I listened to the Honourable Prime Minister’s presentation in Parliament last week and couldn’t help but notice how angry he was in his delivery. I said to myself he damn right to be angry with businessmen who are not adhering to Covid-19 regulations. He damn right to be angry with those who not wearing mask when in public.
He damn right to be angry with all and sundry who are opposing the two billion dollar Chinese projects. After all, it is his Government that presided over a relatively successful lockdown from March.
After all, it is his Government that successfully implemented the income support program notwithstanding the many hiccups. Therefore, when people flaunt public health protocols in spite of the risk, and considering the sad state of our healthcare system he must be angry.
But then I said to myself shouldn’t the Prime Minister be damn angry too, that to date, his Government after seven months since the first confirmed case, has done nothing to increase the number of hospital beds dedicated for Covid-19 patients?
Shouldn’t he be angry a strong disease surveillance infrastructure nor a random system of testing in the general population have not been developed by his subordinates? Should he not be angry by the number of breaches of quarantine protocols by travelers and repatriated Grenadians?
Shouldn’t he be damn angry that political expediency, friendship and familial relations are getting in the police way when enforcing physical distancing and other protocols at entertainment venues and bars in the south of the island? Shouldn’t he be damn angry with the many rumours or grumblings of persons being swabbed at our main airport, test negative then turn up in another country and test positive on arrival?
Shouldn’t he be damn angry that increase international flights are expected from North America and Europe during the peak of a second wave of infections in those countries and the main line of defense at our international airport are not as strong as we believe it to be?
You see after a successful lockdown where every man jack cooperated and sacrificed their freedoms, the Government lost its way in the reopening of the economy and allowed, double standards, nepotism, and expediency to seep into the process that caused young people to defy Covid regulations and play Jab. Yes he should be damn angry.
The pandemic has laid bare fundamental weaknesses in the Government’s policy to place tourism as the lead sector and engine of growth in the economy.
Notwithstanding the sector’s capacity to earn foreign exchange and generate employment albeit low paying jobs, the host country is required to give up a tremendous amount of resources by way of land for development, concessions on taxes on imports during construction, tax holidays and other forms of tax concessions during operations.
The host country, in addition to having to forgo a significant amount of tax revenues, has to provide an enabling environment by way of investments in roads, electricity, water, health services and public safety.
Moreover, a large percentage of the foreign exchange earned are used to purchase supplies for the industry. Tourism is also a very fragile industry easily disrupted by natural disasters, social upheavals and pandemics. In this era of climate change the sector is more likely to experience disruptive events that can plunge it into situations from which it is difficult to recover.
The people of Grenada recognised this since hurricane Ivan, they have also seen many promises of hotel developments evaporate in thin air only to have pristine environment and natural ecosystems destroyed. They have read about countless instances in Africa, South East Asia and Pacific islands where the environment was destroyed for hotel projects backed by Chinese investors that never started.
They have seen here in Grenada, Chinese contractors fail to employ large numbers of Grenadian workers as promised and in instances when a few are hired the wages are extremely low.
The people have seen the barracks type buildings being built to house Chinese workers. Therefore, the people considering all that they have read, seen and experienced are now rejecting the two Chinese projects.
The people are not willing to sell away their birthright and lose sovereignty by way of selling passports to finance sixty percent of the two hotel projects. The people knows that these projects are not traditional resorts, but upscale accommodation designed to attract thousands of Hong Kong-based Chinese who want out of the island after mainland China instituted new laws to consolidate political control.
The people are not prepared, anymore, to accept tomfoolery and mamaguy, therefore he is damn angry.
The people know all this talk about employment for tradesmen and markets for farmers produce are just old talk; after selling thousands upon thousands of our passports, essentially our money, to help finance the two projects the Chinese will turn around and import their own produce and bring in Chinese workers to work.
The people’s eye are now open, awaken from their slumber so he damn angry. He knows the people are aware the Cabinet changes will come to naught because the hidden reason for making the switch from Works to Finance is to neutralise the Louison boys and CCC but they will still get Kuwait funded projects up the islands.
He knows the farmers will be wary of a wise man with an infectious smile bearing gifts with Ukrainians and Russians lurking in the shadows to swoop down and capture the value added aspect of the cocoa and nutmeg industry the most lucrative activity, from them.
He is aware that the global environmental community is watching and saying you can’t want resources from Climate Fund in one hand and take action that would destroy your environment in another. Putting climate resilience and environment with tourism will only bring greater international scrutiny on these tourism projects. He knows that and he damn angry.
Covid-19 pandemic caused significant reversal of the economic gains achieved by Grenada over the last few years; and erosion of an economic legacy. Going forward it will be difficult for Grenada to navigate the rough economic waters so he damn angry.
You see the virus is in full control and anytime it is given an opportunity, such as increase movement of people by international travel, it will transmit. The virus is cunning, as well, it lays dormant in asymptomatic carriers and springs to life whenever it gets a chance.
In addition, President Trump has failed to take the necessary action to control the virus in America and a second wave is looming on the horizon in Europe, two of Grenada’s largest source markets for tourists, so he damn angry.
Covid-19 has unmask the facade of fiscal surplus and economic growth. It has laid bare for people to see the fundamental weaknesses in the current economic policy that is the heavy reliance on tourism at the expense of other sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and ICT.
The virus has caused the people to realise that their wealth; prime lands, pristine ecosystems and sovereignty are being given away to foreigners who in turn enrich themselves at our expense.
The people are aware that if we continue to sell passports at the rate we are going, soon foreigners will achieve critical mass and be able to take full political control from locals, therefore he damn angry. Teachers and civil servants better be careful he ain’t get more angry and either cut their pay or retrench them.
It is said, if you have patience you will see ants belly. Nothing really happens by chance, by fate. You create your own fate by your actions. He knows that very well. He knows also his waterloo moment is coming and he can’t stop it so he damn angry, really angry. Shouldn’t he not be angry? For all who went before him including Francois ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier and Robert Mugabe were angry at the end.
There is a natural law of Karma that vindictive people who go out of their way to hurt others will end up broke and alone.