The New Today

Letters

The loss of Grenada’s post-independence opportunity

As a lad growing up on the Lance in Gouyave, when Grenada was still a colony in the 1930’s, 40’s and up to 1952 when I left Grenada for Curacao, I can recall living in a country, although poor – but could be regarded as having an idealistic social environment, where one was his brother’s keeper in a land of peace and Christian fortitude.

Not only was there a congenial social environment, but the political and administrative structure of the British colonisers were such, that Grenada was at a leadership level in the governance of the Windward Islands – comprising of St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Vincent and Dominica. Grenada, therefore was the permanent residence and administrative headquarters of the Governor and Chief Justice of the Windward Islands.

After the demise of the West Indian Federation in 1962, which was scuttled by Prime Ministers Norman Manley of Jamaica and Eric Williams of Trinidad & Tobago when the cry for political independence in the early sixties and 1970’s among the smaller islands intensified – with the call from Marryshow to educate, demonstrate and agitate – Grenada became the first of the eight (8) English speaking mini states to become self-governing on February 7th, 1974.

Since independence in 1974, Grenada has been governed by three (3) political parties. The first by the defunct Grenada United Labour Party (GULP) under Eric Gairy, then the National Democratic Congress (NDC) under Nicholas Brathwaite and Tillman Thomas and the current New National Party (NNP) formally under Herbert Blaize, “succeeded” by Keith Mitchell.

On February 7th, 2022 Grenada will celebrate its 48th year as a sovereign nation. Over this period of time the NNP has governed for about thirty (30) years, most of which by Keith Mitchell as Minister; and Prime Minister for about half that time.

The question that WE THE PEOPLE must now ask: “has Grenada made any significant progress especially under the governance of the current Prime Minister”? Or has Grenada squandered its post-independence opportunities in the celebration of mediocracy and victimisation, in what is perceived to be a corrupt government, in the making of secret deals – inimical to the common good and the unsustainability of our rising national debt, while hijacking our democratic institutions like the Public Service Commission and the Electoral System.

The supporters of the NNP would perhaps associate progress by the concrete and steel projects which our new coloniser has facilitated, in the construction of the National Stadium and a few low income housing projects, and the boast by the government of the Citizen By Investment (CBI) bonanza, which appears to benefit only foreign investors in constructing five (5) star hotels, to provide a few low paying jobs to construction workers and to maids and cleaners in the running the facility after completion.

After this long period of governance by the NNP, where are the permanent jobs – providing living wages to the workers of Grenada, accompanied by a dependable HEALTH CARE SYSTEM and the upgrading of our human capital?

All of the above are taking place without any challenge by the opposition – as Grenadians on a whole are becoming poorer and poorer while a few NNP operatives are becoming richer and richer.

It was Dr. Patrick Antoine – himself, who lamented the fact, in his inaugural address – when he launched The Grenada Movement (TGM) party in late 2021 that Grenadian are afraid to criticise the government and policymakers who they elected to represent them (Words to that effect).

This grave indictment from a former adviser to the Prime Minister – is a wake up call to action by the opposition parties, that something is amiss in the structure of the house, and that its foundation would collapse as it can no longer sustain the weight of institutional corruption.

Like the rest of the world, Grenada is at the beginning of the 3rd decade of the 21st century. The egocentric NNP politics of the 20th century must be put behind us, and calls for a new vision, philosophy and above all the integrity of our political representatives.

These are the qualities that are now required and must be the criteria in the selection of those who wish to serve the nation in the upcoming general election in 2023, if Grenada is “to aspire, build and grow” into “a people in more than name”.

The ball is in the court of WE THE PEOPLE, to initiate the change needed in order to replace the current outmoded and corrupt status quo for a just, equitable and prosperous society (Paradise regained).

Norris Mitchell