FEBRUARY 11th, 2006

Sermon delivered by Pastor Stanford Simon to mark the 32nd Anniversary of Independence of Grenada
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We celebrate 32 years of Independence today - Thirty-two years of struggle to attain true independence ....and along the way trials and tribulations of a kind which is not unique to us as Grenadians and God's people!

In the Bible during the time of Moses in the book of Exodus - God's people were in the wilderness looking for the promised land and so today we too as a people are looking for our Promised Land. In the Book of Exodus the story of the children of Israel unfolds in these chapters.

* Chapter 3 The Burning Bush with Moses.

* Chapter 4:14 - 31 Aaron to be the mouth piece for Moses through their wilderness journey.

* Chapter 6 to 12 Moses and Pharaoh showing the power of their God; Chapter 13 Onwards God's people were in the wilderness looking for the promise land. The children of Israel transgressed over and over again it begun with a grumble, it ended with forty years in the wilderness (Numbers chapter 14:20-24)... and so we as a people have been wondering for thirty two years, searching for our Promised Land. Sir Eric Matthew Gairy (Uncle Gairy) was the hero to many in the 1950's by 1972 the table was turning on him...

The Children of Israel in Exodus chapter 16 forgot God's goodness and power and complained that Moses brought them into the wilderness to kill them but God provided them with manner.

From previous to our Independence on February 7, 1974 ... there was great trial and tribulation throughout the length and breadth of Grenada. The country was shutdown tight .... we ate bluggoe and fig .... when we were tired we ate Fig and Bluggoe.

There was the story that a young man and his family being starved for meat for so long decided to visit his neighbour's yard, the neighbour had a cow tied in his yard - he proceeded to cut the leg of the animal off ... leaving the rest of the animal.

When he was accused by the Cow's owner he told him of his hunger and that he only took a leg .. but left the rest of the cow for him. The owner of the Cow eventually had to put down the animal - and he still gave the man who took the leg, some of the meat from the butchered cow.

So too did the people of Israel - they were provided for with Manner from Heaven in Exodus chapter 16: 4 - 9... Chapter 18 Moses' father-in-law Jethro came to counsel Moses. In 1973 the Right Honourable Herbert Blaize and Sir Eric Gairy went to England to receive counsel on the way forward and to seek our Independence.

(Quote from Sir Eric's Speech delivered in England: “We knew what we want".

"Mr Minister, we wish to make it known that we propose to entrench within the new constitution, that Grenadians who have acquired citizenship of the United Kingdom or any other independent Commonwealth country will on their return to Grenada, the land of their birth enjoy a citizenship equal in status to that of the country in which they have acquired citizenship.
“In other words, Mr. Minister,the proposed constitution shall make provision for dual citizenship; the independent constitution will give to Grenadians living in the United Kingdom or any other independent Commonwealth country a Grenadian citizenship equal in status to that they have acquired."

Another of the pre-independence stories was G-o..go ..Gairy Must Go" - Go...go... Gairy Must Go MONGOOSE GANG - BEATINGS- Committee of 22 made up of Civil Grenada including the Chamber of Commerce, Trade Unions and the Churches.)

The whole country was in darkness - electricity workers were on strike .. February 7, 1974 at midnight with all the country in darkness .. Sir Eric Matthew Gairy held a ceremony on Fort George to mark Grenada's attainment of Independence.

In Exodus chapter 20 The children of Israel were given the ten commandments and they transgressed against it, how and when they wanted and God judged them for it. Our people were also issued a constitution which even today we transgress if, how and when we want, especially our political directorate.

Our History covers the Duffus Commission which investigated the squandermania of the Sir Eric - a regime which exercised bad governance and was plagued by:

* Bad spending
* Political control of the nutmeg, banana and cocoa boards
* The big holdings of land was acquired to give land for the landless but it was for political ends.

After all these years we have not yet learned from our history. The spirit of the Constitution was compromised by a Leader who thought he was God and sometimes personally interfered with the Police Force - Transferred people to count gravel at Queen's Park or banished them to in-action at another job!

The fear-factor was used to great extent in Grenada at that time in the 1970's....
And so in the 80's the Fear Factor continued with the PRG! Today aren't we facing the same attack by the use of the Fear Factor by our Leadreship.

The methodology may have changed but the intention is the same. Intimidation by the Leadership of the Country... using not the Mongoose Gang ..... not Heavy Manners .... but by the use of the Legal system .... The Court House! We are facing the same dilemna we did in the past throughout the length and breadth of our country.

