Grenada celebrates 48th anniversary of independence

St Georges – Grenada is celebrating its 48th anniversary of political independence from Britain on Monday with Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell noting the impact that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is continuing to have on the island two years after the first case was detected here.

Addressing a military parade where spectators were not allowed to attend, Mitchell said despite the “dark cloud of the pandemic” Grenada was looking forward to the future with hope. He noted that, “at the same time”, this must be underpinned by concrete action that will transition hope from a desire to reality.

“This is why we are concerned about the level of vaccine hesitancy that exists in Grenada . . . we believe in the science and remain optimistic that vaccination and achieving herd immunity will help bring an end to this crisis.

“We will therefore continue to advocate for vaccination, but ultimately there is only so much the government can do and say. What we need more than ever is a solid partnership . . . government and people working side by side to overcome this pandemic,” Mitchell said.

The prime minister noted that the fallout created by the pandemic has increased the onus on the government to provide economic and social assistance to ease the burden.

Grenada has recorded 211 deaths and 12 862 infections linked to the virus.

“It is a difficult time for government to be called upon to do more at the same time it faces a reduction in revenue when compared to pre pandemic times,” Mitchell said.

“However, government is committed to ensuring that our most vulnerable citizens are not further marginalised by this unrelenting pandemic.”

He said that since 2020, his administration has embarked on COVID-19 stimulus packages that had assisted hundreds of citizens and businesses.

He said  assistance had also been given to workers of the cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT, who lost their jobs when the airline was forced to revamp its operations.

“We are still in the early stages of implementation . . . with new initiatives to come on stream this year,” Mitchell said. Additionally, the prime minister said he was looking forward eagerly to students returning to face-to-face tutoring.

Meanwhile, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has congratulated Grenada, noting the country’s resolute movement along the path to development.

CARICOM Secretary-General Dr Carla Barnett, in a congratulatory message to Mitchell, also commended the country’s significant contribution to promoting regional integration.

“There is much for the government and people of Grenada to be proud of since achieving independence 48 years ago, as the country has moved resolutely along the path to development. Grenada’s contribution globally in academia, sports, culture and diplomacy is well documented,” she said.

Barnett said that the theme chosen for this year’s festivities, “Overcoming our Adversity – Safeguarding Livelihoods – Protecting our Future” speaks to the firm determination of all Grenadians to play an active role in the continued development and prosperity of their country.

“Honourable Prime Minister, Grenada continues to make significant contributions to the promotion of regional integration. In particular, the Community welcomes Grenada’s steadfast leadership on Science and Technology [including Information and Communications], for which you, prime minister, have portfolio responsibilities in the Quasi-Cabinet of the CARICOM Conference of Heads of Government,” she added. (CMC)

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