With General Elections in Grenada constitutionally due in the next three years, the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has been accused of having in its possession a huge quantity of cylinders of gas to distribute to the unsuspecting voters in an effort to entice them to vote for the party to remain in office.
Political Leader of the main Opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Senator Nazim Burke told a public meeting at La Borie in St. George’s North-east last week Wednesday that while the two-year old administration is calling on the people of Grenada to continue to make sacrifices through the three-year old Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) that took effect in January 2014, the government has 15, 000 cylinders of gas stored at Queen’s Park, St. George’s to unleash in time for the next General Election.
Sen. Burke said if the NNP Government had any love for the people of Grenada they would not be storing up gas for the elections but to put it at the disposal of the people.
According to the Congress leader, there are people in the country who are still cooking on fire wood and coals while the NNP in a selfish way is holding onto the cylinders of gas and not handing them out to those in need at the moment.
“They are enjoying themselves while the people of this country are starving and telling the people to make sacrifice,” he told the gathering.
In 2012, the NDC government of former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas instituted an “Energy for the poor Programme” in which a number of people who were using wood and coals to do their cooking were provided with stoves and six months supply of the 20 pound cylinder of gas.
Burke also used the platform of the Congress meeting to address the financial plight facing a group of trainee nurses.
He said the male and female nurses who approached him said that because they are not receiving a stipend, they approached the Mitchell-led government to provide them with financial assistance equivalent to what is paid to the Imani trainees but were turned down.
Sen. Burke who spoke on a wide range of national issues also addressed the impending sale of the state-owned Gravel and Concrete.
He noted that while the NNP regime continues to attack the former Congress government in which he was the Finance Minister for selling national assets to the state-owned National Insurance Scheme (NIS) to help pay civil servants, the Mitchell Administration is now making moves to sell Gravel and Concrete to a foreign company.
The former Finance Minister charged that the problems facing Gravel and Concrete is not one of a financial nature but rather a managerial problem.
Burke said it is interesting to note that while government is proceeding with it plans to sell that state corporation, the President-General of the Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU), Sen. Chester Humphrey has remained silent on the issue.
He recalled that when the former NDC Government proposed the possibility of putting the workers on rotation, the same Sen. Humphrey led the workers on a protest march around St. George’s.
“This points out… the dangers of having people in conflict of interest positions,” he said.
Sen. Humphrey was expelled as a member of Congress in 2012 after bitter internal feuding. He is now supporting the Mitchell-led government under an initiative he called, “Project Grenada”.
Sen. Burke also told the public meeting that his political party is receiving reports that the situation at the state-controlled Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) is just as bad.
He said while the workers at MBIA are hoping to improve on its operations and increase its revenue intake, they are being frustrated by the government placing political appointees to work at the airport.
The closure of a number of businesses on the island was also addressed by the NDC Political Leader.
He blamed the economic policies of the NNP Government for the closure of over 45 businesses including Banks and Supermarkets in the past two years in the country.
He said any government that is serious about the future of the country must get the economy growing rather than taxing the people to death.
Sen. Burke promised that once the NDC is returned to Government to get the economy growing once again their first responsibility is to identify those sectors of the economy that have the potential to grow and will be able to provide sustainable jobs for the people.
NDC has already identified education, health and wellness, agriculture and agribusiness, tourism and hospitality, energy development and information communication technology as the key pillars that can grow the local economy.