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New Track and Field Stadium Nears Completion ISSUE #003
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The New Track and Field Stadium under Construction in St. George’s Grenada Grenada’s new state-of-the-art track and field Workmen are at the finishing stage and the stadium, funded by the Peoples Republic of China stadium, to be officially opened later this year, will and built by Grenadian and Chinese workers, is be the venue for next year’s CARIFTA Games. nearing completion. The stadium which is expected to host the The stadium, part of an original deal between a prestigious games next year is seen as a major previous Keith Mitchell Government and the PRC, boost for track and field in Grenada and officials are was brought back on the table after the Mitchell already talking about attracting top world athletes administration returned to Government over two including Jamaica’s Usain Botl and Grenada’s years ago. Kirani James.
Construction Begins at Silver Sands
Construction is about to begin on Grenada’s newest hotel, the Silver Sands Hotel, on Grenada’s world famous Grand Anse Beach.
Graphic design and layout by Keville Frederick
g n i s u o H 0 0 3 r e v O ! d e t u b i r t s i D s t i Un Full Story on Page: 6
Scores of workers and contractors are expected to find employment on the site as the first phase of work begins.
In This Issue...
This activity will further reduce the country’s unemployment which has fallen from 40% to 29% in the past two years. GIS Review Issue 003 April 2015
More Tourists Coming
Grenada Surpasses IMF Targets
Homeowners Get Keys
Construction Begins at Silver Sands
More Doctors at Princess Alice
JetBlue Soars In Grenada
Grenada and IMF Reach US21.9M 3yr
National Health Insurance.....
Low Income Houses for Carriacou
Jet Blue Soars In Grenada
New Road Network Connects Grand Bacolet and Munich
Welcome to this edition of our newsletter, The GIS Review.
stage of the project. We hope to complete all paving work and hand over the project by the required status,” said Burke.
In this third edition we will focus on the achievements of the administration approaching this mid-term stage.
The long awaited Grand Bacolet to Munich road has long been in the making and residents have been applauding its construction.
We have endeavoured to cover Government in action through our many articles and pictures.
It runs for more than a kilometer, at an estimated cost of 2 million dollars under the CCC project.
However we hope you appreciate that space would not allow us to be as comprehensive as we would like to be. Needless to say we have included articles reflecting a turn-around in the economy, a reduction in unemployment, an ambitious drive to reduce expenditure and a robust effort to attract foreign direct investment as well as boost small business. The mid-term report reflects significant progress in government since the return of the Keith Mitchell administration more than two years ago. There has been movement on many fronts ranging from a drop in unemployment to record growth in tourists arrivals as figures from the Barbados based Caribbean Tourism Organization would confirm. Indeed tourism has been a stand out sector with new airlines and cruise ships making their debut and returning and more expansion in the fast growing yachting sector. But from the get go, one of the areas given major attention was the need to put the fiscal house in order as the previous administration was embroiled in an escalating financial nightmare. Late and non-payments to a range of regional and international bodies as well as the late paying of public servants salaries were manifestations of a fiscal carnival needed to be corrected.
New York based airline JetBlue has been cleared for landing in Grenada following Government’s signing of a contract with the airline’s operators. Tourism Minister Yolande Bain-Horsford broke the welcoming news after the carrier had fixed June 11 2015, as the date to commence flights from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Grenada’s Maurice Bishop International Airport. “We finally signed the contract with JetBlue coming here two flights weekly in June of this year and this is a great thing for the hoteliers and everyone involved,” said Bain Horsford. “It’s a joint venture. We have Sandals paying a portion, and also we have JetBlue and we have the Grenada part of it, so that is signed sealed and delivered and I think we are out for a good start in June”. JetBlue’s twice weekly service will be on Thursdays and Sundays to Grenada, the airline’s 90th destination and its 32nd destination in the Caribbean and Latin America. The airline will serve the route with its spacious 150-seat Airbus A320 aircraft featuring the most legroom in coach, free firstrun movies on flights to/from Grenada, and unlimited free snacks and soft drinks. “The people who have problems coming in they now have an opportunity,” said Horsford. “Although we have American airlines coming in but it’s coming in from Miami, JetBlue is coming straight from New York so it’s a great thing for us. We are looking forward to this starting off in June”. In preparation for JetBlue’s inaugural flight to St.George’s, the tourism minister met with top officials of the airports authority.
