Sunday, February 18, 2018

Rowley: Government must step in and help Grenada

Trinidad and Tobago cannot turn a blind eye and allow the economy of Grenada to collapse, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley stated yesterday.

“We are hurting ourselves by our inaction,” he said.

An ongoing loan dispute between Taiwan and Grenada over monies owed by Grenada could result in the closure of the Maurice Bishop International Airport. Airlines and cruise ships servicing Grenada are paying money into an escrow account, as a result of an order from an American court. Taiwan had filed an injunction with the cruise ships and airlines servicing Grenada, demanding that money due to Grenada should be paid to it.

Speaking at a news conference yesterday, Rowley said the Opposition was asking the Government to get involved in this dispute and to assist the Grenadian Government in getting out of this situation so as to allow the Grenadian airport to continue to be a vital contributor to Grenada’s economy so that it can continue to buy Trinidad and Tobago products.

Noting that the economy of Grenada was being threatened, Rowley said: “We have an interest in ensuring the Grenadian economy is not derailed by that disrepute. If Grenada is unable to extricate itself from that, the result being that Grenadians can’t use their airport to keep the tourist trade alive so that their economy can continue to buy Trinidad and Tobago products, it can have serious consequences on Trinidad and Tobago’s ability to keep supplying Grenada from our factories here.

“So we have an interest and we are saying that we are not only being neighbourly but we have a self-interest there.”

Rowley said Trinidad and Tobago’s involvement may not mean giving financial assistance, but through the use of its diplomatic strength. “But we cannot behave as though that problem is not our problem,” he said.

He said if the economy of Grenada or any Caribbean country was being hurt, it was as good as hurting the economy in Tobago or Trinidad, because “that is our market.”