The chickens are finally coming home to roost.
This is what is happening in Grenada at the moment as a growing band of young people are taking things in their own hands due to the pressures brought on them by the advent of COVID-19 and the prospects of a gloomy future from a government that has not presented an action plan of hope for a brighter future for them.
The events of the last few days in the country resulted in a spontaneous reaction from the youth to the mixed signals coming from the leadership of the country.
It appears on the surface that there are two sets of Grenadians – one who subscribe to the philosophy and instructions coming from the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and the others who fall into the category of lumpen elements in the society.
The Jab Jab push back by ordinary Grenadians was a clear manifestation of the two Grenada in the making that the coronavirus has helped to create in our country.
It is not difficult for anyone to understand the restlessness among the youthful population on the island.
The last data showed that there was a 50% unemployment rate among the youth prior to Covid-19 and it is quite obvious that this figure has significantly increased due to massive job losses since March.
The coronavirus has now exposed the ruling party and its leader, Prime Minister Mitchell as running a country that concentrated too much on projects that are badly lacking in terms of sustainability for an economy in times of crisis.
The main pillars of Grenada’s economy was selling passports for quick bucks and building hotels that are now empty due to Covid-19, as tourism has become the hardest hit sector in the global scheme of things.
Dr. Mitchell has had access to more millions of dollars than all the other former Prime Ministers of Grenada put together – Eric Gairy, Maurice Bishop, Herbert Blaize, Ben Jones, Sir Nicholas Brathwaite, George Brizan and Tillman Thomas.
What has he done with the money? Did he concentrate too much on concrete structures? Why has he failed to build a sustainable economy for his countrymen?
The Prime Minister of the neighbouring island of St. Vincent has proven to be a much better visionary leader than Dr. Mitchell as he concentrated more on Food Security and his island is now in a much better position to withstand the impact of Covid-19 on small island economies.
Covid-19 has propelled the Social Media driven youth into the national limelight almost overnight – and they are using the platform to full effect to get their messages out to the rest of the world much to the annoyance of those in charge of power in Grenada.
It is the youth and not the political parties that are driving the anti-Mitchell sentiments in the country at the moment.
It should also be noted that for the first time in seven years that the Mitchell-led government has been forced to look rather sheepish in Parliament by Opposition Leader, Tobias Clement who has been asking some rather probing, interesting and embarrassing questions.
THE NEW TODAY senses that the youth are not organised with no clearly defined leader like back in the 1970’s when Maurice Bishop came back home from legal studies in England and was able to get involved in the political process which led to the formation of the New Jewel Movement (NJM).
The only difference between now and then is that Bishop emerged as the clear leader and with organisation and political mobilisation at a very high level, the NJM was transformed into a formidable force overnight against the dominant Grenada United Labour Party (GULP) of Eric Gairy.
Current Prime Minister Mitchell should be fully aware of the events 50 years ago as he was part of the NJM Machine fighting to topple Gairy from power.
Dr. Mitchell is now in the prized seat in the Ministerial Complex in the Botanical Gardens and is facing for the time being an unorganised rebellion and resistance mainly from a youthful Grenadian population to his ageing leadership and lack of a plan of hope for them.
The Prime Minister is able to hold on for the time being as the youth movement seems to be leaderless and the main party in opposition appears to be clueless on how to capitalise on the current situation.
THE NEW TODAY is of the belief that the situation now existing in Grenada will remain so for a long time once Covid-19 is around as the real economic situation in the country with massive youth unemployment and a crumbling economy will remain unresolved for years to come under the NNP leadership.
Dr. Mitchell is no longer seen as “a man of action” as he has failed to bring any hope to the people on the way forward except for a questionable statement three months ago that “investor confidence is still high” in Grenada.
The investor he alluded to was the Egyptian businessman who gave a commitment to the regime in St. George’s to build more hotel rooms in the south of the island.
This has to be a figment of the imagination of the minds of many as Passport Grenada is dead and the tourism sector is too uncertain in the years ahead.
The young people want jobs and work now and not tomorrow.
Too many youngsters have been forced over the years to look for “a hustle” under NNP to fork out a daily living due to the lack of clearly defined policies to help them look towards sustainability as the way ahead for a secure future.
The Imani programme has now outlived its usefulness and as one commentator described it “a joke and just a band aid to a real problem.”
The moment of truth has apparently arrived – Covid-19 has exposed the NNP leadership and the Prime Minister for failing to build a sustainable economy that can improve the lives of Grenadians in a significant and meaningful manner.