Rain Forest Adventures strike Story by Sarah Peter htsslucia.org
Employees at Rain Forest Adventures say they have been constantly short paid, lack proper drinking water and work in poor working conditions.
These were some of the reasons that propelled them to take protest action on Thursday. Fortnightly paid workers say their salaries have not been paid in months.
The final straw was being told they would be paid at the end of January.
Managing Director of Spectacle Tours, the company responsible for the payment of workers on behalf of Rain Forest Adventures acknowledged the several problems staff faces on a daily basis.
Popo explains tough economic times were mainly responsible for employees not being paid on time.
Employees were paid on Thursday shortly after they took protest action. The salaries were accompanied by police who escorted the workers off the property.
Employees are now seeking Union representation because they fear dismissal may follow their attempts to stand up for their rights.
Police News Story by Carmy Joseph htsslucia.org
Police officer arrested for stealing
Twenty year old WPC 830 Vana Velia Sonson was on Wednesday 19th December arrested by Officers attached to the Major Crimes Unit for stealing.
The Woman Police Constable is accused of using her colleague’s ATM card to steal her money.
On Thursday 20th December Sonson was charged with 21 counts of stealing between November 10th and December 14th 2012.
She was taken before the First District Court in Castries and bailed in the sum of $8500 dollars.
The matter was adjourned until January 18, 2012. WPC 830 Sonson, an officer with two years experience who was attached to the Special Services Unit has since been suspended from duty.
Update on Faux A Chaud shooting
Thursday 20th December, Trandy Henry AKA “Cripple” and Shervon Alexis AKA “Chunky,” both of Faux A Chaud in Castries appeared before the First District Court in Castries charged with the Attempted Murder of Venus Raymond.
Both individuals have since been remanded to the Bordelais Correctional Facility until Thursday 24th January 2013.
The charges stem from an incident that occurred at Faux A Chaud on Friday 14th December that left Raymond nursing multiple gunshot wounds.
Update on Soufriere boating incident
Tuesday 18th December a post mortem examination performed on Sylvester Prosper AKA Cowboy of Soufriere revealed death from Hemorrhagic Shock secondary to blunt force trauma.
The following day on Wednesday 19th December, Officers attached to the Soufriere Police Station charged 34 year old Switten Smitty Marius of Canaries for causing the death of the 69 year old man.
Marius is scheduled to make a court appearance on Friday 21st December at the Second District Court in Vieux Fort.
Prosper died following a boat collision on the Soufriere Waterfront on Sunday 16th December.
Claudius responds Story by Winston Springer htsslucia.org
Senate President Claudius Francis says the remarks made by the President of the Fire Service Association and the body’s legal counsel about the Commission of Inquiry into the department is startling.
On Thursday the Association expressed dismay over a lack of communication and information on the terms of reference and procedure for the inquiry.
They claim to only have received word of the probe via the media describing the perceived lack of information as disrespectful.
Francis contends the Commission is beholden to its stated terms of reference, not the association.
Francis blasts Felix and the association’s attorney, stating the commission of inquiry owes neither the president nor members of the association advanced notice of the hearing.
He posits eyewitnesses are called before the commission following submissions by interested parties in the inquiry.
However Francis explains the testimony of senior personnel may take precedence since the focus of the probe is the conduct, management and administration of the service.
The legislative official says if deemed necessary, the President of the Association will be called to give evidence before the commission. However the summons is not necessarily mandatory.
The lone Commissioner of the Fire Service inquiry, former Attorney General of Grenada Dr. Francis Alexis QC says the body will begin receiving oral and written submissions from January 4th 2013.
Initially set to begin on Monday, it will run from December 19th 2012 to February 8th 2013. Following the public hearings and the formal inquiry, the commission will return a final report with recommendations and opinions on the way forward for the embattled fire service.
Charles on fire service Story by Lovely St.Aime Joseph htsslucia.org
The controversy between the Fire Service Association and senior Management has taken a toll on the operations of the department.
So says Deputy Fire Chief of the St. Lucia Fire Service, Lambert Charles. He says the ongoing row coupled with issues such as insufficient staff has also contributed to the organizations problems.
Charles has lauded the Commission of Inquiry into the
operations of the service and is hopeful it will provide a resolution to the longstanding industrial relations dispute. The Commission has been established to look into the operations of the St. Lucia Fire Service following a number of complaints from the Association and its members.
Members of the body including the sole commissioner were officially sworn into office on Wednesday.
The Inquiry will run from December 19th to February 18th, 2013.
FRC on land sale Story by Sarah Peter htsslucia.org
The Folk Research Center has written to the Prime Minister expressing concern over the possible sale of land around the FRC.
Chairman, Hillary La Force says as the remaining green space in Castries, it would be a shame to sell it to foreigners.
La Force is hoping the government could acquire the land and turn it into a botanical garden.
La Force believes the potential buyers of the 16 acre land will invariably develop it, destroying several trees and important national plants in the process.
His alarm comes in the light of concerns over global warming and the global community’s aim of a greener economy.
La Force further registered his dismay over the amount of land being sold. He worries if this trend continues; St Lucians will not have the opportunity to own property in their own country.
The Folk Research Center has not received a response from government in relation to its request.
Invest Saint Lucia Story by Lovely St.Aime Joseph htsslucia.org
Invest Saint Lucia has the mandate to become the island’s one stop shop for investment. It’s a tall order for the agency formerly known as the NDC, whose main function used to be the management of non strategic assets.
