As submitted by embassy staff
Election Events: U.S. Embassy in St. George’s, Grenada
As incoming U.S. Chargé d’Affaires in Grenada, I co-hosted an event with my predecessor, Bernard E. Link, at the Chief of Mission Residence in St. George’s to watch the second presidential debate together with some of Grenada’s youth leaders. Guests included participants from Grenada’s Youth Parliament and Youth Ambassadors programs as well as alumni of U.S.-funded exchange programs active in the Grenada Association of Exchange Alumni (GAEA). We watched President Obama and Governor Romney highlight their positions on the economy, energy and foreign policy challenges facing the United States. Afterwards, we discussed both the evening’s debate and the role debates play in electoral contests. These young people were clearly struck by the “Town Hall” format – the ability of citizens to ask questions directly to the people vying for our nation’s highest office – and discussed how such a model could be employed in Grenada’s parliamentary system. I shared that in the U.S., in addition to debates, NGOs also gave candidates policy questionnaires, so that candidates’ positions on key issues could be shared with voters. One of the leaders of GAEA described the organization’s efforts to draft a policy paper for the prime minister on volunteerism as just one example of an NGO here helping to shape the public discourse on an issue that its members care deeply about.