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NDC still struggling to take full charge of state power

File photo of the team of Congress Cabinet ministers at the swearing-in ceremony at the Grenada National Stadium shortly after the June 23, 2022 general election

A top civil servant in Grenada has expressed fears that the nine-month old Dickon Mitchell-led Congress administration is following on a similar path to destruction like the 2008-13 regime of Tillman Thomas which did very little or nothing to prevent acts of sabotage in the public service from operatives of the rival New National Party (NNP) of former Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.

Speaking to THE NEW TODAY on the weekend, the high-ranking public officer warned Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell that the NNP apparatus is very present and at work and if not checked and dealt with appropriately the new government would be in serious trouble.

She claimed that several of the persons given controversial contracts by the last regime in the build up to the June 23, 2022 general election and change of government in Grenada have found a way to beat the system and get their payment in quick time.

She said the NDC government is seemingly adopting the position that it can “watch a crook in the service.”

“You can’t watch a PS (Permanent Secretary) who is not supportive of you. A PS could receive a letter from the World Bank and quietly put it in a desk and not look at it for two to three weeks – that translate to a 6-month delay by the time that comes to the attention of the Minister or somebody else who will call upon him or her to act on the matter,” she said.

According to the government insider, the evidence is clear already that some of the PS who were kept on by the incoming Congress administration are currently “working at their own pace and only doing what they want to do.”

She said that the responsible Line Ministry has not been paying the supplier who provides computers and IT equipment to the government for about six months since last year.

She stated that the situation is so bad that even a Deputy PS in the ministry is operating without a laptop to do government work because “the supplier is not supplying because there (are) outstanding bills.”

Under the Tillman Thomas-led Congress administration, it was eventually discovered that the Office of the Accountant General was giving priority to the payment of outstanding claims linked to operatives of the NNP.

The high-level public officer claimed that another PS in the service who is suspected of co-operating with the last regime.

“There are a whole host of claims that NNP contractors raked up between the period leading up to June 23rd last year that they systematically paid off. Some of these projects were projects that people were just handpicked to do – small roads and back walls with no procurement procedure, no serious costing,” she said.

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The senior public officer told THE NEW TODAY that she doubted that Congress has any system in place to deal with the situation as the line ministry has been “asking the person to give a cost (to the contract) so if the person come and say the 50 yards of retaining walls is $90, 000.00 even if it is $40, 000.00 they are accepting $90, 000.00.”

She alleged that there is significant corruption with these election projects under the former NNP regime as “a middle man” in the Physical Development ministry “is getting a cut and the minister or someone in the constituency office getting their cut.”

“So yes, the $40, 000.00 going into the Contractor’s hand and $50, 000.00 is being shared up. All these things are facilitated by public officers in the ministries,” she said.

According to the public officer at least one NNP-linked contractor on the sister isle of Carriacou was able to get all his monies from several projects given to him under the former regime.

She spoke of the contractor making the boast in some quarters that “he knows who to go to” within the new government to collect his funds.

The top civil servant claimed that the ministers in the Dickon Mitchell-led government “are not in control” of the state apparatus and the operatives of NNP in the public service are still “running things.”

She said that Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell and the Cabinet of Ministers are making “a serious mistake” by keeping “all these NNP’ites in key positions so they are creating mischief” and have left the civil service with that “deep state NNP apparatus to operate at will.”

She also accused some Permanent Secretaries of sabotaging the government work programme on the grounds that they are waiting on some of the new ministers to give them guidance and directions.

“PSs now saying, me ain’t bothering with them ministers, ah waiting on instructions and they ain’t telling me nothing – they’re hiding behind that. The whole system is in a malaise,” she quipped.

The public officer also called on Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell and his Cabinet ministers to keep a close eye on some of the so-called Congress members who are trying to use the system like the NNP operatives to become filthy rich through questionable dealing and practices.

She pointed an accusing finger at some of those who want to replicate what “the gang of cronies” under the NNP administration were doing “in terms of the corruption and the largesse and they are quietly doing so and these things are going to blow up in the government’s face.”

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