All Grenadians were privy to the smallmindedness – not to mention the mindlessness – of some of our elected parliamentarians during the parliamentary debate on the tabling of the Insurance Amendment Act on Friday last when two government back benchers in the persons of Karl Hood and Michael Church joined the opposition to vote against the Bill.
The Bill seeks to strengthen GARFIN’s regulatory objectives when it comes to putting in place the necessary safeguards for the insured to guard against similar catastrophic losses as experienced in the aftermath of the crash of CLICO and British American Insurance Co. Ltd.
It is also an attempt at the same time to provide GARFIN with an opportunity to fund itself and become the self sustained and empowered entity it is required to be, thus remaining unwaveringly focused on its regulatory objectives.
But that was not to be as the narrow personal agendas of myopic self-possessed individuals to include the four elected opposition MP’s led by Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Mitchell, supported by recently resigned Foreign Affairs Minister, Karl Hood and the first to be disciplined within the Tillman Thomas administration with a demotion for working outside the mandate of his Cabinet – Michael Church, effortlessly joined the opposition to strike down the amendment.
Many persons who have been voicing their opinions on the issue and consider this action by the opposition forces as unconscionable and unthinking as the spirit of the law seeks to protect ALL insured citizens without any hint of discrimination.
One Insurance executive on the island went on public record as basically saying (words to the effect) that he could not understand the move by both the opposition and these two government backbenchers to vote against something as constructive as this bill.
The Opposition Leader subsequently said that he could not support the Bill because it did not consider interest on the mandated sum to be deposited by Insurance Companies with GARFIN.
The New Today is concerned that Dr. Mitchell would think that in Government’s consultation with Insurance Companies that their executives would have missed that point and that even Mr. Ronald Hughes of the prominent TransNemwil Insurance Co. Ltd. would have failed to consider that as an issue in his recorded disappointed response to their irresponsible action.
It is the considered view of many that the official opposition is in collusion with the renegade bunch of opposition parliamentarians to force the hand of the government and eventually bring them to their knees if even it means taking the nation with them.
Both the elected representatives for South East St. George and St. John – the two who were mostly underachievers within the Tillman Thomas Cabinet and on the Government side of the House of Representatives have their axes to grind with the party and government and so are prepared to go out on a limb to get even.
The issue of being elected to office to serve the interest of their constituents is not important to them at all, as they are out to get back at Prime Minister Thomas for smashing their egos and reducing them to just elected MP’s with no Cabinet portfolios and clout to massage their false pride.
All the evidence points toward the consistency of collusion between Mitchell and the Peter David faction of the NDC which ceased to exist with any relevance on July 8th, 2012 with their failure to muster a decent showing at their La Tante cook up while the Prime Minister’s legitimate NDC was able to muster thousands at their anniversary rally in Gouyave.
Where was the elected Member of Parliament for the constituency of the Town of St. George during that sitting of the House of Parliament? Where was his close female aide – the representative for South St. George? They were both noticeably absent!
Is being in Trinidad or the Washington DC area on personal (non-health-related) matters relevant to the people’s business in the House to which they were elected to serve their representatives? Attending Parliamentary sittings ought to be mandatory for all elected MP’s except by reason of certified illness or unavoidable overseas travel to attend pressing matters of state.
The second area of proof of consistency that the backbenchers and the opposition are in collusion rests with the fact that during last Sunday’s NDC slot on WeeFM, the current Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the NDC and recently dismissed Senator – Arlie Gill – was heard to have said (words to the effect) that failure of the Leader of Government Business to consult with Back Benchers led to the defeat of the Bill. In other words, no consultation, no co-operation!
It is no wonder the Leader of Government Business, Finance Minister, Nazim Burke was able to classify their action as ignorance married to mischief, since there is no other way it could be put. Imagine, papers for the passage of bills in the parliament which are bound to be circulated within a reasonable time to each MP bearing importance to matters of state are ignored and the issue therefore changes to that of wanting consultation and demanding respect from a colleague MP who they are known to despise in order to give their approval.
The element of the bill being a safeguard for people – among whom are their very constituents – does not arise. What is important to them is that the Leader of Government Business is forewarned not to come back to the House without consulting them.
This attitude shows the rebel-influenced NDC Executive do not put the people at the center of their priorities. It would appear that the feeling is mutual as every time Prime Minister Thomas summons a party or government rally, the people show him where their support is while the “brand–focused” Peter David led executive is focused more on symbol and colour forgetting that a party is not a party without people. MBPM, PLM and GULP have found that out the hard way.
The time is most appropriate for PM Thomas to present his new team of trusted lieutenants to the people of Grenada as part of a new dispensation and to leave out the detractors and power seekers who will always seek to distract from the achievement of the government in trying economic and financial times.
Grenadians must realise that the time for consciousness is NOW as elections can be any time now.
The groundwork has already been laid for the delivery of projects to the tune of EC$600 million and it is only fair for a reconfigured NDC administration without the likes of Peter David and his un-cooperative sympathisers at both the level of the party and Cabinet to remain in office to start the projects that are in the making.
Grenadians would have to be careless to make such funds available to a Keith Mitchell administration when history renders the NNP as incapable of administering any such national funds without serious questions being raised about propriety or impropriety.
The Prime Minister has not been given a fair chance to govern this island since the July 2008 general election as a group of power seekers created confusion by attempting to run a government within a government.
The behaviour of the rebels reminds one of the efforts of Van Brink and the offshore men in the First International Bank of Grenada (FIBG) to try and hoodwink the NNP of Mitchell into allowing them to use Grenada as their own State within a State and for our leaders to turn a blind eye to their business of pilfering Canadian and U.S citizens of their retirement funds.
The Prime Minister needs to be on top of the game being played out both within his Congress and the NNP and to take the necessary action at the appropriate time and let the chips fall where they may.
It is time to put out the light of some of the players on the national stage in Grenada’s best interest.