We just witnessed, in Grenada, democracy in action that few who know their history of the late seventies would’ve thought possible. That was a time of radical progressive leftist uprisings against the status quo’s dictatorial and authoritarian rulers, like Gairy there and Burnham here – who’d simply taken over the colonial mantle. In 1979, Maurice Bishop removed Gairy with his “Mongoose Gang”, which had terrorised the Grenadian populace.
Rodney, unfortunately, failed with Burnham here, who had him assassinated, and Burnham’s army and goons continued to terrorise the populace.
But Bishop’s New Jewel Movement’s (NJM’s) moment was short-lived, as it exemplified the inherent instability of those who believe they’ve found the “one true way” – with the NJM, this being “true-true Marxism”. They opened up relations with Cuba, Russia etc, and with clenched fists, spouted all the catchphrases of the febrile left. But Bishop’s deputy, Bernard Coard, decided he wasn’t revolutionary enough, so he simply rounded up Bishop and his circle, and murdered them!! It was for their people’s good, said Coard, and they hadn’t murdered, but “executed” the “deviationists”, for straying from the one “true path”!! Beware of horseback-riding leaders!!
Anyhow, Grenada had some Cubans building an airport, and upon the invitation of conservative Dominica’s Dame Eugenia Charles, Barbados and some other Caribbean nations, the USA invaded in 1983!! Yep…if you’ve heard about Marines invading banana republics, we had ‘em here also!! And out of the blue (yeah, right!!) came this fella Keith Mitchell – an island cricketer who’d also earned a PhD in mathematics and was working in the States. He returned to Grenada, joined a political party, and worked his way up. He never ever said he was a PhD, and NEVER called himself Dr Keith Mitchell – even though we’d been convinced that “Doctor Politics” was our thing!!
Well, Mitchell eventually became PM in 1995 at the age of 49, and continued as PM till 2008, when he and his party were voted out. He left gracefully to correct whatever damage had been done during his long incumbency!! He was duly returned to office in 2013, and continued till earlier this month, when he was unseated by a 43-year-old!! As he’d done before, he immediately conceded, and wished his successor well.
Now, your Eyewitness went on in great detail to show our present Opposition how democracy works: You find out what the people feel ought to be done by the Government to improve their lives; you craft an appropriate case, and present it to the electorate in a manifesto and on the hustings; and at the next elections – if you’ve shown yourself to be credible – the people are gonna make their decision with their votes!!
Can it get simpler than that??
But not everyone can change with the times – even though, as Dylan crooned, “The times are a changin”, fifty years ago!! There are those Neanderthals who’ll keep on doing what they’d been doing for millennia, even though their opponents – the Hominids – had figured out better ways of dealing with the new circumstances. And it’s the same with a section of the Opposition – the ones who feel that street protests will get them into power to correct all the abuses they’ve identified.
Your Eyewitness won’t even discuss the merits or demerits of the OCCASION for the latest street protests: the Police killing of Bacchus under very sketchy conditions. But he wonders why they haven’t included the Police killing of a fella named Singh under identical conditions a few weeks before Bacchus. Wouldn’t that have strengthened their case??
Your Eyewitness believes this protest has set back Aubrey Norton and the PNC’s efforts to deal with the matter – while keeping their eyes on the big picture.
Getting into Government!!
Your Eyewitness just saw our Ambassador informing Saudi Arabia that our tourism is geared towards Islamic visitors!! Really? Badderation Concert? Our several Carnival jump-ups? Our rum-fuelled boat cruises?