Aiding and abetting!!!

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has once again boxed in itself by taking up membership on the Steering Committee of the National Plan 2030 being put together by the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.

The NDC advisers are lacking in vision and seemingly cannot see that they are allowing PM Mitchell to dictate the pace of things in the lead up to the next general election.

Congress should shy away from anything to do with NNP given its experience on the Constitutional Review Commission.

At the core of the next election will be the issue of “bread and  butter” to be put on the table of the electorate.

It is in the NDC’s best interest to put together its own economic plan for the development of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique and try and sell to the people as “the best on offer”.

As a party, Congress should leave PM Mitchell and his group to put together their own plan and present it to the people for the next election.

Dr. Mitchell and his group sold the people a plan in 2013 and they bought into it.

This particular plan was sold under the banner of “we will deliver” and the electorate bought into it out of a belief that thousands of jobs will become available and money will flow once again on the streets of St. George’s because there will be “a new economy.

The people never catered for an NNP plan that was laced with bitter medicine – taxes left, right and centre.  Where is this new economy that was promised by Dr. Mitchell and his chief policy advisor, Dr. Patrick Antoine?

What will Comrade Nazim Burke, the new Political Leader of NDC, sell to the people in the next general election to get them to vote in his favour and not once again with Dr. Mitchell?

Surely, he cannot sell anything outside of the National Plan 2030, which Congress through its representative would have agreed to as a member of the steering committee.

That being the case, the NDC would be sending a signal to the Grenadian people that the National Plan 2030 is the way to go for the country.

If disagreements surface, will Comrade Burke and company pull out of the Steering Committee similar to what they did in the case of the Constitutional Review Commission?

THE NEW TODAY is fully aware that the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) is running the policy directives in the country and NNP has no choice but to dance to the beat of the music being played.

Regional economists are right now asking serious questions about the authors of the recent Fiscal Responsibility Act that the Mitchell-led government recently took to Parliament.

The experts are saying that the legislation is similar to those imposed on Jamaica by the fund as part of the deal that was agreed with the Jamaican government.

As one regional economist questioned – why the Government of Grenada felt it necessary and expedient at this particular time to introduce these bills in the Grenada Parliament?

The answer is simple – the Mitchell government has no say in the matter and understand the consequences if they do not bow to the dictates of the IMF.

The current policies being pursued by the NNP run very contrary to what PM Mitchell has been preaching for the past 30 years – economic activities can only take place when the people have disposable income in their hands.

Today there is no disposable income as the people are heavily taxed as part of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) that had to be implemented mainly on account of the unwise policies pursued by the NNP in 1995-2008 of borrowing at high commercial interest rates and spending on all kinds of ill-thought out projects.

THE NEW TODAY is calling on Comrade Burke to inform his party supporters and the rest of the nation with respect to the role to be played by Congress on the Steering Committee.

Will it be an adversarial role or co-operation and going along with the ideas of the NNP who will have the final say given that they control State power?

Secondly, once the National Plan 2030 is formulated, will the NDC be also adopting it as its road map to prosperity for the Grenadian people?

The NNP is very much interested in the creation of a one-party State and Comrade Burke and his team might well be aiding and abetting them in their scheme to ensure political hegemony in Grenada.

Legislation for fiscal discipline

Measures have been put in place in Parliament aimed at mandating government to stay in line with the use of the public funds.

The Senate has given approval at a recent sitting at the Trade Center at Morne Rouge, Grand Anse to the Fiscal Responsibility Bill 2015.

Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Simon Stiell who piloted the Bill said it seeks to ensure that government starts to live within its means.

Sen Stiell told the members of the Upper House that the Bill is one of three of similar pieces of legislation that will bring greater governance, accountability, transparency, integrity and financial management to the economy.

In his contribution to the debate on the Bill, Labour Representative, Sen. Raymond Roberts felt that the Bill was forced onto Grenada by the dictates of the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF).

According to Sen. Roberts, the fund was acting in order to deal with a nation that, over the years, was highly ill-discipline in the management of the country’s financial resources.

“Grenada is being disciplined by the IMF, and I’m happy that we have agreed that we made mistakes, and today we are prepared to repent,” the Labour Representative said.

The cash-strapped New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has been forced to address a severe fiscal crisis by implementing a Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) that received the support of the IMF.

Under the programme, a number of taxes were imposed that impacted heavily on middle income earners in the country as Property Tax was increased, the income tax net was widened, and several government fees experienced tremendous increases.

