We, the leaders of the member churches of the Conference of Churches in Grenada are deeply concerned about the hardship being suffered by so many of our people in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. People are now finding it difficult to provide for the expenses of daily living, repaying mortgages taken out in more prosperous times and even, in some cases, providing food for their families. There are numbers of persons, even those with sound academic qualifications, who are unable to find jobs. The social problems have reached alarming proportions.
It is against this background that we strongly urge our government to resist any pressure to increase taxes or to make further cuts to social, medical or educational services. Revenue can be increased by ensuring that existing taxes are not evaded and that all taxes (especially VAT) are efficiently collected from all who are liable. We support efforts to create jobs and to find sources of investment funding that can be channelled into productive projects that will not just produce wealth but that will enhance the sense of self worth and the dignity of our people while protecting our environment.
We are convinced that further austerity measures are not the way out of Grenada’s debt crisis. We strongly support the Government of Grenada in its resistance against austerity and we are actively mobilising support internationally towards this end. We are strengthened in this stance by a working paper produced by the personnel of the International Monetary Fund’ which suggests that such strategies have not worked in the past.
We urge the government to give further serious consideration to the nine points in the document “A Jubilee for Grenada Now” that arose out of the Debt Workshop held in May of this year. Point 4 of that document refers to debt sustainability. The document prepared by the staff of the IMF presents the view that to reach a sustainable level of debt Grenada wi 11 need a cut of over 90% of its present debt. We support the government’s efforts to achieve this and we again emphasise the point that any reduction in debt must go towards the socio-economic development of our country with a preferential option for the poor.
Rt Rev Dr Raphael Osbert James
Conference of Churches in Grenada