Two recent statements from the leading private sector organisations in the country should not go unnoticed by the people of Grenada.
Both the Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce (GCIC) and the Grenada Hotel & Tourism Association (GHTA) have made public pronouncements about the state of things in the country and according to them the failure of the current administration of Prime Minister Tillman Thomas to implement a number of promised projects.
It appears that the two organisations are very mindful of the hostile global environment in which the world has now found itself. However, the timing of their statements should not be taken lightly.
Thomas’ National Democratic Congress (NDC) government has found itself in a minority position in the Houses of Parliament and its opponents quite rightly are trying to exploit the situation.
The main opposition New National Party (NNP) and the so-called Rebel MP’s who were expelled from the Congress Government have been clamouring for a resumption of sittings of Parliament in order to discuss the business of the country.
The hypocrisy in that is that Member of Parliament for South St. George, Glynis Roberts, the former Minister of Labour and Tourism is among those calling for Parliament to reconvene so that Members can air their views on the current situation in the country.
This is one MP whose mouth was glued for most of the eight to ten years since she became a Parliamentarian and had virtually become the forgotten woman on the Congress side of the house.
Her behaviour is similar to that of many of the persons now in charge of the Chamber and Hotel associations in the thirteen years of rule of the former New National Party (NNP) government of then Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell.
These people were totally silent when Grenadian passports were being sold left, right and centre to all kinds of crooks and con men by the NNP regime.
What was the reaction of the GCIC and GHTA to the VISA requirement imposed by Canada on Grenadians wishing to visit their loved ones and to do business in their country due to Grenada’s flirtation in the offshore banking business?
The private sector bosses in the country seemingly padlocked their mouths when the former government was giving millions of guarantees to questionable foreign investors like E.J Miller who came in with a promise to build a 5-star Ritz Carlton hotel at Mt. Hartman and drew down on the money and fled this jurisdiction.
As a matter of fact, some of those persons making noises in the Chamber helped to facilitate some of the wrong-doing in office of the NNP and loss of millions of dollars whether in the Garden Group of Hotel projects in the south of the island and the Marketing & National Importing Board fiasco along the Lagoon in St. George’s.
The behaviour of some of the elements in the Chamber reminds one of the days of the 1970’s when the business class formed themselves into a so-called Committee of 22 along with others to try and bring down the duly-elected Grenada United Labour Party (GULP) government of then Prime Minister, Eric Gairy.
The sons and daughters of those who feel that Grenada belongs to them and them alone are back at work with one thing in common – to influence the political process with their class interest at heart.
Prime Minister Thomas is not from their class and will never be accepted by them as one worthy to be the leader of the country.
The predecessor, Dr. Mitchell fits the bill as he is prepared to engage in a type of governance that will make money flow into their coffers constantly to top up their bank accounts.
There are too many elements in the Grenada private sector who think of self and not country. It does not matter to some of them that the country’s national debt keeps sky-rocketing and going out of control so long as they get more than their fair share of the little that the nation now has to offer.
The views being expressed by THE NEW TODAY should not be construed as an attack on the entire membership of GCIC and GHTA since some of the businessmen in the country have always demonstrated patriotism and national pride.
And within the private sector itself, it is a dog-eat-dog mentality as some of the members behave like typical crabs in a barrel – always seeking to pull down the one who is seemingly making progress and leaving the delinquent and non-progressive ones behind.
The Government will have to be extremely careful in using scarce taxpayers’ money to engage in any bail-out of some members of the private sector.
The dollars will have to be used to offer a bail-out to most citizens who are struggling and grappling each and every day with the kinds of hardships that are not of their own making but due to the decision-makers in the wealthier industrialised nations in Europe and North America.
Look at the reaction of some of them in the private sector to the incentives package given to Sandals as a worthy partnership for the tremendous marketing that their presence can do to Grenada when it is known that the country by itself cannot afford the level of marketing that is necessary to put the island on the international radar.
Too many in the private sector have not demonstrated signs of changing in the face of the hostile global environment – and can be seen almost each and every passing day at bars drinking Whiskey, River Antoine, Vodka and Babash.
A lot of them in the private sector also need to change their modus operandi from being importers of foreign goods and only engaging in wholesale and retail business for profits but to become real producers in the manufacturing sector especially with local products.
This kind of continued behaviour will never ensure progress and development for Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.