Britain has agreed to restore some of the estimated EC$92 million that it withdrew in grant funding from Grenada due partly to the failure of the former New National Party (NNP) administration of defeated Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell to come up with projects to draw down on the money.
This was disclosed by Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell who led the National Democratic Congress to victory over the NNP in general elections held eleven months ago.
According to the 45-year old Grenadian leader who is a barrister-at-law by profession, the Congress government started to renegotiate immediately with the British since November when it was told that the funds will no longer be available for the projects on the island.
“I can report as of last Friday the UK government has committed the funds for the Southern Waste water project so those funds are committed,” PM Dickon Mitchell told THE NEW TODAY Sunday night in the rural St. Andrew North-west constituency.
The Prime Minister along with a host of government ministers – Andy Williams (Mobilisation Implementation and Transformation), Ron Redhead (Sports and Culture), Lennox Andrews (Economic Development), Senator Jonathan La Crette (Health), Sen. Gloria Thomas (Social Development), and Sen. David Andrew (Education) came out as a show of support to former NNP Member of Parliament Delma Thomas who has now “virtually crossed the floor” to assist the government.
According to PM Dickon Mitchell, there is a counterpart financing component to the project with funds earmarked from the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) that is still intact.
“So we have been able to retain the funding for this project,” he said.
However, the Prime Minister announced that Grenada has not been able to retain the British funding that was pledged for the Western Main Road project as a result of the brief visit to the island in 2015 by then Prime Minister David Cameron.
The main reason for that, he said, is the delay in the project under the former Keith Mitchell-led NNP regime and that was compounded by the Molinere Land Slippage which was not part of the original project conception.
The Prime Minister noted that the Western Main Road project could not be started until Molinere was sorted out.
“We have indeed lost the funding for the Western Main Road but the funding for the Southern St George project has indeed been secured and we’ve gotten written confirmation of that,” he said.
PM Dickon Mitchell told THE NEW TODAY that shortly the Ministry of Finance headed by Dennis Cornwall and the Ministry of Infrastructure Development which is part of his portfolios “will be putting out additional information on the issue.”
A former high-ranking officer in the Ministry of Works blamed the former NNP regime for the constant changes in Consultants to design the Western Main Road project for the failure of the island to prepare the project of the Western Corridor in order to draw down on the funds that were lodged in CDB by the British government.
The initial funds pledged by the British government was to do over most of the road network on the West coast including replacement of a bridge and the laying of pipes by NAWASA from Concord and running into the deep south of the island.