By Lloyd Noel
The change of government after thirteen years of the NNP from 1995 to 2008, was supposed to last for five years up to July 2013 but, as with most things of a political nature in our tri-island state, we are always creating or becoming subject to all manner of unusual circumstances when it comes down to politics.
|Lloyd Noel is a former attorney general of Grenada, prominent attorney at law and political commentator|
And so it was with the 2008 change of government in that, although the NDC won a very comfortable victory of eleven seats to four in July 2008, their reign in power barely lasted for four-and-a-half years.
And in that last half-year, the Tillman Thomas government in fact had six members of Parliament on its side, because five of the original winners had either resigned or been expelled from the party.
And to ensure that the government was not outvoted on any matter in parliament, the entire business of the state of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique was put on hold, because the two houses of Parliament were on vacation for the last nearly eight months of the government’s control of the affairs of the independent state.
Against that back ground, and the virtual collapse of the NDC’s image and credibility that won the hearts and support of the majority of the voters confidence in 2008, it was very easy and understandable to see and accept the voters very clean-sweep acceptance of the NNP’s full slate of candidates, at the February 19 general elections this year.
So here we are, at the end of the five years that the NDC winners of 2008 should have been in control of state power, and the NNP is back in charge – with not even one MP in the Lower House to ask a question in opposition on any proposal put forward by the government in control.
Everything is so quiet and lacking in public interest as far as the Parliament to deal with the people’s business is concerned that it leaves many to wonder whether the institution is in fact functioning.
The government ministers, from the prime minister downwards, seem to be more often than not on overseas trips, attending some meeting or function, or holding talks with organisations that the Grenada government over the years has had financial dealings with, and things have been very low key for some time now and need revisiting.
Of course the emphasis during the campaign was about attracting overseas investors to come and start some business in the tri-island state, so as to provide employment opportunities for the thousands needing jobs to make ends meet.
The trips overseas can also be used to meet up with some of those possible investors – because the situation economically is getting worse here at home and relief is urgently needed.
Against that background, it was very encouraging on Monday morning (1st July) to see a few groups of workers in the de-bushing road maintenance program, on the Western main road from St John’s downwards, and they all looked very enthusiastic as they went about cutting down the bushes that were even taller than many of them in some places.
So the controllers are keeping their promise, even though it is somewhat late – and the hope no doubt is that the maintenance of the roads and potholes would soon be tackled.
There have been some complaints that a number of government workers in the various ministries have been sent home to reduce the salary bills.
And the reasoning being advanced by the new leaders is that those workers were hired for purely political favours by the losers – and the wages and salaries bills are just too high, so the newcomers had to be sent home.
Whether the reasons are true or false, it still means that a number of families are without a steady breadwinner, so it is hoped that the practice would be minimal and very soon discontinued.
There are lots of families in dire need, and the unemployment situation, other than those people who traditionally depend on the roads maintenance and de-bushing program, are badly in need of some kind of work to take care of their families. And to think that in the next week or so, a whole lot of school-leavers would be joining the “jobs needed queue” with very little hope of finding a job anytime soon.
The new government in control raised a lot of hope with their nice sounding promises during the campaign – and there can be no denying that the islands-wide majority believed all that they were told and responded accordingly.
It is now up to the leaders and total controllers to do their utmost to bring some relief to as many needy families as possible, and as soon as they can.
We celebrated Fishermen Birthday on the 29th June in Gouyave, and the people participated and enjoyed the evenings before and leading up to the actual birthday.
And the fisher-folk and parishioners had the pleasure of welcoming Hon. Roland Bhola the minister of fisheries, the MP for the St John, Alvin Da Breo, the ex-Governor General Sir Carlyle Glean and Lady Glean – and above all else our first female Governor General Dame Cecile La Grenade.
They all attended the Church Mass at the RC Church, and the current officeholders in the new government all made very interesting and informative remarks to the congregation.
And to cap it all, they also joined the people in the procession to the Lance Beach, for the blessing of the boats by the parish priest.
Needless to say, after the daytime celebrations were over, the fisher-folks and friends and revelers continued through the night at the dancing sessions in the parish.
Now it’s back to the boats and nets and catching more fish until the next Fishermen Birthday in 2014.