At a recent meeting in Barbados, Grenadian Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell (2nd R) is greeted by his Barbados counterpart Freundel Stuart, while RSS Executive Director, Grantley Watson (left) looks on. (BGIS Photo)
ST GEORGE’S, Grenada (GIS) -- The Grenada government owes approximately EC$6 million to the Regional Security System (RSS), most of which are the accrued arrears from the previous administration that, in four and a half years, never paid the RSS.
This information was conveyed to Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell during a meeting of the Regional Security System (RSS) held in Barbados on Friday, March 7.
At the meeting, the main item on the agenda was the financing of the RSS moving forward, given its importance to governance in the Caribbean.
Mitchell was informed that, while Grenada had enjoyed the benefits of the RSS during the prior four and a half years, no payment was made by the previous administration to access those benefits.
As a consequence, the government now owes the RSS approximately EC$6 million, after having paid a fraction soon after assuming office in 2013.
Mitchell, in apologizing for the huge debt owed, expressed disbelief that the previous government would have totally neglected to pay for such an important service during their entire time in leadership of the country; yet still benefited from the services.
In a conciliatory message that recognized the importance of the RSS to the region, Mitchell expressed his government's willingness to examine ways to meet the responsibility to the RSS.
The prime minister requested that the debt be spread over a longer period, at a re-configured rate, the details of which will be worked out with the ministry of finance, after the signing of the letter of intent with the International Monetary Fund for Grenada's Homegrown Structural Adjustment Program.
On assuming office a year ago, the Mitchell administration found that the country was also indebted to a number of regional and international organizations, including CARICOM, OECS, UWI, the Caribbean Development Bank and the World Bank.
Also participating in the recent RSS meeting in Barbados were fellow heads, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Prime Minister Freundel Stuart of Barbados, along with representative ministers from other regional countries.