It did not come as a surprise when former Senator Mr Arley Gill wrote an article, which was published in Caribbean News Now, about “Project Grenada”. Under the guise of providing advice to Prime Minister Mitchell about the content of his Independence address, he waded into the muddied waters which this idea resides. My sources in St George’s advised me that “Project Grenada” was first articulated by the now Senate President Chester Humphrey and not Dr Mitchell. The idea was floated as a precursor to the “count me in” spectacle that allowed Peter David to come out of his political closet. This he did in what some commentators termed a shameful act of political opportunism.
Mr Gill, like his mentor Peter David, was expelled from the then ruling National Democratic Congress in September 2012. From then on they vowed to “deal with Tillman Thomas and Nazim Burke”. It is alleged that the expellees and their cohorts provided intelligence and advice to the NNP prior to the 2013 poll. The NNP won all seats; they were elated and openly celebrated the electoral defeat of their former colleagues.
In the aftermath of the electoral victory, Dr Mitchell had all the cards in his pocket. He went about his politics as he knows best, one man rule for his friends and NNP fat cats. Project Grenada was scoffed at by Dr. Mitchell at the beginning and even now his articulation on the issue is a muddled babble that as deceitful as it in unconvincing.
Mr. Gill’s feeble attempt to reason with the reading public is so pathetic as it exposes the opportunistic intent of creating an umbrella to give much need political shade to Messer’s. Humphrey and David. He deliberately leaves out the fact up to today; the vast majority of the hierarchy of the NNP is uncomfortable with the presence of the expellees in their ranks. This arrangement was made by the Prime Minister without consultation.
I was present in Grenada for the 2008 elections when Mr. Gill was spiting fire and brimstone on Mitchell and the NNP with his popular slogan “More Fire” accusing them of every imaginable political sin on the earth. Today Mr Gill wants us to believe that Mitchell offered and they accepted to be part of some grand coalition under ‘Project Grenada”. The Prime Minister doesn’t need Messer’s. Humphrey and David as he has already concluded that the value of these political assets have now descended to “Junk Bond “status. A friend sent me a cartoon recently about Mr. Humphrey which suggests that he has now become an object of public ridicule.
I was amused at his reference to reconciliation and forgiveness. Unity is always a sought after objective, no quarrel with that, but there must be some principle and some stated objective to be achieved. This should lead to some adjustment or behavioural change of former opponents in a way that the citizenry considers acceptable as the whole spectacle is played out in the public domain.
PM Mitchell has not changed the basic tenets of his politics. The same old khaki pants of divide and rule, excessive politicisation of the public service, jobs for the incompetent boys, the dishing out of state resources to the NNP tribe, the absence of a meritocracy where political affiliation bears more weight than competence. The list goes on and on.
Mr. Gill must realise that from his vantage point in Dominica, this ill fated project is doomed to failure. There has been no discernible change in the conduct of the NNP and the Prime Minister continues on his march making a difficult economic and social situation even worse. Moreover Mr Gill must understand that no amount of hypocritical eulogising of the Prime Minister by Mr. David can change his tattered image.
The fact is that the NNP won all seats twice and that is fine for Dr. Mitchell’s CV as a politician. The key thing is what has accrued to us? Unsustainable levels of public debt, a hopelessly divided nation, state management is at its lowest ebb since independence and the people are getting poorer by the day. In what constitute classic examples, the residents of St George NW and St Mark are the most impoverished on the island after thirty years of NNP representation.
The Prime Minister did refer to Project Grenada in his Independence Day speech. He said “Project Grenada means one for all and all for one”. Maybe this is the kind of empty sloganeering that Mr Gill wants us to gravitate to. Grenadians from all walks of life recognises that what is most important is to observe what they do in relation to what they say. Believe you me, the actions of Dr Mitchell and the NNP does not engender confidence. Project Grenada has a credibility deficit that the unholy alliance between Peter David, Chester Humphrey and Dr. Mitchell cannot fill. It is that simple.