Both Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and Foreign Trade Minister Oliver Joseph as well as the International Monetary Fund have been highlighting the progress made in restoring fiscal order.
Grenada’s tourism industry has seen record growth last year, outstripping countries in the region in arrivals with the forecast for more gains in 2015.
Please refer to the Director’s Editorial for a detailed overview on Progress in Government.
“Grenada has seen remarkable growth in tourism thanks to a fresh marketing approach, an extraordinary new Sandals Resort and a very resilient and committed tourism sector. Combine that with all the magnificent facets of our tr-island state and we have a winning formula,” said the Hon. Alexandra Otway-Noel, former tourism minister and now Minister of Implementation, Government of Grenada.
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Winston Garraway (Sen.) Minister of State with responsibility for Information
“JetBlue is known to offer quality service and high standards, and is the perfect addition to our family. We are indeed very pleased to welcome the inaugural flight on June 11th to Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean”
A new road under construction in the eastern part of Grenada, linking Grand Bacolet to Munich is nearing completion. Workmen are on the verge of finishing the paving work on the road which passes through Mama Cannes. The tough assignments of base course work and drain construction have already been completed. Project Coordinator Kelvon Burke says the road will be completed in days. “We are at the finishing
Chief Technical officer Winston Gabriel says the road bears major significance. “It links the eastern main road and the road at Munich, St. Andrew’s,” said Gabriel. “It is very important in the event that it may have any traffic problems or diversions along the main road; this road is a very good loop that carries you straight into St. Andrew.” Despite the challenges of cost, road construction remains a top priority of the Keith Mitchell government.
Delta Airlines Will Fly to Grenada This Summer Delta Airline has announced that it will be starting a new weekly service between Atlanta and Grenada this summer. The United States based airline says the new service will be operated on Saturdays starting June 6 and ending August 15, 2015. News of the new service was first announced during debate on the 2015 budget by former Tourism Minister Alexandra Otway Noel. Delta says it’s using the new Saturday service from Atlanta to Grenada to decide if the flight will return for the winter 2015 peak period. The announcement will be good news for thousands of Caribbean nationals and Grenadians alike who reside in Atlanta and have been seeking easier access to the region. The new service will be a further boost to Grenada’s tourism industry which made significant strides in 2014 including achieving the highest growth in the region for arrivals.
The Keith Mitchell administration has been embarking on a deliberate strategy of reducing expenditure through a number of measures spearheaded by the work of an active Waste Reduction Committee; tasked with the goal of bringing non-personal expenditure down to 20 percent. The government’s campaign to control expenditure has also been extended to statutory bodies as tighter measures have now been introduced for them to comply with.
This approach to keeping cost down has Rawle Titus been working and has been twinned with a GIS Director concerted approach to general revenue and tax collection which has led to significant intake at Inland Revenue. Therefore, the fiscal gap is narrowing from a high of 18 million dollars, plummeting into low single digit zone as the economy makes a gradual climb out of the doldrums. The local private sector organization has publicly praised the administration for the strides made in managing the economy over the past two years. The IMF itself has publicly praised the administration in St.George’s for consistently surpassing the targets set out under a Home Grown Structural Adjustments Programme. It is interesting to note that the IMF has even revised its economic growth projections for Grenada, pointing to two percent instead of the over one percent as originally forecast. The country’s national debt has just fallen again as debtors have agreed to a 50 percent haircut, a major coup for the administration and its ability to continue managing the economy. There is confidence that the drop in unemployment will continue as new projects pick up the pace in 2015. All eyes continue to be on the hotel and general service sector which has been creating employment in Grenada. Sandals have just gone live with their new Call Centre in Grenada with a goal to employ more than 100 persons, the Silver Sands Project is moving into gear, the Tyrell Bay Marina Project in Carriacou is well underway as well as the Clarkes Court Bay Marina Project, a potential game changer when completed. At the heart of all the major projects and initiatives is a strategy to further reduce the country’s unemployment figures. About three thousand young persons have signed on to a paid internship Imani project and the government is now examining ways that they can transition into continuous employment at the end of their internship. The allocation to small business loans through the Grenada Development Bank has been significantly increased. A number of new and growing businesses have blossomed from this initiative impacting positively on unemployment figures. Housing continues to be a top priority for the Keith Mitchell government which has been introducing assistance programmes; covering home building and home repairs to support low income earners and locking down deals with Chinese companies for housing for middle income earners. While the midterm report captured a significant turnaround in the local economy the government would be the first to admit that a lot more has to be done as Grenada forges ahead in a new challenging era.
