Grenada's prime minister Dr The Right Hon Keith 'Tax ' Mitchell will go down in history as the most visionless and shortsighted minister of finance to have ever served the country since independence. The minister of finance seems to have absolutely no clue how to deal with the economic challenges facing the country. He seems to be relying on his permanent secretary Mr Timothy Antoine as his chief political policy adviser.
Mr Timothy Antoine, however, seems even more confused than the minister of finance and as such the entire ministry is in disarray. The disarray within this ministry is manifested in the incoherent, contradictory and inconsistent information given to the public by both the minister of finance and his PS. It is also manifested in the absent of the voice of the chief economic adviser to the prime minister and minister of finance, Mr Patrick Antoine, on matters of national importance. The chief architect of the so called 'new economy' is AWOL / MIA.
Blessed with great intellect and a killer political instinct Dr Mitchell has been unable to use his God-given skills and talent for the benefit of the country and its people. He has however manipulated his way to the leadership of the country masked in deceit and deception. He continues to enrich himself and his cronies at the expense of the poor, the young people and the middle class workers. Instead of championing the cause of the poor, dispossessed and the vulnerable, his administration is protecting big business the major contributors to his election campaign. The removal of the NDC-initiated free barrels program is one such example. The program assisted the poor and vulnerable in the society. Big businesses are against the program for reasons that are rather selfish.
Having the distinction of the longest serving prime minister, Dr Mitchell has cultivated a reputation as the nation's worst public servant because of his deceit deception, irresponsibility, lack of accountability and transparency. He is not a very wise and brilliant finance minister. He is not capable of managing that ministry effectively and the citizens of the country are suffering as a result. History will recall that, on the occasions where Dr Mitchell has made himself minister of finance, the economy regressed with increasing debts, deficits and inflation. His lust for money is predominantly the reason why he loves that ministry. He is just not a competent minister of finance and it's time that he gives up that portfolio. His December 10th budget should be the last budget that he presents as finance minister.
Having criticised Hon Nazim Burke during the rule of the NDC, Dr Mitchell has proved that he is just not competent as minister of finance and that Nazimatics was right and he is dead wrong. Nazimatics didn't impose income tax on the workers of the country. Nazimatics didn't take the country down the path of the IMF and structural adjustment; neither did Nazimatics fleece the National Insurance Scheme $20 million dollars. The workers of the country would prefer Nazimatics a million times over the 'voodoo economics' of Dr Mitchell and the NNP.
The minister of finance has no vision and is shortsighted. He operates as a narcissist with a major attachment dysfunction. Even as he continues to fail as the minister of finance, he stubbornly hangs on to that portfolio in an effort to preserve his ego. Running the ministry of finance is not about the preservation of one’s ego. It is about using the finances of the country to provide the necessary goods and services to the people. The minister of finance often exhibits the symptoms of someone suffering from narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). His action is characterised by unwanted feelings of self-importance, entitlement and grandiosity. He seeks admiration, but lacks the feeling of empathy; gloating in the suffering and pain felt by the people.
Narcissists have such an elevated sense of self-worth that they value themselves as inherently better than others, when in reality they have a fragile self esteem, cannot handle criticism and will often try to compensate for this inner fragility by belittling or disparaging others in an attempt to validate their own self worth. Comments and criticism about others are vicious from sufferers of NPD, in an attempt to boost their own self-esteem.
The people of Grenada are very familiar with this type of behaviour demonstrated by the prime minister. His disparaging remarks about Tillman Thomas and Hon Nazim Burke are well known to all and sundry, even when the evidence suggests otherwise. He focuses so much in criticising these individuals and the NDC because he can't deliver as leader of the country.
NPD sufferers are extremely exploitative of others to satisfy their own self interest. The dismissal of thousands of voters by the NNP is an indication of the exploitative nature of the prime minister. Thousands of very productive workers have been fired and replaced by folks with the IQ of a fowl, creating more inefficiency in the public service. These sufferers expect to be recognised as superior and special without superior and commensurate achievements , they expect constant attention and admiration while they envy others and believe others envy them. They are pre-occupied with thoughts and fantasies of great success, power and intelligence. They are arrogant in attitude and behaviour and lack empathy, are unwilling to recognise or identify with the feelings and needs of others, hence the reason for the draconian taxation on the people. It must be mentioned that Dr Mitchell prior to the February 19 elections indicated that the NNP is strongly against further taxation of the people and “will not” impose more taxes.
Instead of using the little energy that he has attempting to belittle Tillman Thomas and Nazim Burke, the minister of finance must instead occupy himself with serious activities that would address the serious economic malaise facing the country. Making disparaging comments and criticising Nazim Burke and Tillman Thomas in the true style of a narcissist is not the solution to the problems facing Grenada . There is nothing creative or innovative in casting disparaging remarks on another individual. Even the 'drunks' are capable of doing that. The country expects the minister of finance to be an individual who is capable of communicating with them at a certain level and not engaging day after day in punching under the belt. Grenada deserves much better.
In an effort to pay wages, salaries and back pay to the public workers, the minister of finance and prime minister has forced the national insurance scheme (NIS) to purchase $20 million in treasury bills. This is gross irresponsibility by the minister of finance and prime minister with the monies of the monies of the workers of the country. The allegation that the NNP administration has refused to pay to the NIS the 5% percent of the workers pay to the NIS for the last eight months is very disturbing. This action will result in the NIS not being in a position to meet its obligations to the contributors of the scheme. This action by the minister of finance, if it is true, is reckless, malicious and vindictive. Where there is no vision the people perish. While it may be tempting to say that the Grenadian electorate too has no vision and has myopic vision , they deserve the benefit of the doubt.
The December 10th budget will no doubt include some very draconian austerity measures on the backs of the people. The finance minister and prime minister is the same individual who from 1995 -2008 increased the national debt from $340 million to $1.8 billion due to a lack of vision and shortsighted political expediency. The IMF, World Bank and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank didn't agree with his economic policies, especially the removal of personal income tax. These financial institutions are vindicated while the prime minister and minister of finance must turn around and swallow his pride and vomit. Having served three consecutive terms during that era, Dr Mitchell was unable to formulate a long term economic development plan for Grenada . A failure of enormous proportion.
The lack of vision and long term sustainable planning on the part of the longest serving prime minster and finance minister is the sole factor responsible for Grenada's economic plight. No amount of sugar coating or blame game can erase this fact. Grenada will never see light ahead in the tunnel unless and until there is a positive change, which must include the removal of the finance minister. That is the reality of the situation and it makes absolutely no sense to continue with the status quo. It is time for basic common sense to prevail. The probability that Dr Mitchell and the NNP get this right is 0.0000000001. I am a very optimistic and realistic individual; this is a very conservative probability that will not happen in my lifetime and I am certain it won't happen in yours. So, folks, get on your life support system. Where there is no vision the people perish. Hon Nazim Burke is right. Dr Mitchell is wrong. Burke is an economist; the doctor is a narcissist. Who would you bet on to manage the finances of the country? No doubt the Hon Nazim Burke.