Worrying trends!!!

As the country moves deeper into election mode, the true colours of some people are beginning to be seen.

However, this should not come as a surprise in light of the 13 years spent in office by the former New National Party (NNP) under Dr. Keith Mitchell in which it was able to entrench itself through a well-executed system that affected just about every person in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

The NNP was very systematic in placing its operatives in each and every key position in Grenada whether in the judiciary, civil service, statutory boards, service groups, sporting organisations and others.

Even the Roman Catholic Church did not escape as the NNP hierarchy in

a most vulgar manner sought to influence the selection of the person who should become the Bishop of St. George’s.

The failure of the Tillman Thomas-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) when it got into government to dismantle and mash up the NNP well entrenched system at all levels is today continuing to be a nightmare for the administration.

With elections 25 days away, the NNP elements within the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) are grumbling and rumbling in an effort to trample their opponents within the force and to bring fear into the lives of those who are perceived to be supporters of the current ruling party and government.

This newspaper has received information that certain police officers are threatening to make the country ungovernable if Keith Mitchell is not restored to the Prime Ministership of the country.

Similar threats were made by some of the same officers back in 2008 when the NDC won the election 11-4 to bring an end to Mitchell’s stranglehold on Grenada.

A few of the disgruntled police officers promised to leave the force and not work under a Tillman Thomas government. The threats never materialized and the loud mouths continued to get their monthly salaries for the past four-and-a-half years.

Police officers are entitled to vote for the party of their choice but no one should tolerate any tendency on their part to openly engage in partisan politics in light of their motto to protect and serve all and sundry in Grenada.

There are reports that some officers in the south of the island are creating hardships for several beach vendors perceived to be NDC supporters.

The Tillman Thomas government is one of the few administrations in the history of Grenada that cannot be accused of interference in the running of the police force.

Eric Gairy created his own police force with the so-called Mongoose Gang, Maurice Bishop and the New Jewel Movement (NJM) did not trust them and set up the People’s Revolutionary Army (PRA) for its protection while the Interim Government, the first NNP government of the late H.A Blaize and the Congress government of Sir Nicholas Brathwaite respected the police force in keeping with their commitment to respect institutions.

The same cannot be said of the newlook NNP of Dr. Mitchell as it interfered with the police force at every opportunity.

Two police officers – Commissioner Fitzroy Bedeau and Sergeant Carl Caton were enticed to join the party and run as candidates in general elections. The NNP also sought to influence the selection process when it came to promotions in the service and some police officers were forced to take court action to seek legal redress for their plight.

Another important issue, which needs to be looked at, is the attempt by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Timothy Antoine to apply to the Public Service Commission (PSC) for his vacation when the country is on the verge of an election.

THE NEW TODAY is perplexed as to why the top civil servant in the Ministry of Finance would embark on such a course of action given the facts.

There is no doubt that at this point in time the Minister of Finance, Nazim Burke would hardly be in the ministry to give guidance to the process since he would have to be on the campaign trail on a daily basis in order to seek to retain his St. George North-east seat in the February 19 poll.

It matters not that Mr. Burke is highly favoured to win the seat which is considered as a garrison constituency for the ruling Congress party.

However, a more sensitive PS would not have given the slightest consideration in normal times to take vacation leave when his Minister would be so indisposed.

Mr. Antoine, unless struck by some kind of illness, should not have attempted to take his vacation leave at this point in time.

In addition, there are reports that he gave the PSC only five or so days notice of his intention and not in keeping with the six weeks requirement as stipulated by the rules governing the service.

Why did he do that? Is there more in the mortar than the pestle? Mr. Antoine is perhaps the only person who can give truthful answers to these questions.

Some people are not fools and can recall the words issued by the former Prime Minister and current Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Keith

Mitchell when he was in office.

This gentleman certainly gave the impression that Mr. Antoine was very much a part of his set up with words to the effect: “As long as I am the Prime Minister, Mr. Antoine will always be my Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance”.

THE NEW TODAY can recall an editorial that appeared in the now defunct GRENADA TODAY newspaper, which urged the Tillman Thomas-led Congress government within weeks of coming into office following the July 2008 general elections that it should move quickly to replace the three Antoine’s – Timothy Antoine, Patricia Antoine and Dr. Patrick Antoine from their current positions.

The view expressed then by that newspaper is that it was fearful that the trio were very much part of the NNP set up and that the Congress needed to remove them in order to dismantle the system that was created by Mitchell and NNP to run this country.

The government might only be reaping the produce from the seeds that it met in office, helped to nurture and allowed to grow in the past four-and-a-half years.

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