The $100 million IMF deal could become Grenada’s Prime Minister’s legacy or his albatross.
There is a story about a goodly gentleman who was in the middle of performing a certain excruciating task when he took it upon himself to solicit an opinion on his performance from his lone participant and unholy witness. The witness promptly replied that he was doing three knots.
The home grown economic recovery plan as outlined by the Government of Grenada is
The words IMF and home grown are certainly incompatible. All over the world the IMF is known as the lender of last resort. This is the borrowers’ knacker’s yard. This is where you go when you have reached the end of the line with too many miles on the clock. When you have out conned yourself and you are cornered.
The IMF themselves recently described Grenada as a cancer patient.
They went on to also inform us that they have been treating the economically ailing island for the last ten years without success.
It is that lack of responsiveness to the treatment that led them to the conclusion that the country is in dire straits and does not possess the willpower to take its medication and get better. It was Dr. Oz who observed that 90% of a heart patient’s recovery was based on that person’s will to live.
It was appalling to hear the Government declare that at this point they have met several of the IMF targets. This must be misleading. How can one meet a target without starting the race? Are they telling us that the mere act of putting on your spikes at the starter’s blocks in a 400 meters race is meeting a target?
On one hand, is it the desire of the people to attain a debt service ratio of less than 60 per cent of GDP? Or loans and grants of $100 Million from the IMF and other sources? Or a reduction in salaries from 70% of Recurrent Expenditure? Are these the objectives of the people?
On the other hand isn’t it more disturbing that people are hit by a barrage of indirect taxes and direct income tax at the same time? Isn’t it more crucial that the population is subjected to one of the highest rates of electricity cost in the world?
Wouldn’t it be nice to know that businesses on the island can be profitable again?
Wouldn’t it be nice to know that the banks are friendly again? And that they start lending again? And that they stop sending people home? And closing branches?
And that when you have a property for sale it can be sold at a reasonable price?
Are the objectives of the home grown program in synch with the aims and aspirations of the man cooking by the road in Mount Rich? Can the plan succeed without including him? Can the plan succeed without creating sustainable employment for the unemployed?
The most ridiculous part of the analysis goes something like this: Do what the IMF says and we will receive over $100 Million and we will be back to glory within three years. Well we have been down that road before. Even if we are allocated $100 Million we know that the vast majority of those funds go into non-productive exercises where we carry out a study of the last study with a view to commencing the next study.
One academic said that maybe they should tell us the results that they want to attain and then calculate the strategy towards working to attain that result. This makes sense, at least in that way we will all know the milestones that we are working towards and fully identify when we get there.
As it stands there is no consensus on where we are going nor why are we going there. One thing is for certain, fifteen years of mismanagement cannot be corrected in three years. Jamaica, which started an IMF program over two years ago are now realizing that it would take at least ten years to create a tangible economic impact and more like fifteen years to create consumable results.
Probably of greatest concern is the unalterable fact that the dictator at the helm of this economic quagmire will be an octogenarian in fifteen years. Maybe his biggest desire is to feed us with hope and wish that we do not regurgitate on his watch.
The question is, are one hundred thousand people willing to take the risk and wait patiently for a non-existent reward?