NDC Heartbeat: 120 days: No oil & gas, no de-bushing, no hope

10 July 2018

It is now 120 days since elections. The euphoric atmosphere is long over and it is back to reality for the majority of our people. Many are complaining that there is nothing happening in the county.

That we are on auto pilot where the days just roll into each other with nothing new, exciting or productive to look forward to. The MPs have become scarce, avoiding their constituents as plagues. Phone numbers on which they were once easily accessible are now out of service or simply ringing out. Things are so dire that at the NNP General Council in St Patrick’s on 1 July, Mitchell chastised his MPs for not being in touch with and serving their constituents sufficiently.

This is not what the people signed up for on 13 March. In the lead up to the elections, the administration went on a spending spree. Appliances, lumber and hardware were dished out. Utility bills were paid and even hard cash was given out. On top of that, a multitude of promises were made that fooled many into voting for the same bunch of non-performers again.

In the midst of all the flair and outlandish promises, many failed to notice that every single government project that was under way was signed and sealed by the NDC government of 2008-2013. Not one of the projects completed in the last year was the brainchild of or had funding secured by this current government. And of course, by 2018, all of the 2013 election pie in the sky promises had vanished into thin air. It was now time for a new set of promises.

The pronouncements and promises made by Mitchell in the final campaign rally on 11 March 2018 of: 1) more employment in tourism and agriculture; 2) over $125m in grants to begin circulating almost immediately; 3) settlement with the Trade Unions of the one-off payment and pensions and; 4) “significant gas and oil find in one well…with several wells even more exciting than the 1 found.” are now all but forgotten!

On the issue of the settlement with the Trade Unions, in a 29 June 2018 news item on GBN, it was reported that government will not meets its June deadline as contained in the pre-election March memorandum between the two entities. Dr Lawrence Joseph and his staff at the AG’s Chambers were thrown under the bus for this failure.

There have been no new jobs created in tourism and agriculture and none seem to be on the horizon. While addressing a gathering recently, Mitchell told the audience that it may look like nothing is happening and people are saying nothing is happening, but government is planning a few things for the young people. This shows that there really is nothing in store for young people, but more tomfoolery.

We have seen none of the $125 million grant funds but it is early days yet.

On the oil and gas significant find and the promise of “moneey!”, there has been a deafening silence. This does not surprise the NDC one bit. The hard truth is that, the government led by Mitchell and Bowen entered into an awful contract on 31 March 2008 which practically gave away all our oil and gas resources to GPG. Grenadians had better get used to the idea of seeing very little or no money from this sector.

So what have we seen by way of progress in the first 120 days since elections? We have seen:

  1. Gas price go to $16.12, which Government Tax is $5.50. The highest in the history of Grenada. Almost double the price of gas in 2010 when global prices were at the highest ever.
  2. More nepotism and jobs for the family and friends at tax payers’ expense. “Papa Doc” has hired “Baby Doc” to join him in the Ministry of Finance as his Legal Advisor. There is no such post provided for in that Ministry, neither was the position formally created and advertised for suitable applicants. Added to that, the Attorney General’s Chambers has a full complement of lawyers eminently qualified to advise the Minister of Finance.
  3. More hardship with no “moneey!” and no jobs, not even a fortnight of de-bushing.
  4. The lack of money is made even worse by the now complete collapse of the school books program the NDC started. This is replaced by a $50 to $150 voucher, which could hardly by 2 books.
  5. A suspension of the needy assistance programs as announced in the Throne Speech and at the same time, a vast increase in the number of people reduced to begging because they cannot afford to meet the basic needs for themselves and their families.

When Mitchell was in full flight mammaguying the people at that last election rally he told the audience: “Our best currency is hope.” One hundred and twenty days in, that currency has NO value.

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