Former Finance Minister in the National Democratic Congress Government, Nazim Burke is predicting that Grenada would soon be following the dictates of the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Burke was speaking at a Press Conference held Tuesday by the Congress at the Coyaba Beach resort in Grand Anse, St. George’s.
He told reporters that with the one month old Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) deciding to pursue another restructuring of the national debt, he is not quite sure what form the IMF intervention would take.
The former Finance Minister said the NDC is not about spreading doom and gloom, but the party is quite confident that given the present economic and financial situation facing the country, the Mitchell administration would not be able to deliver on the promises that it made during the campaign to win all 15 seats in the February 19 general elections.
As part of its campaign promises, the new government promised hundreds of jobs in the first 100 days of coming into office, the introduction of new investors as well as plans to build a new economy for Grenada.
Burke said the economic challenges the country is facing and the responsibility that falls on the back of the NNP Government is about the management of the economy and the delivery of those promises that were made to every strata of the society.
“Grenada was sold a fairy tale, and unfortunately they (the people) bought it, so they made a promise to deliver,” he charged.
Burke shared his disappointment that the government is shifting the blame of the default of debts now due on the former NDC regime.
He charged that the pronouncements being uttered by members of the new government is geared at discrediting the NDC Government.
The former Finance Minister reminded the media that one of the first acts of the NNP Government as to tell the world that they are going to go into default by not paying the debts.
One of the default payments in the sum of $1.2m was to the World Bank that was due on February 15.
That payment, Burke said was being done by the previous government on a semi-annual period.
The Number Two man in Congress recalled that at his swearing ceremony as new Prime Minister on February 20, Dr. Mitchell announced that he was due to meet with Officials from the Ministry of Finance later that afternoon to ascertain the state of the country’s finances.
He said that as a “good manager”, Dr. Mitchell who once served as the Minister of Finance should have become aware of the payment that was due to the World Bank which Grenada had up until the 30th of the month to pay.
He chided Dr. Mitchell for running out on what he termed as a frolic to North America soon after the elections despite him being aware of the difficult fiscal situation in the country.
“I leave you to judge… whether this is the conduct of a responsible manager, or whether this is just a cheap attempt to make the former government look bad”, Burke said.
“The sensible thing to have done was to make the payment. The sooner you make the payment, the sooner you avoid this problem of disbursement being held up,” he added.
Burke encouraged members of the media to look beneath what he called the shallow statements that are being made regarding the country’s debts by the new rulers in St. George’s.
Both Prime Minister Mitchell and his Chief Economic Advisor, Dr. Patrick Antoine have ruled out any possibility of Grenada turning to the IMF to help the island fix its economic and financial woes.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Timothy Antoine also announced that the government was already getting “favourable responses” from local banks on the question of restructuring the debts owed to them as part of the overall restructuring process.