GRENADA – While this is a characteristic Grenadian trait, this year’s outpouring of goodwill reflects the collective recognition of the deep economic challenges that enveloped our societies.
It speaks to the fortitude and strength of character of our people and our resolve to persevere.
Similarly, it also speaks to the true nature and character of most Grenadians who are desirous of pursuing a peaceful and god fearing life.
Most importantly, we should be thankful for the many blessings that we have enjoyed during the past year.
Hon. PM Thomas
Despite the many odds, we are able to successfully navigate the turbulent economic waters, maintain social and economic stability and continue to lay the basis for future economic growth and development.
We have also been able to complete preparations to ensure that many projects will commence during the New Year. Projects, that will facilitate capital investment in infrastructure and productive economic activities.
The year 2010 was indeed quite challenging. For many, the impact of the deep economic recession really began to take root as they struggled to stay afloat.
Internationally, we also witnessed the near collapse of many large economies in the developed world as they too grappled with the serious challenges.
At the same time however, there are many positive signals of an economic recovery and the projection is that many countries will experience some positive economic growth for the first time in many years.
In Grenada, we were able to stabilize our economic ship. There are clear indications that we will return to positive economic growth during the year 2011.
Our focus on improving our economic management has resulted in the achievement of many key objectives.
1. Agricultural output has increased and we are now building a new agro industrial sector
2. Much has been achieved in restructuring our education curriculum and system, including rebuilding the physical infrastructure and training and motivating our teachers
3. Over 10,000 persons have benefitted from our targeted stimulus programmes aimed at creating short term jobs.
4. We have gained the confidence of the International Community for our economic management efforts. This has laid the basis for their continued financial and other assistance as well as public accolades.
5. Our tourism sector is positioned for a better season this year.
All these indicators of improved performance bolster our optimism for a better 2011.
A full analysis and further details will be done during the presentation of the 2011 budget scheduled for January 14.
However, while we are all optimistic, indications are, that growth will continue to be slow. Oil prices for example are expected to rise.
So, it will be a long hard road towards improved economic performance and full recovery.
As a people, we need to be patient, careful, focused and vigilant.
Ladies and Gentlemen, as we approach a new year, we need to do so with the full knowledge and appreciation of the true realities of the world in which we live in.
We need to be grounded in these realities and to understand what our options and future prospects are.
Grenada’s economy, and indeed the economies of our neighbors in the region remain fragile.
So we need to be shrewd, careful and realistic in our approach to the management of our resources as well as our decision making.
We need to be disciplined and prudent in whatever we do at the individual, family and country levels.
Moreover, we need to continue our search for local solutions and actions towards solving our problems.
We need to build local resilience, capacity and self reliance.
We need to revisit our traditional practices, preserving their benefits while effecting appropriate modernization where possible and necessary.
This approach can help to build internal capacity, save foreign exchange, utilize local resources, increase productivity and generate economic activity.
We are blessed with fertile soil, beautiful scenery, lavish vegetation, a pleasant climate and friendly people.
These are our valued assets which we must maximize for our greater benefit. Collectively we must work harder, together, to achieve our development objectives.
My government is committed to leading this process for the good and benefit of all.
I want to urge every adult, every child, every organization to redouble our efforts at building a better Grenada for all of us and our future generations.
I further urge you to embrace our 2011 budget which will outline our actions for the continued growth and development of our country.
I look forward to an improved year, working together to make a difference in the lives of all.
I thank you most sincerely and may god bless our nation.