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NDC says opposition leader’s attempts “no surprise’’

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St. George’s, November 14, 2011 – Officials of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) have expressed “no surprise’’ at reports that the leader of the opposition is trying to use the media to facilitate what has been described as an “image change-over’’ in his attempt to regain power in the country.

NDC officials made the comments in response to an editorial in the November 11 edition of The Grenada Advocate, which suggested that there is a systematic plan by Dr. Keith Mitchell and his NNP supporters to control or influence media in their favour ahead of Grenada’s next general election.

“In his bid to return power, Dr Mitchell is undergoing an image change-over – and for him – it is not a bad place to start by controlling the system that helps paint the image,’’ Grenada Advocate said in the editorial titled, “Of media and politics.’’

Not only is there a network of radio stations that was set up with encouragement from the former Prime Minister, but “Dr. Mitchell has enough friends who have worked with him in various media and advisory roles and are willing now to assist him in the lead up to the next general election,’’ said the newspaper.

It added that “one simply has look at the outfit that made the recent move to reshape the editorial output and layout of the island’s oldest newspaper, Grenadian Voice. It would not be at all surprising if the paper becomes increasingly partisan in its coverage as election draws near.’’

According to Grenada Advocate, “if there is one local politician who understands the value of the media – and is willing to spend on it – is former Prime Minister Mitchell.’’

Asked to comment on the editorial, a top NDC executive member said: “There is no surprise in the report. The history of Dr. Mitchell is the history of man who wants power at all cost not to help and uplift but to control; to control and use the media at his leisure; control and use public servants at his leisure; control and use others, such as police officers and even his own political colleagues, at his leisure.’’

Another senior NDC member said the editorial should be a sober reminder to the National Democratic Congress of the need to remain a formidable force to thwart any chance of a return to the mismanagement and scandal that plagued Dr. Mitchell’s NNP administration.

“We have to continue to re-mobilize our forces, to listen more attentively to what people are telling us and to find the means – including the financial resources – to deliver, even partially, on those things that matter most to people,’’ he said.

“Our main concern in the months ahead should not, and ought not to be, on Mitchell and the NNP. It should be on readying and oiling all the machinery and party apparatus of the NDC.’’