To all citizens and friends of our nation, I bid you a very good evening.
It is a great privilege and a pleasure for me to address you at this time. As you are aware, I have just returned from Mexico City where I was invited by the President of Mexico to participate in the inaugural ceremony of the Centre for Economic and Social Studies of the Third World.
I also went to Atlanta, Georgia in the southern part of the United States where I was bestowed the high honour and privilege to deliver the feature address and to officially and formally declare open the World Centre for Arts and Crafts. To me, and to the people of Grenada, this must go down in world history as a signal honour for Grenada when one considers all the dignitaries that attended the ceremony and the fact that there are so many Kings, Princes, Presidents and other Prime Ministers that would have been pleased to be so honoured. Hats off to Grenada and all of us who comprise our new nation. I left the beautiful and modern city of Atlanta with its lovely, charming' and friendly people who gave in my honour a formal ball, a formal dinner and a very impressive reception - no wonder I left with such a heavy heart.
My next stop, of course, was in the City of New York where, together with the Permanent Secretary responsible for external affairs, Mr. Henry Bullen and the members of the Grenada mission in New York, several business transactions - economic, financial, industrial, among others, were negotiated in government's interest.
With Ambassador Marie-Jo McIntyre and the entire Grenada entourage we attended the opening of the 31st Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, September 21.
On Wednesday evening at the said United Nations building, it was an extremely glorious occasion for me personally and Grenada as a whole when, amidst an impressive gathering of dignitaries - Americans, Grenadians, personalities of royal connections, foreign diplomats and others, I was solemnly and impressively bestowed the accolade of Knighthood. This high honour conferred upon me was of special significance in that the order dates back to many centuries, and the conferment of Knighthood has been limited to very few and extremely distinguished personalities such as the President of Egypt in 1954, the President of Panama in 1954, the President of Venezuela in 1955, Dwight Eisenhower, President of the United States in 1955, Archbishop Makarios, President of Cyprus in 1957, Prince Amoroso Milino of Italy in 1961, -Richard Cardinal Cushing, Archbishop of Boston in 1963, Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1966 and Chiang-Kai-Shek, President of China in 1968. Indeed, I feel sincerely privileged to be numbered among such distinguished company.
Returning to Grenada I was very happy to receive the warm welcome at Pearls Airport from my parliamentary colleagues, members of the General Council and from the hundreds of others who volunteered. I was informed that they did so spontaneously. Again, I am very grateful and thankful to all you dear people who welcomed me on my arrival.
I was pleasantly surprised at the number of young people who joined in the welcoming party, and this is not without some significance. All over Grenada today the young people have, beyond the shadow of any doubt, come to realize that they were once fooled by people whom they thought were serious and perhaps with a sense of purpose. Young people today are pledging their unstinted support to government with our dynamic, progressive and youth-inspiring programme. Young people today are so involved in greater quantity and quality of education, so involved in a wide variety of sports and are so involved in the general nation-building programme that a hundred political parties like Jewel, G.N.P. and U.P.P. can never within the next hundred years or so be able to influence them anymore.
In a general way, the G.N.P. is comprised of lazy people, lazy leadership, unimpressive, unknown in or by international circles, lacking initiative, no foresight and by no means politicians as defined by any dictionary.
The Jewels are well known for their hate, their malice, their violence. In fact, the kind of crimes committed today were not known in this beautiful Grenada before. They cannot smile; they cannot laugh; they will not play; their disrespect to the Church and dislike for Church goers are all known. In fact, such is the way and the life of all Communists.
The U.P.P. is nothing more than a child of the G.N.P. and the Jewel -- a lame horse and wild donkey -- you know what that is and, moreover, the U.P.P. was conceived in sin, born with hate and malice, nurtured with stupidity and therefore is mentally premature and suffering from political malnutrition.
The combined opposition are very much like the six losing parties in Trinidad. The Jewel should take their queue from their counterpart, the Tapia of Trinidad, who would now stick to their little professions having been totally rejected by the voters, most of them losing their deposits while "Dr. Eric" reigns supreme.
