2018 New Year address from the Political Leader of the Grenada Progressive Movement, Terrence Forrester

The beginning of 2018 is a time for us to reflect on the past year and renew our hope for our Country’s future, so that we can attain the dreams and goals that we hold dear for ourselves and for this nation of ours.

We must abandon this path of economic hopelessness and social meltdown that our country has been forced to tread, by those who have clearly demonstrated a lack of respect for the hopes and dreams and aspirations of our people.

We have had years of hardship and forced sacrifice, but we must now resolve, in this new beginning, to shape a better, more comfortable future for ourselves and our families.

The government of the day has abandoned any purposeful ideas of a beneficial social agenda and our children have felt the brunt of this negative impact.

Child abuse in all forms is becoming frighteningly prevalent, threatening the very future of this country, as more and more of our young people become damaged by this scourge.

A government that fails to act to protect its children is a government that does not believe in the future of the country it has been charged with leading.

Too many multiple allegations of corruption, misuse of public assets, unexplained reasons for improper actions taken by the top leadership of the government, are continuing to have a direct negative correlation on the conduct of young people, in particular.

In other words, the examples of the top leadership eventually correlate and manifest themselves at the bottom via many unwelcome actions by many in society.

Our government has created what is tantamount in my opinion to be a hostile social environment for many, whereby allegations in some instances and evidence in others of its numerous wrong doings, are having a serious social negative effect on young people, working mothers, single parents and the entire society.

The Grenada Progressive Movement vows to act in defence of those whose lives are being made harder by the lack of good governance and sensible policies that would provide support for our youth and for mothers struggling to raise their families.

We believe that the State must play a stronger role in the development and protection of our children.

GPM will do all in its power to create facilities where children can be taken care of so as to assist working, single parents.

The abuse of alcohol by our children is growing into a huge problem that requires urgent attention from the State and all social partners. So far the government of the day has failed to truly lead in creating the social environment required for a respectable, stable and thriving nation.

The vision of what we wish for our nation is to be in the hopeful eyes of our children which dictates that any new Government must put God first, be respectful to the people, be honest and answerable to the population as we guide what we build.

Our legacy is only truly tested when our children and the generations to follow can look upon with confidence, their inheritance and ability to express pride and admiration.

My friends, the hope of our farmers has been beaten down over the years, with the constant reminder from our Prime Minister, “that his own father was a farmer and he died a poor man.”

This continuous statement over the years has not engendered hope and confidence in the sector, and the Grenada Progressive Movement believes that the Prime Minister holds great responsibility for the loss of our nation’s food security.

Despite large boasts of being the lead Caricom Minister responsible for Science and Technology in the region since the late 1990’s, and the elaborate promises of a “Science and Technology park” that would provide numerous jobs, the youth of this  nation were failed, yet again, as none of this has materialised.

Today requires us to do much better for our children because too many of our best and brightest brains are not offered hope and the chance for success, but instead they can be assured of a two-week contract to cut bush on the roadsides.

It is a shameful, degrading practice that we must resolve to change. Our young people need us to take a stand against such disrespect of their talents and ambitions.

There is an obvious lack of general long-term planning and for youth development in our country and despite having had just under twenty years in Governance on its side, the current top leadership of this administration continues to fail our youth and the people of Grenada with boasts of marginal growth, financial surpluses and IMF congratulations but ironically keeps on borrowing millions.

In July 2017, approximately 86.4 million was borrowed to support the 2017 budget which was obviously bursted and now again within weeks after the 2018 budget presentation on 27th. November, another 100 million United States dollars loan – approval was granted on the 20th. December by Parliament to support the 2018 budget.

The burning questions therefore are:-

(1). Why doesn’t the government utilise its surplus which has been boasted about?

(2). The budget revenue source was identified so why this loan?

(3) Why hasn’t this loan been announced during the budget presentation and

(4). Has the special financial oversight committee approved this loan?

Over the past three decades good ideas to create sustainable employment opportunities for our youth and the population have been rejected and instead, they too are being offered the passage into the program of “hand-outs and the dependency syndrome”.

Could this USD100 million loan be for this “hand-out” program? We need explanations!

Mr. PM, our people need a “hand-up” not “hand-outs”.

As Grenadians we are a proud, strong, hard-working people who believe in the spirit of working for our daily bread with respect and integrity.

So, our task ahead is a large one but I am hopeful and confident that we are up to the task ahead with a new sense of direction and purposeful intent.

The Grenada Progressive Movement calls on us all to unite in tackling the challenges that lie ahead for our nation. Let us hope that our New Year resolutions include the end of victimisation, corruption and irresponsible governance in our fair land.

Let us face our challenges with courage and embrace our opportunities with confidence in 2018.

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