Bishop Speech - Address on Budget Day -
9 March 1982 1982

Comrades, following upon Comrade Coard’s really outstanding contribution and presentation this morning I think it would be unnecessary for me to try to add anything of particular substance, but what I do want to say comrades is that it is our very honest, sincere and firm conviction that this Budget and National Plan which was presented today is for us in Grenada a history­making occasion; an occasion, therefore, that is worthy of having the major reasons why history was made today re­emphasised, and what I hope to do therefore is to give you six brief reasons why today’s Budget and Plan was in fact a history­making presentation and a history­making occasion.

THE PEOPLE’S EXTRAORDINARY INVOLVEMENT

The first reason, comrades, without any doubt to its correct order of priority was the tremendous and extraordinary involvement and participation of our people in this budget, which justifies this budget being characterised as a People’s Budget, the first of its kind in the history of our country.

One can see this involvement in several ways in recent times and in a bid way at the National Conference on the Economy, when over 1,000 of our people in this very Dome formed themselves into 25 workshops, coming from all the recognised mass organisations in our country — from the trade unions of workers, from the Productive Farmers Union, from the National Women’s organisation, from the National Youth Organisation, from our Revolutionary Armed Forces — all of the mass organisations came together in this Dome and had a very long hard look at the report of the economy which was so brilliantly presented on that day by Comrade Coard.

Following on this National Conference and going right through the month of February 25, Workers’ Parish Councils and Zonal Councils in every part of the island, involving thousands of our people, were held and on those occasions ordinary members of the individual communities around the country came out and struggled to come to grips with the report on the economy, and to come to grips with difficult economic terms which, for them, they had not been in the habit of trying to understand.

That, in itself, was history in the making.

And following on that, comrades, on February 25th and again on March 2nd, a conference on the economy for all State enterprises was held in this building, and at that conference the managers, the accountants, senior managers and senior officers, leading technicians, and technocrats from 24 of our public enterprises and the leading technicians and technocrats from the Ministry of Planning and Finance, the Budget Division and the Accountant General’s department all got together for those three days with the entire Cabinet of our country.

On that occasion five workshops grouped the different enterprises, and over that period of time all of the then existing data and statistics were re­analysed, re­evaluated, subjected to microscopic examination and at the end of the process an entirely new recurrent budget, capital budget, cash flow requirements, workplans and work schedules, work targets, etc., were re­organised and re­arranged.

Coming out of that exercise, therefore, were the real flesh and bones of the Budget which you heard presented this morning.

OUR SENIOR CITIZENS PLAYED THEIR PART

And, finally, comrades, on March 1st, a few days ago, there was another such conference again in this building — this time for all senior citizens, for the elderly in our country, for the unattached, for those who are not into the mass organisations, those who perhaps are not as active as they would like to be.

These citizens also had the opportunity of coming down here, of hearing a report from the leadership of our country and thereafter breaking up into workshops and themselves examining the Budget, examining the report on the economy and giving their own ideas for what needs to be done and for what has been going wrong, so at the end of this entire process what we have undoubtedly seen is all of the people having the opportunity over these past two and a half months of being engaged in very serious and intensive discussion around the economy.

The private sector through the Chamber of Commerce, the Grenada Hotels' Association and the Grenada Employers' Federation also met in early February with Comrade Coard and that too was a useful and very productive day of discussions.

So, comrades, this is the first reason that we say that history was created today: the extent to which our people were involved, the extent to which their ideas and suggestions were examined, the extent to which they had an opportunity before the ‘mystical’ budget day arrived to discuss in advance what was likely to go into that Budget, and what the economy in 1982 and beyond was likely to be.

The second reason, comrades, is the tremendous variety, range, quantity and quality of ideas and suggestions which have come from the people and the impact which these ideas have had on the final shaping of the Budget.

A large part of Comrade Coard’s presentation this morning dealt with many of the suggestions which came from the masses. Large sections of the speech were devoted to this aspect.

WE NEED MORE SELF­RELIANCE

We know therefore that the masses in general, the ordinary people of our country, the salt of our earth, have been saying that we need more self­reliance, we need to grow more, we need to cut back on our imports.

