NJM Manifesto -
BUILDING OUR NATIONAL ECONOMY
The present tourist industry is a major scandal. Most of the hotels and restaurants are owned by foreigners buying out the best lands in the island, throwing local hotel owners out of business and paying virtually no taxes at all to the Government. Nearly all the building materials used for construction of their hotels, cottages and private apartments are imported from other countries.
Even more scandalously, while our farmers and fishermen scrape and scrunt for a living, these foreign hotel owners import meats, fish, vegetables, spices or even fruits for use at their tables. And to make things even worse, these foreigners rake up all their fat profits and take it out of the country every year.
It is because of these and like facts that every time a tourist spends a dollar in Grenada, at least ninety cents of it goes right back outside the State. So the politicians let these people come in and buy out our best lands, make fat profits out of us, treat our people who work for them as dirt, bring in their nasty habits like drugs-and all for ten cents in every dollar!
What we propose in place of this bubul industry is a GRENADIAN Tourist Industry, owned by the people of the State. This means that a first priority must be the complete nationalisation of all foreign-owned hotels as well as foreign-owned housing settlements, such as Westerhall. In this new industry, all the meats, vegetables, provisions, fish, drinks, fruits, spices, handicrafts (chairs, tables, ornaments, etc) will be locally produced. This will create a large market for our farmers, fishermen and handicraft men and women. Our agro-industry factories would also be able to supply the hotels and restaurants with canned, bottled and packaged foodstuffs of all kinds.
In this way, the tourist industry will for the first time serve the needs of Grenadians. it would provide jobs at higher wages not just for those working in the hotels and restaurants or for a few taxi drivers, but also for the many workers on the farms, fishing ports and factories, producing all these things that before were imported from abroad.
This is what we mean when we say the tourist industry must be a Grenadian Industry; not only in the sense of it being owned and controlled by the people of Grenada but also because it will provide a large and new market for the goods made by thousands of Grenadians throughout the country.
We want to attract to Grenada as tourists not just a few rich, white people who can afford the ridiculous prices these hotels charge while the guest houses, apartments and smaller hotel rooms remain empty. Rather, we want the massive numbers of potential tourists from Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, and other parts of Latin American, the millions of black Americans students and teachers in North and South America, and right here in the West Indies the thousands of Trinidadians, Jamaicans, Arubians, Martiniquans, Puerto Ricans, together with tourists corning from Africa and other parts of the world who would love to come here but cannot afford the present nonsensical prices.
The last major problem to be solve in a new tourist industry is the organisation of reliable and cheap air and sea transport. LIAT and CUA are totally unreliable. We need a Caribbean Airline owned by the governments of the region, including Grenada, so that we can fix the schedule of flights and control the cost of air fares to suit our needs. In this way, we can bring in tens of thousands of tourists at more reasonable fares each year.
Finally, we will be very strict in ensuring that all beaches are open and available for use by all members of the public. We will not leave it to tile people of individual areas to hold People's Trials of foreigners such as Lord Brownlow who attempted to create private beaches for their own use.
Our policy on trade is to cut down on imports as much as possible and we have shown many ways of doing so earlier in the Manifesto. Those goods which we will have to continue to import because we cannot produce ourselves and which we import only from North America and Europe, we will instead try to get at a cheaper price wherever possible from other countries in the Caribbean and in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
The cost of shipping both our imports and exports are very high and use up a lot of our foreign exchange. Instead, we intend joining with other Caribbean and Third World countries in developing our own shipping line to carry goods more cheaply and to keep the profits local.
At present, we export only cocoa, nutmegs and bananas. In the future, under our plans for Agriculture and Agro-Industries we intend exporting a large range of agricultural and agro-industrial commodities, not only to the Big North American and European Markets but also to Latin America, Africa and Asia and other countries in the Caribbean.
We believe that no country can be independent unless it owns and controls the banks and the insurance companies. No matter how great our plan for agriculture, agro-industries, tourism and fishing are, if the foreign-owned banks decide that they are not lending the money to our farmers and fishermen etc., to develop these industries, then all the plans burst-up. And we know that this is just what the banks are doing. They are lending money left and right to buy cars and radiograms and other things which cannot produce food for us to eat, and which we have to buy at fat prices from the same countries the banks come from. But our farmers and small businessmen catch hell to get a loan from them. Yet, all the money they have in the banks is our local money. It is our deposits they use to lend people to buy cars instead of loans to produce more good and develop new industries.
