THE NEW TODAY have been listening to the many suggestions in the market place to tackle the myriads of problems facing Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.
A number of the ideas put forward are worthwhile for consideration – but none of them can be more important than the need to change the mindset of our people.
It is not an easy task given the quick fix syndrome of our political leaders who are always on the hussle and driven by the 5-year cycle of election into office.
Several years ago, a veteran politician made the comment that it was unwise to make a person become independent because one will lose his/her vote.
The message was clear – Tom Brown and Mary Brown had to be kept in a state of dependence in order to ensure that on Election Day they cast the vote in a particular direction.
Even if this statement was made 30 years ago, it is still relevant today and perhaps even more relevant given the reality of the present political construct and vicious cycle which so many of our people have now found themselves.
A recent letter writer made a simple statement on what he perceived to be the way out for our people. He said: “Education in the sense of the word is the key”.
The author was on the ball. An educated nation is needed to chart the course forward for this country and to get people to wise up to their plight in life and to understand that only through hard work, honesty, commitment, self-sacrifice and dedication to purpose that they can hope to see a better tomorrow.
The two major political parties in the country – NNP and NDC- will be recycled by the electorate every five years unless and until one of them break the shackles and start to address the real issues facing Grenada: The need for a change in the mindset of the people.
Herein lies the heart of the problem – in the words of the letter writer who was bang on target in identifying a particular malaise in the Grenadian society.
He said: “Ever since I was a child I have been hearing about Grenadians ripping off their own people, sometimes family members — running off with other people’s money; cheating them out of their savings; properties and so on. This still happens today with the older generation. I could not believe how dishonest and deceitful some people can be.
Since returning to Grenada, my wife and I have been victims on more than one occasion — people taking our money and promising to purchase materials and finish off jobs; however, on our return we find nothing has been done and these swindlers cannot be found and if you are lucky to find them they want more money to finish off jobs they should have finished months ago”.
THE NEW TODAY is totally in agreement with the above. There is a money culture that has swept over this land of ours and far too many are not prepared to give an honest day’s work for the kinds of monies they are demanding from persons.
If anyone had any doubt about the downright dishonesty of some of our people then just take a quick look back at the days after Hurricane Ivan created its havoc on our housing stock.
Almost overnight every little bus conductor and others who did not know how to use a spade or shovel became a Contractor and demanding big bucks from homeowners to help in the rebuilding process.
Our people were held ransom by these so-called Contractors who sprung up overnight just as how kidnappers in neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago were snatching the rich and mighty and asking for huge ransoms in exchange for their release.
Even today, some homeowners are still owed thousands of dollars by these so-called Contractors who failed to honour the contract and do the work that was agreed upon.
This is separate from those lousy insurance companies who were collecting monthly payments from clients, sending them off mainly to parent companies in Trinidad & Tobago and after Ivan did not have a penny to compensate homeowners for their losses incurred as a result of Ivan.
Today, the country is into the midst of a deep fiscal situation and most of our people are not prepared due to a lack of education and understanding to cope with the problem because of the dollar mentality.
Sadly, too many Grenadians are into this “gimme, gimme mentality” and hands always stretched out to collect some of the crumbs of offer from politicians who are only smartmen and prepared to keep them in a state of dependency.
The former rulers were thrown out of office for a number of reasons including late payment of salaries to civil servants and the failure to provide the conditions for business people to top up regularly on their bank accounts.
Today, the same people are now criticising the NNP for the many promises that remain unfulfilled – shortages of jobs especially for key party supporters and the imposition of a Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) that is eating away at their disposable income.
The policeman who voted for NNP is now complaining about the taxman dipping his hand too deep into his monthly pay check from the Ministry of Finance.
The vicious cycle of playing games with the people’s mind will continue – until and unless – the politicians decide to come clean with the people and educate them about the need to try and lift themselves up for their own development, as well as stop seeing government as the wherewithal to solve all their problems.
This untenable situation cannot continue in Grenada because the politician will always have to continue to walk the road of borrowing and spending to keep an expectant population happy with this “gimme, gimme mentality”.
If our people are not educated to understand the Grenada reality then every 20-25 years the name of the game in our part of the world will always be Structural Adjustment as we will be forced to deal with a fiscal deficit.