Why the IMF Chemotherapy in Grenada will fail

In its narrow medical definition Chemotherapy is defined as the treatment of disease by means of chemical that have a specific toxic effect upon the disease producing microorganism or that selectively destroy cancerous tissue.

In Grenada, in collaboration with the Government of Grenada, the IMF (International Monetary Fund) has undertaken to administer medication to a sick, cancerous economy in an effort to selectively destroy the causative agents of the country’s disease, albeit a form of chemotherapy.

The dangers of chemotherapy are well documented and well known. Bad enough of course are the dangers of chemotherapy administered badly or administered by the wrong hands. Worse is where the agency administering the medication has no interest in whether the patient lives or dies.

Even worse is where the agency administering the drug makes no provision for the sustainability of the patient while he undergoes this severe life threatening process.

There are several areas of the current arrangement that were omitted from the contractual agreement, the absence of any one of which can possibly kill the patient during the period of treatment.

The arrangement did not put in place the required set of injections for economic growth. To obtain economic growth measures would have had to be put in place to increase the capacity of the economy to produce goods and services from one year to another.

Countries where sustained economic growth has impacted on the wider population have had to produce at least 6% to 8% of economic growth per annum. Growth rates of 1% and 1.5% just wouldn’t cut it.

Given that it is possible to have economic growth without the benefits being spread to the wider population some countries have gone one step further to measure the impact of the economic growth on the happiness of the nation. These countries use a wide range of yard
sticks to measure personal happiness over time including, access to education, employment, goods and services, health care, recreation, culture activity, relaxation and others.

To attain economic growth, the program would have had to include specific allocation of resources towards production. Production both in its traditional sense of agriculture and services but also in the non-traditional sense of new innovative areas and unexplored areas including, entertainment, theatre arts, performing arts, film, audio and visual production, animation and several other new technology driven areas.

The sum total of our economic strategy cannot be reduced to the construction of the next concrete monstrosity on our diminishing green space. The Caribbean island of Puerto Rico has built every hotel known to man on its terrain but that did nothing to stop its slide into irrecoverable bankruptcy.

To survive we must expand our thought process to include and accept other innovative developmental methods in our arsenal.

Grenada continues to slide unchecked towards the bottom of the pile in the rankings of the ease of doing business in the World Bank Review. Not only is it close to impossible to start a business it is also unforgiving to survive in it and to liquidate it. Duty and taxation arrangements, operating costs and other hidden charges all work in tandem to ensure your demise. For now, the island remains closed for business.

The basis of Governance lies in the Constitution. Real progress cannot be made without addressing fundamental flaws in that document.

Those are not necessarily flaws inherent in the initial document as passed in 1973 but simply flaws that developed due to the effluxion of time. After forty years of scrutiny we are proposing a six-point change, none of which are exactly earth shattering. Imagine that in 1973 the framers of the Constitution turned up in London with only six points saying to the Queen of England that this is all they could muster in the circumstances.

In its attempt to administer justice the island does not even have a proper courthouse. After moving around from one derelict building to another some of the courts are now settled at the former Lime building on the Carenage. Needless to say there is a need for a proper Hall of Justice where all arms of the Judiciary can function in close proximity and harmony. A concerted effort must be made to eliminate the backlog of cases and the barrage of small claims that remain stuck in the system.

The package does not require persons to be held accountable for their actions. It is becoming all too common that it requires action from an outside agency to discover, track and bring to justice people who break the law in Grenada. Stories abound of persons who break the law and are allowed to roam free for want of prosecution. These days when one enters the Police Station to file a complaint the Police act as judge, jury and executioner, dismissing the complaint based on their whim and fancy.

Gentlemen’s agreements are no longer valid. Several citizens will only pay a parking ticket when they are sentenced to be committed to prison.

Openness is not a requirement of the current arrangements. The nation is run by heresy and rumours. Long after Bills are passed in Parliament the population gets to know the new status quo. Persons in leadership positions are being swapped around and replaced, without due regard for their skills, qualifications and competence.

We can go on and on examining several other key factors left out of the current arrangements between our government and the IMF but the conclusion is clear. The Government of Grenada has entered us into an arrangement that provides for extensive, radical treatment of our diseased economy without any regard or provision for the survival of the patient during the period of the treatment.

Garvey Louison

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