Grenada has been saddled with a national debt of EC$2.6 billion, most of it racked up in the first 1995-2008 rule of Dr. Mitchell who borrowed heavily at commercial interest rates.

Sen Roberts told the Senate that the essence of the Bill has much to do with the management of the economy by Prime Minister Dr. Mitchell as Minister of Finance, dating back to 1995.

He also said that has to do to a lesser extent on the period of governance between 2008 and 2013 when the National Democratic Congress (NDC) of Tillman Thomas was in power.

The Labour Representative spoke of Dr. Mitchell being an “extremely poor performer in managing of the finances of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique.”

He recalled that the previous Mitchell administration gave away millions of dollars in guaranteed loans to illusive hotel projects, Call Centres, and a massive 189 million EC stadium that Hurricane Ivan blew away in September 2004.

“Now…  the workers and the pensioners, we have been burdened with heavy taxes to repay these loan guarantees,” the Labour Senator said.

According to Sen. Roberts, he wished there was a clause in the Bill to penalise politicians for doing things that they know cannot happen but was costly to the nation.

A similar Bill – the Public Debt Management Bill 2015 – was earlier passed in the Upper House.

NAWASA remains in the hands of the State

The Keith Mitchell-led administration in St. George’s has given the clearest indication that the island’s sole water utility, the National Water and Sewage Authority (NAWASA) will not be privatized in a hurry.

Speaking to reporters at a recent post-Cabinet Press Briefing, Public Utilities Minister, Gregory Bowen said that NAWASA has exemplified enough potential to be overlooked for privatisation by Government.

The Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) has suggested to Government that NAWASA be under privatisation although private investors might be reluctant to get involved in it.

According to Minister Bowen, NAWASA “is doing well as compared to the other (state-owned) institutions and so there is not a big push from the IMF nor the Government to say well we’ll privatise it”.

He said, “if someone comes with a significant sum of money, we must not take the attitude and the Government will not take the attitude, so this (company) must remain (with) Government”.

“… If someone comes in and says I want to invest in NAWASA, we shouldn’t hold it and say no. The more it gets towards the private running organization, the better,” he added.

The senior government minister stated that government will welcome investment since the intention is to “make things better” for NAWASA.

“…We have the big hotels coming on stream… all the hotels in the south must be able to be serviced with water,” he said.

“So we have a general agreement that we simply must make it (NAWASA) a lot more efficient but allow persons to invest”, he added.

The ruling New National Party (NNP) has promised to construct three five-star hotels in the south of the island after winning the 2013 general elections.

Government has recently appointed a new Board of Directors to look after the affairs of NAWASA.

The Chairman of the Board is Terry Forester with the other members being Daniel Roberts, Ann David-Antoine, Margaret Frame, Michael Mason, Senator Chris De Allie, Fitzgerald Matheson and Cynthia Charles.

The Public Utilities Minister also gave some insights in the projects that NAWASA has been embarking upon.

He mentioned the Spring Garden ($2 million), the construction of a new Water Treatment Plant for St James/La Digue which is 6% completed, a $2 million dollars project for Mt Agnes involving the construction of a new water treatment plant, $1.4 million to be spent in Richmond Hill for the construction of a new storage reservoir to improve the quality and quantity of water to Marian.

Minister Bowen disclosed that these projects will be financed by funds from NAWASA and not through borrowing.

He said the utility is now in a better position to undertake the projects since government has started to pay-off the millions owed to it over the years.

“…Government is paying up its unpaid claims…. NAWASA says let me strike a balance with you, you pay me, everybody pay me as well and I will ensure that a significant component of the amount that the Government would’ve owed me will go into these projects,” he added.

According to Minister Bowen, the Government “is biting the bullet” in order to clear its outstanding debts to all Statutory Bodies.

He spoke of the deal worked out is for the statutory bodies to turn around and use the monies from government to engage in capital projects.

CARTAC, an arm of the IMF has submitted a report to the Mitchell government in which it called on the regime to seriously address NAWASA’s outstanding pension liabilities to workers in the order of EC$52 million.

According to the report, this figures “make NAWASA insolvent” and that current pension payment to past workers of $EC3 million a year will rise to over EC$7 million per annum by 2025.

Calypso war continues

The rift between the Grenada Progressive Calypso Association (GPCA) and the Grenada Professional Association of Calypsonians and Tents (GPACT) appears to be widening.

Jerry Baptiste who is known in the calypso arena as “Papa Jerry” disclosed that moves to have both associations speak with one voice since last year are not progressing.

