Prime Ministers Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda and Mia Mottley of Barbados are two of the Caribbean’s young and dynamic leaders, both workaholics with clear and determined visions for the betterment of their countries. Each of them is a committed regionalist, notwithstanding insinuations to the contrary in sections of the regional media.

Because of their relative youthfulness, their experience at young ages as ministers of government and parliamentarians, and now the arduous, often lonely, task that they have seized with both hands of heading governments, inevitably their actions will shape the Caribbean region of the future.

Under conditionalities set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that she could not avoid, Prime Minister Mottley is grappling with rebuilding the diminished Barbados economy that she inherited when her party was elected to govern in 2018. Those are circumstances that Prime Minister Browne knows well. He came into office, at his first election as Prime Minister in 2014, to a legacy of Antigua and Barbuda in the firm grip of the IMF’s austerity measures, a high debt to GDP ratio, a banking crisis, high unemployment and a sense of despair in the society, particularly the business sector. Those conditions, apart from the crisis in the banking sector, are very similar to those with which Prime Minister Mottley is wrestling.

The two Prime Ministers have much in common and experiences from which they can learn in order to jump hurdles successfully.

Prime Minister Mottley’s arrival in the councils of regional decision-making and the institutions of governance was warmly welcomed by Prime Minister Browne. His admiration for her continues, despite differences in their leadership styles. Those differences in style should not be mistaken for divergences from substance. And, no non-existent rivalry should be conjured by any who thrive on portraying difference as division.

Given Antigua and Barbuda’s distinctive political culture, Gaston Browne has adopted a style of open disclosure and comment on all things, big or small. He operates on the basis of being proactive in providing information in order not to be reactive when information is dispensed in his society, not always accurately. Barbadian governance follows a pattern of utilising institutions, such as parliament, and more formal structures for disseminating information, although the Barbados media was highly critical of former Prime Minister Freundel Stuart for the infrequency of his public explanations.

Prime Minister Browne’s open disclosure of matters surrounding the regional airline, LIAT, and particularly policy dissimilarity with Prime Minister Mottley, has been characterised as the basis for a feud. There is no such feud.

The policy dissimilarity between the two Prime Ministers over LIAT arises from the urgency of Barbados reducing debt, and the equal urgency in Antigua and Barbuda of maintaining employment.

It does not result from any divergence over the vital importance of the airline to tourism in the region and to regional integration.

The boundaries set by the Barbados Economic and Recovery Transformation plan, if it is to be strictly followed in all things, give the Barbados government little leeway to incur further debt.

Indeed, the strategy is to reduce debt.

So, Ms Mottley has indicated that Barbados cannot, in its present financial situation, support the recapitalisation of LIAT as envisaged by a Caribbean Development Bank sponsored report.

By the same token, LIAT employs a relatively large number of people in Antigua (including many non-Antiguans). Their dismissals would have a harmful immediate knock-on effect in the Antigua and Barbuda economy. Thus, Mr Browne favours the recommendations of the report.

In the circumstances, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda has offered to assume responsibility for certain of Barbados’ debt obligations in relation to LIAT in return for a transfer of shares. In turn, the Government of Barbados has agreed to enter negotiations along the lines of the offer in broad terms.

The challenge before the two governments is how, in good faith and genuine cooperation, they can settle arrangements that: reduce Barbados’ debt; does not swell unemployment in Antigua; and fulfils the joint objective of maintaining regional air transportation to continue to serve tourism and the social and business travel of the Caribbean’s people.

There should be no doubt that the elimination of LIAT will affect all the many countries that it now serves, including Guyana whose oil and gas industries will demand increased air transportation.

The region has seen many other airlines come and go since 1974 when the present incarnation of LIAT occurred. The names are now distant memories, but to recall some of them: EC Express, RedJet, Caribbean Star and a brief appearance by American Express.

No private company has hung around to deliver the air transportation that is needed regionally from St Kitts-Nevis in the North to Guyana in the South.

