The Chinese Embassy in Grenada has refuted claims that Chinese companies in Grenada have not been hiring local labourers or supporting the local economy through the purchase of building material on the local market for use on the Chinese-built Low Income Housing project sites across the state.
Interim Charge d’ Affaires of the Chinese Embassy, Counselor Yang Shiju came to the defence of his country while addressing the media at a recent Chinese handing over ceremony of computers in Telescope, St. Andrew.
Shijun was responding to an article published in the January 25 edition of THE NEW TODAY, headlined “Tevin Andrews: Carriacou Labourers not benefiting from Chinese Projects,” which focused on the issue of Chinese projects on the island.
Andrews, a young politician with the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) contended that the Chinese are engaged in several major projects on the island but local manufacturers and labourers are not really feeling the economic impact and argued that foreigners are coming in and taking the jobs.
He suggested that the “Government of Grenada should have a standard where if work is being given to foreigners, our people should be sub-contractors or the main contractors, while the others are the sub-contractors.”
In responding to Andrews, the Chinese official described as “rumors” the content of the article.
“The Chinese contractors who are building the low income housing projects, they are trying their best to hire local labourers (on) the four (4) project sites in St. Patrick, St. Mark. St. David and even in Carriacou but unfortunately because of the short-term that we need and also some of the techniques that is needed…local labourers are not sufficient,” he said.
According to Shiju, the most important reason is because the Chinese-built low income housing project is a “gift from the Government and the People’s Republic of China, it is international practice that “we bring our labourers (and) our material”.
“So this is a gift…They, the Chinese companies are trying their best. They purchase the blocks, a lot of sand, a lot of material locally (it is) not (true) that they bring everything from China,” he remarked.
“I read news from the newspaper saying that they are purchasing things from a Chinese company in Trinidad and Tobago (and) I don’t think there is a Chinese company in Trinidad that can sell those materials,” he added.
Shijun affirmed that his government will continue contributing to the social and economical development of the country, despite the “rumors.”
“I believe that the Chinese Embassy will continue its efforts and also the Chinese companies here will also make their due contribution to the country,” he said.
“I am sure that most of our Chinese enterprises here in Grenada get along very well with the local Grenadians and they abide by the rules, the Grenadian laws and regulations and I can see (that) they have made their contributions in their way to the social and economic development of the country and I hope this would continue and of course thanks to the assistance and support from the government and people of Grenada,” he added.
A source close to NDC said the views expressed by Andrews in the January 25, 2019 article do not necessarily reflect the position of the party.