NNP: One Hundred Days Fear
To some astute observers, NNP boarded a train back to office in November 2010 when NDC MPs Peter David and Glynis Roberts failed to show up at Governor General’s Residence to take their oath of office. These ministers were reassigned to other ministries as a result of PM Thomas decision to reshuffle his cabinet. They did sign eventually and in the press conference that followed a well regarded NDC stalwart made reference to “our side”. The internal division that was brewing for some time became a full blown public issue. Ugly, sure it was.
In hindsight, one can say that it marked the beginning of the end so by nightfall. February 19th 2013, Jonah rode back to office with all 15 seats. The NNP masses were ecstatic and so were the NDC expellees who were so overcome with hatred and disdain for their “party” that anything but Tillman and Nazim was acceptable.
Ten clear days transpired between the swearing in the Prime Minister and the rest of the Cabinet. For those ten days the country was ruled by one man, Keith Claudius Mitchell. The first moves involved the Royal Grenada Police Force. Without a cabinet meeting, the Commissioner of Police was sent packing (on leave they say), and so too were the Head of FIU, Special Branch and Immigration Departments.
The Public service was next. The Cabinet Secretary was asked to write her own job description for her new assignment; political appointees were warned before so the left and the lowly placed Housing, Community Development and the outreach officers were swept aside, many of them unskilled single mothers who up to today do not know where to turn. The most glaring was the limited shuffle of Permanent Secretaries. The PS in the Prime Minister’s Office sent to the Ministry of Finance to take charge of Cooperatives. The list of unchanged PSs tells a story of what loyalty means to the NNP. You are rewarded; Great Job ladies.
A new Speaker was elected and Governor General Glean read out the throne speech. Casino gambling became a priority issue and so did selling passports. The more things change, the more things remain the same. The Prime Minister then announced to the world that Grenada could not pay its bills on current arrangements. The crows had finally come home to roost as most of the debt items which got us into this mess were contracted by the same NNP;The NNP of Mitchell, Nimrod, Bowen, Modeste- Curwen not to mention Terry Forrester and Patrick Antoine. Same khaki pants.
In the meantime, Hamlet and company were unleashed on the country. The Press was duly lectured to consult before you publish or things can take a different turn. Self censorship has become the order of the day. The net result is that almost 90 % of the press (print and electronic) is under the control of or heavily influenced by the NNP shock force led by Hamlet.
We will deliver has now become a tasteless slogan as ordinary people are clamouring for the NNP delivery truck. The Imani work was bandied about as a savior of the Youth until Ali Dowden had to impress on the nation that Imani is not a work but a training and certifying program. So much for the Imani Queen and her hat which Caribupdate attempted to showcase but Grenadians was not impressed. Add Delma to that it makes it all the more amusing.
Former NDC MP Peter David found himself making trips to Venezuela with Nikki Steele and PM Mitchell himself. The picture which Carib update published left many non Grenadians to ask who looks like the PM. Certainly David walked with his chest up while Mitchell was grinning like you know who.
The foreign diplomats were recalled and an impressive lineup was announced by Nimrod and not Steele. Karl Hood –China, Derek James- Honorary Consul General New York and Joslyn Whiteman got a posting in London. Clearly those persons are the best on offer to promote the country’s image abroad. So too Boards of Statutory Bodies were announced. Husband and wives featured as well as some curious appointments which tell us that “Dey ent change”. Political loyalty has a higher value than competence.
The Budget was duly read and passed in accordance with the law. There was an amusing monologue in the lower house where the NNP cussed the nonexistent opposition and rubbed each other’s ego. Tobias Clement urged members present to pay their taxes. This million dollar budget was produced by the same technocrats who coined the last budget presented by Nazim Burke. The NNP said on the campaign trail that the problem the country face was management and downplayed the international economic crisis. In a few short weeks they changed their tune, the international crisis has just arrived on the shores of Grenada.
May Day 2013 was quite revealing. The teachers led the charge, The once militant TAWU marched as if they were following a hearse and to add insult to injury , they came to life to the lyrics of “Kickeen she backdoor”. The Prime Minister visited many union fetes something that was unthinkable in previous years. In Politics, there are no permanent enemies. Many workers took careful note.
The once bombastic Chamber of Commerce seems to have lost its fire. Their self imposed silence is deafening as they try to give platitudes to their NNP friends now in government hoping that delivery truck will pull up at the doors of their businesses. In the meantime, they are still struggling, unable to pay bills but they have so politically compromised themselves that silence is the best option at least for now.
The country’s first female Governor General was sworn in and in the transition from Sir Carlyle Glean; Sir Daniel Williams acted as GG for three days. This must be a first in the history of the Commonwealth where a former GG acted in the position. NNP scored another first as the outgoing Governor General was not invited to the swearing –
in of his successor. These things could only happen under the watch of the NNP.
Now that the first 100 days is fast approaching, The NNP pulled off a publicity stunt by “opening the CCC project” In Mama Cannes .It is an attempt to lay the basis to boast that the CCC project was delivered. Real work on the project is still many weeks or even months away. The quarry at Mt Hartman is in a mess, the asphalt plant is in a similar condition in Perseverance and other preparatory work is still to be done. The snide grin of the CCC representative throughout the ceremony (charade) spoke volumes. The NNP was at it deceptive best.
The first 100 days has brought joy to a few. The celebratory mood has evaporated. Some MPs are now on the political “missing persons” list. Others did not cater for the “hassle” of having to dip in their pockets every day to provide handouts. The MP for the South is reported to have expressed her unhappiness about this aspect of the politics. After all she doesn’t need that but that is what the reality of political power is in the Spice.
Grenada will be on pause economically for a long time to come. The most important task facing the Government is the restructuring of the public debt. If that is not done successfully, we will find ourselves knocking the door of the IMF. In the meantime PM Mitchell is carefully NNPising the public service by making strategic appointments in an effort to consolidate his stranglehold on political power.
Once again the country has revisited “spying” on NDC political activity. The statement from the RGPF is as ridiculous as it is amusing. Commissioner James, a decent man as he is, seems no to be abreast as to what his officers are doing. It is a known fact that there are officers who are guided by political considerations when exercising their responsibilities. That minority element voiced their pro NNP bias without concern for the oath to protect and serve the people. Interestingly the “spying” incident at the NDC headquarters in 2008 happened when the same Commissioner James was in office.
This country needs prayers.
May 27, 2013