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The Grenlec financial debacle

The Bruce Bain Power Plant of Grenlec is located in Queen’s Park

A former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance has expressed concern over reports that the state-controlled Grenada Electricity Company (GRENLEC) is looking to the state for a bail out in paying salary increases and fringe benefits to its estimated 160 workers.

Speaking to THE NEW TODAY on Tuesday, the ex-government official said that the newly elected Dickon Mitchell-led Congress government should approach with caution any attempt by Grenlec to get the board to give permission to contract a loan of approximately EC$15 million to pay salary increases and fringe benefits to its employees.

“That is absolute madness,” he retorted.

According to the ex-Finance ministry official, Grenlec should be borrowing money “to do capital projects, not to pay no salary ”.

The former high-ranking government employee said the incoming Board headed by former Grenlec Financial Controller, Benedict Brathwaite should do everything possible to prevent this kind of financial arrangement from happening at this point in time.

He described it as nothing but “a dottish move” by former Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and his second-in-command, former Public Utilities Minister Gregory Bowen to find an estimated EC$200 million to buy back the majority shares of WRB Enterprises in Grenlec.

He also gave support to the idea mooted in some quarters that the new Board of Directors should seek to renegotiate the pre-election agreement that was signed between the Grenlec Management and TAWU to bring an end to the strike action in the days leading up to the election.

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The official blamed former Prime Minister Dr. Mitchell for the predicament that Grenlec has now found itself in due to the fact that everything they were doing was based on the upcoming election and not wanting to upset people.

He said the intention of the former NNP administration in the days leading up to the poll was clearly aimed “at fooling people to vote for NNP.”

“It’s the same thing with all of these (Chinese) houses – remember what they said – they ain’t giving out the houses because if they give them out, those who didn’t get would get vex and wouldn’t vote for them – that’s why they didn’t give out the houses – so everything that (Dr. Keith Mitchell) does is based on some political calculation,” he quipped.

The newly elected Grenlec Board is composed of the following – Benedict Brathwaite (Chairman), Rodney George, Hugh Thomas, James Pitt, Lazarus Antoine, Andrea St Bernard, Winnifred Duncan-Phillip, and Linda George-Francis.

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