Prime Minister Engages Social Partners

PR – Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Dr. the Rt. Hon. Keith Mitchell met recently with Social Partners, which included representatives of the business community, NGO’s, the religious community and the trade union movement.

There were close to 30 representatives at the meeting, which was called to bring the Social Partners up to date with the fiscal situation and the need for the COVID-19 Control Bill.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and her technical team presented a report on Grenada’s fiscal situation. It was pointed out that because of the substantial amount of money government has paid out in stimulus packages to various sectors, while faced with a roughly 40% decrease in revenue collection, the collection of revenue will be over $180m less than the original projection.

A recommendation was made to Cabinet, which was accepted, for an adjustment to the expenditure of various Ministries to ensure they do not run into further fiscal problems.

There was also a presentation on the COVID-19 Control Bill by Attorney General Darshan Ramdhani.

In addition to the statement he had made in parliament and in his recent address to the nation, the Prime Minister praised the religious community for its leadership, and the public position taken to advise its congregation on the need to take the virus seriously and to follow the protocols to ensure Grenada has no further infections.

The current number of infections remains at twenty-four, with no new COVID-19 cases since July 22nd.

Dr. Mitchell stressed that the government believes in the necessity of this message because if there is a second wave of infection, as is the case with Trinidad and Tobago, government will be forced to lock down the country again, and that will cause pain and hardship to all sectors of society.

The Hon. Prime Minister also pointed out that given the present fiscal situation brought on by COVID-19, there will be no room to pay additional stimulus packages, which means a re-emergence of a high level of virus infection can have serious health and economic consequences on the country.

In this vein, he appealed to all social partners to speak out, encouraging their members to adhere to the regulations and not leave it up to the government and the religious community to do so.

It was felt that the information provided was necessary, and the dialogue needs to be continued as we face this major crisis.