It’s unbelievable that 12 months have elapsed since we celebrated the previous Christmas, and we’re at the culmination of another calendar year. The most important thing about the year is that we, who are alive, were showered with God’s grace and are able to enjoy another Christmas with family and friends. Our survival had nothing to do with how clever we are, how rich or poor we are, or with any personal attribute or achievement.
In quick retrospect, 2016 seemingly was dominated by 2 things: internationally, the United States presidential election; and locally, as usual, politics — primarily, the attempt to reform the constitution that led to the holding of a national referendum on 24 November.
There’s no denying that the Donald Trump that the world has come to know — through his political campaigning — is a crude vulgarian; that he beat a field of nearly 20 candidates to win the Republic Party’s presidential nomination was a surprise. But, in our view, the fact that he beat Democratic Party presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is less surprising.
We suspect that even the internal polling of the Democratic Party was indicating to members that Clinton was going to lose. In the non-political realm, especially among non-Americans, Hillary Clinton is highly popular and a favourite. But in the world of politics, which has a reality of its own, she is disliked and distrusted.
Grenada and the rest of the Caribbean have long depended on US largesse, even though material support from the Americans has been diminishing and is picayune, compared to United States assistance to other regions of the world. It would seem, however, that the Caribbean could anticipate even less help from a President Donald Trump, with Trump’s focus on issues such as fighting and defeating terrorism and making “America great again.”
The Grenada referendum process, despite the hard work of Dr Francis Alexis and his team, was bedevilled by Grenada’s tribal politics. Each of the seven proposed amendments needed a two-third vote of support from electors; a daunting requirement that must command backing across party lines. Grenada and its political parties have not had consensus on anything in more than a generation — even longer if truth be told. And, though various arguments and reasons were proffered on the constitution reform process and its flaws, and the issuing of repeated calls for changes to be made and for delays to be instituted, the fact is that many never wanted the process to success; but, few were willing or courageous enough to say that openly and honestly.
We would like to highlight a few things we would wish for in the New Year, 2017.
- That Grenadian refrain from using the word ‘persons’ so frequently. Invariably, ‘persons’ is misused and the constant uttering of the word is frankly annoying.
- That more support be afforded, government-employed national cultural leaders. These leaders, headed by Senator Brenda Hood, are passionate about their work and have been doing a good job. But, we believe much more could be achieved with a little extra help.
- That the US provides the true and complete picture about interference in other countries affairs. Lots of American politicians are in a fit of rage, over claims that Russia interfered with the US presidential elections, with the purpose of helping Donald Trump. However, all who know their history can point to empirical evidence of US interference overseas; even right now in Venezuela.
- And finally, that our own Senator Nazim Burke provides the true and complete story about what he alleges are attempts to “starve’’ him of employment; that may be true, it may not be. What we do know, from his time as NDC finance minister, is that many longtime party members suffered job victimisation, and the constituencies of some of his own cabinet colleagues were ‘starved,’ simply because he believed they were not facilitating his ambition of becoming leader of the National Democratic Congress.