Independence Address 2020 

My Fellow Grenadians,

I address you, once more, on the occasion of our 46th independence anniversary as we begin ‘preparing for the future through empowerment, growth & long-term sustainable development.”

As Grenada celebrates its 46th anniversary of independence on 7th February, it appears that this celebration is only for the island of Grenada. Carriacou held its independence celebration on Thursday 30th January and Petite Martinique celebrated one day earlier, on Wednesday 29th January.

For the people of these islands, independence celebrations are now behind them and they are presently concentrating on the upcoming ‘Kayak Mas’ later this month.

I have noticed that some of the flags and memorabilia on the streets of Carriacou are already being removed, even before the official national independence day of 7th February. This indicates that our people are not all on the same page. Could they be confused by these multiple celebrations? Are we not all part of one country with one constitution which states that Grenada includes Carriacou & Petite Martinique? So does it make any sense having three separate official celebrations for the independence of one country?

My dear people, what would happen if we had as many islands as The Bahamas? Would there be as many celebrations as there are islands? This nonsense must stop!

Our people are already too divided.   There is the need to bring this nation together – once a year – to celebrate our independence.

Everyone knows that Grenada’s independence falls on 7th February each year but for the people of Carriacou & Petite Martinique, they have to wait for those in authority to announce a date for celebration on their islands. Thus, if the question is posed to them as to the date of independence next year, do not be surprised if they do not know.

We complain that our people are not patriotic and know very little about our country and its history. Those in authority are fully responsible for confusing and dividing our people by their actions, decisions and lack of information shared.

Whether we live on Grenada, Carriacou or Petite Martinique, we are all citizens of Grenada – connected by water – instead of by land. We are all equal and entitled to the same rights and freedoms under the same constitution. For this reason, all national holidays should be celebrated at the same time.

Therefore, Grenada’s independence should be celebrated on 7th February every year by all the citizens of the country.

It can be proven that the separate celebrations on Carriacou & Petite Martinique are costly and yet poorly attended. These celebrations are held on regular working days and are attended by a few students and a handful of seniors. Others must go to work as usual. Therefore, the participants at the parade, by far out-number the spectators. It is almost like singing to an empty church!

In addition, the stress of travelling put on the Governor General, her security detail and other members of the RGPF ought to be considered as they must all get back down to Grenada to prepare for the national parade on 7th February.

I am told that each parish on Grenada holds individual parades & celebrations prior to the 7th February but I was unable to verify this.

Fellow Citizens, the question must be asked whether these multiple independence celebrations bring about the desired results. What exactly is the government trying to achieve? Are the needs and expectations of the citizens met? Do they feel included or excluded? Are we getting value for monies spent? Without VISION, there will continue to be DIVISION!

Using 2020 vision plus modern technology, 2021 could be the beginning of one national independence celebration with large television screens mounted temporarily on Petite Martinique, Carriacou & Grenada where the people would gather for the national celebration on 7th February. The celebrations would take place simultaneously on site locally, with one national program.

There will be no need for inter-island travel except for the Minister of Carriacou & Petite Martinique personally representing her constituency and everyone would participate and celebrate Grenada’s independence together “as One People, One Family … God Bless Our Nation”

Happy Independence, Grenada!

I thank you!

Valerie Thompson

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