BY MARCIA BRAVEBOY
ST GEORGE’S, Grenada — Grenada’s newly elected Prime Minister Keith Mitchell put his cabinet on alert after taking office – telling them that the government will not be business as usual.
“Grenada is ready to engage the world,” Mitchell said to regional leaders and Grenadians, who came out in their numbers to witness the inauguration of his ministers on Sunday.
Getting the economic engine running, the Grenadian leader promised to implement fresh initiatives to encourage investors and investment while warning the nation that this is not the time to assassinate the characters of what he called “good investors” to the country.
The government is looking to tighten its relationship with countries that already have partnered with the tri-island state and will be seeking to expand its relations to Africa, Asia, South and Central America, Chile and other countries where a bipartisan relationship can be especially economically beneficial to Grenada.
Confident about his newly appointed cabinet, Mitchell said they are well able to take Grenada forward and reminded them that their role was to protect jobs already secured by the Grenadian people and to help in creating an environment that will see a lot more people employed.
Bringing the employment figure down is crucial to the New National Party (NNP) government as that was one of the main pillars that crumbled under the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Administration, taking the NDC government down with it at the February19 polls.
Mitchell chided the former NDC administration for what he saw as their inaction towards a broken economy. He called it “government insensitivity” and told his cabinet members he wanted all of them to be pure agents of service.
“Insensitivity must give way to a new spring of humility; it takes a lot of energy to be arrogant and little energy to be humble; the Feb. 19 results tells us that the people are ready to punish arrogance and will do it again if we walk that road,” Mitchell warned his team.
The twelve-member cabinet of Mitchell saw three MPs being challenged by their leader to take up other roles and to be the mantle of the keeper of the flame of the country’s democracy.
They were not made members of the cabinet because Mitchell wanted to have a smaller cabinet as a cost cutting measure and to make some of his Parliament members’ backbenchers so they can be considered for placement on the Public Accounts Committee; a committee that has the authority to watchdog the government, especially in the absence of opposition members in the Parliament.
Yolande Bain-Horsford, Tobian Clement and Clifton Paul also will receive increased allowances to better take care of their constituencies and will be briefed on a weekly basis by an appointed cabinet sub-committee.
“The decision to leave the three members out of the cabinet was painful for me personally,” said Mitchell who hinted at a possible rotation of portfolios, disclosing that some of the present cabinet appointments may not be for five years and that the non-cabinet members could be made ministers over time while present ministers will carry on the mantle of non-cabinet functions.
Mitchell said he was not committed to working in the past nor repeating mistakes.
“Bad behavior is not good politics, bad behavior is bad politics,” Mitchell told the thousands of Grenadians who cheered on his historical moment.
Keith Mitchell – Prime Minister, Minister for Finance, Energy, National Security, Disaster Preparedness, Home Affairs, Public Affairs, Public Administration, Implementation and Information
Elvin Nimrod – Deputy Prime Minister: Attorney General, Minister for Legal Affairs, Labour, Local Government and Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs
Gregory Bowen – Communications and Works, Physical Development, Public Utilities and Information Communication Technology
Alvin Dabreo – Minister in the Ministry of Works, Physical Development, Public Utilities, Information and Communication Technology with responsibility for ICT
Anthony Boatswain – Education and Human Resource Development
Clarice Modeste-Curwen – Health and Social Security (NIS)
Roland Bhola – Agriculture, Lands, Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment
Nickolas Steele – Foreign Affairs and International Business
Emmalin Pierre – Youth, Sports and Ecclesiastical Relations
Alexandria Otway-Noel – Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture
Oliver Joseph – Economic Development, Trade, Planning and Cooperative
Delma Thomas – Social Development, Housing and Community Development
Senator Kenny Lalsingh – Parliamentary Secretary for Finance, Home Affairs, Energy, Public Administration and Public Affairs and National Security with responsibility for implementation.
Senator Winston Garraway – Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Home Affairs, Energy, Public Administration and Public Affairs and National Security
Senator Sheldon Scott – Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry Youth, Sports and Ecclesiastical Affairs
Senator Brenda Hood – Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture with responsibility for Culture
The three other senators will be appointed at a later date.