October 1, 2004
Celebration time

“For everything its season, and for every activity under heaven its time: []…a time for mourning and a time for dancing…” – Ecclesiastes 2-3.

This week, the Caribbean nation stopped to celebrate. From London to Kingston, from Georgetown down south, to Brooklyn and Toronto up north, Caribbean man had reason to shout out loud, “We win!” {{more}}

The victory by the West Indies cricket team came at a time when we in the region and in the diaspora, tired and weather-beaten, may have needed it most. But many of our brothers and sisters in Grenada may not have been able to savour the joy of the moment the way many of us did, comfortable in our living rooms, or bars, over a cold drink in the company of friends and family. So many of the population in our closest southern neighbour may have had more immediate concerns; we hear that ice is much sought after there. But surely, the victory of the West Indies must have brought a moment of welcome relief to even our battered Grenadian people. However, though they are battered, they are certainly not vanquished. There is hope.

And thus it was, that there, at the United Nations, our own Prime Minister was batting on a big wicket, using his voice to appeal for not only the plight of the Grenadians in their time of turmoil, but also for the people of Haiti, of whom we wonder, how much more can they endure? Dr. Ralph Gonsalves also lifted his voice to address the issue of the genocide being perpetrated in Sudan and though couched in diplomatic language the message rang through loudly. He also lent his voice to the struggle of the Taiwanese people, that part of the great Chinese civilization which, temporarily, remains estranged from their brothers on the mainland, and are struggling for international recognition.

There, at the United Nations, the playing field is not level; some have the right of might to veto and to sit on special councils while others do not. But we do have our vote, and our voice, which matters in the wider scheme of things. And, therefore, when the chorus from the Caribbean unites with the chorus from south of the equator, and with the voices from the resource-rich but poverty stricken and over-exploited African motherland, we cease to be insignificant. And that’s why our leaders must continue to press on for the cause of more equity and economic justice in the world. The world must listen.

Even as our Prime Minister pitched his voice at the UN, here at home we were reminded in these pages by columnist Renwick Rose that we are supposed to be celebrating the 25th anniversary of political independence. And we must agree with him that it just does not feel like it.

This week the minister responsible for tourism and culture made a statement on independence celebrations which sought to remind that we are into October; but it does, on the surface, seem that the importance of reaching 25 had been almost forgotten.

We hope that there is still time to go beyond just the traditional military parade – which is strange in a country that did not go to battle to achieve our independence 25 years ago. We propose that – time permitting – we attempt to showcase, in a real way, the achievements of our people over that period, in all fields of endeavour.

While the boat has already left the port, we can still salvage pride and come good, albeit at this late time, the celebrations of 25 years of independence in a significant way. One month of activities is hardly enough. There is indeed “a time for mourning and a time for dancing”. Let’s salvage pride and celebrate Independence 25 in fine style.