Information coming from the new National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell is revealing that the former Keith Mitchell-led administration lost not EC$40 million but approximately EC$92 million dollars in grant funding offered by British Prime Minister David Cameron on a visit to the island in 2015.
The incoming administration that took office in June 2022 received a letter from the British government five months later informing them that the funds are no longer available for several reasons including “The delayed state of the projects.”
It was very indigenous of Dr. Keith Mitchell to come on a GBN programme on Tuesday morning to give the impression that it was the new government that lost the grant funding from the British.
The blame should be laid squarely at the feet of the Political Leader of the New National Party (NNP) and his second in command, Gregory Bowen, the powerful Minister of Public Utilities who were the dominant figures in the defeated regime.
Dr. Mitchell was engaging in political mamagism when he tried to give the impression from the unsuspecting GBN staffer that the Covid-19 pandemic affected Grenada’s ability to draw down on the funds.
The uninformed interviewer failed to ask the former Grenadian leader what his government did in the five years prior to Covid to prepare the projects that were identified for funding from the free money that the British government was giving to its former colony.
THE NEW TODAY is submitting that Dr. Mitchell and Bowen should be held responsible for the situation and tender an apology to the people of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique for their failure in government to meet the requirements for the British grant funds.
Their behaviour in public office is nothing short of unacceptable, offensive and reckless conduct as it relates to the handling of public funds.
Under their leadership, the government ministries were not staffed by public officers who had the capacity and capability to engage in project preparation, execution and implementation.
The dismal track record of the NNP is that it had a very low implementation rate of 37% when it came to projects.
The Keith Mitchell/Gregory Bowen run NNP government was more concerned in putting into key positions persons in the public service deemed as loyalists at the expense of officers whose loyalty cannot be guaranteed even if they possessed the necessary skill set for the job.
The same two top persons in the NNP regime lost not only British grant funding for projects earmarked for Grenada but also funds that the country could have received from the World Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) due to non-performance in project preparation.
The ongoing project at River Road in the Town of St George Constituency of former Agriculture Minister Peter David is another classic case of withdrawal by a funding agency.
The original billboard had identified the funding agency for the project but when it started years after the names of the funding agency was removed.
The NNP government of Keith Mitchell and Gregory Bowen did not inform the nation that the funds were now coming totally from the Central Government in the Treasury and not CDB as the lifespan of the money from the original funding agency had come to an end and Grenada under NNP failed the test.
The loss of the British funds of EC$92 million due to non-performance of these two top persons in the defeated NNP government is a culmination of mistakes and missteps by them in running the affairs of the people of our tri-island State.
If two former NDC renegade Ministers Joseph Gilbert and Glynis Roberts are prepared to speak to the truth they can inform the nation of the loss of millions in European funds in the first Keith Mitchell-led NNP government in the 1995-99 period.
The funds were withdrawn due to project delays by Keith Mitchell and Gregory Bowen who were more concerned with getting rid of Joseph Gilbert from the supervisory role being played on the project and taking steps to replace him with another Engineer.
Glynis Roberts served as a Secretary in the local office of the Europeans and would have been privy to the several exchange of letters between the EDF and the Keith Mitchell/Gregory Bowen run NNP regime.
Over the years, the Keith Mitchell/Gregory Bowen run government kept boasting of over $100 million to be received from the proceeds of Climate Change. Where is the money? Where are the projects that were prepared to get the funds?
The NNP boss boasted that water will flow in every pipe and in every household on the island due to the millions that he was getting from Climate Change.
The defeated former Prime Minister should not seek to lay blame on Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell and the 10-month old NDC administration for the loss of the EC$92 million from the British government.
The episode around the loss of the British funds has a message in it for Prime Minister Dickon Mitchel and his NDC colleagues in government.
The regime can only make a difference in improving the 37% project implementation rate by making swift changes to the “pack of cards” in the public service in whose hands were placed the issue of project preparation and execution under the former NNP leaders.
These public officers have failed and should be replaced by competent persons with the knowledge and skills to handle projects for the country’s development.