Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Mitchell has called on Government to take immediate action to deal with the economic crisis now facing Grenada’s private sector.
Dr. Mitchell said that the situation in the private sector has now reached a crisis point and noted that, “Grenadian businesses are currently experiencing an economic disaster of unforeseen proportions.”
This disaster he says could threaten the very survival of many of our traditional businesses.
“I have been having consultations with many business owners throughout the country. What is most striking is the everyday struggle businesses are facing. Business owners cannot even think about profit but are fighting now to meet their monthly commitments and to keep their doors open”, he said.
“By now our private sector would have expected some creative and decisive action from Government to alleviate their grave problems, however, this has not happened and the lack of initiative and concern by Government has created the biggest financial crisis this country has ever seen”, he added.
The Opposition Leader is worried that the situation is so bad that we could soon see a number of businesses closing their doors and laying off their entire workforce.
Dr. Mitchell says not only is the crisis affecting businesses deeply it is also forcing the country’s vital tourism sector out of business.
Dr. Mitchell has been meeting with hoteliers on a one and one basis and now plans to have an emergency meeting with them within the next ten days.
“Our hotel and tourism sector is one of our largest employers and the largest provider of valuable foreign exchange. Yet this NDC Government has treated the sector with little regard and has in fact made and continues to make very damaging statements which threaten investment into the sector”, he said.
“I know of hotels on the brink of closure, I know of hoteliers who cannot meet their commitments to the bank, and I know bartenders and cleaners who barely get one or two days of work in a week now. I doubt our Prime Minister knows the names of these people and I am beginning to doubt very much if he understands the gravity of the situation”, he remarked.
As a result Dr. Mitchell is calling on the Government to take the following urgent steps:
(1). Suspend all international travel paid for by the Government of Grenada. He says, “Our domestic crisis far outweighs any international obligations which we may have.”
(2). Divert the monies being paid for high priced unproductive advisors to a special fund managed by the Board of Tourism which should be used to assist hoteliers.
(3). Convene a special series of emergency meetings with the different private sector bodies in an effort to chart a course for the next few months.
(4). Convene a special meeting with GRENLEC and representatives from the private sector aimed at starting a dialogue which would outcome in more affordable electricity rates and terms of payment.
The Opposition Leader says this is just a start, and over the next few weeks and months the entire country will have to start an indepth look on how to fix the economy.
He has urged persons from all walks of life to also send their suggestions and comments to Government and to their MP’s since it seems that the Government lacks the capacity to deal with or to understand the crisis affecting business.
He has also urged the NGO groups, media, and others to take up their full responsibility and to become vocal on these issues.
He said if we do not speak up now and do something our children and our grandchildren will still be paying the price of our silence.
(The above was submitted by the main opposition New National Party)