They have been saying that production must be increased, that there must be more co­operatives, that we must move into new creative ways of finding new crops and new varieties of crops, that more and more of our people must engage in backyard gardening, that the Marketing and National Importing Board must be expanded, that more import items must be brought under the control of that agency so as to lower the cost of living further, that there must be greater supervision, monitoring, and control of Government vehicles, that tax measures which are passed into law must be collected, that tax evasion must not be allowed, that we must wipe out waste and wipe out corruption, that we must engage in more voluntary work, that in fact our people in the community work brigades should be trained, should learn how to construct roads and retaining walls and such like, so they can make an even bigger contribution to the economy on Sunday mornings, that we must supervise and monitor prices as Government and as people.

IDEAS ECHOED ACROSS THE LAND

Ideas like these, comrades, were echoed and re­echoed up and down the length and breadth of our country.

What I want to focus on for a few seconds is not the ideas which came out of the worker’s parish councils, not the ideas which came out of the zonal councils, because those ideas were the ones which were analysed and evaluated by Comrade Coard in his presentation.

What I want instead to focus on are the ideas which came from our senior citizens, from those citizens in our country who are unattached and do not belong to the mass organisations, from those who came from what is called the middle classes, those who came here on March 1st.

In many cases the views of these people were certainly staggering to our party and our Government.

Many people would probably anticipate that the ideas that would come out from the senior citizens, from housewives, from people who fall within the middle classes might not be as progressive as the ideas which come from the working class itself, from the working people around the country.

But what we have discovered in looking at these ideas (and I want o read out six of them for you that have been summarised from the report) is that these ideas are also very, very fundamental and historic ideas.

CUT IMPORTS BY PROCESSING LOCAL

The first one coming from suggestions arising out of the senior citizens conference on the economy says:

Imports must be cut by processing locally­grown products; nectars should be used to replace aerated drinks like Coke coming from outside.

Now, I find that very interesting because one of the continuing myths in our country is that there are large pockets of people who are opposed to what is grown locally, who are not willing to eat what we grow and to grow what we eat and who want to engage in the luxury of continuing to have large varieties of imported products that amount to the same thing.

But this first proposal clearly does not indicate that.

The second:

There must be better marketing of our local products, our agro products, and intensive promotional campaigns which can serve to reduce the import bill.

For example, salted fish must real all areas like St. David’s or Birchgrove.

A third one:

The agro plant must use less expensive cartons.

This would make products more competitive and reduce imports.

The retail price must be stamped on all goods.

CONCERNED ABOUT QUALITY

Comrades, hear what these citizens are saying, people who were not concerned about flashiness, about how the product looked, but were concerned about the quality inside and were urging that therefore expensive packaging should be avoided.

Another one:

Only local drink should be served at national functions.

Now again I found that fascinating.

Another one coming from these senior citizens:

The import bill can be cut by centralization of imports in a State Trading Agency.

Now, again I found this really fascinating because what this is clearly calling for is the expansion of the Marketing and National Importing Board, the brining of more imported products under the umbrella of the Marketing and National Importing Board, and this of course has certain implications.

Another point that was made on that day:

The tax on luxury goods, for example alcohol, tobacco, cosmetics, etc., must be increased.

Now, again this was an interesting one since many of the people who were present on that day were themselves the wearers and users of cosmetics, but nonetheless because of their recognition of the importance of taking serious measures this point was made.

Finally:

There must be a licence on radio and television sets.

Now I don’t have to tell you, sisters and brothers, that the television sets in our country up to this point in time are used, in fact, mainly by many people who would have been present for that particular conference.

Yet that again did not inhibit these people from brining out this idea because they saw its value to the economy at this time.

GROWING POLITICAL CONSCIOUSNESS

Comrades, what his certainly tells us is that the political consciousness of our elderly, the political consciousness of our senior citizens, the political consciousness of our housewives and our middle classes has also grown beyond recognition over these past three years of the Revolution.

What that also tells us, is that the patriotism of our people right across the country, cutting across age line and lines of class has also risen tremendously over the past three years, and I think it is a point that is more than worthy of note.

The other example I want to give under the ideas of the people, is the approach that has been taken by our sisters in the National Women’s Organisation.

Here, of course, we are dealing now with a highly developed and political conscious and politically organised leadership, an organisation that not only knows how to mobilise but also how to organise, and coming out of these sisters' discussions in the past several weeks they have decided, as of the last few days, to rewrite an aspect of heir workplan and to spend a lot of time this year focusing in much greater detail on certain specific aspects of the economy, aspects which have come out as a result of these island­wide discussions and also as a result of internal discussions among the women of the NWO.

