The New Today

Commentary

Sensible selections

Yes, Grenada, I see that we are back in the “silly season” once again. The time when agents of political parties knock on our doors and beg us to vote for a particular candidate who, no doubt they say, represents the values of the party.

The reality is that persons are put before the people based on what appears to be that person’s popularity and once that person is selected by the people that person is expected to implement the values of the party or, even worse yet, the values of the party leader and leadership.

The NNP ruling party continues to repeat that they are the only party to give stability to Grenada, since the NDC failed to do so in the 2008 to 2013 period. Let us see what the NNP is referring to as stability.

Let us examine the values that they have imprinted upon our little nation. If those values are not what we wish for our nation, then we need to make sensible selections and automatically reject that group.

Tribalism
Under Khief and his NNP the divisiveness of our politics will not stop but only continue. It will always be, “the winner takes it all” and “Jobs for the boys”! Special treatment for the supporters!

Even the institution of the Electoral Office is so very corrupt that persons who are not believed to be NNP supporters find the voter registration process to be a virtual nightmare, while bedridden NNP supporters receive their new voters ID on their beds!

Khief has said time and again that we should blame the short-sighted former NDC leadership for that, because they “threw out the baby with the bath water” by refusing to make the constitutional change to an Electoral Commission. Khief and I agree on this one thing, at least!

Roads works is now a full waste of resources because it is no longer the subject of expert delivery of services, but yet another way to reward the loyal NNP support base.

People with no real training or expertise in road repair are given contracts to repair our roads with no longer any supervision from engineers in a Road Works Division. That Division was destroyed and removed by Khief to give him more political control of Treasury finances.

Corruption
This is a word that we have heard over and over again and maybe we are fed up of hearing it. Ambassador Newfield has made a clear statement of its existence in the CBI program and in the application of our investment protocol in general.

There has been no commitment to have any neutral investigation of the CBI or other investment program despite the call from the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition.

There has been no investigation into the reason why Grenada has to pay what is likely to be hundreds of millions of dollars for repairs to the Western Main Road. The collapse was allegedly occasioned in part by Khief overriding the refusal of planning permission by the Planning Division to build a large concrete house on a cliff in the precise spot where the road collapsed.

As usual Khief has just ignored all allegations, refused to order an investigation and has simply signaled, “let us just move on!” Yes, he can move on and he will move on, but again we are the ones who will pay, together with our future generations.

Where is the promised investigation into the tens of millions of dollars in the Shrimp Farm Project that was meant to bring well-needed development to one of the poorest parishes in Grenada, St. Mark?

Where is the promised investigation into the development at Mt. Hartman headed by the Chinese developer that was the subject of an Enquiry by the SEC in the United States regarding missing millions that were invested into that project?

I am made to understand that the same Chinese man is still a diplomatic agent of our government and he is based in an office in the Middle East. Khief’s response to questions about the Chinese was more or less a flat, “I don’t know, so let’s move on!”

Immorality
As Prime Minister, the approach of Khief seems to be that his so-called private affairs, generally and literally, is his business alone and every person is forbidden to” go there”. Well, that attitude is clearly not accepted in any developed or developing country.

President Clinton had to subject himself to sordid and detailed cross-examination of his most intimate encounters with a female who was not even a full-time employee of his office. Our Khief has been domiciling openly with a woman whom he began to court while she was a junior public servant in his very own ministry.

When I filed an official complaint according to the law that was passed by Khief’s own Parliament, I was told by the Integrity Commission that I had to prove that Khief was having an intimate relationship with the woman. I guess that when they interviewed him he said that she was his night nurse.

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Where are our standards? Where is our name, Grenada? The Imani program has been beset by allegations of multiple intimate relationships and encounters between NNP supervisors and politicians with vulnerable female participants in the programme.

Khief’s own personal head of security is now facing High Court criminal charges for attempting to sexually abuse a vulnerable young lady during the course of seeking help from the NNP administration. I guess that they are all saying, in Kaiso parlance, “If the priest could play who is me?” However, in doing this I am forced to ask us all as Grenadians, “where is our name, and where are we going, Grenada?”

Racism
Khief has now sunk to the all-time low of using the apparent cover of Parliament to once again malign the owner of a dissenting voice, this time in overt racist language! Last week when he was asked about it in a press conference, the totally classless and ignorant leader of my country, Grenada, said that he has nothing to apologise for! Can you really believe this?

This is an era where we are talking about racial equality! Our Prime Minister in Parliament repeats openly racist expressions on 3 distinct occasions and after several days’ reflection says in a press conference that he was correct to denigrate a man based on his race and colour of skin!

He declares that it is correct to single out a citizen of Grenada who has criticised the corruption in our investment program, and castigate him on account of the colour of his skin and his ethnicity! This is not the middle of the 20th century! We are in the 21st century, the time of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter!  We are living in a period when the “n” word, monkey chants and banana signals are abhorrent!

We are living in a time when a professional EUEFA football game had to be stopped because a substitute was referred to by an official as, “that black man”! Fans at sporting games are banned for life or for lengthy periods, players are banned for lengthy periods, for any comment or symbol that even resembles or suggests racial motivation!

Seriously now, is our Prime Minister still possessed of proper mental acumen? Is he still fit for office? I ask these questions separate and apart from my persistently expressed conclusion that, based upon performance only, it is time to usher him out of office.

His clearly racist language has sent the signal to the world at large that Grenada is a racist country and that white people will be discriminated against! If we select any person that is submitted by the NNP party under the leadership of Keith Mitchell we are sending the signal to the world at large that we condone and support racism in our country. In fact, the failure of the NNP party on the whole, to uncompromisingly condemn the conduct of its leader, Keith Mitchell, tells us all very clearly that they have adopted his position fully.

Keith Mitchell must be asked to apologise publicly and to resign on account of his objectionable racist remarks! At least the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House must fully investigate this episode! We owe it to our country Grenada to set and declare our standards for the world to see.

In the near future, can we as Grenadians sensibly select any person put before us by the NNP to represent our people in the Parliament of Grenada? This NNP party has shown us that in spite of them saying that they love our people and our country they are in fact:

  1.   A party that is committed to tribalism,
  2. A party that is committed to corruption;
  3. A party that is committed to immorality; and,
  4. A party that is committed to racism.

Under Khief and the NNP we have sunk to becoming one of the poorest nations in the region and one proclaimed as one of the worst places to do business! These are facts that have been determined by independent investigators. These are not the words of Newfield or, as Khief likes to style it, any hater of Khief.

It is time to step out of the shadow of Khief and trust ourselves to govern ourselves in a better manner. Grenada was doing okay before Khief and we have not improved under Khief and the NNP, relative to our neighbours.

It is time to make sensible selections!

Cajeton Hood is an attorney-at-law and served Attorney General under the 2013-18 New National Party government of current Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell