By Hudson George
In reference to J.K Roberts article (Is Grenada’s CCJ Referendum Unfolding the Worth of the Opposition? September 20, 2018). However it seems that Mr. Roberts is taking a party politics approach towards the CCJ referendum issue and I personally think he is wrong. If the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) takes an openly no vote position campaign towards the referendum, the party leadership will be shooting themselves in their feet. They supposed to take a neutral position and allow citizens to decide whether they should vote yes or no, in order to put an end to tribal politics and forward with democracy.
Mr. Roberts supposed to do his political mathematics homework on the March 13, 2018 general election and pay attention to the numbers of people who abstained from voting and the numbers who voted for the political party of their choice. If he focus his attention to those numbers, he will realise that the CCJ referendum will not be a successful exercise in this upcoming referendum because it will be impossible for the yes votes to get a two third majority.
Basically, in a political culture as what we have in Grenada where people put their political party affiliations above democracy, there is no good reason why Mr. Roberts should be looking at the referendum as a political issue, for the NDC politicians to oppose in order to gain political mileage. His opinion on the issue bothers me and it leaves me asking the question: How long it will takes us Grenadians to understand, that we must embrace democracy before party politics?
On the other hand, the ruling New National Party (NNP) politicians are not thinking much different from Mr. Roberts. They have already polarised the referendum with party politics, by allowing some of their influential political activities to promote vote yes for the CCJ. I personally think that is the biggest mistake the NNP government is making because some Grenadians have not fully recovered from the last general election’s fever. Some people still have a lot of political gripes.
In addition, it is a known fact that most Grenadians have the same kind of political mentality of aggression towards their opponents. They are fully aware of the fact, that in our political culture the winner takes it all. With that sort of mentality it creates two major political parties similar as two parallel lines opposite to each other on the same direction and it does not matter how long those lines are drawn, they will never meet and join at the end because they are straight on the same course.
However, those two parallel lines are similar to the NNP and NDC political parties heading towards the same political destination in a competitive way to gain political power. And their mission is all about securing political power without no compromising.
So, it will be wise, if the NDC leadership can avoid making themselves too visible, by opposing the CCJ referendum. However, if some of the NDC supporters are openly vocal in opposition of the CCJ, it is their democratic rights as individuals to do so but the leadership should not get too deeply involved.
Additionally, the NDC supposed to learn their political lesson from the Constitutional Referendum, November 24, 2016, when they openly advised voters to vote no on all the bills. The leadership should realise that even though the majority of voters rejected all the bills by voting no, but sixteen months later the NNP still won all the seats in the March 13, 2018 general election, while the NDC suffered a humiliating defeat.
Presently, the issue about CCJ referendum is not as important as the Silver Sand Hotel conflict on Grand Anse Beach. The average Grenadians understand that Grenada Anse Beach belong to them and they are opposed to artificial walls structures on the beach. They are more interested in protecting their sovereignty than voting for the CCJ, therefore, it is not very important for J.K. Roberts to inject party politics into the referendum because the votes have already divided in three parts before the exact day of the polls November 6, 2018. As it is expected, there will be no major surprises in the results.
We all know that one group of voters will abstained from voting and the other two groups will vote either yes or no. So, when the votes are counted, it will be impossible for the yes side to get a two thirds majority victory. Then we will have to go back to square one again to fix our democracy. And when we fix it good, the next time we have a referendum, the people will understand what they are voting for. All for now they have no clue.