The New Today
Editorials

Sensible and pragmatic approach needed!!!

Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell has revealed that the biggest issue facing his one year old government which took office following the June 23, 2022 general election was the public service.

This is a correct assessment because the new administration inherited a public service that was left in a state of decay by the former New National Party (NNP) regime of Dr. Keith Mitchell.

THE NEW TODAY is not prepared to bemoan the terrible state of affairs within the service but to look for ways to fix the problem.

The Public Service Commission (PSC), headed by female attorney-at-law Debra St Bernard, should recognise that it has a critical role to play in the upliftment of the service from yesteryear when it was seen as just a rubber stamp of the government.

The body has to lift itself from the days when meetings of the commission were held every Monday to handle mundane issues like holiday for public officers, transfer of some of them and just to ratify the decisions taken by the government with respect to the running of the service.

The head of the commission and her team need to put together a plan for training of public officers to improve on their skills to help them obtain the kind of capacity that is needed to run an effective and efficient government machinery.

The PSC has among its ranks Bernard Antoine who is no stranger to this kind of training.

Mr. Antoine was a beneficiary to many training sessions both inside and outside of Grenada in the aftermath of the 1983 US-led military operation in the Spice Isle to help Grenada restore to democratic rule of law following the bloody carnage among leftwingers at Fort George in which Prime Minister Maurice Bishop was executed.

A cadre of officers received training in order to help in the rebuilding of the public service in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

THE NEW TODAY is convinced that defeated Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell engaged in a deliberate strategy to destroy the public service in order to maintain a stranglehold on the affairs of the country.

Too many square pegs were put into round holes to man key positions in the public service.

This is clearly seen from the delivery of service from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headed by Joseph Andall and his Permanent Secretary Roxie Hutchinson.

The Congress supporters are mad that the Andall/Hutchinson alliance is moving with snail’s pace in fulfilling the decision taken at the level of Cabinet to identify the persons whose name will be sent to foreign governments and institutions to become accredited diplomats of the country.

A more astute and sensitive Foreign Minister would have taken steps a long time ago to make sure that Ambassador Yolande Smith is removed from the Grenada Mission in Washington to serve as the envoy to the United States and the Organisation of American States.

This female Ambassador was actively campaigning a year ago against Congress to try and make sure that Dr. Keith Mitchell and NNP remained in office.

Another of the bunglings of the Andall/Hutchinson combination is to bring into reality a decision taken by the government a long time ago to appoint Terrence Forrester as Ambassador for Diaspora affairs.

The Prime Minister is in a very uncomfortable position as he inherited a bad pack of cards from the previous government where competence and capacity within the ranks of the Permanent Secretaries is non-existant and the solution to the problem does not lie in reshuffling the bad pack of cards.

Part of the solution lies in retiring some of these officers in the public interest and hopefully the PSC will embark upon the kind of training that is necessary to bring the most talented ones at the middle level within the service up to speed to run the service.

It should be noted that the call is that of PM Dickon Mitchell and not the PSC to make changes in the line-up of Permanent Secretaries.

If the Prime Minister fails to take decisive action within the coming weeks and months then he can blame no one but himself for the failure of the NDC government to get the critical projects that are needed up and running for real positive development in the country.

Under the NNP rule and the bunch of inept Permanent Secretaries, Grenada squandered millions of dollars in foreign assistance from friendly governments and international organisations and donors.

The most laughable is the submission by a current PS to Saudi Arabia of the St George’s Master Plan as a project to attract funding when it was only a concept that was put together by former Ambassador to Washington Dr. Angus Friday.

This reminds one of a situation in the 1995-99 period of the first NNP government of Dr. Keith Mitchell when the fraudster Van Brink tricked St George’s with the copy of a gem to allow him to set up the failed First International Bank of Grenada (FIBG).

Today the same PS is still occupying an important office within the public service when this person should have a big question mark against her name.

THE NEW TODAY is suggesting that the Dickon Mitchell-led new team should hold a retreat with key persons to reflect on the positives and negatives of the past year and to plot a sensible and pragmatic approach to governing on the way forward.

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