By Lloyd Noel
The speeches and the promises and nice-sounding phrases are very frequently repeated on the radio and television news and headlines, but to-date there are no visible signs of any improvement in the economic conditions, as far as provision of jobs, or news of employment opportunities any time in the near future.
Lloyd Noel is a former attorney general of Grenada, prominent attorney at law and political commentator
No further information since the passage of the citizenship by investment law in Parliament as to whether there has been any enquiry from interested persons overseas, who were supposed to be lining up to come in and invest millions.
From all appearances, the propaganda during the election campaign, and the many glib promises since the clean-sweep victory over six months ago, have all boiled down to zero thus far.
And the disappointment coming from those who fell for the promises and voted accordingly – as well as those who never believed and are now declaring “we told you so” -- is now coming through the headlines and pages very loudly and clearly, and already echoing the sentiments that they are ready for a change of the controllers of the affairs of our tri-island state.
Those sentiments are mere wishful thinking for another four and a half years almost – so all and sundry have to really band their bellies, and be prepared to put up with whatever is handed out until then.
The complaints during the NDC control in office were that they were not producing – despite all the many bright ideas they put forward while in opposition, and the apparent qualification of those who made up the team.
But many of the complainants were forgetting that, when the team took over control, they inherited a whole lot of problems and huge debts left behind by the NNP lot, who were in charge for the previous thirteen years – and nothing in the then economic pipeline to help resolve those problems.
The people generally have been let down by the new controllers, and they are steadily losing faith and confidence in the rulers – who they seem to be seeing as merely fault-finders, but not equipped or capable of producing solutions.
The next three months up to the end of year do not look like making any drastic changes that can bring positive benefits to the vast number of people in need.
The huge debts and interest thereon owing by the government will not be going downwards anytime soon and because there are no means currently available for bringing Income into the Treasury, other than the limited VAT and rates and other minor taxes, the outlook on the economic development horizon is very bleak.
Grants and loans, and investment taxes of one kind or another under the citizenship scheme recently passed in Parliament will not be forthcoming before next year sometime, so things look rough for the immediate future on the economic front.
The huge debt owing by the government has been getting bigger, because not even the interest has been serviced for some time now, so getting further loans to meet recurrent expenditure is a financial headache in itself – but the controllers are talking of completing the Iron-frame structure near to the General Hospital, for use as a second hospital for special services on two or three floors to aid the health care.
That eyesore has been occupying the old hospital site for years now, so it would be a great relief to see it completed for whatever use, because there are a whole lot of complaints and questions about the hospital in use.
Any project that can get started to aid the unemployment situation would be very welcome in these hard times – because a whole lot of families are in desperate need to make ends meet.
But having said that – which I do know is very true – I still cannot resist sounding the long-ago warning bells to the controllers that they must be very careful about the types and characters of the people from whom they are sourcing funds for whichever project.
We have had much more than enough rotten deals with crooks and con-men over the years – and those now in control with no opposition to question their actions and programs have been in the middle of the wilderness with some of those characters – so they cannot plead ignorance of the pros and cons.
But as onlookers with no say in what is planned, or already taking place with the nation’s affairs, we still have a duty and some measure of responsibility to speak up and express our views and concerns, even though we are on the outside of the corridors of power – and may not even be listened to by the controllers and decision makers.
I saw an article in Caribbean News Now last week in which the writer declared that “Grenada’s economy is doomed
,” and she stated that what we need is a new government.
After just seven months of the current government in power, and with complete control of the wheels of the decision-making process, that writer is not being realistic or practical.
While I do understand the anxiety, and the frustration that is unfolding, because so many of the election campaign promises seem to be wishful thinking, with no signs of any improvement anytime soon, the change of government is a long way in coming.
The current controllers left most of the debt when they lost the elections in 2008, so they must be the ones to help in reducing the debt-burden and bringing some progress and development for our deprived people.
In the meantime the losing party in February must put its house in order, and set about uniting its scattered flock to be able to resume control next time around.
There are still over four years of the current lot in control – so there is plenty time for either side to make the changes in direction to win the people’s favour.