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PM Dickon Mitchell attracts six leaders to golden jubilee

Attorney-at-law Dickon Mitchell will be remembered as the Prime Minister in office on Grenada’s 50th anniversary of independence

Five Caribbean Prime Ministers and one Head of State from Africa are due in Grenada to take part in celebrations on Wednesday to mark the island’s Golden Jubilee Independence.

High-level sources told THE NEW TODAY that President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana will visit the island at the invitation of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell to attend the main celebration event to be held at the national sporting stadium at Queen’s Park.

It will be the first visit to Grenada by a Ghanaian leader since the island attained its independence on February 7, 1974 from Great Britain.

Only two other leaders from Africa have touched down on Grenadian soil over the years – the late President Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia and Samora Machel who led Mozambique until he was killed in a plane crash in October 1986.

Both Kaunda and Machel came to Grenada at the invitation of the leaders of the 1979-83 Grenada Revolution of late Marxist leader Maurice Bishop.

The Caribbean Prime Ministers who are due to attend Grenada’s 50th anniversary of Independence are Phillip Davis of The Bahamas, Pierre Charles of St Lucia, Terrance Drew of St. Kitts and Nevis, Roosvelt Skeritt of Dominica, and Dr. Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent & The Grenadines.

St George’s is said to be awaiting confirmation from three other regional leaders on their acceptance of the invitation to the Grenada Golden Jubilee.

The main highlight of Wednesday’s event at the sporting stadium at Queen’s Park will be a national rally to be addressed by Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell to set the tone for the next 25 years for the island.

THE NEW TODAY was unable to get any information from Ms Neila Ettienne, the Press Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister on its requests to find out how many foreign governments, as well as overseas diplomats and representatives of international and regional organisations who will be in Grenada for the historic event.

“I will get them for you from FA (Foreign Affairs) tomorrow. Request sent. Awaiting a response. Still waiting on the list. It will be published soon,” were the responses given by Ettienne.

Grenadians are already showing great enthusiasm and excitement as time approaches for the Golden Jubilee.

Head of the Secretariat for the National Organising Committee (NOC) Gail Purcell told the media at a press conference Thursday that although it is the peak period within the tourism season, she is pleased with the number of Grenadians travelling from overseas to the island to participate in its 50th independence anniversary celebration.

“…Flights are completely booked coming into Grenada, so I think that is a significant milestone in February and we know it’s the peak of our tourism season, but we have certainly seen a spike in our tourism activity leading to Grenada because of the independence activities,” she said.

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“The airport is abuzz. Every flight is coming in very full and it’s very difficult for people to get flights if they didn’t book (early). So if you’re here, count yourself lucky. If you have a ticket and you’re on route just feel doubly lucky.”

She went on to say: “We look forward to welcoming all of our returning (nationals) to Grenada to celebrate here in Grenada in person, and be part of the celebrations.”

Purcell also touched on the efforts of villagers throughout the tri-island state to engage in cleanup campaigns.

“I would say the celebratory mood across the island has certainly increased. – it has pumped up. It’s heartening to see the clean-up activities that are happening from parish to parish, from community to community within our most rural villages, to our urban centres.”

“We’re certainly seeing a flurry of activities and people are out as community groups. The volunteerism spirit has definitely increased and it’s really heartwarming to see all the activity.”

Purcell urged Grenadians from all walks of life to partake in the events and to support local stakeholders, entrepreneurs and the creative industry in their efforts on the 50th anniversary.

“I had the occasion of driving throughout the island as part of our flag relay on Sunday, and I can say that literally every village we passed through there was some level of activity, of cleanup, of planting of trees, of painting of roadsides and things like that.”

“It’s really impressive and it really shows that people are in the spirit of independence and the spirit is throughout the entire country. And I think it speaks well for where we’re going for the remainder of our activities. It’s going to be really exciting.”

Purcell called on Grenadians to turn out on Friday night (today) on the Carenage to take part in the first ever “All Things Grenada” 50th Independence Expo to explore all products unique to Grenada.

She said that close to 80 to 100 vendors will be there with their craft and art and agricultural products among other things.

She sees the event as an opportunity for Grenadians “to go and shop and support our local artisans and our local creative community and those who are doing great things and making products that are indigenous to Grenada and being made here by our own people.”

Grenadian excellence also will be on display on Friday as the “Up from Here” concert will be held at the National Cricket Stadium.

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