ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, Monday February 11, 2013 – The main opposition New National Party (NNP) Monday launched its 72-page manifesto ahead of the February 19 general elections, promising Grenadians “a new vision”: for development over the next five years.
“It is our view that when a government is elected to office the expectation of all its citizens is that they must benefit and therefore government must provide leadership and good governance which includes improving the quality of lives of all the people of the country,” NNP leader and former prime minister Dr. Keith Mitchell said at the launch.
He said the manifesto, when implemented, will allow Grenadians to effectively compete in a changing global environment.
“Our plans have examined these matters thoroughly …and we believe with the nation’s support we can achieve major successes,” he told business leaders and journalists at the launch.
The NNP is promising to develop an economy that is “fuelled by an educated society capable of adjusting to changing circumstances” and that is part of and contributes meaningfully to the development and integration processes in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Economic Union, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Western hemisphere.
It says the new economy will promote and engender “green” businesses, industry and lifestyles committed to sustainable development.
The NNP said that job creation would be a major priority given that the rate of unemployment has more than doubled between the period 2008 to 2012 with only the public sector registering any form of growth.
“The NNP understands the challenges of recession but will not be distracted from attending to what matters most to Grenadians- a stable job which enables us to support our families and achieve our personal goals”.
It said it would reduce unemployment through policies that would stimulate private sector activities, improve fiscal incentives, revitalise key economic sectors and implement a genuine economic stimulus programme.
“Grenada’s “New Economy must provide job opportunities for those who wish to work; business opportunities for those who choose to invest ; opportunity for wealth creation and prosperity for those prepared to sacrifice and play the rules,” the NNP said.
The party said it would also seek to restructure the tax regime to make it more transparent and equitable. It said there would also be an overhaul of the Value Added Tax (VAT) to improve efficiency and simplify its operations.
The documents also lists the activities the party plans to implement if elected to office in areas of housing, tourism, health and foreign policy.
Mitchell said there was also need for constitutional reform in Grenada, saying since the island attained independence in 1974 “our founding fathers had good intentions, in 2013 clearly there are some weaknesses in the system”.
He said the NNP and the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) had agreed there would be political reform, adding “the NNP has always said it would support viable changes in the constitution.