I want to read now what the President of the NWO, Comrade Phyllis Coard, said at the International Women’s Day Rally on Sunday concerning the role of women in this Year of Economic Construction, the role that the NWO is going to pursue in this Year of Economic Construction; firstly, expand backyard gardens to produce those items that the Marketing and National Importing Board can buy; secondly, step up the formation of co­operatives among the unemployed women in our country; thirdly, produce more craft items for Grencraft (our handicraft outlet) especially things that have a large local and export market; fourthly, participate fully in grievance, disciplinary, production and emulation committees at their workplaces; fifthly, grow local, buy local eat local.

This slogan and this campaign will be spearheaded by the NWO among all women throughout 1982, and sixthly and finally: monitor, control and eliminate all waste and corruption and boost efficiency, especially on Government projects and with regard to Government vehicles throughout the country.

HUGE IMPACT IN A SHORT TIME

Comrades, I read these six points because it shows the impact and the effect in a very, very short period of time that this discussion on the economy has engendered among all our people.

It shows the tremendous extent to which there has been an amazing rise in economy­consciousness throughout the country.

It shows the extent to which, the whole process of the economy has begun to be de­mystified, has begun to no longer sound and look like magic but is now beginning to take on the appearance more and more very day and every minute of being something that truly concerns the people, something that the people can understand and do understand and more and more, something that the people are consciously and sub­consciously engaged in and involved in every day themselves.

Every time a family sits down to plan a household budget, people are beginning to realise more and more that the planning of a household budget, the planning for survival, the planning for achieving minimum saving, the planning for ensuring that there can be repairs to the house, there can be school books and uniforms for the children, the planning to ensure that there can be money put aside to buy food, the planning which an ordinary family must do every single day, week, and month every year — is much the same process undertaken by a government.

THE BUDGET IS NO MORE A MYSTERY

What these discussions have done, comrades, is to de­mystify this whole process of the Budget, is to make it simpler, to make it more understood, to get the people to understand in a concrete way that the Budget is about them, that the economy is really about what they get every day and what they cannot get at this time and what perhaps they can get in the future; that the Budget and the economy is really about the national cake and whether that cake will shrink or stay the same of expand and if it expands who is going to get the greater share of that expansion.

Our people now have a much deeper and clearer insight into this whole budget business and that too, comrades, we feel is a fundamentally important development in our country.

The third reason we are saying that this Budget today was a history­making one is the deep­going involvement of technocrats, managers and bureaucrats in the presentation of this Budget.

In the organisation of the Budget division, the other people involved in the Ministry of Finance, all managers, all technocrats, all the senior bureaucrats, all heads of departments have had to come together over a period of several months and to begin to discuss the Budget for their particular department, ministry or enterprise.

And in the process of discussing the Budget they have had to start off from a zero base. They have had to start off assuming that not one single cent would be given to the particular ministry, department or enterprise, that is was not going to be a simple case of saying,

Last year I got five million dollars, we anticipate then percent for inflation, therefore this year give me five and a half million dollars.

Every single cent to be spent had to be justified and in the process of justifying what has to be spent, they could not just rely on their own genius and ideas from above, but they had to involve all of the workers from below.

So the discussions centred around calling meetings of the workers in the different enterprises, workplaces, departments and ministries and there raising with the workers themselves the questions of how savings could be effected, how efficiencies could be introduced, how waste and corruption could be eliminated, looking at the possibilities of trying to ensure that with less money the department, ministry of enterprise could achieve the same or even greater output.

BRINGING ECONOMICS TO THE MASSES

That was the say in which this Budget was organised within the ministries, departments and enterprises and that process took several months of discussions in the enterprise and ministry itself, and thereafter to the process of bringing the Budget and economy to the people through the zonal councils.

What we found happening for the first time again in the history of our country is that the technocrats, the bureaucrats, the heads of departments, the managers were the ones who themselves had to spread out around the country and to and sit among the masses and lead and guide the masses in the discussions of the economy.

That was a fundamentally important political development for our people because we must never forget that the history of colonialism in our country has taught us to compartmentalize, has taught us to create artificial divisions of intellectuals on a very high plane, of managers and senior bureaucrats and technicians following thereafter, and then come the ordinary workers.

Our culture and our education historically has taught us to separate the intellectuals from the majority of the ordinary people in our country, and this has led to the process of holding back development and the political consciousness of the ordinary workers who found themselves alienated from scholarship, from basic information, from facts.

