Deputy Political Leader of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Joseph Andall has branded as a “horror story” the current unemployment situation in the rural areas especially among women and young people.
Speaking on a recent talk show programme, Andall said that throughout St. Patrick’s, there are large numbers of young men just idling their time away as they cannot find a job.
“These are the kinds of things that concern me because here we have almost an entire generation growing up without genuine employment opportunities, without the means to lay down a foundation upon which they can build to provide a better future for themselves and their families in years to come”, he told the programme host.
“…If we are not capitalising on the talent available in this generation Grenada can only continue to slip further backward,” he said.
Andall is NDC’s Caretaker candidate for the rural St. Patrick East seat held by Education Minister, Anthony Boatswain.
He said the constant “hope” that Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell often speaks about has to be thrown out the back door given the state of affairs in the country.
“People cannot survive on hope. What the young people and the people in general need, what we need are opportunities, genuine opportunities, for sustainable sustenance. This ole talk that we are creating hope, that just wont cut it,” he added.
With regards to status of women in rural Grenada, Andall said most of them are unemployed or underemployed, and in most cases exist on the whims and fancies of their male companions finding themselves “in particular situations they don’t want to be in”.
He said the economic situation confronting these women are “so tough (that) they often have to do things which, under normal circumstances, they would not do”.
The NDC Deputy Political Leader felt that had there been a government that is genuinely concerned and care about the people, it would create an environment that is conducive to the creation of industries and jobs in the rural areas and to alleviate many of the problems that the women and other sectors of the society are facing.
Last week, Health and Social Security Minister Nickolas Steele told the weekly post-Cabinet Press Briefing that in 2015, the unemployment stood at 29 percent.
The NDC Number Two man said there cannot be economic growth without it translating into jobs and development.
He was very harsh on government’s move to implement and raise a number of taxes in order to raise revenue.
“You have a situation where the government is dipping its hands into people’s pocket mercilessly boasting about record-revenues. If the revenues are coming from increased production and productivity, all well and good. But what is happening is that the government is taking the money away from the people and there is really nothing to show for it,” he said.
“The lazy thing is to just decide to tax, tax, tax and tax, suffocate the people and kill the economy. What we are doing here is unsustainable. You will satisfy the creditors for a little while, but because you have not done anything to transform the economy substantially in a structural way, you are going to go back to square one,” he added.
The second command in Congress noted that while NDC is not in an immediate position to identify which of the taxes it will reduce or eliminate, it has taken a position that the tax burden on the people of Grenada must be reduced.
“Tax relief is a must for the people of Grenada,” he remarked.
Andall charged that the island is witnessing a deterioration in the services provided by the prisons, health and fire.
“Everything seems to be going downwards at a very rapid rate,” he quipped.
The NDC Deputy Political Leader said while basic services continue to decline government is spending money on “flimsy projects.”
Congress is said to be preparing its election machinery in anticipation of general election sometime between the latter half of the year and the middle of 2017.