As someone who is worried over the deleterious direction the island has taken, I feel obligated to voice my concerns about some of the issues that are propelling us to that disastrous cliff.
The utter ugliness – both physical and behavioural – that is bedeviling our people and island is depressing.
I am exposed daily to this ugliness and it saddens me deeply; from the rudeness of civil servants to the public, who pay their salaries to the reckless and inconsiderate bus drivers who behave as though our public roads are theirs alone and to the young women displaying their new born bastards on their left shoulder as though they were badges of honour.
No shame attached to word bastard anymore – thanks to Francis Alexis’ concept of “a child is a child”.
I am hurt and troubled because I am convinced that this nastiness flows directly from the top of our society, beginning with the leading politicians who are supposed to be the emblem of morality and decency but have now become the embodiment of corruption and decadence.
It is becoming abundantly clear that a goodly number of our politicians are really nincompoops, strangers to truth and honesty.
I am an old man pushing eighty. I love my country as deeply as I loved my mother and have been feeling its pain since 1979. I think it is high time that Grenada be put into the hands of men and women of vision, courage and commitment who will shed this cloak of ugliness from our dear land and do what must be done to put this ship of state, back on the right course again.
I have a litany of issues that must be addressed and addressed urgently if this ship is to weather safely the local and global storms ahead.
Top of the local storm is the civil service. It must be independent of the political influence. Its wages, salaries and promotions must be determined solely on productivity and meritocracy: and a sense of service to the public must be preiminent.
Remember a good and efficient civil service is what runs a prosperous nation. The politician comes and goes but the civil servant is assured of his position until retirement or caught stealing during his tenure.
Next on the agenda is the Police department. A good police force and efficient civil service are indispensable to good government. The first business of the police is the maintenance of law and order; a well-run force should be the most respected institution in government. It is the nation’s symbol of safety and security.
The citizen must feel safe in his home, on the street, in his community, in his school, in his recreation center or his farm, where ever, with his property secured.
At this time crime and disorder are running rampant throughout the nation. Praedial larceny is the order of the day. There is no significant reason why a contingency of the police force is not established to patrol the productive farms in every parish.
There is no excuse why loitering and littering should be a problem in the villages and towns of this country. The police should not be permitted to run any private business where they deal directly with the public. Their integrity must not be in question.
Every citizen must show respect to the police and vice-versa. National patrolling by the police, of the streets, highways, towns, villages, schools and farms should be a must. A serious restructuring of the police force is warranted.
A look at labour unionism here is advisable. Unionism in the essential services – electricity, water, schools, hospitals and all statutory bodies, funded by taxpayer’s money should be prescribed.
And if we are talking about wages and salaries being compensated on the basis of productivity and meritocracy then, of course, labour unionism becomes obsolete.
The country also needs to take a look at how we select a candidate for general elections because this is crucial.
First of all, the previous governments have been remiss in not passing legislation, mandating that candidates declare their assets before becoming candidates in the election. We know that most of these politicians have larceny in their heart, so we must protect them from themselves.
If they can’t be honest, we must make them honest but we must put measures in place that will ensure that they do not enter as paupers and after five years in office leave as millionaires.
Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the electorate – every single voter – to examine the history of these candidates; how did they live? What did they do? How did they treat their wives, husbands, children, neighbours? What voluntary services did they render? Did they repay their loan to the lender? Were they expelled from foreign countries for violating the laws of the land?
These are not jokes they are telling questions. There are several issues that must be looked at seriously and they require thoughtful remedial approaches but because I am limited to time and space, I will number but a few
1. The Statutory Boards
2. The Cocoa and Nutmeg Association
3. The Ministry of Agriculture
4. Agriculture as the salvation of our financial misery
I am a farmer of some consequence. No bragging here, I am a serious farmer. All my farms produce are organically grown products. Cocoa, nutmeg, bananas, mangoes, sour sop, golden apple etc.
Organic is the future wave of the health industry. I am disheartened by the lack of vision in the Department of Agriculture – lack of vision on the part of government, period.
The good Lord has blessed us with a beautiful island with a lake at its summit, watering the entire island, a topography and richness of soil second to none in our universe.
A land with endless possibility of prosperity. A blessed piece of real estate that can make us truly independent but we make ourselves beggars, spitting in the face of the Almighty in spite of his bountiful gift to us
We deserve the curse.