Young lawyer steers main opposition to upset victory in Grenada

Dickon Mitchell, a 44-year-old lawyer who only last October took over the leadership of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) steered the party to an upset victory in general elections in Grenada on Thursday, dethroning the New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, which had swept all 15 seats in Parliament in the last two polls.

According to preliminary results, released Tuesday night in St. George’s, the Grenada capital, Dickon Mitchell’s NDC won nine of the 15 seats, with the NNP winning the rest.

Several government ministers – including Finance Minister Gregory Bowen; Minister of Legal Affairs Kindra Mathurin-Stewart; Minister with responsibility for Forestry and Fisheries Alvin Da Breo; Minister for Infrastructure Development Nolan Cox; and Minister for Information and Communications Technology Pamela Moses – lost their seats, the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) reported.

It said Dickon Mitchell trounced Foreign Affairs Minister Oliver Joseph 4,414 to 2,742 votes in the St. David constituency.

Earlier, Dr. Keith Mitchell comfortably won his St. George North West seat, polling 2,211 votes to NDC Jonathan LaCrette’s 773.

The ousted prime minister had called general elections ahead of the constitutional March 2023 deadline, CMC said.

“We are overwhelmed with gratitude and stand humbled before the Lord our God and you, the people of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique,” said the NDC in a message posted on its Facebook page Thursday night. “Thank you from the bottom of each and every one of our hearts. This victory is not ours but yours.

“Now, the hard work begins, but, first, join us tonight at 9 p.m. at La Sagesse Playing Field for a special victory celebration,” it added. “Together, we are moving Grenada FORWARD!”

Earlier, Dickon Mitchell had expressed confidence in dethroning the NNP.

Speaking with reporters after casting his ballot, he said the voting process went “pretty fast,” according to Caribbean.loopnews.

“Mitchell, who was out and about on the ground, says there is a feeling of a lot of energy, as he pointed to the long lines at polling stations,” it said.

“He believes the party’s message was delivered by the way they campaigned and believes Grenadians are very galvanized about taking back the election and bringing about the change they want to see,” it added.

The new prime minister, who was born on Oct. 8, 1978, in the parish of St. David, began his service to Grenada in 1996, when he took a teaching position at his alma mater, Presentation Brothers College, loopnews said.

It said Mitchell is a graduate of the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus in Barbados and the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago, where he earned a Bachelor of Laws Degree (with Honors) and a Legal Education Certificate, respectively.

In 2002, he started his legal career at the law firm Grant, Joseph & Co as an associate attorney at law and started his own practice in 2017, when he established the law firm Mitchell & Co, loopnews said.

The NNP first gained power in Grenada in December 1984, when it won 14 of the 15 seats in Parliament.

But, in March 1990, it lost to the NDC and the National Party 9-15.

From June 1995 to July 2008, the NNP returned to power, winning 8-15 in 1995, all 15 seats in January 1999 and 8-15 in November 2003.

But after losing to the NDC, 11-15, in the July 2008 elections, the NNP regained power in February 2013, sweeping all seats in the 15-seat Legislature and repeating the feat in the March 2018 polls.