Eleven days after losing the 23 June 2022 General Election, Dr Keith Mitchell was on Monday sworn in as the country’s Leader of the Opposition. The New National Party (NNP) which won both the 2013 and 2018 General Elections 15-nill, captured 6 of the 15 seats in the recently held election.
“It is both an honour and gratitude that I have accepted the mantle to lead the opposition of the parliament in this country for the immediate period, consistent with Section 66 of the constitution of this country,” he said. Dr Mitchell assured that he will not be the political leader after the party holds its convention in 2023.
“As the current political leader of the new national party, I do not intend to hold this position beyond the party’s next convention. But, let me add, that process of the next convention should be orderly and timely and no one will push the party to do what he or she wants, let it be very clear I will remain committed to representing the people of North West St George’s who have elected me for the last 38 years,” he told members of the party who witnessed the ceremony, held at the Grenada Trade Centre.
He explained to the audience which also comprised the 5 other elected members of Parliament on his party side, that Grenada was able to hold free and fair elections and, in his view, the result reflected the present will of the people. “The principles of democracy have to remain sacrosanct to the point that an opposition can emerge victorious because of the way the NNP governed this country,” he said.
“In a world where the wings of totalitarianism are blowing and where democratic norms are being systematically undermined, we should not take what we have done in the period where we had absolute power in the parliament, we must not take it for granted. I am personally satisfied that under our tenure we have done a lot to promote the institution of democratic activity,” he said.
He used the opportunity to object to the announcement made the Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell that his administration will be seeking a strategic partner for Grenlec, the island’s lone electricity company, to become the majority shareholder within the coming 12 months.
Describing Grenlec as a national security asset, he is of the view that diversifying shares is the better option than privatising the company.
In December 2020, the former NNP Government had to repurchase the majority shares in the lone electricity company from WRB Enterprises Ltd. of Tampa, Florida because of a dispute which was triggered after the Grenada Houses of Parliament approved the 2016 Electricity Supply Act. That piece of legislation provides for the liberalization of the electricity sector.
The repurchase of the shares was based on a Share Purchase Agreement entered in 1994 by the then Nicholas Brathwaite-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) which was voted out of office in 1995.
In a news conference after the swearing-in ceremony, Dr Mitchell said he looks forward to making his contribution to the legislation that will be submitted to the parliament about the sale of the company.