Connect with us

Caribbean & World

A Chained People: The Grenadian people are the same as their elected leaders

Published

on

by Yao Atunwa

We Grenadians are a very insecure people. I say this irrespective of any other characteristic, be it constructive or otherwise.

Our insecurity is a prevalent characteristic that is displayed in a myriad of ways in the day-to-day lives of our people, from withholding support, to not valuing things that are of critical importance to our upliftment as a group, to downrightly passive aggressive behaviour towards others who have not injured us in any way. Our insecure disposition is a constant in the tapestry of social life on the island and with Grenadians in the Diaspora. More importantly, in order to explore the wide claim just made, one of the questions that needs to be asked is: where does this leave us as a people? What are the implications of such a scenario? And perhaps a less interesting question for many: how did it come about in the first place?

It is obviously not hard to fathom the origin of our insecure disposition as a people who are still seeking to assert our right to be self-defining 4 decades after receiving political independence from Britain. That insecurity is part and parcel with our un-freedom. That is, it dwells in our culture, to produce a group of people who wrestle with the same dynamics and see the same results. Make no mistake about it, we are of the same cloth as our elected officials, no difference whatsoever.

Think about it, we only say that politicians are different and seek to isolate ourselves from them when they abuse the people’s trust with their indifference and lack of responsibility as stewards of the nation. What we do not realise is that the indifferent and irresponsible behaviour that is often on display by elected officials share a common root with our very own indifference and crude behaviour when we should be giving each other a hand and building collaboratively. But one can tell the nature of a people by the leadership that represents them.

A people are a reflection of their leadership, and vice versa. What both represent is a culture practiced by its many subjects – us individuals. In any given culture, there are major makers of identify that members are invested in, voluntarily and involuntarily, some more than others and at various intervals. Most of us are not necessarily conscious of what they are or in a position to articulate them clearly. Nonetheless, our psychological history is what is being denoted in such makers, essentially, because that is the black box where everything is recorded for playback. Take for example our esteem in one another, and how it would have increased or decreased based on where we are in seeking to overcome challenges pertaining to our survival, relatively and generally speaking.

One of those invisible makers is our great deficiency of knowledge about our history as a people, and more importantly our great history of resilience in the face of oppression. This aspect of our history is hardly brought to the forefront, if at all. Not even our political and economic history is taught in our primary and secondary schools to any significant degree – much less our African history, of which a great many of us ought to be vested. The failure to engage seriously in teachings about the events that shaped our current realities leaves us very vulnerable and impressionable to agendas that are not conducive to our social and psychological development. This very situation is precisely why we remain dependent on the assistance of foreigners in almost all aspects of what supposed to be our internal affairs, to the point where the encroachment is becoming more brazen. For instance, laws pertaining to the financial governance and thus the regulations of our monetary activities are being infringed upon by OECD states, with laws such as the infamous Fiscal Responsibility Act that is adversely affecting workers’ ability to adequately bargain for very modest increases in salary and even obtain the level of benefits entitled to by law.

It is pretty much a situation where our constitution, which was created for us by our colonisers, is being updated in ways that are absolutely not progressive. Therefore, the yoke of colonialism is being given new life, when we should be busy shaping and affirming an identity that contrasts the oppressive legacy that has been the backdrop to our history, psychologically, economically, socially, and politically. All of which are being reinforced in our great failure to recognise that the playbook has not changed; that we remain dependent on Europeans mightily. And that they do not have our interest at heart; and will never be able to.

In such context, with progressivism lacking in both the mindset of our people and our political leadership, we will only witness the same patterns of behaviour from our citizenry and as a result, our elected officials who come from the very same citizenry with all the makers intact. The twin effect, in that of the values of the leadership in its failure to adopt or imagine progressive policies and the peoples’ own failure to move pass complacency and engage in progressive and serious challenges to the current order, remains.  When such happens, it means there is very little respect for each other, as is typical in oppressive conditions. The internalisation of the oppression endured by multiple generations makes it rather difficult for progressive ideas and plans to gain traction, especially when there isn’t a great amount of resources available to execute such plans in the immediate and without a collective approach. The focus by most is on the immediate and agendas tend to get defined along personal lines, i.e. mere self-interest.

