The Grenada Revolution Online

Bishop Speech - Forward to 1982 — the Year of Economic Construction
New Year's Address to the Nation on Radio Free Grenada and Television Free Grenada

The speech reproduced below was taken from the twenty-two [22] pages of a document issued by the Government Information Service; Office of the Prime Minister, Grenada, People's Revolutionary Government. The formatting has been altered to facilitate readability online; that is, paragraphs are broken and glaring typos corrected.

Sisters and Brothers,

Patriots of Free Grenada,

Comrades All.

On behalf of our Party and Government I bring you warm, revolutionary greetings on the first day of 1982, and wish you all peace, good health and success for the New Year.

At the beginning of every year it is necessary to plan, to make resolutions, to project our vision and chart the course for the upcoming twelve months.

As we stand shoulder to shoulder on the threshold of a New Year let us therefore prepare ourselves for the many challenges that the national construction effort will pose for us.

Let us continue to cultivate more revolutionary ideas, values and practices and let us recommit ourselves and our nation to the world revolutionary process and the international anti-imperialist movement which is struggling to being about a more just and happy life for the vast majority of men, women and children of our globe.

Comrades, it is also important that before we enter the doorway of the New Year we should pause to look back at the road we have travelled over the past twelve months, take stock of our successes and setbacks and to evaluate those efforts, projects and processes which were begun in 1981 and which must be continued and strengthened in 1982.

1981 – Year of Agriculture and Agro-Industries

In January of last year our People’s Revolutionary Government declared 1981 as the “Year of Agriculture and Agro-Industries”.

We did this because we recognised the urgent necessity to undo the tremendous destruction wrought on our land by twenty-nine [29] years of Hurricane Gairy and to begin repairing what we have come to call the motor of our economy, the pillar and bedrock of our entire economic system — Agriculture.

At that time we also understood that the model of industrialization which would provide most jobs and income for our people could only be possible as an offshoot of a national and productive agricultural sector.

Thus Comrades, our Party and Government clearly recognise the close inter-relationship between agriculture and agro-industries, hence the declaration for the year 1981 and our progress in these areas last year has fully justified this declaration.

The Revolution was convinced twelve months ago that we had to move rapidly to give agriculture a new role in our development as well as to bring a new standard of living to the workers and farmers in that industry.

Agriculture – Motor of the Economy

We perceived agriculture to be the main supplier of food for our people, as a major earner of foreign exchange, as a weapon against unemployment and as a means for increasing our self-reliance based on the full development of our main natural resource — the land.

In 1981 the Revolution began the serious task of meeting these objectives by building state companies for commercial production and marketing and ensuring that the state sector plays the leasing role in the development of commercial agriculture in our country.

In addition, we moved to establish the Ministry of Agriculture as a vital force giving material support and advice to small and medium farmers struggling with problems of production and organization.

Comrades, to give you an indication of the social and economic importance of agriculture to our nation consider that 40% of our gross domestic product and 50% of all foreign exchange earnings come from agriculture.

Almost 7,000 of our countrymen work full time in this field and given that the average Grenadian household consists of five [5] people it means that 35,000 sisters and brothers — one third of our total population depend directly and solely on the soil for a living.

Therefore, in order to build the Ministry into an effective tool capable of planting the seeds of rapid agricultural growth, the Revolution started a large number of new programmes to solve the multitude of problems inherited from the Gairy dictatorship.

Between recurrent and capital expenditure the Revolution is now spending fifty­four [54] times more money than Gairy ever spent on Agriculture.

We are now experimenting with and introducing new methods, new crops, new varieties. Pest and diseases are daily fought and destroyed and proper methods of conservation and field sanitation are being employed so that we may not lose our precious resources of soil, water and plants.

Our agriculture is gradually becoming green once more and we must ensure that in 1982 it will be much greener.

In the coming months, for example, the Mardigras Soil and Water Conservation Project which now represents the most impressive agricultural innovation in our country, and possibly in the Eastern Caribbean, will continue to bring into full production land that was previously useless scrub and steep hillside.

