By Careema Lewis
It’s a possible case of not feeling needed, as Alexandra Otway-Noel becomes the first minister to resign her portfolio with the Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) that took up office in 2013.
The Member of Parliament for the South St. George Constituency sent tongues wagging last Friday when she posted on her Social Media page that she had tendered her resignation as Minister of Implementation in the Office of the Prime Minister to pursue a number of opportunities in the private sector.
Sources told THE NEW TODAY that Otway-Noel who comes from a wealthy family in the south of the island will be taking up a lucrative job with the new owners of the Flamboyant hotel in the south of the island.
“She (Alexandra) has gotten an offer that she couldn’t refuse”, said a source close to the family.
THE NEW TODAY understands that the female government minister left her resignation letter on the desk of Prime Minister Mitchell at his office in the Ministerial Complex on Friday as he was out of the country.
Otway-Noel had landed the prestigious position of Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation in 2013 when the NNP won all 15 seats in general elections but her profile dropped when the portfolio was removed from her in the first Cabinet reshuffle in June 2016.
She was demoted and given specific responsibility for Waste Management and the passport-selling scheme known as Citizenship By Investment (CBI).
Her resignation came against the backdrop of whispers about strained relations within the NNP with Prime Minister Mitchell and he was not inclined to allow her to contest the next general election due within the next 15 months.
Her release on her resignation reads as follows: “Minister Alexandra Otway-Noel has resigned from her Government position to pursue a number of exciting opportunities in the private sector. She has agreed to ensure a smooth transition to her as yet unnamed successor.
“Ms. Otway-Noel said, “It has been a privilege and an honour to serve the Prime Minister, the Government and the nation of Grenada.”
“Ms Otway-Noel, in her role as Minister of Tourism oversaw a number of high profile initiatives including the re-positioning and re-branding of the Tourism Sector which led to the birth of the ‘Pure Grenada, Spice of the Caribbean’ market proposition.
“Under the enthusiastic support and mentorship, this led to the re-branding of the Dive Sector, the Grenada Investment Development Corporation and of course the hugely popular Pure Grenada Music Festival.
“Minister Otway was successful in negotiating new airlines to Grenada and helped to boost the cruise sector.
“As Minister for Implementation she embraced the Private Sector working to ensure the smooth transition of projects.
“In her latest role as Minister responsible for promotion of the Citizenship by Investment Programme she helped position Grenada as one of the most respected programmes in the CBI world resulting in a major boost in revenue for the nation.
“Ms. Otway-Noel would like to take this opportunity to personally thank the Prime Minister for his “kindness, support and guidance” during her time in office.”
The resignation of Otway-Noel as a minister in the Mitchell-led government fueled rumours in the country that she would soon be taking up the position of Leader of the Opposition in the NNP-dominated Lower House.
The MP soon issued another release on her Facebook page to clear up allegations that she was moving to become a member of another political party.
This release said in part: “…First, contrary to a rumour in circulation, following the accepted protocol, letters of resignation were formally issued to the Prime Minister’s office and the Cabinet Secretary before the general press release was issued.
“Ms. Otway-Noel remains a member of the NNP and plans to maintain a positive and respectful relationship with the Prime Minister and Government, continuing to assist wherever possible with the onward and upward trajectory of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
“She will also of course continue to serve her constituents faithfully and with her usual vigour…”.
The initial reaction of Prime Minister Mitchell was that the resignation had taken him by shock.
Four days later, the Office of the Prime Minister issued its first official release on the Otway-Noel resignation from the NNP administration.
The statement read in full: “The Prime Minister, Hon the Rt. Dr. Keith Mitchell has thanked former Minister Hon. Alexandra Otway-Noel for her services to the government following a joint meeting to discuss her expressed wish to continue her representation as an MP of St George’s South.
Hon. Otway-Noel, over the past few weeks, had been discussing with the Prime Minister the possibility of her resigning from the Cabinet so as to engage in some personal pursuits.
The former Minister had made the decision so that there could be no conflict – real or imagined – arising from these personal pursuits.
Prime Minister Mitchell accepted her ministerial resignation, and thanked her for openness and contribution; wishing her well in the process.
He noted that her resignation as a minister will not be a loss to the national politics, as she is committed to continuing fighting for the empowerment of the people as Member of Parliament for South St George and as a proud and serving member of the New National Party”.