Likewise this has had the effect of retarding the growth and political development of the intellectuals themselves, who continued to see themselves as existing in an ivory tower, separate and apart from the masses, only there to come out and stick some paper behind the Minister, only there to advise the Minister and to treat the masses with the maximum amount of contempt, disdain and reproach that they could find.

What this whole development has done, therefore, by having the managers themselves, the senior technicians, technocrats and heads of departments coming down to the Dome and sitting down with the people in the mass organisations, with the senior citizens in our country, and even more fundamentally having these managers and technicians and accountants and heads of departments going out into the villages night after night for three weeks to sit among the masses, hear their view, to help teach them difficult and complicated terms like Balance of Payments, and Social Wage and Gross Domestic Product and such like; having these intellectuals leave the ivory tower and descend among humanity has had an effect of greatly lifting the quality of intellectuals in Grenada today.

A NEW KIND OF INTELLECTUAL IN GRENADA

So comrades, it has been a two­way process.

Our people have benefitted from the expertise, from the training, from the ideas, from the guidance of our intellectuals, but even more fundamentally our intellectuals and managers and technocrats have benefitted from having grounded with the people and having leant from them.

Already in these short three years we have seen emerge in Grenada a new kind of intellectual, a new kind of technocrat, a new kind of senior bureaucrat, a new kind of manager.

We have been emerge a new intellectual in our country who has long since forgotten about looking at the clock, who does not even know when it is eight o’clock in the morning or eight o’clock at night.

Some of these comrades have been going around the clock, have been pushing themselves and driving themselves.

We ourselves wonder sometimes at the extent of the pressure and the peace that these comrades have had to endure; comrades who have returned to Grenada from overseas because of recognising the promise of the Revolution, because of wanting to make for the first time a serious contribution to building their country; comrades who have come from other parts of the Caribbean and from other parts of North America and Europe; comrades who have come to our country as internationalist workers and have been giving of their fullest — these comrades are the unsung heroes behind the Budget presentation that we have had today and we should recognise and emulate these comrades.

ONE PARTICULARLY OUTSTANDING COMRADE

But, I also want to say that it would not have been possible, certainly not in the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Trade to have got this incredible amount of work, to have had these comrades come up with these tremendous amounts of energy, to have had them display all of the creativity and initiative that they have had; none of that would have been possible if they did not have a really first class, a really extraordinary leader, a comrade there to guide them at all times, to help them with their conceptions at all times, to help ensure that they are staying within the broad framework of the policies and guidelines and programmes elaborated by our party and government, a comrade there to ensure that when they were about to collapse that he could himself help to take up the slick because nothing that they were engaged in doing was strange to him.

He, himself, was the greatest worker of all of them, a comrade who sleeps regularly two or three hours a night, and for that reason a lot of us in the Party and Government try to put little handcuffs on him to restrain him without success, because of his total obsession with the economy, with the country, with building this country as rapidly as possible; and comrades now again I ask you to recognise the tremendous, outstanding work of Comrade Bernard Coard, our Minister of Finance.

FOR THE FIRST TIME, A NATIONAL PLAN

And the fourth reason, comrades, that this Budget is a history­making budget is because for the first time in the history of our country a national plan has been presented.

Many of the details of that national plan were not in fact presented this morning, partly because that information is yet to be printed but it will become available in the next few days.

The main outlines and the broad framework of that plan were, in fact, elaborated by Comrade Board, and as we see this first national plan is a small but important beginning along the road towards the planning of the economy of our country.

In this plan there will be three major components: firstly, we would be trying through the national plan to assess the labour force in our country, to examine the salaries and wages that that work force receives and to try to begin assessing the productivity of all workers in our country individually and collectively at their separate workplaces and enterprises, and through assessing the labour force we can determine the numbers, the skills that they have, those who are unemployed, what they are willing to do and what they can do, those who are presently at work, how much they are in fact producing now, and how much more they can produce, what are the wages, and the salaries of these workers.

By making this assessment, we will get a clearer ideas as to how we must deploy in the future our very limited and scarce manpower resources.

We would get a better idea in the future as to which areas we must concentrate on when we are sending comrades abroad for scholarships and for training in middle­level skills because we would have for the first time the statistical information that tells us where we are strongest, where we are weakest, and what are the areas that we must therefore give the greatest priority and concentration to.

