Recent statements made by current Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell at a ceremony to unveil a monument for the Father of Independence, Sir Eric Matthew Gairy are quite troubling and worrying.
Dr. Mitchell told the gathering that “a lack of formal education to some extent may have been one of the problems Sir Eric had” and that “may have affected some of his decisions”.
THE NEW TODAY regards this as an attack on the intelligence of Sir Eric who history would record as a far superior leader of this country than Dr. Mitchell with his so-called formal education that landed him doctorates in Mathematics and Statistics.
Is Dr. Mitchell trying to tell the nation that only persons with “formal education” should be considered for the top post of Prime Minister of Grenada?
This newspaper is asking Grenadians to compare Gairy’s stewardship before he was toppled by Maurice Bishop and his leftist New Jewel Movement (NJM) in 1979 and Mitchell’s near 20-year reign as Prime Minister.
It was not Gairy with his so-called lack of formal education who slaughtered innocent Grenadians on Fort George on October 19, 1983 – the worst mass killings in the English-speaking Caribbean in modern times.
This was the action of the so-called bright boys from town with their formal education – especially the leader of the Gang who was a one-time Lecturer at the University of the West Indies.
It was not Sir Eric, the man from the East of the country with his so-called lack of formal education that allowed a con-man by the name of Van Brink to fool him with a gem to be used as collateral to set up a fake bank known as First International Bank of Grenada.
This happened under the watch of the current Prime Minister with his two Doctorates and not the man Eric Gairy who was lacking in so-called “formal education”.
It is still not known how many millions of dollars that Van Brink stole from those elderly citizens in North America in a Ponzi scheme that was allowed to flourish under the 1999-2003 watch of the New National Party (NNP) government of Dr. Mitchell.
The Father of Independence left the island’s economy in good standing and the Treasury virtually debt free when he was deposed by the NJM. Sir Eric was not the architect of two structural adjustment programmes that saw taxes become a nightmare and millstone around the necks of Grenadians.
The uncontrollable spending by Dr. Mitchell, the man with the formal university degrees as Minister of Works under the 1984-90 regime of late Prime Minister Herbert Blaize, is largely responsible for the country being declared uncreditworthy in 1989 and unable to pay its debts to creditors.
This was the reason why the Congress government of the late Sir Nicholas Brathwaite was forced to implement the first home-grown Structural Adjustment Programme.
During his tenure as Prime Minister, not one single accusation was levelled at Sir Eric, the man who according to Dr. Mitchell lacked formal education in terms of enriching family members as leader of government.
A few of us in Grenada might not remember the Call Centre fiasco involving a private company run by Dennis Campbell, the close family member of PM Mitchell and the millions that went down the drain.
The tape-recording is still available from Parliament in which Dr. Mitchell gave assurances that the millions will be paid back by the Call Centre. Did this ever happen?
This newspaper is calling on Prime Minister Mitchell to point to one significant promise made by Sir Eric to the people of Grenada that was not fulfilled.
History will show that Sir Eric, the man described as lacking in formal education was a visionary leader who against heavy criticisms from the elites in town brought St. George’s University (SGU) on Grenadian soil.
Today, the sons and daughters of the “elite” class in this country are the ones who built and are still building massive apartments in the south of the island to cash in on the thousands of students at the university.
How come nearly 50 years after Gairy brought in SGU that none of the so-called bright leaders with their formal university education could have built on the platform created by Sir Eric but lacked the vision to enter into a partnership with the university to erect a modern hospital for the people of this country?
The many positive achievements of the visionary Eric Gairy – the man lacking in formal education is well documented – Expo 69, Sporting facilities, Land for the Landless, rapid expansion of education through the building of several pre-primary, primary and secondary schools on the island.
Gairy had the vision to identify Point Salines as the spot for a badly needed international airport and Maurice Bishop despite his faults had the foresight to bring it into fruition with massive Cuban assistance.
THE NEW TODAY holds the view that a modern day Sir Eric is badly needed to take Grenada out of the current economic and financial mess that PM Mitchell has brought us into through reckless borrowing and spending on several unproductive projects over the years.
This is the genesis of the debt trap the country has found itself in and will be in for many decades if a saving grace does not come along sooner rather than later.