It is important to note here Comrades, that the agricultural programmes of the Revolution do not only come under the Ministry of Agriculture.

A big slice of the Budget of the Ministry of Communications and Works is earmarked for agricultural development.

For example, the many new feeder roads under construction and the massive $10 million Eastern Main Road Project will mean that a vital new link for agriculture will materialize in the coming year thus facilitating the cultivation of more land and easy transportation of crops to markets and to ports.

Increasingly, the application of science and technology to agriculture is overcoming old barriers and opening the way for greater production and full use of all our land.

In this regard, training has become a key element of our agriculture. In the early months of the Revolution we re­established the farm training school and have now moved from 50 students a year to 150 and this was done in spite of a devastating fire which destroyed the Mirabeau Training School early last year.

1981 also saw the youths of our country playing a part in agricultural development.

Before the Revolution, the average age of a Grenadian Farmer was 62 years but as the recent agricultural census shows the average age of the farmer is now 51 years.

This indicates that more young people from the ranks of the unemployed have since become involved in agriculture.

This is undoubtedly a hopeful sign for the future, and we eagerly look forward to a significant increase in this youth involvement in 1982, particularly in the agricultural cooperatives which our National Co­operative Development Agency (NACDA) will be continuing to establish.

Let us then move rapidly in this New Year to make a reality out of the popular slogan “Idle Hands and Idle Lands Equal an End to Unemployment”.

With our Revolution now providing opportunities for our youth as never before in our history — free secondary education, hundreds of University Scholarships, more training opportunities, more employment — we must work towards ensuring that all of them fully understand the tremendous possibilities that are now available and make the maximum use of them.

The Colonial Legacy

Comrades, part of the colonial legacy from which our country and our sister countries in the region still suffer is that we have always been primary producers of raw agricultural products.

Our production of sugar cane made the imperialist countries of today strong and powerful and paved the way for their industrial development in the 19th century, and after slavery was abolished we became exporters of agricultural commodities in our case cocoa, nutmegs and bananas.

In turn, we imported and sill import food and other industrial products at very high prices from the same countries that our exploitation helped to make wealthy and powerful.

Consequently, this unfair and unjust trade relationship left us with little or no industry. In our case, Grenada’s Industrial sector contributes only 4-5% of our entire domestic products.

Before 1981 our true industrial potential remained untapped. The Gairy dictatorship failed to formulate any kind of meaningful industrial development policy or strategy.

Critical questions such as the kind of industries we need, their linkage to other areas of the economy, or an investment criteria were never seriously examined in the past.

Consequently, industrial activities were disorganized and often out of tune with the nation’s interest.

However, Comrades, conscious of the need for structural change in the economy our Government has been promoting a strong commitment towards the principle of industrial development comparable with our national interests.

Instead of the dying Industrialization by Invitation” approach, our Government advocates a policy of industrialization based on the greater use of our national and human resources, particularly our agriculture.

This strategy in 1982 and beyond will call for a vigorous and leading role for the public sector within the economy, joint ventures based on the greater use of our natural and human resources, particularly our agriculture.

This strategy in 1982 and beyond will call for a vigorous and leading role for the public sector within the economy, joint ventures with local and foreign interests and the provision of incentives and assistance to the private sector.

Our Government accepts the principle of a mixed economy and invites the participation of local and foreign private and cooperative sectors.

To this end a draft investment code outlining the polities which will guide the role of the private sector has already been partially circulated and will soon be circulated to all the mass organizations in our country for them to study and comment on.

Agro­Industries and Fisheries

Early last year we established a Ministry of Agriculture, Agro­Industries and Fisheries (now called Industrial Development) to deal specifically with the promotion, implementation and monitoring of industrial activity.

During the year also we formally opened our million dollar Agro­Industrial Plant which at present employs some twenty­seven [27] persons full time and seventy­one [71] part time, a Plant which daily produces thousands of units of Mango Nectar, Tamarind Nectar, Paw Paw Slices, Guava­Banana Juice, Nutmeg Jelly, Hot Sauce, Chutney and even Guava Cheese.

