Wednesday, 25 September 2013

CCG hosting second debt relief workshop

By Linda Straker

“WHAT options for solving the debt problem does the Grenadian civil society support?”, “What are the options for Grenada?” and “What are the options for reaching a sustainable debt level?” will be among discussion topics for the second workshop on debt relief organised by the Conference of Churches Grenada (CCG).

Scheduled for October 1 and 2, 2013 at the Grenada National Stadium, the goal of the workshop is to determine a sustainable debt level for Grenada and to raise awareness of the implications of any debt workout for its people. This workshop is the follow-up for the one held in May and will include the input of international experts on the subject and support from the United Nations Development Programme.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has indicated that during the month of October, Grenada will be signing an agreement with the IMF with regards to measures to be undertaken for sustaining the island’s debt level. A team from the IMF and other donors concluded a ten-day visit to the island last week Friday, but no official announcement was made with regards to recommendations.

Dr. Mitchell, who is also the Minister for Finance, told the media on Tuesday he will be addressing the nation in the coming days because it is Government’s responsibility to inform nationals about the recommendations and how the agreement will impact the economy before the implementation.

“Clearly, Grenada will have to make some sacrifices,” he told reporters, when pressed for in-depth information about the pending agreement.

Dr. Mitchell returned to power following the February 19 General Elections with a mandate to sort out the island’s economic situation. Within days of appointing his new Cabinet, he said that the global financial crisis has taken a heavy toll on the country.

“This has aggravated the severe debt overhang that continues to weigh down our economy,” said the PM, when he announced the appointment of White Oak Advisory as an adviser to assist with solutions for reducing the debt to sustainable levels.

Dr. Mitchell said then: “It is now time for Grenada to confront the fact that it cannot continue to pay its debts on current terms, and that the restoration of growth requires the debt overhang to be resolved. We need a fresh start, and it is therefore imperative that we approach our creditors promptly to discuss an
orderly restructuring of our liabilities.”

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