By Lloyd Noel
We have now gone past the two years, since the Controllers achieved the total support of the electorate to run the nation’s affairs — and the milestone of forty-one years, since our tiny nation gained Independence from the British Government in 1974.
What or how much we achieved — in those forty-one years as an independent nation-state — would be a matter of individual opinions and the political outlook of the commentators.
As to what was achieved — since the clean-sweep victory at the polls two years ago by the Controllers, that can be seen or recognized in the various communities if any, or answered in the negative without much effort.
But whatever the answers maybe — by those persons with differing viewpoints or those who have or owe allegiance to the Controllers for whatever reasons — the situation across the Tri-Island state is quite visible for all and sundry to recognize without much effort.
And from all appearances — that situation is not encouraging or reassuring, for the many thousands of our people who have been unemployed and have no other means of earning a living for ever so long.
The messages and promises coming from the controllers — after the two years of no positive activities on their part, in keeping with the promises and programs they boasted about to win all the seats over two years ago — these have now been forgotten or discarded for reasons known only to those in charge.
As for the program submitted by the referendum committee to the government — about which the people will have to vote for or against when the polls are held, to give the government a two-thirds majority so as to bring about the Reformation of the Constitution — that program and the voting date seem to have taken a back seat for the past few months — and nothing has been heard about its status for the new year thus far.
The sale of Grenadian passports to nationals in the Far East, and the program for foreigners to invest in Grenada, to bring about employment opportunities for our thousands of unemployed nationals in the Tri-Island state — those two activities seem very quiet for the new year thus far.
Whatever is happening behind the scenes, in the interest of providing employment for our loads of needy families, who are so dependent on those daily paid jobs to maintain themselves — these will be very welcome because things are very rough among those unemployed folks.
As far as the bits of news — about foreigners coming to our shore, to start up businesses that will provide some needy jobs are concerned these are also in great need for many families, and the sooner they can come in so much the better because things are very rough.
But if the sale of passports to foreigners, and their coming to the islands to start up businesses that will be providing jobs – if that program also means, that in holding a Grenadian passport they will thereby be entitled to vote – in a referendum to amend our constitution — then that will be going much too far in my humble opinion.
Lately I have been hearing news items — about Chinese nationals coming to the island — by government officials on the topic of investment — but no details were provided about the whole scheme and how it will affect their nationality in holding a Grenadian passport.
I also find it very strange, that the NDC officials are not saying anything publicly — on the whole matter of the sale of our passports, to nationals of far Eastern states which are not members of the British Commonwealth of Nations.
I am puzzled as to whether their silence can be interpreted as being in agreement with the Controllers – and they too see our future as being aligned to far Eastern states, and outside the commonwealth that we have been accustomed to from way back in history.
There can be no denying — that the economic situation in our Tri-Island state, is in dire need of very widespread assistance to help in the provision of employment for our people.
Our national government by itself — whether NDC or now NNP or any other party – cannot provide the ways and means, to produce the level of employment needed by our people to look after themselves.
But there are standards and principles, and human rights provisions and our religious upbringing — that we cannot ignore, in looking for and choosing providers of economic opportunities and employment, to get our people out of the chaotic situation we are now facing.
But as bad as things may become, or how much longer they may last before getting so much better — we should not be lowering our standards and principles, to attract outsiders who may have other ideas and motivations for coming to our assistance.
So that the interest being shown by far eastern states of investing in the Spice Isle — as well as the controllers eagerness to trade our independence with those foreigners — these and those must be viewed with the greatest suspicion and resisted islandwide with no reservation.
We have had some bitter experiences of human rights restrictions — and denial of freedom of movement by government in Grenada in the 1970s; we cannot go back down that road, no matter what are the promises being publicized by the Controllers to win support.
It is therefore our abounding duty and solemn responsibility, to be very cautious and wary about whatever is being published — to win our support and change our national image down the road.
We need some changes to assist the movement from where we are to where we want to be — but those changes must not be from all kinds of outrageous decisions, that will affect our people in the years ahead.