Searching For The ‘New Economy’

My fellow youth,

Go to your laptop/tablet/iPad, whatever and enter “New Economy Grenada”. Hit search. Results: 0!

But, how come we don’t find anything on we big thing? Something must be wrong with Google or they know the Government bankrupt!

After that little bit of fun, let’s get down to some serious stuff. Watch me!

When I heard of “Project Grenada” and “Home-Grown Program” and “New Economy”, my hopes went up! I thought to myself that finally Grenada would provide solid opportunities for me after my parents had sacrificed so much to educate me. What is really going on? Is this the hoax of the century? Who thinks he can take me for a blind ride in broad daylight? Tell him he is dead wrong! ‘Blah, Blah! Whole day ah seeing’!

My interest in the “New Economy” led me to ask what I should expect because the persons who introduced the topic did not give details. I was told that it has something to do with how Grenada organises and uses its resources and embraces opportunities to produce more goods and services so as to create more wealth to be distributed among the citizens. I learned that it calls for serious new investments, resource mobilisation strategies, applied technologies, technical assistance, greater efficiencies and competitiveness, trained human resources and modern management practices, among others. These are applicable to the various sectors identified to transform our country and to raise the standard of living of all Grenadians. I liked what I was hearing and was convinced that that was the way to go because I don’t like how we living!

However, when I listened to the budget, I didn’t hear that sort of thing at all! So I was wondering if somehow it didn’t show up on the teleprompter. But I asked Brother Timmy and he confirmed that was not in the text. In fact, they have a list of “elements” of the ‘New Economy’ which surprised me because I used to think that most of those things were already being done or already in place. I think of them as maintenance functions and a set of basic goals for any society. Not the kind of stuff to list on a change agenda! But my big brothers tell me ‘doh watch dat’!

Then I heard the announcement that the Government will roll out the strategy for the ‘New Economy’ in the first quarter of 2014. To tell you the truth, I have been in a state of shock ever since!

I can hardly believe that after thirteen years in Government plus four and a half years as Opposition plus ten months back in Office, the NNP regime still not ready? Girl ‘dat’ is two long decades! So they must be joking!

One can beat one’s chest boldly, but one must understand the implications of what one is saying. To my simple mind, when one says that the two essential building blocks of the ‘New Economy’ are fiscal sustainability and debt sustainability, one is indicating that two sets of processes are needed. The first set is a pre-condition and the other is actually building and realising the goals of the ‘New Economy’ itself. Therefore it makes better sense to commence both processes at the same time. Delaying the commencement of the latter sends a message of uncertainty which then pushes hope further down the road.

The whole thing, beginning with the NNP’s virtual takeover of the NDC’s five transformational sectors plan (with one variation) late in the campaign, reminds me of copycats at school. These are people who do little or no work, but have the shameless skill to write down the correct answers. The problem for them is that they don’t understand the material nor the processes involved. It is a similar thing with persons who never learned to drive properly, but who bought their drivers’ licences through unlawful transactions. Someone was happy to pocket the money for their personal use while other road users were put at risk and the Treasury starved.

Not being in a position to roll out the strategy in the 2014 budget tells me that nothing concrete is likely to happen until about late 2015–16. The budget resources have all been allocated and programmed. Instead of the ‘New Economy’, the ‘New IMANI’ is the Government’s program of choice.

You mean to tell me that after all the talk about consultations with the Social Partners, they did not apply their minds to the opportunity for the local private sector to come up with an investment and production strategy in support of the Structural Adjustment Program to utilise some of the $2 billion in the banks and to return to Grenada millions upon millions they have banked overseas since the days of Gairy and the Revolution? Trust me, I did the research.

Then to add insult to injury, there was clearly no understanding that the local tourism industry is in no position to extract a premium from the market in the form of a new head tax for marketing the destination. I could forgive Alexandra, but not Simon! He was Pedro’s Director of Tourism, remember! He should know better. Then, too, he is a member of the Government’s Budget Technical Team and the one who has mouthed the so-called ‘New Economy’ after Dr Antoine fell out of grace. The lessons of copycats and those who buy ‘dey’ licence, as features of our culture, go beyond simple fun and laughter.

There is a saying that nothing remains the same in life. Things change and so do men. Between 1995 and 2008, you say “Keith Mitchell” and people say “money go flow”! Today, the Breaking News is that Grenada ‘make’ history with the first broken ‘ATM’ — ‘AXE n’ TAX MITCHELL’! ‘Yuh tellin me’?

So we just have to keep on searching for the elusive ‘New Economy’! The way I see it, there can be no real delivery without the ‘New Economy’!

The more I look at the situation, the more I am satisfied that we the youth of Grenada deserve more and better. Since its inception, the IMANI Program has cost Grenada almost $200 million! And what do we really have to show for all that money? The IMANI stop-gap cannot deliver the viable future that we need.

Girl, we have to demand real development and real jobs. Come with it!

Yours in hope
Imani Princess — ‘The True Representative”

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