MEASURING PRODUCTIVITY OF WORKERS

That is one aspect of the planning process which we are engaging in this year.

We hope to be able to measure the productivity of all of the workers in our country.

We hope to be able to measure the productivity of all of the enterprises, particularly public enterprises in our country.

This year we hope as a result to be able to set targets for each enterprise, and in fact this has already been done for the 24 public enterprises, and as a result of these projections we are hoping for an overall growth rate of three percent in the economy during 1982.

A second aspect is the question of investment. Of course, all countries around the world must rely on investment to continue to go forward, to continue to expand the economy, and what we are trying to do this year is to ensure that all of the information about investments which are planned by all of the different individual enterprises, ministries, and departments are collated, centralized and rationalized, and then we take a hard collective decision on which of these investment we can engage in this year.

We take a hard decision based on the fact that capital resources are scarce, that managerial expertise is scarce, that equipment and machinery are also scarce.

Therefore, it is not simply a question of having a pre­feasibility and a feasibility study and if as a result of that the investment is O.D. you say, ‘go ahead.’

It has to go a step further. We still then have to sit down and rationalize, based on the existing amount of scarce resources we have in the country, which ones nonetheless will be most productive in 1982 and beyond.

LEARNING FROM OUR PAST MISTAKES

Now, this question of making that analysis is also fundamental because it ensures that the mistakes of the past are no longer made, that because somebody one night comes up with a brilliant idea which, in fact, could produce a surplus for the country, that the idea is automatically implemented and is not linked into an overall global perspective and is therefore integrated into a true national plan.

That mistake we can no longer afford to make because the size of our economy is so small that a mistake of even $100,000 is a huge mistake for us.

The amount of land is so limited that making the wrong choice as to where to put an electrical generator plant, or where to install a new factory, or where to move into the area of livestock or any of a thousand different questions like that of an economic character can prove to be fatal.

The third aspect will deal with the question of technical and material supplies which the country needs: again, getting every enterprise, getting every ministry, getting every department o have a very hard look and to come up with definite concrete answers as to exactly what they are hoping to buy in the area of material supplies in 1982.

And once we get an overall picture that all of the ministries, and departments and enterprises together are going to need ‘x’ number of crops and ‘y’ number of tractors and ‘z’ number of irrigation pumps, that between them they are going to need ‘a’ number of typewriters, and ‘b’ amount of stationery, in other words, all of the things which are bought on a day­to­day basis in the part by each ministry and department separately will be pulled together as one collective whole, so we can then look for the cheapest sources of buying the items in bulk, thus saving a tremendous amount of money for an economy as small as ours.

OUR WORKERS MUST MONITOR THE BUDGET

The fifth reason, comrades, is that this Budget will be the first Budget in the history of our country to be monitored in a scientific and ongoing way by mechanisms of control from the working people.

That is a major step forward for us.

The evidence of this is the production committees that will be established in each workplace this year within the public sector, and we would expect the trade unions to struggle to ensure that his also happens in the private sector.

These production committees will help to ensure that production is raised, help to ensure that the workers discuss the problems of the workplace, analyse why it is that things are not moving as well as they could.

These production committees will ensure that realistic and achievable production targets are set which workers them aim towards achieving.

That is going to be a fundamental new mechanism of the working people.

Allies to that there will be the discipline and grievance committees which will look at problems of workers and try to solve those problems; committees which will look at the question of worker productivity and indiscipline and try to solve those problems; committees which will ensure that the workers in fact are making the maximum contribution that they can to production and to increasing their individual and collective productivity.

That is also going to be a fundamental mechanism of the working people

EMULATION HOLDS THE KEY TO HIGHER PRODUCTION

A third such mechanism: the emulation committees, because we believe very genuinely that emulation holds the key to increasing production and productivity in the economy this year.

We believe that if the emulation programme, the programme of setting targets, of rewarding the recognising and saluting those who do the best in reaching the target set, the programme of ensuring that at each workplace there is a system of friendly competition, and that more and more training possibilities are organised for each worker; we believe that if these component parts of the emulation system are in face set up this year then production is going to rise, and rise dramatically.

