By Lloyd Noel
The structural adjustment programme (SAP) was supposed to be the basis on which the IMF had agreed to advance the $30 million to the controllers to assist them in meeting their monthly expenses, and attract further assistance.
The SAP is supposed to be over a period of three years, but it was not said whether or not the said sum was to be paid every year of the period, or just on one occasion.
Lloyd Noel is a former attorney general of Grenada, prominent attorney at law and political commentator
No other details of the SAP were ever published – except the $30 million and the three years period.
But now that the program has been agreed upon, we are now hearing of new taxes that are being imposed by the government in support of the SAP.
It seems that the imposition of new and additional taxes was part and parcel of the arrangements to secure the promised millions and, even though none of those promises have so far been fulfilled, our people have already been saddled with some of the additional taxes.
The almost double taxes on house owners at all levels must be the most burdensome for those daily paid workers who have not had any form of work since the week before Xmas – and even the PM, in a recent statement on TV, made mention of those workers and the stress they must be undergoing as a result thereof.
Now we are hearing of new taxes on motor vehicle parts and gadgets, and even on returning nationals from overseas, who will be losing 50 percent of the concessions that were normally granted to them on personal belongings.
The PM stated a few weeks ago, that there was a waiting list of applicants for our Grenadian citizenship by investment program – and many had already been granted.
But he did not disclose what sums the Treasury is getting from that source, nor in what kind of business those newcomers would be investing their monies so as to provide jobs for our people.
If all the foregoing are tied up in the conditions laid out in the SAP – and, as we already know, that program is scheduled to last for three years to enable the controllers to obtain the $30 million, and possibly another $100 million from the British, European and Caribbean financial Institutions – it must also mean that some other sources will have to be found, to enable those in control to meet their financial and other national commitments in the said period.
To be relying on taxes from our already overburdened nationals on the islands, as well as those who may be returning from overseas to settle back home, those sources in the conditions now existing could never come any way nearly sufficient to meet our needs.
So that the government will have to come up with other ideas and programs – as well as credible alternatives and opportunities to help fill the void that will result – so as to be able to satisfy the needs of our people from suppliers outside our shores.
The small sums of one and two million being rumoured as the cost of obtaining citizenship of our tri-island state by foreigners worldwide could never come anywhere nearly sufficient to get us out of our financial problems anytime soon, unless those foreigners were also investing a whole lot of millions to provide jobs for our unemployed thousands.
And it cannot be misunderstood that, once our policy of selling citizenship to any Tom, Dick or Harry becomes public knowledge, our own nationals of Grenadian birth will suffer the same fate as those who have bought their passports.
So that while the controllers may be getting some immediate cash from selling citizenship, at the end of the day our people stand to lose a whole lot more from that venture.
And when the constitutional amendments that are also in the pipeline by those in control become a reality for us as a people, there will be no return to the standards and British constitutional freedom we have been used to for decades.
The controllers are not giving out any details about what they have in mind or hope to achieve by the strange actions they are following in dealing with the people’s business.
And because they have full control of the nation’s affairs, there is no one at the seat of power to even question their actions and omissions.
But while they will boast that the people put them there, they are very conveniently forgetting that the control is not forever.