at a renowned hotel in the north of the island.
Information received, from hotel management indicated a 27 year old British national, who at the time was on vacation with a family member at the hotel attempted to commit suicide.
According to that family member, this individual had been suffering from mental illness. He was taken to Victoria hospital via ambulance where he was treated for his injury and admitted.
Meanwhile - on Monday 30th April Jerious Didier appeared before the court in Choiseul to answer to charges of possession of cannabis and possession with the intent to supply cannabis.
On the charge of possession of cannabis he was cautioned, reprimanded and discharged. However - for the offence of possession with the intent to supply he was fined the sum of $8000.00 to be paid in six months or in default 90 days in prison.
In addition he was ordered to pay $2000.00 in fifteen days or in default thirty days in prison and the remaining $6000.00 to be paid in six months.
Jerious Didier was arrested by Choiseul police on the Saturday 28th April at his residence in industry Choiseul.
PAHO/AIDS breakthrough Story byLovely St.Aime Joseph
Saint Lucia is the first country in the Caribbean PAHO will undertake a project to certify whether the transmission of HIV/AIDS from mother to child has been eliminated.
In 2009 the region agreed to work towards elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV and congenital syphilis.
Sonia Café works with the PAHO HIV project. She says the aim is to work with the health ministry to prepare for an assessment of HIV maternal and child health programs.
Cafe says the actual assessment will begin in two weeks. Once completed Saint Lucia may be the first country to get a public declaration on the status of elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Director of the National AIDS program, Nahum Jn Baptiste, has lauded the project. He says it will test the effectiveness of the programs and services related to prevention and care of HIV mother to child transmissions.
PAHO will connect with community nurses and other health officials around the island during the certification project. The last recorded mother to child HIV transmission was in 2006.
WASCO on rainfall Story bySarah Peter
The island’s lone water company, WASCO has announced that due to heavy rainfall over the weekend there has been a significant increase in the level of water at the John Compton Dam located in Roseau.
As of Monday water levels exceeded over 300 feet which means the water is overflowing the spillway. The incessant rainfall ensured the John Compton Dam was replenished erasing fears of looming drought conditions.
Despite the good news WASCO officials are urging consumers to continue conservation measures.
WASCO Senior Distribution Technician, Timothy James is also expressing concern over a siltation issue at the Beausejour and Old Grace intake.
James further expressed unease over similar concerns – a remnant of Hurricane Tomas, he says the company is presently waiting for funding to address.
WASCO has meantime expressed regret over the inconvenience caused by interruptions to water service in some parts of the south of the island.
The island’s water company says they are doing all they can to get water to affected areas as quickly as possible.
Springer on Bristol Story byCarmy Joseph
Winston Springer is remembering his longtime friend John Bristol on the eve of his burial on Wednesday at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.
Bristol died on Sunday April 29th after a long bout of illness. He served in the Saint Lucia Parliament from 1982 to 1987 and as a member of the Castries City Council between 1977 and 1980 where he was both Deputy Mayor and Mayor.
Springer says Bristol will be remembered for his love of country and his role in fostering the political life of noted Saint Lucians through his role with the Jaycees.
Bristol served in that organization with noted politicians including Julian Hunte, Romanus Lansiquot and his brother Hollis Bristol.
Springer remembers a recent conversation where a local lawyer credited the now deceased statesman and patriot for the educational opportunity that led to his success in life.
John Lisle Bristol is a former Castries North East – now Castries North – MP. His official funeral will be preceded by a public viewing at the Parliament from 11 on Wednesday morning where a condolence book will be available. Bristol will be interred at the Gros-Islet cemetery.
Tourist board jazz update Story byLovely St.Aime Joseph
Deputy Director of the Saint Lucia Tourist Board, Tracey Warner Arnold, says plans are progressing smoothly for the staging of the 21st edition of Saint Lucia jazz main stage activities.
She says despite the rain the set up at Pigeon Island – where the event will climax on Sunday May 13th - is at an advanced stage due to early preparations.
The Tourist Board Jazz program will begin at the Gaiety on Wednesday and Thursday.Warner-Arnold says ticket sales have been good especially in comparison to previous years. Additionally - she says the Tourist Board expects a spike in sales in the coming days. On Wednesday - Jazz at the Gaiety will feature Joshua Redman and Ronald “Boo” Hinkson – and on Thursday Luther Francois and Mario Canonge.
The Friday night show at Pigeon Island will be headlined by Jamaican reggae Grammy winner Ziggy Marley and includes the Derek Yarde Project en Kweyol and Gipsy Kings.
Gospel artiste Kirk Franklin will headline the Saturday show that will also feature American pop artiste Keri Hilson and Saint Lucian Alison Marquis Nonet featuring Andy Narell.
The finale show will be headlined by star of stage and screen, Motown legend Diana Ross and Grammy award winning superstar Toni Braxton.
It will also feature Hugh Masekela, Melanie Fiona and The Wespe Pou Ayiti project.
Menell for tea time jazz Story byWinston Springer
Tea Time Jazz will be held on Wednesday and Thursday at La Place Carenage. The annual event will feature performances from The Black Ants Jazz Combo, Kosmik Riddim and Shayne Ross.
Minelle and Friends - a band led by musician, David Elwin will also perform on the opening day of the event.
Elwin is very excited about the band’s upcoming performance, a presentation he says will showcase the diverse skills of Saint Lucia’s reigning Calypso Monarch and her band members.
Minelle is looking forward to the upcoming performance. She is also grateful for the rare occasions like Tea Time Jazz that provide her with the opportunity to showcase her skill in music that is not calypso.
La Place Carenage Manager - Susana Isaac called on St. Lucians to come out in large numbers to support the initiative.
Tea Time Jazz is sponsored by LUCELEC, LIME, Consolidated Foods Limited and M&C Insurance Brokers.
Blue corral jazz Story bySant Justin
The Jazz fever continued on Tuesday in the City Center. Manager of the Blue Coral Mall- Jacinta Lee says the activity was in keeping with Jazz activities for the week.
Lee says organizers wanted to offset the absence of Jazz on the Square – keeping Jazz alive in the City.
Lee says the mall traditionally hosts activities in keeping with the seasons.
Tuesday’s acts included a popular saxophonist and pan player. The Blue Coral Mall is located in the William Peter Boulevard. Further Blue Coral Jazz events will be announced to the public at a later date.
Jazz on the Square has been combined this year with Jazz at the Pier in a Landmark Events dubbed Waterside Jazz.
It will begin on Wednesday afternoon and will feature a number of local and regional acts including Semi Francis, Raw Elements and Denise Plummer.
Carnival workshop Story byCarmy Joseph
Joan Hinkson, Band Leader of St. Lucian Spirit, accepts the new type of Carnival is here to stay. However – she believes it can coexist with the old time Mas.
She says the only way to keep traditional Mas alive is to pass on her knowledge and skills to a younger generation of Carnival creators.
Carnival forms part of the Theatre Arts component of the school’s curriculum, and with CAMDU on board,
the culmination of the course will be a massive schools Carnival to be held on June 8th at the Vigie Sports Complex.
For both teachers and students the workshop proved to be a great learning experience.
The traditional Carnival workshop took place at the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School and was sponsored by 1st National bank.
Opposition on Grynberg
Alva on ambassadors
WASCO on rainfall
Springer on Bristol
Tourist board jazz update
Menell for tea time jazz
Blue corral jazz
Vernon Francois was officially appointed the Police Commissioner of Saint Lucia following multiple acting appointments that began in 2010. The Police Force was said to be stalled on a number of important functions due to the limbo associated with the job of top cop last held by Ausbert Regis. A career police officer – Francois has promised to weed out corruption in the Force, focus on community policing and keep Saint Lucia’s streets safe from crime. While his acting appointment was marked with success – there was also the revocation of the US visa belonging to a senior police officer who has since been sent on vacation and a number of police shootings said to be linked to a Police death squad.
Do you approve of the appointment of Vernon Francois to the post of Police Commissioner?