Yes, that’s the true and merited name for the acronym NNP, the green machine, the party led by Keith Claudius Mitchell, Khief, in short. My choice is not based on sentiment or other feelings but on pure, unassailable facts which I will present for the scrutiny of all.
When you hear Khief speak about patriotism and being patriotic, it is simply his way of attempting to put pressure on Grenadians to follow him blindly and without logical evaluation. President Trump referred to members of the mob that he dispatched to terrorize members of his own congress as patriots, simply because they believed his lies and were willing to follow his urging.
The concept of patriotism is often abused by politicians in their continuous scheme to manipulate the minds of the simpler members of the community. It is now just a meaningless buzzword that is used in political circles and maybe Khief does not know or even care about its real meaning.
Patriotic is defined as, “having or expressing devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country”. I put the entire political career of Khief and the history of his NNP before you all so that you can judge for yourselves and determine which action or decision or which choices that have been made by Khief and his political group over the more than 3 decades of his life in the public service of Grenada, his country, that you can objectively conclude has been made out devotion to or vigorous support for Grenada.
Those decisions have all or mostly been notoriously non-patriotic in nature and primarily focused on self-enrichment, spite, revenge or political advantage as their primary motive. After all, no one is able to assess the sentiments that you have within you, you can only be judged based on what you express.
So, if we say that we are patriots then we need to express it, we need to show what we have deep inside of us. Speaking about it can never be enough! Especially when it comes to patriotism, actions speak deafeningly louder than any number of words can do. So, to Khief and company and to us all as Grenadians, I say, let us really show our patriotism and not just talk about it!
Grenada needs us all to play our part for the sake of our posterity. We need to ask ourselves what each of us can do for Grenada. And, it is the duty of leaders to lead by example, and especially because the decisions of leaders carry much graver consequences, based on their extent of influence and control.
Foreign Affairs and International Associates
This is one area where Khief and his group have been proven over the years to be distinctively unpatriotic. They have brought shame and disgrace to us all, and the name of our country became repeatedly and continuously associated with major international crooks, criminals and scam artists, for the first time, since Khief became Prime Minister.
Please tell me what is patriotic about the following associations or decisions (just to mention a few) that have been made by the deliberate choices of Khief:
- The convict Van Brink and First International Bank that was capitalized using the picture of an alleged precious stone, resulting in the loss of hundreds of millions of depositors’ funds;
- The convict Victor Kozeny, the “pirate of Prague”, who paid large sums of money to become our appointee to the Court of St. James, repeatedly and ceremoniously rebuffed by Her Majesty’s office;
- The convict Eric Resteiner whose agent has claimed that he recorded Khief receiving USD 500,000.00, out of at least USD 1 million, in a briefcase;
- The decision to name several non-citizens and non-residents of Grenada as diplomatic appointees, contrary to the Vienna Convention, and generating international mockery;
- The naming of Grenada in the international scandal regarding the sale of diplomatic passports, leading to increased stricture being placed upon the international travel of genuine citizens of Grenada.
How can the conduct of Khief and his group towards Grenlec be regarded as patriotic? How can any support for or benefit to Grenada be identifiable or realizable by their actions?
- Trying to discredit a most open and transparent sale of shares.
- Wasting millions of dollars on an enquiry that eventually clearly justified the sale.
- Blatantly lying to Grenada about the so-called “high” price per unit of electricity as can be seen in the table below that was unchallenged in the latest arbitration hearing.
- Lying and embarrassing all Grenadians by telling the world they were unable to find any competent or qualified persons to appoint to the statutory Public Utilities Commission.
- Deciding on a process that costs us several times more for shares than would have been paid just months before (more than 3 times more, in my calculation).
- Deciding to find tax free money, to be largely exported (I reasonably believe that it is borrowed money because it definitely did not come from Capital Budget savings), to pay on a Judgment that the Creditor was not interested in enforcing; rather than pay on local judgments which:
- Carry greater interest (6% vs 4.5%);
- Are subject to local taxes;
- Would stimulate the local economy.
Oil and Gas
This is a saga that has been ongoing for about 15 years with Khief and his group. The people of Grenada were bound under the terms of a legally enforceable agreement signed in July 2008 about a day or so before elections, long after the date of elections had been announced by Khief. Can there be anything more political and unpatriotic? Yet Khief, in his customary unashamed and brazen manner, dares to talk about the sale of Grenlec shares that was made public and the subject of statute, the Electricity Supplies Act. In addition, regarding our oil and gas:
- The relevant agreement (the PSA) has never been made public by Khief;
- It seems clear and obvious that Khief and his group have received significant political benefits from the deal;
- Khief and his group have refused to disclose any accounts, subsequent agreements or benefits to Grenada related to the enterprise, so Grenada does not know its present level of indebtedness or obligations;
- Despite many glowing promises, just like with the Organic Shrimp Farm, we have seen no tangible rewards and have been given no explanation, while Guyana, a later entrant in this field is already reaping benefits.
