LUCELEC workers threaten strike Story by Sant Justin htsslucia.org
Negotiations between the bargaining unit for LUCELEC’s Grade one workers and the company continued with a notice of intended industrial action to the Minister of Labor.
General Secretary, David Demacque says salary negotiations have been ongoing for over a year now with the islands lone power company playing hardball on increases.
Demacque says after much back and fourth in the media, their most recent talks came to a halt at the Labor Department.
Demacque says after much deliberation, the union persuaded their members to agree on the 10% increase proposed by the Minister of Labor as a substitute for the original 16.5% demand.
However this was not enough for the power company which provided a review of the previous proposal at Tuesday’s meeting which offered an 8.5% wage increase.
Human Resource Manager, Nichole Du Boulay says the notice of industrial action is dated January 31st, and was delivered at Tuesday’s meeting.
According to the newly implemented Labor Code, the Department of Labor is now obligated to engage in further negotiations between the two parties within the next two weeks.
Failure to conclude negotiations would to lead arbitration. The CSA General Secretary claims the power company’s stall tactics are deliberate.
The Civil Service Association says it would have been ideal to conclude negotiations at an early stage, instead of the log haul process.
The CSA says through a fair tribunal process, they are confident the final decision will go in favor of the union and its members.
Fire service inquiry Story by WInston Springer htsslucia.org
The probe will cover the conduct of senior fire service personnel and the laws relating the service.
Working Relations between senior management and the fire service association which represents the issues of fire fighters has been strained for over a year.
The association which has leveled serious allegations against the head of the fire department also lodged a litany of grievances in past requesting the authorities launch an enquiry.
Although President of the body, Shane Felix welcomes this development he still has lingering concerns.
The Public is invited to make submissions to the Commissioner of Inquiry in writing and or orally.
Individuals interested in appearing before the Commission to give oral evidence are kindly asked to contact the Secretary in Person or by letter or email or telephone 468-3959.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs the terms of reference of the Commission of Inquiry has been settled by Cabinet Conclusion NO.611 of the October 8th 2012.
However Felix says it is important that the authorities elaborate with greater specificity on the terms of reference.
There has been no love lost between the Fire Service Association and the hierarchy of the department.
They have been locked in a long running back and forth which has played out in the public for months.
Recently the Fire Chief has taken legal action against representatives of the body and local media stations over the broadcast of news items chronicling the impasse.
The sittings of the Commission which will be held at the Parliament Building will take place on Monday 17th December 2012, Tuesday 18th December 2012, 19th Wednesday December 2012.
Police News Story by Sant Justin/Voiced Andrew Mondesir htsslucia.org
Man charged for murder
On Monday 10th December 2012, 28-year- old Taril Henry of New Dock Road, Vieux Fort was charged for the murder of 54 year old George Alfred of Hospital Road, Vieux Fort.
He was also charged for causing Grievous Bodily Harm to 36-year-old Shervon George of Pierrot, Vieux Fort.
According to Police Henry was taken before the Second District Court in Vieux Fort on Tuesday 11th December 2012.
He was remanded in custody at the Bordelais Correctional Facility until February 12, 2013. The alleged homicide transpired at Vieux Fort Fisheries Complex on Sunday 2 December 2012 at 5:45am.
According to Vieux Fort Police 54 year old George Alfred of Hospital Road, Vieux Fort and 36 year old Shervon George of Pierrot, Vieux Fort were attacked by a male individual wielding a metal object.
George Alfred was pronounced dead on arrival at St. Jude’s Hospital and Shervon George was treated and admitted in a critical condition.
Drug bust in Soufriere
On Saturday 8 December 2012, Officers attached to the Soufriere Police station whilst acting on information, carried out a search in an open area at Palmiste, Soufriere.
During that search the Officers recovered a 9mm pistol. No one was arrested in relation to this incident.
On Sunday 9 December 2012, the Officers conducted an eradication exercise at Fond St. Jacques, Soufriere.
A total of Sixteen Thousand (16,000) fully grown Marijuana plants were destroyed. No one was arrested in relation to this incident.
Construction stimulus concerns Story by Lovely St.Aime Joseph htsslucia.org
Much has been said about the intended benefits of the Construction Stimulus Package and the potential of the construction industry to drive the economy.
But how much of an impact is the construction stimulus package having beyond the ordinary consumer buying a few bags of cement at cheaper rate?
Managing Director of Wilrock Limited, Urban Wilson says the Construction Stimulus Package is having little impact on business and has so far not achieved the desired impact on the economy.
Wilson believes there must be a targeted approach to getting the Construction sector to have the sort of impact to meet the government’s objective to stimulate economic activity.
He says sales are now up but due mostly to government projects for building sidewalks and drains.
Wilson says depending on the ordinary citizen to spur a Construction boom is a faulty premise.
All hope is not lost. The business man says there is still sufficient time for a turn around in the 18 month Construction Stimulus Package to make it more effective.
Crest lands bride contract Story by Carmy Joseph htsslucia.org
The Ministry of Infrastructure has signed the contracts heralding the start of construction of a new bridge in Cress lands Soufriere.
The bridge was washed away by hurricane Tomas making the roadway virtually impassable and the area vulnerable to landslides.
Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure Philip Pierre says the contract was awarded to the local firm construction and industrial equipment.
He says this done through a transparent tendering process after the company satisfied all requirements of the World Bank which is funding the project.
The Acting prime minister says the government of Saint Lucia will expect nothing less than value for money amid these fiscally difficulty times.
During the period of construction employment will be generated for many citizens. Soufriere/Fond St. Jacques mp Harold Dalson says the corporation and support of residents is vital to the successful execution of the project.
