Labour representative calls for cancellation of Spicemas 2020

by Linda Straker

  • Government should cancel 2020 carnival celebrations
  • Non-essential allocations in 2020 budget to assist with supplies for Covid-19 related matters
  • Spicemas Corporation announced cancellation of May launch event

André Lewis, labour representative in the Upper House of Parliament, said the labour movement believes that the Government of Grenada should cancel the island’s 2020 carnival celebrations because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Grenada, which hosts the final summer festival in the region, is yet to make a public announcement about the cancellation, but other islands have already announced postponements until 2021. “We think that this is something that ought to be done, in the interest and safety of our people. There will be 2021, 22, 23, 24, forever, and there will be carnival activity every succeeding year,” Lewis, who is the current head of the Grenada Trades Union Council, said.

Grenada’s carnival is scheduled to climax mid-August, and was scheduled to launch on 2 May 2020. Spicemas Corporation (SMC) which manages, markets and administrates the affairs of the carnival celebrations, in mid-March announced a cancellation of the launch event.

Lewis disclosed that the labour movement has written to government recommending that workers, both in the private and public sectors, do not lose wages or salaries for the 3-month period beginning 23 March. Lewis, who was speaking on the Grenada Broadcasting Network daily ‘To The Point’ programme, said that the labour movement has suggested that government redirect non-essential allocations in the 2020 budget to assist with purchasing essential supplies for Covid-19 related matters. “We made that request very early because we understood what was likely to happen. We also went further to say that funds secured from the World Bank and other funding agencies for Covid relief purposes should so be used for securing medical supplies, equipment for the protection and treatment of virus-related ailment, and to fund relief pay of workers in the private and public sectors affected by wage disruptions.”

“All government non-essential budgeted funds should be redirected to the provision of necessary medical personnel, for the purchase medical material/equipment, relief wages and goods needed for securing and responding to the coronavirus crisis,” he added, listing expenditure on upgrades on sporting facilities, travel budgets of ministries and essential community upgrades, funds earmarked for cancelled sporting and cultural activities such as carnival, as examples.

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