June 11 St. George's Grenada: The Grenada government and the Trades
Union Council (TUC) seem to be on collision course over the establishment of a reconstruction fund and the implementation
of a 5% contribution as proposed in the 2005 budget.
Minister of Finance, Anthony Boatswain, and other senior
officials of the Ministry of Finance met with representatives of the Trade Union Council (TUC) to discuss the issues
surrounding the fund.
Speaking on the current status
of the proposal, the Minister said that Government has agreed on an exempt threshold of $1,000 and is currently reviewing
for the persons earning above $5,000 monthly, including the self-employed.
He also emphasised
the need for the Fund given the
significant fiscal imbalance caused by the rapid increases in expenditure and sharp reductions in revenue; and
the need for a strong signal to the donor
community that Grenadians are ready to join the aid donors in contributing to the Fund.
The Minister further went on to say that Government is planning to meet with various stakeholders to discuss the matter
and is currently putting together a consultation schedule.
The TUC however expressed objection to the Government’s proposal and stated it had difficulty supporting the implementation
of the 5% contribution, at this time, since some workers are still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Ivan, with some
persons having to secure second mortgages to repair their homes.
Some workers have indicated their unwillingness to make any more contribution claiming that too much
money is spent on failed projects and non essential legal battles.
Meanwhile the government said it would continue to have consultations with the TUC and other stakeholders.
Minister Boatswain encouraged the TUC to be the ‘watchdog’ in ensuring transparency
in the administration of the Reconstruction Fund.
TUC is reported to be holding consultation with workers on the issue and from all indications the workers seem prepared to
confront the government rather than to agree to contribute to the reconstruction fund.