The New Today

Commentary

Elections 2022: The campaign

  • “Free and fair elections can give us a government of the people; but only an active, informed and vigilant citizen can give us a government by the people for the people.” –  H. Kwasi Prempeh
  • “The purpose of government is to enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness. Government exists for the interests of the governed, not for the governors.” – Thomas Jefferson
  • “Every man, every woman who takes up the service of government, must ask themselves: ‘Do I love my people in order to serve them better? Do I listen to everybody in order to choose the best path?’ If you don’t ask those questions, your governance will not be good.” – Pope Francis

Grenada is counting down to E-day, June 23rd. The excitement is palpable! Everybody seems to be a prophet. Various predictions are being made. As we all know, it is never over till it is over. And the outcome of election day not only depends on what happens on election day but what preceded election day, in particular, the Voter Registration process, the pillar of free and fair elections, through which the will of the people will be realized. E-day begins with the special voting on Monday, June 20th. Hereunder are a few personal thoughts/observations as E-day edges closer.

1. The New Look NDC Executive

In October 2021, the National Democratic Congress held its convention and three, surprise candidates, two of whom we the people had never heard about in public life or in connection with the NDC were “selected” to offer themselves for the post of Political Leader. And when one dared to offer some reasonable questions, in most uncharacteristic NDC style, these questions elicited threats from a certain, very loud quarter to CRUSH those person(s) who dared to ask such questions.

In respect of the new look Executive, one could not help but note the following:-

Two of those on the new look Executive are/were citizenship by investment agents:-

  • One of them, position uncontested, the former head of Henley & Partners office in Grenada:-
    • H&P, appointed in November 2016 as the Strategic Advisors (??!!) to the Government in Grenada re the CBI programme. H &P seems to have faded from the scene. Were they asked to leave or did they leave on their own accord? For those of we the people who have memory, we may recall that in 2018, there were numerous breaking news stories, allegations linking Henley and Partners to interference in the elections of various countries via parties such as Cambridge Analytica and Strategic Communications Laboratory and And those of us with longer memories may recall that since 2011-12, certain of the NDC “old guard” were flirting with Henley and Partners.
  • The other being the unknown Political Leader/Political Beacon;
    • In his role as legal counsel, he is/was associated with that disastrous mega project in Grenada, the Levera Resort Development of the mega debt junkie, Paul Taylor, which was sold over to Heng Sheng in 2019 for USD35 million. Let us remember, that the Grenadian people are now bearing a debt burden of USD 11million – a loan guaranteed by our Government for original “developers” who :did not have the funds” – in respect of the project which started in 1998. There are some “little people” whose lands were acquired to give to the first set of developers who sold the project to Paul Taylor. These little people/their estates are still waiting to be compensated. One hopes that when the Political Beacon becomes Prime Minister, this is a situation that he will resolve with urgency.

1.1. Candidate
Another candidate, contesting the St. Patrick’s East seat, is/was also a citizenship by investment agent; one who also has a proven track record as a competent public servant who served Grenada in one of its most difficult times, the voluntary structural adjustment period of 1991-1994; he has also served in the private sector.

2. Citizenship by Investment Interests and the Election 2022

Is the election campaign of 2022 directed by CBI interests? How best to get what you want as a CBI investor than to play one side against the other? It is no secret that, throughout the world, business and other interests seek /protect those interests by donations to all the important sides, among other actions. Do we the people recall Grenada’s break with Republic of Taiwan, China and establishment of relations with the People’s Republic of China in 2005? Within a year of the establishment of diplomatic relations, an official invitation was issued to the opposition National Democratic Congress to visit.

We the people are well aware that certain CBI interests and the incumbent have fallen out. Are these interests manipulating/supporting any side? So, as we the people revel in the rallies, T-shirts and et al, remember, there are no free lunches. If we are not paying, ask our representatives/would-be representatives, who is/are funding this? What have they been promised in return? Remember, it is always we the people WHO EVENTUALLY PAY!!

