The Government of Grenada will not appeal the recent High Court ruling which reinstates public sector pension, thereby retroactively establishing pension entitlement for public employees who entered the service after 1985.
Prime Minister, Dr the Rt Hon. Keith Mitchell revealed Tuesday night that having considered all the issues, Government has taken a decision not to appeal, but cited the need for national discourse on the matter.
In a national address, delivered live to an audience at the Grenada Trade Centre Annex, Dr Mitchell said, “We believe there are ways we can honour the intent of the judgement as it relates to the reinstatement of public pension, even while we seek to address going forward, some of the inconsistencies other aspects of the judgement seem to create.”
The Prime Minister reiterated the need for broad discussion involving all stakeholders to address what he termed – “the single most defining issue of our time”. The pension ruling essentially creates a 2-pillar pension system for public workers, which in turn creates a huge fiscal burden on the state.
Dr Mitchell said, “While the fiscal obligations of the court ruling are still being tabulated, preliminary indications are that we will have to find $465 million. And then on average, about $120 million each year, for at least the next 37 years, and that figure is without considering inflation.”
The Prime Minister affirmed that despite the immense challenge the ruling presents, Government is committed to finding a fair solution and has started the process of consultation with various stakeholders.
He said, “Government is committed to sitting down with all concerned. This consultative approach is consistent with our posture on matters of national interest,” adding that, “We can only have the best outcome by having the most honest conversations- and by all stakeholders being engaged. The Government obviously must lead on this matter, but it puts a reasonable final solution in doubt unless we purposely engage all stakeholders.”
The Prime Minister described as unfortunate, the decision taken by some trade union leaders not to participate in discussions with Government on the pension issue, but expressed the hope that the conversation with them can get started. He said, “We remain hopeful that all the unions will join in this national conversation because we know that despite all the disagreements through the years – the one thing that brings us together is our patriotism and our unquestioned love for a nation that has made us who we are. This nation – under the banner of its seven stars – must provide us with the reason to set aside our differences in the interest of wider national objectives.”