The New Today
Editorials

The Grenada Invitational!!!

The country needs to hear something from the people behind the Grenada Invitational about the issues that forced them to call off the much-anticipated meet at the National Athletic stadium at Queen’s Park.

THE NEW TODAY has no firm and positive information on the people involved in Grenada Invitational but one name keeps surfacing – Dexter Mitchell – who is known as a promoter of events in the country.

The Minister of Sports this week told a sitting of the Upper House of Parliament that he has no clear understanding as to why the Grenada Invitational was cancelled.

Senator La Crette said he was finally able to contact Mr. Mitchell on June 5 and was told by his that he was “under the weather” and will come into the ministry to speak directly when he is feeling much better.

It is our hope that Mr. Mitchell recovers quickly and not only speaks to the Minister but also members of the local media as several unanswered questions are still hanging in the air.

Information in circulation seems to suggest that the Grenada Invitational was in financial distress for years now with over EC$250, 000.00 owed to service providers.

Several years ago when Mr. Mitchell was questioned about the finances of the organization, he informed a journalist that this was a private company and it did not have to bring its finances into the public domain.

However, it appears that the promoters of the 2024 version of the Grenada Invitation were “eyeing” the public’s purse to help bail them out and to pull off the games a few days ago.

If this is correct then every Grenadian needs to know about the spending of the taxpayer dollar.

A very reputable person sent the following to us:-

“I heard that budgets were submitted to the government on various occasions, and each submission had cost variations. The organisers held a meeting early Monday, during which they crafted a statement while eagerly awaiting the government’s response. The submission was approved by the Cabinet.

A source said that the government had approved more than $300,000, but I can’t say what went wrong. The pivotal question remains: were the stakeholders, including government and renowned athletes – Kirani James, Anderson Peters and Lindon Victor, adequately informed of the decision taken by the organisers?

It is not only our top athletes who were disappointed but the defending Olympic 100 and 200 metre champion Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica who was using the meet as part of her preparation for the Parish Olympics only weeks away.

The promoters of the Grenada Invitation would have had to raise over EC$1 million to pay these top athletes to make an appearance at the Games.

An athlete like Elaine Thompson will cost about US$50-75, 000 to bring to St. George’s.

This money does not include the first class ticket for the athlete, hotel and other accommodation plus the cost for the team members that are around these top flight athletes.

Mr Mitchell needs to make himself available to the media to face some tough questions in order to bring clarity to his baby child known as the Grenada Invitational.

What did he plan to do with the funds that might have been made available from the taxpayers via the government to help stage the games?

Was he going to use the same to contract the athletes who were expected for the games or pay off long outstanding debts?

The public also had a right to know if the past New National Party (NNP) government of Keith Mitchell used the coffers of the National Lottery Authority in past years to give a “bailout” to the Grenada Invitational?

Did the Grenada Invitational people spend any money to contract any international media entity to broadcast the Games to an international audience?

There is no denying that Grenada Invitational can serve as a major tool to further promote tourism on the island.

However, an analysis has to be done on whether the country will be able to get value for money if the games are left in the hands of these particular organisers.

This is important in light of reports circulating that one of the persons associated with the Grenada Invitational was in dire financial straits that he could not even pay the rent for his upscale office at the National Stadium.

Is it true that a sporting body had to rescue the individual by providing a space in its facility for him to operate?

Against this backdrop, should a serious government pour money from the public purse into something that is seemingly wobbling?

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