On the 39th anniversary of the Grenada revolution in which prime minister Maurice Bishop and his People’s Revolutionary Army seized power from Sir Eric Gairy, the country is set to elect a new government.
Prime minister Dr Keith Mitchell, confident that his New National Party (NNP), which controlled all 15 seats in the parliament, and has led a socio-economic revolution over the last five years, has suggested that now is not the time for any overthrow.
“My friends we are far from finished, we cannot turn back now. That’s why, brothers and sisters, we will continue to pursue all economic opportunities,” Mitchell told NNP supporters at the national stadium on the outskirts of the capital last evening.
However, revolution has a different meaning for the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC). Party leader Nazim Burke told an NDC rally in the heart of St George’s last night that “liberation day is March 13”.
He argued that the issues at the heart of the 1979 revolution were the same today and that Grenadians urgently needed a change.
“March 13th brothers and sisters represented a revolution against oppression, March 13th represented a revolution against spitefulness and vindictiveness, March 13th represented a revolution against intimidation, March 13th represented a revolution against poor health care and lack of quality health care,” Burke said.
The opposition leader is hoping for a repeat of the results of the March 13, 1990 general election that was won by the NDC, which claimed seven of the 15 seats in parliament. The remainder was split among three other parties, namely the Grenada United Labour Party (GULP) with four seats, and the NNP and the National Party (NP) with two seats each.
Not leaving anything to chance, Burke urged party supporters to get busy on the campaign trail and to turn out in their numbers to vote on election day.
“We must understand that this matter is now in our hands. What happens from now on, brothers and sisters, is now in our hands . . . . The choice is now in your hands. Let us now march forward to victory on March 13,” he said.
However, prime minister Mitchell has no intention of handing over the reins of power without a fight.
He was adamant that the much needed changes his administration brought to Grenada must continue as he touted its achievements.
“With proper fiscal management, the cooperation from our social partners, the stimulator of investor confidence, the sacrifices of our citizens and the overall promotion of national unity, this country has been able to experience positive economic growth, averaging over five per cent for the last five years.
“Our national debt has been lowered significantly, from 108 per cent of GDP (gross domestic product) to 69 per cent and some people in the opposition simply cannot get it right,” he said.
Today was the final day of registration for voters. It is estimated that more than 75, 000 people will be eligible to cast ballots in the poll which is seen as a straight fight between NNP and the NDC, despite the expected presence of other political parties in the race.