On 15 July 2020, Prime Minister, Dr The Right Honourable Keith Mitchell met with Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association’s executive board members to discuss the status of Economic Stimulus Support amongst the tourism sector.
Also in attendance were Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation, Clarice Modeste-Curwen, Chairwoman of the Board of the Grenada Tourism Authority, Brenda Hood, CEO of the GTA, Patricia Maher, Ministry of Finance Deputy Permanent Secretary, Isha Abraham, Government Press Secretary, Philomena Robertson and GIS Acting Director of Information, Leslie Ann Johnson.
An overall constructive meeting, the prime minister discussed the government’s commitment to assist the tourism sector as best as possible during these challenging times. The credibility of this commitment, however, depends upon the integrity and compliance of business owners to supply accurate information when applying for Economic Stimulus Support. As a result, the GHTA has pledged to work closer alongside the Ministry of Finance to assist in any way possible to help chart a smoother path forward.
Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Clarice Modeste-Curwen also mentioned that she, along with the GTA, will continue to work closely with the GHTA to help to remedy and resolve any issues that occur as well as help to provide interim solutions to help support the industry as much as possible.
Several members of the GHTA Executive Board spoke to the difficult issues that the industry is facing at this time and also some of the problems that they encountered when initially submitting applications for Payroll Support due to lack of clarity of the parameters of the programme. They all reiterated their appreciation for the programme and their continued willingness to work with the Recovery Team in the months ahead.
Permanent Secretary, Isha Abraham, stated that Grenada has never faced a pandemic before, therefore, new teams have had to be implemented and stretched beyond expectation in order to facilitate Covid-19 economic relief. Abraham hopes to provide the sector with best practices and lessons learned in order to expedite the processes and procedures in the future.
Together all entities involved in the discussion will work to mitigate mistakes, foster better communication and cooperation amongst the private and public sector in order to best help the tourism sector to survive during these economically difficult times. Speaking after the meeting, GHTA President, Jerry Rappaport commented, “The Payroll Support Programme is an unprecedented undertaking on the part of government and we applaud their efforts to ensure that employees in the tourism sector are given financial assistance during the Covid-19 pandemic. Realising the difficulty in implementing the programme, especially in the beginning when there was some confusion as to who was eligible etc., the GHTA has tried to assist the recovery team to ensure that the programme was implemented in a timely manner and with as few problems as possible. As an association we are committed to continue to work with the government in any way possible to ensure that the programme works smoothly going forward.”
Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association