New Opposition Senator, Matthew Joseph, has promised to bring objectivity, value and colour to the debate in the Upper House.
After he was welcomed to the Senate by President Chester Humphrey, who expressed that he looks forward to his contributions, Joseph in his maiden speech on Wednesday said, “I do hope I will add value and colour to our debate. My life as teacher has been on objectivity, it is my view that right should be supported and wrong condemned…we are not here to play politics but to service.”
The new senator, who hails from Florida in Saint John, received his credentials from the Governor General last Friday (Jan 22).
He is a retired educator for the past six years prior to serving as a primary school teacher for over 30 years.
Joseph, who said he has a passion for farming, is also involved in music, sports, GRENCODA, scholarship programmes and is a director of the Grenada Co-operative Nutmeg Association (GCNA).
He told the media last week that he chose to enter politics for the sole purpose of serving, noting that he has the full support of his immediate family and relatives “because they know what I stand for, what I stand for is making the world a better place.”
He added, “I don’t want to be seen only as an Opposition Senator, I want to be seen as a senator to do a service to the nation….”
Elaborating on the reason for accepting his new role, Matthew said, “We are losing it as a country, we have sensible people in the parliament but we need to rebalance sense…this is what motivated me to take the position. If we are not careful, we will go to hell in a hand basket, its not too late to retract the trajectory we are on. I think I can make a big difference.”
He said the confidence his supporters have in him, is his motivation. Thus, the onus is on him to not fail anyone and so he will in turn not fail the country and his service would not be a disservice but “it will be a service of quality and class.”
Joseph said his areas of strength are education and agriculture. He pointed out that the education system seems to be disconnected from the realities such as the job market. He called for it to be examined to determine the appropriate intervention.
Noting that agriculture is dying, he said that there is a projection that in the next 10 years the people in agriculture will be reduced by 30%. Therefore, Joseph stressed that COVID-19 reminded all of the importance of food security.
Stating that he has observed that respect is lacking in Grenada at all levels, Joseph said, “I am here to serve the nation…I cannot change the world, I cannot change Grenada but I can brighten a corner…the confidence was placed in me and I would not let the nation down. I will not disappoint.”
On the issue of respect during his maiden speech, Joseph called out to Prime Minister Dr the Right Hon Keith Mitchell referencing some of his utterances in the past, which he deemed “unpresidential non-prime ministerial.”
He noted that there is a political deficit that needs to be addressed and accused the government of being “penny wise and pound foolish” on its action taken on national issues such as the new Imani programme, GRENLEC, poverty and the education system.
Opposition Leader Tobias Clement in a recent media briefing shared that he was meticulous and deliberate in selecting his three senators. He said Mr Joseph has Grenada’s development at heart and its people. “He is a very civic minded person. I do believe he will make a good addition to the team of senators. I do believe in his discourse he will be very objective and he will do well for the State of Grenada,” Clement said.
Mathew joins opposition senators Tessa St Cyr and Terry Noel.