Mahatma Gandhi once wrote, “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean, if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become filthy.”
It is in this context that the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique should never lose faith in humanity and also never lose faith in Prime Minister Hon. Tillman Thomas and the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Prime Minister Tillman Thomas’ life is his message. He is a lover of his own liberties and as such he would do absolutely nothing to restrict the liberties of the people of these Spice Isles.
The Prime Minister is a product of his thoughts. What he thinks is what he lives and what he becomes. He sees himself as a soldier in the politics for Christ. I will further bestow on him that he also a soldier of peace, accountability, transparency, and good governance.
Like all the great rulers before him he has his shortcomings and limitations; however, he has a good heart and despite efforts to vilify and demonise him, he goes to the Botanical Gardens everyday as a servant of the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
The Hon Tillman Thomas cannot be referred to as an advocate of any of the seven social sins which are: politics without principle, wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, and worship without sacrifice.
Instead he is a very strong advocate of the principles of accountability, transparency and good governance. His philosophy is one that speaks of politicians as being the servants of the people.
PM Thomas withstood the test of time, serving time at the Richmond Hill Prison in 1979 for his beliefs and eventually leading the NDC to defeat the formidable NNP under the leadership of Dr. Keith Mitchell when that party was at the pinnacle of political power. As a people we should never forget this.
There are parallels which can be drawn by the political life of Prime Minister, the Hon Tillman Thomas and that of the first black president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela.
As Grenada prepares for yet another general election due in 2013, the electorate should search deep within their soul and ensure that the Hon Tillman Thomas is given a second term in office.
The Grenadian economy is slowly recovering from the 2008 meltdown. The NDC administration has stabilised the economy and the country could suffer another major economic meltdown if the wrong policies are implemented again. These policies under the NNP which ruled Grenada from 1995-2008 resulted in our national debt rising from a mere $340 million to a mammoth $1.8 billion dollars.
These reckless policies of the NNP, the lack of accountability, transparency and good governance caused Grenada to be embroiled in political, social and economic instability, partisanship and division. That is the context of the upcoming general elections and, as stark as it may appear to be or made to be by the opposition forces, the choice is just as clear.
Prime Minister Tillman Thomas and his administration, despite the many challenges, both internal and external, have shown a firm commitment of using the power of government to help foster sustainable economic growth.
The government’s five-point strategy to develop the economy is an excellent platform in the short and long term to create employment opportunities for the populace especially the young people.
Given the state of the global economy, with most of the major economies of the world, including the United States, struggling to show major economic growth, the NDC through the stewardship of the Minister of Finance has formed sensible budget policies aimed at creating jobs for the middle and lower class, and at the same time save the social safety net to protect the powerless.
The NDC has impressive achievements, despite the implacable wall of refusal erected by the opposition so intent on stopping the administration, even if they know that their actions run the risk of pushing the nation into further economic depression. This is an opposition that the nation is aware of having a very poor record at good governance.
The opposition will say and do whatever they think their base will want to hear. Grenadians know the true motive of the opposition, which is gaining political power by any means necessary. The opposition continues to criticise the policies of the NDC over the last four years, with the aim of trying to get the people to forget that they are the architects of the situation that the country now finds itself in.
They are bent on creating a poisonous atmosphere, with the hope that the population will overlook the NDC’s many important achievements including: the elimination of the national reconstruction levy, NRL, boundary delimitation treaty with the government of Trinidad and Tobago, public sector reform and human resource development, the depoliticizing of the public service, the repeal of the criminal libel law for media practitioners, the five-point initiative for the development of the economy, advances in education, restoration of the country’s creditworthiness and image in the international community, improvement in the ease of doing business, servicing of the national debt, youth empowerment and development, rehabilitation of the agricultural sector, manufacturing and agro-industries, among others.
As the opposition attacks the government they have failed to present a viable and sensible alternative for the growth of the economy. The NNP is behaving like Governor Mitt Romney of the Republican Party who claimed that he would create 12 million new jobs when he became President but couldn’t articulate how he would do it.
The NNP claims to have all the solutions to our problems but has not presented a single concrete one to the nation. It’s the same old rhetoric that they have presented over and over again. The NNP can promise all kinds of things because the policies of the National Democratic Congress have already put the country on track to produce them.
An NDC defeat would threaten the gains that we have achieved for the past four years in the following areas:
Prime Minister the Hon. Tillman Thomas may not be the charismatic leader that some may want him to be, but he is indeed an honourable gentleman and true Grenadian patriot. He has never been an individual with that kind of persona and will never be.
When he became leader of the National Democratic Congress he was chosen because of his personality, character, good judgement and wisdom. Despite what his detractors may say, he took the NDC from a position of not holding a single seat in Parliament in 1999 to victory in 2008.
As political leader of the NDC and Prime Minister, he championed the principles of accountability, transparency and good governance. Prime Minister Thomas just doesn’t talk the talk, he also walks the walk. He is an advocate of constructive democracy, freedom of speech and the rule of law.
The nation can take pride in the fact that, since July 8, 2008, the image of Grenada in the international community has improved dramatically under his leadership. He has stood steadfast and committed to the principles in which he believes. As leader of this nation, the Prime Minister is clean and, unlike leaders before him, he is free from any baggage.
PM Thomas is a consensus builder. Despite efforts to make him appear authoritarian or dictatorial, Grenadians know that he is a democrat. As Prime Minister, he has reached out to every sector of the society. He is well loved by the children of the country, who see him as a father figure, mentor and role model.
His leadership ability has been challenged on many occasions by friends and foe alike yet this political soldier remains calm, cool and collected, to the annoyance of his political enemies.
Prime Minister Thomas refuses to be drawn into any political bickering and has remained dedicated to the task that he was elected to do, that is looking after the affairs of state in the most effective manner especially in these difficult economic times.
Despite efforts to bring down his administration, the Prime Minister and his government continue to forge ahead. He is a tactical leader, always one step ahead of his political enemies and the great statistician (KCM). The Prime Minister is the real soldier, knowing when to attack and also when to defend.
Despite being the most powerful man in his capacity as Prime Minister of Grenada, PM Thomas can’t be honestly accused of the abuse of power. He has used the power vested in him under the constitution to advance his good governance agenda. Trust is a very critical attribute of a political leader and Prime Minister. Prime Minister Thomas is an extremely trustworthy individual. Every Grenadian can trust him with the management of our country and doing things above board.
Because of his leadership of the country in a poisonous atmosphere, difficult social, political and economic times and an obstructionist opposition, Prime Minister Thomas deserves a second term in office so that he can continue to promote and develop his accountability, transparency and good governance agenda. The element of trust is very important as a political leader and Prime Minister.
US President Barack Obama was heavily criticized on many issues, including his management of the US economy by the Republican Party and Mitt Romney, especially in the days leading up to the 2012 general elections. Over $1.2 billion were spent to discredit him.
Despite this, the American electorate knew that President Obama is a trustworthy leader and so re-elected him with a landslide victory. Prime Minster Thomas can take comfort in the fact that he too is a very trustworthy leader.
The Grenadian electorate is fully aware of this and will vote to re-elect him in the 2013 general elections.
(To be continued next week)