Rescue mission for GTA!!!

Over a year ago, I gave notice of my intention to publish an article entitled “Two Bajan Suns Eclipse Spice Isle Tourism”! However, I delayed in the confident expectation that the situation at the Grenada Tourism Authority would be put right in short order. In the event, there has been a disappointing ‘doubling-down’ on the leadership drought at the GTA.

Readers are invited to consider that I engage this and other public policy issues as a reasonably informed citizen and a fair-minded commentator. Furthermore, I say that while I am prepared to give my word to another, I give my conscience to Grenada. The need to express my conscience in words has now become a matter of urgent and patriotic duty

Under ‘eclipse’ conditions, one Bajan calf has been fattened on the Grenadian ‘cow pen’, while the other continues to ‘plan’ and find ways to milk the cow from afar. The problem is that neither of them will leave any natural fertiliser behind. Both have shifted from strolling pensively around Bridgetown to profiling merrily around St. George’s.

If you thought Grenada was not a land of milk and honey, you are dead wrong!

Speaking painfully, the GTA can best be described as a high-cost, newly-legislated carcass! The organisation has been stillborn as a result of a major recruitment error which has been irresponsibly perpetuated for far too long. If a Barbadian citizen of touted certification and in need of employment was not sought after by the Barbados Tourism Authority, how is it that he could come to Grenada and effortlessly secure an appointment as the CEO of our main tourism management organisation?

The answer is to be found in personal friendships, political ties, dereliction of duty and the unknown!

Understand it this way: Noel Lynch is a member of the Barbados Labour Party. So too is Rudy Grant. When Noel served as Minister for Tourism in Barbados, it appears that Rudy was his minimised Parliamentary Secretary. Eventually, Noel landed in Grenada and for months many in our industry were blinded by his ‘consultancy’ on the establishment of the GTA and the transition from the GBT.

When the time came to recruit a CEO, a number of applicants were discarded. Notice that Rudy was not among the original applicants.

Perhaps he lacked confidence in himself to meet the requirements as advertised.
Being wholly unprepared and inexperienced, relevantly, Rudy’s lack of understanding of core tourism issues was disturbingly exposed during a radio interview with George Grant post the West Indies vs. England test match played in Grenada in April, 2015.

So who do we blame? Who ought to have been more concerned for the development of Grenada through its leading economic industry? Who ought to have called out the ‘shortfall’ before it became a ‘downfall’? And what explains the extension of Rudy’s contract when the tourism private sector, directors and the dwindled professional staff knew and complained about his unsuitability and ineffectiveness?

How could it be that the Prime Minister would be heard recently on TV apologising (unprecedented) for the performance of the GTA on the basis that they were not given all the promised resources? (Is not the NNP a sister party of the BLP? (Make the connection!) Has the GTA been recently handed a new marketing plan produced in Barbados and was Noel Lynch involved in its production?

And why has the tourism private sector (GHTA) not openly called for corrective action at the GTA, even in the face of senseless conflict, competition and controversy between the two organisations? Remember, there is something called self-imposed public silence, usually induced by political sympathies. Taking the gloves off, I assert that there would have been loud and condemnatory noises had this been happening under an NDC regime.

Pay attention to the attrition rate at the GTA because it tells a sad story about the status of the organisation, one which commenced in crisis and has degenerated into a carcass! Professional and technical employees walk out almost at the rate of one per quarter! With such mortal wounds and in the face of failure to display competence or the capacity to mentor his subordinates, can Rudy actually prepare a successor? Poor ‘Pure Grenada’!

Success has eluded the GTA mostly because of a major recruitment error. Rudy’s employment has already cost Grenada upwards of half a million dollars! Yes! But that waste is surpassed by the loss to the economy and the consequential short-changing of poor Grenadian citizens. That is what happens under the ‘eclipse’ of ‘Two Bajan

Suns’! There can be no success unless the CEO has a ‘soul’; a depth of feeling; a passion; for Grenada, the Grenadian people and their welfare.

Just to point out, reports of increased arrivals have been driven by Sandals. In fact, we are still short of our pre-Ivan arrivals for the Caribbean and the UK.

Now then, will the authorities close their minds to the deep GTA crisis on account of friendships, Bajan affinities and political ties; or will they get serious and take action in the best interest of Grenada? Clearly, the GTA as an important national project needs to be re-shaped and re-started urgently. The corpse cannot be embalmed!

William Joseph

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