Homeowners Get Keys
New Chinese Houses
The Keith Mitchell led Government delivered on its promise when it gave 38 families the keys to homes under the low income Chinese housing programme at Mt. Rush, St. George’s. The hand over came months after the People’s Republic of China presented the Master Key to government officials. Minister for Housing, Hon. Delma Thomas encouraged the recipients to care for the units, and to above all, create a clean and safe environment. “We want to appeal to the families getting units here today and those who will get in future, to cherish and care for it and its surroundings, keep this as a place that is clean and safe, a good environment to raise children,” she admonished. Minister Thomas said her Government had been engaging in efforts to provide housing for its people since the passage of Hurricane Ivan, and she is overjoyed to see those efforts come into fruition. “When our government designed the concept for this project many years ago... the intention was always to help the most vulnerable among us, to help them make a better day for themselves and their children. In that regard, we can say here today we have delivered,” said Minister Thomas. Also, congratulating the Government of Grenada on its achievement was President General of the Technical and Allied Workers Union, Chester Humphrey.
An Excited Homeowner Receives the Symbolic Key
He said Government’s perseverance was the key ingredient in making this day possible. “It’s a fine thing that the People’s Republic would have done, and we recognise them for that” he said.“ But that didn’t come by chance, it came simply because you have a government that has the capacity to negotiate and get those benefits, and for that we must salute and be grateful.” Hon. Tobias Clement, Parliamentary Representative for St. George’s North East said he is happy to see this moment finally arrive and thanked the Government and People of the People’s Republic of China for their contribution to enhancing the lives of Grenadians.
NHI In 2016
The Grenada government says it is aiming to have a National Health Insurance Scheme fully up and running early next year. Health Minister Nikolas Steele announced on Tuesday that a multisectorial task force is also being setup to implement the scheme. An Advisory Committee headed by trade union leader and senator, Chester Humphrey, has also recommended the setting up of a secretariat to spearhead the process. “The committee has also recommended a possible start date for a National Health Insurance and that is at the end of first quarter next year,” Minister Steele said. “That is dependent on being able to find the appropriate sources of finance between now and then and the Progress that is made but the most optimistic date for them will be the end of first quarter”. The Advisory committee, which began its work more than a year ago, has kicked off talks with the National Insurance Scheme, the body targeted to the run the National Health Insurance Scheme. “The most significant action taken from the report is that dialogue has begun between the committee members and the National Insurance Scheme’s board of directors to explore the possibility as is recommended by the committee for the National Insurance Scheme to be the manager of the National Health Insurance,” the Health Minister said. “It was felt that they have the skills set to manage a National Health Insurance Scheme,”the Health Minister said.
Clarkes Court Bay Marina Project Picks Up Speed
The Construction site of the Clarkes Court Bay Marina The first building is under construction as workers pick-up the pace at the Clarkes Court Bay Boatyard and Marina project. Nearly a hundred local workers are on site of the multimillion dollar project expected to be a major boost to the island’s expanding yachting sector. Implementation Minister Alexandra Otway Noel says she is pleased with the amount of work accomplished after a recent visit to the site.
