By Lloyd Noel
Fifteen months have now gone by since the NNP controllers of our government administration have been in the driving seats; and instead of providing answers or solutions, as they promised before winning total control of the reins of power, they are creating even more problems and pitfalls in the systems of government that they inherited.
Lloyd Noel is a former attorney general of Grenada, prominent attorney at law and political commentator
Our huge national debt of over $2.5 billion and the unemployment chaos of over 60 percent of our working population are the two worst cases existing.
The heavy debt goes back to the last period when the same NNP was in control of the nation’s affairs, but the unemployment situation has gone from bad to a whole lot worse off during the last few months of the NDC control of power and the first year of the current controllers.
And by the looks of what can be seen, and the statements coming through the political grapevine of the controllers since taking over control, the outlook and the prospects of better days ahead look grim and very distant, from all appearances and the few statements that are conveniently coming through when it suits the powers-that-be.
Like the financial support report that the PM gave to a constituency forum before he left two weeks ago for his trip to the US and Canada.
Even then he was saying “as soon as the IMF signs on in June” the donors in the European Union and elsewhere overseas would begin disbursing grant sums to Grenada.
The structural adjustment program (SAP) had been agreed upon since February, to last for three years while Grenada took certain agreed measures to get its economy up and running, but it seems that no funds have been forthcoming up to-date and, even when the grants begin to flow, the $300 million will be spread over a three-year period.
The PM, in that financial report to the forum, was still talking about initiatives his government was taking to bring investors to Grenada – and with the $300 million promised under SAP, he is hoping that Grenadians generally would benefit.
He did not explain what initiatives his government was taking to bring those investors to the tri-island state, but we had heard during the election campaign last year about those investors who were expected to come in under the citizenship investment program and invest in the three government estates in the agricultural sector.
Those persons who have already acquired citizenship and paid the required fee for so doing are clearly not the investors the PM and his ministers were talking about during the election campaign.
It must mean, therefore, that no major investment – if any at all – can be expected from the new citizens who have paid for their citizenship as Grenadians.
It was disclosed by the controllers that hundreds were on the list of applicants who had applied for citizenship, so that their motives for so doing must be for reasons other than investment in Grenada.
But the scheme for raising fund by the controllers also exposes our genuine Grenadian citizens to all sorts of investigations and adverse conditions when they travel overseas whether in the Commonwealth or other foreign countries; as happened to those foreigners who had bought into the initial sale of citizenship and obtained their Grenadian passports and travelled to Canada.
Not only were they restricted to one area in Canada but since then all Grenadian citizens have to apply for visas to go to Canada – and these are not easily obtained, in addition to the high cost of travelling to the Canadian embassy in Trinidad, and staying overnight to keep appointments.
But even if all the PM is reported to have said to the people at the constituency forum does come to pass as he outlined, in the time stated and the sums he listed, and these are over a period of three years during the structural adjustment program, and a total sum of $300 million over the years, I cannot see how those figures can provide a significant lift to every man, woman and child in the tri-island state of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, as the PM is reported to have said.
Investment in the agricultural sector – by utilizing the three government estates that have been lying idle for some years now – is clearly a very worthwhile venture that could put a whole lot of our people back to work, and the proceeds therefrom would find worthwhile markets worldwide.
And needless to have to emphasize, we do have more than enough agricultural workers available to begin such programs and get the projects in such investments up and running for very short-term benefits to the investors.
But for whatever the reasons that investment scheme did not materialize, so now we have to wait and see where we heading and how soon we can hope to get wherever.