The New Today


The unfortunate truth

I am committed to looking reality in the face and speaking about it without pretense… It is because I reject lies and running away that I am accused of pessimism; but this rejection implies hope – the hope that truth may be of use. And this is a more optimistic attitude than the choice of indifference, ignorance or sham – Simone de Beauvoir Book: “All Said and Done”.

For decades (we) the people have watched our country crumble under “tinpot dictatorship” and political repression by those in leadership.

Unfortunately this kind of dictatorship has hindered progress and development in our country. Corruption has been allowed to manifest itself in forms of systematic or systemic failures and it was done in a pretensive manner that enables things to go unnoticed with no level of transparency and accountability.

I cannot help articulating about how “centralisation” of government departments under Public Utilities has created no forms of transparency and accountability. Because things are still unaccounted for and go unnoticed on a daily basis for example (Phonegate) where hundreds of thousands of dollars just went for a stroll in phone bills and there was no formal investigation, likewise no one was held accountable.

The Director of Audit never used her constitutional office to investigate, the former Accountant General was never held accountable likewise the constant abusers of our taxpayer dollars.

When we had Decentralization where all government ministries and departments had to be held accountable – there were much accountability and the Permanent Secretaries had to ensure that their departments were efficiently managed.

Recently in a letter to The New Today entitled “The Upholder Is Worse Than The Thief,” I did mention some of the unconstitutionality that have been taking place in our country.

And I firmly believe that former public officers should come forward and start filing lawsuits against these individuals that did them injustices because their appointment as Cabinet Secretaries were (unconstitutional).

What bothers me is that members of the legal fraternity were part of the shortchanging process and I say “shame on you.”

Previous and past Attorney Generals sat there and betrayed our constitution likewise the people of this country and I firmly believe that they should be held in (contempt). That’s betrayal of its highest level in this country – this is treachery against the state.

Despite popular or public opinion from loyalists of Dr. Mitchell about him being the best Grenadian leader, I object to that “popular belief” because this is far from the truth.

When we check history as it relates to his leadership skills and track records over the years that tells a totally different story. And he can morally be judged based on his character, reputation and political repression.

Being popular or charismatic doesn’t make someone a good leader. I certainly cannot describe him as a “Statesman” because he isn’t. For example let’s recall briefcase inquiry and the outrageous comments that was made by Dr. Mitchell at a political rally “is me dam money”. What kind of leader would’ve make such a reckless and irresponsible statement.

This wasn’t the only offensive statement made but it also is a trend that continued throughout his tenure in office. “Whatever begins in anger, ends in shame” – Benjamin Franklin.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane and look back at what the NNP administration did to the (Chief of Police) Willan Thompson who by law is still Chief of Police until he attains the retirement age of (60) despite the CONFIRMATION of the current COP.

Related:  The Dynamics of Grenadian politics

Note well I said Chief of Police because our Constitution speaks to Chief of Police and despite what the Police Ordinance states about Commissioner of Police, I can recall in the last referendum it was on ballot paper but it failed.

Now getting back to the Willan Thompson story, he was appointed Acting Chief of Police on September 30th 2011 and was confirmed on 30th January 2012 with effect from 8th October 2011 in position as COP.

He applied for vacation leave from 3rd March 2013 – 15th November 2013 and thereafter from 15th May 2014 – 4th July 2014. On 7th July he was informed by Acg. COP Winston James that he was in receipt of a letter from PSC transferring him to parliament as of that same day on 7th July.

This can only be described as vindictive actions taken by the NNP administration against an Ag. Chief of Police and putting him in a compromising position as Clerk of Parliament. Who does that?

Gloria Payne Banfield, former Cabinet Secretary was placed in that same position when she was made PS in Finance and she knew for a fact that she could’t function in that office and she had to end up leaving the service. I believe the mistake she made is that she didn’t challenge the government in court.

Grave injustices was also done to Hermilyn Armstrong-Cox when High Court Judge Margaret Price Findlay ordered that “If she has received any NIS benefits those sums are to be deducted from the monies she’s entitled to under the Pension Act.

This must be made abundantly clear that no government, court ruling or NIS cannot deny any pensioner his or her pension because throughout their working life [it was mandatory to make such contributions].Therefore it was [ILLEGAL] for government to do such a thing.

However, if they wanted to deduct the small percentage that they would’ve contributed, it was fine to do so – but to deny her what she contributed “it’s wrong.” Hermilyn Armstrong-Cox should’ve gone back to the courts again.

Many public officers who had faced repression from the administration should’ve taken legal action against the government but they allowed it to slide and get swept under the rug.

It had to take people like the late Derek Knight Q.C., and Mr. A. Astaphan S.C. to challenge government on behalf of their client.

Just think about it – Richard Duncan, Irvin Mc Queen, Hermilyn Armstrong, Julia Lawrence, Willan Thompson and Gemma Bain Thomas are all willing to stand up against political repression by the NNP administration.

Keith Mitchell has gotten away with too much and he probably thinks he’s some kind of demigod or superhero. I’m not a Bible believing Christian but I believe in the moral behind the David and Goliath story. Because it doesn’t matter how mighty you are someone small can take you down.

In conclusion I end with the lyrics from late Robert Marley song SMALL AXE –

“So if you are the big tree. We are the small axe
Ready to cut you down (well sharp)
To cut you down.

Brian J.M. Joseph