This week marks one year since Grenadians voted out the National Democratic Congress of Tillman Thomas and returned to power Dr. Keith Mitchell and his New National Party (NNP) which had been in charge of the affairs of the State for 13 years earlier from June 1995 to July 2008.
The significance of the victory is that it was the second time since the 1974 independence that one party had enjoyed a clean sweep at the polls.
The first time around in 1999, the NNP under the same Dr. Mitchell was already in power when it won all the seats in its crushing defeat of all political opponents.
This time around in February 2013, the NNP was in opposition and was able to convince the electorate to vote out an incumbent that four years earlier had won eleven of the fifteen seats to control the affairs of Parliament.
The electorate fell for the NNP mantra of “We will Deliver” as the party promised to create thousands of jobs in the first month of getting back into office and to transform the landscape with the amount of foreign investors on the horizon waiting to come into the country once “the doc” was back at the helm.
There is no doubt that the Mitchell government is under tremendous pressure to “deliver”given the grave financial situation facing the country.
The new regime has not paid a single cent in the past 12 months to any of Grenada’s foreign creditors and is now looking to the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) for bail-out funds through a Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) that comes with a great deal of austerity measures.
As a matter of fact a number of cracks have started to surface within the NNP itself as some supporters have become disenchanted with the lack of work as was promised a year ago.
Some of the MP’s have been accused of going into hiding in their constituencies as they have failed to deliver on the many promises offered to the electorate to get their votes on Election Day – February 19, 2013.
And the mamagism of the people is continuing unabated by some of the chief spokesperson for the Mitchell regime.
The latest piece of propaganda is that money will start to run on the ground once again when the trade unions buy into the SAP and allow the government to proceed and sign the much-talked about “Letter of Intent” with the IMF.
This is so far from the truth. The fund has indicated quite clearly that the two last governments of Grenada – NNP and NDC – have not lived up to expectations with two previous IMF funded programmes to tackle the fiscal problems confronting the Spice Isle.
In the case of the upcoming programme, the head of a recent IMF visiting delegation pointed out that the fund reserves the right to withhold its monies from Grenada if the government fails to do a number of things that are agreed upon for resolving the economic and financial issues facing the country.
The message that the IMF was conveying is that it will not be business as usual with the Government of Grenada – whether it was NNP or NDC.
In addition, this is not free money as Grenada would have to repay the millions provided to us by the fund.
In the upcoming weeks and months, the government would have to do more than it is currently doing to change the rapidly increasing tide of hopelessness in the country.
The people need to see some more concrete things taking place on the ground to be convinced that Grenada is moving up and out of the malaise that is so evident all around.
Even some government ministers appear to be doing a bit of harm and damage by the words coming out of their mouths these days.
At one time, there was talk of three 5-star hotels to be built on the famous Grand Anse beach. A few days ago a senior minister appeared on a local radio station and was talking about only two hotels.
The government of PM Mitchell needs to come clean with the population on the foreign investment projects especially in the area of hotel construction.
Is it true that the talks between the so-called investor/s and St. George’s University (SGU) for the purchase of the university property on Grand Anse beach have broken down to the point that the planned hotel deal is just about over?
What is the status of the 5-star hotel planned for the Nyack’s property on Grand Anse beach? Are the developers reluctant to go forward because the government is reluctant to give them the Camerhogne Park to incorporate into the hotel because the proposed site is too small to accommodate a 5-star hotel?
The government needs to do more than just engage in talk. It is time for action on the ground some 12 months after the election to give hope that the “delivery train” is really on the move from low gear into high gear.
Even the issue of unity is causing some concern to this newspaper one year after the 2013 general elections.
Quite frankly, THE NEW TODAY is not optimistic about the supporters of Congress heeding the call of the Prime Minister given the deep political polarisation of the country along the lines of Green and Yellow.
Dr. Mitchell is seen in some quarters as perhaps the most divisive person in recent years to occupy the position of Prime Minister of the country.
He might have to step aside as head of the government for another of the elected Members of Parliament to take charge in order to get persons in the country to start to give serious consideration to the idea of national unity.
As one social commentator said recently, “…We must admit that only a united Grenada can weather the current hardship we are facing, if we were to come out stronger for it. The problem is, Mitchell is not the one to forge this unity and reconciliation that is so necessary. People who can help, the thinking population that is, don’t take Mitchell seriously when he speaks, as history has shown him up as a man whose words never match his actions”.