Our Readers' Opinions
April 1, 2010
Papa Mitchell, Father of SVG


EDITOR: There is so much misconception and deception by many people for political reasons about the track record of the New Democratic Party administration during its 17 years in office.

One Talk Show host said the NDP never did anything, others with left leaning tendencies like to associate the NDP with right wing policies and supporting big business.{{more}}

The administration’s working class nature and the party’s record in fighting to alleviate poverty is now highlighted in their achievements.

The NDP assumed the mantle of power in 1984, when the banana industry was king. The creation of the European Union in 1992 spelt doom for the banana Industry. The NDP sought to reposition the economy to that of tourism after the impending collapse of banana. With this endeavour, they built airports in Canouan, Union Island and Bequia.

The NDP realized that the lack of electricity in many parts of the archipelago placed a constraint on development and to the tourism thrust that the government was pursuing. The electrification of the Grenadines was undertaken to this effect. This was also extended beyond the Dry River, where the people were living in the “dark ages”.

The government further assisted the people above the Dry River by allowing them to own the lands they had worked for centuries by carrying out the most comprehensive land reform ever conducted in this country. The descendants of the Caribs became owners of their own lands in this country.

A further part of the provision of electricity to this country was the placing of streetlights throughout the length and breadth of this country. Streetlights were mainly found in Kingstown when the NDP took office in 1984. The Mitchell administration embarked on a program of placing streetlights throughout the whole country. For example, Glen only had streetlights up to the mental institution.

In education, his magic cannot be surpassed. He built the A’ Level College, opening up post secondary education to many students who attended the less developed schools. The NDP administration built the Georgetown Secondary and Bethel High Schools. At the primary level, they built the C.W. Prescod, Greggs, Union and Sandy Bay Government.

As part of its poverty alleviation strategy, the NDP administration introduced the School Feeding Program and Book Loan Scheme to help many disadvantaged children.

To uplift the standard of education in this country, it introduced Professional Development Week, the Curriculum, Planning and Evaluation units.

The Mitchell administration also provided Economic Cost for all students studying at the University of the West Indies. This made it possible for many Vincentians to pay their own way to the University, as the bulk of the cost was now covered by the Government.

Amazingly, the Mitchell administration also encouraged students to study in Cuba and legitimately gain employment in this country. The Labour Party under Milton Cato had adopted a policy of not hiring those who studied in Cuba.

Many argued that the NDP built “Guti-track” roads in its 17 years in power. How can this be correct? Yes, they built many feeder roads for farmers and opened up many new villages by building many tracks that people could walk comfortably on and get access for their vehicles. He also rebuilt the Leeward Road System which today is in disrepair.

The Mitchell administration deliberately undertook projects that are income generating and not a liability on public finance. The Campden Park Container Port, The Cruise Ship Birth and the Fish and Vegetable Markets are some of the main revenue earners in this country today.

To assist with communication, they introduced streetlights, bus sheds for people to also shelter from the elements and the Tokyo Bus Terminal.

Other accomplishments were the construction of the Financial Complex to alleviate rental cost to the government. They introduced the National Lottery, which today finances many sporting activities and a source of bridging finance to the government.

The NDP administration never boasted about their successes, even though their accomplishments were many. However, it is only those who are undoubtedly biased would disapprove of the work of the father of the nation.

Ato Gison