It’s time to call it quits, Mr. Prime Minister

The Prime Minister’s address at the “Government’s rally” in Gouyave on July 8th  had been billed as an account of his government’s performance over the past four years.

This was one of the most remarkable speeches made by the Prime Minister during his four years in office. It was refreshing to hear the Prime Minister give such an accurate and honest account of where we are in Grenada after four years of this Tillman Thomas “led” Government.

What was so remarkable was the Prime Minister’s admission of his failed leadership, his failed policies and his failure to deliver on his election promises. In a nutshell, his failure to perform throughout his four years in office.

The Prime Minister started by saying, and this is quoted word for word, that “we are challenged to fulfill our commitment to the citizens, particularly in the area of employment for our young people.”

He then went on to talk about the “political immaturity, personal selfish ambitions, individual agendas” and the “lack of core principles” and “serious infringements” from within his own Government. These are not insignificant statements. These statements are a damming admission of his, and his NDC Government’s failure to fulfill their most basic responsibilities to the people of Grenada.

This NDC Government’s employment record is the worse in living memory. Today, the unemployment rate in Grenada is estimated to be in excess of fifty percent. Put is basic terms, one in two adult Grenadians is without work and there are few, genuine signs of improvement. In fact, some say it will get even worse before we see any real signs of improvement.

The Prime Minister specifically singled out his failure to meet the employment needs of our youth. Yet in his 2008 Manifesto, he claims his youth development programme is based on the principle that “every youth has value, every youth can earn, every youth must contribute to nation building”.

The Prime Minister’s promise and the realities of what he has delivered after four years cannot be more different. Failure to address the employment needs of our youth means that the Prime Minister has failed to recognise; the value of our youth, he has failed to enable our youth to earn, and he has failed to harness the contribution our youth can make to the development of our nation.

The downturn in the global economy is of course an important consideration, but it is also an easy and convenient excuse for the Government’s failure to create an environment that supports job retention and job creation.

Opportunity, after opportunity has been presented to this Government over the past four years, opportunities that would have generated hundreds if not thousands of jobs for Grenadians. But instead, projects initiated by the previous NNP administration were either abandoned or severely delayed.

Investors were chased away and the few committed investors that have remained, are frustrated and disheartened. Job creation opportunities have simply been squandered through paranoia, incompetence, and the bloody mindedness of this Tillman Thomas “led” administration.

In the NDC’s 2008 Manifesto, the Prime Minister claimed to have recruited “a team of competent, caring and committed political leaders”. Four years on, the Prime Minister describes the same members of his own Government as being immature, selfish and lacking in principles, and of having committed serious infringements that threatens to derail his Government.

The Prime Minister is admitting to his failure as a political leader. He is admitting to loosing control of his dysfunctional Government that continues to disintegrate at an ever-increasing rate, not to mention the implosion of the NDC party for which he is supposed to be the political leader.

The Prime Minister asked us to put our “shoulders to the wheel” in the interest of our national development. This is surely hypocritical? What example is he showing us when it comes to unity, co-operation and buckling down to work that is in the national interest?

The disunity and breakdown of his Government and his Party, which started within the first few months of his administration, is now public knowledge and spoken about openly by no less a person than himself. Does the Prime Minister not realise that to successfully govern Grenada, especially through this difficult period, a united government is required?

No wonder we are in the state we are in today with mass unemployment, a high cost of living, low levels of investment, even higher levels of debt, social disharmony, the list goes on.

The Prime Minister said that his Government’s progress has “not been as fast as we desire, but it is as fast as we can go in the current circumstances”.

What is unforgivable, is knowing that more effort has been expended by the Prime Minister and his Government on fighting between themselves, rather than focusing on what they were elected to do – to run the country for the betterment of the people.

The “current circumstances” for the greater part, are of his own making. He has failed to focus the efforts, minds and full resources of his Government to tackle the problems every Grenadian faces day in and day out. Does the Prime Minister not realise that ultimate responsibility lies with him?

The Prime Minister asks us to be patient and that betterment takes time. Grenadians have been patient, they have given this NDC Government time and they have been very patient for the past four years. How can the Prime Minister expect the people of Grenada to be patient when all they can see is failure after failure?

Times are not getting easier, they are getting harder and harder with every passing day. This is regardless of the economic theory fed to us by the Minister of Finance. Whether we are technically in a recession or not, the people of Grenada are suffering and there is little realistic hope in sight.

Tillman Thomas’ closing battle cry was that he wanted to “…face the next elections as a renewed, re-energised and united team, under one leader”. Is this a joke? When he was voted into office, did his supporters not think they were electing an energised and united team with one leader?

It is incredible that four years into his administration, this is his pledge to Grenada. It is pitiful to hear this from the Prime Minister. It is evident to any onlooker, that the single focus of the Prime Minister throughout his four years in office has been his attempt to hold his broken administration and party together.

It is a sad admission that after so long, he has failed to even achieve the basic goal of leading a functioning government. It is even sadder knowing that his failure as a political leader, has been at the expense of every man, woman and child in Grenada.

After this catalogue of failures, how can the Prime Minister honestly claim to have achieved seventy five per cent of his 2008 Manifesto? This is delusional at best, some may say his claim is a downright lie. A basic review of the NDC’s 2008 Manifesto would struggle to identify a success rate of more than ten percent.

What is blatantly obvious is the Government’s massive failure rate, its failure to deliver in virtually every area of its manifesto – from housing to health care; from education to human resource development; from youth development to caring for our senior citizens; from the management of the economy to the strengthening of the private sector; from tourism to foreign policy; from the development of Carriacou and Petite Martinique to the maintenance of our national infrastructure; the list goes on and on.

After four years of this Tillman Thomas “led” Government, the people of Grenada have been patient and have given his NDC Government time. It is now time for a real change, a change for the better.

 Paul Gittens

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