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Jimmy Bristol: “We are living in a society of fear”

Jimmy Bristol, QC – prepared to get involved in frontline politics for the first time

Former Grenada Attorney General, James “Jimmy” Bristol believes the time has come for the dictatorship created in Grenada by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and his ruling New National Party (NNP) to come to an end as the island has descended into a one-party state.

Bristol made the startling statement to THE NEW TODAY as he confirmed this morning that he has joined the Dr. Patrick Antoine-led newly formed non-governmental organisation (NGO) known as The Grenada Movement (TGM) to try and bring about regime change in the country.

According to Bristol, he has decided to join forces with the movement which is expected to mushroom into a political party within the next few weeks out of a desire “to help the country” change its course of direction under PM Mitchell.

He said that there is no feasible opposition right now in Grenada to the NNP dictatorship and that the island needs “to have a new direction”.

“We are basically a one-party state and we can see the effects of that. It’s very disturbing – just look at the violence in the society. It’s just out of control. We are going nowhere, absolutely nowhere. ,” he remarked.

The attorney-at-law who was recently elevated to the position of Queen’s Counsel referred to the total breakdown of law and order in the country under the watch of the current Grenadian leader.

He referred to constant reports of stabbing incidents in schools involving children, and unnecessary police shootings.

“I don’t know when I was growing up that police draw a gun on anybody,” quipped the 65-year old barrister-at-law.

Bristol told THE NEW TODAY that what is now happening on the island under Mitchell’s watch as leader of the country can best be described as very “unheard of in Grenada”.

The former Attorney General also commented on the use of the para-military sections of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) by those now running the island on the peaceful protest march by teachers two weeks ago in their demands for government to pay them the agreed 4% increase in salaries.

“That is frightening. It’s disgraceful. That is not Grenada (when people are having) a peaceful demonstration,” he said.

Bristol also pointed an accusing finger at the Mitchell-dominated NNP regime for its disrespect for law and order, violation of people’s constitutional rights, as well as disrespect for their contractual rights especially the public officers with respect to the denial of their pension and gratuity as provided for in the Grenada Constitution.

The attorney-at-law also cited the government’s disrespect for Judgements handed down by the court against it including the one involving former Cabinet Secretary Gemma Bain-Thomas who is experiencing obstacles in getting payment of nearly EC$1 million due to her.

Bristol also alluded to what he called the “selective application of the law” by the authorities in dealing with the Covid-19 situation in the country.

He chided government for engaging in a policy of “locking down one person and allowing another person to carry on business”.

This is a clear reference to last weekend’s incident in which the Coconut Beach Restaurant was shut down by the authorities for allegedly violating Covid-19 protocols despite widespread reports around the island that other businessmen aligned to the NNP regime are allowed to do the same.

Bristol also made mention of what he called “the mystery of the US$63 million payment” in December to U.S Company WRB Enterprises for its majority shareholding interest in Grenlec by Prime Minister Mitchell and his government.

According to Bristol, this huge amount of money did not come from “the coffers” of the Treasury as “we don’t have $63 million”.

“Where did it come from? Who is owed? Who runs Grenada? The suppliers of these large funds – are they the ones really in control? Is Grenada really Grenadian?

Prime Minister Mitchell has told Parliament that no one should be concerned about where the money came from and should instead congratulate the government for paying off WRB to bring back Grenlec under State control.

Bristol also pointed at the attacks on freedom of speech by the NNP dictatorship.

He said: “People are afraid to say anything and you know why – they are going to threaten them with their jobs, threaten them with their livelihoods. We are living in a society of fear. If anybody says anything they are insulted.”

According to Bristol, people on the island are entitled to have their own opinions and should be respected for holding differing views from those now running the country.

He made mention of the attack launched on those persons in Grenada who have voiced environmentalist concerns over a number of projects on the island.

He said that “people have a right to have an opinion’ and should not be labelled as “pseudo environmentalists as was the recent case in which they were chastised by PM Mitchell in a recent interview with a select group of local journalists.

“So nobody must have an opinion. I open my mouth they jump on me, you open your mouth they jump on you,” he added.

Prime Minister Mitchell has dominated the political landscape in Grenada since he led the NNP to victory at the polls in 1995.