Imagine Cupid draws back his bow and sends his proverbial arrow through her shirt sleeve, grazing her arm and missing the center of her heart by several inches. She would just laugh at that fool.
I have a friend who lives in New York and he chooses the strangest times to come to Grenada. He would not come for Carnival but he would come in September. He allows Christmas to go by but comes in January.
His wife observed that odd behaviour for several years and became overpowered by curiosity. “Why are you going to Grenada now?” She asked him one day while he was preparing for one of his trips. “What is happening in Grenada?” He looked at her and smiled broadly, “Nothing is happening in Grenada”, he said and continued his preparations. She became more confused and curious. “So why are you going?” She pressed. He stood up and took a good look at her and said.
“That is why I am going. I go to Grenada when nothing is happening.”
Recently I asked one of my friends who is a member of the technical working group formed to develop the National Plan 2030 why did they choose 2030 as focal year? What is happening in 2030? He agreed that nothing is happening in 2030. I asked him, what will be the central preposition on which the plan is based? What can we expect to be the evil that the plan wants to eradicate and from what perspective? He could not tell me.
I suggested to him that they use 2034. Not only will 2034 be 60 years since independence and the constitution but it will also mark 200 years since our emancipation from slavery.
I am aware that my view may be unfashionable since in the past 30 years we have done everything but destroy our sense of historical social and economic background. It is fashionable today to ignore our history and to implement programs and policies that are devoid of analysis.
Events yet to unfold will punish us severely for that stance and our attempt at blind planning will fail. I know that CLR James, Sir Arthur Lewis, Eric Williams and George Brizan will firmly agree with this preposition.
According to CLR James “in 1709 the French bourgoise was the most powerful economic force in France and the slave trade and the colonies were the basis of its wealth and power.”
CLR James also observed that “It is one hundred years since the abolition of Slavery. The Negro people in the United States have taken plenty and have reached a stage where they have decided that they are not going to take any more”.
CLR James predicted the commencement of the Civil Rights Movement and the tremendous gains black people would make in the United States from the 1960’s to present day. A transition from the inability to vote to the acceptance of a Black President.
Apart from being one of the most brilliant minds produced by the Caribbean, Sir Arthur Lewis dedicated his life and won the Nobel Peace prize as he sought to answer two main questions. (1). Why are our countries poor? And (2). How can we get out of the poverty trap? No Caribbean island currently uses Sir Arthur’s model for development.
However, it is widely believed that this model is being employed by China today with tremendous success.
In “Capitalism and Slavery”, Eric Williams provides an analysis of how slavery helped finance the industrial revolution in England.
Plantation Owners, Shipbuilders and Merchants all connected with the slave trade accumulated vast fortunes, established banks and heavy industries.
Using the period 1492-1969 in “From Columbus to Castro” he provided an analysis of the economic, political and social forces that drove European colonialisation.
I can still see George clearly now, as if it were yesterday, tugging away at his bright red bracers and patrolling the front of our class at the Institute for Further Education (IFE), as he emphasised the fact that apart from its evil and inhumane brutality, Slavery was an economic system and had become uneconomic and had lost its benefits and profitability to the plantation owners and the colonialists.
The system was replaced with indentureship which also miserably failed. Thus any plan must take into account our progress as a people after being liberated for 200 years from slavery. It must also account for our actions in the 60 years of being independent and granted constitutions.
Most of all having established the framework within which the plan is to be formulated one can now attempt to formulate a central preposition on which the plan can be based. My own view is that the period of civil disobedience commencing in the early 1970’s and lasted until 1983 in the case of Grenada and this was followed by a period of imperialism and democratic dictatorship until now. This is the central preposition that we need to examine in formulating the plan.
The plan must answer how has that period impacted on our social, economic and political lives and whether or not going forward we can maintain the same system without obtaining the same result.
Further, I am convinced that without proper context this is destined to be another pie in the sky exercise in futility. Further still I am convinced that CLR James, Sir Arthur Lewis, Eric Williams and George Brizan have already done the work for us.