‘No one is coming to save us; we have to save ourselves’ – Grenada PM Dickon Mitchell

By Lincoln DePradine

Photos by Garnor Liverpool

PM Dickon Mitchell with Foreign Minister Joseph Andall (sitting)

Grenadians residing in Canada have been thanked for their financial remittances and other forms of assistance to the Caribbean nation, which is celebrating 50 years as an independent nation in 2024.

However, Grenada’s Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell wants Grenadians here in Toronto, and in other parts of the Diaspora, to expand their contributions, saying it’s only nationals that can build and “save’’ the country.

“No one is coming to save us; we have to save ourselves. So, whether it’s the World Bank, whether it’s the IMF, they’re not coming to save us. We have to save ourselves, and that we, include us here in the Diaspora,’’ Prime Minister Mitchell told Grenadians last Sunday at a townhall in Scarborough.

Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell
Dickon Mitchell with mom and brother

“We’re not going to move Grenada forward, we’re not going to transform Grenada, if we do not in fact embrace the collective experience, knowledge and skills-set of the Diaspora.’’

Mitchell’s visit to Ontario coincided with the one-year anniversary of his success in leading the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to a general election victory in Grenada on June 23, 2022.

“It has been an amazing one-year in office,’’ said Joseph Andall, Grenada’s foreign affairs, trade and export development minister, who also addressed Sunday’s meeting.

Consul General Dawne Francois left

“People voted for change and not simply exchange, added Andall, a former teacher of English, Spanish and History. “I must say that, for what one year ago was literally a raw, rookie government, we have been able to accomplish much. We recognize that a nation cannot move forward until, and unless, the people are motivated to get up, work together and get things done.’’

Sunday’s meeting was preceded on Saturday by an NDC-organized fundraising gala in Concord.

Mitchell, a lawyer by profession, previously has visited Canada, where his mother and other relatives have resided. But, the weekend visit was his first as prime minister.

“I had the pleasure of experiencing a truly joyous occasion at the gala organized by the NDC Support Group in Canada. It was a night brimming with laughter, heartfelt conversations, and an opportunity to connect with so many remarkable individuals,’’ Mitchell commented on the Concord event.

“The memories we created together at the gala will forever be cherished. They serve as a testament to the power of unity, collaboration and shared vision.’’

Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell with Louis

Diplomats, politicians and private sector officials were among those who packed a room at Peter and Paul Banquet Hall last Sunday to meet, greet, listen and ask questions of the prime minister and his foreign minister.

The prime minister commended Grenadians overseas for their “unwavering and relentless support’’ for their Caribbean homeland, while admitting that donors often face “roadblocks’’ that frustrate them. Their help is “rejected’’ and seems not to be appreciated, he conceded.

“Despite all of this, you keep coming, you keep helping, you keep volunteering, you keep giving. So, we recognize there has to be a mindset shift. A Grenadian anywhere is a Grenadian, entitled to contribute and help with nation building,’’ said Mitchell.

One decision already taken, he revealed, is establishing and to have “up and running’’ by month-end, a “donations desk’’ at the ministry of health in the capital, St George’s, “to eliminate difficulties in making donations’’.

Government also plans on engaging nationals abroad through what is known as the Grenada Diaspora Advisory Council (GDAC).

“I want to encourage all of you to become members of GDAC; whether it’s in healthcare, infrastructure, education, volunteerism, disaster preparedness, fundraising, whatever the case may be – your expertise is required,’’ Mitchell said.

“I appreciate the sacrifices that many of you make, and are still continuing to make, to make Grenada a small but beautiful island.’’