The economic and financial downturn in the country might have
contributed to the low turn out of Grenadians at the national stadium at Queen’s Park on Saturday to witness the official events marking the island’s 41st anniversary of independence.
The occasion saw the usual military parade from various arms of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) including the Special Services Unit (SSU), the Women’s arm of the Police Force (RGPF), Prison Officers, Cadet Corp and Girl Guides among others.
The men and women in uniform marched into the stadium to the beat of the RGPF musical band before a disappointing crowd.
Despite the low turn-out, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell received a warm welcome as he stepped out of the official State car and when he was about to deliver the traditional Independence Day speech from the leader of the country.
The Prime Minister told the gathering in the speech that was carried live on the nation’s radio and television stations that Grenada’s biggest efforts in going forward will be the unity of the country and mentioned that Project Grenada is off and running.
He said the markers have been set down for different interest groups to work together and the Government is continuing to do so in the context of its commitment to democracy.
PM Mitchell sought to explain the “Project Grenada” concept that was first talked about by trade unionist Chester Humphrey who was expelled from the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and landed the prestigious post of President of the Senate under the ruling New National Party (NNP).
“Project Grenada is Social Partners coming together around the common table to work for the collective betterment of our country. Project Grenada is the bind we have spoken about and the sacrifices our people have made in our efforts to turn our country’s economy around. Project Grenada is the understanding our trade union leaders have shown in coming to terms that even their jobs demand must be addressed in the general context of all the common good of our country,” he said.
Prime Minister Mitchell expressed confidence that the successful implementation of Project Grenada would benefit many lives that are so desperately in need of help.
A number of expelled Congress members – including ex-foreign affairs minister Peter David, former party Chairman, Colin La Barrie, Pastor Stanford Simon and media consultant Hamlet Mark have latched onto the Project Grenada idea in forging a partnership with the two-year old Mitchell government.
David, the former NDC General Secretary, announced a few days ago that he would be contesting a seat in the next general elections.
It is not clear whether the NNP has already designated a seat for him.
In his Independence Day address to the nation, PM Mitchell announced that later this year, Government will attempt to take Grenada’s sovereignty a step further through a reform of the Constitution.
The Prime Minister was referring to the Referendum to be held to effect some changes in the Constitution including the scrapping of the Privy Council in London as the final appellate court and to turn instead to the Caribbean Court of Justice.
According to the Grenadian leader, the proposed changes will bring Grenada into the modern era, as well as deepen the rights of its people.
“We believe that this process must be completed this year otherwise it will (be) subjected to increasingly sometimes useless partisanship.
Consequently, we encourage all our citizens to participate in the referendum and to set the context for the future of this beautiful nation,” he told the nation.
Prime Minister Mitchell noted that Grenada is moving forward in Sports and the island is due to host a cricket test match between England and the West Indies sometime in April.
“The report coming in is that we are set for a great time, the people in the hotel sector are reporting heavy bookings for that period.
There is indeed a satisfying buzz about that event around the 3rd week in April,” explained PM Mitchell.
By the middle of the year, Grenada is looking forward to the opening of its athletic and football stadium with assistance from China.
“Our first rate young successful sportsmen of the likes of Kirani James and Melanie Rodney and others will be able to train and perform in the first class facilities right here in our mainland,” he said.
According to PM Mitchell in recent times, Grenada has been asked to play a leading role once again in the re-organisation and governance of West Indies cricket and for the first time it has also been asked to be on the CONCACAF Steering Committee because of its vision for sports and youth development.
Dr. Mitchell has been the longest serving Prime Minister, being at the helm for 15 of the 41 years since Independence was granted by Britain on February 7, 1974.