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Letter: Grenada's visionless and shortsighted minister of finance needs to quit - Part Three
Published on March 3, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Sir:

With every passing day it is evident that the minister of finance in Grenada is a colossal failure. This particular minister of finance has an ego as big as the Pacific Ocean and this is preventing him from doing the right thing, which is to quit that portfolio.

Trust is an essential component of leadership, especially as a political leader. The situation in Thailand, Venezuela and Ukraine where there are fatal street protests against the government is as a result of the lack of trust and confidence in their rulers. When people are prepared to die fighting against their government then it Is plain to see that they have no confidence in such an administration.

While there are no street protests in Grenada as yet, people are protesting on the social media, radio talk shows and within their innermost spirits. The pain that people are going through is unbelievable. Mothers, especially single parents, can't afford to buy milk for their babies. There is an increase of strokes and related illness, especially among the young people who can't find a job. Youth unemployment is approaching 60% and the minister of finance seems unperturbed by this phenomenon. The unemployment rate in the country is approaching 50% with more and more people finding it difficult to find a job or literally give up looking for a job. The social implications of this are devastating. Prostitution and teenage pregnancy is on the increase and the poverty cycle continues.

It was very interesting to hear Hon Gregory Bowen, Kenny Lalsighn and Terry Forrester the PRO for the NNP, suggesting that the greatest accomplishment on the government in their first year in office was the stabilization of the economy. Such utter nonsense. These NNP "spin doctors" and propagandists continue to stabilize their own fiscal position at the expense of the poor and vulnerable. These are the same men who condemn Hon Nazim Burke when he indicated that Grenada's economy needs to be stabilized and that was what the NDC administration did. The NDC laid the foundation for economic growth.

The irony in all of this though is while these "spin doctors” are trying to twist the mind of the people and pander to their supporters. The fact of the matter is the IMF said that the Grenada's economy is a cancer that is in need of chemotherapy.

The minister of finance is comfortable sitting idly by and have his surrogates misinform the populace. Since the beginning of 2014 the minister of finance has been embarrassingly and uncharacteristically silent. His own conscience is acting on him for the many lies he have told the people in the past year. If one should reflect on all the speeches made by the minister of finance in the past year , the litany of lies and misinformation is incredible. How can the people and international community trust such a leader? A leader who is alien to the truth.

The thousands of “jobs, jobs and more jobs” promised by the finance minister are nowhere to be seen. In his last budget address the finance minister indicated that over four thousand jobs have been created . Once again misinformation. Prior to his budget speech he indicated that 10,000 jobs will be created by the end of the year, 2013. Instead the unemployment rate rose, with his administration dismissing hundreds of workers from the public service, with LIME , RBTT sending home workers from the private sector.

The minister of finance is a failure. He intends to tax the middle class to death. After one year in that portfolio he deserves a GRADE U (ungraded) for his dismal performance in that ministry. Within ten months of assuming that office he has increased taxes on the working class by over 300% in some instances. Income tax has been re-instituted and property taxes have doubled. While he increased taxes on the people he gave his MPs an 11% increase on their already high salaries on top of the many other allowances they enjoy, including free fuel. It is alleged that some ministers are even using free fuel provided by the taxpayers for their private vehicles even while enjoying the benefit of travel allowances.

The worst policy of the minister of finance who is also prime minister is the 'Big Government ' that he is leading. For a small island state like Grenada there are two (2) commissioners of police, two (2) cabinet secretaries, two (2) commissioners of one prison , twenty-one (21) ministers, senators and parliamentary secretaries. Twenty-two (22) permanent secretaries, and numerous advisers, including an adviser on South American affairs. In addition to that he continues to bloat the public service with political appointees, retirees, party hacks and cronies, many of who are not qualified for the jobs that they are expected to do. The public service has over 6,000 workers, with thousands of them not on permanent roll but employed by this finance minister under vote 340.

Just imagine in one small ministry there are four (4) public relations officers. Jobs for the boys. This is gross and callous mismanagement of the nation's scarce resources by this minister of finance and prime minister.

Given the current structure of the government, there is absolutely no need to ask the working class to make sacrifices. The unions would be irresponsible to engage into any agreement with this government without demanding changes to this structure, which is a drain on the nations finances. With this structure, where the minister of finance and prime minister is prepared to pay two persons in the same role, Grenada must be the "Financial Superpower" in the Caribbean. With such financial power why then should government want to restructure its debt or ask its creditors for a “haircut"?

The minister of finance is engaging in a policy of “Mad Economics" to satisfy his political ambitions and personal interest This just doesn't make any economic sense. The mind of the finance minister and prime minister is pre-occupied with the next general elections. Make no bones about it, Dr Mitchell, in the words of his buddy Chester Humphrey, is a "political animal”. Whatever he does, 99.99% is out of political consideration. That is where he acquires his power and influence from. This fact should always be at the fore by the opposition and unions in dealing with his administration.

In a recent cabinet briefing, minister Bowen is on record as saying that there are some union leaders who would like to see the letter of intent not signed and the structural adjustment program fail. This may be the best course of action for Grenada at this time give the track record of the NNP. It may be in the nation’s long term interest and to the benefit of the people and future generations .

One just has to look at the situation in Zimbabwe with Robert Mugabe to understand why it may be in Grenada's best interest for the program not to succeed. Given any measure of success, Dr Mitchell, given his nature and philosophy, will become much more dictatorial in a similar mold to Robert Mugabe. Men don't automatically change with age. As they get older they become more stubborn. With power and success, Dr Mitchell would be prepared to die in office and, given the experiences of the past, it would be “Megalomania" all over again. The little economic gains made would be immediately squandered. Dr Mitchell is much more subservient and less dangerous in failure. Hurricanes Ivan and Emily, and gone current economic situation are manifestations of this.

God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah in order to build back better. The United States and the Allied forces built back Europe and Japan after the first and second world wars. Today Germany and Japan are global powers. We shouldn't intimidated by failure.

The international community through the United Nations will come to our rescue so as a people we shouldn't be afraid of failure. The country has already failed under this current minister of finance. Things can't get worse than it is already. Seeing the back of this minister of finance and his administration I believe is the best solution to our many political, social and economic problems. They are the cause of the problems in the first place, so why should we believe that they will automatically be the solution.

There is no country in the world I can identify where the creators of a major political economic or social problem become the solvers of that problem The probability of that happening is 0.0000000000001 . In other words not in our lifetime. Look at Zimbabwe and North Korea, Robert Mugabe and the Kims will never solve their country's political, social and economic problems. A change is what is required. The same is true of Grenada. Don' t expect this prime minister and finance minister to be the solution. He is NOT.

Grenadian Class
 
Reads: 3245





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