By Ian Francis
The recent request by Grenada to Japan for assistance in environmental and renewable energy is quite interesting. While such request has come four years late, as the impotent Grenada regime prepares for its burial, Japan and many other nations and multilateral agencies are quite well known for dumping projects and initiatives in the dying days of a regime.
Ian Francis resides in Toronto and is a frequent contributor on Caribbean affairs. He is a former Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Grenada and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Prime Minister Thomas and his Botanical Gardens cast are very well aware of these strategies but seem to embrace them, knowing full well that the deliverables for the disempowered will not yield any benefits. As a keen Grenada observer recently commented, “Quantitative strategies have overtaken qualitative strategies in our tri-state.”
Development strategies are always worthy of comment and thought, especially in the Caribbean region. Japan and many uncaring western nations have the knowledge and understanding of regional development short-sightedness that it should not be a surprise when these nations’ representatives arrive in our local capitals to offer the world. Many regional commentators and observers have concluded that Grenada has become the victim of such western conduct.
A careful assessment of the situation in Grenada tells me that, given the collapse of the economic situation and the inability of the Thomas administration to address the situation before general elections due in the next few months, the Japanese pending assistance in renewable energy will not have any meaningful impact on the economy.
To date, Grenadians are still asking questions about the boundary delimitation agreement between Grenada and Trinidad. The Japanese-donated fish plant in Gouyave remains shut and inaccessible to local fishers. When Thomas and his cast stretched their hands to the Japanese for energy renewable assistance, they were not able to respond to Japan’s concerns about the operations of the Gouyave fish plant.
Given the above, it brings into focus and concern the Thomas administration approach to development and planning. One can only conclude that the recent flurry of project announcements in St Georges is nothing more of a smokescreen and designed to fool voters, who have and are going through economic trauma because of NDC impotence and lack of a national development strategy.
About one week ago, a well-known NDC news-starved media mouthpiece was quick off the mark to highlight two initiatives that are considered development in nature. When asked about the economic impact and employment creation possibilities and sustainability, those promoting these two initiatives went mute.
The development of any information technology infrastructure requires a firm and guarded protective security structure. It would appear that, given Thomas’s recent comments at the Flamboyant Hotel about Grenada’s intention to strengthen its “cyberspace security infrastructure”, Grenadians who are knowledgeable about cyber security are asking whether Thomas and his cast had put the cart before the horse.
Thomas’s desire is commendable and useful; however, can this initiative create a number of sustainable jobs that will make a difference in the current economic climate. Many have described this initiative as another “all fool’s joke” for which the government and their media mouthpieces are noted for blindly promoting all government non-starters and “all-fools jokes”
As a United Nations organization, the United Nations Environment Plan (UNEP) two-weeks training workshop on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEA) is an event that has previously occurred. Thomas and Roberts should not be given any accolade for the workshop taking place in Grenada.
While the course might be the first of its kind in the region, both the executing agency and UNEP could have been told by Grenada that the selected venue for such an event should have been St Andrews. Given the decline of the tourism industry, a much smaller hotel and location could have been selected for the event.
However, the poor and uncaring judgement of the administration is not a surprise. Roberts as Environment Minister has already developed a “modus operandi” for her exit that will ultimately take her to UNEP’s headquarters sometime in the near future.
Finally, there is Tilly and his news-starved mouthpieces that continue to be engaged in a designed plot of attempting to fool Grenadians about NDC’s competence in governance and improving social conditions.
This is not the case and Grenadians at home and in the Diaspora should not be fooled. It is fair and reasonable to ask these two questions. 1) What has happened to boundary delimitation, and 2) when will Ambassador (designate) Gill receive his Letter of Accreditation from Governor-General Glean?