:: by Kimalee Phillip ::
On January 10th, 2013, it was announced to the Grenadian public that Prime Minister Tillman Thomas had advised the Governor General of the need to dissolve Parliament ultimately calling for an election date to be set within the following 90 days. Grenadians knew that an election was impending but the decision to dissolve Parliament had made the moment more real and urgent.
Typically, Grenadians have felt that for years, their options when it came to voting lay primarily between two dominant parties, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New National Party (NNP). However, there have always been a multitude of other political parties such as the Grenada United Labour Party (GULP), the People’s Labour Movement (PLM) and with the creation of the National United Front (NUF), Grenadians now have more options, that is, if they decide to exercize their constitutional right to vote.
The existence of a range of political parties may suggest a variety of options regarding political philosophies, foreign policy ideas, local initiative proposals and possible reforms when it comes to health care, education, law, public housing and socio-economic and human rights on the island. However, the level of critique and public spotlight that should be placed on political parties, leaders and their various platforms has either been limited in scope or limited to particular audiences.
Given the current political and economic climate and the increasing distance Grenadians have felt from their elected leaders, it is critical that hard and concrete questions be put to our leaders and that they be held accountable to answering them in ways that expand beyond the typical political rhetoric.
The goal therefore is to come up with a list of questions to be put to our leaders that fall under the following suggested themes:
1. The Economy (taxes, job creation, deficit, investments etc.)
2. Health care
3. Public infrastructure & transportation
4. Education (infrastructure such as the public library, student debt)
6. Democracy and Accountability (elections and legislative reform, Senate etc.)
8. Families (fighting poverty, pensions, the elderly, the disabled, children, violence against women etc.)
9. The Environment (protection of our lands and sea, climate change etc.)
10. Culture & the Arts
11. The Diaspora
12. Social Programs
The goal of this exercize is to not only help differentiate the parties from one another based on their platforms and goals to allow for Grenadians to make a more informed decision, but also to have something to point to after leaders have been elected to hold them accountable.
We are working on setting up a forum, which may or may not take the form of a panel comprised of a representative from each political party. If you have ideas of what this forum should look and if you have questions that you would like to direct to our political leaders and parties, please email Kimalee Phillip at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 18 January 2013.
Kimalee Phillip is an anti-colonial labour and community activist living and working in Toronto. She completed her Master’s degree in Legal Studies at Carleton University where she analyzed the colonial impacts on gender and violence against women in Grenada. She currently works as the Resource Coordinator with the York University Graduate Students’ Association, serves as the Equity Officer with the Canadian Union of Public Employees, local 1281 and does organizing work with Spice Youth Toronto Community Initiative and the Network for Pan-Afrikan Solidarity.