Don't forget the name "Dr. Eric" has a meaning, and Trinidadians are proud of that. Grenadians are not less intelligent than Trinidadians.
The Jewels can never be forgotten for the damage done to the tourist industry - the taxi drivers and owners with their families, the vendors and their little children, the hundreds of hotel workers with their families, the business owners, workers who were dismissed and others whose salaries were cut; young people who could have gotten five, six and seven subjects failing totally or getting one subject or two subjects only. The fishermen who could not get gasoline and dieseline (and now the Jewels wish to make love with them trying to use them for their own political ends).
The hundreds of young people who are not working because investors and prospective investors have diverted their investments to other countries like Barbados, Antigua, Trinidad and others, while hundreds of our young people are in search every day for some form of employment.
Praise God, myself, my political colleagues, the Grenada Tourist Board, the Hotel Association and the Loyal Grenadians and faithful friends of Grenada have been helping to attract a few business enterprises to Grenada thereby building back the economy and giving some form of employment.
The opposition are so wicked and have projected such an ugly picture of Grenada through radio, press and television abroad that even Grenadians abroad and several visitors were afraid, and some still are afraid, to come to this beautiful God-given piece of "Garden of Eden". However, whenever they visit this beautiful country, they have, without exception, all expressed pleasant surprise at the natural beauty of the country and the improvements made by the government and loyal citizens and residents. The opposition criticize every single thing that is good for Grenada.
Let us forget Expo '69 for the moment, forget Miss World 1970, forget Independence and entry into the United Nations, World Bank and its affiliates, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, Economic Commission for Latin America.
Let us forget these for the moment, and let us take a quick look at a more recent event - the Grenada Easter Water Parade. In spite of the opposition we received, look at the number of people that attended; look at the number of people that participated in the various events - both aquatic and land; look at the many nations that have promised to participate in next year's and let us not forget that next year's Easter Water Parade would be much bigger with very many more prizes - prizes for the ladies with their new fashions in dresses and hats, prizes for the seamstresses, and lots of prizes that would mean trips abroad in various parts of the world with VIP treatment.
Let us not forget that the 1977 Easter Water Parade will be for the whole week continuing Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, which of course will not be holidays but will be packed with events, and let us not forget that there will be a day set aside as "Youth Day" where the youths will control all the events for the day. The masters of ceremony, the broadcasting will all be done by youths, the judging will be done by youths, the collecting will be done by youths, the traffic will be directed by youths and everything will be done by youths on that particular day.
The business places will be open and even greater volume of business than this year will be done, for people will be coming from every part of the world to buy all that we make, all that we grow and all we can sell.
We hope that the Church would continue to pray for the success of our crops, for the success of our hotels and businesses, for the absence of traffic accidents, and pray for the general prosperity of our country. We are not only committed. In fact every candidate recommended for next general elections must first give a firm and irrevocable commitment to the recognition and acceptance of God as our Supreme and Universal Creator and Father of our Universe; secondly, recognition and respect for all Churches and support for his or her particular Church; thirdly, give full support, encouragement and assistance to private enterprise, among other party principles.
My government fully recognizes the role that the Churches are playing in the educational development of the state, and has no intention, like in some other Caribbean countries, to take the schools away from the Churches. Wherever possible government will continue to work in partnership with the Churches (all Churches) . . .
Foreign investors have decided to come to Grenada for they now know that we are no weaklings and there is an atmosphere of peace and stability. God blesses us in many ways - there will be grave disappointment for any individual or groups that plan to disrupt the peace of this country from now on.
All sides were asking for qualified police officers to train the police force in administration, in field combat and in the maintenance of law and order generally.
This has been done, and now that our young policemen have been trained they are ready and willing to die for the maintenance of law and order in their country.
People cannot live by burning - as was done to the Corn House in Grenville recently; and the kind of crimes being committed since the inception of new political ideologies. My Government will do everything to check the cancerous spread of such crimes and see that law and order are maintained.
