Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Was Sheldon thrown under the bus?

This week we focus on the trending issue of the unpaid sum of monies owed to government by a former senator some eight years ago. From all appearances, the matter, which is a very serious one, has taken on a political tone and rather than remaining in the government’s domain as government’s business, it is now being bantered about on different talk-shows, bringing out the warring factions of the two main political parties in Grenada as they go on the attack and the defense. Isn’t that showing up weakness in the government system?

Meanwhile, a worrying factor in all of this, is that nothing is being said about fixing the broken system that former Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell spoke about four years ago. So our first question is ‘Can such an occurrence happen again?’ The next question is why did the telephone company Digicel allow this to happen if what Dr Mitchell said is true? After all, he was in government when the issue happened. As prime minister then, he was in charge of replacing Senator Sheldon Scott with Senator Pamela Moses. So, there is no reason to doubt him on the issue. He even blamed the government and promised that it should take full responsibility to correct that wrong. Yet, to date according to recent revelation by Attorney General Claudette Joseph, not a cent has been paid on the monies owed by Sheldon.

As ordinary citizens, while we mourn the loss of the service we had from Cable and Wireless telephone company, we have come to accept Digicel and expect that company’s standard to at least be higher than what is now being said about it. Dr Keith Mitchell expressed his views that Digicel must take responsibility for not terminating the service of the government mobile phone that was assigned to Sheldon. He also revealed a troubling fact that there are other similar situations with other people who continued to abuse the government mobile phones. Is our system really as sloppy as what is being bandied about?

Former member of the New National Party (NNP) -Tobias Clement, who had a short stint as leader of the opposition when he left the NNP after winning a seat, is showing concern that the issue can be a personal attack on Sheldon. He seems to be of the view that it is vendetta because Sheldon, as a talkshow host and political activist for the NNP, talks a lot to the chagrin of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) which is now in power. Clement is therefore warning other people that work in government to be mindful that their day may come too. We wonder here what exactly he knows to make such pronouncement. He said in local news that the stick that is used to measure today, is the same stick that will be used tomorrow. In other words ‘The same stick that beats the black dog is the same stick that will beat the white in the event that it’s a trend that has been started. He even queried the trend which he sees as a slippery slope which can land some people in jail.

Maybe he knows of other similar instances because he was once in government and being in the kitchen he knows the heat as the saying goes.

On the actual paying back of the monies, didn’t Sheldon take full responsibility and promised to pay back once he gets an arrangement from the government? That was in 2019 when the issue came to light after a worker at Digicel allegedly spilled the beans to popular talkshow host Kem Jones. Jones, a political activist, revealed a long time ago, that he was once a member of the NNP. However, like Tobias Clement he left the house when differences could not be ironed out amicably and has since taken to the airwaves almost every day with talk shows.

There must be people who remember when Sheldon was the host on an NNP talkshow which was aired on City Sounds radio station at River Road in Saint George’s. They may also remember him responding to Jones who broke the non-payment story as he admitted that he has done wrong and will like to fix the issue. Here Clement thinks Sheldon was wrong to address the issue. He thinks that it should have been left alone. Sheldon even read the letter that he sent to the permanent Secretary at the ministry of Finance. Did he get a reply? This newspaper has tried to no avail, to get an explanation on the issue of the payment plan that he requested. However, strange enough, some people seem to see his request as a non-issue, since Sheldon admitted to being guilty of not giving up the phone when he was moved from the parliament to work for the NNP in 2016.

The then prime minister- Dr Keith Mitchell, took to the airwaves to make it public that the government will take full responsibility to correct the situation. Why then was no payment made since? Was there an arrangement that fell short? Another question that came up is, why should taxpayers be made to pay that bill since Dr Mitchell promised that the government will take responsibility?

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