ADDRESS TO THE NATION BY PRIME MINISTER TILLMAN THOMAS ON THE MOTION OF NO-CONFIDENCE FILED BY HIS FORMER CABINET COLLEAGUE, EX-MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, KARL HOOD, THE MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR ST. GEORGE SOUTH-EAST
The NNP had the opportunity to govern Grenada for thirteen years. When they were voted out of Office, they did not leave behind an economy that was geared-up, productive and strong enough to pay our debts over the long-term. Unfortunately, their borrowing was not planned to produce future streams of revenues.
The NNP fooled Grenadians into believing that things were good, but, in reality, we were living with a strong pretence of prosperity.
During those thirteen years, the world economy was in a vastly different condition. There was no persistent economic recession. At that time, the Government was able to borrow $2 billion. If that borrowing was necessary, the spending of the borrowed money was patently reckless and irresponsible. It was mostly non-productive and much of it was programmed to facilitate corruption.
It should also be recalled that by 2007, the NNP administration itself had begun to experience difficulties meeting its financial commitments.
Fellow Grenadians, I invite you to remember that all money borrowed by the NNP and this administration must be repaid. The NDC Government paid $252.2 million on the debt in 2011 and $175 million so far in 2012. Before the end of the year we must pay another $148 million.
Situations of national economic challenges call for statesmanship, patriotism, sacrifices and sound management. It also calls for faith in He, who is our sole provider. The help we need cannot come from outcasts, corrupt politicians, bag carriers and such like. Our help will not come from or through the NNP.
As a people of faith, we have to believe that God does not want us to revert to a culture of bad governance, social deficit and morally-challenged leadership. The source of our betterment is definitely not the NNP.
Structural weaknesses in the Grenada economy cannot be rectified in the short-term. Yet the facts are that Government has held the economy together well from 2008-11. This year has presented additional challenges which affected the revenue package that was intended to be part of the 2012 budget, even though the proposed measures did not include any further taxes on the people. Nevertheless, we continue to keep our shoulders to the wheel, in the interests of all Grenadians.
The filing of yet another Motion of no Confidence is the handiwork of a former Minister of Government, who has publicly advised the Clerk of Parliament that he is prepared to sit on the Opposition side of the House of Representatives. That Member has now fulfilled his desire of joining their ranks. Sadly, his first frolic is deliberately designed for the purpose of inducing anxiety and instability in our country.
It has come at a time when we are still celebrating Kirani’s Olympic Gold Medal and planning for his heroic homecoming. It has come at a time when God is openly blessing our Nation in a special way, and our duty is to give Him thanks.
In the circumstances, this latest Motion is a blatant act of disobedience and dishonour; it is highly unpatriotic, reckless, self-serving and disrespectful of the people of Grenada.
This second Motion in three months is unmistakably inspired by the NNP. It is not only intended to deny Grenadians their joy and peace, but it is also motivated by spite and a determination to pre-empt any improvement in our economic and financial fortunes.
Their assessment is that if the NDC administration increases the rate of implementation of its projects and other economic activities then that would make it extremely difficult for them to win the elections. They have therefore decided to strike now!
My dear citizens and patriots of Grenada, instability is the biggest enemy of economic development, followed by corruption. So when the NNP is not in a position to practice corruption, they peddle destabilisation. Both are anti-people, anti-development and anti-Grenada.
I ask you, to pay careful attention to the following, which were all known to the NNP, directly or indirectly, when it decided to have this ‘mischief Motion’ presented:
(I). At the very hour that the Motion was filed, Government had already signed for a grant of US$ 8.5 million from the Government of the People’s Republic of China
(II). The Government of China had also signed for the reconstruction of the National Athletics Stadium, with work to commence shortly, as the actual designs are virtually complete
(III). The award of a contract to build the farm roads is now a matter of weeks to signing, with work to commence shortly thereafter by the successful bidder
(IV). My imminent visit to Qatar holds very strong prospects for economic assistance to and investment in Grenada. This visit is at the kind invitation of His Highness the Emir.
(V). The signing of a Cooperation Agreement with Trinidad and Tobago, for joint development and exploitation of our hydro-carbon resources, scheduled for the first week of September
(VI). The winter cruise season, which will bring significant earnings to vendors, taxi drivers and other service providers, is only weeks away from commencement.
The question must therefore be asked, in whose interest therefore is this Motion served? Definitely, it cannot be in the best interest of the people of Grenada.
This Motion, for which the NNP must be fixed with constructive ownership, is planted shamelessly in the name of greed, money and power.
A total of 8 votes are needed for such a Motion to be passed. The whole Nation is therefore looking to see whether and who in the Parliament would join with the NNP to assist them in accomplishing their goal.
We must not forget that after the 2008 general elections, the NNP declared that this Government would not last six months in Office. Recall also attempts by the NNP to bring down the then Nicholas Brathwaite-led NDC government through the use of money, as was disclosed to the Nation by a sitting Member of Parliament at that time.
Interestingly, we must also remind ourselves of the pronouncement by the Leader of the Opposition, in New York, just days before the second Motion was filed that there will be elections in Grenada before December, 2012.
The basis of his prediction was knowledge of the filing of the Motion and an expectation of its passage in Parliament. Notice well the consistency with which the NNP has pursued its political objectives when in Opposition.
My Dear Citizens, While individuals may backslide from their spiritual calling and turn away from service to the people, our National Anthem calls upon every citizen of Grenada to be “Ever conscious of God” in all that we do. All generations of Grenadians are challenged to be faithful, to trust and to honour God.
There may be men who think that they are more important than others and that their egos and ambitions take precedence over the welfare of the people. There may also be men who think that Grenada is theirs to rule for life. All such persons, obviously driven by spite and greed, may come together and act in concert, but they too will experience their political demise at the hands of their constituents and the electorate in the fullness of time.
The people of Grenada will not be kind to those who place themselves above the ordinary man; nor to those who are driven by power for themselves while demonstrating that the rest of us do not matter. All they need from you is your vote!
Who would have thought that in the midst of our celebrations of Olympic Gold that a few NNP politicians and conscripts would want to displace Kirani from center stage? Who would have thought that a temporary economic setback, requiring all of us to work harder and produce more, would be seized upon to make a grab for power?
Who would have thought that at the precise time that new and positive signs of improvement are before us, that NNP politicians would mis-direct themselves to sabotage the people’s welfare?
The NNP leader and his followers in the Parliament must all stand before the people guilty of being unpatriotic; guilty of inducing instability to Grenada; guilty of not wanting to see the people of Grenada prosper; guilty of robbing the peace and joy of the people. Their rejection by the people is assured.
While they are busy devising schemes and plots to gain power, we are busy on the road to ‘Producing our way to Prosperity’.
I call upon every responsible citizen to think carefully and to act responsibly surrounding this latest NNP mischief. There is no reason for panic or anxiety.
Government will not shirk its responsibility, nor would it be cheated out of its term in Office. Our resolve is to respect our democracy and the Constitution of Grenada. We will maintain the course while keeping your best interests uppermost in our minds.
I wish to make my position abundantly clear, the interests of the people must come before that of the NDC party and Government at all times. You therefore have my unconditional assurance that Government will continue to listen to your voices in determining the time frame for important national decisions as we go forward together as one people.