The 2024 Budget that was presented on December 4 by Finance Minister Dennis Cornwall was a good one for both the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique and also the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as the current party in government.
The financial figures on offer addressed a number of glaring deficits in the Grenadian society that should have been in place several years ago.
For starters, the EC$5000.00 a month salary for elected members of Parliament should have been implemented a long time ago by former regimes, especially the New National Party (NNP) of Keith Mitchell.
THE NEW TODAY suspect that it was deliberately not addressed as the political playbook of the aging 77-year old leader was to use the salary income as a means of control of the Cabinet Ministers.
No Minister will take a chance and refuse to “tow the line” for fear of losing their position and being relegated as a Backbencher with a salary of a mere EC$1200.00 a month and not being able to service the loan for their vehicle and to upkeep their family members.
The $500.00 a month increase in the pay cheque of the Imanis is a positive and welcome decision by the government and can have implications for the NNP which has been peddling the line that Congress will dismiss all of them once in office.
Congress cannot afford for the Imani programme to continue in its current state and will need to make fundamental changes so that the young people will gain the skills to obtain meaningful jobs in the country.
There is a need for NEWLO to be expanded and move outside of St John to other strategic areas in the country to provide the type of vocational and skills training for those who are not academically inclined.
Congress is apparently making a windfall from the passport selling programme known as Citizenship By Investment (CBI) and utilising the funds in such a manner that it is trickling down into the hands of some of the ordinary people in the country like the $500 increase to the Imanis and the $200.00 in the SEED programme.
The decision to maintain the $500.00 incentive to Nurses for another year and to give medical doctors a $1000.00 on their salary is another positive move by the government.
Former Finance Minister Anthony Boatswain who is associated with the opposition NNP has recognised the content of the 2024 Budget and gave it a high rating of 80%.
However, Congress needs to put systems in place so that its own party can benefit from the decisions taken by its Cabinet of Ministers.
Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell was a teacher of History at his old Alma Mater, the Presentation Boys College (PBC), and will be mindful of the fact that the party has failed since its formation over 35 years ago to get a second consecutive term in office and always had to settle for second place to NNP.
The current government can only hope to cash in on the performance of the government so far by taking steps to ensure that the party is re-organised and energised to chart the way forward for the next election.
Any first year student of politics knows that governments are the ones that lose elections but the party is always the one to win elections.
The NDC has its best ever chance to position itself to win the next election in light of the current internal problems within the NNP over the successor to Keith Mitchell and the need to re-organise the party following its defeat in the June 2022 general election.
Congress cannot afford to continue along the lines of business as usual.
The NNP under Keith Mitchell has proven over the years that it was a better organised and equipped political party to win elections.
The NDC should look at implementing the model that is used by professional sporting teams to hire a Manager who has the responsibility to put systems and structures in place with a mandate from the National Executive to bring success at the end of the day.
The manager is given a full time job with the clear understanding that he will be out of work if the desired results are not forthcoming.
Although the government has been performing in the past 18 months in office, the NDC as a party is not being felt on the ground.
The election is not about the government but the preparedness of the batsmen and bowlers and fielders to win the match for their respective parties.
The government can perform on the job but if the team members are out of touch with their constituencies it makes the game much harder to win.
Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell as Political Leader of NDC will have to start thinking of the next election and by the middle of 2024 should begin the process of addressing the possible line up of Congress candidates for the 2027 poll.
Any new candidate will need at least 3 years of solid political organised work on the ground among the people to position him or herself for victory at the polls.
The NDC strategists should begin the SOUL SEARCHING sooner rather than later as the party has to be put on an election footing to hold onto power.