It is that special time of year, once again. Spicemas 2023 promises to be one of our most vibrant celebrations to date and I hope that you are all experiencing the familiar feeling of excitement that the festivities, the summer months, and the joy that visiting friends and family members bring to our shores every year.
As Prime Minister and as Minister for National Security, I address you tonight with a deep sense of duty and responsibility. Carnival holds a special place for me, as a time to celebrate our unique culture—through music, dance, food and our traditional satire— chipping through the streets, or taking in cultural performances, as one, united by the commonalities that bond us together as citizens and friends of Grenada.
This is the experience that I wish for us all this Spicemas- a safe and enjoyable celebration where every individual has the opportunity to relax and revel in the beauty of our rich heritage—whether you choose to parade in the bands, enjoy the various live shows, or take in the festivities from a distance.
Safety is Everyone’s Business
As we delve deeper into the festive season, the public can expect to see a strong presence of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) in communities across our island and in all major events to ensure the smooth flow of all activities and the safety of patrons. As a community, however, let us remember that safety is not just a matter for the government or law enforcement agencies; it is a shared responsibility.
Each one of us plays an important role in ensuring the wellbeing of our fellow citizens and visitors. I therefore encourage us all to look out for one another and to report any suspicious activities or concerns to the authorities promptly.
In recent months, we have seen an increase in episodes of violence. These recent incidents do not reflect the Grenada that we know and love nor is this a reality that we are willing to accept.
We envision a prosperous and safe Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinque, where our citizens have opportunities to fully realise their potential without fear. As a government, we are fully committed to this vision.
Safeguarding Grenada’s Future
I am happy to report that the Cabinet on 12th June 2023 took a significant step towards enhancing our approach to safety and national security by establishing a National Security Council Steering Committee. This Steering Committee, comprised of dedicated and skilled individuals from various sectors, will be tasked with:
Providing leadership and oversight of the process that will result in the establishment of the National Security Council.
The National Security Council will in turn be tasked with formulating strategies and policies to safeguard our citizens. It will be required to create and implement a comprehensive national security policy and strategy for Grenada that will underscore the country’s security goals and priorities.
While law enforcement may be paramount to promoting law and order, securing the safety of communities and the country requires an integrated approach. The evolving local, regional and global dynamics of crime and violence necessitates a collaborative mechanism for monitoring and developing proactive preventative strategies to threats to safety, peace, and freedom from threats of violence and actual violence.
Given the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring our collective safety and security, in the coming weeks, a series of consultations will be held across our Tri-Island State to gather insight from citizens, including specifically and particularly our young people, churches and church leaders, at our schools-including our educators, students and administrators, non-governmental organisations, including community leaders, community groups and activists, law enforcement and the prison authorities, the labour and trade unions, the business and private sector, health sector workers, in particular mental and community health workers and others, to obtain their input in the development of a comprehensive national security plan to ensure that Grenada remains a safe, secure and stable society.
These consultations will create a platform for open dialogue, where we can collectively discuss concerns, share innovative ideas, and build consensus on the best possible measures to uphold law and order.
I invite all stakeholders to play an active role in these discussions, especially our young people. Your voices, ideas, and commitment are vital as we forge a path towards a safer and more inclusive Grenada.
I also take this opportunity to extend a special invitation to the leader and members of His Majesty’s Opposition to join us in this endeavour.
The safety of our communities is the responsibility of all of us.
Before I close, it would be remiss of me as Minister for National Security, and Minister for Disaster Management, to not highlight the fact that we are still in the midst of the hurricane season. This period of heightened activity demands that we remain alert and responsive to potential risks at all times.
I therefore urge all citizens to follow advisories from the National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA) and the Government Information Service (GIS), and be prepared to take necessary precautions if any adverse weather conditions arise during the carnival celebrations.
In conclusion, dear citizens, as we welcome the excitement of the carnival season, let us also embrace unity and tolerance. Spicemas is a time to celebrate our diverse cultural heritage and, if we are to continue enjoying the unspoilt beauty of this festival in the years ahead, we must uphold our values of respect for one another.
Allow me to leave you with these ten (10) tips for the Carnival season:
- Hospitality: Grenadians are well known for our warmth and friendliness. I encourage you to welcome all visitors for Spicemas with our signature hospitality.
- Tolerance: Maintain respect for one another, celebrating diversity and unity during the festivities.
- Moderation: Drink alcohol in moderation ensuring that you remain in control of your actions and behaviour.
- Vigilance: Pay attention to your surroundings. Parents, especially, should keep a watchful eye on their young children at all times to ensure their safety.
- Cooperation: Assist the police to maintain a safe and secure carnival environment for everyone.
- Be Responsible: Never drink and drive, always choose a designated driver or alternative transportation.
- Respect: Refrain from any form of disrespect or harm to people, property and vehicles. Let’s keep our beautiful island clean.
- Show Compassion: Avoid using animals in any carnival revelry or costume, showing care for all living beings.
- Be Safe: Enjoy the festive period responsibly, making wise decisions for your safety and the well-being of those around you.
- Enjoy: Embrace the spirit of joy, positivity, and harmony that is Carnival.
Let’s make Spicemas 2023 a resounding success—be responsible, be safe and have an enjoyable Carnival.