By Lloyd Noel
The new controllers of all the seats in our Lower House of Parliament have just recently completed six months of their term of control of the nation’s affairs, and only a week or so ago they passed through both Houses the “Citizen by Investment Bill” into law -- and from all the discussions and promotions pertaining thereto, it seems that this piece of revisited legislation is the main cornerstone of the government plans for the nation’s economic revival.
Lloyd Noel is a former attorney general of Grenada, prominent attorney at law and political commentator
The first such legislation in the new government’s last term in control before losing to the NDC in 2008 brought nothing to our people but instead moved the Canadian government to deny us the freedom to enter that state; and since then Grenadians have to travel to Trinidad to apply to the Canadian embassy in that country for visas to visit Toronto and elsewhere up there.
How this new Bill will affect us, only time will tell as the new provisions come on stream, and the new investors from wherever become Grenadian citizens, and obtain their passports to travel overseas as Grenadians born and bred in our state.
There can be no denying that we need investment in the tri-island state, so as to provide employment opportunities for our thousands of unemployed citizens, who are struggling to make economic and daily living conditions meet along the way.
But it escapes my basic thinking why someone who has millions of dollars or pounds to invest will first need a passport from Grenada before investing his millions.
We know from the past experience that the thousands who obtained passports under the first legislation were mainly crooks and conmen who could not have entered Canada using their own national passports – and we continue to pay the price for the government negligence in that fiasco up to the present time.
How the response to the new “Citizenship by Investment Law” will affect our people in the months and years ahead, only time and the success or failure of the scheme down the road will determine in due course.
As for the thousands of jobs the PM stated recently would become available in the next three months, he did not say whether those are expected from the “Citizenship by Investment Law,” or from the many companies that were queuing up to come and invest their millions, according to the election campaign propaganda that greatly helped the NNP to clean-sweep the polls.
The stories surrounding the absence of any investors during the NDC term in office were that the then controllers were not properly organised, and there was too much disunity in the party because of the greed for power by certain elements who felt they should be the ones leading the pack.
The stories turned out to be very true and all fell down – leaving the old brigade and veteran leader to regain power, with no one in the Lower House of Parliament to even ask a question on any matter therein.
The disorganisation and disunity in the defeated party have continued with no signs of any improvement any time soon – and that has left our people wandering in a political wilderness, under a one-party system fishing for ideas.
Where we going from here onwards, and how we getting wherever it may be, only time and good luck will determine in the months and years ahead.
But as a people with some measure of faith in the Almighty, we cannot totally give up and leave it to the political pundits to determine as they see fit.
We have to air our views, and let our voices be heard on matters of our nation’s interest – in whatever form we can.
But while all these ups and downs and sideways have been in the headlines in recent times, two weeks or so ago we lost a Grenadian Strugglar, Mrs Alimenta Bishop nee LaGrenade, who has been in the forefront of Grenada’s political and social upheavals for over forty years.
She passed away on August 24 and was buried on the 30th, and she was three months short of 99 years.
“MaBish” was the wife of Rupert Bishop, and the mother of the Revo Prime Minister Maurice Bishop – and she lost both of those patriots through political struggle in our historical battles for freedom.
The struggle started in 1973 when Maurice and few others from England returned to Grenada.
The NJM was launched in St Davids and Maurice and Unison Whiteman were elected as the joint leaders of the New Jewel Movement.
The NJM opposed the granting of independence to Grenada under the Eric Gairy regime which was in control in Grenada at the time.
Daily demonstrations were held in St George’s and, after one of those parades as we gathered on the Carenage to address the crowd, word came that the Gairy Mongoose Gang was coming to deal with the leaders, and the song was they looking for Bishop and Lloyd Noel.
I was the last speaker upstairs Otway House, and Rupert Bishop was there with me and a number of the convent school girls who had marched with us.
Rupert sent them into a room and went into the room to protect them as the Gang came closer. I had no place to hide so I jumped out a window at the back of the building and went to my office on Lucas Street, and left St George’s via Cemetery Hill for Gouyave. No sooner I arrived home a phone call came to inform me Rupert Bishop was shot in that room protecting the girls.
And that was the beginning of MaBish horrors from the political struggle in Grenada, which continued to the Revolution – in which her son Maurice led the NJM group to take over the government of Grenada from the Gairy regime by force of arms to become prime minister on 13th March 1979.
He lasted up to October 1983, when his own colleagues used the same arms to shoot him and his Cabinet members, on the St George’s fort which was renamed after his deceased father as Fort Rupert.
The rest is now history, as the US forces invaded Grenada, to protect the American nationals at St George’s University, and release the over 150 of us Grenadians who were political detainees at Richmond Hill and Hope Vale.
MaBish went through it all but never got the body of her son for a proper burial – she is now gone to join him and his father, may she rest in peace