Monday, January 30, 2023
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Win some, lose some

It was observed this week that while many people were celebrating after having received their pensions and other payout from government, others were thrown in an opposite direction brought on by the strike at the port in Saint George’s. The traffickers and other businesses reported great losses as a result of the industrial action taken in support of a worker that was fired. The workers of the Grenada Ports Authority (GPA), represented by the Grenada Technical and Allied Workers Union (GTAWU), downed tools last week. And it was reported by president of the GCIC Kenny John, that some companies have losses in excess of $200,000 worth of business. Chris De Allie, manager of Sissons Paints, in support, was in news explaining how his company suffered because a boat had to bypass Grenada.

The people commonly called traffickers, trade in fresh fruits, vegetables and other items mostly to Trinidad. The agreement with the government of that country is that the traffickers spend most of the cash they make back into Trinidad’s economy.

As a result of this they normally bring back to Grenada loads of fresh vegetables such as carrots and potatoes to be sold to dealers here. It was unfortunate that the port was locked down with their perishable goods, which of course resulted in spoilage. At this time of the year, that loss is a lot to bear. However, it may not be an easy feat for the government to intervene in this unforeseen circumstance, since the focus now is on paying out the long overdue pension and gratuity.

It was shortly after the Revolution that the issue was taken to court and ended up with the Supreme Court ruling by Sir Justice Raulston Glasgow which stated that the Revolution’s 1983 Pension Disqualification Act is “null and void.” However the situation was left unattended and generations of Public Servants were retiring without their due payments. The New National Party (NNP), which governed from 1984 to 1990; 1995 to 2008; and 2013 to 2022; nor the NDC, which governed from 1990 to 1995; and 2008 to 2013 addressed the matter. Three different governments had the opportunity to amend the Pension Act. It took a new-look National Democratic Party (NDC) to take up the mantle this year.

Retired Managing Director of the Grenada Co-operative Bank Limited and former Ministry of Finance employee Richard Duncan said the NDC’s announcement of payments, is an attempt to correct what he sees as an historical wrong. He is of the notion that when the Pension Disqualification Act of 1983 was passed and certain further changes had to be made to properly deal with the matter, the ball was dropped along the way. The question here is why was such a serious issue swept under the carpet and left there unattended for so long?

As pensioners began receiving payments retroactively from 1985, the Prime Minister was in the media encouraging them to use the payments wisely to help Grenada’s economy. Policy and Management Consultant Dr Stephen Fletcher is another person who is examining the situation. He said with the likely injection of $75 million into the economy, based on consumption patterns for retirees, there will be a large amount of spending in areas of health care, construction by way of house repair, travel and other leisure activities. He indicated that businesses should prepare for the type of injection to attract pensioners to be able to have an improved quality of life.

Dr Fletcher believes now is the best time to practice group economics by partnering with other pensioners to start new businesses or improve on existing businesses to secure their families’ financial futures in order to ensure that generational wealth is passed down to their children and grandchildren.

This certainly is a great idea!

He added that based on pent-up demand, pensioners will be tempted to spend on items that are not economically viable in the long term. But he is warning that they should look for credible investments to be made as people may come around with not so credible opportunities trying to get their hard earned money. He said that the pensioners should go to established organisations like banks, credit unions or insurance companies to seek out investment instruments to put their money for a rainy day. Free advice to the business community and financial institutions is that they should develop financial products and services

that pensioners can invest their money in for future sustainability and secure long-term future.

Again, this newspaper is warning against the cybercrimes. People must be mindful of the new word Phishing which is a regular transaction that’s up to no good. Despite the warnings people are still becoming victims of different scams on the internet. A word to the wise is – watch what you reveal on the world wide web. Pensioners deserve every penny of their hard-earned cash!

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