It is evident that the economy is getting back to normal under the inspired policies of our Government. Our export crops are beginning to earn more foreign income due to better management practices. When the G.N.P. government and their kind were in power the most the Nutmeg Association paid in nutmeg bonus was $21/2 million. A few months after our government appointed a responsible and respectable Nutmeg Board many strange things were discovered and the Association was able to pay $23/4 million for bonus (last year). I have a feeling that the Nutmeg Association, led by these very responsible and honest people, should be able to pay as much as $31/2 million in bonus this year.
God is certainly blessing us, and Grenada is surely finding its feet economically with a responsible and progressive government at the helm. Many countries would have taken almost a decade to recover from the ravages of the Jewel crises. But God, the Merciful and Loving Supreme Father of the Cosmic and Supreme Architect, is ever blessing us. Let us therefore, praise Him, and work to His glory. Let us speak without ceasing of His kindness to us. Let us help, brothers and sisters, in winning souls for God. The degree of love, respect and friendship that Grenada enjoys in international circles is unprecedented in our nation's history.
The world knows that Grenada, despite her physical size, plays a significant, and effective and constructive role in such international fora as the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the O.A.S., E.C.L.A. and many others. Whenever and wherever I travel, the warmth with which I am received and the respect and honour accorded me all signify that we the people of Grenada have friends, true friends, in every part of the globe.
By the grace of God, I intend to continue to attract, to draw, to win and hold friends for Grenada which must essentially rebound to the benefit of all who live in this beautiful land. While others continue to destroy this our new nation and the character of its people, we, the Grenada United Labour Party, strive to build and to restore the character of our country, the good name of our people and particularly the character and sense of purpose and direction of our youth.
The national reconstruction projects we have recently embarked upon are bringing out the best in our people. It is indeed a wonderful sight to see so many of our people willingly participating in the reconstruction of our nation's roads and bridges and other projects which our revenues, reduced since the Jewel crisis, cannot afford to undertake.
We are builders and we are smiling and happy about it. The destroyers are too proud to build, but they can incite to destroy. The venom, hate and malice of the opposition groups are without any boundaries.
We were able to attract a group of reputable individuals to establish a medical university in Grenada. This the opposition criticized and condemned with great vehemence.
We were also able to encourage an extremely wealthy group to establish an offshore company known as the "Grenadian Company" which comprises wealthy and respectable people from almost every part of the globe. This company too got more than its share of criticism and condemnation.
The opposition have closed their eyes to the fact that the Grenadian Company has already employed about twenty Grenadians at extremely good salaries, and that this company continues to provide much needed revenue to Government which has to meet its inescapable commitments, particularly in salaries and wages to government workers.
It is about time that the opposition groups realize that no country, no government, no people can make any headway on lies, malice, hate and other negatives. Our people cannot live by destructiveness of properties and attempting to destroy the character of our new nation and that of individuals.
The opposition would be glad to get into government for the chance to dismiss perhaps three quarters of the policemen and women, abandon the military force, dismiss the cadets and G.V.C., and of course, they would do their "own thing".
I give no blame to those people particularly the young who demonstrated against Government and Independence. They were misguided by some over-ambitious and impetuous lawyers, doctors, economists, teachers and even a priest. The lawyers today are doing fairly well in Petit cases, in fact all those who led the crisis are doing fairly well.
It is the young people who are suffering - they got the worse end of the stick. We are employing some, we are helping some to travel, and in fact, we are trying to help everyone who wants to improve his way of life and better his or her position and help in nation-building.
My dear citizens and friends - brothers and sisters of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique - I invite you most cordially to join us in our rather positive, effective and dynamic course of action and progress, and in our programmes for better education in quantity and quality for our youths; in our wide and varied fields of sports; in our agricultural intensification and diversification programmes; in our community cultural effort; in our environmental improvement venture; in our health improvement schemes; in our housing schemes; in our land distribution policy; and pray that God continue to use me to project an impressive, favourable, friendly and positive image of our land and people to all governments and international institutions; help us to keep down crime especially those bold and gruesome ones unknown to our country before the Jewel Communist appeared on the scene; help us to work hard and help us by your prayers; support your Church; respect and help our senior citizens; love and help little children particularly those in need.
And may God bless us all.
Good night, and thank you.