Social Policies in Grenada

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The country case studies and thematic papers in this series examine social policy issues facing small states and the implications for economic development. They show how, despite their inherent vulnerability, some small states have been successful in improving their social indicators because of the complementary social and economic policies they have implemented.


Grenada is a small state that has made impressive initial achievements in economic and human development since independence, especially in education and health. However, continuing unemployment and poverty, the recent erosion of trade preferences, and the changing international donor aid environment have exposed structural weaknesses in its economic model. Patsy Lewis assesses developments in social policy approaches and delivery in the postcolonial period, including the economic strategies pursued and their effects on social policy, particularly in respect of children. She looks at the challenges faced by governments and presents a brief case study of Hurricane Ivan, as an instance for exploring community and national responses, resilience and innovation.




This paper presents a case study of social policy delivery in the small Caribbean island state of Grenada in the post-independence period. It assesses the approach to social policy of different governments, particularly the economic strategies pursued and their effects on social policy, especially in relation to women and children. It argues that while Grenada has performed creditably in improving standards of living measured in key human indicators, particularly in respect of gender equality and relatively high per capita income, it has not made sustained inroads in addressing poverty and unemployment. Further, these gains have been due, in no small part, to a favourable international climate of trade concessions and international donor and country financing, as well as heavy borrowing for economic and social projects, rather than to steady economic growth. The environment which has facilitated this development model is undergoing significant transformation. This is particularly evident in the shift to a trading system based on reciprocity that does not accommodate special provisions for small states, and this may well undermine the economic and social gains already made.


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