And we are happy to say that at the Bulgarian International Trade Fair last year our nutmeg Jam won a gold medal for its excellent quality.

After just a few months, our Agro­Industrial Plant has been able already to provide some $59,000.00 in revenue to 800 small farmers and 18 of our State Farms.

Spice Isle Coffee now being processed in our country for the first time has shown a healthy economic return on investment and we look forward to its continuing growth this year.

In 1982, our New Ministry of Industrial Development has plans to begin the manufacturing of Nutmeg Oil, the processing of spice products, and large­scale production of high­quality ice creams, re­constituted milk products and fruit juices.

The Ministry also intends to formally open a new sheep and pig farm which over a period will add to our stock of cheaper and good quality meat and provide us with the capacity to move into the area of ham, bacon and sausage production.

Of course, the Agro­Industrial Factory at True Blue will also be expanded during this year to meet the ever-increasing demand for its high quality products.

Utilising the six modern fishing trawlers given to us by the Revolutionary Government and people of Cuba, the National Fisheries Company has caught over 55,000 pounds of fish in the last six months.

Some of this has been sold fresh on the market and to selected institutions and the rest has been smoked, and salted and sold in our chops and supermarkets and our saltfish is even being exported to neighbouring countries.

We expect that in 1982 the total catch will increase substantially thereby bringing more protein­filled food to our people and more foreign exchange to our nation.

Our handicraft industry took a giant leap in 1981 with the opening of Grencraft, a retail outlet which buys and sells a wide variety of quality products from our local craftsmen.

Our sugarcane industry also made significant progress as our efforts to revive this industry yielded good results in 1981.

As you know, this industry is no longer owned by the Private Company of plantocrats. It is very substantially owned by the Government for the benefit of the workers and last year despite inclement weather the factory was able to pay sugar farmers $61.00 a ton for their cane — a record for our country.

Objective Economic Difficulties

Comrades, this list of economic successes and achievements in 1981 is more impressive when looked at in the context of the tremendous objective difficulties that have confronted the efforts of our Government.

In the two years and nine months of the Revolution we have had to contend with natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods and a freak wind storm, all of which brought considerable destruction to our cocoa, nutmeg and banana crops and to our roads and bridges.

Years of neglect under Gairyism have brought serious disease problems such as Leaf Spot and Moko to our banana cultivation, Witches Broom, Beetles and Thrips to our cocoa fields and Wilt to our nutmeg plantations. In fact, Moko disease has meant that this year alone over 1230 acres of banana cultivation had to be destroyed.

One of the harsh realities of being tied in a dependency relationship to imperialist economies is that when these countries suffer crises we in Grenada, and indeed much of the Third World, suffer disasters.

As we say in the Party, when their economies sneeze, ours catch the cold and then their economies have a bad cold, as they do now, we face fatal pneumonia.

In fact, the ups and downs of world market prices provide us with daily lessons on how imperialism operates.

For example, cocoa and nutmeg prices have collapsed over the last two and a half years on the world market and we are literally powerless to do anything about the situation. Millions of dollars in vital foreign exchange have been lost as a result.

The normal yearly production of nutmegs in Grenada is about 5 million pounds, yet for the last year we have had in storage in different warehouses some 7 million pounds unable to find buyers on the world market for them.

And to make matters worse, our farmers as a result of increased efforts and the application of new methods of husbandry last year produced the largest nutmeg crop in our history — some 6 ½ million pounds.

With bananas, we share the same fate as the other Windward Islands in the virtual collapse of the industry in recent times.

At present, our banana farmers receive the abominably low price of .12¢ per pound from the British Multi-national Company, Van Geest, yet the price per pound for the box in which the bananas are transported is .10¢, and the cost of production per pound is estimated at about .18¢

Added to this, the cost of imported fertilizer to the farmers is massive and the cost of a cutlass or a hoe or a form keeps going up while Geest moves merrily along buying more new ships from the ever­increasing profits.

In the area of tourism, because of the world capitalist crisis virtually all Caribbean countries have suffered significant declines in the number of visitors and the amount of money spent by them.

Here too, Grenada has been no exception and we have had to carry the additional burden of an orchestrated world-wide propaganda campaign against our Revolution carried out by U.S. imperialism.

Needless to say this campaign did some damage to our tourism but because of our fighting response we are optimistic that when the first phase of our International Airport comes into operation tourism will experience a revival.

And we are confident that our hoteliers and other investors will commence construction activity in 1982 out of their recognition of the tremendous future for tourism in our country.

Our People Have Defeated Imperialism

In a sense, Comrades, 1981 can be described as the year of the all­out assault by imperialism on our people and our nation.

We can recall the endless propaganda bombardment, the frenetic, vulgar, aggressive and economic pressures, the sinister and threatening military manoeuvres.

But for every vile salvo imperialism launched at our Revolution our fighting people resisted and responded with greater determination and with more creative counter-attacks. And we were victorious.

When imperialism tried to stop different countries from attending the European Economic Community Co­financing Conference to raise money for the completion of our new International Airport it failed.

The Conference was a success and we have been able to raise the vast majority of the remaining funds.

Our International Airport with all its facilities including a large modern Terminal building is being built on schedule and it will be completed in schedule.

When U.S. imperialism attempted to get the E.E.C. to cut back on its general economic assistance to our homeland, the E.E.C. in fact increased its assistance in all aspects over the next five years — another humiliating defeat.

When U.S. imperialism sought to block a $19 million load we had applied for from the I.M.F. we mounted a massive diplomatic effort successfully mobilising 90 member countries of the I.M.F.

We ended up getting a loan in the amount we had applied for and imperialism got another kick in its pants!

When they tried to pressure the Caribbean Development Bank to stop funding various projects in our country, they again failed.

The C.D.B. and our sister CARICOM nations refused to accept a U.S. grant that carried terms and conditions that were in conflict with the laws of the C.D.B. Their neo-colonial attempt at divide and rule failed miserably.

When U.S. imperialism, using a corrupt and unpatriotic gang of 26 plantocrats, lawyers, businessmen and saltfish journalists attempted to revive the ‘Torchlight’ under the guide of a counter­revolutionary ragsheet arrogantly misnamed the ‘Grenadian Voice’, the Revolution moved swiftly to put it under manners.

Another setback for imperialism as they were reminded that our Revolution is popular and must be respected.

When in September the anti-Grenada Propagandists in the U.S. State Department instructed their bell boy lackeys who run the newspapers in the region to publish identical front page editorials attacking the Grenada Revolution their own media workers were outraged at this blatant violation of journalistic ethics and condemned the editorials in the strongest terms.

And then the attempts at economic strangulation and the propaganda onslaughts did not being the desired results imperialism in a move of desperation began their infamous “Amber and the Amberines” rehearsals for an invasion of our beloved homeland.

But even in the face of this most ominous, illegal and intimidating threat, our courageous people and all democratic­loving peoples o fhte world found the correct and appropriate response.

In our historical “Heroes of the Homeland” manoeuvre, thousands of ordinary Grenadians demonstrated to Reagan and his warlords that they were ready and able to defend this country, and to give their lives if necessary, for the preservation of our glorious Revolution.

And together with the world-wide condemnation of this vulgar and cowardly action, imperialist plans to turn back our process were dealt another serious blow.

Imperialism and Reaganism have also failed miserably, Comrades, in their vulgar diplomatic efforts to isolate us from the international community, and to prevent us from conducting a principled foreign policy based on peace, co­operation, mutual respect, non-interference and friendship towards other nations and peoples.

The hugely successful International Solidarity Conference recently held at the Dome in St. George’s is a brilliant testament to the failure of imperialism’s isolationist policies.

When 107 delegates representing 80 delegations from 40 countries and all continents of the world said in a clear and resounding voice that they strongly support our Revolution and will continue and increase their solidarity with the Grenadian people, imperialism received a hard slap in the face.

