ST GEORGE’S, Grenada -- Parliamentary backbencher and former minister Peter David has called for broad-based national discussions on Grenada’s economic policies and future direction.
“I think there needs to be some kind of national discussion about the way forward; not just a partisan, tribal discussion of one party over another,” David said.
“I would like to see a national discussion where all parties and other stakeholders, including civic groups, get involved so that we can find not just some short-term infusion of funds, but some new direction for this country, so that we can have a permanent solution to what I believe are serious economic problems.”
David, MP for the Town of St George, also said that he understands the disappointment of parents who are receiving their August salaries late from government.
He expressed empathy for the parents, many of whom are sending their children back to school this week after the holidays.
“We know what parents have been facing. There is high unemployment in the country,” said David. “Some people say 30 percent; some people say 40 percent; some people say even more. It means that every household has less persons working and it means a burden on the persons who are actually employed.”
To have public servants paid late, David added, is “a sad day when that happens. I want to express my own empathy with the circumstances of these public workers.”
David has announced that he soon will be holding a public meeting for constituents.
The MP promised to continue assisting wherever possible, and has urged people to persevere.
“Last week in my constituency, I gave some vouchers to persons going back to school and distributed some school bags and exercise books. I want to thank the members of the Town of St George Diaspora Committee in New York for their assistance with this back-to-school venture,” David said.
“It was quite unfortunate that we didn’t have the regular pre-opening of school de-bushing program that provides an income for many. I know it’s difficult for people but I urge them to hang in there. Don’t lose hope and remain committed to Grenada. Hopefully, we can find a solution to all these problems.”
David, who served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, resigned from government on April 30.
He believes things would not have been so fiscally difficult for the government had the four-year-old administration pursued what he describes as a more “nationalistic and pragmatic” economic and foreign policy.
“I have always argued, when I was foreign minister, that we’re supposed to be following a more nationalistic foreign policy,” said David. “By that I mean a foreign policy that benefits our country. We’re supposed to be pursuing a more pragmatic foreign policy.”
Had the country taken such a foreign policy approach, “we would have found ourselves in a situation where there would have been much more assistance forthcoming from several countries throughout the world,” David argued.