Baptiste who is associated with GPCA told a radio programme on Monday that it was difficult to reach some of the people who were supposed to be members of the executive of the new organisation.

He spoke of eight times Calypso King, Edson “Ajamu” Mitchell who was one of the Calypsonians making the call for one body for calypsonians, declining a position on the executive.

”We planned this thing that we’re going to go forward with one organisation – low and behold everybody just start pulling (back) individually, and this thing now (is) squashed,” he said.

Baptiste is urging Minister of Culture, Senator Brenda Hood to make it mandatory in law that no two organisation would be heard and entertained by her Office, unless both calypso associations unite.

The artiste believes this is the only way to have the matter settled between the two factions.

The spilt in the calypso association took place in 2001.

Baptiste urged the Calypsonians who are members of both associations to demand that both bodies come together to form one association in the interest of the artform.

The Calypsonian who is known as the “Fire Man” lashed out at his fellow Calypsonian, Findley “Scholar” Jeffrey for calling for the replacement of Isha Antoine as the Representative of calypsonians on the Spicemas Corporation (SMC).

Scholar told a television programme last week that Andrews’ three-year term on SMC has come to an end, and that she continues representing the calypso fraternity illegally.  The seven times Calypso Monarch said a letter was sent by G-PACT to Sen. Hood asking that Events Planner, Sylvan Chan be appointed as the new representative, but the minister has failed to act.

“It is time for Scholar and these guys and them who we see as people who (are) supposed to have some kind of stature and some kind of prominence in music here to stop this bickering and stop this petty-like fish market vendor thing and only quarrelling over nothing.

Up to now I have not seen what Scholar and these guys have done for the upliftment and the betterment of calypso”, Papa Jerry said.

“I haven’t seen it from Ajamu, I haven’t seen it from Scholar, I haven’t seen it from Black Wizard, I haven’t seen it from none of these so-called iconic figures that we put on this pedestal like they are God’s gift to the artform,” he added.

Baptiste accused the former monarchs of not doing anything to lift the artform except to rape it.

Baptiste also had a tongue-lashing for Ajamu.

He said he sees Ajamu as being on a personal venture and that he is not someone who is really trying to uplift the culture.

The seasoned artiste believes the gripe that GPACT has with Antoine is based on the selection of judges for the various calypso competitions.

He stated that when the Judges Association was responsible for the selection of judges it was felt by some artiste that there was not a level playing field, and the “lesser artistes” were at a disadvantage.

“The adjudication over the years has not been a fair process,” he quipped.

It is believed that Papa Jerry was one of the Calypsonians who influenced the Keith Mitchell Administration to have foreign judges adjudicate the calypso competitions in 2007.

GPACT felt it was a political move on the part of the government to bring in foreign judges to adjudicate the calypso competitions in 2007 in order to stifle Calypsonians who sing biting political commentary that was not in favour with the administration.

The association filed an application before High Court Judge Justice Kenneth Benjamin claiming that the Grenada Cultural Foundation (GCF) had acted outside of its jurisdiction in making the decision to use foreign judges.

Justice Benjamin ruled in favour of GPACT, ordering the Attorney General’s Office to provide the organisation with the relevant information pertaining to the country of origin, experience and character references of the judges that were being used to judge the calypso competitions.

GPACT felt that there were procedural breaches committed in the appointment of the regional judges.

The group claimed that it was not informed about the origin of the judges nor was it provided with information about their qualifications.

Senator calls for facelift of St. George’s

Independent Senator in the Upper House of Parliament, Raymond Roberts has called for urgent attention to be given to improving the image of the City of St. George’s.

Sen. Roberts who represents the Labour Movement in the Senate has described St. George’s as a “very run-down Town,” with respect to its buildings.

He told the Senate that something has to be done to get the owners or people occupying the buildings to refurbish them.

“For those of us who went to school in the city in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, clearly what we see now is a far cry from what was then Pure Grenada or Pure St. George’s,” he said.

“Pure Grenada” is the slogan used by the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) to promote the island internationally to attract visitors to the island.

The Labour Senator admonished the Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Simon Stiell to take the concerns expressed to his government, and to find a way to create incentives for property owners in the city to upgrade the buildings.

He said that refurbishing the buildings will create jobs for locals, as well as create the beauty that is desired for the city.

He stressed that beauty and cleanliness are the things that capture a visitor to repeatedly visit a country.

There are a number of abandoned dilapidated buildings throughout the Town of St. George and currently occupied by vagrants and homeless people.

