Satney on food and Sigatoka Story byLovely St.Aime Joseph
Drought conditions in the US means the price of grains, cereals and corn is not expected to decrease any time since demand far outweighs supply.
But that’s not the only effect which Saint Lucians will notice locally. Program Coordinator of the Black Sigatoka Emergency and Stabilization Project and former PS in the Ministry of Agriculture, Martin Satney, says food production will also be affected.
Saint Lucian livestock farmers he says depend on grains, wheat and other by products for their livestock farms.
However he views with optimism the decision by US President Barrack Obama to invest over 30 million dollars in aid to farmers.
He says Saint Lucia must also view the current situation as an opportunity to invest in the agricultural sector.
Satney says the Black Sigatoka Emergency and Stabilization Project has made significant gains in stabilizing the banana industry, managing the leaf spot disease and boosting banana exports.
He says the onus is now on government to consolidate the gains of this intervention by implementing medium to long term plans within the agricultural ministry.
His general focus is on banana and food production. Satney says the current global food situation may be a blessing in disguise; allowing the country to refocus and re strategize to see, at least for the next three years, some significant emphasis on agriculture.
In terms of banana production the ministry is presently at its best level of disease control in about 13 months.
That Satney says augers well for overall food production. The Black Sigatoka Emergency and Stabilization Project was a six month program implemented by the government in response to the Black Sigatoka virus
A more efficient public service Story byCarmy Joseph
Heads of Departments, Permanent Secretaries and Deputy Permanent Secretaries met on Monday with the consultant of the Draft Public Service Management Act.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Public Service Phillip Dalsou says the new legislation is designed to review and refine the draft.
The new Bill was mentioned by Governor-General Dame Pearlette Louisy during her Throne Speech in April. Dalsou says it is aimed at ensuring a more efficient public service.
Civil servants come under heavy criticism from the public not just in Saint Lucia. They are often criticized for not performing their duties to the detriment of the country and government they serve.
Dalsou says the Public Service Management Act will ensure the Staff Orders which took effect in the 1980’s are an effective management tool for these workers.
The Act will not empower senior Ministry personnel to terminate, employ or discipline civil servants.
That will remain the purview of the Public Service Commission.
The conference was held at the Auberge Seraphine Hotel. Dalsou says following Monday’s consultation – additional meetings with other stakeholders will be held before the finalized Public Service Management Act is presented to Cabinet.
House meeting Story byCarmy Joseph
The House of Assembly will meet Tuesday morning at 10AM.A number of Bills are down for first reading with amendments to be considered for the International Business Companies, the Land and House Tax and Financial Services Regulatory Authority among others.
Finance Minister, Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony will also seek authorization to raise $250,000,000 to finance his 2012/2013 Budget.
Members will also discuss the amendments made to the VAT Bill during the last Senate session; in fact the Government Press Secretary says it is the first matter that will be considered under Matters Arising from the Senate.
Papers are also expected to be laid by Commerce Minister Emma Hippolyte, Tourism Minister Lorne Theophilus, Education Minister Dr Robert Lewis and Agriculture Minister Moses Jn Baptiste.
The House Meeting will be live on RSL as well as NTN and on stluciagov.lc
Week-end rain incidents Story byLovely St.Aime Joseph
While NEMO and the Met Office warn Saint Lucians not to become complacent about this hurricane season, Mother Nature continues to show it does not take a hurricane to do damage.
This past weekend residents in two communities had the misfortune of having weather related incidents incite panic in their areas.
In Monkey Town Ciceron one mother fled her home in the middle of the night after heavy showers, soil saturation and windy conditions caused a tree to crash into her house blocking access to the structure in the process.
She is now calling for assistance to get her family, which includes her two sons back into their home and their own bed.
Meanwhile residents are blaming a lightning strike for a house fire at Sunny Acres on Saturday afternoon.
Neighbors claim they witnessed flashes of light amid heavy rain near the residence before the flames of fire were ignited.
Sub officer, Elvin St. Juste says the fire department received an emergency call of the residential fire at approximately 1:24 pm Saturday.
First responders proceeded to the scene with two fire appliances and one ambulance.
There were no reports of causalities as the home was reportedly unoccupied at the time of the incident.
Firefighters managed to confine the flames to one room which was consumed and gutted by the blaze.
NEMO on week-end rain Story byCarmy Joseph
NEMO Director Dawn French says heavy rain this past week-end, particularly Saturday provided a good test for an early warning flood system installed in the Corinth river.
The system is a joint undertaking with the Japanese government and CDEMA. French says the system worked as it was designed to in providing alerts about rising water levels.