The politicians, in representing the people, are merely facilitators of special interests and oftentimes their own separate interests. The insecurity that we are wired with as a people who are chained to an oppressive system continues to wreak havoc on our people’s mental and social condition, continuously. The so-called typical modes of behaviour mentioned early (excessive competitiveness and covetousness, overtly and covertly) are seen as “normal” in folks seeking to relate to each other. Consequently, social, progressive movements are harder to come by under those acute conditions; that is, until conscientious and conscious members of the society begin to challenge the dominant narratives regarding the economic, political, and social dimensions of the society, to raise the consciousness level of the people. This is exactly what took place leading up to the revolution that came into effect on 13 March 1979 and had to continue in order to save the processes that were undertaken to fundamentally change the Grenadian society. In other words, a redefinition process was central to that movement that was led by a group of very young and political astute Grenadians at the time.

For one, education was being redefined along social lines, to give greater purpose and aspiration to the endeavour of educating our citizens beyond personal aspiration and benefit. But like the revolution, that was short-lived for the most part when neoliberalism triumphed in the wake of the demise of our experiment in revolutionary processes. The messaging by the invaders helped greatly to reverse the progress made in our people, in how they came to understand and view themselves – the portal for all change. The held view that the United States Army and its governmental leaders saved Grenadians made all the practical sense to many Grenadians made vulnerable vis-à-vis the great void that resulted, even with ones who conscientiously experienced the social and material benefits of the revolutionary processes: when the distrust amidst the chaos would have raised its ugly headed in a galvanising way to seal the fate of the young revolution. So much so that there was little counterargument from even the staunchest proponents of the changes already started taking effect in the lives of Grenadians.

The grave errors made in the PRG leadership, to the extent that the lives of core members were taken, pretty much gave Grenada over to the salivating US that looked at our interest in self-determination as a direct assault on their hegemonic interest to dominate all coloured nations. Now, we celebrate Thanksgiving on 25 October to commemorate the US saving us from ourselves, if I can put it that way. And obviously, we do not think much about it, especially at this juncture. If we only knew the geopolitics involved in the orchestration of the mighty US army invading a tiny Caribbean nation-state under the pretext that its students were in great danger, or the other infamous line, that we were building a Soviet-Cuba military base when all we intended to do is feed ourselves by seeking to broaden our reach to international markets with an international airport.

Now, more than ever, we look to US culture for an understanding of our position in the world and ultimately ourselves. Our tastes and general consumption patterns are being tailored by their commentators and TV programming. Rugged individualism, the benchmark value of neoliberalism, is with us in a large way; not realising that our freedom can never come from mere individual expressions and self-interests. Such is the deception that we succumb to. But all we have to do to realise the grand scheme of deception is to pay attention to the moral and social bankruptcy of the US If you can, notice the high degree of freedom roughly half its population who are poor and low-income are enjoying when they cannot afford to rent in 70% of US counties because they simply cannot afford rent on their low incomes; or the aging baby-boomers who are finding themselves unable to retire when they are currently struggling to stay afloat; or the countless young adults saddled with student loan debt to the point where it is a huge challenge to afford the very basic necessities, and certainly not a mortgage in most cases.

The sheer volume of people either underemployed or working multiple jobs just to stay afloat, with tens of millions unemployed, is only becoming worse, while a very tiny minority continue to increase their income levels and overall wealth under the capitalist system designed to produce those results invariably. Those who make up the 1% take home on average 39 times more in income that the bottom 90%. To make matters worse, those of the 0.1% income is 188 times more than the bottom 90% of the population. How much freedom are these people belonging to the bottom 90% enjoying?

While such calamity is happening in near silence on US soil, our nation is mired in foreign debt. It was 108% of GDP in 2013, after being over 80% of GDP form 2004. Now it is in the region of 70% of GDP, while we are still struggling to employ our people in the midst of a very high cost of living. How are we to say that we are a free people, when we are hardly in charge of defining our destiny? Freedom can only be derived from group efficacy and dynamics. Freedom is a social phenomena. It is the organised imagination that sets a people free. Thus, ultimately, to free ourselves involves a conscious process of building healthy and sustainable communities from collective effort. The types of institutions and systems we seek to create would reflect our desire for freedom. An un-free people are an insecure people. The more un-free a people are, the more insecure they would be. The un-freedom is not an abstraction; it can only manifest in the social relations of the members of the society. That is why individual freedom is derived from group freedom or group dynamics. If the group is not free, the individual cannot be free. Our insecurity, not analysed adequately, would never provide such revelation. Certainly, not when the escape is to seek to be the biggest consumer one can possibly be; and quite frankly, many are literally dying trying in the US and everywhere the neoliberal tentacles have touched. A free people seek to solve their own problems; they don’t rely on others to do so.

