By Hudson George
On the issue about Grenada upcoming referendum to become a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley was the main guest speaker on the topic, held at the Trade Centre in St. George’s, just recently. However it seems as though she is not aware that Grenada model of mini democracy is a brand of post Eric Gairy political era of dictatorial politics and all the governments after Gairy’s regime benefited from his dictatorial misuse of power by refusing to restore the local government system.
However, I am begging Ms. Mottley to advise the present NNP government to restore local government in Grenada, if they want Grenadians to vote “Yes” in the upcoming referendum to join the Caribbean Court of justice (CCJ) because, most of our educated folks who are actively involved in party politics do not understand what is democracy. They only understand how to hold on to political power by any cost, if and when given the opportunity to govern the country.
Presently, the culture of Gairy’s mini dictatorial brand of politics is embedded in most Grenadians political mindset and it makes them develop a mentality to hate opposition voices because they lack the ability to respect opposing views and opinions. With that kind of backward mentality, it is easy to see that Grenada’s democracy is a sort of modified form of Gairyism, whereby, supporters of the two main political parties think that whatever their political leaders tell them is gospel truth and there is no other methods for proper reasoning discussions.
In addition, the two most visible attorneys leading the campaign for Grenadians to vote “Yes” in the upcoming referendum are also guilty of supporting previous regimes that could have restored local government but it was not in their interest to advocate the cause. Their interest was about holding on to political power with their political friends, without out any regards for the ordinary people.
However, I have listened to Dr. Francis Alexis speak live on GBN “To The Point” programme about why Grenadians should vote yes in the referendum and a few days later Ruggles Ferguson who is also an attorney was on the same GBN programme with host Brenda Baptiste making arguments to convince voters to vote for the CCJ. Basically, what they were saying, is that the CCJ is a better court system than the Privy Council but I personally have doubts about it because most Caribbean people still think the same old way as the colonialists taught them.
Even though the two legal trained men are advocating for the same cause, their argument is not on the same political settings. Dr. Alexis is saying that Barbados is a progressive country in terms of practicing British style Westminster democracy. On the other hand, Ruggles Ferguson is saying that Grenada supposed to be a progressive country because, during the people’s revolutionary government era, the goal was to get rid of colonial Privy Council, so he thinks it is a good opportunity now to dump the British Privy Council as the highest court of appeal.
I personally think Dr. Alexis and Mr. Ferguson are both opportunists playing politics because, after the U.S. Army invaded Grenada in 1983 and multi-party election system was restored, Dr. Alexis was an elected member of parliament in the Herbert Blaize NNP government that was installed with the help of big powers and some other Caribbean countries that still have the local government system functioning.
So, the big question is: If he has so much respect for the Barbadian high standard of democracy, how come he never advocate for the restoration of local government, after the people’s revolutionary government dictatorship crumpled?
In addition, Dr. Alexis had the opportunity to restore full democracy in Grenada, when he was an elected member of NDC government under the leadership of Nicholas Brathwaite and George Brizan prime ministers, when he held the office as the Attorney General.
On the other hand, as a Grenadians people we must not just vote “Yes” or “No” on the referendum based on our political affiliations. We must reflect on our past history and pay attention to the type of persons who are in the political arena, trying to hold on to power and those who are trying to grab on to power because, some of them think that they are entitled to govern the country, in order to fulfill their political dreams and agenda.
If we are not very careful, a majority vote for the CCJ can lead us into some uncomfortable situations that we do not expect. For example, there are some political players who have their feet planted inside the political arena and they are trying desperately to make a major comeback in frontline politics; and if they succeed, there is a possibility, that they will be in a position to craft new laws that we may not like.
So, basically, if Barbados is the perfect model of Caribbean Westminster style democratic system of government, I think that Prime Minister Mia Mottley should advised the Grenada NNP government to restore local government system because, based on our political tradition, Grenada supposed to have two levels of government. And after local government is restored, then we can vote to join the Caribbean Court of Justice.
However, without fixing what is wrong, it will be impossible for the government to ask us to vote for what is right. So, maybe Mia Mottley is not aware that us Grenadians, have something to fear.