Nicholas Sparks is on record as saying – “You are going to come across people in your life who will say all the right words at all the right times. But in the end, it’s always their actions you should judge them by. It’s actions, not words that matter.”
This very pertinent prose should come into prominence after listening to Dr. Keith Mitchell – Grenada’s Prime Minister as he delivered his Independence Message at the activities to mark the observance of our 40th anniversary of independence from Great Britain.
Grenada as we know has been dubbed by renowned Historian and Economist, George Brizan as the “Island of Conflict” and he could not be more correct. Over its forty years of independence it is a known fact based on experience that the people of Grenada suffer no shortage of history while in the column of real progress, they come up very short.
Poor leadership after the overthrow of Eric Gairy, whom many were brainwashed (through manufactured struggle) to believe was this wicked dictator until they experienced the “Marxist Revolution” led by “ultra-leftist” avaricious elements who paraded the charismatic Maurice Bishop in front to gain acceptance, and having succeeded pounced on the people – as if to develop their own version of a tropical paradise for their privileged Soviet, East German, Lybian, and Cuban friends.
When one looks back at the early period of our post-independence history, one could not help but appreciate that Sir Eric displayed tremendous vision to have accepted the request of Charles Modica to start the St. George’s University School of Medicine; set his eyes on the building of an international airport in the same area where it is located today; focused on agriculture with land for the landless buttressed by regular agricultural exhibitions to show what’s possible; beginning the process of putting our tourism development together by way of promotions and marketing; constructing several round-abouts with a view to making our traffic at extremely busy intersections flow more efficiently; opening and operating a national zoo; establishing several playing fields, tennis, basket-ball and netball courts around the island.
It was also Sir Eric who commenced the process of universal secondary education for ALL through to the tertiary level with his University Without Walls concept – from which the T. A. Marryshow Community has evolved; hosted the CARIFTA Expo ’69; appointed with the approval of Great Britain our first native Governor who became the first female Governor in the British Commonwealth; having the foresight to sponsor a participant in the 1970 Miss World pageant and through the suave of Jennifer Hosten, Grenada being hoisted into prominence with an effortless victory; and starting an annual Easter extravaganza dubbed – Easter Water Parade – later disbanded by the succeeding People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) – among several other activities which the benefit of hindsight has many realizing that he has proved himself to be a leader of vision.
Instead, he was promoted as a laughing stock of the region by his local detractors with a penchant to manufacture a struggle against him, with a greed for power to further their own agenda which was resisted by the people at the polls – many of whom showed their private disgust and or opposition to their Marxist ideology.
One was not unreasonable to anticipate that the PRG would have taken Grenada to higher heights building on what they met from the Gairy era. But they also embarked on dismantling many of his positive programmes, and having ended up with some of Gairy’s unreleased programmes through regular raids on the mostly unsecure ministries of Finance, Education, Social Services and Agriculture – they presented same as theirs……best example is the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).
Interestingly, it was always a pleasure to listen to Eric Gairy deliveries. He was the dapper, self-taught and self-styled eloquent presenter of speeches whether on ceremonial occasions or just regular chit chats. Something that cannot be said about any of his successors to date – except for Maurice Bishop who was known to have had the ability and did deliver exceptional official speeches.
On the contrary, listen to the visionless, counterfeit leader that we have today, who some mistakenly believe to be charismatic! Oh how regressive we have become in terms of our very thinking. Indeed, we are on the verge of a travesty. Anyone who listens year after year to the repeats of Sir Eric’s Independence speech to the Parliament of Grenada ought to agree with this.
As it relates to Dr. Mitchell’s 40th anniversary independence speech delivered at the Independence Day celebrations at the National Stadium – as to content, he ought to get full marks. As to delivery – it has to be a zero! He was so unreal, it isn’t funny. Dr. Mitchell is totally out of character when it comes to speaking anything positive. He is too steeped and versed in expediency to be taken seriously. Remember this man has been in local politics since 1972 and with his stint abroad from shortly after that to 1983 – we have had more than sufficient time to understand the nature of this being– as we have experienced him in his hay day (1995-2008).
While he is delivering on the need for us to exercise fiscal responsibility, he continues to pay three of his parliamentarians full salary as ministers of government with no ministerial responsibility. How fiscally responsible/reckless is that? Recall – it’s actions not words that matter.
Dr. Mitchell in his Independence Day speech said everything that he should do but won’t do – yet for all he has so many fooled to think that he would. For instance – on his call for national unity. One other thing is that he is definitely not the man to unite this country. He is by practice a divisive individual with an ongoing track record to prove it.
Experience has taught us only too well, that now he is in power and genuine unification of our people /reconciliation with the several people of substance he has marginalized is needed to take us out of the economic mess his excesses of 1995-2008 have put us in, as made more obvious by the terrible effects of the international financial/economic crisis – we cannot look for that from him.
It is a pity that what’s left of our local “intelligencia” are not and will never be attracted to support his focus on governing with no concern for the importance of a planned and thought out programme for the country’s development. Therein lies his “narcissistic” inclination:- to be driven in a state vehicle surrounded by security detail as if there is reason to be protected from the people who supported him and in fact ensured that his party secured all fifteen seats in the last general election less than 12 months ago – when in truth and in fact he may well be seeking state protection from those shady characters of the past that came in as investors and ended up in jail in the U.S – some of them might be out soon after serving time.
I often get the impression that Dr. Mitchell suffered badly from status frustration while in opposition from 2008-2013. Too many people thought nothing of him during that powerless period. You know, it is quite understandable that only when someone of his background is out of power how far removed his friends of convenience (when in power) would act towards him.
We must remember him after winning for the second time all fifteen seats musing that he asked God what he has done to deserve this. Of course he was thinking of it as good based on how narcissistic he is known to be. Yes, God well knew that he should be punished for all his many excesses. He also did not expect that he was returning to the scene of his excesses to clean it up after such a short break which the NDC’s efforts failed at correcting (as only the maker of such mess deserves to clean it up). He wanted the power so much and now he received it – he has no clue what to do with the financial mess he created – and any fool can see that.
Dr. Mitchell ought to be ashamed of where he has taken this nation between 1995 and 2008, to the point where the country cannot weather the storm of the effects of the international financial/economic crisis and having to end up in the jaws of the International Monetary Fund. He could jump high or low – mark these words:
He has to cut substantial numbers in the public service whether he likes it or not and whether the Unions sign to the wage freeze or not. He has to forget the “mamaguy” Imani programme which it is alleged that some members of the business community are tapping into while the cash-strapped government pays the workers and he has to lower the income tax threshold to $2,000.00 There goes all the promises he made about “jobs, jobs, jobs” which reality shows he cannot deliver.
One word of advice to Dr. Mitchell and all his parasitic followers both within the Cabinet and outside, these are very hard times which require serious planning to get us out of. Being obsessed with governing will not work in these times. This is where true and real national unity is called for so that the marginalized competent professionals can be included to help rescue Grenada from those currently serving described by Standard and Poors in its recent report as “weak” and “limited”.
We should therefore end as we started: “You are going to come across people in your life who will say all the right words at all the right times. But in the end, it’s always their actions you should judge them by. It’s actions, not words that matter.” Nicholas Sparks.
Real Friends of Grenada