News Stories
January 05th 2011
Last Updated Thursday, January 5, 2012 7:34 PM
 

 

-Throne speech
Story by Lovely St.Aime Joseph

 
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The opening of the first session of the tenth parliament was held on Thursday January 5th 2011. Governor General Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy, delivered the throne speech in the House of Assembly – outlining the plans and priorities of the government.

Plans for employment generation, rebuilding and restructuring and legislative amendments were announced

 

in the first throne speech delivered during the new tenure of the Dr Anthony administration. Governor General Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy described the programs outlined in the Throne Speech as modest but challenging. Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony had previously indicated that a ‘modest’ throne speech was to be delivered by the Governor General due to the looming budget presentation in April. HE Dame Pearlette Louisy articulated the National Priorities of the government – chief among these being Job Creation.

The plans and policies were in keeping with earlier pronouncements made by Dr Anthony in his policy statements ahead of General Elections. Other priorities include restoration and reconstruction of the island’s battered infrastructure with attention to the displaced residents of Fond St. Jacques Soufriere. Another top priority is the survival of the Banana Industry plagued by Black Sigatoka.

Her Excellency says the legislative agenda of the government will be driven by the core issues and priorities of the government – including economic growth in challenging times. Legislation will be amended to transform the NDC into an investment promotion corporation and to the Income Tax Act to allow the private sector some breathing space.

There are also plans to re-design the operations of foreign missions so they too can play a significant role in international trade facilitation and investment promotion. The issue of Housing the Governor General says is also high on government’s agenda. The Governor Generals throne speech also outlined the government’s plans to reshape Saint Lucia’s political architecture – including giving due respect and recognition to the crucial role of the opposition.

The announcement of the construction of a memorial on the site of the tragic Morne Sion bus accident was also announced in the Throne Speech as well as the establishment of a National Heroes Commission and Constituency Councils headed by mayors.


   




 

Speaker and deputy appointed
Story by Winston Springer

 

The first order business at the opening of parliament was the election of a Speaker of the House of Assembly.
As previously reported by HTS News preeminent attorney, Peter Foster was sworn into office as Speaker vowing to perfect the standing orders and uphold the honor and dignity of the house. Foster says while he expects spirited and vigorous debate, all members will be afforded the mutual respect necessary to carry out their respective duties

 

.The New speaker who paid tribute to his father Kenneth Foster QC who was a member of the house from 1974-1982 pledges to perform his duties to the best of his abilities: fairly, effectively and efficiently. Anse La Raye/Canaries MP, Dr Desmond Long was elected the Deputy Speaker of the House. The medical doctor who was viewed by his supporters as a prospective Minister of Health says the appointment was a foregone conclusion. Dr. Long says he is ready for the challenge of serving in the position most recently held by Marcus Nicholas.

Former Prime Minister of Saint Lucia and the current Castries North MP Stephenson King was also appointed Leader of the Opposition during the Parliamentary session. Elected Parliamentarians also took the oath of .allegiance as required by the constitution to take their seats in the House of Assembly.
One parliamentarian was conspicuously absent during Thursday’s session. However, a written apology was received by the house from the Castries South East MP Guy Joseph who is reportedly out of state.

 

 


   




 

Senate appointments
Story by Winston Springer

 
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Claudius Francis is the new President of the Senate.
The electoral commissioner and President of the Insurance Council was sworn into office on Thursday at the opening of the parliamentary session paying tribute to his family and asking for Divine guidance.
Apart from the selection of the President of the Senate the identities of the individuals who will serve in the upper house of

 

parliament were finally revealed to the general public. Soon after taking the oath of the office, the new President of the Senate Claudius Francis expressed gratitude for his selection and laid the ground rules for his tenure. Well known hotelier Berthia Parle not only assumed a role as an independent senator but was also elected deputy president of the upper house.
Parle who has vast experience in tourism says she is excited and overwhelmed with emotion.

The other independent Senator is outspoken former Chief Medical Officer and RISE co-founder Dr. Stephen King. A champion of youth education, healthcare and constitutional reform – Dr King - promises to maintain free thought in helping to fashion policy and legislation.

Victor Phillip La Cobiniere who has served in the Senate before as Attorney General is settling into the job of Leader of Government Business. While experienced campaigners like La Cobiniere fine tune preparations new comers like Vieux Fort Business woman and Senator Debra Cynthia Tobiere are acclimatizing to public office.

