Law & Politics
by Lloyd Noel
After a fairly lengthy silence, the NDC Leader, Tillman Thomas, issued a strong warning to Grenadians pertaining to the Ruling NNP Government of Dr. Keith Mitchell.
The warning was published in Caribbean News Now on 14 May, but I have not seen it in our local media.
The former Prime Minister, who also lost his seat in the 19 February General Elections — when the ruling party won a clean sweep of all the seats — has been very quiet since after the elections, and many persons have been speculating as to whether or not he was on the way towards calling it a day in politics.
The NDC is due to hold its Convention later this year to choose its executive, as well as the Leader of the Party — and there has been one or two names, besides Tillman Thomas, being published as possible Leaders to take over control of the group which has no M.P. in the Lower House.
Of course, three of those who were defeated in the General Elections in February, have been appointed as Senators in the Upper House — courtesy the then Governor General, Sir Carlyle Glean, who has since retired from that position.
But the ex-Prime Minister has been very quiet over the months since his defeat — so that the strong warning coming at this stage, tends to look as though there may be some movement taking place behind the scene.
The ex-Leader warned Grenadians not to give up their values and morality to the NNP brand of politics — because its not the healthiest thing for Grenada; and he maintains that he is very strong on that position.
Whether he is right or wrong, only time and the unfolding circumstances would tell in due course. But in the coming months he has to convince the membership of his NDC Party, that he is still the best person to be elected as the Party Leader.
Only last year at the party’s annual Convention, a number of the Executive Body was expelled from the party for one reason or another — so that when the Election was called for February this year, an almost brand new Executive was in charge to contest the Elections; and the result was a clean-sweep for the NNP of Dr. Keith Mitchell.
Should the ex-Prime Minister contest the leadership position, I cannot see anyone else winning over him at this point in time — but how much difference that would make to the national political atmosphere is debatable.
The NDC has no voice in the lower house of Parliament, but three losers at the Polls are in the Senate where they can be heard.
I cannot see any of those three beating the ex-Prime Minister for the Leadership position at the Party Convention — should they choose to contest.
But the party has to begin grooming a Leader for the future, because I doubt very much the current Leader would be in the race in the next four and a half years.
Whatever takes place at the NDC party Convention this year, the Senators and the Leader in charge have to let their voices be heard, on behalf of the people who voted for them at the last Polls.
The fact that whatever is brought into the Parliament to be passed into the law, cannot be defeated, because the Government controls both houses — should not deter the NDC from letting its voice be heard, on matters that are considered not in the best interest of the people and the Tri-Island State.
It must not be cases of opposing, merely for the sake of opposition — when it can be seen that the proposal could be beneficial to the people in general.
But in any case where the proposal is not fully above board, it should be questioned and the concerns made public — so that the people can judge for themselves what is in their best interest.
In his warning to Grenadians published last week — the NDC Leader stated that Grenadians should not “surrender our values and our morality to the NNP brand of politics, because it is not the healthiest thing for Grenada”.
He did not elaborate on what the “NNP Brand of politics” was, but he stressed that we cannot be doing things for political expediency, and we need to respect people and promote them based on merit — not on politics and party loyalty which is what the NNP is all about.
He did not say anything about the expulsion of those ten senior Executive members, from his party at last year’s convention — but he stressed that the plan now is to “regroup, to increase the membership, to sensitize our people as to the importance of politics, and to build a strong party political organization”.
From that trend of thought on his part, it looks as though he is still very interested in maintaining his position as “Leader of the pack” — come the next convention. Time will surely tell.
In the meantime, however, we have to deal with the Party and members now in control of the state and its Institutions — which were duly elected for five years last February.
They have only been in control for just over four months now, so it is early days yet — but based on their many glib promises during the campaign which earned them a clean-sweep at the polls, some more action is justified, especially in the area of the roads maintenance and de-bushing program.
The much bigger promises of Foreign Investors, who were ready to come on board and provide thousands of jobs for our long-suffering un-employeds — these will take much longer to negotiate and set in motion to begin producing results.
In the meantime, our people have to keep up the struggle of making needy ends meet — and remain alert and watchful of what is taking place on their behalf by the controllers; while the few opposition Senators have to let their voices be heard, and their party Organ remain watchful among the people on the outside.