Government About to Sign Secret Deal with the IMF
The Ministry of Finance reported today September 25th instant, that the Government wishes to report “significant progress’ in its discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The news release further states that the IMF agreed to support Grenada in its “home grown programme’ of fiscal adjustment and structural reforms.
We, the people, were further informed that discussions will
conclude in October 2013 when the Prime Minister attends the annual IMF/World Bank meeting in Washington. After reaching agreement, Prime Minister Keith Mitchell will issue a “Letter of Intent” to the IMF. This letter describes the policies that Grenada intends to implement in the context of its request for financial support from the IMF.
While the Government has met with stakeholders, the vast majority of Grenadians has not been involved in this major exercise that will affect negatively their lives. These closed door meetings had little or no substance and has been described as a sham by many who attended the sessions.
The upbeat bravado of the Prime Minister in the meetings have so far yielded nothing as he tried to point fingers at Grenadian professionals, self employed persons and some businessmen for not paying their fair share of taxes.
This current administration is trying to use this rhetoric about the home grown nature of the programme in an effort to hoodwink the population. Grenada has been under some form of IMF program for the last seven years. The fact that the country’s woes have gotten worse indicate that the medicine being administered was too mild. The Head of the IMF Mission likened Grenada’s situation to ”a patient with a cancer”. This is strong language and so we, the people, will no doubt be facing a very difficult economic situation going forward.
We can expect job losses, higher prices, more taxes and higher user fees for education and health services. Some reports suggest that public servants will get a pay cut. The storm is looming on the horizon. The regime is tight lipped as to the details of this “home grown programme”. The NNP government announced that the people will be consulted. What will happen is that the Prime Minister will try to” bob and weave” in public, speak in general terms and leave the consultations without going into details. That is their concept of consultation.
The government will begin by rolling back most of the social programs introduced by the prior NDC administration. In fact they have already announced the end of the Free Barrel Program. The Free School Books will bit the dust. The much talked about Imani could also be on the chopping block. Whatever is left as social programs will be surely exclude persons who opposed to the ruling party. NNP party offices and Parliamentary Representatives will more and more have a direct say in who gets social assistance or not. This approach will only serve to further polarize the society. Political tensions could rise as NNP operatives become more aggressive once disgruntlement with the regime becomes more widespread.
Dr Brian Francis indicated last Sunday on the George Grant Program that the NNP does not have what it takes to solve this massive crisis that is knocking at the nation’s door. The old guard is tired and the new kids on the bloc can only repeat the stuck record that “we will deliver’
The arrogance of the NNP and its leader has shown its ugly head in that over 40 % of the persons, who voted in the last election, did not support the ruling party. These non NNP political forces were left out completely from the consultation with the IMF mission. However, the NNP has the gall to ask Grenadians to forget the past and unite.
The government is now gambling on the campaign by sectors of the church community who has made a call for debt forgiveness citing sections of the Bible. The hard harsh world of business holds little regard to such utterances. The increasing anxiety which the population is eyeing the soon to be administered NNP medicine is further exacerbated by the lack of transparency with which this national crisis is being approached.
It is we the people that will bear the burden. The Prime Minister will take care of his close friends, the rest of the NNP massive will be left to fend for them and so will the rest of us. Time will tell.