by Devonson La Mothe
Highly frustrated by the negative attitude of the leaders of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) towards the CCJ, which suggests a fragmented loyalty to Grenada/ Caribbean institutions, I visited the party’s website to get an indication what the party really believed in.
I thought that at least there would be a copy of its constitution there, which would satisfy my curiosity. The preambles of political party constitutions usually expound on their different philosophies. However, I did not find much about NDC’s beliefs on the website. Indeed, there was no constitution there: a disappointing contradiction, at a time when there is so much talk about the content of Grenada’s constitution, and its availability for public scrutiny.
What was on the website was a puzzling claim that the NDC was a liberal party, walking in the footsteps of American liberals, who believed in the ‘Rights of Man’, such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, separation of church and state, gender and race equality and social equality.
For years, important Third World personalities have been lecturing us about the importance of modifying First World ideas to suit our unique historical and cultural conditions, when we use them, but it is not evident that the NDC leaders are aware of this. As a result, there was not much on the website to indicate the particular stance of the party on such things as slavery and human trafficking, independence and national sovereignty, racism, war, colonialism and decolonisation, poverty and wealth, the human person and human development, and the regional integration movement. One of the questions in my mind now is: What do the leaders of the NDC (and also the NNP) expect us to understand by the word “national” in the name of their parties?
The philosophies of political parties are important for giving parties their mission, instilling cohesion among their members, defining what the parties are really about, and attracting new members to them. I am wondering what the leaders of the NDC wish to make their party attractive to Grenadians, who are desirous of joining a modern forward-looking political party. Is it their present leadership? Is it their stated ideals as present on their website? Is it their most hated political opponents? Is it their representation during the elections as being a “tie party”, which seems to make them merely an exclusive club? Is it their facile election song “NNP Fraid Nazim, which in fact is an example of a waste of people’s time and money in the world?
CLR James has told us that it is always important that we as Caribbean people know with certainty where we have come from and where we are going to. How will what is present on the NDC’s website indicate to Grenadians who we are, where we have come from and where we are going to, at this critical time of our history, when we are being called upon to make decisions that will change forever our history and “our Caribbean civilization” as Ralph Gonsalves often calls our region.
The Right Excellent Marcus Garvey, Jamaica’s premier national hero, once said that it is only by unity of will that Black people will be able to play an equal part with others upon the great human stage of activity. The leaders of the NDC have a lot of rethinking to do. One of the things they urgently need to do is to put their house in order. Secondly, they must show, that like Mia Mottley, they are ready for national and regional leadership. The fact that our independence is incomplete provides an opportunity for individuals and political parties to get involved in the final battles to get there. It also, therefore, provides an opportunity for us to pay tribute in the future, not only to one Father, but to many pioneers of Independence. In Barbados, The Right Excellent Grantley Adams (BLP) and The Right Excellent Errol Barrow (DLP), the leaders of opposing political parties in the 1960s and 1970s have both been elevated to the status of national heroes. It pains me greatly that the NDC leadership remains blind to possibilities like these. It pains me greatly too that there are people in Grenada, who feel that somehow we should feel guilty about being passionate and optimistic about the CCJ.
After years of colonial psychological degradation, we have won the right to have our own final appellate court. Therefore, it’s a shame that the leaders of the NDC, at best, want to infect us with what Dr Martin Luther King used to refer to as “the tranquilising drug of gradualism,” or at worse, want us to “go into a deep freeze”, on our way to full democracy. In clamouring for the ‘Rights of Man’ for Black Americans in the 1960s, Dr. King used to say that Black Americans did not want some, but all of their rights, that they were not prepared to wait a hundred years, or 50 years or 25 years for their rights. Black Americans wanted their rights, not the next year, nor the next week. They wanted all their rights at that very moment. Anselm Clouden, I must applaud you for publicly declaring your support for the CCJ Bill. You are not like those who Gairy would say wish to continue to hang on to the coat tails of the British. All Grenadians must go out and vote yes for the CCJ on Referendum Day.