A former high-ranking member of The Grenada Movement (TGM), that was launched in August 2021 by Trade specialist Dr. Patrick Antoine as a political party, has now branded him as “a fraud and a conman” in the manner in which he deserted them within a matter of months.
The former member was speaking to THE NEW TODAY in the wake of an announcement from Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell on Tuesday night that Dr. Antoine will be a member of a five-man Advisory Committee to make recommendations to his ruling New National Party (NNP) administration on the Pension issue.
Former Ambassador Antoine had broken ties with Dr. Mitchell and his NNP, and formed the TGM to make it the third major political force on the island.
However, within months of its launch as a political party, Dr. Antoine indicated that due to ill health he was forced to take a political sabbath from the party.
There are reports that Dr. Antoine had three surgeries in the past three months for an unspecified medical condition.
The ex-TGM member blasted his former inspirational leader for the manner in which he left them hanging in the air politically and suggested figuratively that he should be shot on sight for the betrayal.
“I haven’t been speaking to him since, and when people ask me about him, I have been very outspoken – I refer to him as a fraud and a con man. He is a nasty guy”.
“This man is so wicked when you think what he did to us – he should be shot on sight and you shouldn’t take him from a distance – you should walk up to him, let him see you taking him. That man is something else”.
Prime Minister Mitchell told Grenadians on Tuesday night that Dr. Antoine will be serving on a 5-member broad-based advisory committee, headed by former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Linus Spencer Thomas, to provide “technical advice and other general guidance” on the way forward with the Pension issue.
According to the Grenadian leader, the committee members are expected to “use their expertise and experiences in studying the entire issue with an objective to make specific recommendations to the government”.
“The advisory committee … will get to work immediately to look at all aspects of the implications of this pension issue, and to make specific recommendations for the government to consider. The government expects that it will have actionable recommendations within three months,” he said.
Apart from Dr. Thomas and Dr. Antoine, the other members of the committee are former Chief Justice of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Kittian-born Sir Dennis Byron, and Grenadian-born economist, Dr. Kari Grenade, identified as a long-term Macroeconomic Advisor to the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) and past employee of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
The fifth person to sit on the body will come from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB).
Three weeks ago, high court judge Justice Raulston Glasgow handed down a ruling which indicated that public officers on the island were entitled to receive a state pension as the Pension Disqualification Act that was passed by the 1979-83 left-leading People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) of Maurice Bishop was null and void and in conflict with the Grenada Constitution which made provisions for their pension rights.
In taking a shot at Dr. Antoine, the former TGM member said that when he was in control of the small political party, he was clearly engaged in nothing but tomfoolery since by his own action now to serve on the Pension committee, it meant that “he has now gone back” to the NNP of Dr. Mitchell.
He said that even the identifiable party’s supporters in the Tivoli area of St. Andrew North-east are apparently leaning in the direction of NNP with the demise of their party, and did not rule out the possibility of Dr. Antoine advising some of them to throw their support behind the ruling party.
“Some of them are seen in the NNP thing on social media collecting little gifts and stuff from the Minister (Kate Lewis) there – so some of them are supporting,” he remarked.
The former TGM member told THE NEW TODAY that he would not be surprised if Dr. Antoine returns to the NNP camp and appears on the political platform with the ruling party for the upcoming general election.
“I was saying that he will never do that but he has no shame which means that it is a possibility the man will actually go on the platform again,” he said.
“If he could go on that committee and his name was called on that committee which means it is a strong possibility that he might go on the platform,” he added.
Another disappointed ex-TGM member also expressed alarm at the decision of Dr. Antoine to forsake his medical condition to serve the Mitchel-appointed committee.
“When KCM (Keith Claudius Mitchell) calls, all sickness has to disappear,” said the individual who has resigned from TGM.
Some top flight TGM members had accused Dr. Antoine of “pulling the plug” on a number of statements prepared by the party to attack several policies of Mitchell’s NNP administration.
On Wednesday night Dr. Antoine issued a public statement indicating that he agreed to serve on the Pension Committee out of love for the country.
The statement read in part: “…I, Patrick Antoine, have seen it fit to take part in finding an urgent solution to this crisis of so many of our people, regardless of who is presently in Governmental Office.
I consider it my patriotic duty to my fellow Grenadians to accept the invitation from the Government of Grenada to participate in the Pensions Solution Strategy Committee.
I have always been and remain completely disposed toward any genuine call to duty in the interest of my Country. This is particularly so as it relates to matters of high national priority.
My record of patriotic service without regard to political party politics or consideration of which administration sits in the corridors, speaks for itself. The invitation of the current Government of Grenada for me to aid in the resolution of the longstanding Civil Servants Pension and Gratuity issue is a matter that I consider to be of the highest priority and one which stands well above any political party considerations.
Even in the context of a more restricted work schedule, I have taken the decision to participate in the work of this Committee since the benefit to the Country will be wide ranging and the risk posed if this matter is not successfully resolved, may be significant.
The Pension Solution Strategy Committee allows me yet another opportunity to give back to our Country. Quite frankly, I would be doing a disservice to my many mentors both within and outside of Grenada, if I did not heed the call.
That call has been proudly accepted with no expectation of reward or compensation but in a spirit that is completely consistent with my spiritual and family values. I intend to execute my responsibilities on the Committee to the best of my ability.
Finally, my decision is personal and, it holds no implication for TGM which, which has pledged early in its existence, to rise above petty party politics. I, however, paid my colleagues the respect of informing them of my position and of my personal professional decision to serve on the Pension Solution Strategy Committee at this time.”