NEW YORK, USA — Following his executive action taken against former consul general Derrick James and ambassador to the United Nations Denis Antoine to redeploy them from New York to other nations recently, Grenada Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell made his first return to the Big Apple to participate in what Grenadians described as an invitation only, “sort of town hall” style meeting with his former political support group.
The event was reportedly not open to the public but, according to one attendee, Mitchell blamed James and Antoine for the previous “mess” in New York over the lack of consular services for what is the largest Grenadian Diaspora in the United States.
As in the past, Mitchell called on his New National Party (NNP) New York supporters to come together under one umbrella, one banner and unite but, according to Grenadian New Yorkers, that might be impossible because Mitchell is perceived as having turned his back on his onetime loyal supporters, who now have turned their backs on him.
“The members of the original NNP support group, who went out of their way to help Mitchell to become the prime minister of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique in the last general election, didn’t even get an ounce of gratitude, recognition or even a basic ‘thank you’ for their efforts. Simply put, Mitchell betrayed his supporters; he went his way in ungrateful neglect,” said one Grenadian.
Some of the NNP supporters added that they are loyal to the NNP and they believe in its principles, but not in the way it practices its politics.
Although the prime minister in his discussion reportedly apologized to those invited, his invitation only event was largely to mobilize the Grenadian community in preparation for the next general election.
He was joined at the meeting by Grenada’s new consul general to New York, Rosemarie Welsh, and also by Elwin Steele, one of Mitchell’s longtime loyal supporters and a foot soldier in the NNP for over 20 years, who spoke of Mitchell as an intellectual, a man of great values and vision, who Steele believes is getting things done for Grenada and its people.
However, many Grenadians believe otherwise and are unhappy at the state of the country’s economy.
“Inequality and the concentration of economic and political power have made these ‘meetings’ campaigns less a marketplace of competing ideas and more a contest of carefully targeted sound bites,” said one observer.