There has been mixed reaction in Grenada to the decision taken by Foreign Affairs Minister, Peter David to appoint his daughter, Abbie David, to serve within his own ministry as Ambassador to China.
David’s decision follows closely on the heels of another controversial move by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell to appoint his own son, Olinga Mitchell to serve as an Advisor in the Ministry of Finance of which he is the line minister.
A close friend of the family defended the appointment of the young David on the grounds that she is “qualified” for the post and is fluent in speaking Mandarin which is the official language of China.
He said that Abbie David had a stint with the Washington-based World Bank and had impressed her superiors due to her ability to speak the Chinese language.
A respected academic has branded the move by Minister David as “shameful and scandalous” given his well-known opposition to the move by then Prime Minister Tillman Thomas in the 2008-13 period of the Congress government to appoint his wife as Chief Personnel Officer in the Public Service Commission (PSC).
David who was then Foreign Affairs minister had rallied support within Congress to confront PM Thomas on the aborted attempt to appoint his wife to the key position within the Public Service.
Another 1979-83 revolutionary comrade of David scoffed at the appointment of David’s daughter to a high-profile foreign ministry position as rank “hypocrisy and opportunism”.
He said that not even former Prime Minister Sir Eric Matthew Gairy who was thrown out of power on March 13, 1979 by a coup d’etat staged by the left-leaning New Jewel Movement was that “vulgar” in running the country.
The move was also condemned by a socialist activist who compared it with the family dynasty that was emerging in neighbouring St. Vincent & The Grenadines under Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves who has appointed close family members to all the top positions in the country.
She said: “As long as they are allowed to get away with it, they will. Same thing in SVG with Ralph and his family. Ralph son is Minister of Finance, his daughter-in-law is head of the Financial Services Authority, his daughter is SVG’s representative to the U.N., his wife has the restaurant at the airport, his brother-in-law is a top official in Ministry of Works, his cousin is Minister of Works…and there is more. So same thing (PM) Keith (Mitchell) and his people doing here”.
THE NEW TODAY reproduces in full the official release put out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the new diplomatic postings:-
The Minister of Foreign Affairs is pleased to announce that, after considering the recommendations of the Ministry, the Cabinet of Grenada has approved the composition of Grenada’s diplomatic representation for the upcoming cycle.
Here under are the postings of the following diplomats:
Ms. Yolande Smith, currently the Deputy Consul General in Miami, is now appointed as Ambassador to the United States of America, and Permanent Representative to the Organisation of American States.
Ms. Dianne Perrotte, currently the Attaché at the Mission in Washington, DC, is now appointed as Deputy Consul-General in Miami.
Ms. Kisha Grant, former Press Secretary to the Prime Minister, and currently an officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has been assigned as the Non-Resident High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.
Ms. Abbie David, who holds a PhD in International Relations from the China Foreign Affairs University, has been appointed as Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China. From August to November, 2018, she is assigned to Grenada’s Mission to the United Nations in New York. She will assume office in Beijing in December.
*Mr. Michael Mitchell, Technical Advisor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has been appointed as Chargé d’ Affaires at the Grenada Mission in Beijing, China, from August to December, 2018.
The effective date and duration of the term of office of all the foregoing appointments are to be notified in each case, with the exception of Mr. Michael Mitchell, Chargé d’ Affaires in Beijing.
The Diplomatic Representatives in the following capitals remain the same:
The Minister wishes to thank the Nation for its support, as the Ministry, and by extension the Government of Grenada, strives to ensure that Grenada has the most effective diplomatic representation possible, consistent with the Ministry’s mission of “providing an integrated set of Diplomatic services for promoting Grenada’s national interests and protecting its status as a Nation.”