Comrades, as we stand on the threshold of a New Year we can state confidently that no amount of imperialist threats or pressures will shake the Grenadian people’s uncompromising opposition to all forms of racism, fascism, colonialism, neo-colonialist or imperialism.

We will continue to speak out loudly against exploitation and oppression in any part of the world whether it be in El Salvador, Haiti, Chile or South Africa or by Zionist forces in the Middle East and we will remain firmly committed to the struggle for world pace, disarmament and a new International Economic and Information order.

We will continue in 1982 to play an active role in the many international organizations and groupings to which we belong.

And we certainly look forward to and repeat our consistent calls for the early convening of a CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting this year.

As always, our CARICOM partners can be assured of our deep commitment to the regional integration process for the benefit of all of our people.

Our country will always stand by our deeply held principles of mutual respect for sovereignty, non­interference in the internal affairs of other states and friendly co-operation for mutual benefit — particularly with our closest neighbours in CARICOM.

The highly successful Trade Union, Socialist International Ecumenical and small states Conference held in Grenada last year, our successful state visit to Mexico, our diplomatic initiatives at major international Conferences and forum all indicate that the Grenada Revolution enjoys the respect and admiration of the world community and it shows that imperialism has failed to tarnish our good image abroad.

But, Comrades, let us not get carried away by our victories. Let us not fall prey to false illusions of security. Indeed, some battles have been won but the war against our implacable imperialist enemy is not over. It will continue in 1982 and we must prepare ourselves for the struggles that lie ahead.

Failures and defeats will not stop the enemy trying again.

As we have said so often, imperialism never rests and so we must continue to be on our guard, continue to be vigilant, continue to expand and strengthen our revolutionary People’s Militia.

We must keep our eyes open for new tricks, for new variations of the enemy’s plan, for new devious twists and turns on the propaganda, and on the economic and the military fronts.

Benefits of Revolutionary Democracy

Patriots, Friends, Comrades, 1981 has proved to be a year of a great explosion of popular democracy in Free and Revolutionary Grenada.

It has been a year of the real fulfillment of our 1973 Manifesto pledge when we said, and I quote: “To replace the political system with a truly democratic and grassroots system in which the people of every village and parish and of the island as a whole will be able to exercise power on their own behalf, in their own interests, on order to build a bright future for our children unquote.

Comrades, when we conceived of that future in 1973, we knew that we were not just dreaming a crazy or vapid dream.

We had always concretely and genuinely, built our entire political process and reality around the participation of our people, firstly in building the strength and determination to crush the dictatorship, and secondly, one that had been achieved in March 1979, to build real and solid structures of democracy that would be the bone marrow of our growth and achievement.

Indeed, People’s participation has, is and always will be the guarantee of our democratic development, and 1981 has been the year when we began to consolidate our people’s power.

Halfway through the year, we took the virtually unprecedented step in the English-speaking world of creating a Ministry of National Mobilization.

Many of our people were asking: why, such a Ministry, and what was its function?

The answers to these questions have been spoken time and time again over the last few months, by every working man and woman who has risen in a parish, zonal, or workers’ Parish Council and poured out their criticism and suggestions to their Comrades and workmates, in the presence of the Revolutionary leadership; by every brother and sister, who for the first time in their lives, have strode forward from the middle of a public assembly, approached, a microphone, and uttered sentences that have helped in their every word, to push our country forward; by every Grenadian who has case aside nervousness and timidity forced upon them by colonial and neo­colonial systems, that held their contribution to our national life to be nothing, to be meaningless and worthless; by every grasp of confidence and power that has made our people speak out and speak up, expressing in each statement:

‘I am a Grenadian, and this is the place where I was born and I live, this is my country, the country I love and the country I will transform along with my sisters and brothers.’

For this is the true meaning of revolutionary democracy. It is a growth in confidence in the power of ordinary people to transform their country, and thus transform themselves.

It is a growth in the appreciation of people organizing, deciding, creating together. It is a growth in fraternal love, and this is what has been happening in our country in 1981.

Consider again our women and their National Women's Organization.

