The New Today
Editorials

The Pension Restoration issue!!!

This vexing Pension Restoration issue has to be looked at within the context of the kind of progress made by Grenada over the years.

Many have quite rightfully asked – have we made progress as a country especially since Independence on February 7, 1974?

Today, 47 years later, a group of public officers are now engaged in a bruising and bitter battle with the Government of Grenada on an issue that was never on the table for discussion prior to the 1979-83 Grenada Revolution and the coming into being of the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) of the late Maurice Bishop.

THE NEW TODAY will state at the onset that some of the current trade union leaders should shoulder a lot of the blame for the state of affairs with Pension Restoration.

A few of the leaders under the cover of darkness a few days before the 2018 General Election signed a so-called Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and his ruling New National Party (NNP) government on Pension Restoration.

The impression was given that if the NNP was voted back into office that the long vexing issue of pension for public officers would be resolved and that those civil servants who qualified but were denied a pension over the years would now be in line for a better day.

The mere fact that the government signed onto the agreement is an admittance on the part of the regime that it recognised that the Pension issue was legitimate and not illegal and that it was not doing any favours to the workers.

This MOU was nothing but political gamesmanship on the eve of the election by PM Mitchell and some of the trade union leaders.

There were some in the trade union movement with a pro-NNP agenda and wanted to see the ruling party back in office at all cost and not the then Congress leader, Nazim Burke being able to lay his hands on the Prime Ministership of the country.

This anti-Nazim sentiment was part of the battle among those elements in the same 1979-83 Grenada Revolution who were aligned to former Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard, the mastermind of the destruction of the revolutionary process in the Spice Isle.

THE NEW TODAY had picked up information years ago that some of the trade union leaders were upset and often accused Burke of abandoning “The Men on the Hill” after they were convicted for the 1983 mass murders at Fort Rupert.

There is one union leader in particular who does not trust the current Prime Minister but was prepared to turn a blind eye to the NNP regime and its mal-administration of the country because of the presence of a so-called top revolutionary figure in the administration.

This is the kind of political underhand deals that took place three years ago at the expense of the unsuspecting workers.

It is to the credit of the Public Workers Union (PWU) then under the leadership of Rachael Roberts that it did not sign the pre-election MOU with the NNP regime.

THE NEW TODAY holds strongly to the view that Prime Minister Mitchell has a moral responsibility to settle not in the court but on the negotiation table the vexing issue of Pension Restoration with public sector workers who are qualified for such financial benefits.

It cannot be right for government ministers to serve two terms in office and then take home a handsome pay cheque while public officers go home to live a life in misery and poverty after 26 or more years of service to the government and people of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.

The NNP is demonstrating that it is really an anti-worker government to fight public officers on pension which prior to the 1979-83 era was the norm in the civil service.

There is no PRG law or decree that can supersede the Grenada Constitution which is the supreme law of the land.

Prime Minister Mitchell knows that the mistake made by Bishop’s PRG in not fully addressing the issue of Pension for Public officers as provided for in the constitution will cost the Treasury not millions but billions of dollars which he can ill-afford to find and pay at this moment.

The problem with Mitchell and his style of leadership is that he is prepared to do, say and sign anything in order to remain in power.

THE NEW TODAY can point to another classic example of the issue of Oil and Gas that was a central theme of the NNP in the 2018 election campaign.

Prime Minister Mitchell has been around long enough to know that it can take 20 to 30 years to discover oil and then do all that is necessary to turn the find into a commercial reality and venture for the country to start reaping financial benefits and rewards.

However, he deliberately misled the electorate into believing that the Russian outfit known as the Global Petroleum Group (GPG) was so advanced in the oil and gas exploration that money will soon flow and the streets of St. George’s will be paved with “plenty, plenty money” which the NDC and Burke should not be allowed to lay their hands on.

It was nothing but mamagism and tomfoolery by PM Mitchell on oil and gas in the very same way that he made public officers believe that under another 5-year term of NNP that the long dream of Pension Restoration will finally become a reality.

As the high court met on Thursday to deliberate on the Pension Restoration issue, our advice to PM Mitchell and his men and women in NNP is to remember the following verse from the Holy Bible: “When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers”.