By Lloyd Noel
The heights of great men reached and kept, were not attained by sudden flights – but they, while their companions slept, were upward toiling through the night
As I listened to the many tributes rendered by the various speakers last week Thursday, at the funeral of the late Sir Paul Scoon in his hometown R.C. Church at Gouyave, the above statement from one of Shakespeare’s plays that we studied at the St John’s Anglican School, which we both attended as boys many moons ago, came back to mind as the glowing tributes reminded me of the hardworking school boy Sir Paul was.
Lloyd Noel is a former attorney general of Grenada, prominent attorney at law and political commentator
The church was packed for the occasion, and the yard and adjoining street also full of those who could not find space in-side.
It was truly a state funeral, with all the government and other important officials present, and the full security brigade in attendance.
Sir Paul, who served for 14 years as governor general, was also head of state during the service of seven PMs – and at his funeral two ex-GGs, Sir Daniel Williams and Sir Carlyle Glean were present as well as the current GG Dame Cecile LaGrenade, and PM Dr Keith Mitchell and ex-PM Mr Tillman Thomas.
It was a most fitting ceremony for the late ex-GG, and all the dignitaries walked to the cemetery to witness his body placed in the tomb – after a touching guns salute by members of the Police Service, while the Police Band played appropriate hymns in between.
A great son of the soil was finally laid to rest at the Dougaldston Cemetery – but he was from Gouyave Estate in St John, and not from “Dougaldston” as the funeral service booklet stated. May he rest in peace.
All the above had its happenings in the times between independence in 1974, and in particular from the appointment of Sir Paul as GG in 1978 – up to his retirement as head of state in 1992.
But there can be no doubting that the happenings in our tri-island state from the mid-90s right up to the present time took a turn for the worse.
And as the situation appears nowadays, on the political horizon in particular, the picture, or the outlook, or the very happenings leave a whole lot to be desired – and where we going from here onwards, and how we hoping to get wherever, leave us as a people in a state of grave uncertainty.
And if we listen to the findings of the recent IMF survey of our economy – which stated that it is bankrupt with no visible signs of improvement any time soon – then it must mean that we are in desperate straits as an independent nation, with no ready-made alternative resource to fall back on.
The days of our agricultural resources, with nutmegs and cocoa and bananas as the backbone of our economy, kept our people employed and the state receiving its fair share from taxes and duties and so forth – these days are gone and only the nutmeg farmers seem to be recovering lately.
And that is why the promise of so many jobs by foreign investors coming to our shores – and employing our people at much lower labour costs than in their own countries -- was so attractive it enabled the NNP campaigners to sweep the polls of all the seats.
But here we are over seven months since that victory, and from all appearances the promises remain just that.
But what is even more disturbing, the powers-that-be seem to be going about the nation’s business as though things are in order, and all we are hearing from the controllers are nice-sounding speeches, but no action to back them up and quite naturally no results.
The CCC Roads maintenance and debushing program seems to be on hold, but so far no words about why the inaction, and the very needy people who were looking forward to that source of employment, and put their Xs by the “House” rather than the “Star” last February, are left in limbo with no explanation from the controllers to ease the pain, or to give them hope of relief any time soon.
And now we are waiting on the magical figures of millions and hundreds of millions, in the promised Budget to be delivered on December 6 for 2014.
In the meantime, the nation’s debt keeps on rising because those in control cannot even pay anything towards the interest, never mind the capital, hence the reason I suppose the IMF report stated that our economy is bankrupt – and from all appearances there are no signs of any improvement in the foreseeable future.
Whether the current controllers persist in blaming the ill-fated NDC lot, which more or less destroyed itself while occupying the seats of power, will make no difference to the economy, nor the state of our affairs as an independent mini-nation.
The need now is for positive action to produce results – not blames.
I got the news a week or so ago, that the PM Dr Keith Mitchell, and one or two of his cabinet colleagues were in Gouyave walking around and greeting the people; and a day or so before or after, the NDC leader and a colleague or two were also in the fishing town greeting the people.
The question to me was whether election may be soon in the air – because a new government might be needed if conditions do not improve very much sooner than later.
Not likely, I suggested – power is not relinquished so easily and so cheaply. Those in control nearly always feel that something or someone will turn up to help ease the burden, and thereby provide the space for them to carry on.
There can be no doubt that the economic situation is very rough islands-wide, and the government controllers as well as the ordinary people are feeling the pressure and finding it very difficult to make ends meet.
And if something does not come to our rescue anytime soon to ease up the pressure and give those in charge some breathing space to try and make some difficult ends meet, then the last stage could end up a lot worse than what now exists.
The people who fell for the campaign promises and voted for the winners are very embarrassed and keeping cool – but those who did not and now also feeling the pressure, are looking on and commenting quietly.
But overall people are becoming restless, because the hard times are becoming overbearing and the tolerance really running out.
So the powers-that-be have to pull out all the stops and get something moving very much sooner than later – because time is not on their side.