Those of us who are close observers of Grenadian politics are sensing that the 2022 general elections campaign is one with a difference.
Some analysts are focusing on the numbers and are arguing that the outcome of the 2022 general elections will be similar to 2013 and 2018. While I will not attempt to predict, the mood in the country resembles 2003 and 2008.
In 2008 what were the conditions that prevailed?
(1). Discontent with the NNP administration among several sectors: teachers, civil servants, police officers, civil society and sections of the media. In 2008 the NNP administration fell short in terms of its human relations and was unable to inspire trust among the majority of Grenadians.
(2). NNP’s focus on infrastructural development without sufficient attention paid to good governance and human and social development was a major critique.
(3). The country was very divided and one civil society activist referred to a ‘Politics of hate’ that had engulfed Grenada.
(4). The NNP was accused then of clientism that focused on satisfying the interests of individual party supporters without paying sufficient attention to public goods (such as health care and environmental sustainability) that can benefit the collective society.
In 2008 the NNP maintained its base, amassing 47.7% of the popular votes, similar to what it obtained in 2003. The NDC obtained 51% of the popular votes; a slight increase over the 45.3% it amassed in 2003. It can be assumed that in 2008 the NDC benefitted from independent voters.
Why was that so?
In 2003/2008 the NDC had infused new blood into its heart. This, coupled with NNP discontent, led to the 2008 victory for the NDC.
The conditions in 2022 are quite similar to 2008.
The questions are:
(1). How will new voters vote?
(2). Now that NNP “baby boomers” have grown up, to what extent will the grown children of NNP households maintain loyalty to the party?
(3). Will the approximately 20,000 registered voters who did not vote in 2018 cast their votes, and if they do, which party will they support and which constituencies would gain?
(4). To what extent will the Dickon Mitchell factor impact the outcome of the election? Will his Pro-Grenada transformational message, non-confrontational style, and inspirational leadership convince the independent voter to vote for the NDC? Will he be viewed by the majority of the electorate as representing a generational shift to take Grenada forward? Will independents view him as a breadth of fresh air to promote the healing and reconciliation for which Grenada longs?
(5). What will be the verdict on the incumbent? Will the majority endorse his legacy? Will the majority give him the “one for the road” he has requested? Will the majority reward him for being tried and tested with “safer hands” in these difficult moments or will the majority determine that his hands are tired and that he has run out of fresh ideas for new times?
Despite the outcome of the June 23rd general elections, this campaign has introduced a new kind of politics to Grenada. The Town Hall meetings have been refreshing. As Grenada approaches the 50th anniversary of independence, will a new kind of politics emerge for new times? Time will tell.
The Miracle Man