Dr the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell’s Remarks at his Swearing-in Ceremony 16 March 2018

Dr the Right Honourable Keith C Mitchell, Prime Minister

On Tuesday, many Grenadians from all strata and all sectors gave me their vote – once again.

As I begin this latest term, I ask them – and every other Grenadian, one more favour. Please give me your prayers.

I return to you with my scars exposed; my failings recorded. But I also return to you with my heart sincere, and my determination stronger.

While I accept that I can never repay this nation my debt; let whatever redemption come with the service I endeavour to give.

Two things motivate me – where I come from; and where we can go together, as a people.

For each step we make forward, we pay homage forever to our forefathers; to our parents who came from humble villages, who only wanted their children to have a chance.

Our generation has been so empowered; now it is left up to us to make sure that their great-grandchildren can take their rightful place in the world.

No matter how many times we have done this together, no one can ever get accustomed to this awe-inspiring feeling of the trust so many people have put in us.

As I went around my constituency on Tuesday, and in other areas as well, I was once again reminded in whom the power lies; and for whom the power we shall attain in this process, be wielded.

It is these ordinary people, who keep coming back to vote their dreams and aspirations, that must keep all of us as leaders humbled; but also, determined.

Tuesday, once again, should have reminded us all that there are things worth fighting for; and that there are people worth dying for.

Ordinary people with so much to lose, put it all on the line, and fought for us as politicians.

My fellow MPs-elect, it is our time now to fight for them.

There must be a total commitment from all of us with the influence and the power – to do all we can to make the lives of ordinary people better.

This victory won’t mean anything unless by the end of this next term we lift more people out of poverty; we send more people back to work; we empower families – and we make every Grenadian proud.

I got up Tuesday morning, leading the troops of the New National Party. I stand here today, ready to lead a united nation.

Our mission for unity is not only a moral obligation but a developmental necessity.

We cannot build this nation if we leave out or marginalise people who do not share our political preferences; or who have different ideas on how to push this nation forward.

Grenadian patriots know no colour. They are guided by their conscience and their own sense of family and community.

Today I come with an open hand to my friends and neighbours who voted for the National Democratic Congress. You had a right to your views and a right to your preference.

But this battle is over – and we have a nation to build. Let’s build it together.

Better healthcare must be for everybody. The jobs that are coming must be shared among the Grenadian family. The scholarships and training opportunities are for all our children; the qualifying criteria do not include party affiliation.

This nation belongs to all of us.

Our party might have won the election, but this winner does not take all.

The commitment we made on the campaign trail to broaden the social compact so that all sectors of the society must have a powerful seat at the table, is a sincere and serious proposal.

The successes of the last 5 years were built on the unity that we forged, but we did not achieve our full potential.

We are determined to include other business and church organisations; community groups; youths and students in this construct. We also intend to broaden the trade union representation.

And equally as important, we must once again officially invite the National Democratic Congress to come take your worthy seat at the table.

We understand and appreciate that you still represent 20,000 Grenadians, and we are determined and willing to let their voices be heard in that formal way.

To the leadership of the NDC, we sincerely invite you to take this proposal seriously.

One of my first acts as Prime Minister, will be to dispatch a letter, putting this invitation in writing, in the interest of nation-building.

We can remain in our respective parties, but we don’t have to fight each other every day of the year.

At this juncture in our history, we, as leaders, must seize the moment to lead our supporters out of partisanship.

There is a time and a season for everything. This electoral war is over; let peace reign.

Whatever the motivation for us to come together, let one be for the youth of this country.

Our task is to build a future that is worthy for the next generation to behold and inherit.

The young people of this country are depending on us, and we must not let them down by sticking to entrenched positions; or refusing to talk to each other because of personal fancies.

When the final analyses of this recent elections are done, I am certain it will show a high level of participation among the young people.

In recent years, the young ladies have been particularly present. But this time, they were joined by the young men; young men who stood in line for hours, patiently, to cast their ballots –many for the first time; young men with working bags on their side, waiting to do their civic duties; young men who stayed up all night, made cooks and held sleep-over parties so that they could get to the polls first.

Young people of Grenada, you have made a worthy installment. We must make sure it earns dividends.

As much as we take pride in the way we brought unemployment down over the last 5 years, it is still stubbornly high among our youth.

More training for young people; more seed money for them to open their own businesses; more sustainable jobs through economic expansion; creating new avenues in entertainment and sports, must be among our most urgent priorities in the immediate next few years.

This Grenadian renaissance can only be sustained and be expanded if we find the creative will to have the young engaged, and to have them participating directly in building their own futures.

Youth non-involvement, inaction and continued unemployment or under-employment, is the waste of developmental potential; and even worse, it fertilises the ground for social dysfunction, which, in the end, can destabilise everything else that we seek to build.

One leader once spoke about the fierce urgency of now. This is OUR fierce urgency of now!

We have to continue being aggressive with training our young people to make them able to access the new jobs that will come on stream, in the services sector; and in modern agriculture; but especially in the ICT sector.

For the young people not quite yet ready for the world of work, get back to the skills training center. Study hard for your CXCs and your degrees.

This future is for you.

The future is for the young men who seek to turn their hustle into worthwhile enterprise; who want to transform their applications into industriousness.

This future is for the young women whose purpose in life must be for their chance to assert their dignity.

Our promise is for the young mother to be able to keep her household together, because poverty shall no longer compromise her, nor her children, nor their future.

We must not build an economy for the sake of building one. We must build communities; and we must build families.

As we embark on this fresh leg of this journey, we dare this nation to dream; for there is nothing we cannot achieve if we remain focused and united.

I dare this nation to dream, for every brilliant reality starts with a simple dream.

I dare this nation to dream because progress is fermented by dreamers; by people like you, who always believe that there is something more we can do; and something more we can achieve.

A nation is never built on self-doubt; nor is it fertilised by suspicion. Our strongest currency is – and must always remain, hope.

I thank you very much.

GIS

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