Already calls from around the world are coming in with queries ranging from an opening date to services to be provided. General Manager Conor Holmes says Clarke’s Court Bay Boatyard and Marina will be a game changer and more jobs will come. Officials say yachting is among the fastest growing subsector in Grenada’s growing tourism industry.
The Spiceisle Attracts More Tourists More tourists are expected to visit Grenada on cruise ships than originally projected for the next winter season. That’s the forecast of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) which is projecting a 15 percent increase in arrivals for the season starting in September. The FCCA’s prediction surpasses a 10 percent projection by tourism officials in Grenada. Speaking at a recent Post Cabinet briefing, Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation, Hon. Yolande Bain-Horsford, said things are looking good for Grenada’s cruise industry. “It seems like we are going to have a 15 % growth of cruise lines coming to Grenada. We are on top of things and things are rolling very smoothly” said the Tourism Minister who recently met with the FCCA’s President at the CSM Seatrade Conference and Trade Show in Miami.
While at the trade show Minister Horsford and her Grenada delegation focused on promoting the purity and authenticity of Grenada, and held talks with the likes of Royal Caribbean, Carnival and a number of other major cruise corporations in an effort to boost the country’s cruise tourism market. “We had a very good discourse with the cruise executives as we displayed Grenada’s tourism products,” the Minister said.
“We engaged some of the ships that never came to Grenada before and they are looking seriously at coming to Grenada,” she said. The Tourism Minister said the FCCA’s President, Michele Paige, spoke very highly of Grenada, in particular, the beauty of the island. “Prospects are very bright for Grenada in moving forward with the cruise industry,” Minister Horsford said.
No Fear From Falling Oil Prices oil prices that programme will be under threat”. Oil under the PetroCaribe deal constitutes only 5 percent of Venezuelan’s oil export . Minister Joseph has also reported positive development regarding Grenada’s arrangement with ALBA.
Grenada need not fear that falling world oil prices will result in the threat to the PetroCaribe programme. In fact, the Venezuelan government has assured Grenada and other PetroCaribe member states that once it holds the reins of power, they will continue to benefit.
“So it’s a very small percentage and therefore the programme will continue and that was reiterated by the president, so we have no need to fear in Grenada as long as the current government is in Venezuela,” said Joseph. “We are very happy because in our budget a lot of the resources from social programmes come from PetroCaribe funds. We will continue to get funding from ALBA.
“The arrangements are of great importance to all of you the people of Grenada and a lot of concerns have been expressed,” said Minister for Economic Development Hon. Oliver Joseph.
Grenada and Exim Bank Reach Agreement
This landmark Agreement, which reduces the principal outstanding on the loan by 50%, resolves Grenada’s decadelong dispute with EXIM and puts an end to the bank’s legal proceedings in the New York Courts. Under the Terms of the Agreement, the post-haircut balance on the loan will be repayable over 15 years–including a grace period of three and a half years–at an interest rate of 7%. The Agreement also includes a ‘hurricane clause’, which will allow Grenada to defer payments for a predetermined period should a natural disaster compromise the Government’s ability to service debt in a timely manner in the future.
More Doctors At Princess Alice Hospital
Residents of St. Andrews and the staff of the Princess Alice Hospital in Mirabeau have praised a decision by Health Minister Nickolas Steele to increase the number of doctors serving the facility.
Meanwhile although there are other minor challenges that are currently being addressed at the St. Andrew’s based Hospital, the Ministry of Health has already completed the first phase of the project known as the Princess Alice Hospital Diagnostic Services Project.
Javan Williams, the Permanent Secretary with responsibility for community health services and hospital operations Ministry of Health, says the decision is in line with the Ministry’s mandate to provide 24hr services to persons using the hospital.
That project will see the return of diagnostic services including X-ray and Ultrasound services as well as some level of laboratory services at the Princess Alice Hospital.
