By Lloyd Noel
The three-year extended credit facility of just over US$21 million has now been approved – to support an ambitious program of the NNP government to correct the island’s fiscal imbalances and lift sustainable growth.
Lloyd Noel is a former attorney general of Grenada, prominent attorney at law and political commentator
Those are the nice-sounding words used in the structural adjustment program (SAP) that has now been signed by the IMF and awaiting delivery of the funds into our Treasury sometime in May.
Not that the said sum will make so much difference to our fiscal problems – but the hope is that it will help the controllers in sourcing another $100 million from Europe and elsewhere overseas, to help in the recovery from our financial problems, in which our national debt is over $2.4 billion.
But the history of the situation is that the said debt was built up mainly in the 13 consecutive years when the same NNP government under the control of the current prime minister was in power – so it is a straight case of political justification that those who created the problems must now find the solutions.
Not that this $100 million will make so much difference, except adding to the national debt, while providing some jobs for our thousands of unemployed, if the funds are wisely utilized.
And talking about unemployment in the existing conditions, we are now hearing that one of our main banks with overseas control is in the process of closing down some branches and thereby adding to the unemployment figures island-wide.
So that, after over one year since winning total control of the seats of power in Parliament, the main campaign promise of bringing in investors to start up businesses and provide thousands of jobs for the people who were unemployed is now even more urgent for fulfilling.
And to add more chaos to the existing money-shortage confusion – because so many thousands are unemployed and have no other source for raising needed funds – the new additional property taxes are due by the end of June for payment, and that dateline with be very difficult for many and impossible for a whole lot of unemployed property owners.
Where we heading and how we getting wherever we aiming is anybody’s guesswork or dreams, but very far from reality and even further from happening anytime sooner or later.
What we very badly need now is another country like England and the British Isles, which accepted thousands of our nationals in the fifties and sixties to work in their factories, railways and other places in those days but,, with our so-called independence and control of our national affairs, those days are gone forever and we are the losers.
Now more than ever before we do have thousands of unemployed persons, all just looking for the opportunities to earn a living – but those are not available.
And what is even more frustrating for a whole lot of them is that they all completed the five and more years at secondary schools, and so many have the above average qualification to hold a job but there just is none available.
But am sure a lot of them and their parents were taken in by the attractive promises from the NNP leader during the election campaign last year that he had so many investors ready and waiting to come and start up businesses to provide jobs for the many unemployed youths, and their parents who voted for the party.
Sadly and unfortunately for so many of them, the waiting game continues and goodness knows for how much longer – but there is nothing those in waiting can do about that state of affairs.
As for the promised investors who were lining up to come to our shores, a lot of them got their Grenadian passports to travel in the Commonwealth, especially to Canada – but that scheme soon died a natural death when the Canadian government closed the free entry doors.
So we are now back to square one and more silence about those investors and how the structural adjustment program (SAP) will help that situation, only time and a whole lot of good fortune will determine in the years ahead.
In the meantime we can only hope and pray that lady luck will sooner rather than later come our way.