The cash-strapped Keith Mitchell-led government in St. George’s has spent well in excess of six million E.C dollars on the Imani programme in the past eleven months since taking office last February.
An insight into the figure was given by government in the Senate following a question asked by labour representative in the Senate, Rae Roberts.
Roberts has asked the Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Sen. Sheldon Scott to inform the Senate about the cost of the Imani programme to the government between May and October 15, 2013.
The answer given by Sen. Scott was, “The Imani programme has as of October 15, 2013 cost the Government of Grenada EC$5, 949, 864.94”.
This figure does not include monies spent on Imanis in November and December.
Imanis are paid between $700 and $1000.00 a month by government based on their qualifications.
Sen. Scott also informed the Senate that 2086 trainees are currently engaged in the Imani programme.
In addition, he said that 658 Imani Trainees have been placed at private sector entities.
THE NEW TODAY understands that a number of Imanis have been placed by government in primary schools and in the area of sports and some have allegedly been taken up in a few Indian stories.
Sen. Scott also told the Senate that there is only one Co-ordinator of the Imani programme who was seconded from the Ministry of Education at a monthly salary of EC$3527.00.
In presenting the 2014 budget in December, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Keith Mitchell defended the decision of his administration to invest millions in the Imani programme.
The Mitchell government has been under fire from opponents for the manner in which the Imani programme is being run.
His critics believe that the administration is spending lavishly on the programme as a pay back for the massive youth vote that helped the NNP to its second clean sweep of all fifteen seats in the February 19 general elections.
The Prime Minister has countered by accusing his opponents of lacking care for the nation’s young people.
In delivering the 2014 budget on December 10, he told Parliament: ” There are suggestions in some quarters that Government is wasting money on our youth?
Mr. Speaker, do the persons who make such assertions understand that if Government does not lend a hand, they who are now comfortable may no longer enjoy their comforts. That if we fail to secure the future of our youth, we have no future.
Mr. Speaker, when I hear these harsh and callous remarks, I ask myself: Where is our empathy?
Have we no compassion? Have we lost our Christian love?
Mr. Speaker, I do not claim to be “a soldier for Christ in the politics” but the Holy Bible declares and I quote “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me”. End of quote. (Matthew 25.40, NIV)
Mr. Speaker, I ask us, as a Nation, to search ourselves and become a more caring people. It is our Christian duty.This Government cares. We care about the poor and powerless. We care about the feeble and the forgotten. We care about the sick and suffering”.