By Lloyd Noel
The latest piece of bad news concerning our money problems in these struggling islands, very well known as Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, or the Spice Isles of the Caribbean, has come as no surprise to anyone who follows the happenings over the years, and more especially these latest two or three years.
Lloyd Noel is a former attorney general of Grenada, prominent attorney at law and political commentator
The government was not able to pay some $190-odd million to a financial institution about a month ago, and the grace period of that month has now expired and the payment was still nowhere in sight. And, in addition, salaries and wages for government workers are just two weeks away -- plus all the other expenses that are becoming due on a weekly basis, and cannot be met, not even for very basic needs at the general hospital, or parish dispensaries island wide.
The general situation financially at all levels is becoming very, very, desperate -- and those still holding onto the reins of power as the government in control have a very serious responsibility and equally solemn duty, to take immediate steps to bring this unprecedented state of affairs to an end, in the general welfare of all our people, regardless of their political or party interest or affiliation.
Our suffering people who inhabit these islands are far more important than the party leaders and their hangers-on, and whatever political principles those involved on whichever side may be claiming are at stake in the chaos and confusion now existing islands-wide.
The longer these desperate times are allowed to spread over all aspects of our people’s daily lives, the very much harder and far more costly it will become to make amends and recover lost ground. By delaying the opportunity for our people to make amends, and chart a new course for our struggling tri-island state to get out of its political mêlée, the more difficult would be the task ahead, and as per usual the same sufferers would be the new victims.
While it is appreciated that the NDC party has been placed in a very awkward situation and, as the government of the day for the past four years, those remaining in positions of authority still have some responsibility for the people who voted them as a team into office in July 2008. Nevertheless, the good and welfare, and the overall interest of the people as a whole, must be given some priority when considering where we go from here on, and how soon we move to wherever.
The existing situation must be unprecedented in West Indian politics -- if not in the entire Commonwealth of Nations.
The NDC party was elected into office on the 8th July 2008, with 11 seats in the Lower House of Parliament, which was comprised of 15 elected MPs. After the five resignations and dismissals of NDC MPs from the NDC party on the 30th September 2012, the ruling party now has six elected MPs in the Lower House.
This must mean, therefore, that the government is in control of the nation’s affairs with a minority in Parliament of 6 to 9. So how can the business of the people be organized and contracted as such?
In addition to that party-political state of affairs, the affairs of state always require a majority decision-- especially when it comes down to seeking loans and overdraft facilities from banks and other such institutions.
And as if to add constitutional political embarrassment to financial inadequacies in the day by day running of the government of the people in the state, the very parliament for conducting the business of the people as a whole, that noble Institution is now suspended indefinitely by reason of the governor general’s prorogation.
The opposition NNP, at its meeting/rally last week Sunday in Tanteen, had a petition signed by its supporters and others, appealing to the governor general, the speaker of the house and the prime minister to have Parliament re-opened for the conduct of the business of the people.
What response would be forth coming and how soon, only time and good sense will determine, but there can be no denying, that the current circumstances are definitely not in keeping with the spirit and the intentions of the constitution, and should be brought to an end in the shortest possible time.
In recent days, news has been coming out that the agriculture roads project, which has been on hold for some time now, would be starting soon; as well as the new Parliament Building, to be constructed on the damaged governor general’s old residence, the plans and design have been approved, and will be going out to tender for starting the building sometime next year.
The temptation to feel that those two developments will be a big boost to the chances of the group still in control, is quite reasonable – but on the other hand, so much further damage could result from the delay and, by the looks of conditions already on stream over which the controllers have no means of diverting, the last stage could very well end up being a lot worse than what the controllers are trying to overcome by the delay in going to the polls.
Those advising the powers-that-be, and the decision-makers themselves, all have to fully consider the impact any undue delay will be having on the lives and the living conditions of our people in general, and not just their chances at the polls – whenever that maybe. To be doing just the latter, while a whole lot of people are suffering, and many ketching real hell to make ends meet on a daily basis, would be leaving themselves wide open for any manner of reprisals from those sufferers in the waiting period.
Our people have seen and felt the effects of what took place during the long period of the NNP opposition when they were in control, as well as the happenings over the last four years, while the NDC lot carried on with their disunity and disloyalty to the party leader, during which time nothing of any substance took place.
From that background, therefore, there is more than enough evidence to enable the voters in any upcoming elections, to make wise choices of whom they wish to represent them for the next five years and beyond, depending on their performances in the first period. Prolonging the agony now existing will not make any substantial difference, especially for those in the driving seats.
And in my considered opinion, the delay in going to the polls would make the existing bad matters much worse for the incumbents, and improve the chances for their opponents as long as the delay continues.
But even more importantly, as far as the people and their good and welfare are concerned, and their relief from the harsh and hopeless conditions now suffocating them on a daily basis, ending the stalemate now existing, and voting for a more united and committed group to control their affairs, must be a whole lot better than the hopeless situation daily facing them all.
In the uncertain and divided state of affairs now existing, the chances of any immediate relief coming our way are nowhere in sight, but the hardships are increasing and becoming unbearable.