The 17-month old National Democratic Congress (NDC) government in Grenada of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell has said that the current unemployment rate in the country now stands at 11.9 percent.
According to Minister of Mobilisation Implementation and Transformation (MIT) Andy Williams, the figure came from the Central Statistical Office (CSO) which is part of the Ministry of Economic Development and Planning, headed by Member of Parliament for St Andrew South-west Lennox “Toes” Andrews. He said the CSO did a survey recently and estimated that unemployment has dropped significantly in the country.
He told THE NEW TODAY that the figure was disclosed at a recent sitting of Parliament by Economic Development Minister Lennox Andrew but was challenged by former Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell of the main opposition New National Party (NNP).
“We spoke about that in Parliament and Keith Mitchell came back and say how we lie – Lennox Andrew was the one who broke it,” he said. According to Minister Williams, it is very difficult at the moment to hire persons as most are currently employed doing something.
“It’s difficult to get people now – I am telling you, that’s not a joke. I am telling you now it is hard to get people,” he said. The senior government minister pointed out that several businesses on the island are experiencing problems in recruiting workers for their establishments.
“The amount of businesses that are calling for workers is amazing,” he remarked. Minister Williams indicated that about two weeks ago, three businesses in the south of the island – C-Tech, Real Value supermarket and the new Plaza that is due to open shortly opposite the Sugar Mill round-a-bout at Grand Anse complained about problems in recruiting workers.
“Businesses want people and they can’t get people to work,” he said. The Member of Parliament for the South St George’s constituency reported that he had an unemployment initiative a few weeks ago and it attracted about 60 people “and we get work for them already”.
Minister Williams said that an initiative by the government to paint a number of walls and rails in strategic points in the country have provided job opportunities for several persons at the constituency level as gangs can be seen engaged in employment activities. The painting programme is taking place under the MIT Ministry.