Prime Minister and Chairman of Cabinet, Dr Keith Mitchell said he’s extremely satisfied with the outcome of the first meeting of the task force mandated to examine ways to reactivate economic activity in Grenada, post COVID-19.
DR. Mitchell chaired the meeting on Wednesday 22nd April, which brought together representatives of multiple sectors and associations, along with government officials.
In his opening remarks, he said the unprecedented global crises necessitate collective action to determine the way forward.
The prime minister acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic has created major economic disruption and he expects the local economy to contract significantly. The actual extent of the impact he said, is yet to be determined as data is still being gathered. However, he’s very optimistic that with a gradual return the economic activity across all sectors there would be some recovery and growth in 2021.
Dr Mitchell noted, COVID-19 has certainly changed the landscape of the development and what is taking place in the country. It has affected the lives of almost every citizen at all levels but the harsh reality is that they have to come to terms with learning how to work now and build the country in the context of COVID-19 since the virus is not going to go away overnight.
He went on to say that it, therefore, means the task force will be helping to work and build on ideas and suggestions in going forward as far as the economy is concerned. To do so it means they have to have all stakeholders on board to be more efficient and effective. Amid the pandemic and its widespread impact, many opportunities will be created and they must be prepared to use it to propel Grenada’s development.
One of the key suggestions coming out of Wednesday’s meeting is the creation of sub-committees that are assigned responsibility for each of the productive sectors. They have been identified as tourism, construction, services (inclusive of education and financial services), businesses, agriculture and fisheries, wholesale and retail and e-commerce. The composition of the various sub-committees and the respective terms of reference will be finalized as one of the priority areas for action emanating from the meeting.
Dr Mitchell noted that with agriculture and fisheries identified as one of the productive sectors, concerted efforts will be made to improve Grenada’s food security as part of the way forward. Government has already signalled its intention to invest more resources into supporting the agriculture sector through initiatives such as the Farm Labour Programme and Youth in Agriculture. “As the saying goes, we must eat what we grow and grow what we eat”. This has become more relevant now since the agriculture sector will be a prime area for serious new thinking in going forward”.
According to Prime Minister Mitchell, a key takeaway from the pandemic is that it cannot be business as usual. He said government, the business sector and the trade union movement must come to terms with the new dispensation and work together to create better jobs and more opportunities in the new environment they face.
The general composition of the task force includes representatives from government, the business sector, farming community, construction, manufacturing and hotels, as well as the Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the Grenada Trades Union Council, the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association, the Grenada Tourism Authority, Grenada Bankers Association and St. George’s University.