By Ian Francis
The essence of good governance in any nation is to be aware that, once election writs are issued and the campaign mode is in place, usually, the Executive takes a lull by avoiding key policies and program decisions. It is a practice that most governments who adhere to the Westminster system have observed and practiced. Unfortunately, it would appear that the Thomas NDC in Grenada is very much on the contrary, with the hope that what was not accomplished between 2008-2013 can be realized between January 30 and February 19, 2013.
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
Thomas and his inner circle seem to be in a state of deep denial by not accepting the hard and painless reality that it is over and his newly acquired skills of tractor driving will enhance his employment prospects when he commences his job search after February 19, 2013. There is no doubt in the minds of many Grenadians at home and in the Diaspora that the Thomas NDC faces an uphill battle of being re-elected. Grenadians are deeply disappointed in the leadership that the Thomas administration provided, which has resulted in high youth unemployment; decline of the tourist industry; no foreign investments; decline of the health infrastructure and general economic chaos.
As the election approaches and the NDC's failure to ensure a lull in the governing process, various NDC media mouthpieces in Grenada have seen it fit to publish and broadcast various government initiatives emanating from the Prime Minister's Office. Sadly to say, it is yet another attempt by Thomas and his inner circle to continue to feed Grenadians with various All-Fools jokes, unrealistic promises and election gimmicks to convince voters that the Botanical Gardens is busy.
On January 30, 2013, as I scanned the various Grenada media outlets, my attention was drawn to a poorly written article by one Gerry Hopkins under the caption "Grenada Real Rescue Mission", which was published in the online Grenada Broadcast. As I scanned through the article for logic and cohesion, both essential ingredients were absent. Therefore, I had no other alternative but to consume what was written in the article. I was able to determine that the author of the article is a political staffer of Thomas’s inner circle and it was a rehashed self-praise article, which brayed about Grenada's relations with the European Union and international organizations including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The document highlighted many multilateral achievements which should have been given to many of the regional agencies and not given the bilateral credits as the article portrayed.
That Grenada's recent selection as a Caribbean nation to provide temporary workers to undertake specific employment in the United States was highlighted by Hopkins in his feeble attempt to convince Grenadians that this was a major achievement during the dying days of the NDC is not surprising. Jamaica and several other CARICOM nations have enjoyed such opportunities for many years. The fact that Grenada has been afforded this opportunity is certainly relief to assist in addressing the high unemployment in Grenada, which is estimated to be over 40%.
The dying NDC regime should desist from giving voters the false and misleading impression that Grenada's new labour market opportunity is an attestation to the strong bilateral relations with the United States. This is certainly not the case and it is a blatant and vulgar attempt by Hopkins and the NDC mouthpiece "Grenada Broadcast” to portray such a vicious and untrue story.
The conduct and management of Grenada's foreign policy by the Thomas NDC remains a great interest of mine. Issues like the failed state visit to Qatar; the acting foreign minister of Grenada not knowing the difference between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Kingdom of Qatar; unfulfilled promises to the government of Canada by failing to submit a brief requesting the lifting of visa requirements for Grenadian visitors to Canada; the Derrick James honorary consul general bungle in New York; Ambassador Marcelle Gairy relinquishing her post as ambassador to the Peoples Republic of China and the failure of the administration to address this matter with Grenadians.
As I voluntarily relieved my thoughts from the Hopkins diatribe, my attention was drawn to another article published in the same medium under the caption "Business Opportunities" written by Janice Augustine. My curiosity was ignited as there was mention in the article that Thomas and Costa Rican foreign minister Enrique Castillo Barrentes will be signing a framework cooperation agreement during a six-member Costa Rican delegation visit to Grenada on January 31, 2013.
Unfortunately, the release sought to highlight the success of Costa Rica; the length of Grenada's diplomatic relations with Costa Rica and its advancement in agriculture, eco-tourism and alternate energy. While the proposed Grenada/Costa Rica framework will place heavy emphasis on the development and sustainability of a bilateral roadmap for future Grenada-Costa Rica cooperation, it is necessary that Tilly and his inner circle should be told to cool it.
It is extremely difficult for a disgraced regime to be pursuing such pomp and stupidity in its dying days. At the same time, the news starved NDC Grenada Broadcast mouthpiece must show restraint and journalism ethics by refusing to publish raggy press releases and stories aimed at propping up a dying regime.