News Stories : May 24th 2013
Last Updated Friday, May 24, 2013 9:21 PM

Cops to receive audit report

  Story by
Winston Springer


Minister for Local Government Harold Dalson says the SLP administration will hand over to law enforcement and legal authorities, the report on the “Review of the Financial Operations of Local Government Councils” under the stewardship of the UWP.

During a press conference on Friday, Dalson cited the audit report’s findings of alleged malfeasance at the municipalities.

He declares the incumbent has kept its word to investigate the allege misuse of public funds and the

report’s unprecedented findings warrant further action. Failure to do so, Dalson asserts would be an indictment.

In addition, public servants found wanting could be subject to the scrutiny of the Ministry of the Public Service and the Public Service Commission.

The opposition, which denied wrongdoing, has questioned the objectivity of the authors as well as the veracity of the document, characterizing the probe as an orchestrated effort to discredit the King Government.

However, the Local Government Minister who defended the public officers who conducted the audit argues the evidence is incontrovertible.

Plans for further probes into the Castries constituencies including the city council were made during the press briefing.  Dalson also cautioned that in Gros Islet, Town Council, investigation continues.

Court rules on CCJ question

  Story by
Winston Springer

The OECS Court of appeal has ruled that the government of Saint Lucia does not require a referendum to join the Caribbean Court of Justice.

The government of Saint Lucia and eminent jurists here sought the advice of the courts to determine whether there is an error in the constitution.

The issue arose after the attorney general and other jurists requested clarification from the courts to indicate

whether there are any flaws in certain sections of the constitution and if this would preclude the process of a referendum.

The court has sided with the government’s assertion, the error prevents the abolishment of the Privy Council through referenda.

The decision simple guides the process in a possible bid by Saint Lucia to replace the London based Privy Council with the CCJ as the final appellate court. It should be noted that no such pronouncement has been made.

A referendum is a vote by the people in a democratic process.

CSA signs deal

  Story by
Vanda William

The CSA has finally made it official in writing. The CSA met with the GNT to finalize their position by signing the collective agreement with the government negotiating team.

After months of deliberation: the CSA members at a meeting voted for 000% as the final offer in wage talks.

Chairman of the GNT, Vern Gill expressed his gratitude to all the parties present and hopes with the new triennium, matters can be resolved in a timely and efficient manner. 

President of CSA, Mary Isaac echoed similar sentiments. However, she stated that the CSA has adhered to due process but there is a lot of work to be done. She addressed the issue of productivity in the public service, stating that the issue will be resolved.

Isaac expressed satisfaction with the conditions stipulated in the agreement. The CSA is the latest union to finalize public sector negotiations.

At a press conference, earlier this month, Public service minister Dr James Fletcher announced that to avoid serious anomalies within the service the 4% would be applied to the salaries of all public servants.

HTSNEWSFORCE understands the increase and back pay for the triennium will be awarded next month.
During the press briefing, Fletcher suggested members of the CSA who opt for the pay freeze write to their permanent secretaries and the accountant general requesting that they do not receive the 4% increase.



Fire service association more allegations

  Story by
Sarah Peter

Chairman of the Fire Service Association, Shane Felix is once again leveling allegations of discrimination in the public service.

Felix charges only a select few of fire officers are being considered for promotions and claims it is a clear case of favoritism.

He also alleges there was consensus to put a hold on promotions coming out of the Commission of Inquiry pending implementation of a clear-cut policy.

However, Felix claims the allege action of the Public service contradicts that agreement. Felix is adamant the matter is a deliberate case of discrimination and calls on relevant authorities to intervene.

The Chairman of the Fire Service Association adds the head of the Association’s legal Council wrote to the public service Commission outlining the body’s grievances.


US coast guard supports BTC

  Story by
Sarah Peter


The United States Agency for International Development, (US AID) and the Secretariat of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean (OECS) signed a multi year agreement in October 2011 to support the reform of the juvenile justice system in the region.
As part of the program, the US Coast Guard paid a courtesy visit to youngsters at the Boys Training Center.

The aim is at increasing the chances of transforming youth who have had run-ins with the law into model citizens.

Funded to the tune of 5.8 million dollar, the program assists juveniles in St. Lucia and the rest of the OECS.

Manager of the Boys Training Center, Lenard Terrence expressed gratitude to US Aid for their assistance.
He says more aid is required to support rehabilitation programs.

The Juvenile Justice Reform Program is funded under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, a pact focusing on issues of citizen safety and shared security cooperation between the United States and the Caribbean.

