Commentary

Grenada’s Biggest Liabilities

The NDC has continuously warned of the danger posed by the senseless animosity that Keith Mitchell, Gregory Bowen and the NNP have displayed over the years against WRB Ltd., the investor who owns 50% of the shares in GRENLEC. Mitchell, Bowen and NNP continued for 26 years with a senseless vendetta born out of pure hatred and jealousy towards the NDC. The fact is the NDC was able to attract a good, credible investor to Grenada while Mitchell and Bowen have a long record of attracting criminals, crooks and conmen. So out of spite, they set about to recklessly discredit the NDC and WRB by convincing their supporters that the sale of half of the GRENLEC shares was a bad deal. It was not.

On March 22nd 2020, the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) based in Washington DC ruled (for the second time) against Mitchell, Bowen & the NNP in the case against GRENLEC. The trouble is, we the people will have to pay and we cannot afford it.

In June 2019, NDC published 2 Heartbeat columns titled: “They’ve start a Fight & Can’t Afford It, End It or Win It – GRENLEC”. Unfortunately it has now come to pass that the fight that Keith Mitchell, Gregory Bowen and NNP started 26 years ago has resulted in the biggest court loss in the history of our country. Now Bowen and Mitchell do not want us to talk about it. That is because they have no answers for us. They can see no way out so they are hoping it will just disappear like the millions of dollars raised for the shrimp farm in Victoria!

In a recent appearance of GBN’s To the Point, Bowen told the nation that Government will not be speaking publicly about the GRENLEC loss because they are trying to work things out. He was brazen enough to suggest that we the people and even the media should not ask questions about how they are going to get us out of this colossal debt that they took 26 years to get us into. Why should we not speak when there is no gag order? We only hope that the media fraternity will be ignoring Bowen and will soon begin asking the hard questions. That is their sacred responsibility to the people, without which, democracy dies.

When the judgement came out on March 22nd , the NNP administration tried to spin it by using the GIS to publish a dishonest release, claiming the major loss as a win and “golden opportunity”. They then published some animated advertisements, dishonestly and deceitfully suggesting that this great financial burden that they have put on us, is NDC’s fault. Thankfully, public reaction to those dishonest efforts (especially on social media) caused them to crawl back in their holes in disgrace.

Now, Bowen and Mitchell continue to use the cover of Covid-19 to discourage discussion on this major problem. They have their followers suggesting that this is not the time. NDC asks: if not now, when? We note that interest on this $200m judgment began to run from March 22nd and we calculate that it amounts to an estimated $1million a month. So the question is, why should we not address this issue when the debt keeps mounting?

We simply cannot afford the added financial burden of this mega debt that the NNP has imposed on us with this judgement. Grenada has the highest rate of poverty in the English speaking Caribbean. As of 2019, 38% of the Grenadian people lived below the poverty line. We stood a whole 9% below Dominica, our nearest ‘rival’. Unemployment rate in 2019 was between 24% and 28%. These figures expose the lie that Mitchell, Bowen and NNP have been telling us for the past 4 years, that our economy is booming. When a country is saddled with heavy debt, its people are plunged deeper into poverty because monies that should be pumped into agriculture, education, healthcare and social programs to lift people out of poverty, are diverted to debt
repayment. The impact of Covid-19 will certainly worsen the unemployment and poverty situation in the foreseeable future. This massive judgment has made it many times worse.

Over the years, Mitchell and Bowen have proven to be major financial and reputational liabilities for our country. As a direct consequence of their utter recklessness, our country lost millions of dollars in fiascos such as: Call Centres Grenada (Mitchell’s family benefited directly), First International Bank of Grenada, Capital Bank International, Dipcon Engineering Ltd., the National Stadium Project (the first one) the

Mt. Hartman property (twice), the Levera Development (twice), Global Petroleum Group (to whom all our oil and gas was given; more to come), Grenada Broilers Inc. (chicken farm), GSA (the shrimp farm), MNIB (twice), Emerging Technologies Inc., Garden Group Inc. This list is not exhaustive and does not include the many public officers the people have had to pay large sums to because of Mitchell’s vindictiveness. Individuals like Richard Duncan, Brian Francis, Nolan Murray, Gemma Bain-Thomas and Willan Thompson are still around and can tell their stories first hand. We encourage them to do so.

Rather than bring the benefits they repeatedly promise and fail to deliver, Mitchell, Bowen and NNP have brought nothing but financial burdens and repeated embarrassment to the people of Grenada. They have proved time and again to be national liabilities that do not deserve our trust and confidence. That is why we cannot trust them when they remain silent on this GRENLEC mega judgment.

The NDC calls on all our people to join us in demanding that Mitchell address the nation on this issue. He and his gang paraded for years and bragged how they will take back GRENLEC. They promised victory, they delivered a major loss. He must explain how his Government plans to overcome it.

For our part, the NDC will continue to bring the truth on this matter to the public and offer its perspectives on how we might move forward.

(The above was submitted by the main opposition National Democratic Congress headed by former Education Minister Franka Alexis-Bernardine)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email