CSO still to sign Social Compact Document

After six months of the signing of the Social Compact Document by members of the Committee of Social Partners, the grouping of Civil Society Organisations (CSO) has still not affixed its signature to the document.

CSO’s Chairperson, Judy Williams who made the disclosure on a radio programme that is produced by Civil Society, and aired on Chime FM said the environmental concern that was put forward with regards to the Tyrrel Bay Marina project in Carriacou has still not been addressed and is a stumbling block.

CSO is concerned about the impact of the project on the destruction of the mangroves, increasing coastal vulnerability, and erosion of the livelihood of persons who depend on fishing in Carriacou.

A public consultation was held in Carriacou on June 21, 2014 at the request of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, and at that consultation an independent consultant representing the interest of the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Fisheries and the Environment reminded Grenada of its international obligation as a party to various multilateral environmental agreements, and also advised of fundamental steps to be taken.

Williams said CSO does not intend to sign the Social Compact unless their concerns are addressed.

“People out there, I want you to know that Civil Society still has not signed the Social Compact,” she remarked.

Williams said CSO which participated in the preparation of the Social Compact took it very seriously.

She said the members of the group feel strongly that if the organisation is to participate, the issues that are of concern to them must find their equal place in the document.

She noted that during the initial discussions, government sought to bring to the table casino gambling and the Citizenship By Investment Programme (CBI) as economic pillars to generate income for the country, and these issues were opposed by CSO.

“For us, the Citizenship By Investment Programme… lacks transparency, and it lacks credibility. We cannot put this as… a programme (because it) has so many negatives… and it’s tarnished, it has been tarnished in other countries,” she said.

CSO had also opposed the move that was being made by the cash-strapped New National Party Government to take a haircut from the state-owned National Insurance Scheme (NIS).

The Social Compact document was signed by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell who is the Chairman of the Social Partners, the Conference of Churches of Grenada (CCG), the Alliance of Evangelical Churches, Private Sector bodies and the Grenada Trades Union Council on January 13.

Williams indicated that CSO’s participation at the level of the Social Partners is to vent the issues and concerns that the people of Grenada face on a daily basis, and it has taken very seriously the opportunity for sharing at the level of the Social Partners.

CSO comprises the group of organisations that make up the Inter-Agency Group of Development Organizations (IAGDO).

Meanwhile, Member of the grouping of Civil Society Organisations (CSO) Sandra Ferguson has voiced her concerns about the environmental impact the so-called Silver Sands project is having on the Grand Anse beach.

Speaking on a local radio porgramme, Ferguson indicated that the multi-million dollar project involving a multi-millionaire from Egypt is destroying the world famous Grand Anse beach.

She indicated that it has been recommended that that area should not be touched as it is being served to filter the water that goes into the sea to protect the reefs.

CSO Chairperson Judy Williams who supported Ferguson’s concern said that what has been brought to the fore with that particular project is unplanned development.

Williams suggested that some time should be spent through the National Development Plan 2030 to have a broader understanding of development.

The Mitchell government is said to be spearheading efforts involving the Social Partners to create the 2030 plan for the development of the Tri-island State.

Mitchell’s ruling New National Party (NNP) had campaigned for the 2013 general elections to defeat Congress on a plan that called for the creation of a new economy for the island, and an influx of foreign investors to provide thousands of jobs to bring down unemployment.

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