Caretaker for the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in St. Patrick East, Ann John has urged Grenadians to stand up and speak out against the many social ills affecting the country.
Addressing reporters at a press conference hosted by Congress, John pointed to an increase in the number of social issues now plaguing the island and drew attention to a photo that in recent weeks has been circulating on social media of an elderly man lying on what appears to be a bed without a mattress at the Mt. Gay Mental Institution.
She described the situation as “very disturbing and worrying”.
“…If this is really true, that in the Mental hospital (that) we have our elderly citizens who have done well for Grenada, sleeping in such rough conditions…”, she said.
“…We have a photo being circulated…so we want to find out if it’s happening, why and what can be done to address the situation,” she added.
John also made mention of an “increase in the number of suicide cases especially as it relates to our young women and women as a whole,” something she said “that was basically far-fetched in the past”.
“And now we are seeing a number of persons, either through frustration, stress (and) the economic situation that would have brought on those issues where people cannot cope any longer and they prefer to take their lives,” she added.
The NDC Executive member also pointed to a recent incident, which she said left a “young man fighting for his life at the General hospital.”
“It is very unfortunate that our people fall victims to that type of death…We have to be careful as a people that we do not lose our values and morals – the basic things that make us who we are,” she told reporters.
John made a plea to Grenadians to not just “lean with the political directorate just because we support a (particular political) party” but to take a more nationalistic approach to it.
“We should be able to come out and speak out loud when a party is doing something that is not right (or) beneficial to the country and its people,” without being fearful of being punished by the hands of political forces as a result”, she said.
“A lot of things are happening and we are not hearing it,” she remarked while urging the media to go out and investigate the social issues plaguing the country.
The NDC caretaker also cited the need for greater involvement from the churches, civil society and community-based organisations to create awareness and to help eliminate the social ills plaguing the country.
“We are not hearing the churches, civil society or community organisations as we ought to,” John said, citing a need for more focus to be placed on issues pertaining to high unemployment in the country.
According to John, high unemployment is an issue that can “translate into a number of social issues and can also impact negatively on the country in time to come.
“As a people, we need to be careful and not let politics get the better of us but to do what is right so that our people would have a better life…”, she said.
“We are asking the Grenadian people to come out and protest, speak out…once you know that it is happening”, she remarked.