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By Professor Richard A. Byron-Cox PhD
The breaking news a week ago was James Mitchell is back in the NDP saddle and boy Friday will remain stunted, never to become Man Friday. Actually, James never left the only place he realised his dream of being proclaimed king! This all-consuming desperate need to inhabit Olympus, made him the only Prime Minister (PM), in the history of our Caribbean to name a landmark after himself!! And one of two, -the other, his friend, Eric Gairy, the notorious Grenadian PM, founder of the murderous Mongoose Gang- who sent their names to England to be knighted.
As regards this latter fact, PM Gonsalves needs to have Buckingham Palace quash this obscenity. I hear you now, “Wow! Richard! That’s going too far!” Lend me your ear momentarily, for I am never spurious; my personal decency elevates me beyond scandalum magnatum. I am a vessel of truth.
You may believe that James’ foray into politics began with the Labour Party in 1966. A year earlier he had tried to launch his “Grand Caribbean Unity Movement.” It turned out a “smelly affair” literally, as James’ self-proclaimed grandness was dismissed as filth. Vindictive to core, Mitchell never forgave “main landers” for defecating on his imagined majesty.
The monstrosity he constructed in the heart of Kingstown on the spot of his humiliation, is but part of our continuing collective punishment, and price he extracts for our checkmating this leatherette Napoleon. Much of what James’ did evidences this punishment, which he even extended to our children, victims of appalling learning conditions! Why should such a Nero be allowed to use our name to clothe himself in robes of dignity?
Forced to accept that “lowliness is young ambition’s ladder,” James joined Labour on whose ticket he won the Grenadines seat in 1966 and 67. According to Dr. Kenneth John: political scientist, historian and a self-proclaimed Mitchell chair leader; James having “calculated that he did not stand much of a chance succeeding to the leadership of the party…. picked a quarrel with the party, and was expelled…” In the 1972 elections that followed, James won the Grenadines seat as an independent.
It remains his private political fiefdom, created and secured by his preaching to our citizens living in the Grenadines a “we versus them” diatribe, crystallized in his 1980 Grenadines Declaration. No leader preaching alienation of people one from the other thereby sowing absolute mistrust should be free to use that same state in sponsorship of his empty vainglory, and wilful intention to doctor history!
Unfortunately for us, the 72 elections ended in a tie, and history warned us of James, exposing his Machiavellian outsmarting of Joshua to claim his coveted prize: Vincentian Zeus. The interests of the nation were irrelevant. His Napoleonic thrust for self-aggrandisement, being lord of the manner, was all that mattered; another reason his self-awarded “Sir” is a shameless attempt to camouflage and disguise his rare breed of narcissism!
By 1974 Joshua had had enough and withdrew. In the elections that followed James was banished to his private fiefdom. Like the little Corsican, he planned his comeback for the 79 elections and was again humiliated! Incensed; he decided he would break up the country if he couldn’t rule it!! He penned his Grenadines Declaration, which survives as damning proof of his self-serving politics. This declaration was never withdrawn even after James had been the elected dictator of the country for almost two decades. Such political ingratitude, lack of statesmanship, attack on the unity of our people, and unpatriotic actions all alien to the nature of a noble man, have never been practised by any other politician!
By the early 80s labour had become infested with political arrogance, corruption, and intolerance to dissent, driving the electorate in the waiting arms of this vindictive narcissist in 1984. And he made sure he did the Sherlock number on us. He claims to have never victimized anyone.
In fact, James practised collective punishment on the nation. When Eustace paid 19 million in interest on Ottley Hall, whose money was that? When James allowed Kingstown to wallow in so much garbage that cruise ships refused to visit, who suffered? Who were belittled when SVG’s name was dragged in gutters across the globe as a result of the biggest cocaine haul ever -3 billion dollars worth- found on a Vincentian flagged ship? Remember how James embarrassed us during the Fletcher case? And there is so, so, so much more1! Yes, we paid collectively, and dearly. All told, my estimate is that James’ near two decades autocracy caused us approximately three billion dollars. So down with falsification of history by upholding the ignoble!
NDP, the machinery James used to hoist himself upon a good people was sent packing in 2001; but the Macbeth in James has conquered all reason, leaving our Don Quixote deluded that SVG is his fiefdom.
This man who sullied SVG’s name regionally, declaring “fraud elections is better than no elections,” neglected to arrest the blacklisting of SVG by many; remain oblivious as our poverty level approached that of Haiti; and who to this day refuses to give account for his abuse of our treasury, our bank and our democracy, must be seen in true and proper historical perspective. Consequently, we must oppose James’ self-deodorizing vehemently!! PM Gonsalves must petition the Queen to right this historical wrong of absolute and everlasting contempt for our nation!!
1 See: James Mitchell: Myth of great Premiership