Under pressure, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has delivered “a coward blow” to the island’s Public Sector unions by accusing them of being “political” in the stand-off with his New National Party (NNP) administration on the one-off payment promised to civil servants for their sacrifices in the just-ended Structural Adjustment Programme.
THE NEW TODAY is convinced that this lingering issue with the two unions is preventing the Prime Minister from setting the date for the upcoming general election.
An angry and dis-satisfied civil service will most likely result in large numbers of public officers voting against the NNP and instead for the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
If this happens then it can be considered as a reversal from the last election in 2013 when it was generally felt that civil servants voted in numbers against Congress and helped NNP to its landslide 15-0 victory in the polls.
The actions of the government in recent years itself have forced public officers to adopt an attitude of indifference towards it.
The issue of money in these hard financial and economic times will often leave a bitter taste in the mouths of those who are not comfortable with what is offered to them.
The fact of the matter is that the Structural Adjustment Programme has left most civil servants with less disposable income in their pockets.
The so-called promised new economy which was a major plank in the NNP platform for the 2013 general election never materialised as the foreign investors were far apart and too few in coming.
The civil servants are living on this island and are the ones who see on a daily basis the pay sheet of government.
In the midst of the Structural Adjustment Programme, Kisha Alexander-Grant, the Press Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister was awarded an increase of $12, 000 a year on her already well-paid salary.
The civil servants will quite naturally ask the question – if the Press Secretary can get that increase then how come our employer cannot pay the one-off payment of $1500.00?
The situation is compounded by the foolish response given by MP For St. George North-east, Hon. Tobias Clement who is getting a cool $7, 000.00 a month pocket change from government for doing nothing for the State on top of his $EC13, 5000.00 salary from St. George’s University.
The fact of the matter is that the NNP regime of Dr. Mitchell has taxed Grenadians as never seen before and using most of the money collected to pay for the high debts that it was responsible for creating during the 1995-2008 period.
The NNP cannot run and hide from the fact that it pursued a foolish policy of borrowing millions at high commercial interest rates on the altar of political expediency in order to win elections over the years.
The reality is that the country could not service the debts when due and this culminated in the Structural Adjustment Programme to find the fiscal space to repay the creditors.
However, it should be noted that the fiscal space is being used rather conveniently for political purposes by Dr. Mitchell and NNP. Is it not the same fiscal space when it comes to finding and spending millions on the Imani programme each year?
On another note, THE NEW TODAY would like to salute Trevor Thwaites who passed away last Saturday morning which sent shock waves throughout the length and breadth of the country.
It is often said that tributes should be paid to an individual when he/she is alive and not wait to do so when they have passed to the great beyond.
This cannot be applicable to Trevor since no one expected him to die so sudden and in the prime of his life.
Trevor was a man from the “Jealous Mountain” which is really Morne Jaloux and was a treasure, hero and well-respected member of the small village.
He brought fame to his hometown by helping to break the long-standing barrier of national cricketers being selected primarily from the St. George’s Town clique.
It was players from the Morne Jaloux/St. Paul zone like Trevor, Raphael Croney and Osbert Hall who helped to force open the tightly closed St. George’s door to cricketers from all over the island.
“Mammy Dora” who was his grandmother would have been proud of her grandson Trevor who not only made his name on the cricket field but also in the boxing arena and Journalism.
It was “Mammy Dora” who nurtured and grew up this special son of Morne Jaloux as his parents like many others in those days migrated overseas in the search for a better life.
THE NEW TODAY is confident that Trevor will get a fitting send-off at the appropriate time as he was loved by just about everyone who came into contact with him.
The whole of Morne Jaloux and Richmond Hill can be expected to turn out to bid a final farewell to their loved and cherished son who has gone too soon from this life on earth.
May His Soul rest in peace!!!