by Norris Mitchell
Readers, especially the youth who are interested in Grenada’s mythology, I present “The house that Jack inherited.”
A myth, as the dictionary would describe, is a fictional story of the leader of a society, expressed as a legend with a moral lesson — a guide for the present and the future.
Once upon a time, over 7 decades ago there was born a baby boy in the happy hills of Grenada, who for the purpose of this narrative shall be named “Jack”. As a young lad, he was required to assist in the daily chores of the household, one of which was to carry to the field his father’s lunch, where he was engaged in subsistence farming. As time went by it was discovered that something was missing in the lunch provided, which caused his father to complain, “Where is the meat?”
Not much is known of his primary school days, but it would appear that Jack was a good secondary school student and continued his education by attending one of the universities in the West Indies, graduating with a degree in mathematics.
After teaching for some time at his alma mater, he gained employment with a shipping company. After many years on the job as manager, it was discovered that a considerable sum of money was missing from the company. This led to an investigation, resulting in the dismissal of the manager, and it was reported that he had to sign an agreement with the company to repay the amount over a period of time or to face the law courts.
Jack was in a jam, and instead of facing the music, so to speak, decided to abscond to another country in order to escape the penalty of his deeds. In that country, he managed to further his education by attending a black university where he obtained a “doctorate” in statistics. It is said that he taught mathematics at that said university.
Jack continued to live and work in the new country for many years, where he was a successful businessman, and began to get involved in the politics of Grenada in the diaspora. It was rumoured that he was a CIA agent at one time during the turbulent 1979-1983 period in the politics of his homeland, but was unable to return to Grenada as he was considered persona non gratia (an undesirable person) in his own country.
As time went by his interest in Grenada’s politics grew, and a decision was made to return to his homeland at the end of the turbulent period in order to engage in front line politics. This he did by representing the people of the happy hills of Grenada and the surrounding areas in his first election — which he lost — but thereafter for the next 30 years or so, to the present (2020) has been that constituency representative in the parliament of Grenada, as a member of the party which has the “House” as its electoral symbol.
Jack became a prominent member of the ‘House’ (the party), and over time became its General Secretary. As General Secretary, he was in a key position to direct the affairs of the party, and in a convention, was able to manipulate the system, where he was elected leader of the party.
As leader of the party and later as prime minister for many a decade, it would appear that Jack’s mantra is to win elections at any cost, in what has now become a one-party state, without a vision, intent on monopolising political power. This situation has resulted in the unstable condition of the foundations of the house, where the supporting pillars of the economy – such as health, agriculture, agri-business and physical infrastructure have been abandoned for so long, that the superstructure of job security, reliable transportation and the failure of the rural economy, is nearing collapse. In other words, the house that Jack inherited is no longer the house of today on account of the many undemocratic and reckless changes which he instituted over the years in a get rich quick economic policy, which has been unsustainable.
In addition to the above scenario, it must not go unmentioned that Jack’s greed and propensity for political power led him to tinker with the independent democratic institutions of his country, such as the Public Service Commission, the electoral process and certain aspects of the constitution which have been hijacked for partisan political interests. The most recent is his attempt to “privatise” the long-standing and independent nutmeg and cocoa associations of his country in order to have control of the viable agricultural resources of the state, thus improvising the tillers of the soil, which must not be allowed to happen.
And “as the wire bend and the story end”, a very recent incident which occurred in Jack’s little black country must be told. A working class black man was set upon, beaten and traumatised by a white family of 4), because he accidentally killed their dog with his van. The wife of the black man sought help from the black police, whose motto is “to protect and serve”, and was told to seek the service of a lawyer. Does BLACK LIVES REALLY MATTER in the little mythical black country of carnival, jab jab, calypso and soca? This query was answered a few days later, when a demonstration of many hundreds filled the area demanding from the police “Justice for all”.
The moral of this legendary story is that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. The lesson(s) learnt is that there comes a time when the system becomes saturated with corrupt practices and can no longer sustain itself. At such a time the passing parade is long overdue, making way for a new beginning under an enlightened dispensation which empowers the people in an equitable and progressive society.