It is just over a month since the change of government in Grenada with the National Democratic Congress (NDC) under the leadership of new Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell taking over from the defeated New National Party (NNP) of the island’s longest serving leader, Dr. Keith Mitchell.
Mr. Dickon Mitchell and Congress have a task on their hands to govern the island, especially when the previous office holder publicly admitted that the system of government was broken. Yet, he did nothing fix it.
This is a sad state of affairs but the NDC government cannot shirk from its responsibility and fail to make an attempt to bring back good governance to the people of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.
THE NEW TODAY is not convinced that Grenada is blessed with the relevant personnel and talent to successfully tackle the problem and put the island on the sound footing that is needed to restore a well-functioning and professional public service.
There are deep-seated problems in just about every Government Ministry and Department, with too many square pegs trying to fit into round holes.
This is an urgent call and plea to Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell to ask the British government, which is the architect of the civil service, to assist us once again to fix the badly broken system.
Shortly after the U.S-led military operation in Grenada in October 1983 to put down the bloody military leaders who staged a coup in which Prime Minister Maurice Bishop was executed, the island brought in some British experts to help in rebuilding the civil service that was virtually destroyed by the revolutionary leaders.
These persons spent several years on the island and helped to train locals through the creation of the Department of Personnel & Management Services (DPMS) with the clear intention to create a professional cadre of public officers to man the system.
Three British expatriates – John Anderton, Terrence Lowther, and Mike Simmons – came in through the KPMG group and were funded by the British government to carry out the exercise and left behind all the relevant information to continue with the workload.
The outgoing Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and the NNP regime had a major hand in dismantling the civil service for their own political ends.
The political directorate was aided and abetted by persons who compromised themselves while serving as members of the Public Service Commission (PSC).
The PSC members were largely seen as puppets of the NNP government and oftentimes used to rubber stamp the wishes of the Keith Mitchell-led government.
New Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell does not have the wherewithal to fix the badly broken system with the limited and scarce talent available in the country and should look for outside help as a matter of urgency and priority.
The British may be more than willing to provide whatever manpower and expertise is needed by the new government to address the situation in the shortest possible time.
It might also be wise for the new government to ask the British to help in conducting a forensic account of some of the questionable financial transactions that took place in Grenada in the past 15 to 20 years.
The last administration has been plagued by too many financial scandals including the Shrimp farm debacle.
Dr. Keith Mitchell promised the people over three years ago that an investigation would take place into the missing EC$54.2 million from the sale of Grenadian passports to facilitate the Shrimp farm and nothing concrete has been heard about it.
An independent team of investigators, like the British, can help to bring closure to the missing money from the Shrimp farm project.
The only thing that came out of the Shrimp Farm fiasco is the slap on the wrist that was given to the former head of the Physical Planning Unit (PPU), Fabian Purcell, who admitted that he collected money for engaging in private work, while being a public officer and without the consent of the PSC, from the developers of the project.
Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell has given the nation the assurance that he and the NDC team of elected parliamentarians would report to the people three months after the date of the elections on their stewardship in office.
THE NEW TODAY is putting the Prime Minister on notice that he has to provide the public with information on the ghost companies that were formed by ministers associated with the former regime in which they laid their hands on thousands of dollars from the taxpaying public.
Three months is sufficient time for the new government to gather the relevant information from the technocrats in the Ministry of Finance to enlighten the public on the source of funds to repurchase the majority shares in Grenlec from WRB Enterprises that the previous rulers refused to do.
The Congress ministers will also have to update the nation on the controversial billboard project on the sister isle of Petite Martinique in which thousands of dollars from the Treasury were handed out for a project that cannot be seen by the naked eye.
Mr. Prime Minister, the clock is ticking fast as only 60 days are left for the people on the tri-island state to be properly briefed about their business by those whom they entrusted to do so on June 23.