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Letter: Grenada's roadmap to economic recovery
Published on March 20, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Sir:

As the country grapples with the harsh reality of a of a wage and pension bill that is seventy cents of every dollar collected, a high debt to GDP (gross domestic product) ratio, and an expectant population makes several demands on the government of the day for a better standard of living, a few poignant questions are being asked in every strata of Grenadian society. From the dinner table to the roadside rum shops, the same vexing issues stare us straight in the face.

How then does the government close the fiscal gap while at the same time allay the fears of an anxious populace? In very simple terms, as a nation, we are spending much more than we earn. A fiscal deficit of $18 million is just not sustainable! The former administration used an approach similar to placing a Band Aid on a festering wound! Obviously, the selling of state Assets by any administration to pay salaries and wages (recurrent liabilities) is an unconscionable indictment. It shows a manifest lack of vision, and sends a signal to the world that the administration is unable to manage the financial affairs of the state. Thankfully, this government has not taken that shameful and spineless route.

The new government has now initiated some bold and courageous steps to fix the economy.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Structural Adjustment Program: Admittedly, this calls for the introduction of some tough and difficult measures. However, there are tremendous concurrent opportunities to be gained. Critics of the government have been making several negative remarks about the initiatives taken by this new administration to put the country on a sound fiscal footing, and ultimately, the road to economic recovery. The prophets of doom and gloom have their own myopic agenda and would stop at nothing to erode the confidence of the Grenadian people. A strong and robust economy benefits everyone, irrespective of their political allegiance.

The prime minister and minister of finance indicated that some EC$300 million would be made available by the IMF for disbursement into the economy once there is compliance with the austerity measures. An important consideration is also the availability of grants and other significant aid packages from some countries in the European Union (EU), once we are compliant with the IMF.

Letter of Intent: The signing of this document, paves the way for all of this to become a reality. The trade union movement must be commended for their patriotic support in ensuring that a vast majority of their membership is on board. We are undoubtedly living in challenging times – the dynamics are totally different.

Again, credit must go to the Keith Mitchell-led administration for showing the resolve and courage to kick-start the economy. The mathematical solution is quite an easy one: If you are spending 70 cents out of every dollar earned on wages, salaries and pensions then you are left with only 30 cents to take care of the country’s basic needs. It does not take an Albert Einstein to figure it out. Just slash your wage bill. Barbados did!

It is quite ironic though that the “economic wizards and astute financial experts,” who were dumped and unceremoniously rejected on February 19, 2013, are suddenly coming up with all the answers and solutions. Apart from the significant increase in the wage bill, the government inherited a $40 million back pay commitment to public servants. Despite these and several other challenges, some $18 million have been paid out as back pay. Another two disbursements are scheduled for March and April/2014.

This is a remarkable achievement, given the scarcity of financial resources! But what is even more phenomenal is the fact that all of this was done without any job loss, and public servants are still receiving their monthly salary on time.

This roadmap to economic recovery certainly requires that “all hands are on deck”. This is not the time for cheap rhetoric and seizing an opportunity to score points over political adversaries. Rather, it’s a time to sound that clarion call for national unity and nation building. It’s also a time when as a nation we must look for ways and means to better utilize our limited resources, cut back on wastage, especially in the agricultural sector and recommit ourselves to nation-building. At the end of the day, no matter which political party you support, this beautiful land of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique is our home.

To conclude, let me share some pertinent facts as we begin this journey towards economic recovery. Throughout the annals of history we can find excellent examples of human triumph in times of difficulty. Three examples quickly come to mind: Leonardo da Vinci, George Washington Carver and Lee Iacocca. There are some glaring characteristics shared by these extraordinary men: courage and determination in the face of adversity and the ability to adapt and be innovative. If we take the time to look within ourselves, these same talents and traits are embedded deep in our Grenadian psyche. Now is the time to unleash our true potential!

A quote from the legendary American businessman, Lee Iacocca points to the direction of our roadmap to economic recovery: “In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and energy into something positive.”

Let us not waste an ideal opportunity to make Grenada the model for economic recovery and excellence in the region!

Julius Gabriel
 
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Comments:

Grenadinclass:

Julius Gabriel your effort the spin the true picture of the state of the Grenadian economy would only fool those who lacks knowledge and understanding of the situation.

Anthony Boatswain the current minister of education in this NNP administration predicted that the NDC would take Grenada to the IMF and implement a structural adjustment program if the party is re elected. He went on to say that the NNP has the skills and talent to fix the Grenadian economy without going to the IMF? My question to you which party and government took Grenada to the IMF? Which leader raised taxes on the Grenadian people? Which government sent home hundreds of public workers upon taking office.

Julius Gabriel you are such a LIAR , when you said this NNP administration didn't fire a single worker. Thousands of workers were fired by the NNP administration since taking offices in 2013. It is LIARS like you that have Grenada where it is today.

Julius would you have cll for all hands on deck if the NDC implemented a structural adjustment program? You and the NNP would have been all over the country blaming the NDC for such action. The hypocrisy demonstrated by men like you and the NNP is amazing.

If you listen very carefully to the prime minister he is the one looking forward to score political points on the back of the poor and unsuspecting. He call for unity but his action is one of total division.

This is the third time that Grenada enters a structural adjustment program. Twice under the NNP . The first program after the hurricane was a complete failure since the NNP is a party that don't care about country but power . NNP destroyed the Grenadin economy and it would the NDC to correct it.

