By Hudson George
The term Pure Grenada or Pure Grenada Spice Isle as a brand name to promote tourism will not change the mentality of Grenadians in general. However, I personally believe that Pure Grenada is not something new as a brand name. Our pure Grenada mentality is part of the culture, of a combination of various things that have both negative and positive effects on the general population.
Hudson George has a BA in Social Science from York University, Toronto, Canada. He has been writing since his early teenage years and now contributes letters and articles to a number of Caribbean newspapers
The majority of Grenadians in the spice producing country have a pure Grenadian mentality that divides them. They just cannot think beyond their narrow political mindset to work together to build a better society. Their pure Grenadian mentality is to create political tribalism and they only care about nation building when their favourite political party is in power. In addition, whenever their political party is in opposition, they wish for all bad things to happen in country, so that their favorite politicians in the opposition can regain power, if the government of the day fails.
On the other the hand, some of the haters who do not like the brand Pure Grenada, are just showing their discontentment with the name as a means of loyalty to their favourite political party that opposed the government, rather than for tradition and national heritage protection. Due to their pure Grenadian negative mentality to oppose the government, it has become cultural habit for those who oppose the government of the day to criticise everything the government tries to do, whether it is good or bad for the country.
However, the controversial thing is, if the government is successful in making changes, in the future when voters elect another political party to govern the country, the changes usually remain and those who were very vocal against the changes, no longer complain. They will automatically feel content with the changes the past government made because their political party is in power.
Presently, some of the pure Grenadians who are upset and venting their displeasure with the word “Pure” believe that Grenada is the land of spice and it must remain pure spice isle country, cost it what it will. They are not looking at the term Pure Grenada as a brand name that can be marketable as package, to sell the country as a tourist destination for visitors to come and enjoy the unique things we have to offer. They prefer to keep Spice Isle Grenada as the marketed name. However, the sad thing is they do not have any kind of major plans about how to manufacture the local spices for exportation to other countries. Some of them never even planted a nutmeg tree or a clove tree.
In addition, during Eric Gairy’s time as the political leader of the country, based on the same kind of pure Grenadian negative mentality, the nation divided. Even though Gairy had popular support from the majority of the population, those who opposed his regime were very good at criticising everything he tried to do in order to develop the country. In 1973, various organisations formed an alliance and shut down the country’s business activities, just because they did not want Gairy to be leading Grenada as an independent country from British colonial rule and become the first prime minister.
On the other hand, even though some political activities were able to pressure the government to change the new brand name from Pure Grenada to Pure Grenada Spice-Isle, the changes will not make any difference. Unless we as Grenadians are united and decide to change our attitude; and show respect for each other’s talent, regardless of the geographical location where we are living in the tri-island nation, the Spice Isle we are fighting to protect will be meaningless and useless.
Additionally, it is very important for those political and social activities to know that the word “Pure” means something that is not mixed with anything else. The old brand names Spice Isle Grenada or the new brand name Pure Grenada cannot add anything new to what Grenada has to offer to visitors. The main issue is not to protect Spice Isle Grenada or Pure Grenada but to market what is unique in our tri-island state. Therefore, as government agreed to the change the new brand name to Pure Grenada Isle of Spice, it is very important for those activities to explain to folks like me, what is the difference between Pure Grenada from Spice Isle Grenada.
In terms of our culture, when we promote the tri-island state as the Isle of Spice, what effect will our spices have on entertainment industry? For example, Spicemas 2014 August Carnival Celebration has already been launched and I am sure that foreign visitors who are interested in our carnival will be coming to the festival to enjoy carnival activities. They are not interested in our spices as their focus during the festive season. In fact, our unique jouvert in the various parishes and jab jab culture will be the main attraction during the August Carnival.
Last year 2013, during Grenada Carnival there was two popular pure Grenada soca songs that went viral among party lovers. Well known Grenadian soca artiste Mr Killa’s song “Rolly Polly” becomes an international hit, not because it was popular in Grenada among carnival lovers. The song was the major hit in 2014 Trinidad and Tobago Carnival and presently the song has become an international hit. In addition, being that Trinidad and Tobago is the Mecca of carnival, calypso and soca music, it is obvious that Mr Killa is producing music that is pure Grenada and exporting it to the world.
The other popular song is by Lizard, Madlock and Jentle called “Washie”. Because the song “Washie” is a true story, I am surprised that the three young artistes did not get some kind of recognition as Mr Killa got from the ministry of culture. But then again, in our Grenadian culture, we expect foreigners to recognise our talented citizens first, before we recognise them. Therefore, it seems as though the song “Washie” will remain a popular local hit song among Grenadians but the artistes will never get recognition for their talent and creativity.
Therefore, while we fight and quarrel over petty things such as Spice Isle Grenada and Pure Grenada, our mindset is still dividing, to make confusion when the issues have political influence. In addition, for all the years we held on so proud to Grenada the Isle of Spice, what have we done in terms of manufacturing our local pure spices into commodity products for export?