By William Joseph
Exactly four years ago, in November 2010, Tillman Thomas, then Prime Minister, reshuffled his Cabinet and all hell broke loose. Chester Humphrey appeared on national television to say to Grenadians and others that, “the Prime Minister must remember that the NDC was elected by a coalition of forces and taking Tourism away from Peter David amounted to an attack on the progressive forces”!
It is November, 2014, and we find three of the principal players, who back then executed a prolonged multi-pronged assault on Tillman Thomas, in the thick of things surrounding the recent Cabinet reshuffle by PM Mitchell.
Apart from him being the new player, Chester, Peter and Hamlet are all on the pitch, as they were in 2010. They are playing the ‘game of politics’ where Grenada loses its wickets without scoring. Contrastingly, they score as many runs as they wish, then seize and carry away the stumps and the balls. They have no use for rules or umpires. The spectating Grenadians are left in awe and pain!
The very Hamlet has embedded himself in the PM’s Office from where he wrote the speech announcing Alexandra’s down-grading, Peter’s ascent and Chester’s outfitting with newly customised robes and wigs! “All rise”! The Americans say, “In God We Trust”. We Grenadians say, “Ever Conscious of God”. No atheist can be President of the USA. Not so? On the day it happens in our Senate, the dry bones of Eric Matthew Gairy will sit up in his grave! The centre cemetery will tremble and the very foundation of our Nation will degrade. So what does that say about the state of our Nation?
Will ‘Church Grenada’ and others not raise and defend a most important national value? Will unbelief be hugged and embraced on the political altar and reign in the Presidency of our Senate? OH GRENADA! Hamlet will not blog about the ugly intrigues within the Administration as he did on Peter’s behalf from November 2010 to February 2013.
Do not expect him to blog on what PM Mitchell said to Alexandra in the Cabinet Room surrounding her removal, as he did in 2010, in service to Peter against Tillman Thomas. Perhaps he has now been conquered and bowed by the spirit of retribution.
Throughout those years, the battle raged on and climaxed in a failed palace coup. It is anyone’s guess as to whether the next attempt at a palace coup, scheduled for 2017, will be successful and give the ‘progressive forces’ in Grenada the reins of Government for a second time! All of us should be clear that both Peter and Chester are loyal to only one political leader, Comrade Bernard Coard, visible or otherwise.
Respect is always due the Prime Minister whether one supports him, agrees with him or not. However, it is clear that in the recent exercise of his constitutional authority to outfit his Cabinet and related senatorial arrangements, he has succeeded in doing two significant things, both of which must have entered his contemplation and awareness, but he proceeded nonetheless: Setting back the already broken economy.
There can be no disagreement over the fact that Grenada’s primary interest in this period and ongoing, is its economic welfare. In this regard, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Tourism are vitally important as mobilisers and generators of resources. A crucial test of the reshuffle then is whether strengthened capacity has been put in place for Grenada’s benefit.
The new appointees in those areas, not uncharitably, do not constitute natural or even forced-fits sufficient to give confidence that their management of these portfolios will advance Grenada’s best economic interests in the short-term. More is required. Significant institutional support in areas such as negotiations, development-thinking, relationship-building, diplomacy and representation will be needed, along with a willingness to learn Let us pray that they both receive the grace to become quick learners.
As for instability, the insertion and elevation of so-called “progressive forces” and the simultaneous jettisoning of the business class, for reasons of political expediency, will make many Grenadians uneasy. Whatever happened since John Watts’ successful initiative to have PM Keith Mitchell accepted by the Grenada upper classes, today, the evidence is that their representatives in Government may well be on course to become an internal opposition within the NNP, much like Michael Baptiste and Mark Isaac after the NNP’s clean sweep of 1999.
We know that the leftists among us are prepared to get State power by any means possible, including armed force. Is a message being sent to us that the retention of political power is to be achieved by any and all means? Where is this all heading? There is a light and darkness difference between inclusion and reconciliation and pay-back and individual opportunism. The notion of “Project Grenada” has already been pronounced a stillborn narrative.
Taken together, the bottom line really is where does the reshuffle put or leave Grenada? Second-guessing the PM’s judgment is not to be encouraged. We will never know what the problems or reasons were, but we now know where they were declared to be and who were involved. Some believe that complexes and kinks etched on the DNA are also involved.
As of last Thursday evening, Grenadians now have new code words for the concept of “heavy manners” made popular during the Revolution. Alexandra will “sit down dey” and feel the weight of the Prime Minister’s hand and mouth, in her new assignment in his Office. It is well known that exercised authority carries corresponding responsibility. The PM and his ministers have a responsibility to run and manage the affairs of Government.
If certain MPs fail to service their constituents, that ought not to be confused with needing opportunity and time to do so. Hence that particular rationale falls flat on its face! Here we are then in the midst of a Structural Adjustment Programme with economic and social hardships aplenty, but we are served a bowl of ‘political stew’ in keeping with the soul of the ‘Esau nation’ that we have sadly become. In my book entitled, “FRUITFUL DAYS…My Political Soul delivered,” you will read the following:
“It is a painful diminution of our Grenadian civilisation that we have been led into becoming a desperate people, although we are well able to do better.”