On top of all of this, they take fat profits out of the country daily. We will put an end to this bubul.
Our plan is to nationalise the banks at the earliest correct opportunity and to use the money to finance directly the new agricultural and agro-industrial schemes, as well as our new plan in tourism and fisheries earlier outlined. We need to produce more goods in every sector and in every part of the island. it is for these reasons that we condemn foreign ownership of our banks. In fact, Grenadians already possess the necessary skills but use their for foreign capitalists.
The new banks would be controlled and directed by a Central Bank. One of the main functions of this Central Bank will be to make sure that the loans available in these banks are provided for housing, small farmers, fishermen, co-operatives, the setting up of agro-industries and the expansion of the new tourist industry.
These new banks will continue to employ as their staff the persons presently engaged in the industry.
Most of what we have said about the banking system is also true about the Insurance Companies. Nearly all of them are foreign-owned; they are taking large amounts of money from Grenadians in premiums, and they are taking fat profits out of the island all the time. Our plans is to phase out the foreign-owned Insurance Companies and to set up one large government-owned Insurance Company to handle all forms of insurance and to keep the profits in the country.
Roads and Transportation
Transportation is a big problem to the people of this country. it is absolutely unreliable and uncomfortable. And for that, you pay one of the highest prices in the world.
The problems are:-(1) poor roads, (2) no proper organised service to meet the needs of the people, (3) uneconomical vehicles and operations, (4) government's failure to determine and control the fares when it comes to the poor local passengers, and (5) the high cost of gasolene and vehicle parts.
We advocate:- (1) the control of the fares by government or some other statutory authority, (2) a road extension programme to accomodate bigger, more economical vehicles, (3) the reoragnising of more reliable and economical runs, (4) the organisation of bus drivers into a co-operative association so that together they can work out proper schedules, and so bring an end to the fighting against each other, and the uneconomical runs for which passengers pay dearly.
We would consider setting up a Co-operative Bus Service, failing agreement among bus owners. Taxis can be organised along similar lines.
We will commence an immediate survey of existing roads and possibilities for opening new ones particularly in the first instance, new agricultural feeder roads.
Harbours and Airports
We are not in favour of building an International Airport at this time. The present airport is more than adequate for our needs at this time, but should be upgraded and resurfaced. What is desperately needed now is not an International Airport but ownership of LIAT or some other regional airline by the Governments of the region, including Grenada, so that we could regulate efficiently flight schedules and the cost of flights. It is also essential that the road from Grenville to St. George's should be widened and properly maintained.
We will give urgent consideration to rebuilding the jetty at Hillsborough, Carriacou and repairing and improving the jetties at Harvey Vale, Carriacou, and Grenville.
We will consider the desirability of putting down jetties at Gouyave and Sauteurs.
We will give active consideration to the building of deep water harbours at Hillsborough (Carriacou) and Grenville.
The whole question of communications requires careful and serious study, and final decisions on what should be done about new roads and harbours will only be taken after a thorough survey of our resources, needs and potential have been undertaken.
Local Private Investors
Estate owners have over the years shown themselves bankrupt of ideas for developing a modern and profitable agricultural sector. Today many of them leave large areas of their land lying idle and uncultivated while thousands of people have no land to work and we import most of our food. We feel that these estates should form the basis of the co-operative farms which we outlined earlier. To this end, we intend to negotiate with the owners in order to organise this scheme successfully.
The business firms which do all the importing at the moment charge in many cases excessive prices, and make excessive profits while not actually producing anything in the country. We feel that a National Importing Board should be set up to import all goods into tine island, from whom retailers can continue to buy those goods as at present. As this Board will not be a profit-making body, it means that the price of all goods imported into the island will be substantially reduced by the extent of the profits presently made. We also consider it essential to set up a National Exporting Board to coordinate the exporting of all items produced in the island.
We believe that the money, energies, experience and abilities of our local investors should be harnessed and channelled into the development, along the with Government, of Agro-Industries. This is an area with great potential for development which requires a greater amount of cooperation, hard work and ability.
