STICKING A PIN: FOR THE COUNTRY WE LOVE
Written by William Joseph on January 10, 2018
Grenadians go to the polls in a matter of weeks. The people are murmuring because they are not happy. Common sense tells that we are limping towards a major milestone. The
Government we elect in 2018 will take us to fifty years as an Independent nation. By any honest account, the hopes and dreams of the founding fathers have not been sufficiently realised. We have not mastered the mountains of government, education, culture or the economy. And things are set to get worse!
The fiscal algebra has been fixed a second time, but worsening poverty, persistent high unemployment and a lacking economy tell a sad tale and plainly testify to the frightening state of the Grenadian society. That is not to say that no progress has been made. The argument is that we seem content to shoot ourselves in the foot, repeatedly. Such shooting is not unique to the criminal soul of power so brutally displayed in October, 1983. ‘Something’ tells us that we could create “dozens of millionaires in Grenada”, while we grow the poor by the thousands annually and pamper an unproductive diva culture. And we celebrate! That ‘something’ must be very wrong! We simply cannot afford the ‘welfare state’ we are pretending to be.
Assigning blame is instinctive, but is hardly a helpful enterprise. Acknowledging our failings must be the first step towards happier circumstances. Resolving to correct the situation and setting ourselves a course of action will be a blessed response. Remember always that God provides for all our needs, but we must manage!
The management of the business of the nation has been put in the hands of political leaders. The political parties practice ‘constitutional dictatorship’ to the max. Because they are so dominant, the limitations of the parties have become the limitations of the society. Take a careful look. For the upcoming General Elections, the parties, with very few exceptions on both sides, are not offering Grenada’s best as candidates. They are offering the most convenient ‘best’ that they can find by way of enticements and promises of access. In the circumstances, it is not far-fetched to find a candidate who sows his seeds in far off lands and reaps a huge harvest in little Grenada; happy to reveal and socialize with his fruits at Victory Bar or The Light Ship! Something is rotten in the Grenada we love.
What are we learning? Many who offer themselves as candidates are unable to argue, with conviction, that they are most concerned about ‘service to the nation’. Personal ambition is their mainstay and driving motive. Who among us is not selfish? But the price for selfishness at the level of political leadership is borne for by the tax-paying citizens. Nonetheless, if the spoils of selfishness are shared with the needy, the sharer is further rewarded at the polls! Wrong-doing in Office is often overridden by cultural exceptions.
The campaign season will confirm all of the above and more! Imagine we are approaching fifty years as a nation and our leaders are competing with promises for the poor and the youth!
There is virtually nothing that they agree on except, perhaps, the holding of elections. While our needs are for real development, the parties are trading on slogans and ‘gold dust politics’! Who cares about the genuine causes that are important to the people? The foremost cause of the people is national development anchored by three pillars, i.e. a production agenda, enlightened governance and cultural preservation.
There was a time when the leader of the New National Party talked boldly about having an economic philosophy. Evidently, that has now given way to a ‘cash-in’ philosophy (taxes, CBI receipts, debt relief and multilateral program funds), in the main. There is no coherent and convincing narrative on national development. The economy remains very fragile! The ‘default victory’ of 2013 (NNP was not then loved or affirmed, they were resorted to as the people had no choice given the calamity of the NDC) has not evolved beyond that. Uncertainty abounds!
Things are so uncertain that no viable deputy leader of the NNP has been positioned and none is identifiable. Therefore, the imminent exit of a now ageing and tired leader is set to produce instability for Grenada in a battle for leadership of the NNP. If the NNP has no confidence in themselves to settle the leadership question, in the public interest, then where will the public derive the comfort it needs? Grenada has been good to the NNP and it is the NNP’s turn to be good to Grenada. Spare us another bout of political instability! Remember that where the party is in Office, its internal affairs have implications for Government and country. Recall the NJM situation and its impacts on the PRG and Grenada in 1983? Instability, like corruption, is a major enemy of development. Development is a matter of public interest.
For its part, the NDC seems to be struggling to be affirmed by the people even though many may have shown a willingness to give them a look-in. Opportunities have come their way, but capacity and other problems (self-inflicted) appear to have shut door after door. One hour of PR time goes to shameful waste Sunday after Sunday, suggesting either that campaign discipline is lacking and/or that they have precious little to sell the public. Manifestos do not win elections, process, relationships and leadership do! In fact, as elections day draws nearer, they have not even begun to sell a compelling leadership promise. Instead, they seem to be prepared to ‘out-promise’ the NNP in an unwinnable battle for the poor vote! How is it that they have failed to identify a major national cause around which to anchor their campaign? How come the elementary lessons of culture and demographics in the Grenadian society do not appear to have influenced strategy? ‘Politics 101’ teaches that the first step in devising strategy is to look in the mirror!
Unable to find sufficient merit in either party, many have reconciled themselves to the prospect of a second ‘default victory’!
If I had the power, I would suspend the Constitution and give the parties time to fix and to prepare themselves to lead Grenada into fifty years of Independence! I would do so for the Grenada I love! A big national milestone requires ‘big’ leaders, properly prepared in accordance with the biblical standard of leadership called ‘a spirit of excellence’.
Let us pray!