September 21, 2020

Law and Politics: Forty-one years of independence, what now?

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lloydnoelBy Lloyd Noel From Caribbean News Now

We in the tri-island state of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique – are coming up to 41 years on 7th February since achieving that position of an independent state in the British Commonwealth of Nations.

That position was struggled for by the late Eric Gairy and his Grenada United Labour Party (GULP) in 1973/74; and we were the first of the Windward and Leeward Islands to achieve that status.

A whole lot of political hot water, struggle and public demonstration have passed through and around these tiny islands in those years and in the following years.

But here we are, 41 years thereafter, and the questions beg themselves – where to from here onwards and what next in the coming years?

We have already heard the ole talk, and seen some activities by the controllers in charge of the nation’s affairs on the issue of the “citizenship investment programme” by which the powers-that-be have been selling Grenadian passports to foreigners who are not Commonwealth citizens.

And the stories surrounding that mode of operation have been linked to the plan of holding a referendum by the registered voters for the reformation of the current independence constitution and thereafter the government will seek association with a foreign country outside the Commonwealth of Nations and in the Far East somewhere.

That voting operation exercise has been put off from the original March date, because the committee dealing with the recommendations for the reformation of the constitution had to do some further additions to the original package.

Whenever that voting operation is held by the controllers, the people who have the right to cast their votes for or against the recommendations also have the very serious duty to do so, in the interest and welfare of our tri-island state and its people as a whole – because there is no turning back.

Those in control of the powers of state are not up to this stage, frankly and openly telling the people what they have in mind, nor where the two-thirds majority votes would take our people in the years ahead.

And I must add that, in our national interest, those on the opposition side are also very quiet and silent on the matter.

If the silence should be taken to indicate that they are in agreement with the plans, then so be it; but if they have other ideas in the interest of our people and country, then they should be brave and concerned enough to say how they feel and why such feelings.

And the expression of their feelings at this stage is particularly important because they must also know that our nation’s passports are being sold to foreigners, whose countries are not even members of the British Commonwealth of Nations – and that state of affairs must have some very crucial significance, when it comes down to who can vote in the referendum for the reformation of our constitution, whenever it is held.

We are at this point in time completing 41 years since we achieved our independence from Britain in 1974.

And at that time a whole lot of our people were resident in England as the mother country; and, even after our tri-island state achieved its independence, lots and lots of our people still migrated to England to find jobs and further their education and, in so doing, improved their standards of living in a very free and peaceful atmosphere.

The names of those countries and their very own nationals that our controllers are reportedly in close association, and planning to join force with and have them doing business and residing in our tri-island state is a very disturbing prospect and nothing like we have been used to even as a colony in the good old days.

Now we are completing 41 years as an independent tri-island state and in the process we had our ups and downs, and series of chaos and confusion with our politics and leftist politicians over the years. We cannot go down that road again.

The political ball is in the hands of our people when the referendum is held in the months ahead and, regardless of what those in control of the nation’s affairs may say or promise will be forthcoming, it will be the people’s two-thirds majority votes that will take our nation-state down whichever road they may choose.

I can only wish that the occasion is enjoyed by all on the “seventh February” – and as a concerned people, who have been through more than our fair share of political chaos and confusion over the years – I sincerely hope that the lessons we must have gathered therefrom will enable us to make the correct and worthwhile decision in the months ahead – regardless of the promises coming from the controllers to go down any particular political highway they will be promising.

We know where we came from – and we can see where we are – let us not go down any unknown highway based on empty promises.

IMAGE: lloydnoel.jpg Lloyd Noel is a former attorney general of Grenada, prominent attorney at law and political commentator

For more on this story go to: http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/headline-Law-and-Politics%3A-Forty-one-years-of-independence,-what-now%3F-24658.html

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