The IMF staff concluding report on the Structural Adjustment program – PART 2

Part 1 of this 2 part commentary partially reviewed the concluding staff report of the IMF Structural Adjustment Program (“the SAP”). It highlighted some of the indicators that suggest that despite the commendations that the NNP administration has been heaping upon itself, Grenada’s economy is not doing well after three years of sacrifice and hardship. Indeed, the indicators suggest that we may have endured the sacrifices of the SAP, only to find ourselves right back where we started or even worse off. The report revealed that “gains” of the SAP are fragile and tenuous at best. This doesn’t surprise us … Continue reading

Sargassum on our beaches

By Dr.Winston Mitchell Sargassum is a species of brown algae. It is seen predominantly in the Sargasso Sea located in the open North Atlantic Ocean surrounding Bermuda. Sargassum is present in the Northern Gulf of Mexico and South America. The increased amount of Sargassum noticed since 2011 is thought to be due to the damaging effects of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico along with warming of nutrient-rich waters and rising ocean levels. Movement of Sargassum depends solely on ocean currents. Strong currents transport Sargassum into the open Atlantic Ocean from where it is dispersed and has become … Continue reading

The IMF staff concluding report on the structural adjustment program – Part 1

After campaigning in 2013 on a platform of no new taxes and a pledge not to go to the IMF, immediately on forming the Government, the NNP broke its promises and took Grenada to an IMF monitored Structural Adjustment Program (“SAP”). The SAP was to be for 3 years from June 2014 to 2017. The SAP was characterised by over 30 new and increased taxes, duties and fees, wage freeze and hiring freeze for the public service, a cut in social safety net programs and overall sacrifice and belt tightening for the people of Grenada. The period of the SAP … Continue reading

Let Mia Mottley’s seed sprout across the Caribbean

In the wake of the clean sweep by the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) of all the seats in general elections on May 24 for the Barbados House of Representatives, the problem of no parliamentary opposition has rightly become a matter for wider discussion in the Caribbean and farther abroad. This development in Barbados, that occasioned the unseating of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) which had presided over the steady decline of the economy for 10 years, followed a similar circumstance in Grenada just two months before where the ruling New National Party (NNP) won all the seats. One country without … Continue reading

Political hubris and justice

If there is any doubt that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is not beholden to governments and does not yield to their wishes in making judgements, recent events should dispel it. Freundel Stuart, whose tenure as Prime Minister of Barbados, was decisively terminated by the majority of the Barbadian electorate on May 24, had infamously declared, five days earlier, that “once” his party is returned to office, he would withdraw Barbados from the CCJ as the country’s final court of appeal. The declaration, which conflicted with every previous public statement he had made about the CCJ, was characteristic of … Continue reading

Foreign policy lessons from the resistance of the Rastafari

The use of force is still very much a part of the foreign policy and diplomatic considerations of all states, even small ones. In the latter case, what they consider is not using force themselves, but force being used against them. Force is seldom military in today’s world; it is more often economic. The wide and liberal use of sanctions, particularly by the member countries of the Organisation for Co-operation and Development (OECD), is ample evidence of how other nations are coerced into submitting to the will of the powerful. The OECD’s actions against Caribbean countries in relation to taxation … Continue reading

The Authority of China’s Taiwan Region Should Bear Full Responsibility for not Being Invited to The 71st World Health Assembly By H.E. Dr. Zhao Yongchen Chinese Ambassador to Grenada

The 71st World Health Assembly (WHA) will be held from 21 to 26 May 2018 in Geneva and the authority of China’s Taiwan region isn’t invited to the Assembly as an observer. The Taiwan Authority should bear full responsibility for this since it refuses to recognize and abide by the one-China principle, which is a part of resolutions of the United Nations. The World Health Organization (WHO) is a United Nations (UN) specialized agency composed of sovereign countries. As part of China, Taiwan is not a sovereign country and it is not eligible to participate in the organization and has … Continue reading

A world less safe: Caribbean not immune

Events affecting Iran, prompted by the May 8 decision of U.S. President Donald Trump to withdraw America from a 2015 nuclear deal, may appear irrelevant to Caribbean countries. They are not. One of the first effects will be a rise in oil prices which has already reached US$77 a barrel and is forecast to rise higher. The cost of oil is one of the highest factor costs for production in every Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country, except Trinidad and Tobago which is an oil and gas producer. Since 2014, Caribbean economies enjoyed a respite from high oil prices that averaged US$100 … Continue reading

Electoral reform before another Referendum

On 30th September 2013, the Governor General unceremoniously fired Judy Benoit, Supervisor of Elections after she refused to tow the political line. From then, the electoral process and system in Grenada, have been under sustained attack. Unfortunately, the National Democratic Congress has been, for the most part, the lone voice speaking out against this attack. We called for much needed reform to the election law, the Representation of the People Act (“the RPA”), but no change was made even though Government expressed its commitment to electoral reform. The NDC had several meetings with the Supervisor of Elections between 2016 and … Continue reading

The constitutional breach in the Senate

Just before the Ceremonial Opening of the 10th Parliament, it was announced that Glynis Roberts will be made a Senator. This announcement was a matter of interest to us in the NDC because the three interest groups: the farmers, the business community and labour had already announced their Senators; and on March 21st 2018, Her Excellency invited us to submit 2 or 3 names for consideration to be appointed Opposition Senators. We submitted: Glen Noel, Ron Redhead and Kerryne James. Section 24 (2) of the Constitution of Grenada is very clear. It provides that the Governor General shall appoint 7 … Continue reading