By J. K. Roberts ( Sound Public Policies Advocate )
There has not been any ‘meaningful interest and sound preparations’ on the part of the Government towards the Golden Jubilee of Grenada; and thus by extension, the imperative considerations and engagements surrounding Grenada’s milestone completion of its first fifty years of Independence have not been in the ‘understanding and psyche’ of the Grenadian-people. As a matter of fact; have Grenadians grasped the ‘qualifications and dimensions and practicalities’ of the Political Independence for a small island state like Grenada especially now within a harsh global community, as well as the ‘inalienable intrinsic’ shareholder-status of every citizen in the prosperity and protection of this ‘sovereign entitlement’? In tracing the varied ‘dominance syndromes’ from Slavery under Colonialism to the United Nations with Neocolonialism, the previous article “The Reality And Evaluation Of Self-Determination In Grenada” wonders about the meaning of Independence as a misnomer and an illusion.
Critical considerations about the importance and observance of Grenada’s Golden Jubilee must be beyond the ‘entertainments, beautifications and parades’ as are now given priority and being actively promoted, to the comprehensive analyses of the past and which should not be limited to accomplishments but even more so, involving the failures and wasted opportunities; to the candid recognitions of the present scenario and which should include areas of deficiency and jeopardy, and with pertinent recommendations; and to the clever and careful anticipations of the future, with mechanisms to navigate and survive the lingering and emerging man-made and natural challenges. It is telling about the level of consciousness or of education in the society and so too, it should be appalling about the ‘unbothered and dismissive and neglectful’ attitude of the powers-that-be, on the matter of the sovereign, legal and procedural conditions in the treatments of national institutions, landmarks and symbols like the national flag, from having to witness and to tolerate the ‘mediocre and wild’ manner by which Patriotism and Pride for country is taken or expressed and is extended or perpetuated as standard.
Despite the exciting announcement by the Chair of the ‘regular or established’ National Celebrations Committee (NCC) at the forty-ninth Independence Day ceremony in February last year that, ‘the journey to the fiftieth anniversary will begin on the next day going throughout 2023 with the hosting of events on the road to a spectacular Golden Jubilee in 2024’, the 23 June 2022 administration of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) opted for engaging a ‘new and bigger’ body with a seemingly ‘compromising and bigger’ agenda. The resulting National Organising Committee (NOC) which has been provided with a secretariat and by now may be accessible to about $16million for the Golden Jubilee, was formed around June / July 2023 with the claimed reason that the celebrations of such ‘milestone completion’ deserve ‘specialized and significant’ undertakings. On 31 October 2023 the NOC launched the Jubilee celebrations meant for a yearlong schedule and at the function, Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell asserts ‘celebrating the occasion in the style of the Jab-Jab, in the style of the Vyeko …. united going up-up-up’, and thereby reestablishing and/or confirming Grenada as a JAB JAB nation (the home of ‘100, 000 Jab Jabs’) according to what has been the depiction and decision as of the 2008 – 2013 Tillman Thomas’ NDC-administration.
The JAB JAB style was actually exposed with the intention of Dickon’s NDC-administration to have had launched, ‘controversially and inappropriately’, the 07 February 2024 Golden Jubilee on 19 October 2023, even with the ‘undisputed and unambiguous’ fact that whilst 07 February reminisces the ‘bright start’ of a democratic era in Grenada’s history, 19 October relates to a ‘dark death’ of a revolutionary experiment. The ‘insensitive and arrogant’ intention for the 19 October Launch has not only erupted ‘displeasure and disorder’ which resulted in the postponement to 31 October, but it inflamed political ‘moods and wounds’ to the extent that certain fraction of the self-destroy (March 1979 – October 1983) Socialist People’s Revolutionary Revolution also had other plans to observe 19 October differently. The JAB JAB style was also evident at the great Launch on 31 October, regrettably with the lack of having pertinent participation by a representative of the Parliamentary Opposition, at least in the unveiling of the Independence Logo which as being claimed, embodies the Independence theme “One People One Journey One Future”, along with the complementary Independence song “Grenada 50 – Up From Here”; also considering that such national event should transcend all resemblances and forms of partisanship.
The execution of the celebrations for the Golden Jubilee in the JAB JAB style seems to lack ‘sincerity and spirituality’ and tends to be of a ‘mockery with emphasis on frivolities’ and thus sidetracking the people from the major issues of national governance and nation-building. In reviewing the Launch, the related article “Position Grenada’s Yearlong Golden Jubilee Within Proper Perspective” accuses the NOC of not defining and contextualizing properly the Jubilee celebrations as an occasion also for signaling a ‘better foundation and new platform’ on the entry of the nation into another fifty years. Although the celebrations are spread over the Jubilee year, also with various inputs by private and independent entities including those in the Diaspora, NOC as the Government’s spearheading and coordinating agent has not initiated any serious forum and document for the edification of the general public, especially the young generation, about the ‘actions, aggressions, actors and agreements’ in the process of Grenada obtaining its Political Independence, as well as about the movers and shakers in the development and reputation of Grenada and about the political twists and turns in arriving at fifty years. This questionable observation may be understood in terms of the declaration by NOC that now at the fiftieth Independence anniversary, Grenada is ready to review, to refocus, to rewrite and to reimage its history, culture, identity and legacy; recall the previous two part-article “Grenada Transforming its Identity And Legacy At Golden Jubilee”.
Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell delivered the Keynote Address about “Reparations, Republicanism and The Rule of Law : What Next After Fifty Years Of Independence?” at the 19th Sir Archibald Nedd Memorial Public Lecture on 22 November 2023, been organized by the Grenada Bar Association. Most ridiculous, on the verge of the occasion of the Golden Jubilee, public discussions and presentations seek to make prominent and creditable the issue of ‘what’s next’ for Grenada for the next fifty years, as if the Golden Jubilee came upon Grenada as an unexpected guest with the next fifty years beginning some reasonable and feasible time ahead. Indeed, this adopted trend of ‘what’s next for Grenada’ takes on a JAB JAB style when considering that the record is ‘replete and rich’ with tremendous ‘experiences and expressions’ on virtually every national sector and governance thematic, through various means officially and otherwise. Although Dickon’s NDC-administration implies to be serious about ‘productivity and implementation’; is it in fact demonstrating a propensity to generate conveniently with diversionary excuses, a set of repeated consultations and studies on critical ‘decisions and determinations’ which are already taken on certain national issues, as compared with the quick actions taken in ‘dark and dubious’ circumstances on other issues such as the signing of the Samoa Agreement of the European Union states with the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States on the same date of Dickon’s Key Address?
Isn’t it about ‘continuum in Government despite leadership changes’? Isn’t there available a wealth of history with a wide assortment of documents having ‘sound recommendations’ which are pertinent to Grenada’s political upheavals, constitutional abuses, electoral debacles, institutional corruptions, socio-economic troubles including public debts and food security, infrastructural upgrades, and territorial resources amongst other public policy-issues? For example; what is the value of Grenada’s 2019 National Sustainable Development Plan 2020-2035 and the set of reviews for genuine constitutional reforms, which had external financial and technical assistance? Further to the need for ‘time for action’ on those already ‘considered and well-defined and resolved’ issues, there is the need to give attention to the evolving concepts such as Artificial Intelligence and Gender Equality, with the penetration of foreign cultures and practices which are also negatively affecting Grenada’s traditions. Reconsideration on the extent the Citizenship By Investment affects the demographics and governance of Grenada is necessary.
What will be grossly ‘embarrassing and condemning and unforgivable’ about DJABJAB style in celebrating Grenada’s Golden Jubilee? This must be about having a ‘dry and empty’ ceremony on 07 February 2024 for Grenada’s fiftieth Independence anniversary; that is, with the occasion not featuring any ‘extraordinary and progressive’ doings. Primarily; will there be the revelation of a ‘decently’ new or reformed National Constitution for Grenada? Dr. Francis Alexis QC, constitutional lawyer and advocate for constitutional reforms may have sensed this ugliness about the Celebrations and thus releases a Public Statement on 22 January 2024 “Constitution Reform For Grenada At Fifty” with the altering of Grenada’s Oath Of Allegiance. Alexis holds the ‘reasoned’ view that this change is possible without requiring a People Referendum once Parliament has the Will, and that ‘how momentous would it be that the leaders on the Independence Anniversary swear allegiance to Grenada and having Grenadians to sing more lustily with rousing patriotism : “Hail Grenada at Fifty”’. Could it also be that Alexis is reacting to the article, “Has Dickon Mitchell Soured Grenada’s 50th Independence Observance?”, which expresses concerns as to why individuals as attorneys Ruggles Fergusion KC, Dr. Francis Alexis QC, and Sir Lawrence Joseph PhD have not being publicly commenting on the position by Dickon about constitutional reforms?
What then again could Grenadians truly celebrate and congratulate for at the Golden Jubilee on 07 February 2024; is it about having the NDC-party in Government and the signing of the Samoa Agreement? It is highly unlikely that a new Constitution will be revealed. It is highly unlikely that the 1973 / 1974 documentary evidence about Grenada’s Independence which may have been lost during Hurricane Ivan in 2004 but hoping to be gotten from the British High Commission, will be revealed. It is highly unlikely that the introduction of Local Government, a Council for Carriacou and Petit Martinique, as provided for in the Constitution will be revealed. It is highly unlikely that a list of prisoners who have been reprieved will be revealed. It is highly unlikely that a list of individuals who have been honored as National Heroes will be revealed. It is highly unlikely that an assurance by foreign Institutions and Governments for debt forgiveness will be revealed. It is highly unlikely that a package of significant national projects for evolving during the Jubilee year will be revealed. What real symbolism will display Grenada as a new beginning?