Playing with the people’s mind

There appears to be a deliberate attempt by those now in charge of the affairs of Grenada to engage in a mind game with the people.

This is becoming clearer each and every passing day as events continue to unfold in the tri-island State of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

Let’s take for example the statements being put out by the Government Information Service (GIS) now headed by Rawle Titus on the proposed debt restructuring exercise that the Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government is expected to undertake with the creditors.

The GIS quoted the Prime Minister as saying that he expects 300 million U.S dollars in debt relief and that the monies being received will do a whole host of things.

As stated in the release: “The monies we are getting could help people invest in more Small Business Enterprises, could help develop more educational activities for our children – more scholarships and training to prepare them to take the jobs that’s coming, could be put to health care so that when you go to the hospital you can get modern day treatment and also help to expand Agricultural activities by investing in technology and improving production levels, giving farmers more power to earn more money.”,

The impression is clearly being given by the government to the unsuspecting that Grenada is getting US$300M in its coffers to do a number of things in terms of bettering the lives of the people. Even if there is debt relief of US$300 million that cannot be interpreted as receiving US$300 million in hand

THE NEW TODAY would like to ask the following question – who is giving this money? As a matter of fact were did this figure of $300 million U.S. come from when the same government is yet to put forward any proposals to the creditors? Who is really trying to fool whom and for what purpose?

This newspapers challenges anyone in the current government to provide the evidence that either the IMF or the Creditors would be making that amount of money available to Grenada.

What makes the government so cocksure in the absence of any proposals on the table that the creditors would be prepared to take a “hair cut” of US$300 million dollars on the monies owed to them for loans contracted by Grenada over the years?

There is absolutely no direct discussions taking place right now between the Mitchell administration and the group of Creditors who have formed themselves into a committee to deal with government on its stated policy of seeking a restructuring of the national debt of EC$2.3 billion in light of Grenada’s uncreditworthiness in the eyes of the international community.

Did the IMF tell the Mitchell government that it would get the Creditors to give up US$300 million dollars in interest payments on the outstanding loans? What is it Prime Minister, please inform the nation where this figure of US$300 million dollars in debt relief came from.

Prior to the February 19 general elections, the current Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Timothy Antoine in his capacity as a preacher was heard on a local FM radio station making some critical remarks about borrowing and spending.

Mr. Antoine’s message was that no one should seek to borrow if they cannot pay back. As Permanent Secretary of Finance, did he tell this over the years to the governments that had hired him as PS Finance? Is he preaching that language and message to the current Minister of Finance who happens to be the Prime Minister and the leader largely responsible for the current economic and financial crisis facing the country?

The clear attempt by GIS to massage the minds of Grenadians can have the chilling effect of telling the people that there is nothing wrong in borrowing and not paying back the loans because through debt restructuring and debt forgiveness the country will get more money like US$300M that is being bandied about these days for development purposes.

The unfortunate NNP “borrowing and spending spree” was in keeping with the philosophy of one of its financiers in the 1990’s that there was nothing wrong in borrowing because creditors cannot sell a country if they are owed and cannot be paid.

The future leaders of our country should not listen to the current message of GIS but instead understand the need to inculcate in the minds and heads of our people each and every day that they should always live within their means and do not put their hats where they hands cannot ever hope to reach.

The other mind game being played out by those now in charge concerns the GRENLEC issue and the intention of the majority shareholders, WRB Enterprise to sell their shares.

The first major statement that came out from government is that it had notified WRB that it would buy back the shares since government considers the island’s sole electricity company as strategic for the development of the country.

Quite frankly THE NEW TODAY regarded this statement as “public political grand-standing” by the Mitchell government since the IMF had already made a pronouncement that the Grenada Government was bankrupt and uncreditworthy

The creditors would have taken notice of this initial statement on GRENLEC since on one hand, the government was telling the world that it did not have money to pay its debts but on the other hand it had money to buy back majority shareholding interest in the utility company.

At a later stage, a chief spokesman for the government appeared on a local radio station and informed the Nation that the administration would only buy back the shares for a short period since it needed to change the law providing for the operation of GRENLEC.

However, less than 12 hours later, the GIS put out another statement which quoted Prime Minister Mitchell as saying that government would not buy back the GRENLEC shares but would facilitate the process in order to get a private sector entity with Grenada’s best interest at heart to make the purchase from WRB.

Who are these private sector entities that have Grenada’s best interest at heart and not their own interest which is making profits on their investments?

As former Accountant-General in the Ministry of Finance, Richard Duncan stated on “the Beyond The Headlines” radio and TV program on GBN on Monday night, the country might have squandered the gains that came from the first serious Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) that was done by the Congress government of Sir Nicholas Brathwaite and late Finance Minister, George Brizan.

Are we prepared to make more sacrifices now and 20 years later another “smart man” who can talk the talk to the ignorant and unsuspecting will fool the nation with more “pretty words” and embark on another borrowing and spending spree that would take us back again to the feet of the IMF?

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