It is approaching a year since we have been in some sort of lock down and curfew on account of the virus. Khief is reveling in the opportunity to exercise this new unconstitutional authority to rule and control our lives. Grenadians, quite understandably, do not have the stomach for litigation or confrontation on this matter which is related to the nation’s health.
BUT, Khief is using this increased poverty as a chance to enhance dependency on his group by a greater percentage of Grenadians and is making political mileage of the plight of Grenadians. He is using our money from the treasury to buy favor with more voters and he has no plan and no clue how to navigate a way back to any form of normalcy for Grenada.
There is now no active case of the virus in Grenada and there is no community spread. In fact, all cases of the virus and the most recent spike was as a result of poor protocols and waivers granted by Khief and his group to facilitate his hotel and hospitality sector. Because he does not want to spend money to do testing nationally, does not have a national plan for the mass of Grenadians and has no genuine devotion to or support for Grenada, his only resort is to hope for a miracle cure. His group now says that some one thousand doses of vaccine have been received by Grenada, but, where is their devotion to or support for Grenada, when:
- There has been no public discussion about the terms under which Grenada has received or will receive the vaccine doses;
- There has been no public discussion focused on the type(s) of vaccine received or to be received and the merits and effect;
- There has been no public education about the use and effectiveness of any vaccine, knowing that ignorance is the root of misfortune;
- How can you justify a curfew in Grenada, thus continuing to kill our economic activities and our enjoyment of life, when you say that there is no active case in our communities?
This crisis needs the careful balancing of economic issues with health issues in a cohesive, sensible and apolitical or bipartisan manner; a process that Khief is obviously incapable of. The fact is that while we stifle the economy by unnecessary curfews and lock-downs to try to have protection from the virus, we are creating an economic crisis that is more oppressive to the poorer sections of our nation. We are making the cure worse than the disease in the overall effect on our country.
A bleak future
I can go on and on, but tell me how it can be patriotic of Khief to initiate, promote and reward a personal, intimate relationship with a female in his own ministry and then promote her. Blocking the discussion by a “don’t go there” cannot cover it up, Khief. Grenada is looking on.
What precedent has he set for his current ministers, other ministers to follow, and the existing and future Public Service? Is this consistent with the patriotism that he asks and demands of Grenadians, especially persons in the Imani program and our young people in general? He is now the minister of youth Affairs!
In concluding, I must reflect on the fact that since 1995, when these non-patriots have been in control of our country, up to today’s date, in spite of all the statistics quoted, there has been no lasting improvement to our economy. Let us take a look at some of the meaningful numbers:
- Unemployment is at the same level or even worse, with no plan in place for the creation of fulfilling jobs for our young people.
- Our agriculture has declined seriously with record lows in our exports, little investment in agriculture and minimal production of secondary products.
- It is startling that the state of our road network has suffered significant decline compared to that of 1995.
- Our economy is now almost exclusively based on factors outside of our control, like tourism and its offshoots, the school of medicine, sale of passports; all of which are affected by a virus that the experts say is here to stay.
- We are incurring more and more indebtedness to and dependence on the Chinese and their companies.
Khief and his group has been largely in control of our dear nation for over 20 years and there is nothing to show for it in terms of any true development initiative.
- Hotel-building or development initiative during this time have been generally based on the sale of passports, nothing original or distinctive, and certainly not effective in Grenada for development.
- The St George’s University is the brainchild of Sir Eric Gairy, a part of undeveloped acres converted into prime property. Remember Expo ‘69 and our one and only Miss World!
- Remember our Easter Water Parade, another Sir Eric Gairy initiative that has morphed into our present annual Fishing Tournament.
- The oil and gas is also the brainchild of Sir Eric Gairy many years ago and now corrupted a few times by Khief; remember Grynburg!
- The Maurice Bishop International Airport, which the Chinese have rudely tried to rename was the brainchild of Sir Eric Gairy and brought to reality by the Revolution.
- All of the organizational gains from the Revolution have been lost, including the education and agriculture cooperatives initiatives.
- Khief and his group have shown their inability to work out issues objectively with investors, especially in our vital electricity sector, like with the WRB group.
What have the NNP done for our country after all these years? Wake up Grenada! Any word linked with the root word “patriot” should not be used by this NNP!
(Cajeton Hood is an attorney-at-law and served as Attorney General; during the 2013-18 period in office of the New National Party government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell)