Grenadians must stop this name game culture

Dear Sir:

I find it difficult to understand why so many well educated people living in Grenada find themselves unable to write good quality readable articles without the temptation of having to drag the good name of prominent individuals into what has become a name blame culture in Grenada.

This practice seems common to Grenada and nowhere else. Some of the articles published on websites and in national newspapers are becoming intolerable as they portray Grenada and Grenadians in particular as a tiny nation that consists of bitter, frustrated and arrogant people, where words such as love, friendship, understanding, tolerance and harmony do not exist, giving the rest of the world a completely untruthful picture of our country and our people and it is time those intellectuals who persistently indulge in this practice put a halt to it.

Grenada is a democracy and people have every right to criticise the government of the day if they disagree with policies or if they believe the government is failing the country and its people.
Also in a democracy it is usually perceived that it’s open season on government ministers and quite rightly too since, when things go well, they are usually up front in taking the credit; therefore, when things go wrong, and they usually do, people have a right to be critical.

However, this should not be the same for private individuals or people who are deemed or known supporters of the government or a particular political party. To some, the word choice is like a bitter pill to swallow.

Within two years of the reign of the last NDC government, one particular government minister became the target for verbal abuse by members of his own political party and whatever this minister did or did not do was always wrong and inconsistent with party policy as far as those running the hate campaign were concerned.

Week after week; month after month and year after year the campaign of hatred and bitterness continued in the local press as well as on some websites. Up to two articles and sometimes three were published each week in local newspapers.

It was noticeable that not one member of the minister’s cabinet colleagues made any attempt to defend him or stop the vicious and malicious campaign; not even the Prime Minister who headed the government, something that is unprecedented in a democracy.

Calls were made by party members to kick him and others (people who were perceived to be close to this individual) out of the party. Eventually, at a party meeting in the north of the country, this man was kicked out of the party without a hearing or an invitation to speak at that meeting in defence of himself. He and others were not allowed an appeal hearing either; something which is unprecedented in a democratic political party.

One would have thought that would have been the end of the name calling hatred campaign; however, this is not the case. This individual suffered a bereavement; losing forever perhaps the most important person in their life but this made no difference whatsoever to those who continued to show lack of decency and respect for a family in mourning.

I have noticed that very few articles are written today by those who did everything within their powers to see the demise of this individual and others close to him who were thrown out the party at the same time nearly two years ago – their hate and resentment is ever present and I fail to see what good could come of this unacceptable behaviour.

Grenadians need to work together to pull our country out of the hole it finds itself in. Picking out individuals for blame will not solve our problems. We have also got to accept the fact that tough decisions have to be made to rebuild our economy and pay off our creditors.

One of the few things I can remember that I was taught as a child at St Paul’s Model School, perhaps months before I was sent to live in Trinidad, is ‘when you borrow you must pay back’. Some of the articles I have read in the past few months that have been written by intellectual Grenadians tend to suggest differently. They are critical of the government’s austerity measures published to pull the economy round and pay off the national debt but provide no alternatives.

It is regrettable and hurtful to some people that, at the country’s last general election, all the parliamentary seats went to the present government but that is called democracy and, quite frankly, the last government only had itself to blame not the electorate, because these were the people who were treated with total contempt by the then party in power.

For six months, parliamentary democracy was non-existent in a country where only 30 years earlier people fought and die (even foreigners) to reinstate a democratic system but ministers continued to line their pockets by collecting hefty salaries. The behaviour of the last government was a disgrace to those who fought and died to preserve our democracy and, as a Grenadian by birth, I was ashamed.

As with the UK’s austerity measures, is most likely that the measures announced by the Mitchell government will continue well into the next general election in Grenada and beyond; therefore, opposition parties should be using the time available to review and rebuild; also work on policies – long term as well as short term – that can help take the country forward because, whichever government is elected after the next general election, they (the government) will still have some long term debts to repay and at the same time maintain jobs stability and put in place measures to enable new and sustained jobs to be created, enabling growth to help take the economy forward.

Grenada also needs a strong opposition to scrutinise policies and hold the government to account. Stop this name blame culture. If one cannot say good, don’t say bad. People are entitled to have a choice and we must all acknowledge and respect that. Think love not hate. God bless Grenada.

Winston Strachan
Northampton
England

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