Referendum 2016; NNP test run for election 2017

Politics is all about timing, with one party trying to gain political mileage over the other. Keith Mitchell and the NNP are extremely political and would do anything to remain in power.

After many postponements, the Francis Alexis-led constitutional reform committee has announced that October 27, 2016, will be the date for referendum on constitutional reform.

The question is – did the NNP administration deliberately try to trivialise the entire process by not having the minister responsible for Legal Affairs or the Prime Minister inform the nation about the referendum date? That is exactly what happened, with the NNP trying to be politically correct.

From my observations the people of Grenada are not prepared for this referendum, since the majority of them have no idea what is at stake and how their lives and the lives of their children would be permanently affected if the referendum succeeds.

Too many citizens are ill-informed of the process to make sensible decisions on the various issues, especially Grenada’s becoming a member of the CCJ.

Keith Mitchell doesn’t care about the economic standard of the poor and vulnerable. He is more consumed with maintaining political power in an effort to clean up his dirty record and preserve his legacy he would do anything for political expediency.

This referendum is one such political activity where he is attempting to catch the main opposition NDC flat-footed.

Mitchell and the NNP have all to gain and lose in this constitutional reform process. He has been prime minister for over a decade and really doesn’t have any major national social or economic accomplishment to show for this. Socially and economically he has been a disaster. Politically he has had mixed fortunes in the sense that he has led the NNP into to landslide election victories but has been unable to unite and move the country and its people forward.

His gamble is that a victory at the constitutional reform process would give him the legitimacy of boasting to have united the people on a national level. A loss would just maintain the status quo.

The push to the constitutional reform referendum 2016 is many-fold with many political, social and economic consequences.

Politically, Keith Mitchell and the NNP would use the referendum as a test run for the general elections constitutionally due in 2018. The referendum would be used as a measure of support and endorsement of the NNP two months before the official end of the IMF’s structural adjustment program. Failure of the referendum process would see Keith Mitchell and the NNP getting out of the structural adjustment program claiming success and heading straight into general election mode.

A loss at the referendum may see a delayed general elections as the NNP tries to regroup. A victory would see an immediate snap election early in 2017. A loss can also see the resignation of Keith Mitchell as Prime Minister. A far-flung stretch of the imagination though, given the power hungry nature of the prime minister.

Nazim Burke and the leadership of the NDC must read correctly the various political chess moves by Keith and the NNP and ensure that the NDC is ready for the general elections. The NNP base as expected would vote YES. The NDC shouldn’t support the process and so should campaign vigorously to energise the party’s base to vote NO. The independent minded voters may abstain and so the battle lines have been drawn.

Young people make a very high percentage of the electorate and so their votes would be critical. Given the massive unemployment rate among this sector of the population they may not be inclined to vote YES although many of them can be easily manipulated.

The outcome of the referendum would determine the future of Keith Mitchell and the direction the country may go.

Economically, the referendum comes at a time when the structural adjustment program has only two months before it comes to an end. The structural adjustment program has failed despite all the political rhetoric about economic growth.

Keith and the NNP imposed over 20 taxes and levies on the Grenadian people. This is unsustainable. Unemployment remains extremely high and so is the national debt. There isn’t anything in the referendum to ignite economic growth. This referendum is a political circus and farce. There is absolutely nothing in the process that would change the economic circumstances of the people of Grenada.

The day after the referendum the unemployment situation won’t change, the national debt won’t decrease and the country would still be burdened by an inept leader if the NO vote succeeds.

The NNP is using the referendum to divert the attention of the people and especially their party’s base from the hardship and burden that they are facing. Grenada’s economy is at a standstill, The country has the highest unemployment rate in the world.

The prime minister and his party have no clue how to address this chronic situation. The young people should vote NO to send a very serious message to the powers-that-be. They have the power to make a difference. Supporting the referendum would mean that the young people are supporting their own slavery. For the past three and half years the NNP government has failed to address the major issues facing young people.

There are more poor people in Grenada today than three and half years ago. Diverting the attention of the people from these problems is also an ultimate aim of the referendum.

Grenada’s economy is struggling. Taxes are extremely high, wages have been frozen, productivity is at an all time low and the government has lost its way. The lack of leadership is telling. Mitchell is tired.

New leadership is needed to move the country forward.

Socially, Grenada has never been divided like it is now. Even under the dictatorship of Eric Gairy the masses were more patriotic. Today under Keith Mitchell and the NNP, the country is totally divided along party political lines. As a result of this division the people can’t work together for the good of the country.

The NNP is highly political. The persons who benefit are those known hawks and cronies of the NNP. Is there a legitimate reason for those marginalised by the NNP to vote Yes in a referendum to add the letter ‘e’ to Petit Martinique when the majority of them are unemployed?

Any ‘e’ that the young people should vote for is EMPLOYMENT. To get his act together Mitchell and the NNP need a rude awakening. We the people must not allow ourselves to be taken for granted.

There are no major social issues down for a vote in the referendum.

Same sex marriage, legalisation of marijuana, equal pay for equal work, political victimisation, etc. have all been left out. Those included were skillfully selected to make the opposition look bad if the referendum fails and it is expected to be.

The NDC must be mindful of these political traps and be prepared to defend the position of the party forcefully. More members of the leadership of the party need the political backbone to attack the NNP on the battlefield. There should be “No surrender! No retreat!”

Grenada needs a complete change – a revolution to get rid of the old paradigm and create a new paradigm shift. As a people we shouldn’t expect those who created all our major problems to solve them. This just won’t happen.

Living in hope is for fools and Grenadians are no fools even if Keith Mitchell and the NNP think so.

Nazim Burke and the NDC have the opportunity to lead from the front now that the date for the referendum has been announced. Hon. Burke has the intellect and experience to mobilise his party’s base to make a major difference.

Now is the time for Nazim to prove his worth to the Grenadian people who have been marginalised by Keith Mitchell and the NNP.

The 43% of the electorate who voted for the NDC is very important to nation building. Casting them aside won’t work and so Keith and the NNP must now be made to feel the weight of the NDC People’s Revolution.

October 27 must be the beginning of the end of Keith Mitchell and the NNP.

Vote NO to demonstrate that you are not a fool. Grenada belongs to all citizens of the nation, and until we are all respected, all have the constitutional right to work, free speech, freedom of association without facing the threat of discrimination and victimisation by Keith Mitchell and the NNP, a ‘NO’ vote is the way to go. Exercise your power for a much better future.

Forward ever! Backward never! Forward on our feet and not on our knees.

Grenadian Class

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