Our Civil Service is blamed for the transgression of the Leadership ..... morale is broken down with the words: " ... I have no confidence in you..." and with that comes twenty years of service by our civil servants going down the drain. Ask ... Basil Harford , ask Madonna Harford - ask Richard Duncan. And if you have the time read his book: WALKING THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW (Issues and Perspectives in Grenada's Public Administration). You just have to read the first 10 pages and you will get the picture.

Moses did not do that, He was taking the children of Israel to the Promise Land, so he led by example. When politicians interfered with the basic tenets of a democratic Nation by not obeying the Constitution ... the spirit of the Constitution which safeguarded ALL our people from arbitrary arrest and other forms of democratic principles we must have problems in our country and within the Public Service.

In Exodus chapter 21-31 the ten commandments was explained and detailed out for the children of Israel giving rights to its leaders, the priest, the Levites, Moses and to the ordinary Israelites so too our constitution spells out the way we should live and uphold the law of our land.

When supporters of any ruling government stand by and do nothing, say nothing, by silence you are supporting the excesses - corruption and immoral actions of any government ...
That is when God will say enough is enough .. and there will be suffering in the land. Chapter 32 the Golden Calf worship. Just as the children of Israel was worshiping a calf (making it a god) instead of the God, Jehovah who brought them out of Egypt.

And so too many of us are making the leadership of our country little gods and they could do no wrong and many of you have turned them into your own little Gods on earth. I trust many of you listened or looked at the last budget debate and I do hope you are forced to change the way many of you were thinking.

You and I were ashamed and disgusted with what we heard and saw by the leadership of our country weren’t you! The First CONSTITUTION ever given to a people .. was given by GOD to his people as they journeyed to the promised land!

That was ...... The TEN Commandments! Exodus chapter 20

* Thou shall not have no other gods before Me

* Thou shall not make unto the any grave image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

* Thou shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

* Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

* Honour thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

* Thou shall not kill.

* Thou shall not commit adultery.

* Thou shall not steal.

* Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

* Thou shall not coveth thy neighbour’s house.

So too we were given our ten commandments in the form of the 1974 Constitution ...and what did we do with it ...

Our Leaders twisted and turned the Constitution on its head ... we even on March 13, 1979 did away with it and instituted our own Laws. A Constitution Must Be Obeyed - it is sacrosanct - it is the difference between order and chaos.

You may say that we had four years of order and discipline during the revolution ..... I agree that they were great successes such as

* Free education
* Free health care
* International airport
* Agriculture was at its best
* Grenadians were united on a clear, common vision and objective but God was not at the centre of what we were doing.

But God gave us the guide ... we must be guided by Rules and Regulations ...
It was not by accident that God handed down to His people the TEN COMMANDMENTS .... not once but twice God knew that a country and a people MUST be governed by Rules and Regulations for ALL and by ALL!

So when, throughout our history we interpret the Constitution in our own image and likeness .... or, we totally discard it for some other law .... we are asking for God's wrath ... just as he turned his wrath on His people Israel!

We all supported and danced with the change .. Our Constitution was replaced by PEOPLE's LAWS on 13th March, 1979 ... not GOD's Laws ...
Do you remember the slogans:

* Forward ever backward never
* Counter revolutionary
* Stand up dey and feel the weight of the REVO
* Forward march against imperialism.

We replaced God's law with mans law. God's people, when he delivered the commandment (Constitution) to them - they disregarded it and went ahead to worship their own Graven Images. On October 19th, 1983 it exploded on us.

Just as the children of Israel spent forty years in the wilderness, so too the Grenadian people have spent many years in the political wilderness for thirty-two (32) years. But "there is a way out".

The shooting down of Maurice Bishop and others .... Loss of Life during the Invasion - and a continuing dislocation of us all by our successive Leaders. Even today ... some of our leaders might have serious problems even seeing the promised land - much less getting there.

* A quote from a US Newspaper in 1983: One Grenadian young woman asked after the intervention, "Will we still get aid to buy school books and uniforms, will we still get free milk."

* Many Grenadians in 1983 were asking themselves who is going to rescue us from our rescuers, today you may be asking yourself the same question as a Grenadian citizen.

Interfering with God's law had dire consequences on His people so that God reigned down on them serious difficulties. But through Moses - God granted His people a reprieve. Exodus chapter 32: vs 30-35. Also in the New Testament God gave us true freedom through His Son Jesus Christ.

* John 1: 5 In Him was life and the life was the light of men.
* John 3:16 For God so love the world, that He give His only Son.....
* Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
* Romans 6:23 The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.