Kamron St. Paul at it again

Kamron “Chucky” St. Paul – plans to lift his game this season

Kamron “Chucky” St. Paul – plans to lift his game this season

Upcoming entertainer, Kamron ‘Chucky’ St. Paul from Gouyave, St. John is a fifteen-year old form four student attending the St. Rose Modern Secondary School.

He is the nephew of Soca Ambassador, Hollice “Mr Killa” Mapp – a two-time Soca Monarch and one-time Groovy King.

The teenager spoke of his plans for 2015 in an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY newspaper following the conclusion of a 1-day training session organised by Columbus Communication (FLOW) in St. George’s on June 6 in preparation for the 2015 edition of the CC6 Carnival Knockout Competition.

Chucky said he intends to take part in the 2015 CC6 competition, as well as the 2015 School’s Soca Monarch, previously known as the Secondary School Soca Monarch.

In 2013, the energetic performer began his journey into competition, making his debut at the Schools Soca Monarch, placing second.

He also copped second place in the 2014 edition of the competition, which is open to students of both secondary and primary schools across the island.

The young artistealso copped the second spot in the 2014 edition of the CC6 Carnival Knockout Competition.

“For the past two years I have been doing one song but this year I plan to release two songs…including a groovy,” he said, which is an area of competition, which he will be venturing for the very first time.

Chucky said he is currently working on the final touches for his 2015 songs entitled: ’No worries’ and ‘Failure is not an option.’

“So you have to look out for that,” he quipped as he made reference to his two songs.

The artiste who is harbouring thought of becoming a lawyer by profession, discovered his love for signing at the tender age of four.

He said the artform is embedded within his genes and hopes to make it (singing) as a “side career” in the long run.

“Singing…I think it runs in my family because my uncle sings, my grandmother used to sing…and she always speaks to me and tell me (to) take my time and that once I put God in front everything is possible.

So I am praying and hoping that everything works out,” Chucky added.

NDC sits on National Plan 2030

It is confirmed that the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) now has a representative serving on the Steering Committee of the National Development Strategic Plan 2030 that was launched on May 27.

According to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Timothy Antoine, the main opposition political party is being represented on the 11-member committee by executive member, Vincent Roberts.

Antoine told a radio programme that Roberts who is NDC’s Recording Secretary attended the first meeting of the newly formed body and the technical working group on June 5.

The Meeting focused on reviewing the terms of reference of the Steering Committee and the Technical Working Group, brainstorming on the process for the preparation of the National Plan 2030, and the institutional arrangements for the development of the Plan.

The steering committee is headed by Minister of Economic Development and Planning, Oliver Joseph, and includes Andre Lewis who is representing the Grenada Trades Union Council, Petipha Lewis-Smith, the nominee of the Grenada Private Sector Organization, Reverend John Lewis representing the Alliance of Evangelical Churches, William Joseph representing the Conference of Churches of Grenada (CCG), Joan Purcell representing Civil Society, and Judd Cadet who will serve the Youth.

The other members on the committee are Dr. Dunstan Campbell representing Agriculture, Carlton Frederick representing the New National Party, and Ferron Lowe representing National United Front.

Antoine described the committee as broad-based and representing the entire Nation.

The proposed terms of reference for the steering committee includes reviewing and advising on the process for preparation of National Plan 2030, provide oversight of and guidance to the Technical Working Group, monitor progress on the preparation of the plan, support stakeholders consultations, and to comment on the draft chapters of the Plan.

The Permanent Secretary also announced that government is in the process of establishing a Secretariat for the National Plan.

He said a senior public servant has already been identified to head the secretariat.

The National Plan will build on other existing plans including the Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy.

Conditions set for Flow/LIME merger

Minister of Communications, Gregory Bowen has announced that ten conditions have been agreed upon by the Council of Ministers of ECTEL member countries to bring about the Flow/LIME merger in the Eastern Caribbean.

The Ministers met in St. Lucia recently to look at the planned merger of two of the main players in the telecommunications industry in the region.

According to Minister Bowen, if an approval of the merger is not given then FLOW will continue to operate as it used to do and LIME in the same way.

He told reporters at a press conference that the Ministers “have agreed on a list of conditions that we will give to them at a later date”.

“With the merger, if they agree to the conditions that we set them, it will most likely take place…”, he said.

The senior government minister pointed out that the conditions set are similar to what Barbados handed to the two providers for their planned merger including the selling of some assets to make the playing field more competitive.

He said the conditions set call for the service provider to make the existing infrastructure network available to any newcomer into the market.

