It appears that the main opposition political party in Grenada, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), is prepared to contest the looming general elections purely as a matter of formality and maybe praying that by divine chance to be victorious. This bitter perception lies in the pronouncements of the NDC about the serious circumstances at the electoral office and its impotent capacity to arrest reasonably the worrying concerns there.
A most proper and pointed comment via a social media platform was read by the host to the NDC’s Public Relation Officer (PRO), Attorney-At-Law Ms. Claudette Joseph, on the “To The Point 16th March 2021” programme of the Grenada Broadcasting Network.
It was posted thus; “The NDC needs to address the issue in the PEO (‘Parliamentary Elections Office’). This office represents the core of our (‘Grenada’) democracy and should they (‘NDC’) continue to ignore it, they can kiss their dreams of coming back into government goodbye”.
A clear and candid response by Ms. Joseph was, “ …. there are some ongoing issues there (‘PEO’) …. we (‘NDC’) do not know what became of the (‘Digital Registration’) system .… that was introduced in 2011 with the assistance of the OAS (‘Organisation of American States’) and a Canadian company …. apparently that system was dismantled .… what we have in the electoral office …. a lot of secrecy .… the difficulty with the NDC taking action …. is that everything is a secret everything is hidden and if you take legal actions you have to go to the court with evidence …. so yes there are issues …. but one of the ways we will have to seriously address these issues of the electoral office is by commencing action in the court and the way we are going to be able to do that is by you the people out there …. who have the experiences coming to us and sharing those experiences with us and expressing a willingness to go on the record to file affidavit in the court …. that’s how you have to help us …. The NDC is all of us, so is not something the few of us who are at the forefront can do without your help ….”.
Has the executive or forefront of NDC giving courteous consideration to, and/or willing to capitalise on, the open counsels, challenges and critiques meant for the party, coming from different quarters of the people, with good faith “to help”?
Do “the people” really have to come with evidence or with experiences so that pertinent questions to be coordinated with Opposition Leader, Hon. Tobias Clement, can be tabled in the Parliament; and also so that democratic solidarity with the diplomatic attention of the OAS, for example, be sought?
Couldn’t an exploration into any secrecy about the PEO be initiated in the form of a constitutional motion by evoking section 101 of the 1974 Constitution, with respect to section 35? When would NDC’s executive embrace or give favour to the motivation for the “Public Forum For Coalition On Grenada’s Electoral System”, set on 3 February 2021?
If there is any devoted effort to save the remnant of democracy, then there must be exposure and closure on the apparent dismantled 2011 Canadian voter electronic system, as well as for the 2012 stolen computer systems; review the previously internet-circulated articles, “Patriotic Grenadians Assist In Suing The Supervisor Of Elections!”, “Forensic Inquiry Imperative About Grenada’s Computerised Voter Registration System” (two parts), and “Could Grenada’s Democracy Be Saved?”.
In fact, concerted endeavours must be aimed at following and raising all the issues in the electoral office, including covert amendments and devious directions for voting.
How could a political party which has been institutionalised in Grenada since the 1980s and been in government on two occasions, exhibit a hopeless attitude in attacking whatever are the serious issues existing at the PEO? How could such a party which has been enjoying almost half of the voting population and was expunged from the Parliament with the two latest consecutive general elections, not yet been able to grasp the machinations about the electoral system so as to exhibit a fighting chance at the next polls?
Specifically applicable to NDC, what have been learnt, including from professional commentaries, to engender a meaningful approach about facing the electoral system, since its total defeat at the 19 February 2013 elections? Moreover, weren’t the political disturbances of the 1970s rooted-in misdeeds and misgivings about the electoral system?
Is the NDC part of the secrecy alleged to be of the electoral office and so is itself a collaborator against the Grenadian people? Or, does NDC have secrecy of its own about the electoral office and so knows how to win at the polls? Why then are those NDC’s terrible pronouncements, and without any proactive steps to be taken on the problems, wouldn’t this position leave the supporters more disheartened and bewildered with many doubts?
What reassurance and impetus is the NDC giving the young people who are clamouring for a political change in government? Should there be any disappointment on the part of NDC with the results of the next elections, who and what would its executive continue to blame?
