In June, we celebrate World Environment Day. And on a slightly smaller scale, Grenada will celebrate an election result.
Electioneering is in the air. In a country starved of Carnival for two years, it has become a flag-wavin’ motorcade-hootin’, Covid defyin’, exuberant release of long-suppressed emotion. Our asphalt arteries are filling, and clogging, with green and yellow, the electricity poles are festooned with yellow and green, and all is well-lubricated with yellow Carib and green Stag.
In the background, the voices of reason. Vote for us because. Experience? Youth? Pensions? Heath? Education? Lighting at sports fields? Care of the disabled? The dire state of some police stations? Youth unemployment? And, heard today: “I will vote for whoever says nice things about Eric Gairy”.
We wonder: which will prevail in deciding the outcome? Tribal loyalties whipped up to a frenzy by family and friends and co-workers and t-shirt wearers and events organizers? Probably. Or will it be thought about the issues that confront this vulnerable little island, the options for addressing those issues, and the suitability of the teams offering themselves for election to deliver the right options?
How do you persuade the undecided voters, which are the people that the candidates need to concentrate on; (the flag-wavers have already been won over)? Would YOU be persuaded by the one who waves her flag most energetically, and shouts loudest and longest? By the candidate who is most scornful and insulting about his opponent? Or by the one who recognises the concerns and difficulties of individuals in the community and has a credible plan for improving matters?
One concern which we have not yet heard at the big rallies, but has been mentioned in at least one local meeting with a party candidate: the environment. Specifically, clean sea water, topsoil loss, mangrove destruction, and littering. Without clean air (NO backyard burning of plastics, which release cancer-producing dioxins); without a clean ocean (no fish to catch, no tourists to feed the economy); without healthy soil (say NO to plastics that kill earthworms and aid heavy metal absorption by trees and vegetables) – there would be no flag-waving, no electioneering, no feting, no us. Not so?
Do yourselves and your county a favour. Show our leaders that they must lead. Show them that, without a clean environment, there is nothing. And take responsibility yourself – leave the rally venues and the roadsides that lead to them unlittered. Please.