Less than five months after being appointed as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the state-run Grenada Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC), Dr. Patrick Antoine has given up the post.
A source close to government told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that former President of the Senate, attorney-at-law, Leslie-Ann Seon has replaced Dr. Antoine in the IDC position.
The IDC is expected to play a key role in the efforts of the new Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) administration to attract foreign investors to help create a dent on the island’s high unemployment.
The source said that Cabinet has agreed to rescind the appointment of Dr. Antoine to the GIDC Board given his already heavy workload as Economic Adviser to the regime in St. George’s.
“Not true”, was the response of the official when questioned on reports in some quarters of the country about a possible fall-out between the high profile Dr. Antoine and the new administration.
He spoke of a general agreement between government and its economic adviser that his various appointments at both the State level and on statutory boards “were too much” for one person to handle.
Dr. Antoine is considered as the key player in the move by Mitchel’s NNP to build a “new economy” for the island that is dogged by a massive national debt of EC$2.3 billion.
In March, the new administration defaulted on a payment of EC$19 million to Grenada US bond holders which resulted in Standard & Poors downgrading Grenada’s credit status to “SD”.
The non-payment of the funds to the US bondholders also affected the ability of Republic Bank to pay dividends to its shareholders for the just-ended financial half year.
Dr. Antoine was one of the main architects of the manifesto put together by NNP to help the party to its clean sweep of all fifteen seats in the February general elections.
The economic adviser is also said to be playing a key role in helping to formulate Grenada’s position in soon-to-be held debt restructuring negotiations with the island’s debt creditors.