Yesterday’s first National Emulation Ceremony only helped to reinforce, confirm and consolidate our view that emulation foes have tremendous potential, because the nearly 1,000 workers who gathered in that spot to witness 78 of their number receive emulation awards, were obviously very, very enthused, were obviously very happy to see their own ordinary fellow workers being recognised, receiving a certificate, receiving a small cash gift, seeing their ordinary fellow workers recognised and praised for the first time in their lives, and therefore seeing that for the first time in the history of our country, workers as the producers and creators of our wealth were at last receiving the honoured place that was always theirs.

DEVELOPING AN ECONOMY­CONSCIOUS PEOPLE

Outside of these mechanisms, we are confident that the trade unions themselves will ensure that the necessary mechanisms mentioned before are implemented, and established.

We feel confident that given the new kind of trade union leadership in our country, that these trade unions will also make sure that as a matter of the internal democratisation and organisation of their individual trade unions that they will create their own internal structures to ensure that their workers become more and more economy­conscious every single day.

Beyond that the National Women’s Organisation, the National Youth Organisation, too are going to be involved in helping to monitor the economy, in helping to police and supervise prices, in helping to ensure that vehicle drivers in the Government Service who continue to abuse State property, people’s property by brining vehicles home without permission, by utilising gas for private purposes, etc. — we are confident that our mass organisations will this year help to manners vehicle drivers of that type.

There will also be this year, comrades, implementation of a series of Cabinet directives put together in one Cabinet Conclusion of February 25th (same day as the Suriname Revolution) which has been circulated to the public enterprises and to ministries and departments of the Government.

And what these Cabinet directives spread over seven typed pages seek to do is to ensure that in the Year of Economic Construction all manager, senior technocrats, and senior bureaucrats and heads of departments take seriously our attempts at lifting production in our country.

CABINET WILL CLOSELY MONITOR THE ENTERPRISES

The Cabinet’s conclusion has three parts: the first deals with the question of accounting procedures and control procedures and ensures that all managers and heads of departments from now on will have to comply with setting up auditing and accounting mechanisms in the particular enterprise or department that they are responsible for.

It will also ensure that Cabinet receives a monthly report as to what is happening in the enterprise and a quarterly audited statement of what is happening with the finances in the enterprise, of ensuring that proper books of accounts are kept, of ensuring that at the drop of a hat they will be able to give full and maximum disclosure of what is happening financially with the particular enterprise that they have responsibility for.

The second thing that this Cabinet Conclusion seeks to do is to ensure that managers and heads of departments and senior people generally help to introduce and bring in a full way worker participation at the workplace, help to institutionalize economic democracy in exactly the same way as we have already institutionalized political democracy.

MONTHLY WORKPLACE MEETINGS

The directives dealing with worker participation will ensure that in every department, ministry and enterprise monthly meetings are in fact held with the workers and that at these monthly meetings a pre­set agenda is carefully followed, that that agenda will include discussion of problems of the workers, discussions of the target which was agreed upon and set by the particular enterprise and the extent to which they have achieved success in reaching that target, and where the target has not been reached, in discussing why it was not reached and in ensuring in the following months that the enterprise catches up and the target is in fact reached.

That pre­set agenda will include discussions around the production committee, around productivity, around emulation.

It will ensure that the books of accounts of the particular enterprise are thrown open for the examination of all the workers so the workers at every stage, every single month know how much is being spent, know where the money has gone, know why the money went where it went, know how much money is left in the particular enterprise and know what prospect they have of reaching their production targets and therefore what prospects they have of sharing in profits at the end of the year.

The managers and the accountants are going to have to get involved in this exercise.

The other mechanisms, comrades, ensure that the work of the last six weeks where we have held all these different conferences on the economy, where we have brought the people together to discuss the Budget and the economy in general, will be continued this year.

Over the next nine months we expect to pull together again two separate conferences for the mass organisations and we intend once again through the zonal councils and the workers' parish council structures to bring the economy back out among the people for further discussion, for an evaluation of where we have reached in the targets we have set, for criticism and self­criticism, for ideas from the masses on how well the Budget is going at that point in time.

So there will be more discussions of that type, more conferences, more zonal councils on the economy ensuring that before this year is over, on at least two more occasions, the people themselves will have a future opportunity of saying where things reached, where things have begun to go wrong, what we can do to plug the gaps, how we can ensure that the original targets that we have set are nonetheless maintained.

Comrades, that is a fifth reason.

EVERY ENTERPRISE MUST FEND FOR ITSELF

The sixth and final reason: this Budget seeks for the first time to separate and to compartmentalize public enterprise from Central Government ministries and departments, thus aiming to make every single tub, every single enterprise sit on its own bottom.

