China will give Grenada nearly 20 Million EC dollars (8.7 Million US) in grant assistance, even as it considers more aid to the country.
In making the announcement, the Government Information Service (GIS) said the funds were announced during bilateral discussions held in Port of Spain Trinidad & Tobago on Sunday between Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The Chinese leader was on a two-day visit to Trinidad and Tobago to engage Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Prime Ministers and Presidents in a series of bilateral meetings before leaving for Costa Rica.
The GIS release said that the grant assistance to Grenada is part of a multi-million dollar package of assistance that Beijing has offered to the Caribbean Region.
Officials travelling with President Xi said, the money can be drawn down at a schedule, and for purposes that Grenada will determine.
Prime Minister Mitchell, heading a four-man delegation including Foreign Affairs Minister Nickolas Steele, made an impassioned plea for more grant assistance from Beijing for the next three years, as the Grenada Government “seeks to stabilise the fiscal crisis it inherited.”
It said that Prime Minister Mitchell asked Beijing for 10 million US dollars for each of the next three years for direct budgetary support.
“I add again that the cash support, this year, next year and the following year is crucial because of the situation in which we have found ourselves,” Prime Minister Mitchell told President Xi in wrapping up his presentation.
Grenada has also presented a list of projects for consideration over the next five years – a plethora of things ranging from Housing to Sports, Agriculture, Infrastructural projects and Education.
In a session lasting nearly 45 minutes, Prime Minister Mitchell made a special plea for education assistance particularly in technological areas.
“We recognise that while we are smaller than many other countries, our people want to compete in the same way as other people in the global society. To do this, we must educate them and empower them with knowledge”, GIS quoted Prime Minister Mitchell as saying.
The Grenadian leader also pushed to have Chinese assistance in building the additional 500 units of houses that the previous government had given up in seeking to have the Athletic stadium rebuilt.
A previous Mitchell government had ditched the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan in favour of Mainland China in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
The package from the Chinese on the Mainland to woo Grenada into their camp included the rebuilding of the first national stadium that was destroyed by the hurricane but no agreement was reached on getting Beijing to honour the island’s huge debts owed to Taiwan.
The EX-IM Bank of Taiwan has since won a judgement in a New York court for Grenada to repay an estimated EC$78 million owed to the island for four loans extended to the island between 1989 and 2004 for building the first sporting stadium and for road construction and agricultural development.