Secretary to the Cabinet of Government Ministers, Gemma Bain-Thomas has sought to bring some clarity to the sale of a number of State properties by the Tillman-Thomas-led Government.
Bain-Thomas who met with members of the media last week Thursday during a press conference at the Cabinet Room at the Ministerial Complex disclosed that as a means of meeting its recurrent expenditure, Cabinet took a strategic decision during the month of September to consider the revenue collection of the State by utilising some State assets.
Negotiations were entered into with the State-owned National Insurance Scheme (NIS) to obtain the necessary revenue to finance the recurrent expenditure and some of the capital projects that are now taking place.
Bain-Thomas said government compiled a list of existing State assets with a total value of $10m that could be sold to NIS in order to obtain the necessary revenue.
The properties identified included the old Electoral Office on Woolwich Road, St. George’s, the old television station at Morne Jaloux, St. George’s, the old Drill Yard on Young Street, St. George’s that once served as the base for the Ministry of Works, the old St. James Hotel on Grand Etang Road in St. George’s, and the Doctor’s Quarters at St. David’s, Maran and LaDigue.
“These things (government assets) are being transferred to another State entity, and so the people of Grenada are not loosing their assets. They are in another State entity,” the Cabinet Secretary explained.
According to her, as part of the arrangement government can repurchase those assets at a later date.
Bain-Thomas also disclosed that 4.5 million of the 11 million government shares in Cable and Wireless that has a net value of $15m were sold to NIS.
Government shares of less than one million dollars in the Grenada Breweries Limited were also sold.
Government’s decision to sell State assets was raised by Opposition Leader, Dr. Keith Mitchell during a public meeting of the New National Party two weeks ago in Crochu, St. Andrew’s.
During his tenure as Prime Minister, Dr. Mitchell and his NNP government were often accused of engaging in mismanagement and corruption.
A recent report submitted to the Congress government chided the NNP for raising the national debts by 58.4 million dollars in 2006 due to “speculative” undertakings in three projects including the guaranteeing of millions to the Garden Group of Hotels in the south of the island and the Marketing & National Importing Board (MNIB).