In 1984, we went back on track by re-instituting our Constitution at terrible consequences so too did the children of Israel in Exodus chapter 33.

(LEADERSHIP COMPARISON IN BIBLICAL TIMES)

Choosing our leaders thereafter has become crucial for us as a nation.
For the Israelites:-

* Joseph was imprisoned when he was called to become the Prime Minister of Egypt and save the nation from famine.

* Moses was in the wilderness when he was called to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt to the Promise Land.

* David was not seen as a leader at first but he became a great political and Godly leader.

* Solomon was given the kingdom and the responsibility to build the Temple for God.

So we as a people were given leaders

* Sir Eric Gairy came back from Aruba and served as our first prime minister. * Bishop who was born in Aruba and studied in England came back home and became the people’s man, took power by the gun and died by the gun. * Herbert Blaize was a God-fearing man but we know his demise. He took over peacefully and died peacefully with a heavy heart.

The administration of Sir Nicholas Brathwaite the forces came against him like the children of Israel who went against their leadership. * George Brizan’s structural adjustment: The IMF was breathing down on our necks because of the indebtedness of the country. It contributed to him loosing the election.

* The present administration. They squandered the gains and sacrifices that were made by the NDC Government. And it is plagued with allegations of corruption and mis-management of the country. Its story is being written as I speak. Time will tell.

The Promised Land. How will this nation reach there. Are we destined to be in the wilderness for.... 40 years! If we are not then the time is near ... this is our 32nd year ....the time is close!
We must recognise our Prophets of the past and build on their vision and foresight!

It was interesting to see on Television recently at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies .... the official signing of the CARICOM SINGLE MARKET agreement between six of the more Developed countries in Jamaica. Noticably two of the signatories were obviously not on good terms .... GUYAN and SURINAM! There was no friendship between them ... what does this mean for the CSME success!

The main players at that meeting failed to recognise THE West Indian Journalist who dedicated his life toward West Indian Unity ... when he said, "The West Indies Must Be West Indian". I'm talking of our own Theophilus Albert Marryshow, known throughout the Caribbean as "The Father oF Federation.

For the people of Israel to be guided to the Promised Land and to live in that land their Prophets and leaders who went before and after played a serious role in the way forward. Prophets/Leaders: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Saul, David, Solomon.

Marryshow was not only the Father of Federation ..... he is the Grand Father of CARIFTA (Caribbean Fee Trade Area) ... he is the Great grand father of CARICOM (the Caribbean Community) ... and he must be the Great, Great Grand Father of CSME ... for it was he who saw the vision of a single Caribbean Nation and Economy!

Is there any wonder that our own small countries comprising the OECS ( Organisation Of Eastern Caribbean States) is cautious! The people of Israel HAD to be united in the desert for survival ... so too these small economies in the Caribbean MUST unite in this hostile globalised village with the likes of IMF, World Bank and the WTO (World Trade Organisation.)

Our 32 years as an Independent Nation is screaming for change .... change in all its forms if we are to survive as a Nation. We must change how we do business in Parliament ..... the Church MUST be involved, if we are to bring back a semblance of trust and genuine debate within these hallowed halls.

A repeat of the recent Budget Debate must never be allowed to happen! Our people must recognize God's Law above Man's Law! Our Church Leaders in Grenada on this 32nd year of Independence MUST stand-up and participate in Nation building in every form and shape ... we must speak-out.

The man-made rule of the Church must not be part of the State (an old British belief used by the Bishop of Canterbury and the King in the medieval days in Britain).

People are involved ... and when people are involved .... the Church MUST be involved otherwise all of God's people would be lost! The story of David's life and and his relationship with God showed that he was God's appointed leader.

David's devotion to God, the Law, the Temple, True Worship, the People, and Justice sets the standard for what God's chosen King should do and be.

The message is simply this .... We must change the way we do business in our country...politically - economically - socially ... we must be represented by responsible people .... as Moses represented God's people to the Pharaoh! And we must, as we celebrate this 32nd year of Independence.... we must obey God's Law .... our Constitution ... in Law and in Spirit ... if we want to SUCCEED AS A NATION.

The bottom line premise is real simple: Poor thinking will more often than not lead to poor results than great results.

If we want to change the results we routinely achieve in our Country... WE MUST start with changing the way we think and make decisions to elect our leaders to govern us every five years. Every leader must pray for wisdom like Solomon in 2 Chronicles CH: 1: 8 - 13


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