The much hyped up speech to the nation on Sunday night by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell was so badly lacking that anyone with a national development perspective and agenda would wish that it did not take place.
Our Prime Minister has demonstrated once again to the outside world that he will continue to focus on the selling of passports and building hotels and not pouring serious resources into the agriculture sector which can provide food security for a nation in a time of crisis.
The speech only had about three little sound bites about agriculture which will always remain a critical factor for the survival of residents in the rural parts of the country.
It was only a few days ago that the government had put out a statement in which the said Prime Minister was quoted as saying that in going forward both Agriculture and Fishing would be key in the new construct post COVID-19.
The national address presented a good platform to unveil a plan for these two key sectors especially Agriculture but the Prime Minister was found to be rather flat-footed.
THE NEW TODAY is doubtful that any of the elected Members of Parliament for those constituencies in St. Andrew and St. Patrick – the once fertile and thriving agricultural belt in the country – had any input into the contents of the speech.
What about the continued association of the likes of Foreign Affairs Minister Peter David and veteran trade unionist Chester Humphrey in the current New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Mitchell given their promotion of the so-called “Project Grenada” initiative?
Is Sen. Humphrey in particular through his continued silence sending a clear signal that he too does not like Agriculture but prefer to give strong support to the selling of passports under the Citizenship By Investment (CBI) Programme?
Are the so-called revolutionaries in the midst of the NNP Camp no longer committed to the ideals of the 1979-83 era that promoted the mantra that Agriculture equated to supplying food to feed our people?
The philosophy of the revolution was: Agriculture must be a major foreign exchange earner for the country, as well as provide raw materials for the building of a sound agro industrial sector and creating more jobs to tackle unemployment and helping to develop self-reliance through the full utilisation of our land.
Sunday night’s speech by the Prime Minister should be thrown into the dustbin by all the farmers of the nation as it brought no hope to anyone who is thinking of entering agriculture in a serious way and to help earn a decent living for their families.
It was agriculture that provided a brighter future for many Grenadians from the rural areas to earn a better education and to become professionals in Medicine, Law, Engineering and Sciences.
Our nearest neighbor in CARICOM and the OECS is St. Vincent and the Grenadines and it was able to weather the COVID-19 storm better than most due to its strong agricultural sector.
The Dr Ralph Gonsalves government in Kingstown was able to provide food on a constant basis to feed the people of Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados and was willing to provide a lending hand to our sister isles of Carriacou & Petite Martinique.
Our own government could not do that in Grenada because the country has become too reliant on imported food. If another crisis comes in the next five years, Grenada will still be in the same position if it is under the leadership of Dr. Mitchell given his programmes and policies.
What has the passport selling money done to uplift this country? Who has benefitted from it during this crisis?
The PM speech should have been telling farmers that government had a plan to help them in land preparation to grow more food.
In neighbouring St. Vincent, the Gonsalves administration is assisting farmers in a serious way by plouging land free for them.
This is what a visionary leader with a real national development agenda will be telling his people at a time like this when it is obvious that a new construct for the economy is needed.
What is Dr. Mitchell really doing in Grenada? COVID-19 has found our Prime Minister badly wanting as a leader with no plan to take the country forward into safe hands to give to a new generation.
The Prime Minister has announced the re-opening of the local economy but without any clear plan.
A speech that announced the return of workers to the workplaces but no firm plan in place for the running of public transport.
In addition, the construction industry has been given the all clear for workers to be back on the job but yet still the protocol for engagement on the various construction sites is still not known.
The late Eric Matthew Gairy had the vision to bring St. George’s University (SGU) into Grenada over 40 years ago and that is now responsible for 25% of the GDP of Grenada.
Another leader with a national agenda is the late Maurice Bishop who started an international airport with massive Cuban assistance and today it is the gateway for the tourism sector and the opening up of Grenada to the outside world in a serious way.
What is it that this Prime Minister has built that is now a strong, sound and ever-lasting pillar for the future of every little boy or girl in the Tri-island State?
It is not just about winning elections but what remains as lasting legacy by a leader to serve a country for many successful generations.
It is time for Dr. Mitchell to go and for a new and younger person with a serious vision to take over and put Grenada on a firm path to economic development.