By Lloyd Noel
The 19th of February would only be a few days away by the time this is published and, by the looks of how the situation is developing on many fronts, it is becoming very clear that the panic buttons are being pressed by those still in control and struggling for survival.
Lloyd Noel is a former attorney general of Grenada, prominent attorney at law and political commentator
It was a very welcome surprise a whole week before the last month end, when government workers received their salaries and wages in advance – unlike the many months last year when payments were always late in coming, for one reason or another.
And again last week the news come out that the student nurses who had completed their courses at nursing school last year and were due to take up duties at the hospital, and hoping to receive an increase in the stipends they were receiving, were sent home instead – and last week they were all back on the job with an increase in the new salaries.
If that is so, very good luck to them because am sure they needed that new year gift – but coming at this ninety-ninth hour, before our people go back to the polls to choose the next government, it all looks very suspicious as a vote-catching gimmick, from those straining on the campaign trail to attract voters to support their re-election dreams come February 19.
If the news is true, the effort could have the opposite effect, in my humble opinion, and may very well do more damage than mend fences
The crowds attending the rallies in their green or yellow jerseys in support of the party and candidates of their choice to win at the polls and form the next government from the 20th February for the next five years are not that simple minded and should not be treated as such by those who are seeking their votes for re-election.
Even the recent appearances of the many pot-holes menders on the Western Main road – a sight we have not seen in those areas for years – while those of us who had to zigzag along that road for so very long, now welcome the straight driving to get to and from work places, I am sure the workers who also welcome the few days’ work are not going to fall prey to that “vote catching gimmick”.
Whoever are the advisers and tacticians of the re-election group hoping to get back in control, they seem to be going about their business the wrong way, and treating the people with scant regard.
Whether my point of view is right or wrong, the voters for either side on the 19th will surely give the correct answer in response to the belated tactic.
So now the various candidates have filed their nomination papers, and paid their fees to contest the forthcoming elections. The two main parties have put forward a full side of fifteen persons each, while the new party “NUF” has three, and there are some ten or eleven independents who have also filed papers.
And from here onwards, it is a straight case of listening or reading what the various candidates have to offer, as they strive to persuade the undecided voters to choose the house or the heart, as the case maybe.
The campaign tempo is heating up with every passing day and the public meetings and no doubt the promises and the promotions will be coming through very loud and clear.
For those supporters who have their side from way back, they will no doubt be sticking to their colours, so it is the frustrated and disappointed waverers who will be available to be persuaded by one side or the other.
The offers and the hand-outs and the glib promises will all be forthcoming from all sides, so it will be up to the voters to listen and think carefully, before deciding one way or the other – because once that decision has been made, and the “X” counted in favour of candidate A or B, we are stuck with him or her for the next five years – come whatever maybe.
Our thirty-nine years of independence have seen us through all sorts of characters in control of the nation’s affairs – and in the midst of those many years, our people have gone through many trials and disasters and headaches, to arrive at the current milestone where we are about to again choose a new administration to take charge of our affairs.
In making that choice, we owe it to ourselves and to those coming after us to choose wisely and carefully before putting that “X” by this, that or the other name and symbol to be our members of parliament for the next five years.
I trust that the independence celebrations go off gracefully, and are not hindered by the ongoing political campaigning now getting hotter.