Grenada Honours First Prime Minister

In addition to title of “Father of Independence” Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell announced that Sir Eric Matthew Gairy will be honoured with new initiatives in celebration of the Grenada’s 40th Independence.

“In expression of gratitude for his life’s work and vision, Government has taken the decision — among other recognitions yet to be unveiled — to rename the Tanteen Roundabout and the Botanical Gardens after Sir Eric Matthew Gairy,” Prime Minister Mitchell said when he delivered his speech at a 40th Independence rally on Friday.

Sir Eric was the Prime Minister who had the idea to build roundabouts at cross roads as a means of facilitating a smooth flow of traffic in the absence of traffic lights.

“Today, the result of Sir Eric’s bold Independence experiment is visible, and is mirrored in the academic, sporting, and professional exploits of our people, and in the building and sustaining of this democracy through 40 years,” Dr Mitchell said as he spoke about the many initiatives undertaken by the then Prime Minister despite according to history his faced strong resistance from opposition political parties.

Besides the renaming of the Tanteen Roundabout and the Botanical Gardens, a stamp was unveiled to remember Sir Eric, and will go on sales as of 10 February 2014. This is the first former Prime Minister to have his photo placed on a stamp.

PM Mitchell told thousands attending the rally that after forty years, it is time for Grenadians to wean themselves of some of the remaining vestiges of colonialism — and so this is a fitting year for constitutional reform.

“Yes, fellow citizens, the time is right for us to have our home-grown Constitution. Let us seize the moment as we prepare for a referendum on our new Constitution later this year,” he said, as he called for citizens to support the initiative to redefine national identity within a more suitable framework for long term development.

Earlier in the year Government established a National Advisory Committee on Constitution Reform and that committee is spearheading effort for constitution reform. Grenada is a former colony of Great Britain which became a sovereign state on 7 February 1974.

by Linda Straker

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