She has also reported no major report was made to NEMO following the tropical depression that fizzled into a wave on Saturday. This past week-end was the second consecutive time Saint Lucia was placed on tropical storm watch.
In both instances the watch was discontinued without major impact to the country. French says these lucky escapes are not an excuse for complacency.
The NOAA Climate Prediction Centre recently updated its forecast for this Atlantic Hurricane Season stating there would be 12 to 17 named storms, 5 to 8 of them hurricanes.
It raised the numbers partly because of the number of storms we have already seen this year namely tropical storms Alberto, Beryl, Debbie and Florence, and hurricanes Chris and Ernesto.
The Climate Prediction Center is increasing the number of expected storms due to wind patterns and warmer than average ocean temperatures.
NEMO trains in radio Story byCarmy Joseph
The telecommunications training workshop follows the response to Hurricane Tomas. NEMO Training Officer – Andrew George –says district disaster committees requested instruction in the use of radios following an almost complete communication shut down in the aftermath of the 2010 hurricane.
He says participants are volunteers from established committees across the island.
They will be taught how to use radios to ensure they never lose contact with the NEMO head office located in Bisee. NEMO will also provide each disaster committee with the equipment it needs to ensure radio communication is always open.
George says the organization is also hoping the participants will move on to the novice class exam to become certified radio operators. He says the country is in urgent need of such expertise.
The workshop was held at the NEMO head office – it is funded by the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance from USAID.
NEMO also invited partners such as the Saint Lucia Cadet Corps to take advantage of the training.
Labour commissioner on LUCELEC Story byCarmy Joseph
The wage negotiations between power company LUCELEC and the Civil Service Association is now in the hands of Labour Minister Dr Robert Lewis.
Deputy Labour Commissioner Ray Narcisse says this is the next step in a longstanding impasse his office was not able to resolve.
The decision to seek mediation through the Minister came after a failed meeting between the company, the Union and the Labour Department.
LUCELEC is offering a 6.5% wage increase over the triennium 2011 to 2013 which the Union deems “unconscionable and a provocation of discontent and trust.”
The CSA wants a 16.5% increase it says is based on guaranteed profits after tax made by the Company, dividends paid to shareholders and the implication for increased cost of living from VAT.
Deputy Labour Commissioner Ray Narcisse says the two parties last met on August 7th.
Meeting with the Minister is the last step in the negotiation process. Narcisse says while the situation seems dire – there is still the very real possibility all will be resolved.
There’s been no word on when Labour Minister Dr Robert Lewis will meet with both parties. LUCELEC and the CSA have been deadlocked in discussion on this matter for over one year.
Community policing course Story byLovely St.Aime Joseph
Research shows community policing yields significant benefits. Police officers become integrated into the neighborhoods they serve and join forces with residents to tackle crime and create a safer neighborhood.
The concept of community policing involves teamwork and commitment with each party taking responsibility for the neighborhood.
Police Commissioner Vernon Francois says the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force has long paid lip service to community oriented policing without taking steps to make it a serious and sustainable effort.
He touted the new training program as a new day in the force where members can look to other avenues beside what he calls forceful policing.
Course Coordinator, John Quail of the Springboard Training and Development Center, says attention and care was paid to tailoring the course to the specific needs of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force.
A cadre of police officers will be trained to then in turn train the entire police force including top ranking officers and new recruits.
The “Train the Trainers Community Policing Programme,” commenced on Monday 13th August and will continue until Tuesday 21st August.
The training course is being held at the Police Training Academy located in La Toc.
LUSAC meeting Story byLovely St.Aime Joseph
The St. Lucia Students’ Association at Cave Hill (LUSAC) is a registered organization which seeks to implement activities that will advance the development of St. Lucian students at The UWI campus in Barbados.
In keeping with its mandate, LUSAC has organized a meet and greet orientation exercise for students who will be attending the Cave Hill Campus for the first time next semester. The event will be held on the18th of August at the UWI Open Campus.
Vice President, Alberta Richelieu, says the event will prepare students for university life. Richelieu says the association intends to introduce students to the university experience. The aim is to better prepare them to take advantage of the opportunities available at the university.
The association is a fully functioning body headed by President Kendall Elva. A former CARICOM Youth Ambassador and teacher – Elva heads the body that consists of seven other members.
Open day Story bySant Justin
Satney on food and sigatoka
A more efficient public service
Week-end rain incidents
NEMO on week-end rain
NEMO trains in radio
Labour commissioner on LUCELEC
Community policing course
Cake sale for religion
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?