LIAT (1974) Ltd was formed and supported by CARICOM Heads of Governments because they knew the intrinsic truth that an economically integrated and strong Caribbean society could not be built or sustained without regional transportation. Over those 45 years, LIAT has become a West Indian institution, comparable to the University of the West Indies and West Indian cricket in their contribution to strengthening West Indian roots and enhancing West Indian identity.

It is worth noting that the governments of the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands have annual allocations of resources to their airlines, because they fully appreciate the importance of their airlines to tourism and the needs of their people.

Jean Holder, an integrationist who has been a key person in regional tourism, including 15 years as the Chairman of LIAT, makes the following point that all governments would do well to remember: “Governments already subsidise every aspect of land-based tourism on the grounds that it is a critical export industry earning foreign exchange. If hotel rooms are one leg of tourism, then air transportation is the second leg without which it cannot stand.”

LIAT remains vital to the Caribbean generally and to Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados. It is well within the intellectual capacity and creativity of Prime Ministers Browne and Mottley to give teams, representing their two governments, a mandate to ‘negotiate within a framework of co-operation’. Such a mandate would satisfy the imperatives of their economies while maintaining their joint goal of enhanced Caribbean integration.

In the collaboration of these two relatively young, strong and hardworking leaders, the region’s future could be shaped for better.

(Sir Ronald Sanders is Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to the United States and the Organisation of American States. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London and at Massey College in the University of Toronto. The views expressed are entirely his own)

Interim Steel Bands Committee launched

Former Principal of the Grenada Boys Secondary School (GBSS), Victor Ashby has been named as head of a six-member government-appointed Interim Committee to take charge of the steelband movement pending fresh elections in September for a new executive.

Members of Interim Steel Band Committee with PS in the Ministry of Culture and The Arts, Desiree Stephen

The interim members of the body were presented to the local media Tuesday, approximately two months after the resignation of Jason Skeete as President of the Steel Bands Associations in the midst of bickering with a breakaway faction.

Culture Minister Norland Cox moved to set up the interim committee as relations deteriorated between the Skeete-led body and a rebel faction involving members of the larger steelbands on the island.

The Ashby-led committee has been put in place three months before the hosting of Spicemas 2019 in which the annual Panorama competition is a key component of the festival.

Apart from Ashby, the other members of the committee are Principal of the Presentation Brothers College (PBC), Dominic Jeremiah as Deputy Chair, Principal of Alpha Junior School, Stephanie John as Recording Secretary, Lew Smith as Public Relations Officer (PRO), Leary Barry as the committee’s representative on the Spicemas Corporation Board and Andy Chichester as Treasurer.
Ashby told reporters that the committee is also tasked with ensuring that there is a platform for the succeeding elected executive to build upon.

He identified the priority areas of the interim group as branding the Grenada SteelBand Association, to lead in the association with its major engagements with Spicemas Corporation, putting the association on a good footing administratively and with its management and ensuring that proper and timely democratic elections are held, for a new executive to be in place by September.

The committee, he said, has already met with the Steelband leaders and representatives and agreed on a set of actions to be undertaken in the immediate, short-term and long-term for the benefit of the association.

Currently, the GSA is made up of nine bands but Ashby hinted that a band from sister isle of Carriacou could become an added member this

The Ashby-led committee has unveiled plans for the staging of a Pan Yard Lime and Pan Expressions as a build up to Panorama 2019.

Edward Seaga has died

Jamaica’s fifth Prime Minister and longest-serving Member of Parliament, Edward Seaga has died.

Edward Seaga – former Jamaica Prime Minister

He died in a Miami hospital Tuesday where he had been receiving treatment for cancer and related complications.

Seaga died on the day which was his 89th birthday. Seaga was the last surviving framer of the Jamaican constitution.

At the age of 29, the former prime minister became the youngest person to be nominated to the Legislative Council (later the Senate) where he served for two years before he became a Member of Parliament until his retirement in January 2005.

But even after his retirement, he remained active in the public arena, and, later that year, was appointed as a Distinguished Fellow of the University of the West Indies (Mona), whose Research Institute had earlier been named in his honour.

In 2008, he was appointed Pro-Chancellor of the University of Technology, Jamaica and two years later he became the institution’s second chancellor after his predecessor, Lord Morris Handsworth, retired.

