The New Today

Addressing the US Visa issue!!!

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) campaigned on the Transformational Agenda to cruise to a 9-6 victory against Dr. Keith Mitchell and his New National Party (NNP) administration ten months ago in a general election on the island.

The new rulers have been addressing a number of issues since getting into office such as the campaign promise to start paying millions in outstanding pension payment to public officers, bi-monthly salaries to public officers and to tap into the talents of mainly Grenadians to serve in diplomatic positions abroad.

THE NEW TODAY would like to see the Dickon Mitchell-led government address the plight of Grenadians who have to spend thousands of dollars to travel to Barbados to seek a visa to travel to the United States and are not sure of getting approval.

Grenada holds a “special place” in U.S history as it is the only English-speaking Caribbean island in which a U.S President took the decision to send in the Armed Forces in an “Intervention”, “Invasion” or “rescue mission” to bring about law and order and also regime change.

U.S and Caribbean troops landed on October 25, 1983 to put down a military junta that had seized power six days earlier in a bloody palace coup in which Marxist Prime Minister Maurice Bishop along with three Cabinet Ministers and three businessmen were executed.

Washington took the decision to open an Embassy in Grenada within days of the operation but it never upgraded it to the point of issuing visas for Grenadians to travel to the United States.

The Embassy has also been scaled down from what it was 40 years ago.

Our Transformational leaders should seek to engage Washington on a new approach in issuing visas to Grenadians in order to make it more affordable to citizens.

The new Grenada Ambassador to the United States Tarlie Francis along with others like the Consul General should be prepared to engage in diplomacy at all levels to get the U.S government to send in an official from its Consulate Section in Bridgetown to visit Grenada either fortnightly or monthly to process those locals who are interested in obtaining a visa for travel purposes.

The government can also offer to pay for the visit in order to ease the burden of Grenadians who may be experiencing financial difficulties in raising in excess of EC$2000.00 to purchase an airline ticket to go to Barbados, as well as for accommodation, and ground transportation.

The U.S already has in place a policy in which some persons can use its online facility to apply for the visa and send up their documents via DHL for the visa.

Grenada is not on the U.S list as a country where there is a threat of terrorism and most of our locals who seek visas can easily be profiled if not already profiled.

There are cases in which some Grenadians who pose no threat to U.S National Security are forced to travel to Barbados for an interview session that might last less than 60 seconds and then granted the travel visa.

Our Transformational Leaders including Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell and Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Andall should move in the direction of giving instructions to the relevant ambassadors overseas to lobby Washington on making it more hassle free for Grenadians to be able to apply for visas to travel to the United States.

The People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) of the late Prime Minister Maurice Bishop had led the way in utilizing the Congressional Black Caucus grouping and others to try and influence Washington’s policies towards our small Eastern Caribbean Island.

THE NEW TODAY would like to make some passing comments about the state of affairs in the statutory body known to most locals as Gravel & Concrete.

The information coming out from workers is not good and it appears on the surface that the government needs to put in place a system where some guards have to be appointed to Guard the Guards that should be the Board of Directors.

The workers especially those who are known to be very strong and loyal supporters of Congress have lost confidence in the Sylvester Quarless-led Board that has too many persons that are lacking in business acumen to run a multi-million dollar business.

The apparent removal of the manager after just two months in office is not going to solve the myriad of problems at the state body.

Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell should move swiftly and do something in this state body similar to what he did with the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and replacing the Line Minister Dennis Cornwall and sending him to the Ministry of Finance so that the Congress Leader can begin to deal with the many bottlenecks in order to improve on the rate of implementation of projects.

A new chairman who has experience in running a million dollar business like an Ambrose Phillip or Alan Bierzynski should be brought in as part of the new management that is needed at Gravel & Concrete to instill confidence in the workers and not continue with those party hacks who lack the capacity and capability to perform at that level.

The new drivers that have formed themselves as the Board of Directors have not been able to make any meaningful difference in the corporation and morale is extremely very low among the workers.

It is unfortunate that in the immediate aftermath of the election, there was a rush by some party members to land influential positions on boards even though these persons were not suitable to take charge of these enterprises.

It is one thing to place a party member on a Board as reward for support over the years but it is completely different when a party member is given a job as the Chairman and he is not equipped to carry out the functions.

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