Former Gros Islet MP and Minister for Social Transformation, Youth and Sports Lenard Montoute joins ex Agriculture Minister Ezechiel Joseph as two of the opposition senators selected so far with an appointment still pending. Government Senators, Public Service Minister, Dr. James Fletcher, Parliamentary Secretary in the Commerce Ministry Dr. Ubaldus Raymond and Housing Minister Stanley Felix also joined their Senate Colleagues in taking the oath of allegiance on Thursday.

 


   




 

-King on new role
Story by
Sarah Peter

 

.Tactful, strategic and effective,” is how Opposition Leader, Stephenson King has described his future term in Parliament. The Leader of the main opposition UWP made the disclosure following the first sitting of Parliament on Thursday in the House of Assembly. UWP Deputy Leaders Lenard Montoute and Eziechiel Joseph were on Thursday also appointed to their new posts of Senators in the Upper House.  

 

King says he is determined to forge a different path to the Opposition he faced while in government, one he called opposing for opposing sake. King also gave an assessment of what he says are his formidable opposition members. His team includes Castries Central MP Richard Frederick and Micoud South MP Arsene James who have both served in the House before. The UWP will also be represented by newcomer and Micoud North MP Dr Gale Rigobert.

The other members of the UWP Opposition are Castries South East MP Guy Joseph and Dennery South MP Edmund Estephane. The UWP is currently challenging the results in three constituencies namely Gros-Islet, Babonneau and Choiseul


   




 

-Francois on week-end incidents
Story by
Sant Justin

 

The New Year began with blood shed that left three people dead in two separate shooting incidents. The individuals killed frequented known hot spots in Castries – and were known to Police. While the murders grabbed headlines, a number of other shootings have occurred in recent days including a drive by shooting on Wednesday evening in La Croix Maingot that left one man nursing injuries to his arm. Acting Police Commissioner- Vernon Francois says law

 

enforcement has not been lackadaisical and is pursuing the matters.While he agrees there will always be the perception that criminality is out of control- Francois assures the public headway is being made on the recent shootings. Francois says the police force remains in high operational mode determined to curb crime despite the recent stretch of resources.

Francois says Police have detained a few individuals and are in pursuit of a number of others in relation to the recent shootings. The Acting Police Commissioner also categorically denied police officers were involved in any of the weekend’s shootings.



   




 

-La Corbiniere on crime
Story by Sarah Peter

 

Minister of Home Affairs and National Security, Victor Phillip La Corbiniere has expressed concern over the problem of drug gangs in the country. The disclosure comes in the wake of three homicides at the start of the New Year. La Corbiniere says his government will soon be in dialogue with the Police department in order to implement vigorous measures to fight the staggering crime problem in the country.

 

La Corbiniere added that both short and long term initiatives will be implemented to help tackle crime. 
One of the measures includes increasing police presence in communities around the island.

La Corbiniere added Operation Restore Confidence, which received severe criticism from some members of the public because of what some said was its overly aggressive strategy, is fully supported by his government.  

In the initial stages of the Operation which launched last year – police officers killed 11 people who were known to Police and suspected of committing several crimes.

   



 

Aids testing in schools
Story by Sarah Peter

 
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Health Officials have expressed reservations about suggestions to introduce HIV/Aids testing in secondary schools on the island. The move has been proposed as a means to help fight the HIV/Aids epidemic and help remove stigma surrounding the disease. Nevertheless, officials expressed concern that an implementation of such an initiative would create more harm than good. Minister of Education, Robert

 

Lewis for his part says that while he is not averse to the idea, he believes parents may not be forthcoming towards the idea. Suggestions to provide HIV/AIDS testing in secondary schools around the island have been met with skepticism by Health officials. Proponents of the idea believe it would fight stigma attached to the disease while also preventing HIV infections in young people.   Director of the National AIDS Program, Nahum Jn Baptiste says while he would support activities like school fairs educating people about the disease, schools are not the place for testing of HIV.

Jn Baptiste added that such an initiative will create more problems, including breeding and not eradicating stigma and discrimination. Minister of Education, Dr Robert Lewis – meanwhile - says while he is not necessarily opposed to the idea he believes parents may oppose it.  

Former Chief Medical Officer and newly appointed independent Senator, Dr. Stephen King says what is needed is teaching awareness to young people about the disease. AIDS education for young people plays a vital role in global efforts to fight the dreaded disease.

 


   



 

-Ministry of Vermont projects
Story by Sarah Peter

 
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A team from the University of Vermont is here on the island to work on a variety of community development projects. The projects include education and community development initiatives aimed at enhancing community enrichment in St. Lucia.

