We Waiting For The Budget

Law & Politics

by Lloyd Noel

Now that we have gone passed our Thanksgiving get-together in celebration of the thirty years since our return to the Parliamentary System we inherited from the United Kingdom in 1974 — our next big waiting date is Budget day on sixth December.

The church services and other activities organised for the celebration, all seemed to have gone through as planned — as we looked back to those frightening days of October, 1983, when so many lost their lives.

I have noticed a lot of commentary, by persons who were not in Grenada before nor in the month of October, 1983 — and many of them were very critical of President Reagan for sending his U.S. troops into Grenada, to protect the lives of the U.S. Citizens at St. George’s University Medical School, and to rescue Grenadians in general.

They all sound as though nothing had happened in the Tri-Island State, from March 1979, up to 19 October 1983, and the President was abusing his powers and authority, by invading a harmless and defenseless mini-state whose people and government had no need for him.

The statements and criticisms were so very biased and ridiculous, that they do not deserve any response by way of explanation or defence — except to say over one hundred thousand Grenadians were very, very, grateful for the President’s very timely rescue — mission, and the behind-the-scene diplomatic efforts by Dame Eugenia Charles — then Prime Minister of Dominica — in persuading the President to send in his troops.

I can vouch for the Prime Minister’s efforts, because I had the pleasure and honour of accompanying the P.M. to the President’s White House in Washington D.C., to say thanks on behalf of the Political Detainees — over one hundred and fifty (150) of us who were rescued on October twenty-fifth — as well as the thousands of Grenadians who were prisoners in their own homes.

The president commended her for the efforts she displayed on behalf of the Grenadian people and in hindsight to the people of the English Speaking Caribbean as a whole; because from the discoveries made in Grenada, if the U.S. Troops had not come in when they did to rescue our people, and got rid of the many thousand of Cuban troops in Camp at the unfinished Point Salines Airport — it would have been only a matter of anytime soon, before they moved to the other Islands.

So what invasion they moaning about — it was very truly a rescue mission, for which Grenadians as a whole continue to be very, very grateful for, and thank the good Lord for the President’s and Prime Minister’s very timely decision, and the efforts of the troops.

Since those dramatic months and years, we have been able to go back to our political freedom to elect our M.P.s, and criticize our rulers when we feel they have let us down  — and as a free people detention without any charge or trial is only of distant memory.

So instead of detaining political rivals and those who criticize the controllers for their non-performance, the Governmentt of the day have gone the opposite direction and invited the opposition party leaders for discussions about the business of the affairs of state.

No details of what exactly will be on the agenda when the leaders meet have been published — so we have to wait to hear from them after the first meeting, or whenever they see fit to inform John Public.

Whatever the P.M. may put forward for discussion, and any issues the opposition leaders may see fit to add in the national interest — these will no doubt become available in due course, as well as the outcome of the discussions held and as agreed.

Whether the issues discussed will have any effect on the December sixth Budget — and assuming some discussions will be held before the date — only the participants will know about that, but the gesture to invite the Leaders at the time this was done, did show some signs that the opposition views may to some extent be relevant for consideration.

In the meantime, however, all the issues pertaining to the nation’s economic position remain on hold, and up to last weekend the roads maintenance and de-bushing gangs were no where to be seen — at least on the western side of the Island – so the upcoming season of goodwill, and Christmas cheers over a glass of some kind of liquid, among friends and neighbours in the countryside, these look very dim.

And as though everything is on hold and relief seems a long way in coming — as the Standard and Poors report a week or two ago, confirmed the IMF report on the Economy in our Tri-Island State; that the situation looks rather grim and no visible signs on the upward movement anytime soon.

There was no very encouraging remarks from the P.M., in his National address after he returned from his overseas trip — so maybe the Investors expected from that source are nowhere ready as yet.

In these circumstances, therefore, it must mean that the required funding for jobs provision have to be found from some other source.

The Sandals Hotel in the southern area is due to come on stream next month, and from the reports on that project the required workers have already been chosen to start work on the opening.

The situation for new jobs therefore looks discouraging towards year-end.

How the expected budget will change that state of affairs — only time will tell.

There has been a lot of publicity on the issue of the new taxes, and collection of outstanding arrears in that area.

The business activities on all fronts have been slowing down daily and finding the funds to pay taxes will not be a straight forward exercise for a whole lot of tax-payers.

The upcoming months will be a testing time for a whole lot of our people and those in control will have to understand that and react accordingly.

We waiting for the budget but it will not be the end of our economic problems.

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