It was a bold, decisive and correct move by Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell to take charge of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Physical Development and shift the Minister with the portfolio into his natural habitat of Finance.
This has convinced THE NEW TODAY that the Prime Minister is on top of things and knows the immediate areas of weaknesses in the government and is prepared to take action and to lead from in front.
Minister Dennis Cornwall is very qualified academically but seems to lack the personal skills and relationships that are needed to fully take control of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Physical Development and to drive the important projects in keeping with the government’s policy of improving on the dismal 37% implementation rate under the defeated Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) administration.
There are several projects that are just limping along while the State continues to dole out millions of dollars to try and see them completed.
The people of La Borie and Hope Vale in the St George South-east constituency are unhappy with the pace and quality of work being done by the Trinidad Company that landed the contract under the previous administration.
This project cost the last Minister of Public Utilities Gregory Bowen significant votes in the June 23, 2022 general election as village after village deserted him and went into the camp of Congress and its candidate Phillip Telesford.
Minister Cornwall was given the task of taking charge of Infrastructure Development and Public Utilities after the change of government but was not able to bring about the Transformational agenda promoted by Congress in the election campaign.
He seemed to lack the energy and drive on the job to meet with even some of the state-controlled bodies under his portfolio including the problem child that is known as Gravel & Concrete and the Grenada Airports Authority.
Nine months after the election, the Minister failed to hold a single meeting with the workers at these two state-controlled bodies to outline the NDC vision on the way forward.
This reminds one of former Minister of Education Anthony Boatswain who served for almost a full term in a previous NNP government and never called a meeting of staffers to get to know anyone of them much less to outline his government’s policies in the sector.
The fact of the matter is that NDC has inherited a broken down and battered system in which virtually all of the State institutions are not functioning.
There is chaos and public officers have been able to seize on the opportunity and not to perform and to give a fair day’s work for their payment at the end of the month.
Too many public officers are just plain lazy and lackadaisical on the job and only respond to the whip of “Massa” like in the days of slavery so it is only the former Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell who got them to do the things that he wanted done for the NNP administration.
This is the type of culture that is embedded deep within the Public Service and it will take Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell to get them to move and act in keeping with the NDC agenda.
The public officers who are holding the key positions in the Ministry of Works and Public Utilities will find PM Dickon Mitchell “a different kettle of fish” than Minister Cornwall and will have to be on top of their game as he is a no-nonsense person who will do whatever it takes to get the job done for Congress.
THE NEW TODAY will not be surprised if the Prime Minister does a quick assessment of things in the ministry and removes all the “square pegs in round holes” as he will not allow anyone to upset his agenda.
Prime Minister Dickon Mithcell will also have to pay close attention in the not-too-distant future to the Ministry of Education as morale is dropping and dissent is growing with what appears to be the inaction of the holder of the portfolio, Senator David Andrew.
The Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) and its members are planning to turn May Day celebrations into an anti-David Andrew platform and to call on the Prime Minister to replace him with some degree of urgency.
The other Minister who is said to be performing under par is the St Andrew South-west Member of Parliament Lennox “Toes” Andrews who holds the important portfolios of Economic Development, The Creative Arts, Tourism and Civil Aviation.
THE NEW TODAY will also like to make some passing comments on the diplomatic appointments that were rolled out late last month by Foreign Minister Joseph Andall.
There have been general acceptance of several of the persons who will now fly the Grenada flag in diplomacy but the one who generated the greatest amount of negativity is Michael Brizan who was shifted as Honorary Consul from Port-of-Spain, Trinidad to the office of Consul General in New York.
It appears that Mr. Brizan has been serving in the Trinidad post since the 2008-13 period in government of Congress and throughout the duration of the NNP time in office but many Grenadians never knew that this individual occupied the position.
There was more than enough time and events for the presence of the individual to he felt in the twin-island republic.
Where was Mr. Brizan when the Cargo vessel sank in waters just outside Port-of-Spain and four of the crew members perished? What role, if any did this Honorary Consul play in the problem faced by producers of honey in Grenada who have been experiencing difficulties in selling their product in Trinidad & Tobago?
Mr. Brizan will have to up his game significantly in New York or feel the wrath of Grenadians living in this important Diaspora community.