Elections in the tiny Caribbean independent tri-island state, Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique were called on June 23, 2022.
Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Claudius Mitchell, a seasoned politician of more than 30 years – revered in the region as a master political tactician – reverted to a common practice in Westminster democracy to leverage chances of winning, catching the opposition off-guard, flat-footed and unprepared for an election constitutionally due, June 2023.
The mood among most Grenadians and political pundits was one of complacency. NNP swept the polls winning all 15 seats – crushing the opposition NDC in two consecutive election cycles, 2013 and 2018. Humiliating defeats that put NDC on the back foot and into virtual political oblivion.
But all good things must come to an end. The NNP lost its footing; the NDC, now sure-footed, climbed to victory after finding a new leader in 45-year-old Dickon Amiss Thomas Mitchell, a lawyer with no prior political experience, who out-maneuvered his NNP namesake, capturing nine of fifteen seats in the Grenadian parliament. So far, so good.
Does experience play a crucial role in managing a large size company or government? The seated nine government parliamentarians are youthful and politically green first-timers, the youngest 23 years old. Supporters of the government insist that youth over experience is a plus and that experience would be gained “on the job.”
Cracks in the NDC armour were readily exposed in press conferences and public fora, the Prime Minister covering for the unpreparedness (inexperience?), at times, almost embarrassingly, responding to questions specifically addressed to his ministers.
On one such occasion, even before a junior government minister could respond, the PM abruptly interrupted to redirect to the party PRO. Bearing in mind that this was a government-organised event, it appears that no distinction is made between government and party.
There were other instances of ministers speaking out of turn – political ineptitude – inexperience. From top to bottom statements easily refuted have plagued the NDC government – again and again, signs of inexperience dealing with inconsequential matters, suggest the brewing of a political permacrisis.
PM Dickon Mitchell’s budget speech (income and expense) on Monday, December 5th 2022 only confirmed what in the minds of many Grenadians, is an economic crisis in the making. A feed the rich and starve the poor mentality saw the easing of taxes on big businesses, while having a knee on the necks of the poor and vulnerable – we can’t breathe! No one in the present regime hears their cry?
Sugar coating the nation’s hardships with a three-hour sweet talk and bribery from the “loaded” national treasury, left over by the former administration, suggests NNP’s prudent fiscal management. Early signs of a liberal NDC uncontrolled spending spree suggest otherwise.
What stymies future economic growth is a mindset – give to the rich – they will feed the poor, trickle-down economics; crumbs from the loaves at the “big boys” table. The trickle-down economic theory is proving to be a failure, even in the US that has the ability to print money at will.
Money that has no accrued interest, has seen spiraling poverty and homelessness with tens of thousands of indigent living on streets in major US cities amid unimaginable opulence. The homeless crisis in the US continues unabated with no end in sight, despite pumping trillions into the economy.
In Grenada, trickle-down is too weak to sustain, for long, the withering and wilting growth downstream. Damming the river upstream, as seems the world over, creates havoc obstructing the critical flow downstream; economic stagnation and environmental drought where nutrition and health are most needed.