It must be noted that generally, gross loss as a result of ‘false hope and careless complacency and unheeded signs or lessons’ brings the most pain and parting.
Secrecy at the electoral office should not prevent the NDC to track and rebut where applicable the information placed in the public domain by the PEO, and thereby it would also be educating and arousing the people.
Case in point, what reinforcement does NDC extend to ‘singlehanded’ assaults on misinformation been dished-out, as referred in previous articles such as “Grenada’s Parliamentary Elections Office On The Voter Identification Card” and “Is Grenada’s Parliamentary Elections Office Conniving Or Forthright?”(Part One and Part Two)?
Does NDC know and agree with the Voter and Civic Registration Officer, about the ‘extraordinary’ appeal for Commonwealth citizens, which takes into account Caricom nationals, to be registered and the ‘extraordinary’ plan for persons to vote without a voter’s ID card, broadcasted in the 19 March 2021 prime news of WEE FM radio?
Moreover, it is of significance to recall some ‘radical references’ on NDC’s sad state about attention to the elections office, which unfortunately it seems that the party cannot rise above, quoting from related articles.
“The reality of the miserable thought on future elections becomes more evident with the apparent weakness, the inaction or the slowness on the part of the main opposing political party …. particularly on the issues relating to the PEO and the electoral process.
The NDC often boasts of being renewed, energised and ready to save Grenada’s democracy, institutions, livelihoods and patrimony, and contends that there should not be another round of voting before the electoral system is fixed; reference of its publications “NDC : Renewed and Energized To Take Grenada Forward!” and “NDC Heartbeat: Electoral Reform Before Another Referendum”.
However; it is comical and incomprehensible that the NDC is yet to present a list of pertinent queries and recommendations to the people for spurring public debates and agitations toward genuine electoral reform, at least on substantial amendments to the Representation of the People Act.”
Regrettably, the main opposition party, NDC, seems not to have a scientific view for winning, especially on understanding the content and consequences of the legal provisions for a general election, as well as the intricacies and intrigues of applying those provisions.
The NDC has not demonstrated any strong appreciation that the electoral system is the central gateway to government, or maybe, the case is that it is not serious about governing. Instead of initiating intense agitations for electoral reforms, the NDC tends to be blaming the NNP for rigging the elections, blaming the electorate for having no official opposition in the Parliament, blaming outside interferences such as the political consulting firm of Cambridge Analytica for losing at the last few polls, and blaming the civil society organisations for not speaking and taking action on such issues.
This blaming game can only be valid when all exhaustive efforts to guard the electoral mechanisms are frustrated and failed, NDC needs to assist and assert itself, as the past article “The Powerful Relevance Of NDC In Opposition” seeks to advise.”
“The enduring desire and pursuit by the people for justice, democracy, integrity and prosperity in Grenada, received a tremendous blow from utterances by the main opposition party …. on “To The Point” programme of the Grenada Broadcasting Network (GBN) on Tuesday, 18th February 2020 ….. about the feelings or the thoughts of the NDC as it relates to the process of the re-registration or the re-issuance of voter ID cards and the need for the reissuing of those cards;
“Is the NDC mindful of all the strategies which could be involved in the so-called Replacement process, and the political and legal ramifications? Does NDC has any interest in the veracity and rationale as to why the Canadian 3M company or its new owners, developer of the Voter Identification Card system, is not responsible anymore for the system, and in the nature and profile of the local AZITS software company now maintaining the system?”
Despite undergoing any organisational phase, even in terms of qualifying a leader, and recognising “everything is hidden” at the electoral office, there should not be any excuse for those in the frontline of NDC from marshalling the people “to seriously address” the issues at the PEO.
The ‘time and opportunity’ have been rushing-away and maybe is at the brink of no return. It would be very foolhardy for the NDC not to believe that every loss at the polls from now, especially in the manner as seems to be the norm in Grenada, means more and more riveting of the ruling party in government with ‘trending absolute power’; knowing clearing that constitutional lawsuits against elections’ offences and results are virtually ‘meaningless and useless’.
Anyhow; destiny we must accept!
J. K. Roberts