Politicians in the United States and most recently former President Donald Trump often used the phrase “Drain the Swamp” as he took issue with the bureaucracy that was taking place in Washington that affected the smooth functioning of the U.S Federal Government.
This is a phrase that can now be applied to Grenada after the dominance of the New National Party (NNP) under the leadership of Dr. Keith Mitchell which has run the affairs of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique for most of the last 30 years.
The incoming National Democratic Congress (NDC) of new Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell has no choice but to make sweeping changes at all levels of the public service and statutory bodies in order to push ahead with its transformational agenda that helped it to win the June 23 general election.
It is sad that after many years of rule by the former Prime Minister he was forced to publicly admit that the system in the public service was broken and he literally did nothing to fix it.
Persons with knowledge of the workings of the public service would often point to the deficiencies within the ranks of those persons performing as Permanent Secretaries in most ministries.
The new Prime Minister has also admitted that under the rule of Keith Mitchell that Grenada lost out on millions of dollars in grant funding due to lack of personnel to engage in sound project preparation to donors.
There are also reports of the loss of funds to Grenada due to a deliberate policy of the previous government to shy away from any agency that pushed for a tendering process to take place for projects as it much preferred for these projects to be given out to cronies of the NNP.
THE NEW TODAY believes that the new generation of leaders in Congress would be very mindful of the past experiences of the party in the 2008-13 period in government when it failed to remove some of the key operatives of the NNP in important positions in the civil service.
The Tillman Thomas-led government paid a heavy price for pussy-footing with the Ministry of Finance and was sabotaged on the issue of late payment of salaries for one month that contributed to its demise from power.
Today the Dickon Mitchell-led administration has to come to terms with the fact that its predecessor was able to install its operatives in just about every important job in the public service.
Can you imagine that in one section of the government, the two top positions are in the hands of the brother of a senior government minister and the other is the husband of a female government minister?
If new Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell uses the Merit system that he advanced that will be used to determine the jobs held by some senior police officers then many will fall into the category of square pegs in round holes.
It cannot be argued that these persons were not promoted over others because of their ability to perform in the job assigned to them.
Several members of the police force have been given rapid promotions on the basis of what Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell has rightly described as nepotism and cronyism.
THE NEW TODAY brings to the fore the case of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) John Charles who was appointed to the post some months back after holding the rank of Superintendent of Police for more than a decade while other less capable officers were promoted over him.
ACP Charles is now on pre-retirement leave but was overlooked for promotion under the previous NNP regime on the grounds that he was perceived to be a supporter of Congress.
New Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell will have to correct some historical wrongs that were done to many public officers by the NNP administration and especially the defeated Prime Minister Keith Mitchell.
It is no secret that Dr. Mitchell based his promotion on trust and loyalty to “THE GREEN MACHINE” and not on one’s ability to perform the job.
Former Accountant General Richard Duncan who is believed to be the key advisor to the new Prime Minister in the Ministry of Finance had even documented his many ordeals with Keith Mitchell shortly after he came to power in 1995.
The newlook NDC government would have no choice but to “Drain the Swamp” as far and wide as possible in many areas including the Public Service Commission (PSC) with the three government representatives on the Board.
Decency should inform the decision that should be taken by these members to offer their resignations to the Governor General who appointed them to serve on the commission in light of the new political dispensation in the country.
There have been several welcome resignations already from statutory bodies like the Grenada Airports Authority (GAA), Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) among others.
Those persons who tendered their resignations did the decent, right and correct thing and did not wait to be pushed out the door by the incoming administration.
THE NEW TODAY would not support any move by the NDC government to engage in victimisation of workers in the country because of perceived support for the former rulers.
However, those workers who engage in behaviour not consistent with that of a public officer should be dealt with swiftly in the national interest.
The vast majority of NDC members and supporters await “THE DRAINING OF THE SWAMP” by new Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell and the NDC Cabinet of Ministers following the June 23 general election.