By Hudson George
Grenadians have to be aware that, even though slavery was abolished in 1838, the legacy of that old cruel system still reflects on our society today, because the old ruling class culture remains intact. The justice system that served the interest of conservative class and the church in the past remains the major culprit.
Hudson George has a BA in Social Science from York University, Toronto, Canada. He has been writing since his early teenage years and now contributes letters and articles to a number of Caribbean newspapers
Presently a large percentage of the population still looks up to religious leaders for guidance, while some magistrates and police officers are still abusing poor citizens in the name of the law. Therefore, even though Grenada is supposed to be a democracy, where citizens have the privilege to vote and participate in various activities that our fore-parents were denied on the slave plantation, the old slave system is still functional. Those who hold on to the old colonial mentality expect and want a particular section of the population to remain the underclass.
On the other hand, there are citizens who are direct descendants of the old colonial class, who still know how to buy their way up to the top, whenever a popular political party is in power. Some of these people belong to the very small privileged French Creole class that once bargained the destiny of Grenada during the conflict between the French and the English for dominance as colonial masters. This small group of French Creole citizens are still married to their own kind and they are very clever to pretend they are black, when it suits their political interest.
Then again, we have a new class of Grenadian who made their names during the people’s revolution. They belong to a faction of the 1979 revolutionary class that has a very tricky and scientific way of making themselves present at the top function of government; even though their political language is blatantly aligned to left wing conservatism with the moral values to take away civilians rights, if given the opportunity. In addition, the main reason why these folks are getting the privilege to play major roles in government is because Grenadians are too forgiving and do not pay attention to the country’s political history. Most Grenadians do not know their history. They tend to forget themselves as lizards that become prey to snakes as main predators.
In addition, the various Christian denominations are the biggest opportunists, when the leaders of those holy institutions come out boldly and without any shame; and grab the attention on Emancipation Day. Pastors of those churches seem to forget that Christianity as a religion played a major role in the enslavement of Africans in the new world. When they lead prayers and pretend to the congregations that the moral values of the Christian faith were anti slavery, they are making the good God look deceptive and wicked.
As for our mainstream politicians, they are not educating their followers to think rationally. Most Grenadians are politically ignorant, whether they are highly educated or less educated. The educated ones are supposed to lead the uneducated ones to enlightenment but, unfortunately, those educated ones are leading the less educated ones into a pit of darkness.
Most police officers tend to behave as though they are the law, rather than they are supposed to serve and protect society within the moral values of the law. These officers can be very spiteful and vindictive toward citizens whom they do not like. In addition, whenever they charge citizens for breaking the law, whether or not the accused citizens are guilty of the crime depends on the judgment of the magistrate presiding over the case.
Presently, some citizens in the outer parishes are claiming that a particular magistrate is handing down harsh sentences on them, similar to the days of slavery. This magistrate’s behaviour is creating a big conflict among attorneys. Some attorneys are saying that the magistrate is not fit to try cases because he is a cruel individual abusing the justice system, while others within the fraternity are defending his judgment as fair.
This magistrate’s behaviour is not new in the courthouses in Grenada. There were similar ones like this in the past. I can remember as a small boy, hearing adult folks talk about cruel magistrates who took pride in jailing the poorest class of people within society. Those days, the older folks used to be scared like hell, whenever they stood trial before magistrates Crompton and “Ginger”, who were foreigners. Today, Grenadians have to deal with the cruelty from their homegrown magistrate.
However, in spite the fact that over 95 percent our civil servants are Grenadians by birth, they still represent the old colonial class culture. In terms of creativity and the evolution within society, there have been no big changes in the way things are done since we became an independent nation. On the other hand, some citizens with creative ideas are waiting on the government to create employment, while they keep on suppressing their creative talent. Therefore, with that old colonial mentality waiting in the thoughts of those who are suffering from economic hardship, the mainstream politicians will keep on promising voters pie in the sky.
The average Grenadians do not want to pay taxes to the state but they always complain about the hospitals and healthcare centres that do not have enough medicines and health equipment. And due to the fact that tribal politics have a strong hold on the people, the healthcare system becomes a political issue, rather than a life and death issue, while those politicians can always travel to developed countries to seek proper healthcare when they need medical treatment.
Presently, the big focus is on the February 10, 2015, referendum to change the constitution that definitely needs some major changes. However, the referendum will become a political issue because the main opposition will not want to give the government all the kudos.
On the other hand, the old slavish mentality has already destroyed our ability to be industrious. So with most of us putting all our confidence in academic scholars to be the pillars of change, we tend to forget that creativity comes from people who have creative minds and not from academia.
However, although it is time for constitutional reform, if we keep on holding on to the old slavish colonial mentality, things will remain the same.