Grenada celebrates another important milestone and as we look toward the brightest of futures and commit ourselves to all that is possible for ourselves, our children and the generations to come, we must be mindful of our past.
Ours is a past beset by both triumph and tragedy, from our historic Fédon Rebellion, the struggle and eventual triumph over slavery and servitude, universal adult suffrage, striking out as a sovereign independent state in 1974, embarking on a revolutionary expedition in 1979, our first Olympic Medal in 2012, that still today ranks our country among the world’s top 10 in Gold Medal winnings per million persons, and so much more. We are a nation that has faced the wrath of three hurricanes in five decades and dared to ‘build back better’ each time, driven by little more than the enormous determination of our People and the grace and favour of the Almighty.
On this our Independence anniversary, as we honour a nation so small, but yet so mighty, we pay homage to our countrymen for the patriotism expressed in action and the sacrifices made every day which affirm our place as a proud and resilient nation. At this time of reflection and celebration, our march from independence to the genuine exercise of ‘sovereignty’ continues in the face of unprecedented global and regional challenges. As we enter our 48th year of independence, now more than ever, our future will be determined by our recommitment to those tried and tested age-old values that have made this nation strong and unbending in the face of seemingly insurmountable and daunting challenges. Ours, more so than many, has been a history of struggle but a lesson in hope.
The most recent difficulties visited by the COVID-19 pandemic have tested us just as they have tested our region and the world. Yet, even as many of our institutions have strained under the weight of these tests; even as we legitimately question some decision making and the balancing of interests, we cannot deny or ignore how the Grenadian spirit has risen up to meet the COVID-19 challenge. We have stood with our neighbours, shared in the fear and anxiety of this dreaded disease, the economic hardship, the sacrifice of a region, a country and a people ‘making do with less’. None can deny our shared grief for the loss of so many of our countrymen in the diaspora, who have fallen prey to this merciless COVID-19 pandemic. As we commemorate our independence as a people, we are reminded of our shared and common humanity; of our vulnerability but also of our strength.
Today, we celebrate that humanity and strength and claim them as values that make us uniquely, Grenadian. As we march toward the 48th year of Independence, we are encouraged in the midst of this pandemic, to pause and give meaningful thought to what we want the Grenada of the future ‘to look like’ and ‘to be like’. What will be our future path in areas such as education, health care, economic development and sustainability, the care and protection of our environment, human rights, national security, the growth of industry, the growth of arts and culture, the nurturing and development of our children and our youth? As an independent nation we must ensure that our Country’s development leaves no one behind; all must be embraced–from the smallest child in Marquis, Saint Andrew to the fearless grandmother in Coast Guard Saint Mark, to the single mother in Gouyave Estate, to the leader of industry and finance in the most affluent neighbourhoods of Saint George’s.
At the crucible of our 48thyear, Grenada requires all hands on deck to guarantee the future we desire and deserve. That future will only look kindly upon those who invest, toil and even where necessary, sacrifice, now and by so doing, make the road ahead easier for those who will inherit this beautiful land. Pride in our Nation is not in short supply. Nowhere in the world is there in existence, a people who love their land more than we do. But the short history of our resilient nation has demonstrated that ‘nation building’ requires more of each of us than a sense of deep pride –more than paying homage to our flag.
Love for a country must move beyond flag waving. It must be evident in what we do and the choices we make. Those choices require that we focus our attention, together, as one people, on, among other things, building industries, protecting our environment, educating our people, creating food security by truly committing to the support of agriculture, and increasing exports and properly utilising the opportunities which the technological revolution has made possible. There is much work to be done. Every Grenadian has a role to play and it is by unifying our efforts that we will be successful in securing our Nation’s future and in making Grenada a place of opportunity for all. As we celebrate 47 years of raising our own flag, let the colours that cause our chests to rise with pride, offer a renewed sense of purpose, a renewed will to fight for our beautiful country and for the benefit of every single Grenadian.
The Grenada Movement and I, as Chairman, commit fully to this endeavour. We stand with all Grenadians, offering everything we have and everything we are.
Dr Patrick Antoine, Chairman