But CEO of the re-branded agency, Mc Hale Andrew, says there is a clear vision and focus for Invest Saint Lucia.
He says a different approach will be taken to attract investment; one that deviates from the passive investment facilitation process that obtained for a long time.
Andrew says the other two areas of special focus will be the manufacturing sector and other services.
For manufacturing, the aim is to consolidate the successes the country has had particularly in the area of agro processing.
Just as importantly he says there needs to be smart manufacturing. Andrew says attracting investors to the country calls for seamless coordination between the Tourist Board and the Export Development Agency.
He says the ease of doing business must be improved by ensuring processes work efficiently to facilitate investment.
The Invest Saint Lucia CEO has called for all hands to be on deck to create a more investor friendly climate in Saint Lucia.
LIME launches new call centre Story by
Carmy Joseph htsslucia.org
Telecoms giant- Lime has introduced its new regional Call Center to the public. It is being reopened just months after the closure of another center in Sans Souci.
This time around, LIME St. Lucia partnered with a Canadian based company called TELLUS International and KM2 Solutions.
LIME General Manager- Chris Williams says soon after assuming office earlier this year, he vowed to assist in eliminating customer service issues.
The new customer service Call Center is one of the ways he intends to achieve this goal. Carlos Taracena of the Caribbean branch of TELLUS International expressed much excitement over the new partnership.
Through LIME, the company will now oversee three Territories in the region.
Also present at the day’s proceedings was Acting Prime Minister- Phillip J. Pierre and a representative from the Ministry of Information and Technology.
The government of St. Lucia has expressed satisfaction with the initiative expected to provide employment through partnership with an international organization.
Meeting with small food owners Story by Sant Justin htsslucia.org
Owners and managers of small food establishments in and around the City of Castries met with the Ministry of Health on Wednesday.
Senior Environment Health Officer- Ernie Pierre says the meeting is one in a series that focuses on issues normally encountered at these businesses.
Pierre says small food establishments include mobile canteens and snack bars.
The majority of these establishments require upgrades, funding for which Pierre agrees is difficult for them to source.
However, he says without rules and regulations, the health of the public are put at risk. Proprietor of Super Sexy Restaurant and Bar- Clement James says landlords should have also attended the session that provided very valuable information.
The Health Ministry says the small businesses have already been inspected and given recommendations.
They were also given various timelines to implement the recommendations, failure to do so will result in a stiff penalty.
The meeting was held at the new Wellness Center.
Police hamper drive Story by Winston Springer htsslucia.org
Every year the Community Relations Branch of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force teams up with Helen Television System to host its donation of Christmas Hampers to deserving students.
The third annual event which was held on Friday was broadcast live on HTS; fewer than 100 hampers were presented to the families.
WSPC, Ruben of the community relations branch says the annual food hamper program which was launched in 2010 has grown by
leaps and bounds over the past three years with more families receiving assistance. Commissioner of Police Vernon Francois applauded the program which is part of the law enforcement agency’s community outreach.
The top cop called for a greater demonstration of love and apprehension for children and goodwill by citizens of Saint Lucia toward their fellow countrymen.
During the presentation, the audience at the HTS studios on the Morne was entertained by young Calypsonians from the RC Boys School who were backed up the Royal Saint Lucia Police Band.
This year the donations were made to students from education district’s 1 to 4. The program caters to children who reside primarily in the north of the island, however coordinators plan to expand the relief effort to south and secondary schools.
LIME visits Comfort bay Story by Lovely St.Aime Joseph htsslucia.org
The Comfort Bay Senior Citizens Home has been provided with spanking new flat screen televisions and free cable compliments LIME and Courts.
A presentation ceremony was hosted at the institution on Wednesday. LIME’s Head of Marketing, Laurencia Cadet, says the company happily respond to the request from the Laborie MP to assist the Senior Citizen’s Home.
She says it was a way for the company to appreciate citizens who are now in their twilight years.
LIME’s donation includes a television and free cable service. Laborie MP Alva Baptiste commended LIME for the contribution to the home.
He says the donation is made even more significant during the holiday season. Manager of the Comfort Bay Senior Citizen’s Home, Sharmaine Hippolyte, expressed gratitude for the donation which she says will be a great asset to the home.
The senior citizen’s were also treated to a Christmas party on Wednesday.
SLP Christmas party Story by Sant Justin htsslucia.org
Elderly citizens were on the weekend treated to much cheer by members of the St. Lucia Labor Party.
Babonneau MP and Health Minister- Alvina Reynolds says the activity was a celebration of the season with the generations who helped develop the country.
A number of senior citizens attended Sunday’s event. Laurie Levexier was one of those who expressed much delight in the activity.
The activity was held at the Dame Pearlette Louisy Primary School.
RSL fruit cake Story by Jade Brown htsslucia.org
Radio St. Lucia has awarded the winner of its Fruit cake competition. RSL Operations Manager Garfield Alexander expressed the company’s sheer pleasure in hosting the annual contest.
Among the five bakers who entered the preliminary stage of the competition, three were selected for the grand final.
The three contestants who were in high spirits gave their own personal reasons for participating in the contest.
Michaelina Nelson was the overall winner of the competition; she was awarded a 20 inch cooker from Courts.
The second place winner was Janet Anthony who received a hamper from Peter and Company as well as a complimentary massage from Shawn’s Spa.
Third place went to Calixta Emmanuel who also received a hamper from Peter and Company.
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?