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A Naysayer Or A Concerned Citizen?

  • Written by  The Editor

Robert A. Dahl once said, “ironically, the very fact that democracy has such a lengthy history has actually contributed to confusion and disagreement, for ‘democracy’ has meant different things to different people at different times and places.

Sometimes we seem to get the lines blurred regarding a critic, a naysayer, a doubting Thomas and a genuinely concerned person.

Seems that in Grenada these designations are interchangeable depending on whether an individual’s views agree with ours or differ; whether they agree with us or disagree.

Habitually people in authority are anxious to bash anyone who dares to question or disagree with their actions or decisions, however respectfully or however well meaning that question of disagreement may be.

When it was announced that Intercol 2015 would be held in St. Andrew’s it sparked a slew of debate and why wouldn’t it? Anything new or unusual may be looked at suspiciously, not that it is always justified but that is the way it is.

As the Informer recalls, the debate was less of a country/town one and more of the government’s lateness in announcing the decision and whether the venue would be ready in time.

Government officials, radio programme hosts and various other members of society immediately launched sometimes scathing attacks on the persons who said, “I have a concern.”

The sports have come and gone and without doubt those concerns have proved unfounded but were they misguided. It is only after the fact that the question of whether a concern was justified or not is answered.

The games were truly successful. In fact some are praising it as the best ever. It is not clear what yardsticks are being used to compare the 2015 event to past games, most of which have also been very successfully planned and executed.

However, the lambasting continues and you keep hearing comments to the effect, “despite the naysayers or despite the critics the games were successful.” Wouldn’t it be reasonable to attribute some of the determination to succeed by the organizers to the very concerns and criticisms that were so unwelcome in the first place?

Despite this, no one, critic or supporter, can grudge hearty congratulations to the organizers, competitors and spectators all of whom are also responsible for the success story. 

More recently, the National Democratic Congress announced its decision to withdraw from the Constitution Reform Advisory Committee citing that based on how things have been proceeding, the party has determined that it can be of no further practical assistance to the committee in the fulfilment of its mandate

The NDC believes that all of its efforts to encourage a more broad based process that will reflect the will of more people have been ignored and most likely will continue to be.

Both Public Relations Officer of the New National Party, Terrence Forrester and Minister of Legal Affairs, Labour, Carriacou & Petite Martinique Affairs & Local Government Elvin Nimrod lost no time in describing the NDC’s decision as unfortunate among other adjectives without addressing the reasons the party gave for its decision.

According to Tabatha Coffey, “sometimes, in order to follow our moral compass and/or our hearts, we have to make unpopular decisions or stand up for what we believe in. It can be difficult and even frightening to go against the grain, whether it’s a personal disagreement with a friend, partner, or family member or a professional decision that affects co-workers and colleagues.” We may add, citizens of a country.

Certainly the NDC must understand and accept that its decision in this regard will not be approved by everyone but no one can deny that the organization has a right to take a stance on what it considers a matter of principle.

A very grave weakness of our society is refusing to accept opposing views and respect the decision of others if they differ from what we would have preferred; after all managing dissent is about recognizing the value of disagreement, discord and difference.

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