It would be extremely unfortunate but the signal should be clearly recognized, when anyone especially a ‘highly-regarded and professional activist’ tends to wonder if, or to ascribe that, we ‘Grenadians’ are a “very confused people … we like so much melee that we doh even know when to embrace something and when not to … we are that backward we cannot understand issues … “. Those segments of the guesses, publicly raised in the wide-spectrum of the modern-media, may be discounted as a seemingly uncontrolled emotion of anxiety and disappointment concerning the pointed queries by the people toward the floating of the plan by The Grenada Movement (TGM) for its transition from a ‘public policy’ Non-Governmental Organisation to a ‘people driven’ political party; TGM is far from one year of its existence and without any manifestation of significant presence.
A position of defence, in the manner of the ‘excited outburst’ for TGM, coming from any member, supporter, or potential member does not help the people to accept that the principle and approach by TGM “to building a party is the correct one”; neither does it help to advance the cause and effort of TGM. More evident is the issuing of insults to and disparagements of those who are genuinely seeking to contribute toward transforming the political landscape of Grenada. Then shouldn’t the grassroots and disadvantaged ponder on how they would fare under TGM? Do information-processing, independent critical thinking, and decision-making reside in, or confine to, the intelligentsia, affluent and officials; and having the other socio-economic status blindly following?
Even if conceding that the principle and approach of TGM is novel and noble; should this be considered in isolation from the associated persons and the operating environment? Despite Grenada is a young democracy, the nation cannot continue to be comfortable and be fooled in making reckless mistakes, in suffering criminal abuses and in ascending negatively as “isle of conflict”. It could be construed reasonably that there is a deliberate ploy to disguise ‘old-baggage’ persons and ‘old fashion’ policies with ‘merit articulated’ principles and approaches. Consequently this is why there ought to be also the concerns and debates about the messenger of a message; and to conclude rightly that, ‘indeed unapologetically’, anything induced to the contrary is hogwash and of dishonesty, backwardness and melee. Outside of the moral aspect for objective considerations on the track-records of persons wishing and vying for public offices, are constitutional dimension and biblical reference; and to dodge these ‘sound standards’ would be very telling about the real character and motive of such persons.
The Grenada 1974 constitution does not directly make provisions for a political party but for a person with pertinent qualifications for membership of the House of Representatives (section 30). In fact; the qualifications for and responsibilities of parliamentarians, as well as provisions for reprimanding and criminally punishing them in the interest of the prosperity of the people, are grossly lacking, and thus this necessitates imperatively radical and meaningful reforms of the constitution. Any new party coming in the mix without having this ‘principal policy foundation for governance’ as priority in its campaign must be rejected forthrightly and vigorously. Haven’t clarion calls and in-depth work already advanced on this issue; including official reviews, professional drafts and sample referenda? Are those calls on the constitution and on related issues such as corruption, also about the will of the people and form a part of the consensus and solutions in the development agenda of TGM?
The Holy Bible often has been used selectively, conveniently and selfishly, without its substantial ‘spiritual’ applications. In fact; unscrupulous persons gain mileage and leverage by quoting scripture and aligning with a religious denomination, since Grenada is said to be a Christian society. Particularly; for anyone to rely on merely the testimony of a person seeking ‘forgiveness and embracing’, then he / she would be very narrow in reasoning, naive and self-defeating. Both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible are filled with stories of skepticism about the conversions of souls, based on their track-records; which is the natural trait and behavior of mankind. Recall that despite receiving transformation, vision and mission by the Almighty Creator God, Israel once called Jacob was afraid to meet his twin brother Esau, whom he had deceived and robbed (Genesis chapters 25 – 33). Most typical is about assassin Saul to evangelist Paul; note here at least three incidences of distrust. “…Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: (Acts 9:13)”; “… Is not this he that destroyed them … and came hither for that intent …? (Acts 9:21)”; and “… they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. (Acts 9:26)”. Trust is built !
TGM is chaired by the established and experienced, Dr. Patrick Antoine, and any political derivative would also strongly reflect his anchoring, attributes and aspiration. Antoine is not a new ‘innocent’ kid on the block in the political arena; neither is he a total ‘unconnected’ outsider to the political system. However even though he is new and unique, why shouldn’t Antoine as the ‘brain and messenger’ of TGM be interrogated so that the Grenadian people can be convinced that he and his team are up-to-the-task to represent ‘We The People’ truly “without fear or favour, affection or ill-will” and to “honour, uphold and preserve the Constitution of Grenada”? Is it wise to put new wine in old bottles (Matthew 9 : 16-17)? Is it wise to continue in a state of insanity and calamity by doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results (Albert Einstein)? Isn’t it a genuine worry about Grenada has no constitutional provision to recall parliamentarians, and that the electoral machinery does not provide for a political ombudsman? Shouldn’t encouragement be extended for public scrutiny of persons aiming for political power; even by patterning the pertinent role of the Senate in the United States of America to hear, confirm and / or to advise on nominations for key government’s executive positions?
Being ready to resolve any ignorance and backwardness about ‘We Grenadians’ “cannot understand issues”, it is crucial also that Dr. Antoine and his advocates of TGM genuinely assist in the necessary enlightenment and education process. At least; the people must know that furthermore to his attitude and acumen, the forte of Antoine as an Economist and his international interests, affiliations and exposures would affect his devotion as a Prime Minister of Grenada. Particularly; the working class or ordinary people, which also includes the small businessmen and contractors, farmers and fishermen and the domestic and commercial workers, must be made to understand the extent of any role and relationship that Antoine played in the growth, or the struggle or the detriment of the trade union movement. What has been his reaction on the “Call to Action” protest by the Trades’ Union Council against the harsh imposition by Dr. Keith Mitchell’s New National Party (NNP) government, of the “unjust” National Reconstruction Levy, claimed due to hurricanes Ivan 2004 and Emily 2005?
Dr. Antoine has being boasting about the “quality of discussions and engagements and … the kind of plans …” that TGM had already achieved. Pertinently; it would be very useful and reassuring for the working class and the unemployed youth, who are trending toward abject poverty due to the tough socio-economic and industrial climate, to know that TGM is an active partaker in the announced move by the Grenada Employers’ Federation to review the Labour Code, and to report. It is equally so for agricultural workers, with the Nutmeg and Cocoa farmers, to appreciate the kind of involvement of Antoine in their industries and the proposals for amending the legislations and merging the associations. Could Antoine identify with, or take credit for, any favourable position that both the labour movement and the farming community enjoyed, when he was serving the NNP-government as probably its Chief Strategist and Advisor? Considering its public policy agenda, has TGM analyzed the disturbance and depression caused to, and the remedy and relief for, the rural people, the concrete-blocks producers, including Grenada Gravel Concrete & Emulsion Production Corporation, due to importing of blocks?
It must not be missed that political declarations are generally promises directed to diverse constituents of the nation, and often those declarations bear distinct meanings and interpretations accordingly. The natural Grenadians especially the working class must always be conscious that they are competing with foreign Grenadians especially the Citizenship By Investment holders, and institutional entities, for the commitment and attention of a political party. Locals are mainly seen to elect the party for governance and then used to undergo austerity for the maladministration by the party. Foremost as a warning thus, the people must understand that there is the possibly contemplation of TGM to focus and label its political transition on a party for the working class (‘hopeless labour, destitute and youth’); but this should not be taken as merit to embrace TGM readily.
By J K Roberts, Sound Public Policies Advocate