Grenada Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has taken another swipe of former Ambassador Warren Newfield with whom he had a public spat a few months ago resulting in the resignation of the South African-born diplomat.
In a stinging attack in Parliament on Wednesday, the Grenadian leader again repeated charges that the ex-envoy was a racist based on conversations held between the two.
“You come here and you said to me you didn’t think Black people were human beings when you were growing up in South Africa,” PM Mitchell quoted Newfield as saying to him.
“Oh yeah, I could forget that statement? I thought it was a past thing but now I see your behaviour now I know that feeling is still there,” the Prime Minister said.
Newfield, a prominent investor, and hotel developer, had served since 2015 as ambassador-at-large for Grenada and one of the island’s three consuls general in the United States before quitting the post in May, citing the Mitchell government’s increasingly volatile and costly obstruction of foreign investment and business in the country.
In a letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Oliver Joseph, Newfield said that “the country’s leadership, previously having the nation’s best interests at heart and welcoming foreign investment and economic development, has been transformed into an anti-business regime.”
In his resignation, the ex-ambassador said: “I hope you and others will take this action as it is intended – as an appeal to restore reason and the rule of law to the government and bring us back to a place where progress is possible in Grenada.”
A native of South Africa, Newfield obtained Grenadian citizenship himself and was the primary driver behind Kimpton Kawana Bay, a five-star resort whose construction was being facilitated by funds raised through the passport selling scheme known as Citizenship by Investment programme (CBI).
Newfield also said in his resignation letter: “My own business interests are hardly the only ones to be damaged by the regime’s disregard for investor rights. Kawana Bay and other projects like it in Grenada have repeatedly been the targets of impulsive, often contradictory government meddling that shows a complete disregard for the nation’s laws as well as international treaty agreements.”
Dr. Mitchell repeated earlier allegations that Ambassador Warren was trying to bring about his removal as leader of the government in St. George.
The Prime Minister referred to a letter which the ex-Grenadian diplomat wrote to a minister in the ruling New National Party (NNP) administration complaining about the behavior of the head of the government and suggesting that they should change the Prime Minister.
He accused Newfield of not wanting to accept “our sovereignty”.
“Having lived abroad, am not taking no nonsense from anybody who come here because I took a lot when I was abroad,” he said.
“I know what racism is, I know when people look down on your colour and who you are. I understand that and I have no chip on my shoulder. But no one should feel that they are better off than another person. We are all people and we must be respected”.
“So we are not people – so you come from where you come from and you want to change government and some people here are prepared to accept that type of thing.”
“Imagine a man come here at the acceptance of the people of the country, appears to be nice, he doesn’t get what he wants, all of a sudden we are the worst country in the world.”
“And he’s going all over campaigning about Grenada – nothing should go there in Grenada. He wants to see the end of the CBI programme, questioning the programme and cursing the leadership of the programme.”
“Those in the country who want to support this thing – who want to accept his gifts, who goes to Miami to buy all kinds of things for Christmas on behalf of those persons here, let them go, let them conscience speak for themselves. I will not have part of this. If they want to reduce themselves as a puppet because of a few dollars.”
Insiders within Mitchell’s NNP have said that the ruling party is trying to link Ambassador Warren with the newly elected Political Leader of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Dickon Mitchell.
The Prime Minister charged that the money that ex-Ambassador Warren is now splashing was earned in Grenada under the passport-selling scheme known as Citizenship by Investment (CBI).
“He (Newfield) has money now so he’s waiting for his new leader. No one can say they bought Keith Mitchell. I have friends but no one can say that I am bought,” he said, and quickly added that the envoy is trying to bring about regime change in Grenada from abroad.
Speculation is rife that Prime Minister Mitchell is planning to call Grenada’s next general election within the next seven months.