By Lloyd Noel
The emphasis and the winning arguments by the NNP candidates during the election campaign, and by the said party during its term in opposition, for the last two years at least before the election was eventually called five months in advance of the full NDC term was that the Tillman Thomas government had failed to bring any benefits to the people, and the administration as a whole was a total failure in every government department islands-wide.
|Lloyd Noel is a former attorney general of Grenada, prominent attorney at law and political commentator|
And when one considered the existing state of affairs inside the NDC party – in which five of the winning MPs of the 2008 election had abandoned the government – it was difficult to accept any response from the remainder of the MPs, or the newcomers who were replacing the drop-outs for the 2013 elections.
And as the results of February 19 very clearly demonstrated, all the NDC candidates lost the opportunity to win any seat in parliament – and the results created history for the second time, when the NNP under the leadership of Dr Keith Mitchell won all fifteen seats in Parliament.
Now it is early days yet to see any major changes in the departments as such but, since the new leaders knew the weakness and shortcomings that were in existence long before the elections, it should not be so difficult to begin putting systems in place, and introducing measures that can bring immediate relief in the day by day operations of the various ministries or departments.
But the reports coming out of the various departments are that nothing has changed, except the movement of workers – many of whom have been sent home on the basis that the former controllers had employed them because of their party loyalty.
Except for the CCC road maintenance project and de-bushing program – for which the funds had been provided by Kuwait a long time ago, but the last government had problems with the CCC and did not proceed with the project – upon taking over control the new rulers had the contractors back on the job in the first 100 days.
One of the ministries giving serious cause for concern is that of the health and General Hospital in particular – from where a whole lot of complaints are coming, from very ordinary folks who do not have the means to cope with the conditions.
There was always a problem with drugs supply shortage, and patients had to send outside to purchase medicine prescribed by hospital doctors.
That has not changed, and instead patients are now expected to pay a fee for hospitalization in general wards – not any special ward.
If that report is true, it could mean a lot of sick people who need hospitalization for regular attendance, but cannot afford to pay the fees and or buy medicine prescribed, would be denied attendance, even in the general ward of the hospital.
The reports have been making the rounds for some weeks now, so I would expect someone in authority in that ministry must have heard them, and if so a statement or an explanation should be forthcoming to put poor people’s minds at rest – or they will become more ill and the situation a lot worse.
And lately the ministry responsible for national security has been in the spotlight – both at the Richmond Hill Prison and in the police force as a whole.
From very early days of the prime minister and minister of national security taking over control of those departments, we had major changes of the officers in charge.
The acting commissioner of police was sent on leave, and an officer who had retired nearly four years ago, Mr James, was brought back to head the force.
And at the prison, the officer in charge was also sent on leave, and an ex-soldier from the PRG days – who had no prison operation experience – was put in charge.
The latest movements in the police force involve two assistant commissioners (ACP), who were called by the acting commissioner of police and told to go on leave.
It must be that the commissioner did not take such action of his own accord, but would have been instructed by the minister responsible for national security, or his deputy acting on his behalf.
But, whoever it was that gave the orders, that person had no such authority, and the written order had to be handed down by the Public Service Commissioner (PSC) for officers of that standing and position.
I would not believe, that the prime minister and his advisors do not know the procedures for sending officers of that caliber on leave; or if they did not know, there is a well-staffed Legal Department at their disposal – so why fall into those obvious potholes, which have political meddling written all over them?
While it could be accepted that the many areas needing attention to get them back into full operation, and the funding and investors needed to provide the thousands of jobs to put our people back to work, and earning a decent wage in these difficult times, these will take a lot more time to come on stream.
The same cannot be said and must not be allowed to keep on repeating itself whereby the law-abiding citizens are treated with utter disregard and contempt, because it is felt that they hold a different political opinion from those in control of state power.
The level of pettiness and immature behaviour should have vanished from our national undertakings after all we have gone through over the years since independence in 1974.
And even more so, because those in control do not have to go to any extreme to show that they have full power and authority.
It is more than enough time for our national leaders to rise above party-political-pettiness, and demonstrate to all our people that they have what it takes to lead and control our nation-state with fairness, honour and dignity.
We have had far more than enough chaos, and confusion and spitefulness from our politicians over the years – ample time for the absolute winners to chart a brand new course, and bury the backward and petty behaviour patterns of the past.