Good politics, bad economic policy

The last four decades have seen Grenada generally wallow at the bottom of the economic development basket. Not much consistent socio-economic progress has been made. Our fortunes have been up and down. While some external dictates and climatic conditions have negatively impacted our situation, I am of the view that we have been our own enemy.

The inconsistent, ill informed and sometimes populist approaches to our development all in the name of political survival and the dominance of a few egocentric leaders, have served to retard our progress.

A few are of the view that what has been dominant in Grenada is the practice of good politics but bad economic policy. Some praise the proponents but I strongly disagree. I am of the view that what we have and continue to experience is bad politics and bad economic policy.

This conclusion is starkly brought to the fore by the current revelation of the government’s trickery on the fuel price rape of the people of Grenada.
Forced to make a pronouncement on the current high price of fuel relative to that of our Caribbean neighbours, and the declining world prices, the Prime Minister yet again demonstrated his guile. He curtly declared that “which do you prefer. Another hike in property taxes or higher fuel prices” So the responsibility for our mess was squarely put elsewhere. On the backs of the Grenadian people!

Maybe he is right. Because Grenadians allow themselves to be fooled over and over again. They were told twenty years ago that their money is theirs and that they should not pay taxes. They were then told that NDC was the problem. They were told that the NNP will not put more taxes on the people and the list went on. Now in power, the song is about the DIFFICULT world economic conditions!

For the first time the population was hearing that a deal with the IMF folks and others included another doubling of property tax and other taxes. For the first time they were beginning to understand the reason why the Minister of Finance was given the authority with a change in the law to, on his own vary the tax on fuel when he felt like. No accountability in parliament!

So if his ploy was not detected, poor Grenadians will just continue to pay high fuel prices without batting a wink. The Prime Minister now has many Grenadians thinking, that we need to work together to get us out of a crisis that he created with bad economic policies when he borrowed and borrowed, squandered, and never built the productive capacity of the country. With contracts only for the boys many millionaires were created.

So faced with the choice of higher property taxes or higher fuel prices which one is more palatable. Higher property taxes will elicit an outcry from the property owners most of whom are elderly or highly mortgaged. So another 100% hike will not be accepted. So slip in on the fuel price and say nothing. Take Grenadians for a ride once again!

Many voted for this as they were only thinking about their immediate pockets, handouts and unfair access to contracts.

So what’s the impact of this policy. When you increase taxes on a critical input into the productive process, you negatively impact all production. Fuel is an input into all production including transportation. The total cost of doing business increases and it reduces productivity. If so, then why is it that the hoteliers and business people are not shouting foul as they are quick to do.

What about the busmen and the parents who have to carry their children to school and go to work. Is it that they are thinking that high prices are due to the volatile world fuel market. Or are they too scared to talk. Well, this is obviously bad economic policy but good politics for the NNP. They have Grenadians where they want them.

Fooled again and silenced! No negatives for the NNP but the economy going down the drain! We spinning top in mud as the people say! So once again, screw the country and save the NNP! Mortgage our children’s future.

As the election draws near, we are seeing the NNP guile more often.
Only recently, the Prime Minister put the blame on the public servants in a meeting in St Patrick’s. In response to a hard question, he told the audience that the problem in agriculture is not the lack of money and resources, but the public servants. They are not doing their jobs.

And this includes the square pegs that he trusts and has put in round holes. Trust here is defined as doing what I say. But the public servants voted for that!

More importantly the audience was again told that next year we will see tons and tons of projects coming on stream. Maybe the people believed again. GOOD POLITICS! THE COUNTRY CONTINUES TO SUFFER! And sitting comfortably in the audience, was a former secondary school principal, who was transferred to the Ministry of Education to be a Truancy Officer. What a demotion, or so it seems. A classic disguise to spend all her time going from house to house campaigning for the next general elections.

Like every house have children that are not going to school. But it is business as usual as our taxpayers money is being used everyday to pay a Government Senator whose primary function is to spend time on a local radio station beating up on the NDC. And Grenadians like it so.

The Phantom Fighter

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