Do our people have reason to be Cynical about politics in Grenada?
Grenada boasts of high turnout in elections (77% in 2013) however the average Grenadian tends to be cynical of politics and politicians. Politics is supposed to be a debate where the greater good is supposed to be the ultimate aim. However the central prize that emanates from this polemic is power. At stake is the well being of the citizenry who mortgage their well being to a government led by politicians who are supposed to take care of their material needs, philosophical orientation and gatekeeper of the moral and ethical bearings of the society.
Our democratic constitution provides legal cover for the exercise of certain rights to include but not limited to freedom of expression, conscience, movement and association. The competitive nature of the mechanics of our democracy is expressed through the organisational reality of our political parties.
Forbes Burnham once said that if you have political power you must not allow it to be taken away from you. Therefore those who hold power and those who want to achieve that same power engage themselves in activities and display characteristics that get dangerously close to illegality. In other cases, moral and ethical standards as accepted in the society are trampled upon in the name of politics.
The propensity to tell lies, vilify or to engage in character assassination of political opponents are commonplace and the umbrella of ‘politics’ is used to provide cover. Besides people generally tend to bestow unto their leaders expectations of conduct that should be emulated. Opportunism has never been a trait that finds favour. Issues of loyalty, trust, principle are all embedded in the human psyche.
In the Caribbean context, our citizens tend to take seriously their party affiliation therefore political nomads are usually burnt at the stake of public opinion. Some opportunists sometimes vend lofty goals and ‘principles’ in order to mask their true intentions. Reconciliation must have a philosophical underpinning and ought not to be confused with crass opportunism. The notion that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ hardly describes important reference points of ethical behaviour of our societies.
There are givers and takers of the fruits of political opportunism. If erstwhile smokers of a political peace pipe does not show conclusively that behavioural and philosophical changes have been make, then if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck then it is a DUCK.
As it stands, Prime Minister Mitchell has said repeatedly that he has not changed; he does what he has to do regardless. The still born narrative of the David/ Humphrey concoction called “Project Grenada” is a ploy aimed at masking political opportunism. The style and effect of Mitchell led governance which caused Messer’s David and Humphrey to criticise vociferously the NNP has not diminished. The arrogance, incompetence, lack of respect for democratic institutions, victimization of opponents of the regime continues unabated. Maybe they have changed.
In the meantime, Caribupdate, the mouthpiece of “Project Grenada” continues to “bigup” the NNP administration and spare no effort to lambast the National Democratic Congress and its leader Nazim Burke. Insider Reports revealed that even Dr Mitchell himself admitted that the “Project Grenada” guys are more gung ho and aggressive towards the NDC than his traditional supporters. The problem now is Nazim Burke (for them the devil incarnate). Dark forces now walk the corridors of power in Grenada concocting lies and misinformation about the NDC. The venom with which they vend their political wares is so ever present that in public spaces that they are politely avoided.
Average Grenadians are acutely aware that these guys are up to no good. They see them as potential perpetrators of acts that can veer into illegality at a moment’s notice. The once powerful Humphrey is a mere shadow of himself as workers are being victimized, retrenched or otherwise negatively affected and not a word from this self appointed defender of the working class.
On the other hand Mr. David wants to prove that he is a useful hand in Dr. Mitchell’s desperate fight to stave off the serious challenge now posed by Nazim Burke and the NDC. They are relying on Venezuelan largesse to finance their desperate bid to defeat the NDC in the next elections. In the meantime, conscious Grenadians are watching, observing and waiting for these political vultures to touch down from their lofty towers.
This unfortunate episode in our recent history has caused many to say that they will not vote in the next general elections. Some do not even bother to register to vote while others are frankly not interested in listening to local politicians in the comfort of their living rooms.
The harsh reality of broken promises, high taxes, no jobs, and a degenerating health system is fuelling a sense of despair. However the problems affecting the nation will not go away. Public apathy will not deliver solutions to our present predicament. But where is the spirit of struggle we had in the late 70s and early 80s. Maybe we are awaiting our version of Moses. The sad thing is that there is no Moses anywhere on the horizon. God help us!!!