The New Today

Letters

Dishonesty in high places

Having followed the budget debate, it is clear that our government officials are not being transparent and honest with the use of the words grants and surpluses, neither are they being truthful with Teachers and Public Officers in the payment of the legally due four percent salary increase.

By definition, a grant is non-repayable funds given by one party often a government or government entity, corporation, foundation, or trust, to a recipient like a government, a non-profit entity, educational institution, business or an individual.

In order to receive an official grant, a proposal or an application is required. This proposal details the rationale for the application for the grant and the proposed uses of the funds. It provides details of the beneficiaries and the means and timelines for implementation. Most grants are made to fund a specific project and once approved require some level of compliance and reporting.

Grenada has been the recipient of many grants over the years from friendly governments, government agencies and institutions. Significantly, the grant received from the Government of Australia was negotiated under the NDC administration for the construction of our Parliament building. Such grant monies are readily incorporated into our national budgets.

Receipt of grants have often been triggered by a friendly relationship between governments as a sign of confidence placed in the country to whom the grant has been given. However, within the last few years there appears to be a bold attempt to deviate from the authentic meaning of a grant. The term is now used loosely in the budget to cover monies in the National Transformation Fund to finance capital and other projects within Grenada.

I discovered that grants from friendly governments and institutions to Grenada have declined significantly over the years to the point where just about thirty million dollars were recorded as grants by external agencies in the 2020 Budget, while one hundred and forty-six million dollars in grants was budgeted in the same 2020 Budget from the National Transformation Fund. That amount increases to one hundred and seventy-two million in the 2021 Budget. These figures represent more than sixty percent of the total sums allocated for financing the capital budget.

The monies in the National Transformation Fund are from the sale of CITIZENSHIP including our passports. Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Minister for Finance and Members of Cabinet, please take note that these monies are NOT GRANT FUNDINGS and should not be referred to in the budget or elsewhere in that manner. When you engage in selling Grenadian Citizenship (birthright) it is not a Grant received from any friendly government or agency.

Our government has been misleading itself. Cabinet Members are literally saying to each other and to the public that it is because of the confidence in their management of the economy they have been receiving or seeing significant increases in grants from friendly countries and institutions.

How can you be so foolhardy!!! Monies from the sale of citizenship which is lodged into the National Transformation Fund is being used to fool yourselves into believing that there is widespread and worldwide confidence in the government. This is simply a fallacy in your own minds. You are frying yourselves in your own oil by constantly feeding yourselves with lies. But the Grenadian public and youths of this land will not be distracted by your regular national addresses and lies.

This brings me to the matter of Citizenship. I note that our Government is not just selling passports as they regularly report, but they are selling Grenadian Citizenship and with it comes many rights and privileges including the right to vote in National Elections. Therefore, Grenadians if you happen to see hundreds of strange names in your constituency popping up on the electoral list when the final list of electors are published that is the dividends from the sale of citizenship.

It seems that the Government has taken the position that there is nothing that we can do as a people to lift ourselves out of poverty except selling our birthright, the ‘Esau syndrome’.

For the past few years, our government boasted of annual overall surpluses of monies after it had collected all revenues and paid all its bills. Every year it counted millions of dollars in surpluses. The overall surpluses boasted about include grants received from friendly government and from the National Transformation Fund. These overall surpluses do not include government’s principal debt repayment which is a financial obligation of the government.

Mr. Prime Minister, with the omission of financing of government operations and lack of information on the National Transformation Fund, the population is left ignorant as to your government’s true financial position. It is now necessary to reveal to us the true financial position of our government.

In light of budget surpluses declared by our Government over the years, I am saying that if these surpluses were at all genuine then the payment of the contracted four percent to Teachers and Public Officers should not be a bone of contention at this time except that the current Government might be downright callous and spiteful to our dedicated public servants.

Government speaks of the huge wage bill, but they are not telling us that most public servants are struggling to make two thousand dollars monthly with skyrocketing prices all around. This four percent increase will amount to monthly increases of less than one-hundred-dollars for most.

It is true that most public officers can be classified as poor and vulnerable but continue to offer loyal service to this country each day. As a concerned citizen I call upon the Government of Grenada to have a conscience and pay the workers what is legally due to them.

There is still hope. We require a thorough audit and assessment of the figures presented to us over the last five years. Change is on the horizon and the people will discover the truth. Truth always prevails.

Citizen Perspective