“…If a third party comes in, that person does not have to go and dig up road and run poles again, they can simply string their line along FLOW’s pole, so you making it very easy for somebody to come in,” the Communications Minister explained.

He said the conditions are there to ensure that there is ease of entry for another company or at least four or five small companies.

According to Minister Bowen, the ECTEL board will also be looking at the prices that will be charged to the new persons entering the marketplace.

He said the intention is to avoid price grouching.

“…You cannot say I will charge you such an exorbitant price that you cannot come in. Further, you cannot do price grouching. So because you strong and big, you say I could lose five million dollars now, so you reduce your price and this new company cannot come in but as soon as he is (not) here, up goes your price again – that will not happen again. If you reduce your price, you better keep it there, so if you were losing, continue to lose,” he remarked.

Minister Bowen said that many more conditions were set by the ECTEL Board to try and facilitate the LIME/FLOW merger but they have given the two service providers a chance to look at them before they are made public.

Property Tax Amendment Bill 2015

The Grenada Senate has given approval to the Property Tax Amendment bill which seeks to amend the Property Transfer tax.

During its passage at a recent Senate sitting at the Grenada Trade Centre, Tourism Minister, Senator Brenda Hood said Government sees this bill as a positive one since it can help to increase the investment climate on the island.

According to the female government minister, the first amendment will affect property that has to be transferred in the form of deed of gifts.

Sen. Hood said there has always been some concern about how to apply tax exemption for such transfers.

“We know that there have been a lot of issues in the past regarding this concern and at times the Government has not received the finances (with) the Deeds transfer – what we are trying to do at this time is to regularise it”, she told the Senate sitting.

“…The insertion of subsection five therefore, clarifies that these exemptions (apply) only once per transfer. Regardless as to whether there are a number of transfers or a number of transactions relating to a piece of property, the transfer is considered a single transfer to determine the excess value of a property. This we are regularising,” she said.

Another issue dealt with in the amendment concerns the issue of property purchased by a non-resident investor for developmental purposes.

Sen. Hood said Government is now seeking to make it clear that an investor must commence his project within two years of the purchase of such lands.

“We have seen in the past where we have given incentives to investors and many of the times, it goes on and on and on. This time, this will not be. We are giving a time frame of two years of the purchase of the land and if this is not done within the time period, then the property tax waived must be repaid”, she added.

It is the hope of government, according to Sen. Hood that this amendment will encourage investors to start their projects in a timely manner.

“This has been a concern for us here and I believe by putting this in place, we will see projects coming on stream at the time that they say they could. If they’re not they have to refund whatever was given to them,” she said.

There was general support for the bill but a few Senators raised their concerns on some aspect.

Senator Christopher De Allie said the private sector supports the bill but felt that a lot of loopholes were spotted and need to be closed as this would allow Government to better administrate the Transfer Tax.

Sen. DeAllie touched on one aspect of the amended bill that was bothering him.

He said: “Where it (the bill) speaks to being not a citizen, I wonder how the section that deals with being not a citizen reconciles with the CSME rules that deals with our CARICOM brothers and sisters. How do those sections reconcile with that and do they need special consideration because you charging a differential tax for being a citizen versus not being a citizen – under CSME rules that may not be allowed,” he said.

Opposition Senator,  Nazim Burke of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) echoed the same sentiments as Sen. DeAllie.

Trade union representative in the Upper House, Sen. Ray Roberts said that he welcomed any opportunity that will create jobs for the people since too many persons on the island are unemployed and underemployed.

“I certainly welcome the one that gives the investor two years. I think it’s an excellent idea. It means that we must have boots on the ground and give us the assurance…”, he said.

“… We hope that is the case with the two billon dollar project… we hope it’s not another dream but clearly it’s a good piece of legislation which stipulates, if you here for real, you should do something real”, he added.

Sen. Roberts was obviously referring to the two billion dollar project announced by government for Mt. Hartman involving a Chinese investor.

Several former New National Party (NNP) administrations led by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell have announced major hotel projects for the area that never materialized.

In the build up to the 2003 general elections, a tractor started excavation work at Mt. Hartman for the much-talked about RitzCarlton hotel project but halted after a mere weeks on the site.

Sen. Roberts dropped hints that the amendments made to the Land Transfer tax are seemingly aimed at those persons seeking to purchase Grenadian passports under a government-promoted scheme to attract revenue.

“…We somehow believe that much of the amendments that you have come up with here, seems to favour citizenship by investment, real estate tourism speculators,” he remarked.

