Grenada’s Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell, today vowed accountability for his administration in the face of the whitewash it gave the main opposition party at the recent election to claim all 15 seats in that country’s legislature.
Far from being a government with no opposition, even as he prepares to present his first of two budgets this year by the end of the month, Mitchell promised that interest groups like the trade unions, the church as well as constituents would have access to his cabinet and all MPs.
The leader of that country’s New National Party told reporters in Barbados during a one-day visit today that having had the same experience of claiming all 15 seats in 1999, he had learnt from past mistakes.
Stating that combative trade unions were one of the failures in the term before when he had no opposition, looking forward to the presentation of the budget, the prime minister said: “We are engaging the trade union movement and all of the social partners, the churches, and it appears that they are relatively comfortable with some of our initiatives, broadly speaking that we have given them. So we will continue to use that forum.”
If there was no consultation, he said he believed the media would call them into account for their stewardship.
“I am going to make sure that I stick to the ground, become more open and one of the things I am planning to do outside of engaging the social partners, who traditionally have not been supportive of us but who certainly I think are more open to our new modus operandi, is to deepen the consultative process at the village level.
“We are now constructing what I call village meetings, village councils where we go into a constituency and my constituency is an example, I would have monthly meetings in my constituency and this will be captured by the Government Information Service, so all persons in the constituency are entitled to come challenge the representative on areas that they believe, either complement them on their successes, the areas they are happy with, and challenge them on areas they perceive neglect. Therefore the representatives have to be on their toes and I have to be on my toes as prime minister,” he said.
He believes this could lessen the need for the rise of a new combative oppositions, further warning his Cabinet that arrogance will not be permitted.
“I have a very good team and many of them are younger than I am and they want to be there past my time. They will not be there, even in my time, if they don’t conduct themselves in a way that sends the message that humility is far better than arrogance,” he said, adding that he had already issued this warning at their swearing in. (LB)