There appears to be strong support in many quarters of the island for the EC$1.3 billion dollar budget presented in Parliament on Monday by new Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dickon Mitchell.
The consensus in many quarters is that the first budget presented by the newlook Team from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) unveiled many good plans and that if the funds can be found will be good for the overall development of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.
The Budget would have brought smiles on the faces of nurses who will be receiving an honorarium payment of EC$500.00 from January for the next twelve months.
This is a positive development and can help to stem the tide of the massive exodus of nurses from Grenada to North America and Europe where higher paying jobs can easily be found.
The former New National Party (NNP) administration of ex-Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has run the affairs of the country for over 20 years and never seriously addressed the plight of nurses.
Hopefully, the NDC government is using the payment as the first step, as the issue of job security as opposed to contract work for nurses should be a matter to be put on the high priority list for resolution.
It should be noted that within minutes of the announcement of the “goodies” for the nurses, some sections of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) were clamouring for similar treatment among their ranks.
If every sector is asking for more money, can the government in one sweep find the funds to satisfy the wants and needs of everyone in the country?
The 2023 Budget definitely reflects the commitment of the new Congress regime to place emphasis on Health and the building of a new hospital for the country.
THE NEW TODAY holds the view that the Prime Minister should give serious consideration to a reshuffle of the Permanent Secretaries early in the New Year and put the most competent among them to drive the process for the realisation of the dream of a new and improved hospital to bring better healthcare to the population.
The newly installed members of the Public Service Commission (PSC) should be as co-operative as possible in helping the government to settle down in office and effect the changes that are badly needed in light of the serious deficit of competence within the Public Service.
It should be noted that the budget to cover the 2023 fiscal year was presented against the backdrop of reports of the major countries in the world on the verge of facing another global recession.
Grenada and other countries in the Caribbean have a serious challenge to raise their implementation rate when it comes to loans and grant funding that are available for developmental projects.
The Dickon Mitchell-led government has to find the personnel with the know-how and wherewithal to cut through all the bottlenecks that the old regime did not tackle to bring greater benefits to the people.
THE NEW TODAY is also concerned about the initial response to the 2023 Budget by former Prime Minister and now Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Mitchell.
He expressed concern that his successor in the top job in the Ministerial Complex in the Botanical Gardens did not make any mention in the presentation about the controversial issue of the sale of a Diplomatic Passport to a citizen from Poland days before the June 23 general election.
It is well known that PM Dickon Mitchell told Grenadians that he saw a Cabinet Conclusion from the NNP administration in which the agreement was for the individual to pay US$290, 000.00 to become an Ambassador-at-large which carries a diplomatic passport but the Treasury receipt showed that only US$150, 000.00 was paid in the government confers.
The Prime Minister alluded to the other US$140, 000.00 ending up in an account in the name of NNP South St George branch.
There has been public denial from inside the NNP camp that the deal was for US$290, 000.00 and challenged PM Dickon Mitchell to provide proof and evidence.
THE NEW TODAY holds strongly to the view that the Budget debate should not be allowed to descend into a war of words between the two opposing camps on the funds from the sale of the Diplomatic passport.
The Opposition Leader who is himself a former Minister of Finance should instead focus on destroying the budgetary figures as presented by PM Dickon Mitchell in his maiden presentation to Parliament and not engage in gutter-sniping about the funds from the sale of the diplomatic passport.
Dr. Mitchell would be advised to use another channel or forum to deal with the issue as the utterances of the man who defeated him to take charge of the country was done at a Town Hall meeting and not within the confines of the island’s major law-making institution.
The Budget Debate should be kept at a high standard and not allowed by the Speaker of the House, Leo Cato to hit rock bottom and mud-slinging between warring factions.
The current Prime Minister set the bar at a very high level and presented a budget away from attacking the defenceless in the society.
He chose to compare the budgetary allocations in the various ministries under his new government as opposed to “The Other Side” who was in government for most of the last 30 years in the country and lost the confidence of the electorate on June 23, 2022.
Dickon Mitchell did not attack any Grenadian who could not use the same forum of Parliament to defend themselves like in previous years when this was the hallmark of the NNP style of governance.