A former National Security Advisor has called for a review of the Security arrangements around Grenada’s nine-month old Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell following Tuesday’s vehicle accident involving the State vehicle that he was travelling in along the Springs main road.
In an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY, the security expert said he picked up information that there was no police outrider to help clear the traffic to prevent the Prime Minister and his Security Detail from getting bogged down in the traffic as the area is known to be affected by traffic in the early morning rush hour.
He recalled reports in the media since the June 23, 2022 change of government in which the Congress leader emerged as the island’s Prime Minister that concerns have been raised about his personal security.
He spoke of some of the former security around assassinated Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and retired senior police officers have been expressing the view to him that it is quite evident based on certain apparent security lapses that the PM Dickon Mitchell’s security detail might be lacking in some areas.
The security official suggested that the best officers within the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) should do a review in order to ascertain whether some of the security personnel assigned to the 45-year old Grenadian leader are in need of better training in driving, escorting and protecting the Prime Minister.
He recalled an incident that he witnessed first-hand about three weeks ago involving the entourage of the Prime Minister in the Grand Anse area near to the basketball court.
“Apparently he (PM Dickon Mitchell) was going to an event and probably he was running a bit late, but the manner in which the convoy was taking over vehicles and trying to get its way, I was very concerned.”
“Yes, they had the flashing lights and siren but still you had the Head of government in there and his safety and protection must always be paramount – he could reach a minute, five minutes late (as) the event can’t start without him.”
“I thought that the way the person was driving wasn’t in keeping with the kind of driving you would do for a Head of State or a Head of government. Again he didn’t have any outrider – in that case it was the two black jeeps.”
“I think it’s high time that they re-evaluate the people around the Prime Minister in terms of providing security for him.”
The former National Security Advisor stated that the convoy accompanying the Prime Minister should be at least 3 vehicles – with one clearing the way, and another serving as a back-up vehicle in the rear with other highly armed security personnel.
According to the top security official, there should always be another vehicle somewhere close to the Prime Minister to provide better protection for him like in case of the accident in Springs.
“That vehicle is the one in which you have to extricate the Prime Minister from the situation and the scene– put him in that vehicle and take him away,” he said.
He felt that the Prime Minister should not be kept on the scene in the open as no one knew for sure that what happened at Springs could have been part of a deliberate ambush to hurt him.
“You don’t know if they had men waiting in the bushes to open up automatic fire on him,” he said.
Several persons reported seeing the Prime Minister and coming up to him to see if he was alright after the accident.
According to the official, ex-Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell had “a very good” Security Detail around him including personnel with heavy automatic weapons in case of an attack on him.
He felt that the Springs incident calls for some “drastic re-evaluation of the security protocols including the senior Security team putting him to sit down and say (to him) look if you want us to protect you there are certain things that we would have to overrule.”
He pointed out that in the United States, there are certain things that the President would like to do but “the Secret Service will tell him blankly that you can’t do that because if you do that we can’t guarantee that we could protect you.”
“So (Prime Minister) Dickon (Mitchell) has to understand his position – he is not just Dickon now, he is the Head of a Government and he has to remember that that brings a lot of responsibility,” he said.
He also told THE NEW TODAY that if Tuesday’s incident was life-threatening for the Prime Minister he was sure that “the whole country would have gone into chaos because it is only nine-six situation in Parliament.”
“There is no one around them there that would be able to galvanise the people and either run the country in his absence or God forbid should he pass away. So he has to look at all these things – the (Prime Minister) is taking these things too nonchalantly.”
Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell was considered as the key player in helping Congress to take charge of the seat of power in St George’s from the New National Party (NNP) of Keith Mitchell which won clean sweeps at the polls in the 2013 and 2018 general elections.