A lifelong sports enthusiast, the former prime minster was chairman of the Premier League Clubs Association, one of Jamaica’s governing football bodies, from its inception until 2010.

He also served as president of the football club of his former West Kingston enclave, Tivoli Gardens.

Seaga was born on May 28, 1930 in Boston, Massachusetts, while his Jamaican parents were on a visit to America.

When he was three months old, he was brought to Jamaica by his parents.

The former Jamaica Prime Minister played a key role in helping with Grenada’s return to democratic government following the October 25, 1983 U.S-led military intervention to put down the Revolutionary Military Council (RMC) that was formed after Marxist Prime Minister Maurice Bishop was executed six days earlier.

Seaga gave support to other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Prime Ministers like the late Eugenia Mary Charles (Dominica), Tom Adams (Barbados), and Sir James Mitchell (St. Vincent & The Grenadines) to request then U.S President Ronald Reagan to send in American soldiers to take control from the General Hudson Austin-led group.

Seaga’s Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) also dispatched political operatives to Grenada to help with the formation of the New National Party (NNP) under H.A Blaize to win the December 1984 poll which brought back elected government in the Spice Isle.

The revolution was a very dark tunnel!!!

On Monday 27th of May, an event was due to take place at the Bourne Lecture Hall in St. Georges University campus. It describes itself as a “celebration” of the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the revolution, from 1979 to 2019. But also it describes itself as a critique.

(Don’t know what happened to that perfectly good word “criticism” but we do like to copy the Americans and their PC. Perhaps “criticism” sounded too harsh and critique more polite.)

This is something of a new departure as previously similar events have provided no room for opposing views, just as in the revolution itself. It remains to be seen how much “critique” will be heard.

Two of the key speakers at this event are Dr. Merle Collins and Dr. Didacus Jules. Although they look like perfectly charming and pleasant individuals, they were both deeply involved in the revolution and were willing to work for a non-democratic government which held no general elections and which threw people into jail without trial. What is more to the point they are people who would like to bring the revolution back.

According to the website of this event, “The conference is intended to create an intellectual space for the younger generation to better understand and appreciate the significance of the Grenada Revolution to Grenadian and Caribbean political history.”

I’ll translate that piece of communist double-speak: “The conference is intended to lure the youth to a space where they can be indoctrinated.”

Always a totalitarian regime goes for the youth so that the next generation will offer no opposition. The Hitler Youth was an extremely important part of the Nazi regime, as was the Youth Arm of the New Jewel Movement, NJM.

Let us hope that at this event, there will be people willing to stand up and speak about the fear and terror of those times, the political prisoners, the torture. Why did they kill the Prime Minister and those loyal to him?

This is not something to celebrate; this is hell! And Drs. Collins and Jules are connectors to that hell.

Under the guise of academic research, the organisers are working towards returning us to those terrible days when we were not free to speak our minds. I wonder how the members of the board of SGU feel about this?

The revolution was a very dark tunnel that we were exceedingly lucky to come out of. Next time we may not be so lucky.

Fitzroy Louison

U.S donates satellite phones

Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. Keith Mitchell on Friday received one of two satellite phones donated by the United States Embassy in Grenada.

Prime Minister Mitchell and Minister with responsibility for Disaster Management, Sen. Garraway with Stephen Frahm of the US Embassy in Grenada following Friday’s donation of two satellite phones to government

The other satellite phone presented by Principal Officer of the US Embassy on the island, Stephen Frahm will go to the National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA) and was received on its behalf by Minister with responsibility for Disaster Management, Senator Winston Garraway.

The Prime Minister welcomed the timely donation, saying it comes as preparations are made for the start of the hurricane season.

Dr. Mitchell recalled the difficulties experienced with communication in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

He said, “Communication is essential and after a disaster like we had in 2004, it becomes even more critical. I remember clearly not having a phone and the President of the United States was actually trying to reach me. We have since improved our emergency communications network but this is certainly a welcome addition to what is already in place.”

Dr. Mitchell thanked the U.S envoy for his kind wishes but noted that the frequency and growing intensity of hurricanes are indicative of what one can expect and as such “we must prepare ourselves accordingly”.