Some of the projects include an HIV/Aids education program, a self defense training workshop and a community Kitchen Garden project.

 

A group of students and professors from the University of Vermont is in St. Lucia to undertake a number of community development projects.  One of the main programs on the agenda is a Community Kitchen Garden Project aimed at enhancing nutritional education in schools. The team is hoping the initiative will be implemented not just in educational institutions but in the wider community as well.

Another project includes teaching students about HIV/AIDS through soccer. Women’s safety and self defense training program is another project the team is spearheading.   The initiative is expected to play a great role in curbing violence against women while also contributing to a reduction in crime.
 
The projects are being undertaken in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce. The team which conducts similar initiatives in Brazil, Hondurus and Costa Rica has been working on several other community development projects on the island for the last seven years.

 

 



 

-NWU expresses solidarity
Story by Carmy Joseph

  The National Workers Union has expressed support and solidarity with the Grenada Technical and Allied Workers Union in its protracted struggle with Grenada Breweries Limited. The two sides have been locked in an industrial dispute since December 2011. While a meeting between the Grenada Prime Minister and all parties ended with an agreement that allowed workers to return to work – the situation is far from resolved.
 

In a letter dated January 4th and copied to the President of the Caribbean Congress of Labour – NWU Secretary General George Goddard Jr called the action of Grenada Breweries Ltd one aimed at “frustrating the workers and TAWU.” The NWU also condemned what it says was “the abuse of certain organs of the state.”

The Saint Lucian Union called on the Grenada Brewers Limited to abide by the outcome of the mediation process and to desist from the use of scab labour which they say can “only be prejudicial to the orderly conduct of industrial relations in Grenada.” The NWU General Secretary also implored the Ministry of Labour to move with due haste to bring the situation back to normal.




 

-ECCO talks disbursement
Story by Sant Justin

 

The Eastern Caribbean Collective Organization has sought to address a recent silent dispute over recent payouts.

The payment of songwriters from carnival payouts raised eyebrows as some members who received more face time than others received less.

The ECCO General Manager explained the organization was a representation of songwriters and not performers.

 

The recent payouts to ECCO members who performed during Carnival 2011 events stirred up its fair share of controversy. Several artistes expressed dissatisfaction with payments in comparison to the appearances they made. ECCO General Manager- Steve Etienne took the opportunity on Thursday to clear the air on who is actually represented by ECCO. Etienne says the Eastern Caribbean Collective Organization represents songwriters, not artistes who unless they perform are not paid when their songs are performed or played. He says through licensed ECCO events the organization collects monies which are used as payments.

Etienne says there are also other conditions which would determine how much a songwriter would be paid from the designated payouts. The administrative cost of ECCO is another aspect which was being queried by members. Etienne says half of all what the organization collects goes towards administrative costs.
He says additional costs would be determined based on what ECCO has to do to ensure collection.

Etienne agrees administrative costs are two high and would like to see more money go towards the artistes.



 

-Island secrets
Story by Lovely St.Aime Joseph

  St. Lucia's only Soap Opera, Island Secrets, is back for a second season as of Thursday January 5th.  
The show which began in November 2010 on Helen Television System garnered much local interest and created a very active online following. The director and producer of the TV series, Jose St. Clair promises the fans even more drama and action in this, the second season.
 

Kendal John is the cinematographer with the Island Secrets show. He says the response to the show has been overwhelming particularly among the younger demographic. The talent of the actors and actresses on the show he says is testament to the tremendous potential of the creative industries.

Island Secrets premiers this Thursday at 8:15pm only on HTS. The show is slated to air every Thursday at 8:15pm with a repeat every Sunday at the same time.




  Headlines
  Throne speech
  Speaker and deputy appointed
  Senate appointments
  King on new role
  Francois on week-end incidents
  La Corbiniere on crime
  Aids testing in schools
  Ministry of Vermont projects
  NWU expresses solidarity
  ECCO talks disbursement
  Island secrets
   

The National AIDS Program Secretariat was a World Bank funded project that lasted for five years. During its existence the number of AIDS related deaths in the country dwindled from 22 when it was established in 2005 to five in 2010. Since its dissolution in October 2010, the number of deaths increased to 11 in 2011. The Secretariat was headed by Nahum Jn Baptiste – the current head of the National AIDS Program in the Ministry of Health. He has called for an investment in the expertise employed at the Secretariat as a way to stem the number of people who will lose their life to AIDS.

do you agree with Nahum Jn Baptiste that the National AIDS Program Secretariat should be reinstated in some form?

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