The New Today

Commentary

The Patriotic Vine… come, TGM, let us reason together

‘The Grenada Movement’ has been announced as an NGO by private decision, but available to become a political party by public demand.

Understandably, some are searching for similarities between TGM and NJM. A similarity might be found in the display of intellectual capacity communicated through intelligent advocacy and fresh ideas for the development of Grenada.

Recognizing the potential, TGM is a welcomed addition to the local development and public policy landscape. Nevertheless, learning from our history, Grenadians are entitled to look for more by which to embrace TGM. Some will recall the persuasive narrative of the NJM in the early seventies, only to raise black flags over hearts and homes ten years later as their true colors were revealed.

Obviously, beyond the pronouncement of a development vision called ‘The New Economy’, clarity regarding the ideology, outlook, value system and ‘character clad’ of TGM will be critically important. Recall the fundamental distinction between credentials and character. The latter tells who you are; the former only says what you have.

Let us examine a few pertinent issues and pose some truth- pursuing questions:

i. Freedom of association: The owners of TGM are free to decide whom they wish to associate with and to choose their membership, either on subjective or objective grounds. The second consideration is the extent to which an open, genuine invitation could be said to have been extended to Grenadians of talent to associate with TGM. This would require transparent criteria by which applicants are sifted. Evidence of this does not appear to be openly available.

ii. Purpose: The offer of intellectual capital for the development of Grenada is a good thing; it is patriotic, laudable and needed. The last time Grenada seriously applied this kind of talent towards national development was during the Revolution. One must correctly define development to cover the economic, social, constitutional, and cultural interests of the Grenadian people.

iii. Approach: It is understood that TGM intends to generate ideas for a development agenda and to put same on the market in the hope that the main parties would buy-in. Fair enough. However, recognising that no one has a monopoly on competence or ideas, it is open to those parties to equip themselves with the capacity to offer Grenada new development ideas without relying on TGM.

To that extent, it is reasonable to surmise that TGM might well be minimised with respect to its presumed or desired importance. The situation gets quite interesting when one considers the thinking and attitude of TGM in circumstances where its ideas have been accepted and acted upon.

The question is will TGM be happy as mere suppliers of ideas, without more? On the other hand, Chairman Patrick Antoine said recently that where TGM’s ideas are not embraced it would it be up to the public to say what it wishes the group to become. The presumption being its evolution from NGO to political party. Put differently, there is no altruism here. Nothing wrong with that. Of course, viability as a fully- exposed political entity would depend on several other considerations beyond the generation of exciting ideas.

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Those with experience and knowledge need only recall the downside of the NJM/PRG. Bare ideas cannot create the desired society. Those must be surrounded and informed by character, values, standards, leadership, and an understanding of the Grenadian culture, class, and demography.

iv .Friends: Good friendships are a blessing and every effort should be made to preserve them. In party politics, friendship tends to get watered-down to mean loyalty which often has limited value and may even be detrimental.

v. The National Sustainable Development Plan (2035): One understands that the NSDP is positive not perfect. This means that continuous improvement in the national interest is important. TGM Chairman was the head of the Technical Working Group producing the NSDP over a prolonged period until a ‘pause’ in his relationship with the Prime Minister.

Yet, during TGM’s launch, he pointed to a significant omission from the Plan, and that is fine. Unbelievably, during his interview on October 27, (GBN’s To the Point) he made no reference whatsoever to the NSDP, although his central thesis was the development of Grenada. His omission was stunning!

The NSDP is still a virgin instrument in Grenada’s public policy portfolio and is not expected to be ignored by those who have declared their commitment to labour that very vineyard. Agreed? Therefore, here are five questions for Chairman Antoine, remembering his familiar partisan admonition on the connection between truth-telling and the process of dying:

(a). Does the NSDP contain any ideas for economic, cultural, and social development that you proposed?

(b). Are there other ideas in the Plan that TGM finds supportable?

(c). After you demitted the Chairmanship of the TWG, did you maintain an interest in the finalisation of the Plan? If not, why?

(d). Was your commitment to the NSDP, while Chairman of the TWG, simply a function of your relationship with the Prime Minister?

(e). Did you make any submission(s) for inclusion in the Plan to your successor, in the national interest?

Unnecessary conflicts and intolerance of divergent views breed disunity and will not help Grenada. It is right and good for brethren to reason together, constructively. If TGM is a generational bell, then it must be rung to call Grenadians to work with ‘diligent hands’ for a better day; led by sincere and humble people determined to get it right.

One is mindful of the fact that substance and spirit matter, whatever the situation. The high point of it all is that unless one acknowledges the place of God the Father in national development, one’s efforts will not bear good and lasting fruit.

Sincerity can always be relied upon to prop up and promote vision otherwise it remains a ‘shiny object’.

Let us pray that God will command a blessing upon the work of our hands.

William Joseph

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