Prime Minister and Political Leader of the New National Party (NNP), Dr Keith Mitchell has called on Grenadians to brush aside the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and to instead look for a new alternative political party to challenge him.
Addressing a handful of supporters during the party’s first rally since its 15-0 landslide victory at the February 19 General Election, the Prime Minister lambasted the Tillman Thomas-led Congress party for what he said was the sad state of affairs it left the country following its four-and-a-half year rule.
The rally, held at the Roy St John Playing Field in Tanteen last Sunday, came at the end of the party’s annual convention at the Grenada Boys Secondary School.
It was the lowest turnout of NNP supporters at a mass rally called by the party that has dominated the political landscape in the country for the past 20 years.
Dr. Mitchell chastised the former Congress administration and called for a new political party as an alternative to the existing NDC, saying that the main opposition grouping and its members are bankrupt.
Just over a month ago, former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Brian Francis, now a senior lecturer in Economics at the Barbados Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) accused the Mitchell government of showing signs of being bankrupt in ideas to deal with the financial and economic crisis facing the country.
Francis pointed an accusing finger at Dr. Mitchell and NNP during their earlier rule between 1995 and 2008 for raking up massive debts through a borrowing and spending spree.
In his address to the small gathering on the play ground, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell pointed an accusing finger at the NDC as the one responsible for the country’s financial debacle and singled out in particularly the former Minister of Finance, Nazim Burke.
He said the financial mess left behind by Congress placed the NNP government in a rather precarious position on assuming office nine months ago.
Without making any reference to his earlier 13 years in office during which the national debt moved from $EC373 million in 1995 to EC$1.8 billion in 2008, Dr. Mitchell said that his new regime inherited a bankrupt country and a bloated public service.
The Prime Minister accused members of the NDC while in government of engaging in controversial agreements, which exempted them from paying taxes and securing benefits for their children, family members and friends at the expense of taxpayers.
Dr. Mitchell engaged in a vicious attack against the Tillman Thomas-led government, telling supporters that “Judas will not get away”.
He said that he has a lot of additional information about the former NDC Cabinet that he will publicly disclose them in a matter of time.
Prime Minister Mitchell accused the former NDC government of blatantly telling lies to the people by insisting that there will be no gambling while it even granted a licence to Royal Caribbean to engage in gambling on its cruise liner while in the St. George’s harbour.
“We must take out the masks in some of their faces. NNP will expose all of them”, he told the crowd.
The Prime Minister also scoffed at recent reports circulating in the country that he brought in a brand new bullet proof vehicle for his use.
He identified the NDC as the party behind the allegation and said that they are lucky to get away with the mischief making because Grenadians are a peaceful people.
The Grenadian leader also addressed the controversial 6% salary increase that the NNP ministers originally agreed to accept and then backed away from in the face of mounting public displeasure.
He said the members of his team decided to forego the increase since they did not want to make it an issue in light of the more pressing matter of reaching an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the 3-year Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) to be implemented in January.
Instead of making noise on the 6%, Dr. Mitchell told supporters that those former Congress ministers should not be accepting gratuity payment from the State but should be paying Grenadians gratuity for the four and a half years of suffering they inflicted on them while in office.
The Prime Minister promised his party supporters to disclose the exact amount Grenadians will receive from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after signing the Structural Adjustment Programme later this month.
He also promised to disclose the contents of the agreement to the people.
“I will not tell you lies,” Dr. Mitchell told supporters.