The New Today
Editorials

The leadership issue in the election!!!

The contributions made by elected Members of Parliament on the 2022 Budget presented by Minister of Finance Gregory Bowen a week ago provided an insight into the main plank of the platform by the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell to remain in office for another term.

Constitutionally, the Prime Minister can call the election in July 2023 for the latest but the pundits are speculating that the much-anticipated poll could be held within the next six to seven months based on certain happenings in the country.

It is quite obvious that the NNP will seek to combat the emergence of 44-year old attorney-at-law Dickon Mitchell to head the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) with the narrative that in the present Prime Minister the nation can look forward to stable and trusted leadership.

The NNP will try to convince the electorate that the young Congress leader as a young kid on the block has no experience in parliamentary matters much less the running of a government and is not the best person to put the nation’s business in his hands.

It is a gamble which the Green Machine is taking in light of the fact that the party has not been able to come up with the type and kind of “dirt” that can force Dickon Mitchell onto the back foot and into political oblivion.

THE NEW TODAY strongly believes that the electorate will be putting Prime Minister Mitchell on trial in the upcoming general election and not necessarily the NDC leader who has been getting good responses in many quarters up and down the length and breath of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.

The critics will have to admit that Dickon Mitchell has brought a breath of fresh air into the local political landscape and especially among the anti-NNP/Keith Mitchell camp.

The NDC leader has been able to captivate many by the many and various issues that he is articulating on the national stage and not just condemning but offering his own practical solutions to them.

In the past year, the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in many taking a much closer look at the type of leadership offered by Prime Minister Mitchell in handling this very complex health problem for the nation.

Unlike several other Caribbean Prime Ministers like Mia Mottley in Barbados, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves in St Vincent & The Grenadines, Roosevelt Skerritt in Dominica, Dr. Keith Rowley in Trinidad & Tobago who were in the forefront of their country’s response to the deadly virus, the Grenadian leader was in most cases missing in action.

The nation saw Health Minister Nickolas Steele leading the charge and not the person given the job of Prime Minister by the electorate in 2018.

This untenable situation saw many NNP activists such as Bobby Steele being forced to come out publicly and express serious concern about the type of leadership given to Grenada by Dr. Mitchell to combat Covid-19.

Bobby Steele went so far to make the bold statement that PM Mitchell placed Nickolas Steele in the Health Ministry to ensure that he failed and to sacrifice him as the fall guy for the NNP regime’s failure in tackling the deadly virus.

This comes at the core of leadership in the country and a dent on the track record of the current holder of the Office of Prime Minister.

An opposition party “on the ball” will be able to force Dr. Mitchell on the defensive with a well-coordinated attack on his total silence and lack of leadership during the spike of the virus in August which resulted in many deaths across the island including those at the various homes for the Elderly.

These deaths could have been avoided if the Prime Minister and his NNP regime had put measures in place like was done one year earlier when the virus first showed up on our shores.

The Prime Minister and the NNP should also come in for a beating on the issue of leadership over the unfortunate statement made by the Health Minister that the government was moving to implement a policy in the midst of the Covid-19 wave to determine who should get treatment for their medical condition and who would fall under the radar and left to die.

Within hours of this unfortunate announcement, the people of Grenada saw for themselves the roll out of a refrigerated container on the grounds of the Mt. Gay Mental Home to store Covid-19 bodies.

This goes at the core of leadership.

The current Prime Minister will also be judged on his handling of the EC$200 million plus issue involving Grenlec and the shares that were in the hands of U.S-based Company, WRB Enterprises.

THE NEW TODAY is warning Grenadians about this misconception coming from the Prime Minister and the NNP government that they paid millions to simply buy back the Grenlec shares as this is totally false and amounts to propaganda.

Both Dr. Mitchell and his Finance Minister Bowen know that the millions had to be found to settle a judgment after an international tribunal in Washington ruled against the NNP administration and in favour of WRB Enterprises on the Grenlec issue.

The government was forced into this embarrassing situation as the U.S Company could have seized vital national assets like what Taiwan was attempting to do with the International airport and NAWASA following its demand for payment of loans due to Taipei when PM Mitchell decided to break off ties and move to Mainland China.

The next election will give a clear indication as to whether Dr. Mitchell at age 75 has now become irrelevant politically and has been left behind by a nation that is showing signs that it has gone past him and looking towards new leadership for a youthful population to face the future.

The nation should give some credit to the current Leader of the Opposition, Tobias Clement who crossed the floor and started to raise serious questions about the dictatorial tendencies that were creeping into the halls of Parliament and was prepared to hold the NNP regime accountable on behalf of the people in the name of democracy.

This move by Clement might have helped to save the day for Grenada and the emergence of viable opposition to the Mitchell dictatorship.