Grenada’s newly elected PM Dickon Mitchell promises to lead by example

By Lincoln DePradine

Dickon Mitchell & GG Dame Cecile La Grenade at his swearing in as PM

It’s a week since corporate lawyer Dickon Mitchell has been sworn in as the new prime minister of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, and he has been using the time to hold what he describes as “detailed debriefing’’ sessions with senior public officers in the government service.

The sessions, with officials such as the permanent secretaries in the ministries of finance and foreign affairs, are intended to obtain an update “in terms of the current state’’ of operations in the public service, Mitchell said.

“I was satisfied with their professionalism,’’ Prime Minister Mitchell said, commenting on the meetings that also have included discussions with Commissioner of Police, Edvin Martin.

Mitchell’s National Democratic Congress (NDC) won nine of 15 seats in Grenada’s June 23 general election.

He is yet to assign ministerial portfolios to members of his team. The composition of the cabinet, he indicated, will follow the completion of the debriefing sessions with ministry officials.

“Currently, ministries are aligned in a particular way. We want to look at that to see whether this is something that lines up with what we want to achieve,’’ said Mitchell.

“Some changes are going to have to be made,’’ he added, with the aim of setting up ministries that “properly fit’’ the agenda of his NDC administration.

It’s a consideration that would help, ultimately, in determining “who will constitute the cabinet of Grenada. We want to make sure that we have square pegs in square holes’’, the new Grenada leader said.

New Grenada PM Dickon Mitchell

Last October, Mitchell was chosen to lead the NDC, which had failed to win any parliamentary seats in elections contested against the New National Party (NNP) in 2013 and 2018.

Longtime NNP leader, Dr Keith Mitchell, was seeking a sixth term as Grenada’s prime minister at last week’s national polls.

Former PM Mitchell, who turns 76 in November, failed in his party’s reelection bid, but he regained his St George North-West seat that he has won consistently since 1984.

The June 23 election victory was “nothing short of a miracle,’’ the NDC leader said at his swearing-in as prime minister. He acknowledged God “for the wonderful miracle he has created by giving the National Democratic Congress and myself the opportunity to form the government of Grenada’’.

“I wish to assure the nation that, under my leadership, the National Democratic Congress must lead by example by taking the united citizens-first approach to our governance,’’ Prime Minister Mitchell said at the ceremony, which was presided over by Governor General Dame Cecile La Grenade.

The NDC, which was founded in 1987, is forming the government of Grenada for the third time in its history.

Dickon Mitchell, 44, is Grenada’s youngest prime minister since Maurice Bishop in 1979. Bishop was 34 when he assumed leadership of the country as head of the People’s Revolutionary Government.

New Prime Minister Mitchell, who also is MP for the Parish of St David, has pledged “to go to work’’ on behalf of the Grenadian people. “We will seek to do so in a transparent and open manner. The key criteria will be merit,’’ he said.

“We need to run our country based on merit, based on hard work, based on the desire and the willingness to welcome and to find solutions to the challenges that face us.’’