“The Lord gives seed to the sower”. In the First Letter, we addressed the sower, i.e, the leader. This Second Letter deals with the seed, that is, the Vision. This is the second layer of dress for the occasion.
In my book, ‘Fruitful Days’, read, “It is a painful diminution of our Grenadian civilization that we have been led into becoming a desperate people even though we are well able to do better”. Notice that there is both an indictment and a prospect. There is hardly a Grenadian who would be happy for the next fifty years of Independence to be like the first fifty years. Our Independence project called for two pillars of nationhood: namely, development and leadership. The record shows that we have under- achieved on both counts. Therefore, a change of model (thinking, attitudes, priorities, beliefs, relationships) is justified. We need to define and practice ‘New Age Politics’ for building ‘The New Future’ for the Grenadian people.
It is important to be clear regarding what is in our rear-view mirror, remembering that its purpose is to keep us safe. The picture shows political violence (Mongoose Gang and PRA), retribution politics, intolerance of divergent views, ruthless ambition, partisan gluttony on the spoils of electoral victory, mistreatment of citizens, party manifestos saturated with promises, disrespect for the courts, corruption and corrupt recklessness, conflicts, instability, mal-administration, and more. Not a proud or inspiring image!
Failure to shift gears; refusal to tear- up the robes of corrupt selfishness; indifference regarding the things of God; and co-habiting with thorns, tricks, and traps, will guarantee weeping times. Perpetuating the system will enlarge poverty, worsen division, and enthrone a tin god as ruler!
‘New Age Politics’ is about relationships and processes through which to realize the Vision for Grenada over the next fifty years. What shall ‘The New Future’ be? In whom should the nation put its trust? How should the youth be prepared for leadership? When will we tear- up our fallow grounds and plant new seeds of prosperity? Hopefully, the NDC will carry this Vision and to lead big change on behalf of the Grenadian people.
Being letdown for fifty years the people need to be encouraged to think fresh thoughts and to build new relationships in communities. NDC is called out to come to the people with a development agenda framed around meaningful national goals and urgent priorities. Bringing governance closer to the people; promoting responsibility, trust, and credible empowerment are critically important, as are addressing the state of the Grenadian society, leader and leadership, youth, culture and heritage, and investment. Focus on enlarging rights not favours!
These are some core elements for a constructive ‘Campaign of Conversations for Consensus’. While programs are important, people are not voting on promises and glossy manifestos! The days of mega promises, including the promise to buy my grandmother lunch every day, are over! Fiscal collapse starts right there!
Listen up, it is time to shift the thinking so that as between government and people there is a contract for the facilitation of benefits and the enjoyment of health, education, and work. Importantly, ‘New Age Politics’ does not glorify the political party but magnifies the people’s role in national development. The opportunity exists for NDC to seize the moment, to show that it understands the times, and to make a qualitative difference.
There are three sources for shaping and giving substance to ‘The New Future’ while guiding the practice of ‘New Age Politics’. First and foremost is the Bible! Spend time with the Word! It is filled with truth, directions, teachings, values, injunctions, chastisements, rewards, and seeds for every human need and secular enterprise. Unless God covers the people, opposing forces will own them and lead them into pits of division, drought, and poverty. That is the habitat of the hopeless and is not the future and the hope that God promised His people.
Second, is the National Anthem with its powerful array of lyrics covering spirituality, leadership, unity, family, work, culture and heritage, purpose. The NDC should align itself with these mandates in an honest conversation with the people and apply them consistently to “build and advance” and to establish Grenadians “as one people”.
Third, is the Constitution which needs to be reassessed and re-tooled if it must serve the people better for the next fifty years. The dominant challenge is to establish the Constitution beyond being the Supreme Law so that it mandates a binding framework for development.
Constitution Reform is not a project for lawyers, but for the society.
There is much that is good and valuable in the existing Constitution. One such positive is the duty imposed on Parliament to make laws for the “peace, order and good government of Grenada”. NDC could advocate changes to constituting the Parliament such that it is no longer the exclusive preserve of politicians. Changes to the composition of the Cabinet and introducing sanctions for disobedience and abuse will be highly beneficial. A Prime Minister having over twenty lawful powers resembles the authority of a Monarch and should not be preserved in a new contract with the people.
Beyond these examples, NDC must break new ground in making “good government” a central theme, presenting on its meaning and benefits. Commitment to public education on the Constitution so that it becomes a living asset in every Grenadian family is vital. The language must be simplified to aid popular understanding and to minimize the need for interpretation by the courts.
A new Vision is needed to focus Grenada for the next fifty years. ‘New Age Politics’ is needed to action the Vision and to establish a new relationship between government and citizen. Critical to this departure is clarity of purpose enabling the Grenadian society to breathe and to be empowered. Step away from the familiar battleground! The opportunity is available for a huge, positive shift in what is planted and the quality of the resulting harvest.
NDC, can you differentiate yourself? Can you get to this place of hope by doing something exceptional to win the additional twenty thousand votes you need for victory?
Thus, sayest the Lord, go into the mountain and bring down timber and build the temple. (Haggai) Amen.
William Brian Joseph, The Patriotic Vine.