065_G17_InFocus_Grenada

Global_17

In Focus Grenada whatever opportunities come. If incoming companies have to start without a trained workforce, they will have to bring in people from abroad to work in their facility, but we don’t want that. We want our young people to prepare for the jobs that are likely to come.” Developing ICT facilities on the islands is also crucial to generating future employment. Mitchell has been working with other Caribbean nations on a project that will see ICT infrastructure improve across the region. “ICT can also provide opportunities in improving health and agriculture in the productive sectors – tourism, manufacturing, education. This is crucial for the successful development of our country. I see enormous potential. While we have high unemployment at this time, we have a small population and it’s a trainable population. “Any initiative in those areas can bring a quick response, as far as the unemployment situation goes. We think we can bring that down significantly and we’re already seeing it starting to reduce. There are mediumterm plans for bringing on employment and in the long term, there are plans for all these facilities. I think we will bring down unemployment significantly in the not-toodistant future.” Getting foreign multinationals to see the value in Grenada is key to the country’s economic recovery. Mitchell believes that Grenada has a lot to offer companies that are looking for a Caribbean base. Unlike other countries in the region, Grenada has a low crime rate, which makes it a popular destination for tourists. He is also hoping to attract financial support from major powers at a governmental level – the USA, Britain, France, Germany and Canada – to give the Treasury some breathing space while it restructures the country’s debt. Our nutmeg is a very special product – the country is known as the ‘island of spice’ “Grenada is one of the most peaceful nations in the region. If you check the statistics of Caribbean people, when they come to Grenada, they come because of the lack of violent activities in the country. Trinidadians and other Caribbeans flock to Grenada. “Historically we have had a very stable society, one of peace and harmony, that is fundamental to people wanting to come to your country to invest. Not only that, there are also tax incentives and the ability to export your earnings. There’s also a welltrained workforce. Grenada’s got one of the highest literacy rates, over 98 per cent – a workforce of very educated people.” Grenada can offer investment opportunities in light manufacturing, hotel development and agriculture – Grenada is the world’s second largest producer of nutmeg and it is known for its fine cocoa. “As you know our nutmeg is a very special product – the country is known as the ‘island of spice’.” Most farming in Grenada is organic – an up-and-coming sector. Health care is another growth area. “There is a first-class medical school in Grenada,” says Mitchell, “and there is the opportunity to build a new teaching hospital.” He believes that the country’s ability to offer high-quality health care could also be key to attracting people who would like to retire to Grenada. And, of course, an improving economy will also appeal to Grenadians living abroad who may consider moving back home. Like many small countries, Grenada sees large numbers of its young people moving abroad to seek better opportunities in higher education and work. Many of them continue to contribute to the economy from afar, too, by sending home money to relatives. Mitchell is keen to keep first- and second-generation emigrants in the loop, meeting with the diaspora whenever he visits the UK and the USA. When Mitchell spoke to Global at the end of 2013, he had just been addressing the UK-based diaspora in London. “We have a number of Grenadians who’ve lived here London for years and there are second-generation Grenadians here too. We believe in the importance of human resources outside the country, so we’ve initiated a number of opportunities to attract the diaspora to talk to us about opportunities in Grenada for people who’ve trained and excelled abroad to get involved in further development of the country. “We’re making it attractive for Grenadians to return home through tax incentives and a generally attractive package, because we know many of them can give something back to the country.” Keith Claudius Mitchell curriculum vitae 1946 Born in Brizan, St George 1971 BSc in mathematics and chemistry, from the University of the West Indies 1973 Captain of the Grenada cricket team 1975 Master’s degree from Howard University, USA 1977 Mathematics professor at Howard University 1983 Doctorate in mathematics and statistics from the American University, USA 1984 Elected Member of © UN Photo/Stephen Koh Parliament for St George North West, holding the seat at each subsequent election 1988 Minister of Communications, Works and Public Utilities, Co-operatives, Community Development, Women’s Affairs and Civil Aviation 1989 Elected leader of the New National Party (NNP) 1995 Elected Prime Minister of Grenada 2008 Leader of the Opposition 2013 Sworn in as Prime Minister of Grenada for the fourth time 1980 1990 2000 2010  global f i rst quar ter 2014 www.global -br ief ing.org l 65


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