The Grenada Movement (TGM), under the ‘leading founder’ and Chairperson of Grenadian Economist Dr Patrick Antoine, was launched on October 07, 2020 as “an NGO (‘Non-Governmental Organisation’) committed to collaborating, building and promoting Grenada’s tomorrow … a forum for the discussion of the issues which plague our tri-island with a view at arriving at consensus and solutions designed to improve the lives of all Grenadians” within stated Vision and Principles (http://www.thegrenadamovement.org/index.html). Antoine has not been shying-away about “TGM is going to be driven by the will of the Grenadian people in becoming a political party”. He is adamant and animated, by referring to past political ventures, that there is room for a third force in our democracy … which the country yearns for presently, during the April 06, 2021 “To The Point” programme of the Grenada Broadcasting Network; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bbZjvXqd0Q&t=186s.
Whilst there seems to be an eagerness, urgency and signal on the part of TGM for State power in less than a year, the wide population particularly the grassroots and those praying for a patriotic change-agent, has not seen nor felt any impact or any accomplishment of TGM, except for intellectual oratories and political pandering. Has TGM established, at least the “forum for the discussion of the issues which plague our tri-island”? Should it be arguable that TGM is well positioned with the capacity, resources and expertise, and maybe having the Diaspora’s and institutional inputs to raise civil consciousness, via People Parliament and Open University on national issues? TGM is definitely challenged to set the stage for a valid understanding of Grenada’s yesterday in any meaningful pursuit of Grenada’s tomorrow with improved lives. A study of events, mistakes and outcomes is critical; realizing that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (Writer George Santayana) and “in this bright future you can’t forget your past.” (Singer Bob Marley).
Who and what contributed to the plague, or the crisis, in Grenada; and has all of the troubling factors identified? What and where are the “consensus and solutions” arrived at, so that Grenadians can thrust TGM for their representation in national governance, soonest? Recall the previously internet-circulated article, “Could Grenada’s Democracy Be Saved?” which brings into focus the need to question the moral authority, genuine intent and character profile of individuals who are keen with a new vision on political leadership. What should be benefited from the two extreme regime-scenarios? In 1950/1951 Social Revolutionary Eric Gairy championed for adult suffrage and the working class via his Grenada Maritime Manual and Intellectual Workers Union and its spouted Grenada United Labour Party, but then evolved into marks of dictatorship by 1972/1973.However; slain Military Revolutionary Maurice Bishop and his self-destruct New Jewel Movement government in 1983 were destined or were expected, since power was conceived with deceptive, subversive and selfish intent in 1972.
Undeniably TGM is the temperament, reputation and embodiment of Dr Antoine who has been embedded in, or engaged with, the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Dr Keith Mitchell for many years. In fact; TGM’s marketing, delivery and proceedings seem to be monopolized by him. Antoine also as a renowned ‘international trade negotiator’ must have been strategic with any deceits and defects in pertinent frameworks, with political expediency but at gross detriments to the nation. He brings to TGM tremendous institutional data and links on policies and dealings of government and so is challenged to be transparent and accountable, as well as to present fair corrective measures, to the people on the varied structural adjustment programmes, national development drives, fiscal arrangements, institutional obligations and diplomatic partnerships of Grenada.
Like all runaways from NNP, Antoine needs to be forthright, if he is to be proven truly converted from Mitchell’s philosophies, approaches and intrigues. Appropriately for going forward, “Let us examine a few pertinent issues and pose some truth-pursuing questions”, as per political analyst William Joseph in his The Patriotic Vine article, “Come, TGM, Let Us Reason Together” (https://www.thenewtodaygrenada.com/commentary/the-patriotic-vine-come-tgm-let-us-reason-together/). This reasonable desire must not be seen as premature with ill-will, and “to be a calculated attempt to disembowel TGM in its infancy”; in view of reader Michael St. James reaction-article to Joseph, “Let’s Get Some Things Clear” (http://thegrenadianvoice.com/lets-get-some-things-clear/).
