46 years of independence!!!

February 7 is an important date on the Grenada calendar regardless of one’s political outlook and orientation.

The so-called Progressives in the society will like us to believe that March 13, 1979 when the New Jewel Movement (NJM) took up arms and overthrew the duly-elected labour party government of Prime Minister Eric Matthew Gairy should be recognized as the day of independence.

The simple response is that four-and-a-half years later the same revolutionaries fought so hard among themselves to destroy their own process as never seen anywhere else in the world and brought great shame to our people.

Truth be told, we have not advanced in real terms politically and economically as a nation and people since February 7, 1974 ushered in a new era for the island.

Our greatest political tragedy was on October 19, 1983 when a bitter power play among moderates and radicals for control of the Grenada Revolution resulted in the execution of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, three Cabinet colleagues and several others on Fort George which was known back then as Fort Rupert.

The revolutionaries were given a reprieve in 2008 when two of them were voted into the Parliament on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to become part of the government of Prime Minister Tillman Thomas.

However, within months of taking office, a new kind of infighting among the revolutionaries once again raised its ugly head much to the detriment of democracy.

The distrust has resulted in Grenada becoming a virtual one-party state under the New National Party (NNP) of Dr. Keith Mitchell who has now mastered the art of winning elections.

During our 46 years of independence, Grenada also found itself at the centre of the battle between communism and the West as Washington became increasingly worried with the presence of a rival ideology in what was considered its backyard and sphere of influence.

Again, Grenada today to a lesser degree is being closely monitored and watched by the U.S government in the face of a challenge to its supremacy in the Caribbean by the might of the Chinese dollar and construction brigades.

China is now wooing the Caribbean in a form of diplomacy that has left the Trump administration in the United States resorting to the usual divide and rule strategy to try and contain the invasion into its own backyard.

It is in the sporting arena that Grenada has stood out very tall after 46 years of independence.

The first major bright spot was at the London Olympics in 2012 when the Golden Boy of athletic, Kirani James bagged the island’s first ever gold at the Olympics in the 400 metre race.

The national flag was again at the centre stage of the world when javelin thrower Anderson Peters captured the gold medal at last year’s World Games in Doha.

Three of our cricketers brought fame and glory to Grenada by making the West Indies cricket team – wicketkeeper batsman Junior “Ninja” Murray, opening batsman Devon Smith and leg-spinner Rawle Lewis.

Economically, Grenada has performed miserable over the past 46 years.

The island has been forced to adopt austerity measures through the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to deal with two Structural Adjustment Programmes brought about by maladministration by the New National Party (NNP), first under Herbert Blaize and secondly under the current Prime Minister Dr. Mitchell.

A third Structural Adjustment Programme was on the cards in 1983 as the Bishop-led People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) with Bernard Coard as Minister of Finance was at an advanced stage in discussions with the IMF for a bail-out programme for the island.

Today, it is unfortunate and regrettable that the sale of a Grenadian passport is now the major source of income for the country and not revenue from the much-talked about oil and gas resources.

Grenada has not really progressed and advanced over the past 46 years as its leaders continue to roam the world with hat in hand at the mercy of the developed countries of the world and their financial institutions.

We have put up elaborate and massive concrete buildings in the form of a stadium and a ministerial complex but lack the financial resources to maintain them.

Our road network and healthcare systems have just about collapsed under our leaders and we seemingly lack the plan to get it right.

There is a serious message right now to our current crop of leaders in Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique – the fastest growing economy in the English-speaking Caribbean is the small British dependency of Anguilla which depends on “The Mother Country” to take care of its needs.

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