“Nobody ain’t beating Tilly!” This is the song which can be heard in parceled-out areas around Grenada, the shibboleth of the diehard supporters of the National Democratic Congress. After being elected on July 8, 2008, a majority of Grenadians hailed it to be liberation day. Disillusionment has reached epic proportions among the populace at large, far worse than their greatest nightmares of the past 13 years under the arch rival the New National Party. The enervating context brought on by the global recession few would deny made the sitting government fully comfortable to operate within.
So where does the responsibility ultimately lie; can the government categorically say that they could not have done a better job? The answer lies in the statement uttered by the Minister of Finance V. Nazim Burke at the NDC’s last party convention. “We have failed you!” Maybe at this point the government’s decision should have been to throw their hands to the firmament and do nothing. Instead the party proceeded to drum out some of their most potent members. Among them were former General Secretary Peter David, Public Relations Officer Alley Gill and other prominent members of the party’s executive, along with resigned MP Glynnis Roberts, Joe Gilbert and others.
But is it actually truthful to say the government had the worst of conditions to perform under? With the hierarchy of Trade Union Council (TUC), Conference of Churches (CoC) and other non-state actors all waving yellow banners in full support of the current regime, the work of the party quickly torpedoed into self-destruction. All could have ended well that began well but it was not to be. The government sought total buy-out of the upper echelons of these important watchdog organizations to the extent where some of these same union leaders went as far as to be campaign leaders for sitting ministers.
The government, having to apologize for their tardiness about a year ago, recently brokered an agreement with the Grenada Union of Teachers on the eve of our national elections. Obviously there was no intention to pay on the part of the government, at least not under this present dispensation. It is more than probably that it is an electioneering strategy, acting in concert with the affiliates of the NDC embedded across in various sectors of our economy. It was the same NDC who in 1990-1995 made loony advances to public servants in their bid for re-election in quite the same manner. That is now history. Thirteen years later they are at it again, only this time they are attempting to pull the same feat to a much more enlightened electorate.
What Grenadians voted for in 2008 was a coalition of ideologies and varying political values. Were the core ideals of the party any different from what it is today? This writer wishes to state unequivocally that nothing has changed. Thomas then was the one who embraced his consociates having selfishly been aware that all that mattered to him was that for the first time in his political career he had a chance of being the man to wear the crown. He could not have been perturbed as to whether Friday fell on a Sunday. That left us the unsuspecting public to contemplate whether the new united configuration of the NDC is indeed a sight for sore eyes.
The campaign of both political parties has started in earnest, where both have officially launched their full slate of candidates over the past three weekends. From what has been served to John Public thus far from the NDC even a large section of their loyal supporters are unable or unwilling to put up with the party’s high level of partisan rhetoric. The NDC in the latter part of 2012 swanked about being able to mobilize over 600 million of investment for Grenada. When can we then be assured about these money stashes rolling into the local economy? A bird in the hand is worth two in the bushes and so the majority of Grenadians locally and in the Diaspora will no longer hold their breadths about these prolonged promises. Pensioners are still waiting on the four hundred dollars increase Silly Tilly said his government did promise but did not say when it will be given.
If the NDC still ascribes to the type of governance where you surreptitiously plan for four years with no evidence of action then at the final hour beckons an electorate that a second term is deserved, I hasten to add that this type of politics is not only antiquated but rather counterproductive. Where is the common sense of the incumbent? After all, common may not be as common as we have come to believe. My grandmother always said that we should beat the iron while it is hot and that old dogs would hardly learn new tricks. Do these sayings still apply?
If the international community does not accredit this approach why was the executive arm of the government still attempting to push the country in that direction? Many are aware that millions of dollars in donor funding have been returned to international agencies as a result of the NDC’s tardy and listless attitude in the management of these much needed revenues streams for governmental and non-governmental organizations.
The writer will not be going out on a limb to state that Prime Minister Tillman Thomas must accept full responsibility for this sector of our economy failing in a most palpable manner. In fact, contrary to some of what has been propagandized by the National Democratic Congress election apparatus, the image of Grenada has been seriously wounded from the general chaos and discord which existed in the nation over the last few years.
Will history be as kind as we think to the man who many thought was the most honest, honourable, Christian and upright leader Grenada was given in the last three decades? On February 19, 2013, some may just say adios Palos while others may shout good riddance!