Senators Upset With ‘Seemingly Derogatory’ Comments


ST GEORGE’S, GRENADA (CARIBUPDATE) – A non-government Senator here has complained about “seemingly derogatory” comments made by Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell in parliament recently.

Ray Roberts, who represents trade unions in the Senate, has been advocating that Grenadians vote “no” to several measures in the October 27 referendum here. Roberts has sought to make it clear that it is his personal position, rather than that of the trade unions.

Among the bills being proposed, is one that will improve the rights of disabled citizens here.

At a recent sitting of parliament, Dr Mitchell, in discussing the bills put up for consideration said “even disable people are asking people to vote no.”

Many of his critics have taken it to be a reference to Roberts, who he did not name.

Roberts is considered a member of Grenada’s disabled community.

“The Prime Minister‘s comments at Friday’s sitting of the House of Representatives taking issue with two members of the disabled community who are urging a NO Vote on Referendum Day, was regrettable; and equally distasteful was the laughter and cheering from his Parliamentary colleagues..” Roberts complained in a press statement Wednesday.

“What was most unfortunate was the distinguished Speaker of the House of Representatives ignored those disparaging remarks,” Roberts stated.

He further declared: “Prime Minister Mitchell has the intellect and capacity to be more selective in his choice of words when taking issue with views he does not agree with.”

“I could not believe that the Prime Minister could have chosen those words to speak as he did,” National Democratic Leader Nazim Burke said Wednesday in an invited response.

“It shows utmost insensibility,” he declared.

Burke said the biggest problem with the Prime Minister’s comments was the use of the word “even.”

The opposition politician also questioned whether what is being proposed in the act is enforceable. “Even those who are pushing this agenda know that.”

Burke also, in advocating again that people vote “no”, suggested that even if the Bill may have some merit, “many of the persons who are in authority simply disregard the law and the constitution.”