There appears to be some disquiet in the Grenadian Community in New York about government’s decision to relocate the Consulate Office from the “Big Apple” to Florida.
The Grenadians living in New York are claiming that the decision was taken by the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell without any information being relayed to them.
Some of our people are saying that they only became aware of the change when they tried to contact the office for services.
THE NEW TODAY is getting the impression that there is a great divide between government and our nationals in New York on the issue of the closure of the Consulate Office.
It appears to us that the concerns are not apolitical – the usual NNP vs. NDC chess game that is often played out at home in the Spice Isle.
The concerns seem to be real and the Prime Minister, as the Chief spokesman for the government, is the person best placed to visit Grenadians in New York and engage them in a “Face-to-Face” encounter.
Our diaspora people are very suspicious of the decision made by government to relocate the office to Florida given the fact that New York has a much larger Grenadian community.
Dr. Mitchell has been dogged by allegations of corruption and graft in the past and there is no need to rehash the Eric Resteiner affair and the St. Moritz, Switzerland US$500, 000.00 reports.
The Florida arrangement between the NNP administration and the person put in charge of the Consulate Office there is once again raising this ugly spectre.
There is no denying that a “smart man” in government can amass a personal fortune from the sale of diplomatic positions to unsavoury characters.
This newspaper understands that some crooks are prepared to dole out US$ 1 million to land an ambassadorial posting with a rogue government and for a minor position as a Trade Counselor or the sort as much as US$300, 000.00.
PM Mitchell has stated publicly that his return to power in 2013 for a fourth term is all about his legacy after over 3 decades of involvement in the political life of the country.
As part of this legacy, he needs to put to rest the issue of the removal of the Consulate Office from New York.
THE NEW TODAY would hate to think that the Prime Minister would move the office to another part of the US because his government could not get Washington to approve the appointment of Derrick James as Consul General.
The NNP was fully aware that since under the rule of the 2008-13 National Democratic Congress (NDC) of then Prime Minister Tillman Thomas that Mr. James was never accredited because of Washington’s concerns about his status.
As a matter of fact, Mr. James was never fired by Congress as Grenada’s Consul General in New York since he never held the position in the first place. Simply put – you cannot lawfully sell any land that you do not own.
The Derrick James situation is not new for Grenada in terms of approaching Washington to allow a U.S citizen to act for a foreign country.
The late H.A Blaize was successful in his approach to the powers-that-be in the United States to get Dr. Lamuel Stanislaus, a Grenadian who became a naturalized U.S citizen, to serve as Grenada’s ambassador to the United States.
Why Washington would not approve Mr. James as an accredited Consul General might be something else for another discussion.
This newspaper would not want to believe those who are pushing the line that PM Mitchell has adopted a strong stance on the Derrick James issue because of his commitment to “Project Grenada”, a new and loose arrangement with the Peter David/Chester Humphrey group.
There has to be something more fundamental for the relocation of the Consulate Office from New York to Florida and the Prime Minister needs to fully explain the rationale to his countrymen and women in the diaspora.
A politician with years of experience, PM Mitchell is cognizant of the role and influence of New York Grenadians to the electoral process back home.
Hundreds of them do fly back to Grenada to cast their ballots on Election Day, as well as make financial contributions to the political process in the form of solid cash and other material for electioneering.
No Grenadian politician worth his salt would want to fall out of favour with this large and important diaspora community.
It has been said and proven in the past that Grenadians living in New York will tell you six months to a year which of the two parties will win the upcoming elections.
As Flying Turkey said in his song some years ago, before the politicians tell the people at home what is really happening, they go up first to New York and tell Grenadians up there.