Selling state assets isn't anything new . Government all over the world sells state assets when necessary. These assets were sold to the National insurance Scheme a local entity. NDC didn't give millions of dollars in loans guarantee to international crooks and conmen who then ran away with millions in state funds.

When the NNP is praising the IMF after bashing the IMF for years then you know that the NNP administration and Keith Mitchell is a complete failure. Don't forget your history and immediate pass.

You mentioned the Prime Minister said that the country may get 300 million dollars. In the last press conference held by the PM he indicated that about 100 million dollars may be available and that isn't a certainty. It is contingent on a host of factors. Given the track record of the NNP I doubt that this administration would stick to the program especially is there are unforeseen obstacles

I hate when big me try to fool people and LIE so much . Where is your integrity Julius Gabriel. It's no wonder that folks like you tolerate corruption at the highest level.

Resources didn't get scarce in Grenada over night. Listening to the NNP one would think that once the party win the elections the streets of ST.Georges will be paved in Gold. Lies and more lies. Today the same party increase taxes ten fold took Grenada down the road of the IMF and structural adjustment and austerity and yet you have to audacity to talk about road map to economic recovery.

Jamaica has been under an IMF program for decades with no light at the end of the tunnel. Guyana with all it's resources suffered under their IMF program. Grenada don't have anything but you talking about roadmap to economy recovery. When the unemployment rate is over 50% . Youth unemployment approaching 60% is national debt of 2.5 billion dollars courtesy Keith Mitchell and the NNP it will take ages for Grenada's economy to rebound especially under the discredited NNP.

Too many Grenadians were too short sighted l and lack vision like Keith Mitchell that is why they foolishly voted for a fairly tale . Today these people are bawling under NNP structural adjustment program! SAP . Spin doctor Julius wheel and come again. Don't count your eggs before they hatch . There is a very long and tedious road for Grenadians to journey.

The Mitchell administration must be condemn in no uncertain terms for taking Grenada to the IMF . For raising taxes on the Grenadian people and for trying to hood wink the poor and unsuspecting.

Julius Gabriel you crap about the government inherited a 40 million dollars back lay agreement with the union is pure Dotishness. Government is continuum as a such every government is obligated to honour all agreements sign in their name. This is legal. What you should say instead is that the NNP increased Grenada debt from 340 million to 1.8 billion dollars. Wasted millions in crookish deals , wasted millions in many iill conceived projects including the call center.

Had Grenada finances manage prudently by the NNP there would be no need for the IMF . Failure is failure irrespective of when the failure occurred. The Grenadian psyche has been permanently damage by the NNP. The NNP and their cronies are only concern about money for themselves and family.


Fabian George:

Keep on dreaming Julius Gabriel! You should know better. The obvious fact is that the NNP administration created the debt problem during its previous 13 years in office. Today, they are again the problem, not the solution. There is no feasible strategy to solve the structural problems. The far too big public sector is a main problem for the monthly deficits. The opportunistic PM is too timid to handle this problem effectively Instead he is taxing the country into more severe economic disaster No country can tax it’s way out of a debt crises. Grenada will be no exception - unfortunately.

The recently published “Grenada’s Economic Transformation and Poverty Reduction Strategy 2013 - 2018” only shows the helplessness of the NNP-lead administration. It is a monstrous list of wishful work items. Most of them cannot be funded. It does not indicate a doable strategy with priorities.
The government is not at the right track and I think they know it. Instead of acting responsibly, they are putting out different figures virtually daily. The USD 21.9 mio from the IMF (still to be approved) are only a drop on a hot stone. All other commitments are still out in the blue sky. Nevertheless the PM talks as if they were certain, “If we perform well …. it depends on all of us”. He is building up pressure and tries to intimidate different opinions. A scandalous misinformation is unlimited support from the European Union “in grant form and the sky is the limit there”. These official statements are dazzlement and lies. No country makes unlimited commitments.

How can you believe, they are leading Grenada to economic recovery? Keep on dreaming Julius Gabriel.

ClaudJo:

Hummm! JG you are still repeating the Prime Minister's lie that we will get EC$300m from the IMF upon signing the letter of intent? I take it that you have read the statement from the IMF's chief of mission for Grenada. The true figure Sir, is US$21.9m (EC$59.13m). I take it too that you also didn't listen attentively to the recent NNP PR stunt, sorry, I meant Government press conference, where Dr. Mitchell tried pitifully to explain this lie. Lol, it was so funny, because even when one adds up the sums he says we'd get from the IMF, CDB, European Union etc., in loans and grants, it still doesn't add up to $300m.

So you see my dear JG, the difference between those of us who are not inclined to support Dr. Mitchell and his cult-like NNP, and people like you is that we listen, read, analyse, and rationalize before we draw conclusions. We don't just blindly follow or repeat. And over the years, we find Dr. Mitchell to be very consistent. So that if you analyse him carefully, if you listen to him carefully, if rationalize. What he says carefully, you'd come to the inescapable conclusion that he cannot be believed or trusted. That is why some of us are scared to heed the call for all hands on deck. He might just throw us overboard! That is why, when the IMF says that the structural adjustment program is "ambitious" and "requires extraordinary effort" on the part of all concerned within and without Grenada, we believe that they are diplomatically say to us: "hear nah Grenadians, band all yuh belly because with KCM in the driver's seat, this thing ain't going to work!"


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