Grenada has not been able to attract large sums of grant funding, like the rest of the Windward Islands, for social sector projects from the European Union.
This information was presented to a group of Caribbean journalists, who met on Tuesday in Barbados, with officials of the EU headed by Ambassador and Head of Delegation, John Caloghirou, who had a brief stint in Grenada.
The EU circulated a document among the journalists which showed that Grenada was only able to attract $300, 000 EUR in grant funding from the Europeans, for a Drug Demand programme in the Social Sector/Social Development area.
This is a far cry from the $31 million EUR in grants given to St. Lucia, $30 million EUR for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and $12.5 million ECU for the Government of Dominica.
The document showed that St. Lucia received 20 million dollars for a new hospital project from the EU, as well as 3 million dollars in Stabex funding under the category of “Social Safety Nets”, 1.5 million for an Agricultural Pension scheme, and a further 1.5 million dollars for Education.
In the case of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the bulk of its money, 20 million dollars, went toward social services development in the area of education.
Of this amount, 5.5 million EUR dollars were earmarked for Community College Education, $4.5 million EUR for Secondary Education, $4 million EUR for Technical Vocational Training, and scholarships and rehabilitation of schools.
Non-governmental Organsiations in St. Vincent and the Grenadines also benefited from over 2 million EUR dollars from the European Union under its Stabex funding programme.
Like St. Vincent and the Grenadines, NGO’s in Dominica picked up one million dollars EUR for Social Services spending, $4.5 million EUR for Secondary Education, $4 million EUR for a Social Funding, $1.5 million EUR for Agricultural Pension, $1 million EUR for Social Protection, and $250, 000 EUR each for a drug demand project, and training and scholarships.
EC insiders attributed the insignificant amount of funds given to Grenada in grant funding for social programmes to the priority placed by the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.
A source said that the government of the three other Windward Islands were able to put forward successful projects to the EC for funding based on the problems faced with the future of banana exports to Europe.
A recent study conducted in Grenada showed that 33% of the island’s population was living in poverty, brought on by the demise of the local banana industry.
The Mitchell government is known to have indicated to the international community that its emphasis is on the telecommunications and Information Technology sector, as well as construction, tourism, agriculture and manufacturing.