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Commentary: Law and Politics: The festival was also affected
Published on August 20, 2013 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Lloyd Noel

The national carnival festivities were also affected by the economic hard times the tri-island state is currently suffering. Many were also complaining that they were not paid for the last two or three weeks’ road work they had done, more than two weeks before carnival.

Lloyd Noel is a former attorney general of Grenada, prominent attorney at law and political commentator
And the cash shortages were very visible, not only on the road with few mas players in any gear for the occasion, but in the bars and shops, where the shopkeepers were moaning business was very slow.

The unpaid workers were concerned that no one in authority had said anything to them about the shortage of payment and, when some enquired about the lack of payment, they were told that the funds from the CCC road project people were not received by the government department in charge.

How true that is, only those in positions of authority can answer one way or another – but in discussion with others on the matter, I was also informed that the contract with the CCC was not yet signed – hence the delay in payment.

I find all the above rather confusing and very strange when it is recalled all the fuss and fanfare made, just after the hundred days expired and work began in the Saint Andrews’s area, in keeping with the election campaign promises to put people back to work.

Whatever is the true position regarding the contract, and/or payment by CCC or whoever is providing the funds to pay those workers, the lack of payment after they had been out of work for so long, and the many glib promises by the controllers to bring about so many great changes once they were returned to power in the February elections, is terrible treatment by the powers-that-be.

If, of course, the stories or the facts are not as those published, and the situation is different or the reality subject to reasonable explanations, then the controllers are duty bound to come clean and say it as it is and ease the rising tension.

The economic hardships are already having very serious effects on the daily lives of thousands of families and individuals island-wide, and the above rumours or statements of what is taking place regarding the recently hired roads maintenance workers are just making the already bad situation even worse.

The campaign and the elections are over, and the controllers are without any opposition to even ask a question in parliament, so there is really no need to hide behind any smoke screen, or pretensions in the operations of the business of the people.

It should be a straight case of doing their duties as they see fit – and being able to stand up to questions and criticisms and explanations as the situation demands.

Passing whatever bills into law in parliament is neither here or there, and would make no difference when it comes down to the success or failure of the daily business of the people, and the affairs of state.

The Citizenship by Investment Act has apparently now been passed by the Lower House of parliament, and no doubt would soon be in operation, so that foreign investors can begin to take advantage of the facilities provided.

I have not yet seen the new act, so I reserve my comments for the time being – but whatever has been provided therein, it is to be hoped that the people and state of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique will benefit therefrom, rather than be a hindrance to our people’s movement in the Commonwealth of Nations, like the first such Act by this same NNP government under the leadership of the same prime minister.

Whatever the change of name is suggesting, the end result will still be the same, in that foreigners who are prepared to invest in Grenada will be made citizens of Grenada and provided with Grenadian passports.

I doubt such passports will state in writing that the person named therein is a citizen by investment, so that genuine Grenadians by birth or ancestry will be treated differently when they travel to other countries.

It cannot be denied that a whole lot of our people have been deprived of the chance to earn a living in our island for too many years – and families and individuals have suffered serious hardship in the process.

Any improvement in that state of affairs will be very welcome by that group, but it should not be at any and all embarrassing costs to our nation state and people.

The government ministers have been listing many countries that have helped the controllers with millions in loans, grants or whatever the arrangements have been stated by the powers-that-be.

How genuine those statements and claims are only the makers know for sure – but it leaves many to wonder aloud that, if the claims are true, then why it is those road workers have not been receiving their meagre wages for so long.

It is to be hoped that the cry of the many needy and deprived families will very soon be heard and relieved of the tension and pressure, and be able to support themselves.

The carnival is over and we have had six months of the controllers – it is time enough to be seeing some real improvement in the daily lives of those long-suffering families.
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