The Prime Minister thanked the United States for being a good partner to Grenada.
In handing over the phones, Frahm said that satellite phones are good for emergency communications but expressed the hope that he wished that they will never have to be used.

Launch of Third Annual Services Expo

Registration for the Annual Services Expo of Grenada Coalition of Services Industries (GCSI) has opened for the third exposition involving over 50 booths – 12 more than the 2018 event.

From L-R: Director of Trade at the Ministry of Trade, Junior Mahon, Chairman of GCSI, Jude Bernard, and Executive Secretary of the organisation, Carol Forbes

The services Expo was officially launched at the Grenada Trade Centre Gazebo last Thursday, in an effort to give interested exhibiters enough time to prepare for the two day event to be held July 18-19 at the Grenada Trade Centre at Morne Rouge under the theme: “Your potential, Our Passion”.

According to Chairman of the GCSI, Jude Bernard, some of the services industries that can be expected to be showcased on the days are Construction and Architecture Engineering, Recreation and Cultural Services, Entertainment, Tourism and Hospitality, Educational Services, Fashion and Designs, Health and Wellness, ICT and ICT related, Marketing and Public Relations, Professional Services, Telecommunications and the newest one being Photography.

“We believe that’s a very fast developing niche in Grenada – there are a number of very fast developing photographers with potential for exporting their services; some of them are already doing so and we want to give exposure to that budding group as well,” he said.

Noting that the services sector contribute close to 85% towards the local economy, Bernard told reporters that one of the aim of the expo is to highlight the importance of services to the Grenadian Economy.
“We want to create awareness of the wide range of services that are currently locally produced because there are many people who think that some of the services that they use are services from outside when in actual fact they are produced locally by very young and very creative talented Grenadians…”, he said.

“…We also want to use the expo as an avenue or vehicle to create awareness of the potential that services offer for employment and self employment in Grenada. Moving forward, most of the jobs that are going to be created in our economy, are going to (be) services related jobs and we want folks to be conscious of that and spinning off from that we want to heighten the interest of the population, especially the young in becoming involved in services as a business and as a career,” he added.

Executive Secretary of GCSI, Carol Forbes explained that on the days of the expo, proper networking is expected, so that businesses can create a market for themselves.

She said that the organisers would look at the potential of the service providers, as well as “look at where they can link them to in terms of business to business networking that can happen on the day and try and fit them (and) their potential to see where they can be with coming together with other businesses.

“She added that, “a lot of people are not aware of the various services that are offered here in Grenada, and you find they would go online and the same service that you can get here, you go outside to get that service and its being offered here and the quality is as good as what you would get out there.”

Director of Trade in the Ministry of Trade, Junior Mahon who spoke at the function stressed the importance of promoting the services sector at the national level.

Mahon said: “We think that the Services Expo provides an opportunity for locals to see the different services that are provided at the national level and to see how we can increase our export in services”.

“We have the National Export Strategy that identified a number of service sectors that have tremendous potential for export development in Grenada. We have the Creative Industries, we have the Health and Wellness, Tourism, Yachting and Marina Services and also Professional Services. So, we need as a ministry to work closely with the relevant stakeholders and we have been working very closely with the Grenada Coalition of Services to really promote the services sector and the national level.

“…Services account for close to 80% of our GDP, and almost 60% of persons locally are employed in the services sector. Going forward, we really need to promote the services sector at the national level and we will continue to support the Grenada Coalition as we build the capacity at the national level to provide more services, and also to export more services so that we can generate more revenue and create more employment at the national level in the area of servicing.

Interested exhibitors can purchase a spot at the expo for $300 for the small booth, $500 for the large and $500 for the Corporate and sponsored booths.

Mr Killa is Communal Co-operative Credit Union’s new brand ambassador

Hollice Mapp ‘Mr. Killa’, the renowned pre-eminent Soca performer, popularly known for his crowd pulling capabilities and energetic performances, has joined the Communal family as a new brand ambassador.

Mr. Killa (left) and President of The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd, Jusceno Jacob sign the 18-month contract

Earlier this year, Mr. Killa became the first non-Trinidadian to win the International Soca Monarch (ISM) competition in Trinidad and Tobago with his dynamic hit tune ‘Run wid it.’

