Many will acknowledge that unemployment is and remains the Caribbean’s number one socio-economic challenge. Grenada is no exception. The problem is intractable, pervasive and so important that Dr. Mitchell has OVER THE PAST NINE YEARS, embraced it as his “Political punching bag” owned by the NDC.
Many leaders particularly in the developed world, due to inadequate statistical departments and a paucity of good data, have misrepresented their unemployment rates for political advantage. This has led to a reliance on regional institutions and organisations like Central Banks, regional banks, the IMF and the World Bank by many for trusted information. They are seen as trusted and reliable sources of data particularly on growth rates and unemployment.
So, leaders and countries cannot lie when it really counts. They can’t lie to regional and international institutions if they intend to borrow money for example. They may lie to local constituents but they cannot lie when dealing with regional and international institutions. These institutions also understand and track these rates.
The situation becomes more acute when countries find themselves in financial trouble, like Grenada did, with too much debt, high fiscal deficits and low or no growth and cannot pay their bills due to bad behaviour and ill-discipline.
During the period 2008 to 2013, the official unemployment rate in Grenada, based on statistical information was 32%. Despite this Dr. Mitchell repeatedly choose on every occasion to tell the country that it was 50%.
This was his mantra for the 2013 elections. Many of his minions also repeated that inaccuracy with blinded enthusiasm.
Very instructively, immediately after the elections, the unemployment figure suddenly dropped to 40% according to Dr Mitchell. This is without the government having no time to proverbially find its feet.
Then, came a shocker! In a letter dated 25 June 2014 with the accompanying memorandum of economic and financial policies, he stated that in September 2013 Grenada’s unemployment was 33 and a half percent. WOW! Check the IMF website for verification. Incriminating evidence!
So, who is lying? He is telling the truth for International organisations and damn lies for the gullible Grenadians who apparently do not read. Since then, he has reverted to telling Grenadians that unemployment was over 40% before NNP and claiming it is now 29% as a result of shady counting of Imanis as employees.
In fact, for the first time the 2018 budget statement says unemployment was over 40%. Budget statements are written with precise figures. It should state what the rate is and not the political games of saying over 40%. Oh! what games the NNP plays! So any young student doing research on Grenada’s unemployment, cannot be helped by the government’s budget document 2018.
In the said letter of intent, Dr Mitchell stated that “The Grenadian economy has faced unprecedented challenges over the past decade. In addition to the long-standing problems of low growth and high unemployment, the country has faced its largest natural disaster and the most prolonged recession since independence. This in turn exacerbated its already weak fiscal position, despite our attempts to strengthen it in the context of the previous two IMF-supported programmes. These challenges have been feeding each other in a vicious circle, coming to a head in 2012-13 in a full-blown fiscal crisis.”
According to the Inter American Development Bank, small economies in the Caribbean were the hardest hit by the global financial crisis from 2008. So here is the truth! A truth that has nothing to do with the blame of mismanagement of the economy heaped on the NDC that Dr Mitchell, who has been telling this to his minions and his “Ah eating food” cabal.
The world economy has enjoyed modest recovery from the worst recession since the 1930s. Under strict IMF monitoring, some gains were made. There is some construction and some jobs but more noise than jobs. Too much noise, and little truth.
The fact is that the regional projection of 2% growth for 2018 is suspect and there would not be milk and honey flowing as the NNP want Grenadians to believe. The call for hundreds of young people to line up for the opening of Silver Sands Hotel in March this year was just another wicked lie inflicted on our nation’s young people.
Every rational thinking person would have seen that the hotel would not be ready. By a far shot it may be ready for November/ December.
And the deception continues. So too is high unemployment. Our young voters will have to decide on whether they continue to be deceived like docile sheep going to the slaughter house. Or, whether they will stand proud and choose positive change to bring decent, transparent and respectful leadership and governance to our dear Grenada.