By Lloyd Noel
The 30th anniversary since our return to the democratic mode of government, which we had inherited from Great Britain by independence in February 1974 and lost to Marxism and control by the bullets in 1979, was recognised by a public holiday, but with very little celebrations on the 25th October last week Friday.
Lloyd Noel is a former attorney general of Grenada, prominent attorney at law and political commentator
Those of us who were around and involved in one way or another, back in the hectic days of 1974, and the fearful months and years from March 1979 up to that historic day of the 25th October 1983, and survived it all up to the present day, surely cannot forget the happenings in those times.
But here we are nearly 40 years since those memorable times and the question must be uppermost in most of our concerned and inquisitive minds of where are we heading from here onwards.
And the question is not in isolation at this point in time because just as importantly for us as a struggling people is the corresponding key issue of how are we hoping and planning to get wherever.
And it is not only a matter for the government of the day, although that body of elected representatives has a very significant role to play on the road ahead, because as citizens and family members, we all have our civic and individual responsibilities to attend and discharge.
But in the course of our personal dealings and lifestyle, we have as a people to be aware of what is taking place in our public affairs, and especially so on our behalf and that of the less fortunate.
And as concerned and responsible citizens of our tiny nation state, we should not be washing our hands, as it were, when faced with issues that concern the people as a whole, or any faction or section based on politics or religion or occupation.
Soon after the election results and the takeover by the new controllers of the business of the nation, we heard many stories of government workers being sent home, because they were supporters of the last party in power, and maybe the newcomers did not trust them with the future business of the new government.
There were also changes with the staff and the controllers at the Richmond Hill Prison – and lately there are strong rumours that all is not well within the management and general staff of the Police Department.
These stories, or rumours, or factual cases, are not in the best interest of our people and nation state, and the controllers have a duty and very serious responsibility to address them all and take action to make amends and put them at rest.
It maybe that I am talking after the event because I saw a report last week, that the PM Dr Keith Mitchell had invited the leaders of the two losing parties in the last elections (NDC and NUF) to meet with him for discussions about the nation’s business.
That is a very commendable and responsible mode of leadership behaviour – and I truly hope the meeting takes place, and the discussions that are held result in the best interest of our people.
I have not seen or heard of any positive outcome from the prime minister’s trip to the USA and the UK as far as the national debt, and/or the reported borrowing of another $300 million are concerned, so maybe the proposed discussions among the three leaders will be addressing that.
Whatever is the motive for that unusual approach by the controllers, it is hoped that some positive outcome will result in the best interest of all our people regardless of party colours.
It is to be expected that different leaders and their parties will have their own peculiar political agendas and ideology, and the people who voted for whoever at the elections, would have had their own likes and dislikes.
But now that the results are well known and the winners are in control, and the situation islands-wide is such that no one party has all the ideas to bring things back to normal anytime soon, getting together and pooling their ideas in the interest of all the people, can only result to the benefit of them all.
It is hoped, however, that the gesture of getting the party leaders around a table for discussions in the interest of the nation as a whole was not taken merely for window-dressing, and that the ideas and view-points emanating there from will be seriously considered by the controllers.
It cannot be stressed too strongly nor in any way over-emphasised that the economic conditions facing our people are way out of control, and becoming intolerable to the point where the sufferers can withstand the hardships no longer, and will resort to any alternative to make desperate ends meet.
That state of desperation must be avoided at any costs, because the end results could be a whole lot worse in the long run.
It must be very obvious at this point in time that the many grand promises made by the election winners during the campaign earlier this year cannot be fulfilled anytime sooner or later and therefore alternative measures must be resorted to, and these have to be in place as of now.
Adding more taxes to those already paying cannot be the answer, because they will have to find the means to meet increases, and those measures will only make the payment by customers or clients even more difficult, and the earnings will decrease.
The measures to be put in place must be to enable the unemployed to find jobs, to provide for their families, and in the process also pay something into the Treasury in the form of rates or taxes – and thereby boost the economy as a whole nationwide.
There can be no denying by anyone from any side that the economy has been grinding to a halt for some time now, and it will take a lot more than just fancy speeches to get things moving again.
The people have to be prodded and encouraged to get up and set things in motion to provide for themselves in their lands and small holdings and not just sit around waiting for government to provide all their needs.
And to that extent especially is where the joint party meetings can be very useful in getting the various party members in their respective constituencies, to do the groundwork and set the schemes in motion.
There is a lot of work to be done for us as a people to move away from the desperate conditions we are now struggling under – and no one group or party should be held liable or expected to bring about the required changes.
And now that the clean-sweep winners have seen the need for a united approach, and have taken the lead by the joint invitations to meet with the opposition leaders, the party supporters and people in general must show their support for the initiative, and hope and pray that some positive decisions result from the meetings.
The celebrations for the 30th anniversary since our return to parliamentary democracy in October 1983 ended with a church service at the Anglican Church at Gouyave last Friday, and the top leaders and dignitaries were in attendance.
So now we have to settle down and look forward to some positive and beneficial results, from the leaders meetings initiated by the prime minister.
We can only wish them the best of luck for peaceful and very worthwhile discussions.