The Credit Union decided to capitalise on this achievement and invited the entertainer to partner with them for a period of 18 months in the first instance.

An official endorsement and signing ceremony was held recently at the conference room of the Venus Restaurant & Bar, Wall Street, St. George, to mark the commencement of the new partnership between the parties.

President of Communal Credit Union, Jusceno Jacob, said the entertainer’s talent and passion for seeing the development of the Grenadian people and economy is present in everything he touches and he truly embraces and pledges his commitment to promoting the Communal Credit Union as a superior financial institution that meets the needs of its members residing in Grenada and the Diaspora.”

Jacob added that the organisation is “thrilled to have Mr. Killa join Communal as a new Brand Ambassador and support us in our endeavour to transform the image of The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd.”

The 34-year-old, entertainer, who hails from the popular action-filled Town of Gouyave, in the parish of St. John, has won several Soca competitions locally, regionally and internationally and continues to dominate the music industry with his fantastic voice and the ability to arrange and tone for many genres of music, not limited to his trademark stage theatrics that mesmerises his audiences.

“I am very honoured and grateful to partner with the Communal Co-operative Credit Union Ltd, a locally owned non-profit financial institution, where our very own Grenadians are owners and shareholders and their strategic goals and main focus are centered on member financial literacy and empowerment” said Mr. Killa.

“I look forward to working with the management team and staff of the Communal through this great partnership to evolve the brand…the financial industry is vastly becoming revolutionised with advanced technological changes, and I am proud to be part of a local, home-grown financial institution that can provide time-saving features like Online Banking and Mobile Banking to members,” he added.

Mr. Killa’s first major project with the Communal is to support its upcoming ‘youth conversation’ initiative later in the year.

Sod-turning for Beausejour low-income project

Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell has welcomed the start of work on a low income housing project in Beausejour, which will see the construction of more than 100 units.

The Prime Minister and Parliamentary Representative for St. George North West, and Ambassador of China to Grenada share a handshake after turning the sod for the start of work on the housing project

Dr. Mitchell who is also the Parliamentary Representative for the area, said housing is a critical need, with more and more persons seeking the security of their own home.

He was speaking at a sod-turning ceremony held to officially start the project to be facilitated by funds from the Government of China.

He said, “As people move forward economically, they want to have their own place. A lot of young persons too are seeking housing. This social need is extremely strong and when completed, this housing project will satisfy an enormous need.”

The current administration has long recognised access to housing as a basic human right and has committed to improving access to proper housing for low and middle-income families as a means of positively impacting the country’s socio-economic development.

The housing project is particularly dear to the heart of the Prime Minister because it is being constructed in the area of his birth.

Recalling fond memories of his youthful days in the village, Dr. Mitchell told those gathered, “I grew up right in this community in Beausejour and therefore, I am extremely happy to witness this important launch. As the Parliamentary Representative, it also brings me great joy because I understand the importance of housing in the community.”

The Prime Minister also spoke of other planned initiatives including another housing project and a vendor’s market, which would bring increased vibrancy to the area.

Speaking generally about the level of activity taking place around the country, Dr. Mitchell said, “Government is working; it is understanding the needs of the people and the country. We are going to be taking steps to further develop this area and the country as a whole. We are seeing economic expansion in a general sense and the country is moving forward.”

The Prime Minister also expressed gratitude to the Government and people of China for the support provided for this and other housing projects across the country.

Three low- income housing projects were completed in the first phase and five more, including Beausejour are being constructed in the second phase of the project.

Other speakers at Wednesday’s sod turning ceremony included Minister for Social Development, Housing and Community Empowerment, Delma Thomas and Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Grenada, Dr. Zhao Yongchen.

Ferguson elected to head Grenada Chess Federation

Attorney-at-law Ruggles Ferguson has been elected as the first President of the newly installed Managing Council of the Grenada Chess Federation (GCF) for the next two (2) years.

Ruggles Ferguson – elected to head Grenada Chess Foundation

The election of the body took place at a specially convened meeting on May 16 at the Grenada Olympic House.

