Bad Policing And Unemployment Can Lead To Social Unrest In Grenada

A letter to the editor of Caribbean News Now, written by Hudson Geroge of Toronto, Canada

Dear Sir:

The effects of the global economic crisis, decline in migration and hard headed conservative politicians and some interest groups who do not want changes to occur within the society, will definitely create the climate for political upheaval in Grenada. 

The ideas of giving the police extra powers and some journalists keeping gate for politicians, to promote and spread political propaganda, will only make matters worse.

Grenada has a long history of young people voluntarily migrating to other countries to seek a better future since slavery was abolished. In the 19th century, thousands of Grenadians migrated to Trinidad, and that steady follow of migrating ended just recently, in the last twenty five years or so. During the 20th century, the largest migration of Grenadians left the country to seek employment in Panama, Cuba, Venezuela, Virgin Islands, Dutch Antilles, Great Britain, USA and Canada.

As we face with this present global crisis and war on terrorism after September 11, 2001, immigration has tightened in the United States, and Canada has imposed visa restrictions on Grenadians for various reasons, therefore it is expected that Grenada will experience a rising population growth.

Although the majority of Grenadians who migrated did so voluntary, there are thousands who were forced to migrate due to political reasons. Some of them run away from oppressive regimes and others seek refuge abroad when the political tide changes against their favour. In addition, there are Grenadians who migrated to further their education, while some are just adventurous. 

However, the sad thing is, the vast majority of Grenadians never thought about creating a Grenada that will improve living conditions, even though some of them are enjoying a good standard of living in the various countries they migrated to. In addition, they either raised children, or are raising children in the adopted countries.

Presently, Grenada is in an economic crisis. Everybody wants to eat a food, as the average citizens on the street will say. But there are some big problems affecting the country. Grenada bananas are no longer sold on the European market. The Europeans can get cheaper bananas from Central and South America to buy. Two major hurricanes destroyed seventy percent of the country’s nutmeg industry. 

In addition, the so-called intelligent people who are elected to govern the country, and a handful of media persons, including some wild dreamers and radicals, seem to be ignorant of the importance of an attractive tourist industry. With the failure of the government in power to help develop a vibrant tourist industry, it is expected that there will be some kind of political upheaval. It is impossible for Grenada to survive on the old agriculture based economy, with this present global economic culture.

The handful of privileged persons who are satisfied with how the country is being governed, are now finding it difficult to keep things quiet, because the general population is getting fed up with the police, since the death of Oscar Bartholomew from the wounds he received by the hands of some ruthless police officers. If those who are in control of power were wise, they would have realise that creating a state with police acting as thugs, will backfire and the masses will rebel.

Therefore, if the economic condition remains as bad as it is presently, and the relationship between citizens and the police does not improve for the better, it is expected that there will be some kind of social unrest. 

Previous governments underestimated the power of the youths, but the power and energy of new generation cannot be ignored. With the decline of migration from Grenada to the more developed countries, it is expected that the local population will increase. Therefore, with a rising population and lack of employment, young people will try to find their own solution, and it is expected that those who are in power will feel threatened. 

Historically, whenever a group of Grenadians controls state power, they never listen to the cry of the ordinary citizens, and with such a traditional behavior, the country always ends up in political crisis and sometimes change of government. But if it happens, will the new leaders just grab on to power, and make the same mistakes again, or will they learn to change with the time and give the people what they want?

It is very important for Grenadians in general to recognise the fact that Grenada is just a small dot in the present global village, and it is foolish for those in power to try and isolate such a little country for their personal self-actualization. 

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