This caption is copied from John Milton’s famous epic of the poem of the same title.  As I contemplate the struggles that have bedeviled our once pristine and enraptured island since Independence – forty (41) years ago – I have concluded that we have garnered karma, and lost this “almost Paradise”, that the omnipotent had so lovingly bestowed upon us.

We took this paradise for granted not realising that there are always calculating and heinous men among us who are always gauging the opportunity to take advantage of the trusting and innocent in our midst.

The demise of our “paradise” began with the advent of Eric Matthew Gairy and the triumph of Keith Cladius Mitchell – two peas in the same pod.  It has dawned on me clearly that, to paraphrase Edmond Burke, the only thing necessary for evil men to succeed is that good men sit on their derrieres and do nothing.

How else can we explain the recent absolute triumph of Keith Mitchell – the ultimate personification of deceit – at the last general election?  We have let him loose and he is cashing in on our weaknesses, mostly laziness and indifference.

When I read that Mitchell said that what brought Peter David and himself together is their common love for people,  I will tell you my friends, if anyone was passing near my house at the time I was reading that mush, he or she would have thought I was going crazy.

I really flipped; I had such a belly-full of laugh I literarily fell off my chair.  What’s wrong with these guys?  I will tell you one thing, when a man cannot distinguish the difference between truth and falsehood that is dangerous, especially in a Prime Minister and one who is aspiring to be Prime Minister.

I shall leave Keith in his confusion and deal with the indicators that have caused the loss of paradise or are pointing to its demise. I shall spare you a litany of factors that have contributed to this condition by many administrations and go directly to the eye popping situations that are defying reason.

“There is none so blind as he that would not see”, my hope is to help open a few eyes here.  I grant that many are too young to know the difference. They never knew what this paradise was especially before hurricane Janet in September of 1955.

I shall enumerate some hard facts here that are evident to our painful loss.  I begin with the absence of the rule of law, the rudeness and incompetence of our Civil Service, the lack of respect for other people’s property; the dishonesty of Court Officers – from judges, lawyers, police, public prosecutors and the list goes on in the field of law and order.

The lack of appreciation for truth and honesty, the disregard for ennobling behaviour and the attraction of the superficial; the destruction of our pristine air and water with the replacement of smog and accumulation of carbon dioxide poisoning the entire nation; the reckless use of weedicide and pesticide and the excessive use of artificial manure that contaminate our soil and water throughout the Island.

The destruction of our mangrove swamps that provide breeding ground for our fauna – fish, birds, crustacean etc. and replace them with poisonous dumps that make the land unlivable for 50 years plus e.g the landfill at Perseverance and Woodford, one of our most treasured historical sites – Halifax Bay – the Pirates Cove.

The destruction of the Botanical Garden that should have been the first exposure to the tourist of our precious fauna and flora into Mitchell’s jungle of glass and concrete – superficially – as Mitchell himself.

The prostituting of our paradise by selling our most treasured asset (our citizenship) to crooks and criminals, how low can we fall; providing crooks and criminals with ambassadorships because they can put some fifty dollars into the pockets of some people.

Wake up brothers and sisters! Let’s start thinking clean, let’s start to get some self-respect, some dignity and decency; take pride in your work. Let your work be a reflection of your soul. If each of us does our best in whatever we do, may be with the exit of Keith Mitchell and his cohorts we will regain Paradise.  It’s a tough job, but it’s doable.

Everything that you do that’s positive adds a glimmer to our country.  The brand “Pure Grenada” is a sham. There is really nothing pure about Grenada anymore to restore the Pride of Paradise.  See yourself as a particle of that restoration on this 41st anniversary of our “so-called Independence”.

I am sure that Mitchell and his cronies will dismiss these observations as that of a disappointed, grumpy old man.  Grumpy – no – old yes. Truly regretful that I have just one life to give to my country; so for now just sorrow with me for our beloved country, and keep hope ALIVE realising that the restoration of Paradise is in the hands of every Grenadian who selflessly and truthfully worked in the interest of this once blessed Island.

Dennis Canning

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