By Ian Francis
Many voters in Grenada have not embraced the gossip and promises of the Thomas administration that there is $760 million to spend ten months before going to the polls, a broken party and non-functional Parliament. It is unfortunate that Thomas and his spin doctors have chosen to embark upon such another glaring “All-Fools” joke as Grenadians continue to buckle under Thomas’s failure and the steady erosion of their quality of life.
Ian Francis resides in Toronto and is a frequent contributor on Caribbean affairs. He is a former Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Grenada and can be reached at email@example.com
The Thomas/Burke/ Noel misinformation strategy was hatched during the handing over ceremony of 300 low income homes that were donated by the People’s Republic of China to the former administration, which now forms Her Majesty Opposition, but are in the formative stage of re-gaining governance power in Grenada.
Many Grenadians at home and in the Diaspora have become very perplexed and confused about this information. Many are asking if it is an election ploy to attract voters as the party prepares for general elections within the next few months if it survives a second no confidence vote within three months.
The popular feeling across the tri-state is that the NDC’s sudden prosperity announcement could be an election hoax that they are not buying. Apart from individual Grenadians asking serious questions about the political hoax and the battered economy, the tourism sector is also asking very serious questions about the intent of the NDC with respect to tourism development in the state.
Sector representatives recognize and accept the fact that some re-branding of the industry is necessary. They are also in full concurrence about the need for added room space but are not certain that it can be achieved by government going into further debt to erect a large hotel which is being dubbed “five stars”.
A few weeks ago, the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association (GHTA) met with representatives of the Thomas administration. As the records indicate, at the conclusion of the meeting, agreement was reached to establish a joint committee that would look at all future tourism development in the tri-state. Unfortunately, many of the GHTA members who participated in the meeting have begun to throw scorn, given that Ministers Burke and Vincent were quite reluctant to discuss government’s obsession about “the five star hotel”.
Now that unsubstantiated rumours have entered various corridors about government’s success in obtaining a loan from China to build the hotel, GHTA members are asking the Ministers of Finance and Tourism to confirm and clarify the rumours of receiving a loan from the government of China for a hotel construction. To many, the administration should come clean by responding to the concerns of the GHTA.
From a development point of view, I do not have any problems or concerns about government’s ownership of a hotel. The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and many other CARICOM governments are the owners of hotels and tourism facilities. However, the GHTA concern about the Grenada government's direction on tourism development is justified.
It is clear to all and sundry that the Thomas administration is very dysfunctional at this stage as all national efforts are clearly geared to the NDC convention and Thomas’s thirst to rein in the leftist essence; this is more of a priority for the three. It is not difficult for anyone to understand why the convention has taken priority over national development.
But there are also many other disturbing issues pertaining to governance and democracy in Grenada. The NDC, like any other political party in Grenada, has the right in a democracy to seek re-election. However, the desire for re-election should not be on the basis of abusing the names of foreign nations and attempting to fool voters with misinformed announcements. Thomas and his cast have entered a new low by blatantly lying to the Grenadian voters. Greater contempt and mistrust of the NDC continues in a suffering tri-state.
Assuming that there is $760 million to be spent by the faltering administration, voters must not get caught up in thinking that Grenada’s economic woes will be solved overnight. First, I must continue to conclude that the cupboard remains empty. While some election goodies might be around, it is not $600 million. Grenada is wrapped in debt and other financial mix up. It is sad, however, it is Burke and Thomas who brought us to this situation. The bell will soon toll for the NDC’s burial 13-2.
Grenadians, the cupboards are empty and stay cool for more all fool’s jokes until the general elections.