Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell is hoping to usher in a new era of democracy, after his New National Party (NNP) won all fifteen (15) seats in the February 19 General Elections in Grenada.
The Prime Minister made his intentions clear as he spoke at the opening of the First session of the Ninth Parliament of Grenada last week Wednesday at the Grenada Trade Center at Morne Rouge in the Grand Anse area.
Despite holding a commanding majority in Parliament, Dr. Mitchell is looking forward to thought provoking and meaningful debates.
“The fact that there is no official Opposition must not lower the debate in this Honourable House, nor lessen the scrutiny of the critical eye of all the members of the House of Representatives”, he said.
“We believe that we can usher in a new era of partnership and accountability with all sectors of our society, as we look to the Upper House as well”, he added.
Prime Minister Mitchell indicated, that the local system has been designed in such a way that it will provide the necessary oversight, bringing additional scrutiny and allowing the tough questions to be asked.
“Our Nation will indeed benefit when it operates at its full potential. The members of the Senate must therefore act as trustees of the wide society. They must also act responsible, understanding that their task is not to frustrate the desires of the people, but to facilitate the desires that the people clearly of course articulated recently”, he said.
The Grenadian Leader suggested that at the end of the day, the country’s democracy must be fully accountable to its people.
“When we come here we must not only be the truth of the tenet of these Houses; but for the spirit for which it was set-up by those who came before us”, Dr Mitchell said, noting that Government has already given the assurance to broaden the democratic process by holding village and constituency level meetings involving MP’s .
Dr. Mitchell pointed out that such a construct will force the government to engage the people in a more direct way, indicating that it will be those discussions that will ultimately influence what is done.
“Let me go on record as saying that we are encouraged with the initial discussions we had with organisations representing Labour, Business and the broader sectors of our society (and) that an emerging spirit of cooperation has been reflected in how we conduct the business of these wonderful Houses. The people have spoken and may their will be done”, he said amidst applause.
Dr. Mitchell also congratulated the new President of the Senate Dr. Lawrence Joseph and new Speaker of the House of Representatives, former Educator and Permanent Secretary, Michael Pierre .
The Prime Minister also welcomed the eight new members of Parliament, who are making their debuts and the five new Senators, who are also first timers and wished them success in their new endeavours.
He said that the next major task of government will be the presentation of the National Budget, which he said will be done before the stipulated deadline of April 30.
“I am confident that we will be able to produce a growth-oriented Budget, sensitive to the needs of all the sectors of our society”, Prime Minister Mitchell affirmed.