3. The Election Campaign

The following are observations about the Elections 2022 Campaign:-

  • A Production: In general, the election campaign seems to be well choreographed. Who/what is/are the producer(s)? Was there an audition in respect of the “lead” character in one of the election campaign productions? Was the name(s) a deliberate choice – to confuse, to add to the theatre? What other credentials were considered? Links to the CBI programme? Clients/customers?
  • Freudian Slips: There have been a number of significant Freudian slips during this campaign with which we the people have made “ole mas”.
  • Focus on Position of Prime Minister: One also notes that the strategy/focus of the campaign is on the position of Prime Minister.
  • Endorsement of the Competition by the Incumbent: A political ad has been noted. In this ad, the Prime Minister/Political Leader of the incumbent administration is endorsing his competition, “the competent team of the National Democratic Congress” and the ad is approved by the Political Beacon/Leader of the competition. This is indeed a new and unusual political development, a first in Grenada!! o Now, why would the NDC team want the endorsement of the team that it is seeking to oust?
    • Is this a “smart” ad? Are both the NNP and the NDC conspiring to confuse the electorate?
    • Is there MORE to this ad than meets the simple eye?
  • NNP Incumbent/Candidate, St. David’s: Recently, it was announced that the incumbent Member of Parliament for the St. David’s constituency, Hon. Oliver Joseph, had to cut short his campaign to seek medical attention in the United States. It is surprising that Hon. Joseph was again chosen as candidate given that, since the February 2018 elections, his constituents were critical of his representation. He was missing in action on the ground. And some of we the people may recall that Hon, Joseph did admit that he was happy to be a Minister but less so being a Member of Parliament. Former M.P. Joslyn Whiteman was moved to again enter the political ring – in support of better representation of the people he once represented, Mr. Whiteman explained. Therefore, the choice of Hon. Joseph as candidate was surprising. We the people extend our best wishes to Hon. Joseph, whatever his medical issue(s) that could not be handled onsite by our own health care system under the stewardship of Min. Steele. We wish him a safe and speedy recovery. Does missing in action during the campaign increase the chances of the Political Beacon? Is it that Hon. Joseph read the writing on the wall? Is Hon Joseph’s absence a remarkable co-incidence along with the endorsement of the competition by the incumbent Prime Minister?
  • Playing on the Sentiments w.r.t. the Revolution: We the people have been hearing a lot of comparison with the Revolution re youth leadership et al in respect of one of the campaign productions. Actually, the new, youthful, political leadership does not quite qualify in respect of the comparison it makes:- o The Political Leader is 40+ going on 50 but looking like 30-something with a definite appeal to youth. An enviable combination of nature, nurture and self-care no doubt, and certainly worth emulating. Health is wealth and Grenada has a VERY high incidence of deaths from non-communicable chronic diseases.
    • The youthful leadership of the Revolution ALL had credentials as school, community, youth and political activists. For some, this experience also included experience as the people’s representatives in the House of Parliament.
    • It is good to be inspired by the Revolution and also learn its lessons. One would soon learn that among the positive hallmarks of the People’s Revolution were discipline, organisation, hard work and sacrifice.
    • Starting Point: One has to start somewhere – understood and worthy of commendation. What the campaign comparison has done is to show up the lack of knowledge of those making those comparisons. Was the necessary homework done in respect of being acquainted with history? Was/is it about genuine inspiration or expediency? Was it mouth open and word jump out? Another hallmark of the youthful revolutionary leaders was preparation. Much reading and study were undertaken and party membership was not automatic. One had to EARN it.
    • Rallies: The number of persons attending the Revolution rallies was considerable. In rallies prior to the revolution there were DRUMS, the voice of resistance of the ancestors!! And when the Comrade Leader and other leaders spoke, one came from that rally INFORMED, edified and inspired. The leaders did not only say WHAT was going to be done but also HOW it would be done and identified the role to be played by the MASSES in achieving that end!!
  • Investors with Special Interests: It has been noted that there are certain CBI interests which seek to play on the sentiments of the Revolution. Are these interests, in any way, connected with any of the Elections 2022 campaign theatre?
  • Range Development/CBI Interests: During the entire campaign, the National Democratic Congress has been MUM on these mega CBI projects on which we the people have expressed a number of concerns re their adverse impact on environment, community livelihoods; loss of traditional user rights and violations of physical planning regulations. It is quite IRONIC that one of the areas in which these violations are taking place is in the backyard of the Political Beacon – La Sagesse, the cradle of Revolution and the people’s uprising on Lord Bronlow’s attempt to prevent access to the beach. Not a word has been uttered by the Political Beacon and his Party!
  • Safer Hands: It is interesting that the incumbent team is promoting itself as safer hands; an implicit acknowledgment that the alternate hands are safe! Another endorsement of its competition!!??
  • Promises re Housing: At the incumbent’s rally at National Stadium, the Political Leader promised the delivery of a number of things including housing. Could it be possible that one of the entities of the proposed Synergy Hi-Tech Complex2 may be involved in delivering housing in Grenada? One of the founders of Synergy Hi-Tec Park is the Foundation for Support and Development of Housing Construction, which according to the Synergy website was founded in 2010 by the “Moscow Government” and implemented infrastructure and housing projects in Latin America and the Caribbean totalling USD2.5 billion? Government of Grenada, represented by its Ambassador to the Russian Federation, is also listed as founder.
  • Instructions to Wave: We the people have noted that both leaders seemed to have taken to giving “waving instructions”. Turn on you the light of your mobile phones and wave, they commanded.
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It is important that we the people understand that “,,,,.only an active, informed and vigilant citizen can give us a government by the people for the people.” It is imperative that after Election Day 2022 we the people, we the shareholders of Grenada PLC begin to/continue to mind our business, the business of Grenada PLC. By now, we the people should have felt and learnt the painful consequences of not minding our business, the business of Grenada PLC.

Sandra Ferguson