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A Pharaoh in our Promised Land

We thought we had left him on the banks of the River Nile six centuries ago while we crossed the Atlantic to our Promised Land! But he bought a passport, flapped his golden wings, and landed in this spice- rich place God gave us to occupy and be glad, after centuries of slavery.

‘Soon as he reach’, he secured as many conscripts as Parliament could hold; gentle folks willing to handover the Grenadian sheep to anyone who declared himself to be a shepherd. They then got ‘nice’ drinking the finest wines! What else would explain the rapturous applause and the heedless consumption of a menu of national insults and derision?

When I saw that, I remembered the ones who sold our fore-parents to the Europeans six hundred years ago. Those sellers looked exactly like me!

Today, a pharaoh is entrenching himself, applying US dollars and a strange smile. Look at the encirclement of the Grenadian economy that is rapidly unfolding before our eyes.  The pattern says:

‘I can buy or build anything. I am powerful and indispensable. I have taken over the GTA and put a little fella there to front for me. I then throw in a sweetener to trick and trap the locals with free scholarships at Cornell University. When I announced that they jump up and praise me to the heavens. Then I had a private talk with the PM (months ago) about my interest in GRENLEC and the MBIA. When I get that I will be in full control of Grenada. Heavy Manners for those who will not smile!’

The thing getting hot! Ah man say he hear the pharaoh talking in his sleep saying: “You see how much fun I having with Keith? Before I came to Grenada, Kozeny told me about him so ah know he like gold dust; and Resteiner send me a WhatsApp from a US prison telling me that Keith don’t want nobody collect for him! Then de Savary whispered a few things in my ear. So ah get the picture clear as daylight!

“As soon as ah settle in, ah join forces with all dem passport sellers with ‘deep ties’ in the ‘deep Cabinet’ and jus’ so things fix! When ah tell Keith gee meh the airport he eyes close and he hands open, not saying a word! No horrors, we tight! So ah just say, got ya, ah go make the announcement! When ah bowl the airport ball, ah take out Peta middle stump but ah din ha to worry about Chesta. Poor fellas, since Keith conscript dem dey doh talk about principle or ideology or identity”!!!!

Frankly, another era of Egyptian slavery was never in my ageing mind. But look carefully at how the pharaoh is being facilitated: Episode One, Camerhogne Park for new hotel; eventually he said he would not build there against the wishes of the people. Keith remained silent! Episode Two, Maurice Bishop International Airport; he said he wants to ‘have’ it. Keith remains silent!

So, who did we elect? Who must account to us? Why does he think we blind and stupid? You are happy to ‘testify’ that you are leader, but playing smart with a ‘strategy of silence’, eh? Good thing the applause did not spread beyond the handful of wine- drinking guests! Very soon he will come on TV with a twisted ‘song n dance’ about efficiency, investment, and profitability, and insist, with unflinching pretension, that there must be a process of consultation with the people as long as he is Prime Minister. Oh boy! Thirty-six years of tricks and traps! And cash!

But this matter can be settled very easily. Just give the pharaoh piece of land in Beausejour to build an airport for his exclusive use. Let him invent or pay for a way to escape international security arrangements. Pass a law to allow him to do away with Immigration and Customs. And enable him to sign a ‘treaty’ with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) so that his private jets could fly without air traffic controllers (who do not smile on the job)!

After fifty years of Independence, Grenada has become a place where the desperation of its leaders causes them to condone disrespectful and blatant ridicule of its citizens. Our foremost heritage asset, the MBIA, is under threat! A fretful pharaoh wants us to smile and smile because we hunger and thirst! Nonsense! Let him fill his winery with smiles on the banks of the River Nile!

William Joseph, The Patriotic Vine


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