Prime Minister and Political Leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Tillman Thomas has brought to the fore the issue of leadership in the country.
During a massive rally of the incumbent NDC at the Roy St. John Playing Field at Tanteen in St. George’s last week Sunday, Prime Minister Thomas reacted to statements made by Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Mitchell that the upcoming General Elections is based on quality leadership and the economy.
The Prime Minister said if ever there was any quality leadership in Grenada, the record will show that it was in the past four years under Congress.
He likened Dr. Mitchell’s leadership to one that was lacking in quality and morality.
“When it comes to quality leadership… the National Democratic Congress has provided quality leadership to the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique,” he said.
During his 13-year stint in government between 1995 and 2008, former Prime Minister Mitchell was often dogged by charges of corruption and faced allegations of visiting the home of an imprisoned conman in Switzerland, Eric Resteiner and accepting a bribe of US$500, 000.00 in exchange for a diplomatic posting.
Dr. Mitchell has consistently denied the allegation despite a sworn affidavit filed in a U.S court by Timothy Bass, the former Chief Bodyguard of Resteiner that he secretly videotaped the financial transaction.
Prime Minister Thomas reiterated that the February 19 General Elections would decide the country’s future
“It would be the most important decision the electorate would make in the history of our island. The challenges that Grenada face today require leadership with integrity, vision to take Grenada forward”, he told the large audience.
“We cannot entrust our future to the reckless and rudderless. We cannot, again, put ourselves at the mercy of those who have proven themselves to be corrupt and inefficient,” he said.
The NDC Political Leader is confident that his NDC team of Candidates is on the victory march for the poll due to be held in the next 18 days.
The 25-year old political party ended the 13-year reign of the NNP at the 2008 July polls, and is now seeking a second term in Office.
Prime Minister Thomas noted that the Grenadian people were coming out in their thousands at the party’s rallies to support the NDC’s Victory Team on the march towards a second term.
He said that in 2008 the NDC was the heartbeat of change in the country and has restored integrity, as well as putting down the foundation to continue rebuilding the economy.
He noted that Congress is campaigning on its performance record in the first term in office.
According to PM Thomas, despite all the challenges faced, his government has achieved much and that one of the benefits brought to the people was the “energy for the poor programme.”
Prime Minister Thomas said 183 families were assisted through that programme at a cost of $250,000.00.
Families who were using wood as their main source of cooking were given a stove and a six-month supply of gas.
The NDC Political Leader warned his supporters against becoming complacent with the Election Day only a few days away.
He recognized that there is a lot of work to be done to ensure victory, and that everyone and every hand needed to come on board to help defeat their opponents.
However, the Prime Minister pointed out that Congress would not sell its soul to the highest bidder by accepting “underhand money” for its campaign.
“We have a responsibility to preserve and protect the heritage of Grenada, and you must join us in preserving and protecting the heritage of Grenada,” he said.
“Our vote is not for sale… No mafia family should buy us out. Grenada’s assets are not for sale,” he added.
The Congress platform has been accusing the NNP of accepting millions in campaign financing from Russian investors who had signed an earlier deal with the Mitchell government to exploit the island’s underwater oil and gas resources estimated to be a few billions.
The NDC has signed a maritime boundaries treaty with Trinidad and Tobago and was making moves to try and exploit a particular block of natural gas resources that lies along the boundaries between the two countries.
The Grenadian Leader advised his supporters not to be deterred by the hype, glitz and the glamour that is being showcased by the NNP in its high profile campaign.
Prime Minister Thomas announced that his government is about to start construction of a new water cistern at the Princess Alice Hospital at Mirabeau, St. Andrew’s, and to refurbish the doctor’s and pharmacist quarters at the Paradise and Petite Martinique Medical Stations.
In addition, he said remedial work will be carried out on the Vincennes Medical Station at St. David’s.
There will also be upgrades for the Drug Abuse and Rehabilitation Centre, Gouyave Health Centre, Grand Bras Health Centre, St. David’s Health Centre, Princess Alice Hospital and Sauteurs Health Centre to the tune of $13.5m.
The Grenadian Leader also addressed the issue of the national debt, pointing out that in 2011 his Congress government paid off $252m, and $345m in 2012.
The Mitchell government has often been accused of moving the national debt from the paltry figure of $373 million in 1995 to $EC1.7 billion when it lost power, due to massive borrowing to engage in non-productive enterprises.