As we enter into this new year, having reflected on the year past and realising just one year ago, we were at this same juncture, all in the same position with a then fresh new budget and new promises ahead of us, having heard all the promises and false hopes given to us by our government then as now, realising once again that the national situation nor our own personal situations in most cases have not improved, and accepting the fact that for most of us things have gotten worse, it is now more than time to raise the bar on the national conversation and debate.
The time has come for us as a people to change the national conversation from one of what is now being done, to one of what really needs to be done. It is time to change focus from budget speeches and presentations good or bad and what they have promised, to one of what is truly required to turn our economic crisis situation around.
It is time to really accept a new approach and to do the kind of things that will bring sustainable and long term benefits and changes to our nation.
There is an old saying, when you are in a pit, stop digging, rather try to find a way to climb out one foot at a time – at no other time in our nation’s history has this become so relevant.
Now more than ever we need someone to lead us along a new path, developing a new mindset, selling a new message, a message that is different to the one sold to us thus far, a message that refocuses hope in ourselves and our ability to climb out of this pit on our own, using a truly home grown set of adjustments, both structural and social.
It is also time for us to move away from the mud- slinging politics of divide and rule and truly seek to unite our people around a set of policies and values that will transform our nation.
It is time for us to face up to the fact that we can no longer rely on those microwave solutions and policies that we have relied on over the past few years, policies like offshore banking, sale of passports, sale of assets and all the rest of it.
We certainly have had our full of those and we are still here today at the bottom of the O.E.C.S and economic ladder. It is time we face up to the reality of what we need to do using the resources we have, and stop relying on fast food planning and policies by tired politicians who are more concerned about legacies and personal fortunes than the real lasting and sustainable changes that will benefit our nation and people over time.
Given the performance over the last 22 months, the present state of our economy, the minimal levels of progress so far in debt restructuring, job creation, foreign direct investment and projects, the so-called new economy and Project Grenada, uniting our people, raising productivity levels and the rest, it is clear to see that a full recovery is slow and long time in coming.
It is also clear that given the dynamics of the rate of improvements against the present slide in economic activity, even the I.M.F. restructuring program with all its trappings will not be sufficient.
It is now clear to see that no amount of five star hotels or casinos can magically restore the economic situation with any lasting and long term surety.
The number of jobs to be created by such projects will in no way offset the number of unemployed added to the work force during the same period.
Therefore, it is clear to see that the conversation has to change, this is precisely why we have to move beyond the usual microwave quick fix policies and programs of this N.N.P administration and finally face the reality of embarking upon the road we should have taken long ago to fix our economy.
We need a programme that is more national in focus, one that relies more on using our own resources, both human and natural, one that is more sustainable and relies less on external forces, one that begins with us first becoming able to feed our nation and relying less on imported food.
We have sat through three budgets in 22 months, we have had numerous projects promised to us over the same period, most of them recycled, yet our economy continues to tumble. What more are we waiting for?
The world is not throwing money away as they were in the early and mid-20’s, loans and grants are not as forthcoming as before, more and more countries have to start to look inwards to solving their problems.
It is about time we as a nation do likewise, time to stop looking towards those quick fix, microwave planning and policies that continue to fail us, we cannot continue to fool the young people any longer.
The people are at present experiencing the errors of falling for that kind of quick fix approach. We need to turn to more common sense proven measures and ideas for recovering our economy and improving our long term prospects as a people.
We have now all come to the place where we accept that it will take hard work and great sacrifice, we all are at the point where we have to exercise patience whether we want to or not, so what better point to try something new.
People are slowly beginning to come to the reality that all the promises of delivery were just what they were, promises – what they hunger for now is the truth, and so we need a party that will take the challenge to speak the truth.
The nation is tired of the lies, deceit and secrets, tired of having their hopes dashed with failed projects and disappearing funds, tired of being promised one thing and getting the opposite.
Thankfully in all of this the nation is being weaned of the usual politics of rum and corn beef as more educated young people become eligible to vote, for the first time and it will not be as easy this time around to lie to and fool the people on political platforms.
The truth is that a lot of what was said in the past is now coming back to haunt politicians and with the introduction of recording campaign speeches on cell phones, politicians have to be more careful what they say more and more.
I challenge the N.D.C to now become the champion of this cause, the new political leader and his team must now offer the nation something different, they must now articulate a different approach to national development and economic recovery.
This must become the N.D.C’s narrative in going forward into the next election, they must use what limited time they get on national media like the George Grant program, Beyond the Headlines, “To the point”, the Kem Jones programmes and other opportunities to change the national conversation.
The NDC must stop spending as much time on the N.N.P and its leader as we do, rather focus on the huge task ahead of rebuilding both party and nation, and presenting a credible alternative to the failed policies of this present government.
Please, let the N.N.P’s past and present work for us on the daily radio programs. Let the people be the judge remembering at all times that God cannot be fooled.
This new approach will take great courage and political will, but it is the only way forward in my view for the N.D.C party if they hope to be taken seriously in the next election.
This is an opportunity for the political leader to place his own new mark on the present and future situation and for him to be seen as his own man apart from just simply going along with the policies of his predecessor.
Patriotic NDC Member