Despite overwhelming success at the polls in Grenada – a word to the wise

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Dr Neals Chitan is an International Social Skill Consultant and Crime Reduction Specialist who holds a PhD in Social and Behavioural Sciences and currently works in Grenada. He is the President/Founder of Motiv-8 For Change International a Toronto-based Social Skill Agency and can be reached from North America at 647-692-6330 and locally 473-416-8377 or at nealschitan@motiv-8.org

By Dr Neals J. Chitan

The evening of June 23, 2022, saw a major upset to the ruling New National Party (NNP) in Grenada as the restructured “juvenile-looking” National Democratic Congress (NDC) under the leadership of young attorney at law Dickon Mitchell ran away with 9 of the 15 contested seats across Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

Who would have thought that in one fatal blow, a party that was defeated twice by consecutive landslide victories would come back to win the hearts of the nation and take control of the government? Wow, unbelievable performance by the NDC team, while delivering a solemn reminder that in business, nothing should be taken for granted.

As I observed the campaigning over the last month or so, despite it being my first election in Grenada in the past 40 years, I saw the energy, passion and conviction with which both camps ran their campaigns. I saw and spoke to folks on either side of the political divide and listened to their convincing arguments that they hope will put their respective parties in the seat of power. People wore their T-Shirts with pride, jammed in overcrowded buses in motorcades and stood in sun and rain as they demonstrated unwavering support and loyalty to their party of choice.

That level of devotion and fervor is a powerful asset to driving a movement forward to victory, like in the case of the winning NDC. However, the psychodynamics of Grenada’s election 2022 results, can have an adverse psychological effect on the losing NNP team and their membership. You see, deep devotion and passion to a cause create a grand expectation of victory, and when people’s psyche is so tightly wound up towards an anticipated successful outcome and failure pops up unexpectedly, the impact can be so devastating that it can create a wide range of emotional and behavioral responses.

It is therefore imperative that as we seek to continue building this nation that empathy, tolerance and patience be nicely blended to create a cocktail of kindness towards each other as we attempt to move Grenada forward for the next term of governance.

With this in mind, I believe that as a social and behavioral specialist, it is important to use my voice to address what can possibly be an emotional crossfire in our places of worship this weekend. As Christians, we sometimes believe that our faith in God and our frequent goodwill cliches will so bind us together in such deep unity that it will absorb the hurt, loss and grief we are experiencing.

This weekend, members of the winning NDC party and members of the losing NNP party will be worshipping together in congregations throughout the length and breadth of this nation. Some will be offering exuberant praise to God for victory, while simultaneously, others will be experiencing the pain and grief of loss. Men and Women of the cloth will have a crucial role to play in bringing encouragement and healing to the broken grief-stricken hearts of individuals in their pews while at the same time celebrate with winners in the same pews.

I wish prime minister Dickon Mitchell and the NDC government God’s blessings. Let me also charge our pastors and clergy, despite your own celebration or loss, to on behalf of God and our nation, be the source of encouragement and support for all our people of our tri-island state of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique as we together aspire, build and advance as one people.

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