Social Partners meet to discuss implications and suggestions to handle Covid-19

by Linda Straker

  • Providing financial subsidies if Grenada has an outbreak of Covid-19, is to be discussed
  • The Committee of Social Partners was established in 2013
  • Committee of Social Partners formed to promote social dialogue and propel Grenada’s development

The possibility of providing financial subsidies to different sectors of the economy if Grenada has an outbreak of Covid-19, is among issues to be discussed when the Committee of Social Partners holds a meeting on Thursday, 12 March 2020.

Chaired by Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell, the committee normally referred to as the Social Partners was established in 2013 after the New National Party (NNP) won all 15 seats in the Lower House of Parliament. The Committee of Social Partners was formed to promote social dialogue and propel Grenada’s development. The committee consists of all the major social partners: private sector, trade unions, churches, non-governmental organisations and government.

Dr Mitchell who made an impromptu appearance in the weekly Tuesday morning post-cabinet briefing, told the media that the committee’s meeting which will be held at the National Stadium, will involve a wide cross-section of sectors in the country. “In fact, the meeting we are having on Thursday afternoon will involve everybody… because we may have to subsidise some of the workforces in some areas,” he said, naming some of the sectors who will attend. They include the hotel sector, Ministry of Tourism, the Grenada Tourism Authority, The National Insurance Scheme, the cruise representative/agents, Ports Authority, the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Authority; the Trades Union movement and its members; the farming community, as well as opposition political parties.

“It’s going to be a national issue in every single form, we are inviting the opposition, we do not have opposition in parliament, but we have an opposition in the country. We consider the National Democratic Congress as the leading opposition force in the country, so we will be inviting them and other parties who are interested,” he added.

Describing the measures for preparedness and dealing with the aftermath of one positive case as a national issue, Dr Mitchell who is the also the Minister for National Security, said that he will not want to see Grenada getting locked down as done in other parts of the world.

“We, therefore, have to act on facts and not fear,” he said, promising that every decision taken will be in the best interest of protecting the country and its citizens. He further disclosed that after having a meeting on Monday with some stakeholders, the plan is to keep all employment within the sectors that will be heavily affected because of preparedness precautionary actions.

“The plan is we do not want to send home workers at this time, so it means if you don’t want to send home workers and people are making less money, it means that we will have to subsidise several workplaces, whether it’s hotels or the retail sector in the country. All these are going to be looked at,” he said.

Government has allocated EC$2 million to the Ministry of Health for preparedness measures. As of 10 March, 4 more countries were added to the list from which Grenada will be denying entry. They are Iran, Germany, South Korea and Italy. China was the first on the list. While non-nationals from these Covid-19 hotspots will be denied, any nationals who arrive will be placed into quarantine for observation.

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