Apart from Ferguson, others elected into office were Engineer Carlyle Glean Jr. as Vice President, Kinna Marrast-Victor (General Secretary), Raheem Smith (Assistant General Secretary), Jarelle Amade (Treasurer), Terrance Smith (Assistant Treasurer), Nicole Gellineau (Public Relations Officer) and Terrance Slocombe (Assistant PRO).

The election follows the launch of the Federation on February 28 during the visit to Grenada of Grandmaster Nigel Short MBE, the most celebrated Chess player in the United Kingdom, once ranked No.3 in the world.

An interim committee had been leading the work of the Federation following the launch.

The May 16 meeting also approved and adopted a Constitution for GCF which will be seeking registration as a Not-for-Profit company, with all it funds to be used in the promotion and development of Chess throughout Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

President of the Jamaica Chess Federation, Ian Wilkinson QC, who addressed the meeting via telephone, congratulated the GCF on its initiative and urged that much focus be given to the development of chess in schools as was done in Jamaica.

Wilkinson, who is an honorary Vice-President of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) and the author of two books on Chess, noted that in the past ten (10) years over 50,000 new players have emerged in Jamaica, as Chess has become the fastest growing sport there.

The objectives of the GCF, as outlined in its new constitution, include protecting and advancing the interest of chess in Grenada and promoting the sport in schools and communities.

Four (4) committees have been established to facilitate the work of the Federation – Tournaments, Marketing and Public Relations, Chess in Schools and Communities and Fund-raising.

Nicole Gellineau, in her capacity as PRO, heads the Marketing and Public Relations Committee, while Kwabena Amen and Jessie Greene were identified to lead the work for Chess in Schools and Communities and the Tournament committees.

According to a Federation release, someone will soon be identified to head the Fund-raising Committee.

High on the agenda of the newly launched Federation is seeking affiliation with the Grenada Olympic Committee and the World Chess Federation.

Cajeton Hood: “I will not be made a political scapegoat”

Former Attorney-General, Cajeton Hood is taking strong offense to statements made by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell which seemingly took a swipe at the quality of his legal advice given to government when he served as principal legal advisor to the Cabinet of Ministers during the 2013-18 period.

Hood released a statement last Friday in which he said that he was forced “to defend my professional integrity and competence since they appear to be under attack by the Honourable Prime Minister, Dr. Mitchell”.

The former AG was responding to a charge made by the Grenadian leader in a meeting with staffers at the Ministry of Legal Affairs in which he praised the newly appointed Attorney-General, Guyana-born Darshan Ramdhani and expressed reservations with those who were offering legal advise to the State in recent years.

Dr. Mitchell said he was confident that Ramdhani, a former Solicitor General in Grenada, would provide “far superior legal representation than the government has experienced in recent years” and expressed concern with the number of recent court cases lost in which government was ordered to pay compensation.

“We have lost a number of cases because we have not put our best foot forward. This cannot be allowed to continue”, he said.

One of the cases involved former Cabinet Secretary, Gemma Bain-Thomas who was awarded close to a million EC dollars in compensation and benefits after the court ruled that Prime Minister Mitchell had breached the constitution in the illegal manner in which she was forced out of the job when he returned to power following the 2013 general election.

As a public service, THE NEW TODAY reproduces in full the statement released by Attorney Hood in which he called on PM Mitchell to show “some decency and integrity”.

“I was shocked to read some statements by the Honourable Prime Minister which were made in an address to the Ministry of Legal Affairs and I believe that I need to defend my professional integrity and competence since they appear to be under attack by the Honourable Prime Minister, Dr. Mitchell.

Attorney Hood – has sought to defend his reputation as a lawyer

True to form, and in keeping with his style of never accepting responsibility for the results of his own deeds or misdeeds, he now attempts to blame members of the Ministry of Legal Affairs “over the last few years” for the Government of Grenada’s indebtedness to Claimants.

I am now forced to respond. I was personally approached and offered the post of Attorney General by the current Prime Minister shortly after the conclusion of the parliamentary elections in 2013. I wish to state categorically that I never applied for the post and I only agreed after being asked for the third time by Dr. Mitchell.

