The Thousand dollar ($$$) war

Any society that responds to the voice of legitimate protest or criticism with reckless propaganda shows itself to be intolerant, insensitive and in an advanced state of failure. Where, in aid of mischief, pageantry is flaunted in the city, that display simply confirms obvious desperation. Likewise, where focus is shifted from the substantive issues such as to make an individual the subject of ridicule, the true merits of what is otherwise a worthy cause is cheapened with disgrace. Such conduct on public radio is itself reckless and unnecessarily destructive of human dignity.

Let us remove the pretence and be plain and honest. In our culture, financial, political and even ‘religious’ power have been known to yield close personal ties, friendships, relationships and even children in some cases. In fact the mulatto population of Grenada is visible testimony of historical happenings.

We heard loads of allegations and reports of man/woman relationships during Gairy’s rule, the Revolution and since 1995. The Grenadian folklore thrives on stories and suggestions of sexual intrigue. This will continue to be the case. However, the Grenadian culture has not treated this issue as a moral standard of conduct sufficient to disqualify anyone from high Public Office. That too will not change.

Whatever the position that has given rise to the on-going “The Thousand Dollar War”, there is a much bigger problem facing the Grenadian society which cries out for urgent remedies. The reality behind all this is the dictatorship of the political party that we have condoned and entrenched for forty years, even though it has brought us more grief and tears while chasing donkeys than relief and joy.

One of the favourite tools of party politics is a thing called propaganda. Its role is to take truth and decency down the trapdoor to deception and hell. Propaganda is often highly destructive, but does not have a duty of accountability to anyone. Sometimes it dresses itself up in robes of authority to mask its true identity. That makes it not just a menace to society, but a character-eating monster! Yet ordinary men and women engage in the practice as part of their loyal but unthinking contributions to the party they support. Partisan tribalism naturally feeds political cannibalism!

As “The Thousand Dollar War” raged over the last week, we came to learn that the NNP Administration has equipped itself with a Chief of Staff. Nothing is wrong with that even though the earlier non-disclosure may attract attention, including dis-belief! So far, the debate has not engaged the merits of the function and in that context the reasonable expectation to be fairly rewarded for the performance of the duties attaching thereto.

Nevertheless, instead of taking responsibility for that particular course of action, or basing it on contractual terms agreed upon, so as to establish credibility, preference has been given to a propaganda onslaught against persons who held appointments under the NDC regime, as if to suggest that said appointments constituted a raid on the Treasury. This is truly amazing, as the NNP Government has in place a sizeable cohort of happily paid political appointees. It goes with the territory, really.

For my part, let it be known that I was employed by the NDC Government in 2011 as Ambassador to the OECS and CARICOM. In early 2012, I agreed a new contract with the Government to serve as Ambassador to the OECS and CARICOM and Chief of Staff. The record shows (actual contract documents) that there was no change in salary or allowances such that I was never paid a cent for performing the duties of Chief of Staff. As a matter of interest, I was the lowest paid Ambassador! This fact must be known to the State operatives who are spreading the latest mischief.

I had the honour to serve Grenada, meritoriously, at the high levels of Permanent Secretary, Ambassador and Director of Tourism over a period of twenty-one years. At one point I was succeeded by Simon Stiell (now NNP Senator) as Director of Tourism, appointed by the NDC Government. His financial package was NOT what I was paid. The current CEO of the Grenada Tourism Authority (substantively the same as Director of Tourism) who was appointed by the NNP Government, costs Grenada as much as three times what I was paid!! But that is a matter for the authorities, as is the quality of his performance. Dr Patrick Antoine has succeeded me as Ambassador to the OECS and CARICOM. He is not known to be one who works for peanuts and deservedly so.

In all the circumstances, I am able and proud to assert that no special privileges of a money nature or otherwise attended my employment over the years. Yet, today, in the face of expressions of concern over a monetary award to the PM’s Press Secretary, my name gets hauled down to the pits of political hell! Propaganda does not respect dignity and has the power to imperil any and every one in due course.

Let us pray for deliverance from political diseases of all kinds and from all quarters and for an anointing of service to the Nation.

William Joseph

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