Why are we having the election? We are having the election, not because they are due, and the deadline is fast approaching. We are having an election for political reasons, and the desperation to hang onto power.
Those were the words of Political Leader of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Dickon Mitchell, who has questioned Prime Minister Keith Mitchell’s move to set the election date on June 23.
The NDC leader also said: “We are having the elections now because the incumbent recognised that it does not wish to give the National Democratic Congress any more time to continue the transformation process, to continue building the confidence of Grenadians, and to continue rolling out the programmatic agenda that we have for transforming Grenada, and that’s the political reality.”
Dickon Mitchell shared his view when he appeared as a guest on the party’s Heartbeat programme on Sunday, one (1) day after Prime Minister Keith Mitchell announced the highly anticipated election date at a political rally in St. Andrew.
He said the fact that “the announcement was made in an entertainment setting is testimony to how the incumbent views elections.”
The NDC leader noted: “On October 31, 2021, a number of persons who had no political experience but who out of genuine love, and a desire for country chose deliberately, after accessing the political landscape in the country, to join the NDC. The first test was to transform the NDC…upon that happening, a government that was asleep woke up, and six (6) months later we have an election.
With the ringing of the highly anticipated election bell, Monday became the final day for voter registration.
However, the Congress leader is among those who hold the view that some more time could have been afforded to citizens who are not registered to do so to participate in the election.
According to Dickon Mitchell, affording undecided citizens only one (1) more day to get registered on such short notice “again speaks to the mindset of the incumbent to democracy, and the rule of law.”
“The right to participate in elections is something that should be amplified, and our citizens should be given as many opportunities as possible to be able to take part in it rather than curtailing, and restricting the opportunities to take part it,” he said.
Dickon Mitchell gave support to a “fixed date for elections so that citizens are well aware in advance of what the likely date is going to be, when the cut-off period for registration is likely to be et cetera, rather than playing games and engaging in suspense and often putting citizens at a disadvantage.”
This is unfortunate, he said given the fact that the “Parliamentary Election Offices have not functioned properly at the standard that the citizens of Grenada deserve” and cited issues of offices being closed at times, poor internet connection” among others.
Against that backdrop, Dickon Mitchell believes that “giving only one (1) day for persons who are not registered to be registered is rather unfortunate, and again, speaks to the mindset of the incumbent.”
The aspiring Prime Minister, who is vying to become the next Member of Parliament for the constituency of St. David, also held a Town Hall meeting in La Tante junction, where he cited a need to raise the standard of political rhetoric in the country to the issues that are affecting the people, and how to solve them.
With approximately five (5) weeks for campaigning, Dickon Mitchell, who is pushing a transformative agenda for the country said, his team is open “to engage the incumbent to debate the national issues,” and is “prepared to do it on radio, television, wherever, because we can’t transform Grenada without transforming our politics.”
“…The standard of the rhetoric needs to raise towards that of the issues, and how we are going to solve the challenges that we face, and if good things are happening how we are going to improve and continue doing them if bad things are happing, how we (are) going to stop, pivot and go on the right track.
“So, we are not going to get involved in the gutter politics…we are not going to be personally maligning anybody…we are about the issues, we will stick to the issues, present the issues in a manner that is entertaining, lively, straightforward and simply (so) that each Grenadian can grasp, understand, internalise and ask questions and comment on and once they like those issues we expect them to promote it.
The 44-year old attorney-at-law by profession used the opportunity of inform the Town Hall meeting that the 15 NDC candidates who are offering themselves to serve at this challenging time in the country’s history, have never held public or government office, and as such are “not responsible for the state that Grenada is in.”
“We know who has held office for the last nine years, and two months, and we know who has held office uninterrupted from 1995 to 2008 – that is 23 – 24 of the last 27 – 28 years. So, if our roads are crumbling, our health system (and) agriculture is in a terrible state, we know who are the persons who have governed Petite Martinique and Grenada,” charged Dickon Mitchell, who slammed the ruling Keith Mitchell regime on its regurgitation of ideas, and promises as done throughout previous election cycles.
Paying pensions to public servants in keeping with the recent High Court ruling, and salaries bi-monthly, zero rate VAT on the cost of key food, and hygiene items used daily, which have skyrocketed since COVID-19, expand the delivery of healthcare to 24-hour service at outer healthcare centers and stations, are among the solutions that Dickon and the NDC are proposing to transforming the country.
He told the gathering: “So, Grenadians on June 23 you have a stark choice between ideas, and mammagism, between a team, and one-manism, transformation and – I don’t have a successor, I don’t see nobody who could succeed me. And, therefore, if he (PM Mitchell) don’t have confidence in the 14 of them, none of you should have confidence in the 14 of them.”