Financing of Agriculture, Fisheries, Agro-industries, New Tourism, Housing, Roads, Schools, and Other Projects
As outlined earlier in the Manifesto, Health, Education and the supply of local foods, require relatively little additional capital expenditure. At the moment a hell of a lot of money is spent on these thing but with the amount of bubul and inefficiency, most of the money is mis-spent. Our National Health, Education and Food plans will utilize the present large sums of money spent on them, but reorganise them along the lines we have outlined earlier to make them more efficient and serve the needs of the people in all parts of the island equally.
Our plans for Housing and Clothing will need more capital expenditure. So will our plans for Agro-Industries and an expended fishing industry. Agriculture will require reorganisation of manpower, redistribution of the land, the growing of a larger variety of crops and the use of larger quantities of fertilizer and small machinery.
The sources of financing of all these projects will be from:
(1) Government revenue from taxation.
(2) Government revenues from collecting the profits from the Banks, Insurance Companies and formerly foreign-owned hotels.
(3) Loans from the government-owned banking system.
(4) Local private investors.
(5) Commercial loans from banks in other countries. These loans can be repaid from out of the profits made from using that money.
(6) Loans from International Financial Institutions like the World Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank and so on. It is worth noting that in a recent report by Sir Arthur Lewis, the President of the Caribbean Development Bank, he pointed out that some $[?] million were awaiting Grenada and a few other islands. The money is available but cannot be touched because of the corruption and lack of planning existing in these islands.
(7) Foreign Aid from friendly countries provided that there are no strings attached.
(8) Profits from the Agricultural, Agro-Industrial and Fishing sectors to be reinvested in these same sectors for them to expand even bigger.
(9) Organisations such as Credit Unions, Friendly Societies, Co-operative Associations for Nutmeg, Banana and Cocoa. Producers and people who operate methods of savings like the su-su will be encouraged to invest their savings.
(10) It should also be pointed out that by cutting down ridiculous costs involved in our present political administration, with bubul salaries going to the Premier, other Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries, Governor, Speaker, top civil servants, 82 so-called farmers' club organizers, secret police, etc., the country will be able to make a great saving. Likewise, all the money now being wasted on prestige dream projects such as roundabouts, and Independence celebrations, will now be available for constructive policy spending.
Labour and Unemployment
At present, in Grenada 50% of the working population are without work. This means that every other person who wants a job cannot find one. This is a crime against the people. it is also a crime against the country for if jobs were created for everyone the country would produce double what it now produces. This would result in a tremendous boost in development for Grenada.
The New Jewel Movement feels that ALL men and women of working age should be able to find jobs in their country. Our plans for expanding and diversifying the agricultural sector, the fishing sector and the creation of factories to produce Agro-Industrial commodities, plus our proposals for a People's Tourist Industry would create enough jobs for the ten to twelve thousand people unable to find jobs. Our plans, in fact, would create a new problem-a shortage of labour.
As we have pointed out earlier, we intend setting up a Fishing School for people to master all the techniques involved in boatbuilding, new navigation, the catching of fish, storage and refrigeration, processing, packaging, distribution, fish-farming and marine motor-mechanics. We will also set up a School of New Tourism to cover all aspects of training, and a School of Agriculture and Agro-Industries to increase the level of skills of the labour force and to produce regular skilled recruits to these industries.
Wage Rates and Price Controls
We believe that every worker leas a right to a decent wage so that every family is provided with the basic essentials.
We propose the setting up of a Wages and Prices Board to make sure that people's wages will rise whenever costs rise and to impose price controls on imported items. Legislation will be passed to guarantee minimum wages for different categories of workers.
Another way in which we hope to reduce the skyrocketing cost of living is through our plan of expanding our Agricultural Sector to produce cheaply all the food we eat at the moment, a half to three-quarters of which we presently import.
National Insurance and Pension Scheme
We have already outlined our National Health Insurance Scheme. In addition, we propose a National Insurance Plan to cover compensation for injury at work, unemployment, general accident, life insurance and retirement pension.
The money for these plans will come from contributions by all workers and employers from out of their earnings and profits.