Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has announced that a significant amount of oil and gas resources have been discovered in the islands territorial waters.
Dr. Mitchell, who is seeking a 5th consecutive term as Prime Minister of Grenada, made the announcement ahead of Tuesday’s general election, while addressing scores of supporters at the Pearl’s airstrip on Sunday, during the final New National Party (NNP) rally, which brought the curtain down on the 2018 election campaign.
However, on Monday, the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) described the announcement as a continued display of Mitchell’s “lack of understanding that there is a difference between (being) the party leader of the New National Party (NNP) and the (role of)) Prime Minister of our nation.”
In commenting on the recent development at the weekly NDC press briefing in St. George’s, Party Chairman, Vincent Roberts said that the Prime Minister has once again showed “how manipulative he is and trying to use national state information for his selfish political gain”.
“We are of the opinion that the discovery of oil and gas, natural resources belonging to the people of Grenada required a national announcement and not being politicised and presented as a trick in the bag to win votes,” he told reporters.
Roberts said the NDC is convinced that the Grenadian people can see through Dr. Mitchell’s “selfish actions”.
He also expressed the view that the NNP “cannot be trusted to manage those resources,” and pointed to what he described as the “mismanagement of the distribution of ply board, housing material, doors and windows” during the election campaign and asked – “what will become of our oil and gas?”
PM Mitchell told party supporters that the discovery was made recently by Russian-based oil and gas exploring company, the controversial Global Petroleum Group (GPG).
“GPG was the only one (company) that satisfied and met the conditions that we set (prior to the 2008 elections) so we went into arrangement with them,” Dr. Mitchell told the gathering of supporters.
“Elections came in 2008, the Minister of Finance then, (Nazim Burke), instead of pursuing the oil and gas, proceeded to ask the fellahs to lie on me and Gregory Bowen saying that they gave us a bribe, but of course there was no such bribe, so the people refused,” he remarked.
“For 5 years, Nazim (Burke) supported Grenada being taken to court for over a billion dollars and he refused to defend the country…we were in opposition…Gregory, myself and some friends of ours, raised the money to pay lawyers”, he said.
According to PM Mitchell, Grenada won the case against US Oil speculator, Jack Grynberg, who had filed the civil lawsuit against former Energy Minister Gregory Bowen in New York for $500 million.
Grynberg claimed that Grenada reneged on an agreement signed in 1996 to allow him to pursue oil exploration in its waters.
Dr. Mitchell recalled that the “bold-faced Nazim get up on TV and say Grenada won. Sisters and brothers, that is the state of the mindset of Nazim Burke.”
In making the announcement of oil and gas discovery, Dr. Mitchell said: “After all the headaches, one well was drilled,” adding that “there were results (from GPG’s exploring activities), that we wanted to confirm before we make a noise.
“Sisters and brothers, the report said that we have found significant gas and oil in the waters of Grenada in one well so far. Sisters and brothers, you know what that means for your future. It means a lot for the future of the country”, he added.