Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has used the national independence platform to call on Grenadians to re-elect his New National Party (NNP) for another five-year term in office on Election Day (March 13).
In addressing thousands of his countrymen and women gathered at Queen’s Park for the traditional independence day celebrations, the Prime Minister made a plea for NNP to be given another chance to continue with the work started in the last five years.
“Today, our nation and its people are reaping the rewards of sacrifice. The seeds sown by hard toil and sweat are beginning to bear a bountiful harvest of which all must share”, he said.
The speech has been knocked by the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) which took strong opposition to national independence activities taking on a partisan political flavour.
The celebration was held under the theme: “One People, One Country, Our Responsibility”.
In attempting to take credit for the austerity measures of the just-ended Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) amidst praise from the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF), Prime Minister Mitchell referred to this present time in Grenada’s history as the “era of a Grenada Renaissance”.
He cited some of the many achievements of Grenada over the years and singled out for mention the feats of persons like Olympic gold medallist, Kirani James, late journalists Alister Hughes and Leslie Pierre, former Prime Minister George Brizan and the man regarded as the undisputed calypso king of the world, the Mighty Sparrow as individuals who have given their country a name and have contributed to its development.
According to Dr. Mitchell, it is because of individuals like these that every Grenadian ought to be proud of where the country came from and where it is headed.
“The colour of the skies might have changed from red to blue; and the force of our governance comes not from bullets but ballots; but the dreams that gave rise to past struggles still endure”, he said.
“Hunger for freedom is never dated. Yearning for progress is never stale. And every new ground we take – we still yearn for more; for genuine greatness is never achieved, but always pursued”, he added.
It was against this backdrop that PM Mitchell put forward a case for NNP to be given an opportunity to hold onto the mantle of state power and continue with its election slogan, “Keep Moving”.
“…This country has changed, is changing and can continue to change for the better, but we have to keep moving forward with this enduring belief and commitment – toward an even brighter tomorrow”, he told Grenadians.
“We must, therefore, avoid risking this once again successful experiment on speculations, promises and innuendos and character assassinations,” he said.
According to Dr. Mitchell, Grenada is reaping the rewards of the SAP sacrifices and “the seeds sown by hard toil and sweat are beginning to bear a bountiful harvest of which all must share.”
He stressed that as the country continues on its “new path of development” no one will be left behind.
“We are building our young people to be empowered with technology, to be job creators and not job seekers.
We are developing our productive sectors to ensure that farmers can sleep in peace, knowing that their passion is their livelihood; that they can make a decent living in agriculture”, he said.
“…We are expanding in manufacturing and tourism, and in the process, we are creating an environment for the diversity of labour and interests,” he added.
Prime Minister Mitchell also made a plea for unity among Grenadians, saying that further achievement can only be done through unification as it was unity which brought the country to the point it is at currently.
“The teacher must join hands with the fisherman to share knowledge; the entrepreneur must meet the needy half way; the elderly must counsel the young; the leaders must extend hands across the aisles; and the doctors, nurses and other health professionals must care for the sick,” he remarked.
This, he said, is the Grenadian dream that was envisioned 44 years ago and it was the “National Patriotic Grenadian Project that has had this administration fighting for you for the last five years.”
According to Dr. Mitchell, this is a dream that must be preserved and one must “not be tempted to steer into uncertainty.”
Prior to his speech, the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) had called for a joint platform with the ruling party for the independence celebrations.
Prime Minister Mitchell also sought to explain the importance of citizens going out to vote on March 13 polling day to ensure that more is achieved under the NNP administration.
“While we justly reap the rewards of our collective efforts, we must also be prepared to carry out our civic responsibilities in just over a month, to ensure that our constitutional right to participate in our democracy is taken seriously.
“Every eligible citizen should, to the fullest extent of those rights, engage his or her universal right of suffrage, so as to determine and influence our path to continued prosperity and progress. We cannot go backwards now, ladies and gentlemen. We must stay the course, for the future beckons.
The independence Day celebrations saw participation in the much anticipated military parade display from six units of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF), the Prison Service, as well as the Cadet Corp, Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, and St. John’s Ambulance Brigade.
The parade was preceded by the first-ever Made in Grenada Exposition, cultural presentations and a concert showcasing some of Grenada’s top talents.