When I learned that Keith C. Mitchell and his NNP had won the general election overwhelmingly as I had predicted, I felt it was more than a victory for the man. It was a vindication of the Grenadian people. They made sure that this election was about the things that mattered to them; work, home, family, the economy, health care, education, freedom of speech-not about political grudges and briefcase scandals.
Our messages had cut through the toxic atmosphere in Grenada to reach the voters. We recognized the people’s personal concerns could become political if they used their voices and their votes to be heard, that they did. Mitchell would have his chance to “build a bridge to the twenty-first century”, and I would do my best to help him, and that I did. Say it ain’t so, Michael.
Breaking away from Keith Mitchell was strictly my decision. Mitchell promised to do things differently. He said, “Helen, I am a changed man, never again will I make the same mistakes that I have made in the past.”
“Never again” is a powerful but empty phrase. He lied. I hate liars.
The lesson is don’t protect your corrupt leadership, cut your ties with those who cannot represent you with dignity and integrity and save our institution. Let the public know that there is zero tolerance. I decided to disband because I did not like his government agenda that includes the sale of Grenadian passports and the attempt to terminate and criminalize our free speech.
We must escalate our efforts to ensure a future in which Grenada would be secure from violence and terrorism. In 2008 people said, “Mitchell was a pillar of salt.” Today, we are just a people left alone in the dark, and we’re so cold, say it ain’t so, Michael. Remember also that David brought down Goliath. The NNP is a very weak government, soon it will come crumbling down, and it will disappear into the ground, like the GULP, MBPM, TNP. Remember I told you so. This is not an attack against the man, but against his destructive policies. The NNP administration has surpassed its 100-day mark. Their self imposed deadline, not my deadline, or the people of Grenada. It’s the NNP deadline.
Mr Prime Minister, freedom of speech is an ideal for which people are prepared to die. We don’t need political fear and hatred. We must denounce discrimination on the basis of free speech, a profound embedded prejudice that Mitchell and his government has put on us. The air is changing in Grenada we must not allow it to happen. What has happened to Mitchell’s generosity of spirit that was once humbling and inspiring?
Mr PM, why did you allow this law that you have chosen to be passed; this law that you have imposed on our people to take effect? This law is hostile and mean spirited. Are we heading for another revolution? You need to control your emotions and look deep within your heart for motivation to deal with your pain. Gratitude and forgiveness, which often result from pain and suffering, require tremendous discipline. You need to leave your bitterness and hatred behind. People said “you could never come back”; that you did, you won.
Mitchell had staked his prime ministerial ambition on a poorly thought out slogan masquerading as a commitment to provide the people of Grenada with employment, health care, better education, and protection for all seniors. Those promises have little chance of becoming a reality, and even less of a chance of working out as he’s promised. Mitchell and his government are all but certain to meet the painful gap between a prime minister’s easy talk and his hard duty to deliver. He has yet to answer where he’d find billions to create the much needed employment.
As a prime minister and leader of the NNP, Mitchell has wielded little real power. The government has been slow out of the gate, and is not gaining speed. Is the country showing signs of economic recovery and an increase in consumer confidence? Is the unemployment rate up, down or has it remained the same?
The man who spoke about change and about delivering, the man whom we knew to be a champion in the past, is now in effect a lame duck. Mr Prime Minister, you need to address the country, let the people know that there is no deliverance from you. The government is in deep trouble and the best hope for turning things around would be for them to emphasize the concrete victories that people could acknowledge and applaud.
The PM needs to be more assertive about his government accomplishments and claim credit for what they have done. What have they accomplished since taking office six months ago? This is what the people of the tri-island are asking.
We can’t continue to play games of political “chicken”; we cannot continue to let our poor and less fortunate ones without a safety net. The people continue to suffer enormous anxiety and hardship. Unemployment is high in the communities and parents are worried about young people who have nothing to do.
I know one thing of Grenadian women, they have courage like myself and I am filled with pride and respect for them. Our women know very well that despite progress we have made economically, politically and socially, many obstacles remain. Grenadian women are themselves an emblem of the opportunities and promises that democracy represents.
We will continue to advocate for the importance of women’s issues and social development in Grenada; we must continue to speak frankly about issues such as minority rights, environmental damage and flawed election procedures and to criticize the government’s attempts to terminate and criminalize our free speech, no matter how he sugar-coats it. Any policy that deprives us we should stop it, When the PM wants to lay off workers, we should not allow it to happen. We must make sure it stays within the constitutional bounds. Mitchell’s tactics occasionally have led to criticism that he is too autocratic. We must never give up on hope for a better future for our people.
Partisan politicking is nothing new in Grenada, it comes with the territory. But it is the politics of personal destruction, visceral, mean-spirited laws to ruin the lives of people freedom of speech that the majority of the people of Grenada find disheartening and bad for the country, bad for democracy. Should we conclude that Mitchell has become a communist? We surely don’t need a PM who rules with injustice or a spineless vacillating ruler dominated by his own fears of people accusing him of everything.
The economy is down, way down, that alone should diminish his government. Mitchell sees a silver lining in every cloud; the majority of Grenadians who elected his government into political office see thunderstorms. Almost immediately his impulsiveness and rightwing bombast is raising red flags for him and his party.
The Mitchell government and its advisors need to hammer out policies to jump start the economy. I have heard Grenadians talk about the hardships, of coping with rising medical bills. It is their belief that our health care system could be more efficient and that every Grenadian who needs medical attention should receive it. Losing someone you know is indescribably painful. I can’t bear thinking how much harder it would be if the loss were avoidable.
Are we realistic about the challenges that lay ahead for the people of Grenada? Or as the old saying goes, “Hope for the best, plan for the worst.” We the people of Grenada must convey the real life dimension of the health care problem we are experiencing in Grenada. As a woman, I am concerned about the health of families and the health of our country. I’ve always believed that people should be judged on the basis of actions and consequences, not just what they say and claim to stand for. It seems that we have a tyrannical dictator as our PM.