The program underlines capacity building within the juvenile system, modernization of juvenile justice processes focusing on diversion and rehabilitation measures.

Under the program, assistance is also being provided to upgrade the Boys Training Center’s industrial Arts and Agricultural program through improved curricula. In addition, the provision of related equipment valued at approximately US $15,000.


CDB looks to improve credit rating

  Story by
Winston Springer

The Forty-third annual meeting of the Caribbean Development Bank Board of Governors meeting concluded here on Thursday.

During the weeklong gathering governors participated in seminars on debt reduction and sustainability as well as financing tertiary education in the Caribbean.

The discussions at the meeting also entailed international credit ratings and implications for CDB’s strategic direction.

In 2012 Standard & Poor's ratings services downgraded the bank’s credit rating to 'AA' from 'AA+' with a negative outlook. However, the Chairman elect, Governor for Guyana has vowed to address this issue.

President of the CDB, Dr. William Warren Smith says considerable progress was made in strengthening the bank despite a slow down in lending activity. He says this includes the credit rating reforms.

Saint Lucia has benefited tremendously from CDB intervention. The CDB is backing a feasibility study of the island’s new north/south link.


Ease of doing business forum

  Story by
Sarah Peter


President of the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Gerard Bergasse calls for urgent for implementation of policies to help improve the business environment on the island.

He made the disclosure in light of the recently concluded national forum to address major concerns in the business sector.

Bergasse says now is the time for concerted action to help improve the business landscape in the country.

The call comes in light of a drop in the island’s ranking in the World Bank Ease of doing Business Report.
While St. Lucia maintained the top rank for seamlessly doing Business in the region, the island fell two places juxtapose to its previous ranking.

President of the St. Lucia Manufacturer’s Association, Paula Calderon echoes similar concerns.
 However, says some of the issues affecting the manufacturing sector are graver and require greater attention.

In 2007, the island’s Ease of doing Business rank was at 27, five years later it stands at 53 out of 185 countries.

The ease of Doing Business Report is an index created by the World Bank which assesses the business environment of countries.

Higher rankings usually indicate easier, regulations for businesses and stronger protection of property rights.


Another grim outlook

  Story by
Winston Springer

The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forecasting an active or extremely active season this year.

In its 2013 Atlantic hurricane season outlook, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, said 2013 would be prolific in raising storms out of the Atlantic and the Caribbean.  

For the six-month hurricane season, which begins June 1, NOAA’s Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook says there is a 70 per cent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms, with winds of 39 miles per hour (mph) or higher. 

NOAA said seven to 11 of those storms could become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher, including three to six major hurricanes - Category 3, 4 or 5 and  winds of 111 mph or higher.  


Sightings by Robert Lee

  Story by
Vanda William

With the thrust by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Industries to discover talent in the music and art industry in St. Lucia, more St. Lucians are exploring their talent.

Writer, Librarian, John Robert Lee is the author of the latest publication called Sighting and other poems of faith.

The book is a compilation of the author’s earlier work along with new material.

The central theme of the book is faith. John Robert Lee, claims to be an avowed Christian and says much of his work is centered on the Christian Faith.

Lee says the art of writing and publishing is part of contributing to the creative industry of St. Lucia.

The book will be available next week in St. Lucia however there are editions of Sightings and other Poems of Faith available online.


Commerce backs reading month

  Story by
Sant Justin

Officials from the Ministry of Commerce visited the Laborie Girls Primary School on Friday as part of Reading Month activities.

A new publication by the Commerce Department called “the Little Consumer” was the focal point of the trip Information Assistant, Damian Monrose says the booklet was launched on March 15th at their annual Anti-Litter March, to coincide with reading month.

Monrose says the Laborie Girls Primary is the third stop on Reading Month swing through out communities.

Grade Six Teacher, Ms. Edward says the students learnt quite a bit about consumer rights. She says this follows their participation in the Anti-Litter protest in March.

Edward hopes students are able to pass on the information learnt on the topic of Consumer Rights. Reading Month Activities continue at schools around the island.


Ave Maria extols reading month

  Story by
Vanda William

Ave Maria Primary School is hosting a number of activities in celebration of Reading Month.

Of these activities, a Parents Spelling Bee will be held with two parents chosen from each grade level.

In addition, an elocution competition will be held among various houses at the school.

The school will also host a walk in collaboration with Rex Resorts involving students, parents and other stakeholders.

Teachers at the institution will debate the topic, “Should Corporal Punishment be banned in School”. 


  Story by
Sant Justin





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