Elections 2023 Grenada

Grenada Celebrates One Year in Office

Grenada Celebrates One Year in Office

Grenadian History and Politics

For those who are unfamiliar with the history of the country of Grenada, also known as the Spice Isle, the last forty years have been nothing short of interesting.

This island, about 125,000 in population, and around 344km in size, boasts a rich history and culture and is known for being a producer of many spices. As of 2023, they are the largest producer and exporter of nutmeg in the world. The island also produces other rich agricultural products, such as cocoa, rum, mace, and more.

Grenada is also known for its renowned medical school, Saint George’s University, in the parish of Saint George’s. The university hosts students from all parts of the world who desire to obtain their medical degree from a top university.

In terms of politics, the country gained its independence in 1974 from the Commonwealth, however it is still a constitutional monarchy. In the coming years, Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell has mentioned that he hopes under the new leadership, Grenada will become a republic, a desire that many Grenadians want to achieve as well. 

Another hope for this country is to change the dynamic regarding the youth population. The median age for Grenada is 31 years, and there has been a call to revolutionize and promote higher education to all. In a recent announcement, the Minister of Education, Hon. David Andrew declared that all tuition fees for the community college, T.A Marryshow Community College, will be removed permanently, so all students get the chance to aim high.

From quick changes of leadership after the revolution, to now holding one of the youngest prime minister’s in Grenadian history, the hope of many citizens, is change and reform in the country.

 

Grenada Celebrates One Year in Office
The Welcome Stone, a landmark that highlights and demonstrates Grenada’s natural offerings Image Credit: Gabby Boyd

 

Parliament Reflects on One-Year Anniversary 

With elections for the Grenadian Parliament that occurred in June of 2022, a time of reflection and action was enacted just a little over a year later.

The transition of parliament has not only signified a change in government officials, but also a change in the leading party of the country.

The National Democratic Congress, also known as the NDC took office, a major transition from the New National Party, which has been in power for over 9 years.

With the swiftness of the election, it was no surprise that Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell and parliamentary officials jumped straight into action.

On June 22nd, 2023, a national town hall was held in the town of Grenville, the second most populated town in Grenada and the most populated in the parish of Saint Andrew.

This town hall’s purpose was to review and discuss changes and improvements that have been made in the new parliament, and to also listen to concerns and questions from citizens.

 

Grenada Celebrates One Year in Office
Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell at the National Town Hall Image Credit : Gabby Boyd.

 

Opening Remarks from the Minister of Mobilization, Implementation, and Transformation

There was a lack of implementation in the last few years. Now, implementation rates of legislation or projects are measuring to around 87%, a drastic improvement.”

Directly mentioned by the Minister of Mobilization, Implementation, and Transformation Honourable Andy Williams, this increase holds to the standards the new ministry has promised before reaching office.

The strength of prior legislative implementation attempts fell through, but now there is a promise throughout all the ministries, to continue to move forward, an anthem that rings throughout the country.

 

Grenada Celebrates One Year in Office
Minister Hon. Andy Williams. Image Credit: Government of Grenada.

 

Works Completed by the Ministry of Social and Community Development and Housing Affairs

Hon. Philip Telesford reflected on the accomplishments made by the Ministry of Social and Community Development and Housing Affairs, stating the following:

“Within the ministry, we were able to do a number of important things. We are on the verge of distributing housing, after spending 4.5 million eastern Caribbean dollars, […] this housing will guarantee that citizens will no longer have to be living their lives out of suitcases.”

This housing initiative will combat the issues of affordable housing so that Grenadians who are living below the poverty line can advance themselves economically.

Hon. Telesford also mentioned that a goal in building these houses is to just build a place for one to sleep in, but rather build a community from the ground up, with the houses being the first step in this process.

The community development office is also in the process of being restructured, and staffing in this area is set to increase in the coming months.

 

Grenada Celebrates One Year in Office
Grenada – China low-income housing project in the Parish of Saint Mark’s Image Credit: Youtube.

 

Hon. Ron Redhead, Minister of State for Youth, Sports, and Culture highlights Accolades from this Year

For the islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique, which are under the jurisdiction of Grenada, the first music lab has been established in both territories. It will allow for music production and sharing of their culture across a broader generation.

In relation to sports, Mr. Redhead shared that the government renegotiated the contracts of NLA and Canadian Bank Notes, from 1.5 million dollars to 15.1 million dollars, to continue to support youth and culture in Grenada.

Mentioning the subject of youth, Mr. Redhead spoke of how a new draft of the National Youth Policy has been brought to the table.

“We have numbers that demonstrate how the former state of the policy and the youth program has held our youth back from employment opportunities. 7,000 used to be a part of the program, over 4,000 have left, and only 400 remain actual members of the program. However, with the 400 remaining, this year we were able to provide opportunities for 292 to receive full-time employment.”

To close his statements on the youth policy in Grenada, Hon. Redhead announced that Junior Achievers will be implemented in the country. This international organization seeks to provide opportunities for youth across all areas so that they may reach their full potential in academics and careers.

 

Grenada Celebrates One Year in Office
JA, an educational NGO transforming the future of youth Image Credit: JA USA.

 

Minister of Legal and Labor Affairs, Senator Hon. Claudette Joseph calls for Reconstruction to the Judicial System 

Senator Hon. Claudette Joseph opens her statement as to how the judicial system in Grenada, was once a broken arm, and is in the process of mending.

“Much of our work this year was to build the Ministry of Legal and Labor Affairs from the ground up, as well as the office of the Attorney General.”

In the Ministry of Labor Affairs, they have reaffirmed a system to review the minimum wage every three years. It had not been adjusted since 2011. The new plan is to have new minimum wages set in place by January 2024.

A comprehensive review of labor laws has also been undertaken as well. Sen. Joseph mentions that, “our government must review labor systems to make sure employers are treated fairly within their companies.” 139 complaints were brought to the ministry to be disputed so far this year, and 84 of them have already been resolved to the satisfaction of the employer and the employee.

A new judiciary hall is also set to be finished by 2024.

 

Grenada Celebrates One Year in Office
Average Salary in Grenada, One United States Dollar is equivalent to two dollars and seventy cents in Eastern Caribbean Dollars Image Credit: Salary Explorer.

 

Senator Hon. Jonathan Lacrette, Minister of Health, Wellness, and Religious Affairs on Health in the Region

In the past year, the medical stations across the country, as well as the Princess Royal Hospital in Carriacou and the Princess Alice Hospital in Grenada have had extensive remodeling, so that infrastructural challenges may no longer be an issue to medical personnel.

Draft Legislation has also been created to address mental health and wellness in the country, and is set to be evaluated by national professionals and NGO stakeholders before receiving full consultation and passing it onto the next stages.

A new exercise program is in the works as well, to ensure that the 80% of deaths relating to non-communicable diseases will decrease in the words of Senator Lacrette.

Hon. Kerryne Joseph, Minister of Climate Resilience, The Environment & Renewable Energy, calls upon action from citizens and government 

On June 5th, also known as World Environment Day, the Ministry launched color-coded bins for waste and recyclables all across Grenada. A slogan, coined for Grenada many years ago, is “more glitter, less litter”, Hon. Joseph noted that this needs to be brought back to the forefront of the Spice Isle.

Hon. Joseph also highlighted the relaunch of a project, which started in 2018, but it had not made much progress since then. In the last year, the project has been launched and revitalized to clean up waste and bring solar panels to the isles of Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

She also called to make Carriacou 100% renewable energy-based, and Grenada to follow suit.  These efforts are to combat and meet the initiatives from the 1.5 C climate threshold set forth by Small Island Developing States.

“It is time for hard work to allow us to achieve ambitious targets, to ensure the environment for our children tomorrow.”

Minister Tevin Andrew of Carriacou and Petite Martinique:  A short yet resounding voice in the town hall

While Minister Andrew kept his statement brief and concise, totaling about a minute or so, one particular phase captured the crowd and the spirit of the tri-island state.

“Boots on the ground, that is how we continue to ignite progress in our countries. We can’t move forward without the government and its people working side by side to make Grenada a powerhouse.”

 

Grenada Celebrates One Year in Office
Tevin Andrew’s Campaign from 2022 Image Credit: NDC Facebook.

 

Two Birds with One Stone: Brief Reflections from the Ministry of Finance and Foreign Affairs

A celebration is sought in the victory of pensions. So far, around 75 million XCD have been issued this year so retired people can feel the sense of reward from their years of service.

Public service workers will also now be paid bimonthly rather than monthly, to ensure security of payment in a time of inflation and high prices.

Bridges across Saint Patrick and Saint George’s parishes have been repaired, as well as roads to make traveling safer across the island.

To Close Out: Call to Action from other Ministries and Grenadian Citizens

From the Ministry of Education to the Prime Minister, and to citizens themselves, a wide-scale call to action was made upon the closing of the town hall.

With reflections of the one year in mind, forward was the one word that was repeated amongst all ministers and citizens in thinking about what can be done in the future.

 While it is important that the past must be reflected upon, the Grenadian Parliament will continue to move forward to work hard to improve the livelihoods of Grenadians, as well as build a stronger community locally and nationally. Only time will tell as to what will be achieved in the next year.

 


Gabby Boyd | Latin American Correspondent

My name is Gabby Boyd, and I am a first-year master’s candidate at Georgetown University studying Latin American Studies with a concentration in Political Economy and Development. My interest in this region of the world stems from a love of culture and politics, and an innate curiosity to learn more about Latin America through my educational and work experiences. During my time at Latina Republic, I am working as a Latin American Correspondent, with a focus on the Andean Cone countries and Caribbean Islands. I am interested in women’s rights, sustainability, and the environment, and promoting the rights of children through advocacy. It is incredibly important that these topics are discussed in the realm of Latin America, as the voices of both women and children are crucial to understanding and improving the region on all levels.