In a blistering attack on Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, a former political activist of the ruling New National Party (NNP) government has called on him to step aside at age 70 and to give way to a much younger person to lead the party and country.
Samuel “Bosco” George who hails from the village of Apres Toute in St. David came into the office of THE NEW TODAY newspaper to warn the ruling party that it will face a massive defeat in the upcoming general election under Mitchell’s continued leadership.
He said the voting pattern of the electorate in the recent Constitutional Referendum should serve as a reminder to the Prime Minister that things are not the same and change is coming at the political leadership level of the country.
According to George, who had given 33 years of unbroken service to the NNP in St. David, he is now switching sides and throwing his support in the upcoming general election to the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and its caretaker candidate for the constituency, Adrian “Persuader” Thomas.
The former card-bearing member of the NNP is already predicting the downfall of Economic Development Minister, Oliver Joseph, whom he campaigned with in St. David in the 2013 poll to be one of the earliest casualties in the upcoming poll.
He told this newspaper that he decided to quit the NNP after the party introduced in Parliament as part of the Referendum a bill that could have opened the door for marriages between the Gay and Lesbian community.
The Bill along with six others on the ballot paper were overwhelmingly defeated by the electorate in the first referendum aimed at changing the island’s 1974 constitution.
George said that the ruling party is on a downward slide as Prime Minister Mitchell is no longer the person that he knew way back in 1984 when he decided to join the NNP after the collapse of the Grenada Revolution.
He spoke of the Grenadian leader no longer visiting and visible in the small villages around the country as he did back in the 90’s and last decade.
“I have realised that the Dr. Mitchell I know is not the Dr. Mitchell I am seeing today”, he remarked.
George pointed to a number of decisions now being made by the current Prime Minister that he had frowned upon over the years.
He said: “He (PM Mitchell) criticised the past administration and he did far worst than them with the introduction of so many taxes. He campaigned on national unity and he divided the country far more than it was divided”.
Referring to PM Mitchell as “the biggest problem” in Grenada, the former NNP activist was critical of his decision to remove the free school book initiative which was the flagship programme of the 2008-15 Congress administration that assisted many poor families.
“Dr. Mitchell is the biggest problem for Grenada because of his style of leadership and decisions made in the past and continues to make right now. When you remove free school books, it’s not in the interest of the people. It is a good thing for the people of the country”, he said.
George also accused PM Mitchell of creating division within the ruling party over the inclusion of several expelled members of Congress like former Foreign Affairs Minister Peter David and ex-Works Minister, Joseph Gilbert.
Describing these individuals as persons who sought “political asylum” in NNP, the political activist said that many NNP party members are not supportive of the move to allow them into the party.
“Many supporters are not happy with this move by Dr. Mitchell”, he said, adding that a number of party people are now being sidelined and feel rejected because of the move made only by one man to accommodate the David-led group.
“I, as an individual, stand in solidarity with these people and the hardworking people of this country…”, he said.
George stated that many NNP supporters are not pleased with Dr. Mitchell for the manner in which he has embraced those persons who fought bitterly against the party over the years including left-leaning trade unionist, Chester Humphrey and religious ministers Karl Hood and Stanford Simon.
He recalled the advent of Hood to contest the 2008 general election for NDC in the St. George south-east constituency when he defeated the incumbent Works Minister, Gregory Bowen who was then serving as Deputy Prime Minister of the country.
“Karl Hood said that God sent him to destroy Keith Mitchell and four years later the same Karl Hood was on Mitchell’s platform helping to destroy the National Democratic Congress”, he said.
The former NNP supporter confirmed reports circulating in the country that he had spent a 12-day sentence at the Richmond Hill prison for failing to obey a court order to pay monies owed to a leading construction company on the island.
He admitted getting a contract from NNP to do a road in St. David and did not honour his financial obligation with the company that took him to court and won a victory against him.
He said that this issue has nothing to do with him deciding to leave the NNP and go over to Congress.
The political activist felt it is time for Grenada to change course and to look for a new direction.
“…We need to change the politics and to take a new approach which means we would need a new team to take us along that course. That is why I took a strong decision to associate myself with the party I believe has the will, personnel and the vision to take us along that course. “I don’t only see the NDC as a political party, I see them as a movement of change that will bring us the change we need. I know that there are great people within the government of the NNP but I don’t believe they have the freedom to do what they can do for our people and our country.
“I believe also, knowing Dr. Mitchell, he has lost the will to govern this country and he will not take us where we need to be. I believe the time has come for us as a nation to join ourselves together and do what we need to do in the interest of each and everyone of us for our country.
George who is also an Ecumenical Preacher has vowed to take the fight to NNP outside of the St. David’s constituencies and to go around the country on the NDC platform to help bring about change in Grenada.