It has become fashionable for the most shameless and undemocratic leader of our times to speak glowingly of his obscene and despotic practices as qualifications for being dubbed ‘A Real Politician’. And in his brazenness and boldfaced bad behaviour he markets himself as transparent and accountable – personal characteristics that had no place in politics for him when they were used to define someone far more respectable than he could ever dream to be.
In his world, bad behaviour has become compartmentalised in a manner that suggests that once one takes on the label of politician and occupies the seat of power, one is pretty empowered to sin and still be issued a passport to heaven. To him, pretensions of loving and caring for the vulnerable, the occasional visit to the Vatican or even branding food boxes with his face to cruelly suggest that the gift came from him are marketed as a credential of his ‘Real Politician’ persona.
The unfortunate reality, though, is that bad behaviour is oxygenated with currency because of the apathy of some but, more so, the total surrender of a population to the hypnosis of quasi democratic practices backed by the application of gang psychology values – orchestrated by one man and accepted by a Cabinet of timid lieutenants who are yet to be awarded stripes by the Fuhrer in his own time.
And so, while those spineless political amoebae are shaped and mis-shaped as they wait their stripes and badges which might never be issued, the Emperor on the Happy Hill reigns supreme and absolute – everyday, doing his own thing.
The Emperor has been enabled in his mis-governance for such a long time that he has lost the ability to recognise that the dichotomy of the ‘Governor’ and ‘The Governed’ is being replaced by something more dynamic, democratic and relevant. Meanwhile, his lieutenants are too frightened and timid to let him know that government is no longer a sole proprietorship but that his outmoded Keith-centered model is rapidly being transplanted by a dynamic living partnership in which the majority interest no longer rests with him or, anyone, for that matter, who might be titled, Prime Minister.
Many questions have been asked and continue to be asked of Prime Minister Keith C. Mitchell by patriotic citizens regarding governance and his blatant behaviour that is too often suggestive of one who owns a personal estate – as the Vassal and Lord, Edward III of England. Yes, that has been and continues to be his modus operandi as Prime Minister of Grenada.
The recollection of the employment of his son as an Advisor to the Minister of Finance must still be fresh in his mind. By the way, has his contract come to an end? Has it been renewed? Many bright Grenadians have been receiving one-year contracts, at a time, as nurses and teachers – (frontline workers); has the same treatment been meted out to his son? Or, has he been a recipient of special privileges because of who his father is?
Reasonable, thinking Grenadians know that merit, and not privilege, that must now become the singularly most important non-academic standard for job selection and job retention. That is one of the ways in which we will ensure fairness, equity and honesty in government and its behaviour. Being Prime Minister or any other minister does not make one’s personal and family desires equivalent and identical or even worse take primacy over the national good.
Mr. Prime Minister, you, like anyone else, must stop ignoring the distinction between the roles of the ruling party and that of the national government. There is a distinction which has been blatantly ignored by your administration to the point where your supporters begin to think that what you continue to do is legitimate.
Your continued disregard for established norms and rules of proper behaviour erodes and diminishes good governance and the rights of the citizenry is ultimately “mongrelised”. But equally disgraceful is the fact that taxpayers’ tax resources end up being used for narrow partisan political programmes solely aimed at achieving election victories at the expense and detriment of national development and justice.
Justify to the nation Sir, why our tax dollars should be used to employ a former failed female politician. The citizenry is crying out and remains in shock that you have refused to honour all commitments to workers, as well as the many Court rulings against your administration to those people who you perceive to be non-supporters. It is in this context that the recent employment of a former female parliamentarian as an advisor in the Prime Minister’s Ministry is so galling.
Frankly, many are convinced that this move is a politically calculated one to gain an advantage at the next general election. Their point of contention if that is the case is, why do taxpayers, including those who are opposed to the NNP Administration must be made to finance what clearly is believed to be a political move, paid for by our hard earned tax dollar.
There are others who have strongly opined that the move, whatever the motive, was a poorly timed one. Their argument rests on the very sentiments of the country’s inability to afford any new expenditure associated with personnel within government as Grenada grapples with the outrageously challenging financial trials in the current Covid environment. But, in view of that concern, one cannot help but table a series of questions that not only provide you an opportunity to offer answers but to hand you a platform for you to justify the appointment of your most recent advisor.
Mr. Prime Minister, what are the felt needs that have given rise to the appointment? Is the satisfaction of those felt needs so urgent that if the appointment is made later into the future, Grenada would be seriously disadvantaged? And, if so, in what ways would that disadvantage manifest itself? What are the terms of the appointment? What are the academic and experiential credentials required for the job? Was the job advertised? If not, why was it not advertised?
One resident of Lance Aux Epines intimated that the appointment of this latest advisor was provoked by one or two recent newspaper articles in the last three weeks that were meant to serve as a warning to Prime Minister Mitchell that the Lance Aux Epines crowd would not go out to vote next time around, if they did not get their own.
She said that the Prime Minister was given an ultimatum and he responded by reinstating the individual under a title of concealment in the hope of giving her the desired classification after the next general election.
Whatever the motivations or machinations, the Office of Prime Minister is vested with the obligation of accountability to the entire nation and not to just the political tribe the holder thinks was responsible for his occupation of the Office.
The use of public funds to pay for the services of this latest advisor to the Prime Minister makes it a public matter. The Grenadian public, therefore, by virtue of being more that an equal co-partner in the governance of the nation must be treated in a manner commensurate with its status.
We, therefore, call on the Office of the Prime Minister to release immediately to the public for its own scrutiny the ‘Terms of Reference’ for the specific post of advisor that is occupied by Mrs. Otway, a former NNP candidate for the South St. George Constituency. Secondly, provide the public with a copy of her credentials as evidence, or no evidence, of her suitability to fill the position. Thirdly, a public apology from the Prime Minister Mitchell for, individually or collectively, overstepping his responsibility as the ‘First Servant of the State of Grenada’.
Michael A. Church