Civil Society refuses to sign-on

The grouping of Civil Society Organisations (CSO) in Grenada has declined to sign the much talked about Social Compact document that seeks to provide a framework for good governance on the island.

The document was signed on Tuesday at the Ministry of Works Conference Room by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell as well as officials representing the Conference of Churches of Grenada (CCG), Alliance of Evangelical Churches, Grenada Chamber of Industry & Commerce (GCIC) and the Grenada Trade Union Council (GTUC).

In addressing the signing ceremony, Chairperson of CSO, Judy Williams said that while her organisation supports the Social Compact in principle but will delay signing the document due to its concerns on national development issues.

Williams made specific mention of outstanding issues related to the Carriacou Tyrrel Bay Marina development project involving a group of private developers.

She said CSO is concerned about the impact on the destruction of mangroves, increasing coastal vulnerability, and erosion of the livelihood of persons who depend on fishing as a result of the project.

She recalled that a public consultation was held in Carriacou on June 21, 2014 at the request of Prime Minister Mitchell at which an independent Consultant representing the interest of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and the Environment reminded Grenada of its international obligation as a party to various multilateral environmental agreements.

The Consultant is also said to have offered advise on some fundamental steps that should be taken with respect to the project.

According to Williams, the CSO is not aware of any action taken by the authorities in light of the recommendation made by the Consultant.

Williams who heads the St. John’s based non-governmental organisation known as GRENCODA said the decision of the CSO to participate in the dialogue leading up to the signing of the document is a demonstration of their commitment to Grenada’s development.

She added that the Civil Society Grouping intends to take an active role in the governance process in the future.

Consultant in Labour Management Relations, Dr. Andre Vincent Henry who facilitated the dialogue among the sectoral interest group – government, private sector, labour and civil society organisations and played a significant role in the drafting of the document acknowledged that significant challenges will continue to manifest themselves.

However, Dr. Henry reminded the social partners and their constituents of the three critical success behaviours that must guide the process.

He said the interests of Grenada are bigger than the interest of each individual group, no one partner can expect to get everything or even most of what they want most of the time, and joint winning requires joint sacrifice and joint compromise.

President of the Grenada Trade Council (TUC) Madonna Harford indicated that the document will be used as a way of protection for workers in Grenada, as well as establishing good and stable industrial relations in the country.

The TUC boss said that now the signing has taken place the hard work begins.

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