From the membership of 1,300 at the beginning of the year our women burst forth and have more than quadrupled their membership.

The National Youth Organisation has visibly been growing more and more muscle week by week and by the time of its jubilant congress a few weeks ago had also quadrupled its membership from January 1981.

Comrades, of course we must associate our young people with growth, but this year it is as if we have been spectators of the blossoming of a real national bloom of youth, with every petal an N.Y.O. member or a Pioneer.

Our democracy is not pampering or fussing over our children, it is building their strength, stamina and creativeness.

For this year our children too have become a vibrant social force in their own right.

And with the strides made by our Pioneer Movement, our children are already developing the maturity and creativity that will steam our country forward over the next decade.

Have you heard their choirs, their poets, their calypsonians, their debates and discussions?

Have you viewed their confidence and organizational ability in their television programme?

If you have, then you are looking at the seeds of our future, you are experiencing the energy that will spark our country, pull it out of underdevelopment and drive us forward.

And that too, is the result of the democratic power we have unleashed this year, for our mass organizations have all taken succor and strength from the motive force of mass mobilization which we have been generating as a national priority.

For we have always declared that the mass participation of the people in all the major decisions that affect their lives, from budget to bananas, from planning to pest control, is the vital component of our development.

People’s participation is the blood supply of our Revolution, not only because it seeks to release our people’s submerged potential, creativity and genius, but because it is the only viable way in which our economy can grow.

Our economy can only become strong is our people’s input into its organization is equally strong. We can only produce together if we also plan together. We can only increase our wealth if we increase our collective investment in that wealth.

Our soil is rich, but is yield will only match that richness if we understand that we must create production targets together, agree on planning procedures together, achieve exemplary punctuality together  and finally share in the profits and prosperity of our organization together.

For economic growth is our second pillar of development and it is bound absolutely to the ways we find of democratizing our society and organising its growth.

Every worker has a voice, has creative suggestions, has his portion of genius.

Let us extract it all and put it at the service of our economic growth, for with that great flame of workers’ energy and culture to drive us forward our possibilities are infinite.

This is why we are saying that in 1982 we must extend our democracy even further, so that it encompasses every aspect of the work place.

This means our workers must become more and more involved in the participatory reorganization of our Trade Unions, to ensure that any stagnation of the past is stirred into democratic motion.

In doing this, we are asking our workers to use their own organizations, their trade unions, to call for production committees at every work­place throughout the country, so that democracy and efficiency can work side by side in our economy, creating a massive increase in production.

And in the same way that our workers must be democratically involved in planning the budget, they must also, through their Trade Unions, be at the other end of the process, monitoring and identifying price increases and consumer problems, investigating unreasonable, inconsistent and profiteering price rises, and calling upon their own democratic organizations to be vigilant and to speak up for them.

The Manoeuvre Will Never Over [sic]

Our third pillar of development, national defence, also has a vital link with democracy. For then we ask of our people to step forward to defend the gains and benefits of their Revolution, we are using no pressure, no compulsion.

We are saying in effect “this is your Revolution, it is your democratic right to defend it”!

For as we know, democracy brings responsibilities and rights, in equal measure, and our people, in their huge and patriotic responses to join our People’s Revolutionary Militia and in their understanding of the full impact of our slogan “The manoeuvre will never over” are clearly realising this.

They are making the profound and proud choices of a free people; to hold fast to what is theirs, and it is theirs because they are involved, brain and muscle, action and speech, in the building of a new vibrant and loving Grenada.

A Strong Economy Means More Benefits

Since our Revolution, we have seen a remarkable growth in capital expenditure on infrastructural developments that have benefited all Grenadians, but in particular our poor and working people.

This growth has clearly laid the basis for genuine economic transformation and diversification in the future.

In the last year of Gairy, the capital expenditure was $8m.

In 1979, the first year of the Revolution, we drove it forward to $15m, in 1980 that more than doubled, to $32m, and in 1981 it doubled yet again to over $73m.

Every dollar of this rising spiral of national expansion has benefited our people, and has formed an integral part of the social wage of our people, which makes our dollar so much more valuable than just about any other dollar in our region.

