Any analysis of the St. Lucia’s National Elections which fails to factor in the simple but noteworthy fact that an incumbent has not tasted success at the polls since the early part of the 21st century, cannot be considered with any degree of seriousness.
Simply put, St. Lucians do not vote in Governments – they vote out Governments. If anything, this should have been our biggest take away from the St. Lucia election experience. Sadly, this is just not how we roll in this Carn-tree.
In one of Calistra Farrier’s Narrative Programs, which sought to predict the results of the St. Lucia election, the two guests on the program, journalists by training, amazingly remarked that one of the main issues which in all probability will sway the voting public was the Government’s inability to rebuild St. Jude’s Hospital in the South of the island, a project which they had committed to giving priority during their five year tenure. Alas, the difference between the St. Lucian and Grenadian electorate could not be more profound.
In St. Lucia, it is the incumbent that is placed under the microscope and is made to undergo the painstaking scrutiny of the Masses. In Grenada it’s the other way around. The incumbent is easily given a bligh while the opposition forces are carefully examined and everything that they do and say or do not do and say is meticulously dissected to look for any loopholes.
The NDC’s mistakes of twelve years ago are hung as a millstone around the party’s neck and hashed and rehashed, while the incumbent’s present and ever rising atrocities are simply shrugged away.
Imagine in St. Lucia, the non-construction of a hospital is deemed as a huge factor in determining a Government’s fate at the polls. It stands to reason that if the NNP had to face the St. Lucian electorate, any one of the following would have certainly spelt its electoral doom.
(1). The grand announcement on the eve of the election that oil was found and that the country would start to boom. Remember that voting the NNP into power was necessary so that Nazim would not get his hands on the oil. After the election, oil became the most difficult word for an NNP Minister to pronounce. In fact, the only oil we have seen since is on the bodies of the defiant Jab Jab players on weekends and “Cancelled Carnival Monday and Tuesday”.
(2). The MOU signed with the Trade Unions committing to restore pension and gratuity. Then before they had taken their oaths of office they showed that the MOU was not worth the paper it was written on. What is disconcerting is that NDCites have given the Government a pass on this one and have instead laid all the blame at the feet of the Trade Union leaders.
By ensuring that they received a written commitment and not just a promissory note of ‘mouth open and words jump out’, the Unions did the correct thing. It is the Government’s hands and feet which must be held to the fire for going back on its signed commitment. It is safe to say that this is exactly what the St. Lucian electorate would have done. But we in Grenada look for the easy target and in this case it’s the Trade Union leaders. This is tantamount to us blaming Jesus because Judas Iscariot betrayed him while exonerating Iscariot of all responsibilities.
(3). The declaration that the buying back of Grenlec would translate immediately into lower electricity bills for Grenadians. Instead our ‘light bills’ have been increasing at a speed which could match the spread of the new Covid-19 Delta variant.
(4). The deplorable and horrendous state of our nation’s roads. Even the Ministers of government were forced to admit that the roads are bad, they are bad, bad, bad, bad, oh Gorm the roads bad! It is fair to say that this is the furthest south our roads have reached, maybe in the history of Grenada.
(5). The disgraceful and appalling state of our health care. As a matter of fact the St. Lucian electorate would have voted out the NNP since the last election because they campaigned on better health care in 2013 and marched up and down on All Fool’s Day berating the state of our health system during the stint of the NDC. In St. Lucia you cannot do that.
(6). The unspeakable missteps made by the Minister of Education and the way in which she has converted the Ministry of Education into a little mad house in which anything goes, nothing is surprising and decisions appear to be made to feed the Minister’s inflated ego and to settle vendettas rather than in the best interest of the education system. It is fair to say that this is the lowest depths that our education system has declined into and considering how low it was when this present Minister took over, no one would have guessed that there was so much acreage below for it to descend into.
I can go on and on because the atrocities of this Government are almost infinite, but these handful will suffice.
These are the lessons that the Lucians are teaching us. That we have to hold our Government accountable. That the foolish notion of if not them then who, should be dispelled immediately along with the idea that God only made one person with the capability to govern Grenada. That while, it is important for the opposition to articulate its plan and say what it is going to do, it is much more significant for the Government to be judged by the checklist of promises that it kept or failed to keep.
Next election cycle, the NNP must not be able to bring us back up to Pearls and declare that it will decriminalise marijuana and supporters simply jump up, scream out YAEEEE and that’s that; oil is forgotten, pension is forgotten and higher electricity bills forgiven. This is the lesson that the St. Lucia election is teaching us. Would we learn it? That is the big question.