I entered into a four (4) year contract with the Government of Grenada commencing on or about April 4, 2013. In the year 2017 I was asked to extend my contract for another 6 months as I had indicated to the Prime Minister that I wished to return to my private office to lend support to my son who had been called to the Grenada Bar in October 2014.

During the period of my tenure the quality of my work was not called into question by the Government of Grenada. There were occasions when the results of court matters had been questioned and the appropriate responses were always promptly given. I hesitate to go into details about those matters because, in my view, they form part of lawyer-client privilege.

I challenge the Honourable Prime Minister to waive that privilege and allow me to fully respond to this cowardly and unfair attack on me.

It is a documented fact that the said Dr. Mitchell, the Honourable Prime Minister has repeatedly announced on several occasions during my tenure as Attorney General that my appointment had been reported to him, in general, to be the best appointment that he had made since returning to the leadership of Grenada in 2013.

Mr. Prime Minister, if you allow me to, I will be only too happy to give the details of some of those occasions and to jog your now-failing memory accordingly. Sir, I challenge you to present to the public the details of the sums outstanding to Claimants that you are complaining about.

In most, if not all of these cases, the sums have been awarded due to clear excesses and breaches of law against citizens of our dear nation that have been committed by your administration or previous administrations.

Prime Minister Mitchell – accused state lawyers of giving poor legal representation

In fact, there are some judgments that are unpaid in which I  appeared for the Claimants before I became Attorney General. I recall a claim for Eddie Frederick and one for several police officers who were denied promotion, in which they alleged interference by you, the Honourable Prime Minister.

For the benefit of objective comment and conclusion, I urge any neutral interested person to consult the current Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank who was the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Grenada during most of my tenure, to ascertain the role that my office and I played in the Home Grown Structural Adjustment Program that the Honourable Prime Minister boasts about and whose results he now seems to always seek to hide behind.

The current Head of the Financial Intelligence Unit can reveal, if he is pressed and chooses to respond, facts about the remarkable progress and advancement we made as a country in the areas of Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing under the CFATF regime from the year 2013 and onwards.

The records are there for objective review and as Grenadians we need to refuse to listen to these statements that are made out of political expedience and are meant to distract and divert citizens from the truth of the matters regarding the manner in which our dear country is being governed.

In each and every matter concerning the state which was decided by the courts during my tenure as Attorney General, if the Prime Minister allows me to give the full details, I can show the nation the real reason why the state did not achieve success.

Prime Minister, it is cowardly and despicable to accuse persons who you know cannot defend themselves. You are literally punching me while my hands are tied behind my back. I challenge you to loosen my hands and then let us have a fair fight. I speak on behalf of the past Solicitor General, Dwight Horsford and the hardworking Crown Counsels in the Ministry of Legal Affairs who spent many sleepless nights, weekends and holidays trying to find ways to defend the decisions of this administration.

This has been done in spite of loss of salary, refusal to fill posts, whether or not advice given was followed, and other “legal persons” receiving over twice the salaries of top officers in the Ministry of Legal Affairs.

If Dr. Mitchell now admits that his administration did not put its best foot forward, the staff of the Ministry of Legal Affairs has always done so under my watch.

The Honourable Prime Minister seems to forget that the current Attorney General was Solicitor General when he became Prime Minister in 2013. In fact, it is the current Attorney General who led the matter of the government’s acquisition of the interest of friend and party member Wilberforce Nyack, in the property on Grand Anse beach which is now designated as the location for Part II of the Silver Sands hotel project.

If allowed, I will reveal the reason why the Prime Minister refused to renew his contract and the most likely reason why he has made him Attorney General at present and now sings his praises, attempting to use him to get at myself and Dwight Horsford, who is now serving as Attorney General in the British colony of Anguilla.

All I can say now is that, time will tell.

Chief, this will not work! If you wish for a battle with me, then I am up for it!

AND, if you untie my hands I can speak up fully and publicly about the salary deduction and pension and other issues also.

I will not be made a political scapegoat. I will not be used as one uses adult pampers.

Tell the truth, Honourable Prime Minister!