Jubilee USA Network aims to ease Grenada’s debt crisis

When current Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell won the February 2013 general elections, he said that he was back to address the question of his legacy.

THE NEW TODAY saw the legacy along the lines of the fact that he was the only person to defeat his political opponents 15-0 on two occasions at the polls, as well as the person to occupy the Office for the longest.

However, many persons felt that Dr. Mitchell was bent on using the latest victory at the polls to rectify the negative legacy that was built around many sordid deeds like the Eric Resteiner Briefcase affair, the fiasco caused by the likes of the failed First International Bank of Grenada (FIBG) scandal, the tragedy that is known as the Call Centre, and the number of crooks and conmen who benefitted from an open door policy of the NNP regimes over the years.

The Prime Minister also had a golden opportunity to correct a wrong that was done over the years by the NNP with respect to the fiscal mess that Grenada was facing due to his ill-advised policy of massive borrowing and spending of millions of dollars in the non-productive sectors of the economy.

His NNP was able to convince the electorate about 16 months ago that it had the answers to the embattled National Democratic Congress (NDC) of former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas.

The commitment that was made to the people of Grenada is that under a newlook Mitchell administration, investors were already lined up to come into the country to provide thousands of jobs and that a brand new economy was on the making because a “franchise team” involving Dr. Patrick Antoine was in place to deal with the situation.

This newspaper is getting worried for Dr. Mitchell that the legacy that he might be craving after might just be a dream and thousands of miles away.

The Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) now in the making with all these taxes and austerity measures being taken was certainly not on the agenda of Dr. Mitchell and the rest of the NNP leadership.

Here was an individual who was forced to implement measures that ran counter to what he had been proposing all his life as Prime Minister – a widening of the income tax net to lessen on the disposable income in the pockets of the working people, as well as a host of other taxes that will bring hardship on their backs.

Today Dr. Mitchell is trying to do what no other Prime Minister in the past 30 years have ever attempted to do – raid the purse of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) – to get a 50-60% haircut from the financial institution that looks after the pension of the Working Class.

It was THE NEW TODAY newspaper a few weeks ago that broke the news about the proposal that was being put forward by the NNP to the NIS Management.

This can never be compared to the privatisation of GRENLEC under a former Congress government of Sir Nicholas Brathwaite.

Why would Dr. Mitchell want to go down in history as the only Prime Minister to launch an open and most vulgar attack on the Pension Fund of workers in the country?

The Grenada Trade Union Council (GTUC) has more than a morale obligation to take whatever steps that are deemed necessary to confront the government head on with this NIS “hair cut” issue.

This newspaper calls on the TUC to approach the law courts for a determination on the legality of the action being contemplated by the Mitchell government.

Does the act which created the NIS give the governing Board of the scheme the legal authority or teeth to make such a fundamental decision with respect to the Workers money?

Why is the Minister of Education, Anthony Boatswain and not Minister Delma Thomas who is the NIS line minister addressing this particular issue?

Why should anyone take Minister Boatswain serious on anything given his empty statements over the years?

Under a previous NNP regime, Mr. Boatswain as the then Minister of Finance told the nation that borrowing money to create debt was not a problem once you could pay it back.

Grenada is now in no position to pay back its national debt of EC$2.4 billion. What is Mr. Boatswain now saying about this?

The Education Minister is now trying to peddle to the people of Grenada that there is nothing wrong with government taking a 50-60% ‘hair cut’ from the NIS with respect to the people’s money.

This newspaper wants to remind Mr. Boatswain that whatever money falls into the hands of the NIS in whatever manner or form belongs to the people of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.

It appears to us that time is running out rather quickly on Dr. Mitchell and the legacy that he is seeking to create in order to re-address the past legacy which is not a good one despite of the fact that he has won four general elections in the country.

Over the next two to three years, the people will judge him on the 2013 promises made to the electorate of delivery of thousands of jobs and the better days that were in store for the farmers, fishermen, youth, taxi-drivers, busmen, carpenters, masons, truck drivers and others.

The pain and suffering in the country is growing and the Nazi-like propaganda machinery from within the Government Information Service (GIS) is hurting the image of Prime Minister Mitchell with all the “ole talk” of growth in the economy.

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