Source: Source link

Caribbean & World

Prime Minister meets with executive members of Caribbean Congress of Labour

Published

on

By

Prime Minister, Dr the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell, and Minister of Labour, Honourable, Peter David, met Friday with executive members of the Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL) who were in Grenada for a meeting of the regional organisation.

In welcoming the team, headed by President Andre Lewis of Grenada, Dr Mitchell underscored the importance of the labour movement and of working together.

He noted that the current Chair of the Caribbean Community, Honourable Mia Mottley of Barbados shares that opinion, hence the invitation to labour representatives to attend the inter-sessional meeting in Barbados this week.

Dr Mitchell said, “In the new global community, unless we work together, we would not survive. We need to unify our efforts – businesses, governments and labour to meet the fundamental challenges we face today. The Government of Grenada looks forward to continued cooperation as we go forward.”

Andre Lewis, who was elected President of the CCL last November, said the organisation also favours the collaborative approach and welcomed the opportunity to work with Caribbean leaders. He said, the CCL also believes the tripartite approach is necessary.

The Prime Minister also raised the issue of productivity, which he said needs to be addressed. The CCL executive members noted that productivity must be looked at in all its dimensions.

The subject of a possible government subvention for the CCL was discussed. Dr Mitchell, who is also the Minister of Finance, said government will be willing to support efforts by the regional trade union umbrella body, especially as it endeavours to empower its membership.

This drive to empower has already started. Through the CCL’s partnership with Cipriani College of Labour and Cooperative Studies in Trinidad and Tobago, the Grenada Trades Union Council is planning a one-week training session in leadership for its affiliates.

Dr Mitchell also suggested that the trade unions get involved in business ventures that can benefit their members over time. Some unions in Trinidad and Tobago and Dominica are already engaged in such activities and Dr Mitchell suggested that this approach be encouraged in other countries, including Grenada.

Office of the Prime Minister

NOW Grenada is not responsible for the opinions, statements or media content presented by contributors. In case of abuse, click here to report.

Source: Source link

Continue Reading

Caribbean & World

CARIBEWAVE 2020 to be staged on 19 March

Published

on

By

The National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA) continues its preparation for the hosting of CARIBEWAVE 2020, carded for Thursday, 19 March 2020.

This year’s scenario will involve a 8.9 magnitude earthquake just off the coast of Jamaica, triggering a tele-tsunami in our area.

The exercise will be held along the western corridor: Victoria, Gouyave and Grand Mal, but triggering a national response.

The 2020 exercise gives the sister isles of Carriacou and Petite Martinique a unique opportunity to test the SOP (Standard Operating Protocol) created in 2019 as part of the certification of being Tsunami Ready in November 2019.

The exercise will be conducted simultaneously in Carriacou and Petite Martinique. We therefore encourage the general public to visit the website Tsunamizone.org to register for the exercise.

CARIBEWAVE (Caribbean Tsunami Warning Exercise) is a tsunami exercise held annually in the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, under the direction of UNESCO and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

The purpose of the CARIBEWAVE exercise is to improve the effectiveness of the Tsunami Warning System along the Caribbean coast.  The exercise provides an opportunity for emergency management organisations throughout the region to test their operational lines of communications, review their tsunami response procedures, and to promote tsunami preparedness.

The objectives of the CARIBEWAVE Exercise are to test and evaluate the operations of the Caribbean Tsunami Warning System (Caribe EWS), to validate preparedness response to a tsunami (which are test protocols and communications systems between tsunami warning centres and the tsunami warning focal points), and the use of the PTWC (Pacific Tsunami Warning Center) enhanced tsunami products for the Caribbean, as well as assist in tsunami preparedness efforts of the emergency management agencies in those areas.

For additional information, please contact Oslyn Crosby Public Relations Officer, NaDMA on 440-8390/ 440-0838, or 533-0766 email: nadma@spiceisle.com / nadmapr@gmail.com . 

NaDMA, the official source for all disaster related information in Grenada. 

NOW Grenada is not responsible for the opinions, statements or media content presented by contributors. In case of abuse, click here to report.

Source: Source link

Continue Reading

Caribbean & World

Missing Man Found | NOW Grenada

Published

on

By

30-year old, Devon Jeffrey of La Mode, St George, who was reported missing on Monday, 17 February 2020 has been found and has been reunited with his family. 

The Royal Grenada Police Force thanks the general public and the media for their continued support.

Office of Commissioner of Police

NOW Grenada is not responsible for the opinions, statements or media content presented by contributors. In case of abuse, click here to report.

Source: Source link

Continue Reading

Trending