Governor General Dame Cecile La Grenade has given an insight into the priorities of the newly re-elected Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government following its historic 15-0 clean sweep of the polls in general elections held six weeks ago.
In delivering the Throne Speech at the first joint sitting of both houses of Parliament last Friday, Dame Cecile said that the government’s priority areas are consistent with the promises made to the Grenadian people during the election campaign.
She identified the first area of business as the commitment to continue with the transformation of the Grenadian society.
This, she said will be done by inviting all Social Partners to the table so that everyone can have a voice in the decision-making process including the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) which 23, 000 votes but did not win a seat for the second consecutive time in 10 years.
“In the absence of a formal parliamentary opposition, my Government is again inviting the largest opposition political organisation to join the partnership, and take their rightful place at the table, so as to give full and formal effect to the voices of over twenty thousand brothers and sisters of this nation”, the Governor-General told the house in the government written speech.
Dame Cecile acknowledged that the economic successes of the last five years in Grenada which entered into a structural adjustment programme under close scrutiny by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were built on the foundation of the Social Partnership that was forged.
She said that while there is no formal opposition, government “will respect the rule of law, defend democracy, and promote good governance and accountability, while fully respecting the right of the citizenry to express divergent views.”
The Governor General identified the other priority areas of the Mitchell-led NNP regime as tackling health care, education and housing issues in the country.
She said, “a healthier and more educated people is dependent not only on service delivery, but also on the appropriate use of such services, and the overall changes in behaviours that might otherwise undermine the very goal it sets out to achieve”.
“…Making services available to those without access is important and necessary for poverty eradication, but my Government understands that better livelihoods and an improved quality of life can only be realised when government services are reliably delivered, widely accessible, effectively and appropriately administered and utilised,” she told the joint sitting of Parliament.
According to Dame Cecile, another issue that is high on the agenda of the new administration is the efficient management of the economy to ensure the creation of jobs and a reduction in unemployment.
Presently, the unemployment rate among the nation’s youth stands at 50%.
The Governor General told Parliamentarians that the strengthening of the legislative framework is necessary to ensure that the benefit of the just-ended 3-year Home-Grown Programme with austerity measures continues to stand.
She said: “My government will continue to work with the Social Partners on legislative provisions, such as the Fiscal Responsibility and Public Procurement Acts, which were implemented by my Government in the last administrative period, even while new legislative measures are enacted to further bolster growth and administrative compliance. My Government will continue to work with the leadership of the public service in that regard”.
Dame Cecile also announced that the Ministry of Legal Affairs will focus on concluding outstanding matters in fulfillment of Government’s Legislative Agenda, which includes the Pensions Reform Bill and National Health Insurance Bill.
With the intention to provide economic growth, government will continue to invest in the productive sectors of Tourism, Agriculture, and Manufacturing.
Dame Cecile told Parliament: “Within the next year or two, Grenada will see the opening of several prized, world-class hotel and resort facilities, such as the Silver Sands Hotel, The Pointe at Petite Calivigny, Kimpton Kawana Bay, Hideaway Condominiums and others, which will not only significantly boost the tourism sector with increased room stock for stay-over visitors, but will also provide full time and other employment for hundreds of citizens…”.
“Moreover, these tourism projects have already committed to linking their services with the agricultural sector, thus providing improved livelihoods for farmers and fisherfolk who will supply local produce”, she said.
According to the Governor-General, new and innovative technologies will be introduced “to revolutionise the way our people have traditionally practiced agriculture”.
“In so doing, my Government intends to encourage more young people to get involved in the sector, as an attractive form of income generation and wealth creation,” Dame Cecile said.