Despite claims from the Keith Mitchell-led government that there is no shortage of food on the sister isle of Carriacou and Petite Martinique and no need for the involvement of neighbouring St. Vincent & The Grenadines, this seems to be far from the truth.
THE NEW TODAY has information that a boat from St. Vincent has just landed in the port of Harvey Vale in Carriacou with food supplies and other goods for the small island that is administered from St. George’s.
Two weeks ago, the ruling New National Party (NNP) administration had put out a release that there is no shortage of food on the sister Isles and that the state-owned Marketing & National Importing Board (MNIB) had dispatched food items to the neighbouring islands.
However, the boat Gem Star travelled from Mainland St. Vincent into Union Island overnight and is currently in Harvey Vale dropping off supplies for businessmen on the sister isle.
According to a well-placed source, this is not a government to government arrangement but a deal struck between private businessmen in St. Vincent and their counterparts in Carriacou.
One businessman told THE NEW TODAY that he has an assignment of flour, water and wine on the Gem Star and was being held up by the Port Authority who told them that they might have to wait until Friday to get their goods.
He spoke of an uproar among Market Vendors in Carriacou who are complaining that they have perishable agricultural products on Gem Star and need the goods right away in order to avoid financial losses due to spoilage.
There are reports that the goods entering from St. Vincent and Grenadines are sold at much lower prices than those which come from the mainland like cooking gas which retails for close to $50.00 from Grenada as opposed to EC$28.00 from St. Vincent.
This newspaper understands that the call for the Vincentian boat to bring the cargo came directly from their counterparts in Carriacou.
A resident of St. Vincent has said that it is foolish of any of the governments to take action to interfere with the manner in which the people have been trading among themselves for years.
He said: “It is foolish and misguided to prevent trade between these islands especially during a health and humanitarian crisis. Grenada is treating this as a law enforcement problem and it is not”, he remarked.
The movement of goods and services between Grenada and St. Vincent sparked off an angry exchange of words between Prime Minister Keith Mitchell and Dr. Ralph Gonsalves in the past two weeks.
The Vincentian Prime Minister made an offer of food and cheap cooking gas to the residents of Carriacou & Petite Martinique in “a structured way” and Dr. Mitchell reacted angrily accusing his Vincentian counterpart of encouraging residents on the two sister Isles of breaking local law.
Prime Minister Mitchell charged that the NNP regime had closed the borders of Grenada in the fight against the deadly coronavirus and hinted that Gonsalves had kept his own borders open.