Law & Politics
by Lloyd Noel
The economic and general living conditions facing our people in these Spice Isles are by no means easy to cope with, but when considered or viewed in the context of how the controllers are going about resolving the problems, the road ahead looks very bleak and dangerous.
The clean-sweep winners now in control achieved that status based on promises made in the election campaign before February this year, and upon which the people in every constituency fully relied and elected all the candidates of the NNP.
Whether those leaders now in control fully realized the extent and the gravity of the state of affairs they were contesting to take control of — only they can answer one way or another.
But whatever their answers may be, now that they are in the driving seats — with total control and no opposition to even question any of their actions or omissions — the way they are going about the business of the nation, and some of the decisions and orders they are handing down or putting into effect, these are leaving a whole lot to be desired and the causes and effects resulting therefrom can have very serious repercussions.
It cannot be disputed that the general state of the nation’s economic affairs was in very serious shambles when the controllers took possession last February — but they were well aware of the situation for some time before; and it was because of their knowledge that they put forward the many plans and programs to turn things around, and the voters fell for the promises and elected them all into control.
Nine months have gone by since the total control started — and the hue and cry seem to be that things have gotten worse rather than any better. So where to from here onwards?
A lot of people who were employed have since lost their jobs — courtesy the new controllers; but those vacancies have not been filled by new employees to date.
In the cases of roads maintenance and debushing employees, those who were hired before the elections when needed, they do not get rehired nowadays, and the new employees since needed are persons who are supporters of the new controllers.
So it has not been a case of increasing jobs opportunities — only a matter of those now being employed wearing a different colour jersey, from that worn by the former road-workers.
As for the thousands of jobs that were promised to come from the foreign businessmen, who were expected to be granted Grenadian citizenship and passports to all-comers for travelling worldwide.
That scheme was aborted, when the Canadian Government in particular realized that those passport-holders were not Grenadian Citizens, and refused to allow them into Canada.
Although the new scheme has been passed into law by Parliament, it has so far not been implemented, because of certain conditions that have to be met but cannot thus far — as for example, the requirement that the applicant has to be resident in Grenada for a stipulated period, before he/she can obtain a Grenadian Passport as a citizen.
Whether any serious investor will be prepared to meet those conditions, before investing his millions in the Tri-Island State — only time will tell.
But even after the PM’s recent overseas trip, when he was hoping to obtain loans in hundreds of millions of dollars for investment in employment oriented businesses — he returned very quietly and has said nothing about the matter thus far.
So that after nine months in total control of the nation’s affairs — rather than providing any additional jobs, the unemployment situation has gone much further up the ladder of those looking for work but cannot find any available.
But lately the emphasis has been on raising funds from more taxes on working Grenadians, to help in meeting the Government expenses — rather than attracting investors to come and provide the thousands of jobs promised in the campaign.
And the irony of the unfolding situation, is that the controllers upon taking over the reins of power in February, they added back the 5% of MP’s salaries the NDC Government had taken away a year or so before the elections.
And here they are again giving themselves another salary increase of 6%, while at the same time reducing the level of earnings for tax-payers so that they will be paying more taxes from next January.
The general state of actions and inaction are quite confusing — but no one bothers to give any explanations to the people who will have to comply.
So as we await the Budget Estimates due on December Sixth for 2014, those in the income brackets that have been reduced to have them pay more taxes – they already know their fate — but how the struggling unemployed will benefit, only time will tell as the many changes come on stream.
The roads maintenance workers were back on the job sites from last week — but how long for the coming weeks will tell.
In the meantime everything else awaits the budget and whatever it has to offer.
Last week Friday a large crowd of relatives and friends paid the final Tribute to the late Roy St John, M.B.E. at his funeral Service in St.George’s, he having passed away the week before at the age of ninety-one.
He was a great sportsman in both cricket and football, and as a Senator he was also Minister of Sports.
We particularly remember him in Gouyave, St. John, where he made tremendous contributions to our youths of the days. May he rest in peace.