by Linda Straker
- NNP and NDC denied using the services of SCL Elections
- Grenada named on its global website as one of the countries to have used its services
Dr Keith Mitchell, Political Leader of the ruling New National Party (NNP) and Randall Robinson, Public Relations Officer of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) have both denied using the services of United Kingdom datamining and microtargeting company SCL Elections, despite Grenada being named on its global website as one of the countries to have used its services.
“Certainly, I have not used anybody from the outside. The persons who have helped us in the campaign are well known,” said Dr Mitchell who explained that his organisation for the 13 March General Elections campaigns used the services of Hamlet Mark who owns and operates the Florida registered West Park Global Media Inc.
“We believe in using polling companies in the region and we were better off for it,” said Dr Mitchell who said that he and his party believe in the work of “our local Caribbean people.”
“We don’t need to hire people from outside to know what data is correct and what data is incorrect. I am totally unaware of any involvement of my political organisation and certainly will not support it,” said Dr Mitchell. He was not aware of SCL and its affiliates existence until the recent series of reporting by international news agencies and in particular the UK Channel 4 in which it was revealed that a number of islands in the Caribbean benefited from the services of SCL. Trinidad and Tobago, as well as St Kitts and Nevis, were named in the reports, but the SCL Elections website listed Grenada as one of the countries to benefit from its services.
“What is significant, is what is being said about that organisation: it was clearly involved in fake news, and we saw a lot of fake news coming from the other side. One direction attacking the NNP, lots of fake news; even convicted criminals were posing on blogs attacking the NNP and these people’s statement on blogs were being used by opponents of the NNP,” said the Prime Minister who has been the political leader of the NNP since 1989.
“So, if anyone has any relationship with anybody from the outside world who were using fake news as a way to undermine, it certainly was not us as the New National Party,” he said.
Robinson, when initially asked if his party had used SCL services his reply via Whatsapp was, “We did not.” However, when asked for the period 2000 to 2018 he said, “Then let me clarify that I am certain that we did not use any such company from 2012 to 2018. I don’t know what happened before that time,” he said.