Independence – an idea that has to be nurtured

As Caribbean people our emergence from slavery and colonialism was a necessity. Our former political principals the Manleys, Dr Williams, Messrs Barrow, Marryshow, Gairy and Donovan, to name a few leaders, all played their part in breaking the ties that bound us to the egregious system of colonialism.

But although we have progressed as a region in some areas, we continue to stumble and falter, primarily because we have not replaced the old system that governed us with a new one that comprehensively embraces the times we live in, and hence, works for us.

How can we continue to swear allegiance to a monarch that we sought and attained independence from forty-three years ago, and still contend that we are independent? Why do we receive development aid from a friendly nation, but have to sacrifice our country’s look and image as the price for the assistance?

Independence is an idea that has to be nurtured. When a country is granted Independence, to put it colloquially, the work now start. We cannot sit by the window and gaze out at a world that is passing us by.

In Grenada today, too long after our independence was granted, we are only now naming some places of consequence after deserving citizens. To some people this exercise is still akin to pulling teeth. Almost everything we have is still named after foreigners, the people who were in charge of our affairs during our colonialist past.

Take the Sendall tunnel as an example. This signature city feature is named after an English Governor. Queen’s Park, Queen Elizabeth home etc, and the list goes on and on.




I heard murmurings the other day of a plan aimed at restoring the Carenage to its heyday. But instead of first cleaning up this magnificent national attribute, and then re-moulding its proud and original image; the suggestion seems to be primarily focused on putting some type of mega yacht facility in the basin that is similar to the ones that exists in far-flung places like the French Riviera or Monaco.

There has to be a comprehensive development plan for Grenada that is Grenadian, whether culture or heritage based, or fashioned by any other label. We have to decide what WE want and do it, not wait for someone from outside to come and guide us as to how to go about it.

If a plan exists, someone needs to dust it off and take it down from the shelf. The patently repetitious annual program rolled out every February 7th where we march in parades, salute military formations and marching bands, raise the national flag, dance around on a stage, wear national colours and cook oil down, is not enough.

But in order to grow and advance as a nation, we have to first believe in ourselves as a people. Our lack of self esteem was palpably demonstrated recently when we refused to reform our outdated 43 year old constitution by embracing our own court of appeals, and opting for some other bills that would untie us from the apron strings of the old country that we supposedly became independent of in 1974.

Maybe one day, in the hopefully not too distant future, we would be able to set aside the self debilitating political war of attrition that exists in our small country today, open our minds to change, welcome progress, and move forward together for the benefit of all Grenadians.

I live in hope.

 Roger Byer

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