It has now become customary to bash (rightly or wrongly) political parties for all ills in the society, headaches included. It may be a safe place to be as it is now fashionable to speak about “petty politics”, partisan politics etc. which on the surface seeks to rubbish the role that political parties play in our democracy.
Reference is made to terms like “In the national interest”, ‘what is good for Grenada” which seem to suggest that no political organisation can claim to be acting in the national interest.
It also begs the question – who determines what is best for the country? To Dr. Alexis, the NDC seems to be a soft target, susceptible to his acid pen especially as it relates to the issue of the CCJ.
For starters, the decision to hold a Referendum two years after it was rejected by the people was exclusively that of the NNP administration. The NDC was not consulted.
The Advisory Committee was set up again without NDC’s participation and involvement. The NNP reasoned that the results of the 2018 elections indicated that it was possible to get the 67% required to carry successfully the Yes vote.
The bravado displayed by the Prime Minister may have created the mistaken belief that the YES campaign will have the necessary political “fire power” to back it. This may explain the arrogant behaviour of the ‘CCJ Trio’ in the public engagements on the subject matter.
Public resources were used to finance the YES campaign instead of a broad sensitisation program to address the widespread ignorance in the society about the constitution and attendant issues. The inaugural activity held at the Trade Centre in which Barbados PM Mia Mottley addressed Grenadians on the CCJ had a distinctly partisan political flavour.
The NDC had nothing to do with its organisation nor execution. The political tone was set. Dr. Alexis seem to be oblivious about what was going on around him.
Nowhere in his narrative did he mention that the NDC had constantly said that as a party, it is not opposed to the CCJ. It was the NDC who took the initiative to write to the Attorney General in pursuit of building consensus. The Cabinet’s response was lukewarm at best and the decision of the NNP to table the amendment to the Representation of the People’s Act (minus the changes suggested by the NDC) further reinforced the nonchalant attitude of the administration.
The NDC kept a low-keyed posture for quite a while partly due to leadership challenges post elections. The political predators in the background took the opportunity to make targeted advances to known NDC leaders/supporters.
The few events that the NDC was invited to were used to get footage to produce a video which was intended to confuse supporters who by then had concluded that they will reject the Bill as presented.
The NDC suggested that they should “Fix the Bill “and proposed a postponement of the Referendum date so the TUC proposal could be accommodated and other technical shortcomings in the Bill can be addressed. All of that fell on deaf ears and the failure to act rests squarely at the door of the administration.
It is the NNP administration which could have acted to change the course of events. Dr. Alexis is quite capable of internalising those realities. The NNP cranked up its election machinery and all MP‘s were instructed to hit the ground. Except for four constituencies, the NO vote triumphed.
The infantile rantings of the Prime Minister after the results of the Referendum was announced clearly shows the underlying disposition of the Yes campaign. Maybe Dr. Alexis was a victim of circumstances.
The NDC did what it could have done given the circumstances. The frequent attempts by Dr. Alexis to rubbish the NDC’s spokesperson should not be overlooked. The duty of the YES campaign was to attract more people to their position. They were consumed by their own penchant to defend a scenario that was not exclusively that of the CCJ.
A government that seeks to intimidate, cajole, embarrass or disrespect the political opposition will find it difficult to engender consensus. Dr. Alexis is a well-recognised and experienced attorney/politician and must have known that the CCJ as an issue was not exempted from other considerations of a political/social character.
The emergence of Industrial issues on the eve of the Referendum was as unhelpful as the unfortunate statements made by the Prime Minister about Health Care professionals in the country. The NDC had nothing to do with these ancillary events.
We agree with Dr. Alexis’ assertion that the result was unfortunate and represents a missed opportunity but he failed to say that the NNP administration could have acted otherwise.
However there are no consequences for poking his finger in the nose of the NDC.
It is indeed interesting that many CARICOM Prime Ministers have said that the CCJ was not a necessity at this time, but for Grenada, it was an unexplained urgency. If evenhandedness was Dr. Alexis’ goal in casting blame on the NDC, then he can be adjudged as unreasonable.
Moreover, if he was in anyway connected to the English Premiere League (football), 3 nil represents a drubbing – St Vincent once and Grenada twice. History will record that he led three unsuccessful campaigns to get the CCJ accepted as the final appellate court. The balance which Justice promotes is a stark contrast to the imbalance which his narrative attempts to, in effect, mislead the Grenadian people.
The Love Man