By Lloyd Noel
In this historic month of October 30 years ago, our tri-island state of conflict was in the worldwide news bulletin in all languages, especially the two dates of the 19th and the 23rd of October 1983.
Lloyd Noel is a former attorney general of Grenada, prominent attorney at law and political commentator
It all started in March 1979, when the (NJM) New Jewel Movement created history in Grenada, by being the smallest state to seize political power in the Caribbean and worldwide.
And it all ended in October 1983, when on the 19th one faction of the very NJM killed the prime minister, Maurice Bishop and seven or eight of his cabinet colleagues, and took control of the government, and on the 23rd the US and a few Caribbean island forces invaded Grenada and arrested those who had killed Bishop and his colleagues.
And that was when the late Sir Paul Scoon, as governor general at the time, rose to the occasion and headed an interim government that brought back the constitution into being, and later on held general elections to bring us back to the parliamentary system that was derailed by the revolution in March 1979.
Another major change that was brought about by the happenings of October 19th and 23rd, was that all those of us in detention at Richmond Hill Prison as political detainees were freed by the invading forces, and those NJM big shots who were arrested for the murder of Bishop and others took over our cells at the prison, where they remained to serve their sentences after conviction for the crimes.
The political scenario went through some quiet times thereafter – when compared with the hot and violent days that started under the Gairy regime, got a lot worse under the PRG of the Bishop days, and even more so under the counter-revolutionary days of those who replaced Bishop.
And after the few changes that took place thereafter, we got to 1995, when the current NNP under the present prime minister got into power, and in 1998 and 2003 created its own history by winning three consecutive elections, and in the 1998 elections winning all fifteen seats.
That winning feat was repeated in February this year, when Dr Keith Mitchell and his NNP team captured all the seats a second time.
The NDC team under Tillman Thomas did not get very much done in its four and a half years, and not surprisingly it lost to NNP all fifteen seats – because the 2008 winning team had more or less destroyed itself by its own internal power struggles and wrangling.
But despite the in-house squabbles in the NDC, the NNP campaign, and the very nice-sounding promises by the political leader and his team, these were so convincing that they left no room in the house for any of those NDC candidates, and history repeated itself.
The irony of it all, however, is that, although the people fell for the promises and responded with a clean-sweep at the polls, nothing has happened to date to even suggest that any of the promises will be fulfilled.
And in place of delivering on the promises that brought him total control, the leader and members of the team are lately more engaged in making even more promises, although the campaign winners are nowhere in sight of achieving them any time soon.
And what was even more interesting in that context, was listening to the governor general’s throne speech for the re-opening of parliament last week.
It is very well known that the goodly lady did not write down anything that she was reading in that speech, and it all was written for her by the rulers – but to hear the number of excellent projects and development activities that “My government will be undertaking in the next financial year for the benefit of the people of Grenada and Carriacou”, anyone not knowing where we are at this time would have thought that things are definitely looking good, and no sooner the budget has passed through Parliament in early December, the grass will be so much greener in the new year.
The $300 million that will be borrowed to help provide the jobs and revive our agriculture sector in the near future, the source of lending remains a secret – and recalling that the IMF has recently revealed that our economy is bankrupt, and the outstanding loans and interest thereon cannot be met by the treasury, it leaves one to wonder where in these circumstances such further loans will be coming from anytime soon.
And lately we are hearing nothing about those foreign investors for whom the Citizenship Investment Act was revised and passed through Parliament to make provisions for those foreigners who were waiting on the winners in February to take over control and lay down the conditions for the millions to start coming on stream, so as to provide the endless jobs for our unemployed thousands.
So while the situation remains just as it was before February – and even getting worse for many families in different areas island-wide – the reports and statements coming from the powers-that-be all sound like a new campaign that is seeking more patience and tolerance, from those very people who fell for the pre-election promises and gave the winners absolute control over the affairs of state.
Where we going as a people from here onwards, and how we hoping to get wherever, is anyone's guesswork, because the pieces do not seem to be falling into the right places – and the promises and expectations remain just that, with little hope of any positive movement anytime soon.
In these circumstances the controllers have a major task ahead of them, and to get over or around the problems needs a whole lot more than mere promises and nice-sounding speeches.
The people heard it all in the months before February this year and they fell for the whole lot with no exception – what is needed now is action and positive results to help the thousands who cannot help themselves.
It should not be a case of NNP-ites in favour over NDC-ites – the campaign is long over, and the time has come to assist all in need, regardless of the jerseys they wore back then.