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Technocrats raise concerns

Minister of Economic Development: Lennox Andrews

A group of Grenadian technocrats have expressed concerns over what they suspect was a deliberate attempt to exclude them from a meeting this past week with a visiting delegation from the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The technocrats who are associated with the Congress government of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell complained of not knowing about the meeting and in one case only heard about the meeting towards the end of the scheduled visit to the island. One official charged that he only knew the team was in Grenada when one of the IMF team members called him to make a request for a meeting with him.

He spoke of one technocrat complaining that the invitation he eventually received came very late and even though he committed to take part in the meeting he did not receive a link for the session that was being conducted Virtually.

“It appears that everything fell down from the Ministry of Finance,” said one of the technocrats who did not want to be identified. According to the insider, there appears to have been a deliberate attempt to leave out a key staffer from the Ministry of Economic Development headed by Minister Lennox Andrews, from a meeting with the visiting IMF delegation.

He said the head of the Department that is responsible for the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) of government in the ministry was noticeable absent from the IMF meeting. The meeting was reportedly attended by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Development and the Senior Administrative Officer who has little or no knowledge about technical matters.

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The official pointed out that a meeting of that nature with the IMF to look at Public Sector Investment for the island will be attended by the Permanent Secretary along with the top technocrats associated with the government.

“These are technical meetings – looking at projects, looking at capacity to implement projects, the status of projects, availability of counterpart financing. She (the PS) cannot speak to that but she and the Senior Administrative Officer attended and no other technical person was involved,” he told THE NEW TODAY.

He felt that Grenada was not fully prepared to seriously engage the visiting IMF team and blamed the Ministry of Finance headed by Dennis Cornwall for the apparent oversight in making sure that the best technocrats were there at the meetings. The former Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) was often beset by a lack of capable technical persons to implement a number of key government projects.

The British government had recalled just over EC$90 million dollars that it had committed to Grenada in 2016 during a visit to the island by then British Prime Minister David Cameron to assist with a major water project and for the construction of a new road network on the Western side of the island.

New Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell who came to office 17 months ago was able to get the British government to recommit approximately EC$79 million for the water project to be undertaken by the state-owned National Water & Sewerage Authority (NAWASA).

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