The New Today

Commentary

Jubilee celebrations and other things

The launch of Grenada’s Jubilee celebration of its independence was quite a spectacle. The event was well put together and expertly choreographed. Feedback from those who attended in person and virtually both on the island and abroad was overwhelmingly positive. Kudos should go out to the Organising Committee.

Notwithstanding the successful launch, the Organising Committee has a lot of work if the jubilee celebration is to be a success. The schedule of activities should be made known to the public and various sub-committees fully functioning. These should include bi-partisan sub-committees in major cities, provinces, and capitals where there is a large community of Grenadians residing.

If the island does not have national award legislation, enacted legislative work should have started to do so. It would be prudent to announce our national heroes during the jubilee celebrations.

The Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago models could serve as a reference in that regard. A chancery of awards and honours should also be set up in the office of the Prime Minister to receive and review recommendations from the public for community and national awards to citizens who served over the fifty years with distinction.

The Prerogative of Mercy Committee should be made functional again, and consideration should also be given to releasing young prisoners who have demonstrated exemplary behaviour towards rehabilitation.

The celebrations must be seen as a bi-partisan initiative to foster unity and national pride as Grenada enters another fifty years of political independence.

The gala in London was a big success, and the party strategists and event organisers must be commended for a job well done. It is quite obvious that the Hon. Prime Minister is fast achieving rock star status, especially among the women, within the major concentrations of Grenadians in the diaspora.

This will translate to political support here at home since families abroad do have an influence on their relatives in Grenada. However, the Hon. Prime Minister must still not lose sight of the fact that all politics is local and his political fortunes depend on how citizens here at home, in particular in the marginal constituencies perceive him as a person and how his policies directly impact their lives.

In addition to the programs and policies of the government, many are a continuum of the previous government. The Hon. Prime Minister must find ways to directly impact people’s lives in the marginal constituencies to expand his base and that of his party.

The consideration to take sixty million from the CBI fund and distribute twenty million to revive the Cess Fund and the remainder in direct investments in the marginal constituencies in the corridor is a prudent one in my view.

A casual walk through many villages in these marginal constituencies will show the extent of youth unemployment and economic malaise. The situation in villages like La Fillete, Hermitage, Mt Horne, Davey, and Saaib will only breed youth crime and social dysfunction and the government will lose support if nothing is done.

It makes good political sense to take resources from the CBI and put it directly in vulnerable communities rather than have these foreign investors utilise all the funds. After all, the government is asking citizens to share their birthright and should receive direct benefits in return.

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The front page article in last week’s edition of this newspaper, involving the assault on a senior public servant close to the vicinity of a popular night spot reveals a clear failure of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) to enforce the noise pollution act and continuation of the corruption within the force that was prevalent under the last regime.

The question is – who gave the owners of the lounge bar permission to play elevated music just twenty-five yards away from an apartment building housing students and another fifty yards away? Is the owner or part owner of the establishment a former police officer?

In addition to the excessively loud noise coming from that place Sunday to Sunday, property owners have to contend with their female tenants being harassed by male patrons.

With traffic parking on both sides of the street right around a corner, should there be an emergency at St. George’s University, the school’s ambulance and fire tender would not be able to pass.

The strong stench of urine and broken bottles strewn on the road along these apartment buildings and in their yards is a sight to see on Saturday and Sunday mornings and now even on weekdays as well.

No other government in the region, not Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, nor Jamaica, would tolerate this madness close to their campuses. Traffic cones are erected on Friday and Saturday evenings, yet by night, vehicles are allowed to park in those same spots.

Is there some corruption with these cones, and are some police officers ‘eating a food’ and getting kickbacks for not enforcing the traffic regulations and noise ordinance?

The Commissioner should take heed for where there is smoke there’s fire. It is quite clear the property owners are frustrated and fed up with the arrogance of the owners of this establishment and lack of enforcement by the police.

To hear the owner of one of the apartment buildings just yards away from the establishment pleading for them to turn down the music because his tenants have exams the next day is very disturbing.

This is the same property owner who was assaulted by a very arrogant and belligerent light-skinned individual who believes he is entitled and has become much more angry since his gravy train has dried up.

The government should not forget the situation in St. Vincent, when the same university closed down an entire campus after some students were repeatedly attacked by locals.

I was told that the school is not happy with that establishment just two hundred meters from its entrance. This would never happen anywhere else. The RGPF and the government must heed, or else the island will pay a big price if no action is taken soon.

Special Correspondent