He was addressing a ceremony at the Princess Alice Hospital in celebration of its 65th year of operation. “This is very clear in the Ministry’s mandate and it has manifested itself at the beginning of this year when the Minister for Health took the decision to improve the medical doctors quota serving the facility”, the PS told a large gathering at the thanksgiving and award ceremony on Wednesday at the Hospital. He added that historically there was one doctor and then it was increased to two for a very long period.
Top Government Officials at Princess Alice Hospital 65th Anniversary Celebrations
That project is co-funded and executed by the Ministry of Health, the Roland and Nadia Benjamin Foundation and GRENLEC.
Work has already been completed on The facility serves more than 25,000 the new building where theses services will persons each year. On assuming the role be provided. of Minister of Health in December of 2014, Steele vowed to undertake a major overhaul of healthcare services to meet the growing demand of the Grenadian people which is a goal of the Keith Mitchell Government.
per cent projected at an earlier review. “So many other people have been complimenting us because the international institutions are seeing Grenada as a model for what they believe …that small economies that have been experiencing deficit problem… how can they move to correct it and set a path for sustained economic development,” Dr. Mitchell pointed out.
The Government of Grenada announced that it has concluded a comprehensive agreement to restructure its US$36.6 million (EC$98.8 million) indebtedness to the Export-Import Bank (EXIM) of Taiwan .
Commenting on the development, Grenada’s Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. The Right Hon. Keith Mitchell, said “We are very pleased that with this new agreement we have now been able to work out much more manageable terms to honour our debts with EXIM bank.”.
“So on the sixth of March, the president of Venezuela called a meeting of all the member states of PetroCaribe …to give us the assurance that the programme will continue. The concern was that with falling
IMF S ays G renada O utperforms T argets
After four years in decline the Grenada economy rebounded in 2013 growing by 3.1 percent and 2.6 percent in 2014.
P.S -Finance Timothy Antoine and IMF Team Brief the Local Media The two year old Keith Mitchell government is being applauded for turning around a sluggish economy and outperforming targets set out in a three-year structural
adjustment programme. Those heaping praise on the administration in St.George’s include the IMF and the president of the Caribbean
Development Bank (CDB) Dr. William Warren Smith.
“So I think all the barometers, all the measures, all the variables have shown that we are heading in the right direction”.
The IMF is predicting economic growth of 2 per cent this year compared to the 1.1
C arriacou C leared F or C hinese L ow I ncome H ousing P roject In the year 2005, Grenada made a wise decision to re-establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. In that negotiation, the People’s Republic of China had agreed to give Grenada two(2) thousand houses for low income persons amongst many other supports.
Minister Nimrod said that feasibility studies like these are the very first step taken before any form of development and is very essential.He also added that this is just the beginning of implementing the promise of low income houses on the sister-isle.
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Labor, Legal Affairs, Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs and Local Government, Hon. Elvin Nimrod, led a delegation to the proposed low income housing site at Dumfries on the sister-isle of Carriacou.
Though a definite figure have not yet been assigned for construction, Minister Nimrod said that he is positive that approximately 100 low income houses will be constructed for the benefit of low income persons on the sister-isle.
Members of the delegation included Chinese Ambassador for Grenada, H.E. Ou Boqian and a feasibility studying group from China, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Sen. Hon. Simon Stiell, Parliamentary Secretary for Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs, Sen. Hon. Norland Cox, and other technical workers in the Ministry of works and Grenada Housing Authority.
MP. Nimrod, Chinese Ambassador Ou Boqian, Sen. Cox and Chinese Engineering Team visiting the proposed site
Chinese Ambassador for Grenada, H.E. Ou Boqian, said that her feasibility team is extremely satisfied thus far with the proposed site for construction of the houses, and should see the beginning of construction very soon. H.E. Ou Boqian commended Hon. Elvin Nimrod for his dedication and hard work for the people of Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
He expressed the Government’s concerns on job opportunities. Therefore, the low income housing project on the sister-isle is expected to create local employment. Minister Nimrod thanked the People’s Republic of China for keeping their promise in ensuring that Carriacou gets its fair share of the low income housing pie.