A letter dated April 12, 2013 from Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Mrs. Eunice Sandy-David to the Principals of schools on the island has been drawn to the attention of this newspaper.
The subject matter of the letter is a clear attempt by somebody in the Political Directorate to introduce a party manifesto to our nation’s children.
In the letter, Mrs. Sandy-David indicated that she was being “directed” to draw to the attention of the principals the need for them to read for themselves and to bring to the attention of their teachers the NNP 2013 Manifesto and specifically the portion that deals with Education and ICT.
Who issued this directive? Was it the Public Service Commission, the Minister of Education, Anthony Boatswain or the Cabinet of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell?
The other question is whether or not the PS in Education over-stepped her authority since it is the Chief Education Officer who normally deals directly with the schools and their principals.
However, this directive of a partisan political nature involving the NNP Manifesto being brought into the schools should be resisted by all and sundry regardless of their political persuasions.
Today it is the NNP manifesto in the schools to seek to influence our children and tomorrow it could be that of the National Democratic Congress, and at some other time in the future the National United Front (NUF) or even some other misguided group if the people make a mistake and elect them into office.
The current government should be careful about the move to introduce to our Nation’s schools any aspect of the NNP manifesto for discussion in the classroom.
This is setting a very dangerous precedent because at all times there should be a clear separation of powers between party and government in the affairs of the nation.
The letter is sending the wrong signals. It reminds one of the days of the 1979-83 Grenada Revolution when political classes were introduced at the work places.
It was mandatory for all civil servants to attend these classes in which political indoctrination was the name and aim of the game.
The then revolutionary leaders had a battery of hardline Marxist-Leninists from the Workers Party of Jamaica (WPJ) of Dr. Trevor Munroe who were often used as lecturers in some of the political classes.
Any worker who refused to attend these political indoctrination sessions as mandated by the PRG ran the risk of losing his/her job in the public service.
THE NEW TODAY would hate to believe that the left-wingers of yesteryear who are now in “bed” with the NNP are helping to influence the process, which resulted in Sandy-David writing to School Principals and trying to get them to introduce aspects of the NNP manifesto into the school system.
This was never attempted before by other governments formed by the Grenada United Labor Party (GULP) of the late Sir Eric Matthew Gairy, the original NNP of Herbert Blaize in the aftermath of the bloody events of 1983 or under other NNP governments of Dr. Mitchell.
So too, the Congress governments of Sir Nicholas Brathwaite, George Brizan, Dr. Francis Alexis and the recent one headed by Tillman Thomas did not attempt to introduce their partisan politics into the school system.
Please, Dr. Mitchell, this newspaper calls on you to intervene and make sure that the manifesto of the NNP, NDC or whichever political party is not introduced as part of the school curriculum in whatever form or guise.
This kind of behaviour was largely responsible for some of the resentment built up inside Grenadians to the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) and its 1979-83 Revolution.
Our schools are comprised of children whose parents come from all kinds of different political shades and background. It will be folly of anyone to try to engage in political indoctrination of the school kids whether through unsuspecting principals or teachers.
As a matter of fact, Grenada has several religious denominations and no one should force a Muslim, Anglican, Seventh Day Adventist, Catholic to subscribe to the religious philosophy and thinking of another religious sect.
The NNP as a party should not misinterpret the results of the February 19 general elections and it’s clean sweep at the polls in all fifteen constituencies.
It was never a vote or mandate given by the people to pave the way for a one-party state in Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.
The NNP should never forget that in 1999 it won all fifteen seats and four years later it was struggling to hold onto eight of the seats.
Our democracy is based on a two-party system and not on the model as perpetuated by Cuba and the Castros.
The manifesto of any political party has no place in the school system.