By Lincoln DePradine
Adrian “Spaceman’’ Mitchell, the former Grenada sports minister, has left a “tremendous legacy’’, and forever will be remembered for his “unstinting devotion’’ to nation-building, especially in the areas of sports and culture, according to friends and acquaintances of Mitchell.
Many, including the man who appointed Mitchell a government minister, have been eulogizing him, ever since his death at the General Hospital in St George’s on November 12. Mitchell was 71.
“Adrian was a person that was involved in community life, community activities – sports, culture – at all levels’’, at home and abroad in New York’’, said Dr Keith Mitchell, parliamentary Opposition Leader and head of the New National Party (NNP).
Adrian Mitchell, who resided at River Sallee in St Patrick, formally entered frontline politics in 1995 as an NNP member.
After his victory at the polls as NNP candidate for St Patrick East, then Prime Minister Keith Mitchell appointed him Minister of youth, sports and community development.
Mitchell was a parliamentarian for more than a decade. He was A very good brother’’ and a “community man’’, and his death is “a great loss’’, Dr Mitchell said.
Outside of his official government duties, late sports minister Mitchell maintained his engagement in sports at the community level, including serving as manager, coach and sponsor of Piton Strider Track Club and Hard Rock Football Club.
“We’ve lost a stalwart,’’ MP Ron Redhead, current minister of sports, said in commenting on the passing of Mitchell. “I’ve heard the numerous stories of his genuine embodiment towards youth development, particularly through sports, and that he was a community man,’’ he added. “My condolences go out to his family, friends, ministry staff and all the lives impacted by the former youth and sports minister.”
Lawyer Peter David, who was an opposition MP while Mitchell was in government, acknowledged his “exceptional contribution to nation-building as a minister’’, as well as Mitchell’s “unstinting devotion to uplifting the lives of young Grenadian men and women’’.
“Adrian ‘Spaceman’ Mitchell’s national contribution is immeasurable and we owe him a great debt of gratitude,’’ said David, MP for the Town of St George.
Arley Gill, who also is an attorney and a former cabinet colleague of David’s, concurs that Mitchell “made an outstanding contribution to national development. Even if we had different political persuasion’’, said Gill, “Spaceman and I would have good conversation on the issues of sports and culture; it was never a tribal vibe’’.
Mitchell was a “purposeful minister of sports’’, said Gill, a former minister of culture. “In other words, a lot of the modern sporting infrastructure around the country was advanced or improved under his stewardship; and, new administrative structures for sports were done under him as minister.’’
According to Gill, Mitchell “did a lot for sports and he had a passion for track and field and football, in particular. He had a genuine appreciation and love for sports and I believe that we have to pay homage to that’’.
Gill also noted Mitchell’s involvement in the cultural sphere.
“He did do his piece for culture, in particular soca and calypso music. He also was a DJ and played a critical role in the revival of Saraka in River Sallee and supported the festival,’’ Gill said.
“I believe that he has left a tremendous legacy that, thus far, has gone unnoticed, especially in the field of sports in this country.’’