The Conference of Churches of Grenada (CCG) which is a member of the government-appointed Committee of Social Partners has made it clear that its operations are free from the dictates of any of the two major political parties on the island.
CCG Chairman Reverend Osbert James declared that the church body is not answerable to neither the ruling New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell or the main opposition National Democratic Congress of former Finance Minister, Nazim Burke.
Rev. James observed that at various times, the church body has been accused by the supporters of whichever party that is in opposition of being a supporter of the political party in office.
“The CCG as an organisation is a supporter firstly and only of the country,” he said while speaking at a public forum on the Social Compact.
Rev. James explained that the Social Compact is a mechanism to ensure that the country is placed before personality adding that it was also a document which embodies the ideals that they believe all Grenadians can support, and towards which “we must work.”
He felt that the Social Compact should transcend administrations and be the major document which informs the country’s developmental thrust, as well as to be used as a guide for the creation of national development plans.
He said the CCG firmly believes in the virtue of the Social Compact and the process of national development, and has always insisted that any opposition party that may likely lead the country in the future should be involved in the process.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Timothy Antoine is satisfied that the Committee of Social Partners which comprises the churches, business community, trade unions, and civil society groupings are able to work together in collaboration with government.
Antoine, a brother-in-law to Rev. James, stated that the collaborative effort of the Social Partners is free from political influence.
“The nation needs to understand when you see the union, you see the churches, and you see civil society, and you see the private sector sitting down with government, nobody has sold out, everybody has bought in to Grenada and building Grenada,” Antoine said.
Second Vice President of the Grenada Trades Union Council (TUC) Kenny James who also addressed the forum that took place at the Corinth Government School in St. David’s gave the reasons why the TUC is on board with the social compact.
James indicated that labour has always played a critical role in the country’s socio-economic and political development.
He said labour represents a major chunk of the population, and is bound by various Conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
James indicated that TUC has noticed in recent times that a lot of employment is being given out in the form of contracts.
He said the labour movement has recognized that some employers are using contracts to cheat workers who should be in permanent positions of their benefits.