By Kaelanne Jordan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Grenada’s Catholic bishop, Bishop Clyde Martin Harvey, entered the political arena Thursday, November 22, when he issued a public call for trade unions and the government to take up dialogue again after ten days of public protest on the streets by teachers and public servants.
For two weeks, teachers in the tri-island state had been staying away from work, effectively closing the nation’s schools. That Thursday when school children from two secondary schools staged a public march in protest over the situation, the bishop issued the following public statement:
“Citizens of Grenada, Brothers and Sisters in our tri-island state.
Over the past weeks we have experienced political turmoil unknown in recent years. This morning the sounds and sights of our young people on the streets take it to a new level, even if their numbers seem small.
“When our children feel it necessary to take to the streets on matters political and social, we adults must know that we are failing them in some way. Following on the quiet efforts of others to encourage continuing dialogue on the matters of concern, as bishop of St George’s- in Grenada, I now make a personal appeal for all parties to resume dialogue on the matters of concern, namely Gratuity and Pension of Public Servants.
“Beyond the recrimination of the past days let us have our dialogue rooted in truth born of authenticated facts. Let us move beyond scoring political points and seek only what is in the just and best interest of all concerned—the best interest of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
“I do not beseech you to go back to the table. Rather, I call you to a new table—a table at which you recognise the presence of our children. As you deliberate, know that our children are watching. It is their future as well as yours.
“Let us pray, especially over the weekend, that Grenada will take this step forward and may our schools and other institutions come to a more just normalcy.”
The statement was very well received by most Grenadians including those overseas. Within hours, both sides began to speak publicly about returning to the table.
Last weekend, Bishop Harvey spoke with both sides and on Monday it was announced that they would come to the table as requested by the bishop. It is hoped that these talks would lead to a more just situation.
Update: Industrial workers, students and teachers officially resumed duties as of Wednesday, November 28 with a promise of no industrial action until the matter is resolved.