The New Today

Commentary

“Second-class citizens in our own land”

After listening to Dr. Claris Modeste as she spoke this past Tuesday at the post-cabinet briefing, I am dumbfounded.

Dr. Modeste, we are in a pandemic and cases are increasing all over the world. Grenada is blessed in that we have no known cases and we would like to keep it that way. God knows that Grenada cannot handle a pandemic especially when our healthcare system is so fragile.

While the second wave is in progress, we in Grenada should be ensuring that our borders are secured and that our people remain safe. I totally agree with Mr. Anselm Clouden on this.

Dr. Modeste, a few years ago, you told us that the Chinese were feeding us and now it appears that you are hoping for the cruise ship companies to do same. Those passengers are coming from countries that are riddled with Covid-19 infections. You may be thinking that you are doing your best but what you are suggesting is not in the best interest of the people of Grenada.

Dr. Modeste, are you willing to put the health of the people of Grenada at risk for US$4,000.00 plus port charges per visit from these two ships?

To even come to our people and ‘beg’ for our co-operation stating that “they have requested some beaches and we are looking at it ….” is indeed ludicrous.

Grenada belongs to us and no government, cruise company nor passenger can even ‘request’ a list of our beaches that they would like to use exclusively while asking us, the locals, to refrain from using those said beaches while the cruise passengers are on them.

Is the tail wagging the dog on this matter? Did you make them believe that the Grenadians would willingly go along with this arrangement? Did you give them the impression that our mouths are on the ground?

Do you remember a few months ago, although we had no cases, we were prevented from going on our own beaches? Now you are asking us to give them up to visitors.

Dr. Modeste, wheel and come again. Grenada should not be having any visitors at this time and for you to contemplate coming to us with such a request proves that you and your government see us, the Grenadian people, as stupid, second-class citizens in our own land.

Recognising that Calivigny Island is a private island but all of our beaches are still public, I would therefore suggest that you have these ships dock off Calivigny Island and have the visitors use that beach only.

Because of the size of these two ships, docking off Calivigny Island would be ideal and there is less chance of the visitors interacting with the locals.

Whatever is decided, Dr. Modeste – as Minister of Tourism – know that you would be held 100% responsible by the people of Grenada for any cases of Covid-19 which come into Grenada from here on, knowing that all cases thus far have been imported.

Finally, let me take this opportunity to congratulate The Grenada Movement on its recent launch in Grenada as an NGO which is well-needed at this time especially in situations such as this one.

I thank you.

Valerie Thompson is a Social Activist who has written on many issues in the past

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