The nation has been placed on an election watch by Prime Minister and Political Leader of the ruling New National Party (NNP), Dr. Keith Mitchell.
Dr. Mitchell who was addressing his party’s annual convention-rally at the St. Andrew’s Anglican Secondary School (SAASS) last week Sunday said the campaign will not just be on the party’s legacy, but will be on its “sterling record” of performance in the last four years.
He said the electorate will not be called upon to vote for the NNP over what would have happened 15 or 20 years ago.
“Judge us… on what we have done and achieved in the last four years,” he told party supporters.
Mitchell’s stint between 1995 and 2008 was dogged by frequent allegations of corruption.
Barbadian jurist Dr. Richard Cheltenham was appointed by former Governor General, Sir Daniel Williams to investigate allegations that Mitchell had collected a bribe of US$500, 000.00 in St. Moritz, Switzerland in 2000 from imprisoned fraudster Eric Resteiner in exchange for a diplomatic position in his administration.
The United States is said to have obtained the copy of a tape in which Resteiner was captured handing over money to Mitchell.
The island’s longest serving Prime Minister had brought in a host of investors including infamous American investors, Van Brink, Rita Regala and David Springer who were the principal figures in the collapsed First International Bank of Grenada (FIBG).
Under his current watch, U.S-born investor Roger Ver has alleged that he was conned of US$1 million in the government-promoted passport-selling scheme known as Citizenship By Investment (CBI)by one of the approved agents, Robert Martin Oveson of Nevis-based NTL Trust.
Prime Minister Mitchell told the party faithful he believes Grenadians are ready to move to even higher heights under his leadership, adding that the NNP can be relied on to take the people there.
Dr. Mitchell recognised that there is a lot of work to be done although “significant progress” has been made in the last four years.
“So as we get ready to take Grenada to the next level, we promise you that we will not be wary… we shall not rest because… there are more people to be employed, there are more families to be lifted out of
poverty, so we cannot rest,” he said.
“For those of you that recognise that national unity is the way to go, those of you that recognise that our country has seen enough pain, those of you that recognise that this is the best time Grenada has for striking gold in every respect, I ask you… to work together so we can keep on moving,” he added.
The Prime Minister stressed that the sacrifices that have been made cannot be squandered nor cannot be wasted.
He was obviously referring to the Structural Adjustment Programme that he was forced to implement in 2014 with supervision by the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) to tackle a severe fiscal situation including a massive national debt.
The NNP was forced to widen the income tax net, double property tax, and raise fees for government services in order to raise revenue.
Prime Minister Mitchell declared that his party will run a positive campaign, and will not be spending time blasting personalities and people as they have a positive story to tell.
He said NNP has transformed the politics of the country for which they are proud.
He stated that his government’s vision for the future is to promote an economic policy that will employ and empower everyone.
Dr. Mitchell made some passing comments on two issues, which he said should not have any political influence.
He said the Electricity Supply Act that has been vehemently opposed by the NNP was not about the ruling political party or about the main opposition National Democratic Congress.
“It was not about Grenlec, it was about the dignity and the future of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique,” he said.
This was clearly intended for WRB Enterprise, the major shareholder in Grenlec which has made a bold move in recent days to trigger a mechanism that calls for the government in St. George’s to buy back the shares that were sold to it by the previous Congress government in 1990-95.
Speculation is rife that the cash-strapped Mitchell government will be hard-pressed to come up with the over EC$160 million that WRB Enterprise is asking for the buy-out.
WRB and the Mitchell-led NNP government have often been at loggerheads over the past 20 years.