Party poopers & 2017 events Caribupdate Weekly, Editorial January 12, 2017

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Almost everyone in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique has returned to their normal routine, after the hiatus of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. We do sincerely hope that this routine, in the case of the Royal Grenada Police Force, does not include plans by the RGPF to introduce officers’ wearing of body cameras.

Caribupdate Weekly believes the purchasing of bodycams is an unnecessary expense, and consideration should be given to investing the money to improving other areas of crime-fighting and law enforcement. Like every society, we do have our criminal elements in our midst; but, the level of crime, and incidents of police misconduct, do not in any wise justify outfitting RGPF officers with body cameras. We do not, at this point, need such an expensive toy for our police force.

Just as 2016 was about to end, there was the launch in St George’s of the Grenada Invitational track meet. Many track and field stars, including Grenada’s two-time Olympic medalist Kirani James, will be participating in the event. It will be Kirani’s first competitive outing at home since turning professional and winning the 2012 Olympic 400-meter gold medal.

There is a lot of excitement at home, and in the Diaspora as well, surrounding the hosting of the games. It’s not to say that everyone is sold on the idea of the privately organized event, which has been endorsed by Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell and his government. Some of the concerns raised, certainly, will be genuine. Others, no doubt, will bear the mark – no matter how carefully and cleverly disguised – of political shenanigans; emanating from some of the usual political suspects.

One of the suspects, and someone who has become an infamous party pooper, is labour representative in the Upper House of Parliament, Senator Ray Roberts.

Shortly after retired Bahamian Olympian, Chris Brown, and other organizers pitched the event in St George’s last year, Roberts – a former national table tennis player and a veteran journalist of radio, TV and newspaper – penned a commentary titled, “What’s the cost?’’

He offered qualified support to the impending Grenada Invitational, saying if “plans materialize, most definitely, we are in for a very special treat – an event to remember’’.

But the real point of Roberts’ commentary, we imagine, was delivered when he stated: “Taking away absolutely nothing from Government and the organizers of this mammoth event, a point that has to be made is that we need to see the same level of astonishing high energy, being put into the hosting of this event by the Government, also replicated in domestic programs to unearth future stars.’’ And Senator Roberts crowns his comments by saying: “The Chris Brown International Games will surely bring immediate gratification to the Prime Minister and his Government.  No one can seriously criticize them for bringing world stars to our country; but it shows how delinquent and shallow we are when it comes to our nation finding money and investing the resources in domestic development programs!’’

In essence, Senator Roberts is both supporting the Grenada Invitational and poo-pooing the event.

Recently, Roberts also adopted the role of media critic, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he has failed to demonstrate some of the things he now is urging media practitioners to do. The senator, a former director of the Government Information Service (GIS), launched a broadside against television stations – except for MTV – on their coverage of the just-ended parliamentary budget debate, saying “our news media ought to do more investigations – checking to see if the government’s promises and expenditure are imaginary or realistic’’. Yet, Roberts never practised any of the investigative work he’s now preaching when he had access to MTV and GIS during the NDC government of 2008-2013.

And, as we welcome the New Year, this newspaper would like to wish the best of luck to the Grenada Athletic Association (GAA) on its plans for the return of the Whitsuntide Games. If the meet is able to attract top caliber regional athletes as it did in former years, it would do a wealth of good for Grenada and our track and field talent.

We are opposed, though, to attempting anything – whether Whitsuntide Games or horseracing or Easter Water Parade – because we “used to do it before’’ and because it “used to be good’’. Our view is that there must be a deeper reason other than nostalgia; whatever is being done must be viable and sustainable and ought to produce a useful outcome, beyond having a good time.

GAA has set up a local organizing committee to oversee the planned Whitsuntide Games and we have been assured that the association intends to make it one of its marquee annual track and field events.

Good luck and every success to the Grenada Athletic Association.

And, to all the “persons’’ of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, God’s blessings to you for 2017 and beyond.

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