The New Today

The road ahead!!!

The introduction of rookie politician Dickon Mitchell as head of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has provided “food for thought” on the political landscape in Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.

It is the first time that an individual with no political experience has been put at the helm of a major political party on the island.

The closest was a former Congress leader, Sir Nicholas Brathwaite but he came with one year experience in the political life of the country as head of the Interim government that was appointed by former Governor General Sir Paul Scoon to run the island in the aftermath of the bloody events of October 1983 in which Prime Minister Maurice Bishop was killed.

THE NEW TODAY is aware of the fact that the entry of Dickon Mitchell has brought renewed hope in NDC going into the next general election and has forced the ruling New National Party (NNP) to take stock of things and go back on the drawing board to assess things politically in the country.

Mr Dickon Mitchell should be aware that he is right now having a good honeymoon period but when it is over his very next set of moves will be looked at very closely especially the policies and programmes that Congress will be putting before the electorate.

In the absence of an NDC agenda under its new leader, it is foolhardy to come to conclusions on what the nation can expect from Congress under his leadership.

To date he has given hints about a few critical areas in which he intends to focus such as the need for improvements in hospital services and greater accountability in the use of the Transformational Funds derived from the sale of Grenadian passports under the Citizenship By Investment (CBI) programme.

There is no clue as regards the type of fiscal policies that a newlook NDC will be putting forward in the coming months to convince the Grenadian electorate that it is worthy of taking over the mantle of leadership of the country from Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and NNP.

The information reaching THE NEW TODAY is that the new NDC leader is not short of talent in his team of economic and finance advisors who have had experience in matters of government especially fiscal issues.

Mr. Dickon Mitchell should also be mindful of the fact that some of our union leaders are not too comfortable with him but are prepared to meet with him to hear firsthand his policies on labour matters, especially the controversial issue of mandatory vaccination.

The new NDC leader has indicated that he intends to work as hard to defend the peoples’ interest in the same manner in which he is working for his clients in the private sector especially those in corporate Grenada.

However, Mr. Mitchell should not be totally blamed for winning court cases against other lawyers in the country on behalf of his clients when it comes to labour-related matters.

It is quite clear that he is using the same law on the books to convince the Justices in both the High Court and Court of Appeal to rule in favour of his arguments.

The task is for the unions and their leadership to make representation to Labour Minister Peter David and the NNP government of Prime Minister Mitchell to fix it and give the defense lawyers a harder task in making successful arguments to the law courts.

The 1979-83 People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) of late Prime Minister Maurice Bishop pursued a pro-labour agenda and would have moved with haste to plug most loopholes that lawyers would use to convince a court of their arguments.

The onus is on the NDC and its new leaders to engage the trade unions and workers to provide a comfort zone to them in going forward on the political front as the party needs to undergo some kind of transformation to become more of a working class party to capture the hearts of the Grenadian people.

Both former Prime Minister Eric Gairy and current Prime Minister Mitchell understand that Mt. Moritz was not really needed to win the St. George North-west constituency similar to how Lance Aux Epines is not critical to the winner of South St. George.

Mr. Dickon Mitchell should be cognizant of the task ahead especially against a political opponent who although in the twilight of his political career is a master in the art of winning elections.

Over the years, Dr. Mitchell has allowed his deputy, Finance Minister Gregory Bowen to run the administrations of NNP on a day-to-day basis to allow him more room and time to concentrate solely on the politics in the country.

After 22 years in the job at the Ministerial Complex in the Botanical Gardens, Dr. Mitchell as the longest serving Prime Minister of the country would be mindful of the fact that a significant number of people are tired of NNP rule and looking to bring about change.

Without the benefit of an opinion poll, there is no telling how the youthful population will vote for a young and brilliant individual academically and one who is still to make any major hiccup in his encounters with the media in the past three weeks.

Any significant movement of the young people in Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique towards Mr. Dickon Mitchell and NDC would pose a significant challenge to the NNP stranglehold on the country.

Sadly, the ruling party has made a fatal error by not seriously grooming anyone from within its ranks to assume the leadership of the country for the next 10-20 years after the current Prime Minister would have exited the scene.

Quite frankly the likes of Education Minister Emmalin Pierre, Foreign Affairs Minister Oliver Joseph and Social Development Minister Delma Thomas do not possess the intellect and capacity to run the affairs of Grenada with any degree of success.

THE NEW TODAY is aware that former Member of Parliament for St. Andrew North-east Roland Bhola was mentioned as a successor but that was apparently shot down by PM Mitchell himself on the grounds that the former Minister of Agriculture in the NNP regime did not have a degree to be considered for the top job.

The NNP will be forced to look at the road ahead in terms of finding a suitable candidate to continue as a major political force in the country and not end up like the Grenada United Labour Party (GULP) that is now defunct after being the most powerful and potent political force in the country from 1951 to 1979.