When former Prime Minister, Tillman Thomas championed the good governance agenda and operated under the mantras of transparency and accountability, many good Grenadians, blind-sided by party loyalty, joined with Mitchell to make fun of him. Worse yet, some professed Christians laughed with Mitchell when Mr. Thomas declared himself a soldier for Christ.
The NDC has a proud record of protecting the assets of the country and managing them responsibly and with prudence. Prudent management of state resources redounds to the benefit of all the people. When resources are abused, the few at the top live well while the majority suffers. That is why the people of Grenada should demand better management from the current administration who they gave an overwhelming mandate.
Recently, it was discovered that the NNP administration has been presiding over the misuse of public funds by allowing its party goons, (some, former Parliamentarians) and its current Ministers to rack up exorbitant cell phone bills. The taxpayers of Grenada are paying these bills.
Sheldon Scott is working for the NNP. He operates the NNP’s daily talk show. His bill of $70,000.00 over three months must be connected with his work for the party. Mitchell is the leader of NNP and the head of the Ministry of Finance out of which Sheldon’s phone bill is paid. Mitchell must be blamed.
It is gross abuse when a “media consultant” is allowed to accumulate a $17,000.00 bill in just one month.
During Tillman Thomas’ tenure, he was very strict about keeping Government and party affairs separate. He would not even allow a meeting, considered ‘party’ to be held on Government premises. Now, NNP’s constituency and campaign offices are paid for by taxpayers. Peter David could not accumulate a cell phone bill of almost $20,000.00 under Tillman’s watch.
The NDC pursued Public Sector modernization and reform that would have helped eliminate wastage and abuse in the system. This effort was abandoned by this NNP. Public Officers are all too familiar with Mitchell’s vindictive ways so we understand their fear addressing these matters. That is why we call for comprehensive reform that will include built in checks and balances, so that public servants will not be afraid to do their work. When people exit the service, their account should be disabled and all government property returned without public officers having to feel the weight of their political bosses.
In the absence of built-in checks, what was exposed points to plain dishonesty by the likes of Sheldon Scott, Clifton Paul and others who continue to use Government phones after leaving the Government service. The question is what else are they abusing? Are they still taking free gas at the police station? Are they still holding on to the diplomatic passports? How many people are receiving salaries that they are not working for? Does Mitchell hold a Government of Grenada cheque book?
We understand that Scott had a diplomatic passport up to recently and may still have it. Again, Immigration falls under Dr. Mitchell. Once there is wrongdoing, look for Mitchell.
While this expensive abuse takes place, public servants are denied their pension rights and people cannot get quality health care.
The NNP knows what must be done but are simply too corrupt to do what is right. Oliver Joseph and Dr. Mitchell spoke of a cap on cell phone usage in their attempt to blame the service provider. However, President of the PWU, Rachel Roberts confirmed on Beyond the Headlines, that while there is a cap for public officers, there is none for Ministers and political appointees. We believe the public officer.
Brazen Mitchell went to Montreal and shared blame all over. Once more, he abused and accused public officers knowing well that the state of the service lie squarely at his feet. It is Mitchell who has deliberately and systematically destroyed the public service over the years. Corruption cannot thrive where there is efficiency and propriety in the public service.
The NDC will put right matters where once more we can have a professional, efficient public service. However, Mitchell must be gone for good. We urge our hard working public servants to stand strong. We stand with you.
We have no doubt that the bills for the last three months are just the tip of the iceberg. This has been going on since 2013.
Therefore, we call for a public inquiry into this matter. The Integrity Commission and the Financial Intelligence Unit have a duty to independently investigate this matter and lay criminal charges where appropriate. The beneficiaries of this fraud ought to be made to repay all that the taxpayers have paid and systems put in place to avoid a repeat.
The NDC commends the whistle blower and we encourage others to come forward and expose the corruption taking place in our beloved country. In this period where everything is done in secret, whistleblowers are our heroes and we shall stand with them. We urge you not to be afraid of any threats of reprisals for misconduct for so-called leaks. It can never be misconduct to expose wrongdoing.
Keith Mitchell and his NNP have a long history of misbehaviour and corruption in office and that will not change. It is now left to the people of Grenada to reclaim our country and its integrity once and for all.