Now we know the combatants; the thirty that matter! By purely internal procedures, the main political parties have selected their candidates and have put them on the frontlines in search for the vote.
Although their selection might have had little to do with popular democracy, they are hopefuls in a ‘democratic sweep-stakes’; all wanting to be elected to the Parliament and to form the government of Grenada.
So now, four hundred party members are going after forty thousand votes for victory! Accompanying the candidates on the frontlines will be cash money, food and drink, smiles and hand-shakes and the customary bags of tricks and traps!
Over the course of the campaign, voters in hundreds of villages across fifteen constituencies will come face to face with the players, their tools of trade and their baggage. Some will be easier to sell than others, although it is the party that makes the difference.
Candidates only want to hear one thing, namely; “ah go vote fuh yuh”! They will not be listening for ideas and suggestions. Such is the nature of things on the frontlines.
‘Dead-lines’ will take centre stage as the campaign progresses. We can be assured of character trashing, misrepresentations as to achievements, excessive promises that the Treasury cannot pay for, baseless self-promotion and more.
How can there be a colourful campaign if certain opponents are not demonised? How can there be an exciting campaign if commentators are not cremated live because the accusers are unable to challenge their ideas and analyses? How can there be a winning campaign if they don’t tell us how much they love Grenada and poor people? Yuh think dey easy with dey ‘dead-lines’?
Readers know well the ‘cuss’ wars that ordinary Grenadians stir up on behalf of the parties they support. Then there is a set of vicious ‘dead-lines’ attacking people as “clowns” and “haters” for expressing honest views about Victor’s leadership. Dey fighting for dey leader, but puncturing the heart! Not so?
Might some supporting the ‘Greenery’ not be bold enough to say that their leader is a ‘pillar of virtue’ and a saviour of the poor? And would that leader be strong enough to tell dem doh say dat? Might some supporting the ‘Bleached-face’ not be brazen enough to say that their leader has a first-class degree in economic management and that he has superior intelligence to everyone else, except Bernard? And would that leader find the strength to tell dem doh say dat?
Whatever shows itself, we can be assured of self-pleasing ‘dead-lines’ that are disrespectful of divergent views, distort leadership credentials, deepen division and enmity among ordinary people. Imagine a foolish ‘dead-line’ saying, “dey bring Structural Adjustment so we win already”!
But is there a place for ‘good-lines’? It must be better to have a fair conversation than a one-sided sales’ pitch. Let us break new ground and present some ‘good-lines’ to the parties. Make them know what we would like to see regarding governance, commitment to service, development, culture and heritage, youth, the economy and so on.
There is already one ‘good-line’ worthy of note which is the unprecedented number of female candidates, half of whom are young professionals. Unfortunately, the wait for another ‘good-line’ which says, “we changing from old to new”, seems set to be prolonged on account of ill-fated politics blindly favoured by party-hacks, but unsupported by partnerships.
To whom can we look to write a few ‘good-lines’? Certainly not the party surrogates on radio or on Facebook who exist in a vote-losing habitat of ‘dead-lines’. The question of the day is will the parties equip their candidates with ‘good-lines’ for good causes or will they supply them with ‘dead-lines’ and hope that big money, propaganda, media blitz and smooth talk will hide uninspiring policies, challenged characters and selfish ambition?