PM Dr. Keith Mitchell, on MTV programme, Channels 2, 9, 31 & 45
Your Government And You, with Jerry Malcom,
Tuesday March 23rd 2004, approx 9.25 p.m.
Caller: Good night Mr. Prime Minister
Prime Minister: Good evening my brother
Caller: Brother Jerry Malcom. Yes. Am, Mr. Prime Minister, I would like to know how do you feel about the 17 on the Hill dey, because I understand they just won a matter in the court – well, ah mean to a certain extent – and, you know, how do you feel about that and, for example, the return of Phyllis Coard, because to me you have misled the Grenadian people and up to now you can’t tell them about the return of Phyllis Coard, and I think that you are playing games with the people of Grenada. And, you know, for example, you and those guys were very tight. I remember at one time when those guys were actually asking the Grenadian people to vote NNP. You know what I’m – well I am telling you, OK.
And secondly, I just think that you enjoy hearing things in your favour. So I would like you to let the Grenadian public know exactly how you feel about this because, for example, I think, you know, we believe in what is best for our country. I think these people contributed greatly to Grenada, Carricaou and Petite Martinique; I have no objection with the decision that the court made. Ah mean, as a young person am speaking this way. But I think you are playing games and there are other people in the prison who is also sick so at least you could give them the opportunity to go out and get surgery or the same thing, you know, that you have done for sister Coard. So the Grenadian people is looking forward to you because you playing the game Jack-on-Both-Sides. Thank you.
Prime Minister: Well, my brother, I heard you very clearly and, first of all you made a number of statements which is not totally inaccurate [sic]. Am, for one, I am sure you’ve heard the decision with Phyllis Coard going Jamaica was a decision not made by me as an individual – just by me. It is a decision of all those who are involved in the process of mercy. Looking at the issue, medical advice was given and recommendations were made. So if I am playing games all these people were playing games or I was able to manipulate all of them. And I’m not so sure that you might be able to say that all of them are supporters of Keith Mitchell. So I think you, we have to look carefully at this; so we are not playing any games as far as that issue is concerned. It is unfortunate you think so and I appreciate your comment, but for certain I want to say that is absolutely wrong.
Another false statement made my brother, you said that the people on the hill support me. I think if you look at the history of politics in Grenada and you would examine who were, most of these people supported consistently over, over several years.
In 1990 you would remember the almost destruction of the New National Party, electorally. In fact, elements close to the people on the Hill were on platform attacking me in the most vicious form. Most of the accusations were made against me. All sorts of, am, malfeasance, were made by those elements to destroy me to ensure – in fact I was being accused that if I won that I would move to execute those guys. That were [sic] being said. And am, and clearly you ought to have known who they were supporting at that particular time. I find it very strange that you seem to forget conveniently. But I just wanted to remind you. In 1995 elections, clearly you know of certain trade union labour, trade union leader. I am sure you know that he has been consistently against my government. He has been on the platform. He has been – he has never supported this government. Never. Even in ‘99 when almost the entire country was supporting this government this individual and many of his close associates were in fact supporting the opposition. So I don’t know where you got this thing that am, that I have ever been supported.
But let me make this point. I have always said I believe in reconciliation, I believe in forgiveness. That’s a fundamental concept of mine. But you know, I have always said any major decision that affects the psychic [sic] of the country cannot be made by me. There are some people that believe even if I wanted to say that to forgive and to release, that I can do it by myself; this is a decision for Keith Mitchell. This is not a decision for Keith Mitchell. This is a decision for the country. And anything that affects Grenadian psychic [sic] in a way negatively and would hurt the country I cannot use the votes of the people to do it. Before I do it I will resign the office of Prime Minister. And I’ve said that to almost every one who came and asked me about, about supporting release of individuals. The reality is, Grenadians have not yet come to terms with the release of the 17 on the Hill. And that’s the reality. And any Prime Minister that goes and takes the votes of the people without using that as a main plank of his platform, and release them against the feeling of the population do, do not deserve to be at the office of Prime Minister. And I think I – I hope that clarifies it.
I make the point: the reality is, few years ago I left the country on a afternoon and a certain judge made a decision to release those guys. Three pers – three persons. And he said we had no time at all, even to appeal. But through God’s help it was this government that moved to correct that problem by going to the Supreme Court of the OECS and they reversed the decision. So if I was playing games that was the right time to allow the decision to go, and allow the Registrar and others to just im..im…im…implement that decision.
I want to say again, the recent decision made by the Lord Justice Benjamin with respect to the guys. Again, my government – and ah don’t know how I’m playing games – my government is moving to appeal that case. And we are confident that that appeal is likely to be upheld. Because in every single case in the past where the Courts of Appeal have had to deal with this particular matter it has consistently said that it has no jurisdiction; that the guys were tried under old PRG law. And therefore, they, I do not expect that they will give a different decision this time. So if I am playing games I am not doing a very good job for the fellars on the Hill.