Sen. Ray Roberts speaks out

The result of the Referendum is a very clear and straightforward message from the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique to our Government that there are far more urgent and important issues affecting the well-being of people who ought to be given greater priority.

Boca Secondary School - was used as a polling station on Referendum Day

Boca Secondary School – was used as a polling station on Referendum Day

These include respect for what is written in the current constitution namely; the pension awarded to established public officers upon retirement.

Today, hundreds of Teachers, Public Officers and Police Officers who came into the public service after April 4th, 1983 and have retired are ignored and are subjected to poverty during their senior and most delicate years of their life.

The appointment of Public Officers as designated in our Constitution is violated through Agency appointments that disrespect this supreme law of the land. In addition, there is a proliferation of contract labour in the public service thus dismantling established, permanent appointments creating a cadre of officers with limited stability of tenure that are unable to develop economically in society.

One ought not to turn a blind eye to the Government completely ignoring the national outcry to save Camerhogne Park, the lone green space left on Grand Anse Beach that ordinary people pride as their own and come to socialise, mingle, entertain and even court.

The question is – why would reasonable thinking citizens and moreso the senior ones and their children, relatives and friends vote yes to amendments when the same Government gives only lip service to the greatest injustice ever dished out to them for their dedicated public service to this great nation – Grenada?

If what is written in the current Constitution is not presently honoured what guarantee do we have that the Government will honor an amended Constitution?

Clearly, the vast majority of the voting population – a staggering 50,000 out of just over 72,000 registered citizens chose to ignore the referendum and did not cast a vote – demonstrating what can be described as their lack of interest in this event; hence, their failure to become an active participant in the national dialogue.

Equally important is that of the 22,000 who voted the vast majority rejected each of the seven BILLS in spite of a massive campaign using young people to go house-to-house urging people to vote.
Interestingly, and extremely significant, is that many of these same young people failed to participate in the process.

I voted “NO” on each of the seven BILLS and I am absolutely unrepentant because it was the correct thing to do, demonstrating solidarity with, Police, Teachers, and Public Officers and all others affected.

My vote was not against Constructional Reform or even the process, but instead to clearly state that none of the Bills appeared to have a genuine intent and to demand that our Government recognise, listen to and respect the voice of ordinary people and what affects them as citizens of this nation.

Parliamentarians receive a pension and moreso only after serving two terms – I challenge and beg each recipient to put their pension on hold until Public Officers’ pension is honoured.

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