The current industrial impasse in the country should be placed squarely at the feet of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and a few very dishonest persons around him especially the former President-General of the Technical & Allied Workers Union (TAWU), Chester Humphrey.
There was no need for the state of uncertainty in Grenada on the issue of the payment of Pension and Gratuity for public workers of the country including teachers.
THE NEW TODAY is fully aware of a Court of Appeal ruling in 1998 by then Chief Justice of the OECS Supreme Court, Sir Dennis Byron in a matter between Irvin Mc Queen Vs Public Service Commission on the very matter of pension and benefits due to public officers.
The court ruled in favour of Mc Queen and guaranteed pension for all qualified public officers and cleared the way for them to go home at the end of their tenure in government with their pension and other benefits.
Dr. Mitchell was Prime Minister at the time of this historic ruling and should have understood the implications for the national purse.
The Prime Minister immediately set up a Committee to address the pension issue and the body was comprised of late Government General Sir Paul Scoon, former Accountant-General, Garvey Louison and Chester Humphrey, who is today totally silent on the issue.
As a champion of the working class for most of his life, Mr. Humphrey should come forward and divulge the contents of the report to all workers in the country. Why is he not speaking up on the issue?
The report of the Sir Paul Scoon-led committee was never revealed to the public and today is lying on some shelf within the confines of government and not being implemented as so many other reports which did not find favour with Prime Minister Mitchell.
This newspaper is firmly of the view that Dr. Mitchell was only engaged in mamagism with the current lot of young and inexperienced union leaders when on the heels of the March 13 general elections he signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with them on the vexing issue of Pension restoration and reform.
This MOU was clearly aimed at taking pension off the table in the volatile election campaign atmosphere and to win the general election at all cost.
This was deceit as the Prime Minister was already fully aware of the Irvin McQueen ruling by the Court of Appeal and was trying to duck from the true financial implications for his government.
Dr. Mitchell was also trying to use a back door approach to set aside the Court of Appeal ruling and to come up with some kind of a new formula that does not include the enshrined 25% provision as protected by the Constitution for public officers.
It is our information that two principal legal officers of the government, former Attorney General Cajeton Hood and former Solicitor General Dwight Horsford fully understood the Irvin Mc Queen constitutional ruling on pension by Sir Dennis Byron and two other Justices of Appeal.
So, who within the government with a legal mind was trying to influence Dr. Mitchell into usurping the ruling of the Court of Appeal? Is it the then Minister of Legal Affairs, Elvin Nimrod or Acting Attorney General, Dr. Lawrence Joseph or someone else?
It is clear that the government has brought on this industrial impasse and now has no idea of its own on how to bring the dispute to an end.
Prime Minister Mitchell is also acting in a very arrogant and high-handed manner since he believes that he is the only political grand master and political guru in the country and no one should challenge him given his record of three clean 15-0 victories at the polls in general elections.
It is time for the ruling New National Party (NNP) to step in and help to bring an end to the current industrial unrest and impasse in the country on this 25% pension issue due to public officers.
There is no need for any fresh general election in the country to elect a new Prime Minister as all 15 elected Members of Parliament are on the side of the NNP.
THE NEW TODAY is calling on the governing party to act in the national interest and to use the model that was implemented in Zimbabwe against the ageing and dictatorial Robert Mugabe in the Zanu party by replacing him with an alternative candidate from within the NNP.
The party should seriously consider selecting one of the other 14 MP’s in Parliament to take over the running of the country from Dr. Mitchell who is clearly tired and need to go home and rest after 40 plus years in the political life of the country.
The Mitchell-led administration has become very inept as can be clearly seen in its bungling of the current impasse.
The government broke the law when under its watch the Supreme Court Registry was opened on a Saturday in violation of the court regulations to allow the regime to file court papers in connection with the Injunction Order brought against the Public Workers Union (PWU) to prevent workers in the Essential services from joining in solidarity strike action.
Guyanese attorney-at-law, Darshan Ramdhani who was spearheading the abandoned court injunction action as Legal Consultant in the Ministry of Legal Affairs, should be mindful of the fact that some persons in Grenada are now seeing him in the same vein as the controversial Special Prosecutor Hugh Wildman of Jamaica who was regarded as the “legal hitman” for the Prime Minister.
Grenada is now in a state of uncertainty but Labour Minister Peter David is taking a three day break when he should have been meeting every second, minute and hour of the day with the union leaders to bring an end to the impasse that was created by government.
THE NEW TODAY is convinced that the government does not know what to do to end the strike action as the 25% percent cannot be rolled back since it is enshrined in the Pension Act and protected by the Constitution for all public officers in the country.