The cash-strapped Mitchell-led government is on the hunt for millions of dollars to be used as counterpart financing to get a number of promised projects off the ground to try and ease the unemployment situation in the country.

Debate over state of the Economy

Deputy Political Leader of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Joseph Andall has refuted  claims made by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Keith Mitchell that the local economy is now in better shape than during the four and a half year reign of the former Tillman Thomas-led administration.

During a nationwide mid-term address last week, Dr. Mitchell said that upon taking Office in February 2013, his New National Party (NNP) government inherited a “dismal and dire situation.”

He said Grenada was in a deep recession with virtually no growth between 2009 and 2012.

Dr. Mitchell said that for the past 27 months his government focussed on putting the country’s “fiscal house” in order and fixing the economy.

“Is the Grenadian economy better now than it was in 2012? The honest and objective answer to this question is yes,” he said.

Dr. Mitchell told the nation the economy is growing with an average of at least three percent in 2013 and 2014, and is expected to grow by the same rate this year.

He said unemployment has fallen from 40 percent in 2012 to 29.5 percent in 2014.

In refuting the claims of PM Mitchell on the current state of the Grenadian economy since the NNP came into office, Andall pointed persons looking for answers to dwell upon the following:

“Is the economy better now than in 2012? I want you to go and ask the Vendors who you (Mitchell) chased off the streets if the economy is better for them. I want you to ask the parents who now have to find thousands of dollars to buy school books since you destroyed the school books programme if the economy is better for them.

“I want you to ask the bank workers in Grenville and Carriacou, and elsewhere who have been sent home because the banks no longer have confidence in the economy of our country, ask them if the economy is better. Ask all the people from the many little stores, restaurants, construction firms who have been sent home, who are on rotation if the economy is better. Ask the bars which can only see a decent amount of activity on the Friday after month-end these days if the economy is better”.

Andall appeared on a radio talk-show programme to refute the claims of Dr. Mitchell about a buoyant economy under his watch as opposed to Thomas’ Congress regime.

The NDC No.2 man said it is important to look back at how Grenada got to the present economic situation, and to keep focussing on the many malpractices that brought the island into its current economic woes.

He blamed the country’s economic plight on the decision taken by Dr. Mitchell in 2005 to lift the personal income tax threshold to $60,000 per annum against the professional advice of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and other major financial institutions.

The NDC Deputy Political Leader reminded the host of the programme of the four hundred million dollars that were given away in guarantees by
the NNP and which now form part of the national debt, as well as the failed Poultry Farm project at Victoria, St. Mark’s that never got started.

Andall read part of an audit report that was done on Grenada’s Broilers Inc, the operators of the Poultry farm under Dr. Mitchell’s watch.

The report said in part, “the company paid a total of $453,881.81 as employment cost for Financial Controller and an Operations Manager.

$254,485.31 was paid over a 16-month period from July 1, 2004 to October 31, 2005 to the Operations Manager in the form of emoluments, travelling, relocation, and termination of contract.

$199,396.50 was paid to the Financial Controller over a three-year period.”
According to Andall, this kind of information is sufficient to show that Dr. Mitchell has to take full responsibility for the financial and economic difficulties in the country.

He also alluded to Dr. Mitchell’s announcement in the national address that this year more than $300M will be spent by government on debt repayment.

The NDC Deputy Political Leader accused Dr. Mitchell of putting in place the “poor management and oversight structures” that resulted in the collapse of SGL Holdings, CapBank International and NALGICO insurance which resulted in $500m vanishing from the local economy.

Andall also addressed the issue of assets having been sold by the Congress Government to pay salaries.

He reminded the nation that those assets were bought by the state-owned National Insurance Scheme (NIS) and they remain part of the national patrimony.

He said that on the other hand, NNP gave away assets while referring to the 20 acres of the then Grand Beach Hotel to grand prix driver, Lewis Hamilton.

“So when Dr. Mitchell wants to talk about selling properties, yes the NDC did sell, but he committed a grave act, almost a treasonable act by giving away our national assets,” he added.

Andall also charged that some home owners on the island are now losing their homes as they are unable to meet their financial obligations with the various banks and other financial institutions.

He touched too on NNP‘s dismantling of the free schoolbooks programme, and the duty-free barrel programme instituted by NDC as part of the safety net programmes for the vulnerable people in Grenada.

The senior Congress official chided NNP for being insensitive as its action has now caused a financial strain on parents who have to find thousands of dollars to purchase schoolbooks.