Antoine has been displayed as the architect of the New Economy for Grenada, articulated in the “WE WILL DELIVER” manifesto and podium of NNP during the 2013 general elections, to propel Mitchell back into power. Heavily intrinsic in the New Economy include issues on Tourism and Hospitality, Renewable and Green Energy, Blue Growth, Constitutional Reform, and Financial and Technological Services. Wasn’t Antoine also very integral and instrumental in declaring and executing this National Agenda For Recovery, Growth and Transformation of Grenada with prosperity for the people, as also reflected in the National Sustainable Development Plan 2035?
Antoine should readily disclose about the Citizenship By Investment (CBI) programme and the National Transformation Fund (NFT), which the general public deeply craves and deserves. He should be able to elaborate on the commitments signed by the Government with the international community for grants and loans, like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to give support for transformational activities. The fumbling by the Prime Minister to questions on the CBI / NFT, particularly for use as a viable avenue to settle the increase of salary to public officers, needs perspective and veracity which Antoine may be able to give; also recall the previous circulated article, “Grenada’s Citizenship By Investment And Constitutional Corruption”. He following the pattern of resigned Board Chairman for the CBI, Private Sector Senator Christopher De Allie, by claiming “I remain fully confident in the integrity of (and enthused about) Grenada’s CBI Programme”, would be even appreciated; https://www.thenewtodaygrenada.com/press-releases/chris-de-allie-speaks-on-cbi-resignation/!
Antoine should also be able to shed light on the profile and projects of CBI’s investors, including the Billionaire hotelier who wishes that the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) be privatized. Is it asking too much of Antoine, who has being boasting that Grenada has invested in him and he is a Grenadian to the bone, to probe about and defend the nation’s patrimony and sovereignty? Is Antoine of the view that TGM’s Statement on the lobbying for the Privatisation of MBIA would appease the people and register its relevance? Should it be said that Antoine is of a pretense, if he holds that he is not privy to any motive for the deceitful constitutional referendum bills of 2016, particularly with reference to the Constitution of Grenada (Name of State) (Amendment) Bill, 2016? How does the nature, background and ambition of Sawiris match-up with the Government’s effort to redefine the territory and jurisdiction of Grenada, with its constituent dependencies?
Why has Dr Antoine with TGM publicly not addressing the terms of the IMF and the World Bank pertaining to Grenada, and is not responding on pertinent reports such as by the Fiscal Responsibility Oversight Committee (FROC)? Does he feel that he does not owe Grenada so much, or that he does not want to delve so much on perceptions of corruption with the finances of the State? Should the Grenadian people continue to be ignorant, in text and context, about “ … Such financing and substantial receipts under the Citizenship-by Investment (CBI) program have put into sharper relief the need to enhance efficiency of asset management, comprehensive reporting, and the capacity for asset/liability operations. …”; as identified in the July 2019 IMF Country Report No. 19/192 Grenada Article 1V Consultation (file:///C:/Users/User/Downloads/1GRDEA2019001.pdf.)? Equally so; concerning the recommendation of the FROC in its latest report in 2019 for “quicken apace efforts to develop more accurate, timely, and comprehensive fiscal and debt statistics as well as development indicators.” (https://www.finance.gd/docs/FROC%202019%20Annual%20Report.pdf).
TGM must be welcomed as an invaluable addition to the fleet of NGOs in Grenada; and it may eventually radiate regional influence. In recognition of its brand-niche for public policy however; to what extent has TGM already reached-out to other civil society organizations and stakeholders, as well as the Leader of the Opposition, in order to analyse the decisions of the Government and to pressure the Government on its policy-directions, also including toward the democratic institutions and structures? Should the Grenadian people have to wait for when TGM has bloomed into a political party, to see any ‘alternative policies and approaches’ to those of NNP?
By J K Roberts, Sound Public Policies Advocate