Massive infrastructural projects such as the huge acceleration of the building of our International Airport, the laying of whole new systems of pipes for our water, the renovation of our electricity generators, the establishment of our asphalt plant and new quarry, and the virtual re­construction of the Carriacou road system and the introduction of the first public transport system in our sister island.

We shall soon see the beginning stages of a new telephone system as well as a new cement plant, new ice­making plant and new warehouses to accommodate our increasing production and expansion.

Our other sister island, Petit Martinique, will soon have its first health clinic, with a residential nurse, and already has its own branch of the National Marketing and Importing Board.

We shall also be energetically seeking new markets all over the world, and further diversifying our crops and produce.

The marketing of egg plants will be stepped up in the coming months, and we shall be introducing, in a serious way, the production of English potatoes.

In Carriacou, black belly sheep are fast becoming a common sight on the potentially rich pasture lands of that sister island.

Our new economic institutions, created by the Revolution, have been brining real benefits to our people.

The Marketing and National Importing Board, which is unique in Carriacou, has directly brought vital produce to our tables at much reduced cost, as well as keeping down the prices of staple food commodities like rice and sugar.

The National Commercial Bank and the Grenada Development Bank have continued to expand and make profits for the benefit and investment of our masses, providing vital loans to our farmers and fishermen to increase their economic and productive possibilities.

Thus, our social wage is permanently increasing with the development of our Revolutionary Institutions and programmes.

Our money is worth more every time we gain a concrete benefit — when we build an Eye Clinic, when we institute free secondary education, when we introduce free public health care, when we open the primary health programme, when we give out free milk or free school books and uniforms, when we provide free mass adult education, when we expand our low income housing project, when we expand our house repair programme for the poorest workers; for our social wage is a guarantee of an improvement of our quality of life and social security, which, in most of the countries of our region, must be bought with hard­earned dollars.

1982 – “Year of Economic Construction”

As you know, since the Revolution we have given names to our years of progress.

1979 was named and correctly named, the ‘Year of National Liberation’.

1980, because of our thrust in those two areas, became the ‘Year of Education and Production’ and 1981 was the ‘Year of Agriculture and Agro­Industry’.

We have never viewed these slogans as ornaments or mere symbolisms or pretty names. For us, they summarise the thrust of the particular years, without neglecting or abandoning all the thousands of other component parts and essential energies that also compose those years.

Of course, every year is a year of agriculture, agro­industry, education, production and national liberation.

But we need to create emphasis in our process, so that we can give even more to the direction we are underlining. So our slogan once it has been chosen becomes the key focus and major priority of the year.

For these reasons, 1982 has been declared by the People’s Revolutionary Government as ‘The Year of Economic Construction’, and when we examine this title, we must not see just words, but real and concrete economic achievements.

Economic construction will be the major area of struggle for all our people, because of its importance to the future building of our Revolution.

Thus, together with the continuing move from strength to strength of our mass organizations, our organs of popular democracy like our parish and zonal councils, and our firm and disciplined Militia, we must resolve also to carry on the struggle to build the priorities of 1981, our agriculture and agro­industries.

These still remain the cornerstone of our economic advance and construction, and in no way must we de­emphasise their continued and crucial significance. But, in addition to these we shall also see other vital emphasis.

The second phase of the Centre for Popular Education, the adult literacy programme for the functionally illiterate, will be launched for the benefit of the mass of our people, and this must coincide with a greatly increased momentum in the organization of workers' education classes through all our workplaces, particularly in our rural areas.

This twin thrust of mass education must lay the base for a hugely increased raising of consciousness nationally, which in turn will have its effect in a much greater understanding of, and commitment to, the cause of economic construction.

And notice Comrades, that we are talking about national construction and re­construction, for we are entering a new phase in the development of our country's productive capacity that has never before been conceived of or approached.

The Worker and Economic Construction

What will the year of economic construction mean to our workers? What challenges will it throw out to them? What benefits will it bring to them?

