Grenada’s prime minister has said that he will likely call a general election after his administration has resolved the issue over pensions for public officers.
Although Keith Mitchell offered no definitive timelines, a general election is due in 2018.
Speaking on at a convention on Sunday evening for the women’s arm of the New National Party, the prime minister labelled the pension issue as his government’s priority before calling a vote.
Consultations on the plans, which affect established public officers, are being held with unions and other agencies to reach a settlement.
“When the Pension Disqualification Act was enacted in 1983, many of our workers in the public service were dealt an uneven hand,
Government go, Government come, that issue was never dealt with, and as a country, all of us must take responsibility for this,” Mitchell said.
“In other words, the governments of the past, including [the] NNP, will take responsibility, but our people, the trade union movement, the business community — all of us are guilty to some extent, not to have dealt with that issue long before.
“We hope and pray that with the consultation taking place this can be dealt with and a solution can be found; not necessarily finding all the monies to pay but a solution pointing the way forward before the next general election is called.
“So that is the commitment from the New National Party, that is the only party that has seen to it that this is dealt with.”
Pensions ‘for all’
According to NOW Grenada, President of the Grenada Technical and Allied Workers Union Andre Lewis is pleased that the prime minister has marked the issue as urgent.
The Pension Disqualification Act did not affect un-established workers, Lewis added.
But Mitchell told the convention on Sunday night that his aim is to have a pension for everyone who has worked for the public sector for an extended period.
At present, an employee with 10 years of continuous service to the public sector will receive a government pension.