What we are trying to do this year is to stop the practice of hidden costs.

What we are trying to do this year is to stop the Central Government State Budget being spent in all kinds of surreptitious and delicately hidden ways on public utilities and public enterprises without proper accountability.

We are moving to a system (and this is not institutionalized in this Budget), where the public enterprises' statements of recurrent expenditure are separately listed and the Central Government in turn also has its own separate listings for what it plans to spend by way of recurrent, and what it plans to spend by way of capital.

What we hope this will do is that for those enterprises, for example, that used to rely on individual ministries to bail them out from time to time through paying the salaried of their workers in their enterprise — that practice will stop that those enterprises which move into a government building and never put aside any money for depreciation, never put aside any money for rent or the repayment of the mortgage on the building and then at the end of the year try artificially to disclose a profit — that too we hope to stop.

Now, they are going to have to put down on their budget all the things that anyone running a business in the private sector will have to put down: how much they’re spending on wages, how much on the telephone bill, how much on the electricity bill, how much for depreciation, how much for rent, hot much for supplies every month, what is the situation with the cash flow and so on.

We feel that has become necessary because very often hidden costs were being absorbed by the Central Government, and therefore it was not possible to accurately and scientifically measure what the real situation was with the particular public enterprise.

CUTTING THE NAVEL STRING

This arrangement now we believe is going to make a difference, is going to make the managers of public enterprises cut the umbilical cord, cut the navel strong with the Government, stop seeing the Government as being a big bottomless pit filled with money stop seeing Comrade Coard as being a magician who can always pullout a five million, but instead begin to deal with the realities of making sure that their own books balance and actively and consciously striving to make a surplus, through increasing production, that we can ensure that the benefits to the people will continue to increase.

So comrades, these were the brief points I wished to make and perhaps I should end, since they were not so brief after all!

Let me end, therefore, by saying that the final reason the Budget is significant, obviously, is that it comes within the week of our March 13th celebrations.

It comes during a week when we are leading up to another historic celebration of our People’s Revolution, another anniversary and that too obviously must be noted particularly as all the signs and indications are that this year’s March 13th celebrations, this year’s National Rally will truly be the biggest and the best of them all.

When we think of this Budget, comrades, and when we think of it as having been a history­making budget, perhaps we can just think of three ‘p's — people, plan, professionalism — that is what this Budget has been all about: the people, about their involvement, about their ideas, about their contribution, about the fact that this year we are having a national plan for the first time, about the fact that this year we are moving to a more professional approach to running the economy, and to making sure that public enterprises account and look to balance their books, look to make profits, and to making sure that more and more people take seriously this business of management and of feasibility studies and of looking for markets.

A TOUCHING THOUGHT

That is what this Budget has been all about and I want to end by reading for you a small quotation.

It came from someone who is a good friend of the Grenada Revolution, a well known Caribbean intellectual and author.

I wouldn’t call his name because I don’t know how he’d react to my reading this part of this letter in public without his permission, but let me just read what he says at the end of this note:

The Grenada Revolution is a continuing reminder to the entire region, that our material weakness must never deprive us of the world’s respect, and this respect begins with our capacity to respect ourselves.

The supreme achievement of the Grenada Revolution so far is that it has given to thousands of Grenadians of more than one generation a dignity that they had never known before and no material advancement has any human value whosoever without this basic ingredient of the people’s dignity.

Long live the Revolution.

Comrades, I was so touched by these words coming from this outstanding Caribbean intellectual that I thought I would share them with you this morning, because many of the sentiments expressed there are in fact very relevant to the exercise we have gone through today.

I think with these words we can close by pledging that we will work towards the materialisation of this respect for ourselves and of ourselves, that we would work towards giving our people the full dignity due to them as human beings, that we would work towards ensuring the success of this Year of Economic Construction, that we would work towards enduring the complete fulfillment of all the targets set by this Budget and National Plan, that we would work towards ensuring that all of us, through working harder and producing more, will in fact built Grenada.

Long live the Grenada Revolution!

Long live the workers of Free Grenada!

Long live the farmers of Free Grenada!

Long live the youth and women of Free Grenada!

Long live the senior citizens of Free Grenada!

Long live the people of Free Grenada!

Long live the Grenada Revolution!

Long live the Year of Economic Construction!

Forward Ever, forward ever, forward ever?!

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