The ceremony was held on Tuesday December 11th. The construction of the new cress lands bridge is estimated at ec$3 million.
Lenard montoute questions NICE Story by Winston Springer htsslucia.org
Former Social Transformation Minister Lenard Montoute says the SLP’s jobs scheme, the National Initiative to Create Employment (NICE) should be the subject of serious scrutiny.
The ex-Gros Islet MP was addressing a press briefing held by the Opposition United Workers Party at which many speakers criticized the SLP government’s first year in office.
He says while the NICE program may be well intentioned there are many unanswered questions surrounding its funding and administration.
The former Minister for the Public Service alleges the present administration has appointed a number of political insiders to public positions without going through the public service.
He claims they are not abiding by the rules and regulations of the public service commission. Montoute wants more disclosure on the alleged targeted assistance provided by NICE and the pay scale for individuals employed under the program.
He claims the SLP is borrowing money to finance social programs, a policy shift from the strategy used by the UWP government to which allocated local revenue and grants for such initiatives.
Montoute argues the Stephenson King regime utilized state agencies to deliver social programs and did not create new entities with bloated with administrative structures
Meschah wants more local acts Story by
Lovely St.Aime Joseph htsslucia.org
Meshach Nestor has performed with some of the biggest names in Reggae music. He is also an acclaimed reggae artiste and performer.
The Choiseul native says if there really is a serious effort to develop the local music industry then certain things should simply not be slipping through the cracks.
He says it’s unacceptable that an annual show hosted by a local radio station shuns Saint Lucian artistes.
Regional dancehall and reggae acts were brought in to headline the three day event. Meshach says it’s disenchanting that no local artiste has been featured on the show.
Meshach says many Saint Lucian acts are producing work of an international standard. He says these local artistes are more than capable of holding their own alongside the best of regional performers.
But just as importantly he says up and coming acts would gain much needed exposure and experience from being included in big showcases.
Meshach says opportunities for Saint Lucian performers to be showcased should always be on the radar of the tourism and creative industries ministry.
Moving forward, he says it is high time Saint Lucia hosts a major music festival to highlight its artistes.
Hot FM responds Story by Lovely St.Aime Joseph htsslucia.org
HTS News reached out to the management of Hot FM communications – organizers of the annual LoveFest show - for a statement.
We were referred to the company’s Thank you Press Statement. In the Press Release the producers of the annual Lovefest concert series extended thanks to the public for making the event a resounding success adding that the show was perhaps the biggest
entertainment event ever held in Saint Lucia – attracting thousands of patrons and rivaling Saint Lucia Jazz. The statement goes on to say that Hot FM Communications is pleased that Lovefest 2012 contributed to stimulating significant economic activity in Saint Lucia during the period December 7 – 9, 2012 by attracting many regional patrons. We were informed that on the night the show featured some local performers.
We received no comment about criticism that the event does not feature or highlight any local acts in its promotional activities or ads or feature a local headliner on any of its three nights of shows.
Delcer turns 50 Story by Lovely St.Aime Joseph htsslucia.org
The Delcer RC Combined School was established in October 1962, the school has put in place a number of activities to commemorate its 50th anniversary.
School Principal, Pauline Antoine-Prospere, says the institution is very excited about the celebrations for its Golden Jubilee and is reaching out to the community, parents and past and present students of the school to come celebrate the great achievement of 50 years of educating young minds.
Teacher, Helena Athil, is the longest serving teacher at the school with over 30 yrs of dedicated service to the school. Reflecting on the achievements and legacy of the school she says Delcer has done well and has developed many productive citizens.
The Principal says through its activities the school hopes to foster a sense of pride in present and past students and inspire students and staff to reach for new heights so as to continue to build on the school’s legacy. She says activities for the schools’ golden jubilee will continue through to October 2013.
History of St. Lucia film Story by Winston Springer htsslucia.org
As part pf National Day observances, The Independent Film Company Inc., producers of “Untold Stories” will host the first of a two-part epic documentary entitled, “The History of Saint Lucia”.
Film maker and Producer, Dale Eliot says the documentary chronicles the island’s geological evolution and uncovers the real story of its discovery.
He says the first part of the documentary traces the arrival of the first inhabitants of the island and the subsequent entry of the Europeans.
The film is based on the book entitled “A History of Saint Lucia” written by Jolien Harmsen, Guy Ellis and Robert Devaux.
Part II of the film will trace the events which have shaped the nation for the last one 100 years from 1913 to 2013.
Eliot says the documentary also takes a critical look at contemporary politics and the advent of the Valued Added Tax system.
The Independent Film Company Inc. is encouraging all Saint Lucians to view the documentary. The final showing is scheduled on National Day December 13th at 7pm at Caribbean Cinemas for one showing only at 7pm.
The Trade Union Federation, a body comprising public sector unions like the Police Welfare Association, Civil Service Association and Saint Lucia Teachers Union began wage negotiations with the Government Negotiating team on Wednesday. The talks are part of negotiations for the triennium 2010 to 2013.
It comes days after the TUF wrote a letter to the Prime Minister seeking his intercession on negotiations they say was being stalled by the Government Negotiating team. While most parts of the agreement, had been ironed out, it was the wage talks they were most insistent had to begin and end before December. Civil servants have not stated the percentage wage increase they are pursuing – however government has indicated this is not the best financial time to increase salaries. This as the main Opposition contends the government wants to give workers a 3% increase over the next three years; a charge the government has denied.
Do you think a wage increase for civil servants is justified at this time?