Firstly, we must say that there must be no contradiction between those who are involved in the economic construction and what will be constructed.

For the construction will be the work of our people, and will also be the cause of their progress.

Our people are the constructors, and will also be the beneficiaries of what they construct.

This is why we must have more and move involvement of our workers in the planning and decisions affecting their work, as well as in the work itself.

This is why we need more forums for discussion, more seminars, more committees to set targets, more structures of emulation.

For in all this democratic activity we shall not only be achieving greater production and output, sharper efficiency, the elimination of waste and corruption, but also, as a direct consequence, a much improved social wage and range of national benefits, all coming as a direct result of workers' participation and democracy.

This is why we need to understand that people’s democracy is not just a satisfying and dignifying human activity, it is also the watchword of economic advance and social progress.

Farmers, Businessmen and Economic Construction

So, when we bring more democratic energy to bear upon our farming or our tourist industry, we are calling upon our farmers, our hoteliers, our local businessmen and those foreign investors who respect our goals of national development, all to contribute to our year of economic construction.

As our new Airport nears its completion, and the Terminal building takes shape with its two storeys stretching across one and a half acres of land, we are creating more avenues for economic construction in the duty free stores and terminal shopping facilities that are needed, and in the new hotels that must be built, and in the existing ones that must be expanded so as to accommodate our new tourist arrivals.

Eat What We Grow

And as we expand in the many areas of economic construction, we also need to be conscious that we must conserve energy and work hard to cut out unnecessary consumerism.

With the unfortunate but unavoidable new increases in the price of gasolene and diesel as of today — accompanied by a decrease in the price of kerosene — we must be more and more careful not to waste fuel or to use unnecessary electricity.

And together with this we must understand the need to develop a new approach to eating habits, which should be, basically, producing to feed ourselves.

We must grow what we eat and eat what we grow.

We shall not be able to afford large import bills for items we can produce and eat for ourselves, from our own resources, our own land, our own work, our own economic construction.

End Corruption, Waste, Abuse and Indiscipline

As you know, today is traditionally a day for resolutions. Often, New Year resolutions are seen as a joke, but for us they need to be serious.

Let us resolve that this year, 1982 will be the year when we attack any vestiges of corruption at our work­places and make them a thing of the past; let us resolve to combat any bureaucratic abuse, any arrogance of power by those who use their desks, forms, rubber stamps or positions as barriers against our people’s progress; let us save money at a national level by pooling and co­ordinating our large scale buying at a department or ministerial level, to economise in all purchases, from tractors to aspirins; let us make war on waste, for everything we save and put back into the national Treasury will eventually come back to us through that same economic construction and profit­sharing.

In short, let us become more economy conscious.

We must vigorously resolve to struggle against all forms of indiscipline, laziness, inefficiency, clock­watching and unproductivity in the bureaucracy and in our work­places, all of which are cancerous and must be stamped out.

Let Us Make a Start Together

To ensure the fullest implementation of our plans and aspirations for 1982, we — all of us — must make an early start. And perhaps the best start that we could all make would be to begin immediate discussions in our unions, organizations, groups, clubs and at our work places aimed at identifying what contribution we can make to building our economy, what contribution we can make to the building of the flour pillars of our economy — agriculture, agro­industry, fisheries and tourism; what contribution we can make towards cutting out waste, indiscipline, corruption inefficiency; what contribution we can make in the area of building democracy and participation at the work place, and to examine the need for production committees that would set production targets, discipline and grievance committees that would deal with genuine problems and difficulties and emulation committees that would on a regular weekly or monthly basis salute, recognise and reward the achievements of our outstanding workers.

We of the People’s Revolutionary Government have already made a start through the commencement of widespread discussions in the public service, and outside of it, around the one year National Plan which for the first time in our history we intend to implement this year.

We certainly urge you to invite us, and particularly, our Comrades in the Ministry of Planning, to some to your trade union, organization, group or work places to discuss this National Plan and to share with you our and your ideas on how together we can achieve our goals of economic development and make this year — 1982 — truly the “Year of Economic Construction”.






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