Created on 24 April 2017 Hits: 300 Written by Allison Williams Category: POLITICS
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BUSINESS UNUSUAL

As Caribbean governments face increasing pressure to bring benefits to their people, it is becoming obvious that some of our leaders are succumbing to strong arm tactics, backroom deals and sometimes under the table and out of sight arrangements to support the endless cycle of promises they are called upon to make as the election wheel begins to turn.

 

It is that obvious in Grenada as, out of the blue (no pun intended), tractors are cutting parcels of land and projects are popping up even from the waters of the Caribbean sea/Atlantic Ocean off Sauteurs. It is that pressure that snakes its way into what should be an open and transparent process, sowing the seeds of bias and favoritism that when it grows and matures there are forests of graft and corruption.

The evidence is never far from the surface. One "investor who government successfully prodded into its pockets enraged business leaders in one sector when he walked into a well ordered meeting, threw his check book across the table and enquired as to who was willing to follow him, despite the fact that the decision to follow would have been an illegal one. The attitude was fueled by the knowledge that he had, what he thought was the necessary political backing. Within a few years -- the business, that had tremendous potential to benefit the agricultural sector, folded.

It is crucial therefore that deals made between investors and public officials be above board and transparent because people, leaders and circumstances change.

The fact that the Caribbean courts, despite all the attempts to politicize and in some cases limit its influence, has remained bastions of law in these small communities, speaks volumes for us as a people. It leaves one to wonder whether it's the genuine nature of Caribbean people to be true to their learning, or if it's the fact that there is still a Privy Council over looking their actions that's mainly responsible for the quality of our rulings.

The courts or the involvement of some independent arbitrational tribunal remains the only mechanism to block governments from acting out of opportunism or callous disregard in cases where the will of the leader and his government go against the agreement they make.

We have examples of that clash in Point Saline with the Government and the Rex. The government's will to facilitate a competitor flies in the face of a legally binding lease agreement with the current operators and owners of the Grenadian by Rex Resorts. The decision of the court, which recently met in Grenada, will be telling.

The same can be said about the current debacle involving the government and GRENLEC where a clash of wills, whatever the motivation, is pushing us again to recall the dark days (literally) of load shedding and generator break downs at the Queen's Park.

What is interesting is the confrontational approach to settling conflicts that we are asking the international community, through various organisations to help us solve at the local level, is now making its way through our leaders into the business dealings of our country.

The way of negotiations, where both sides give a little and take a little in coming to a harmonious conclusive arrangement that benefits all, is sadly, a thing of the past. The arrogance of leadership declares – it's my way or the highway, to hell with everyone else.

It was former Prime Minister Herbert Blaize who echoed "what goes around comes around."

 

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