Some Grenadians are mixing an odd cocktail in trying to define Dr Keith C. Mitchell’s strengths as weaknesses. Perhaps more remarkable, however, is the theme that the former prime minister and present leader of Her Majesty’s People’s Opposition may have too strong a personality and set of beliefs for Grenada. It is frightening to read that our country may no longer seek charismatic and virtuous leaders.
Dr Keith Mitchell has already given much -- not just to the New National Party, but also to the country, in the policies and strategies that have become the accepted paradigms for urban renewal and recovery. That he has accepted the mantle of broader office is another sign of his strength, and one we should rush to embrace.
The doctor does not need a makeover. He is what he is: an intelligent public servant. Like him or not, he is making Grenada a place that people want to come back to. In his wide-ranging comments, the former prime minister said his party, the New National Party, has the votes to win the upcoming general election and that the NDC knows change is coming.
Mitchell is very focused and disciplined about pursuing respect and influence in the rest of the world. It is important that Grenada advances its agenda of making a priority of democracy and human rights, as well of poverty alleviation and addressing inequality. We need to restore a sense of trust and confidence that people have in their government. The NDC is corrupt and has long ago abandoned any pretense of objectivity. It is tragic that integrity and fidelity to truth have been abandoned in the name of politics.
The NDC is a government that is taking tremendous and awful strides to maintain its power. Mitchell is far more realistic and persuasive and the connection between winning the election for the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique is giving him renewed courage and vigour to carry on.
The New National Party and government will go a long way towards helping to bring dignity and economic security to all Grenadians. Mitchell is animated before an audience that appreciates his determination and earns standing ovation when he vows, “I will protect the people of Grenada. I will do that.”
I must say emphatically that Dr Mitchell will need close friends to win. The dynamics of the race, the blocks of votes won by time.
Prime Minister Thomas supported himself with people who claim to know so much but could not win for themselves. If you surround yourself with people who have failed, they will give deteriorating ideas. Mitchell needs people who can give him winning ideas.
Grenada is not a democracy but an oligarchy: ruled by a few. There is a crisis of leaders. The intellectuals charged with leading have failed in their ministry, and the people are found without direction and without a path.
In order for our people to grow; in order that they magnify themselves in action; in order that they assume their responsibilities, it is necessary to give them a purpose, to create for them ideals, to lead them. This task is one of education, of leadership, which the leader of the New National Party will fervently be fulfilling after the election. The New National Party will carry out the task.
Dr Mitchell is not distinguished from his Grenadian people, but is one of them, a flower that is raised over the foliage, fed by the sap that rises generously from the root. On this account, I could say, “Dr Keith C. Mitchell is assimilated, on account of his heroism, on account of his consistency, on account of his honesty.”
Dr Mitchell never wants to appear as a superior product separated from his people, because he has a clear consciousness that only a man who identifies himself with all people is able to lead. Upon that fact and that awareness the success of his educative labours rests. Thus he said, “I have harvested the fruit of all the services of my fellow countrymen, relatives and friends. I have represented them in the presence of nations and I will represent them again.” For every possible circumstance, Dr Mitchell has a solution.
But above all, he is a leader of people; in him is the human quality, the capacity for leadership has reached such a dimension of excellence that he has been converted into an exemplar and model for a whole people, for a whole Grenada. Dr Mitchell’s attitude towards leading and educating exceeds the limits of his own personality.
In Dr Keith Mitchell, the politician and the educator advance together, their work hand in hand, intimately and mutually bound together. He believes that “The most pious works have as their object education, instruction, and public welfare”. The work of education looks towards the future and is a seed in time.
Only he who has faith in the work of shaping human beings is able to educate. Only he who knows how to hope is able to gather in the harvest of success in the man who is educated. Dr Mitchell is a man distinguished by his education, by the purity of his habits, by the naturalness of his manners.
He is jovial, approachable, easy to get along with, frank: in short, he is one in whom much may be found to imitate and little to correct. This definition “teacher” establishes the ideal type of the leader of young and old, the kind of leader we want, a distinguished man with purity of habits.
In order to educate a child in the observance of citizenship and to create in him the ideas of self-direction and self discipline, one must undoubtedly recognize the importance of the democratic process of free selection those who are to lead and to command. One must also acknowledge the necessity of providing, beginning in the schools, training in the sense of responsibility that provides the basis for the exercise of democracy, for those who elect as well as those who are designated to perform it must be conscious of their functions.
Those who elect must be aware of the respect and consideration they owe, as well as of the cooperation which they are obligated to give to those who have been elected.
We the people of Grenada, Carriacou, and Petit Martinique know that the most perfect system of government is that which produces the greatest amount of happiness possible, the greatest amount of social security, and the greatest amount of political stability.
The excellence of a government does not consist in its theory, nor in its form, nor in its mechanism, but in its being appropriate to the nature and character of the country of which it is constituted.
That is the kind of government we are going to have under the New National Party.