I would like to believe that, as Grenadians, we are all concerned about our country's future. To many of us, however, the economic future of the country today seems desolate. Vast unemployment since the beginning of the economic down turn is ongoing.
Lately there has been chatter about the New National Party (NNP) administration and their attempt at fixing the economic problems the country is facing. One person that is out spoken about the economic problem and the NNP administration's ability to remedy it, is former Attorney General of Grenada, Lloyd Noel. He voiced his concerns in the Grenada online news forum NOW: (Article can now be found in Caribbean News Now). Mr. Noel expressed concerns about the moving forward of, what he termed, the old, but new political party, who is in, to use his words, “the driving seats.” “How the controllers are going about resolving the problems,” as we move forward, Mr. Noel asked, especially in the context of the NNP taking victory in a clean-sweep, having, according to him, “total control and no opposition to even question any of their actions of omissions.” As a result, Lloyd Noel sees the road ahead for Grenada as being bleak, and dangerous.
My politics and Lloyd Noel's, I believe, comes from two different places. I share no affiliation with any political party. My loyalty lies with my country. However, as a concerned citizen, I too share Lloyd Noel's concerns, especially about the seemingly unchallenged position of the NNP.
Lloyd Noel reminds us that with the world economical down turn, the country was hard hit. He writes that “the general state of the Nation's economic affairs was in very serious shambles,” and this is what led the NNP to win with such mandates. In fact, many Grenadians hold the view that, not only the global economic down turn, but the NNP government, after their thirteen years tenure, was responsible for contributing to the economic problem the country is now facing.
It is certainly true that the National Democratic Congress' (NDC) administration was dealt a bad hand. However, as the nature of politics dictates, the country's problems became the NDC's problems the very minute they took office. Thus, even if we believe that the NDC administration was not allowed enough time to solve the problem, the fact is that they lost the latest election. The NNP team was able to make a narrative that showed the NDC rule as a failed regime, and the people bought the story.
The table is now turned. The NNP administration is back in the drivers seat, and as Lloyd Noel states, “nine months have gone by since the total control started – and the hue and cry seem to be that things have gotten worse rather than better. A lot of people who were employed have since lost their jobs.” In fact, Lloyd tells us that in the midst of this economic hardship “the controllers upon taking over the reigns of power in February, added back the 5% of MP's salaries the NDC Government had taken away a year or so before the elections.” They even went farther, “giving themselves another salary increase of 6%,” and while they stuff money into their pockets, the controllers are looking to level tax increases on the economically strapped population. Here is a question: Are there any other ways the government can raise money to deal with the country's debt, other than pushing their hands into the pockets of unemployed people? I think there are.
Indeed, these actions taken by the new controllers are troubling. These are things we all should be concerned about. I am pushed to ask, are these controllers really concerned about the country, and the people? I think that they are. However, people get blinded by the feel of power.
The main question we should ask, however, is: What can we do? Indeed, we may not have a political opposition. Nonetheless, it is we the people that employ these controllers, and it is we, the population, to be the opposition. We have to make our voices heard. March, protest and demand our government do the right thing.
There are, however, those who think that what I am asking for is futile. Because, my call for the population to be the opposition that Lloyd Noel is concerned about, demands the people to look at politics from a rational, nonpartisan prospective, and most Grenadians seem to view politics through tribalistic lens, which, by its very nature, is partisan. Politics in Grenada are highly sectarian. The supporters of one political party become the enemies to those supporting the other side. The House (NNP) vs. the Hart (NDC); Green things, t-shirts, handkerchiefs (NNP) vs. Yellow things, t-shirts, handkerchiefs (NDC). Whole political campaigns take the form of a gang warfare, to the expense of the real issues and concerns to be addressed. The political party with the most gang members wins the day. As a result, we end up voting into office people that are unable to solve the country's problems. Of course, I know that I am pushing it by using this gang warfare analogy, but, I think the visual imagery is warranted.
So, how then can we solve this problem? I believe that if we – via our educational system – promote and educate the people to be critical and rational thinkers, the ability to rationally analyze political issues will be much better off, and Lloyd Noel's concerns about not having an opposition, whether from a political party or from the populace, will be obsolete, hopefully.