I decided to become a member of the NDC in January, 2012 at a time when my role in defence of democracy and responsible political conduct in the NDC called for me to have a formal relationship with the Party.
I remained an ordinary member until January 6, 2014 when I tendered my resignation. I make a distinction between Party membership and support for the NDC as the latter is not dependent on the former.
My decision to resign was based entirely on evidence of serious misconduct, specifically; a set of deliberate lies (identified in my report of November 16) presented by Mr Burke in relation to matters in which both the Party and I had an important interest. I was mindful to allow reasonable time for him to cooperate with specialarrangements put in place by the Political Leader to facilitate a settlement. Sadly, that did not happen.
I do not intend to provide copies of my resignation letter to the media on the principle that the letter is between me and the Party. However, I am prepared to give broad indications of the substance, as I see fit.
I have read reports purporting to quote or otherwise rely upon my resignation letter, but in every such case the particular statements are not to be found in that letter.
Said misconduct having been conclusively established, I called for Mr Burke to apologise, not to me, but to his Political Leader, Chairman and others who were present when he so improperly conducted himself and whom he deliberately sought to mislead. I also called for him to make an open apology to those members and supporters of the Party whom he had told that I had called him “raw meat” after the February 2013 elections. This, on the basis that at a session in mid-November, he, quite astonishingly, categorically denied that he ever took offence to the “raw meat” comment! He then sought to rely on two other grounds, both of which he must have known had no basis in fact.
In my report on that session, I pointed out that failing the apologies needed to remedy Burke’s serious breaches of trust and confidence, (nothing in the report has been refuted by Burke directly or through the Party officials who received and discussed it, himself included) “I would consider myself at liberty to address the issue as I see fit, in the best interest of the NDC”. One such option was to resign.
OPPORTUNITIES TO RECONCILE
The session referred to, was convened for the sole purpose of achieving a settlement of the problem as set out in my complaint of October 19, 2013. It required a spirit of openness, honesty, sincerity and a willingness to cooperate in the best interest of the NDC. Notably, there were five opportunities available to Mr Burke to settle the matter, one of which was actually proposed by him in the wake of my complaint. He wrote the following on October 21, by e-mail: “I too agree that all efforts should be made to resolve this situation before it gets out of hand… I believe it will be in our collective interest for Willie and I to have a sit down. I shall endeavour to make that happen in the up-coming days”. He did not fulfil or even attempt to fulfil that promise. The reasonable conclusion to be drawn is that his promise was not genuine, offered only to ease the pressure that was then bearing down on him over the issue. Truth be told, Mr Burke never dedicated himself to achieving a settlement as was the desire of others in the Party’s hierarchy, whom I commend highly for their efforts. Sadly, Burke was not prepared to heed the urgings of anyone of his colleagues on the Party’s Executive.
BURKE’S LEADERSHIP AND THE FEAR OF AN IDEA
While it is true that I do not favour Burke’s leadership of the NDC, for very important and objective reasons, I did not resign on that ground and it is certainly not raised in my letter of resignation.
I had previously suggested an alternative process by which to select a leader, involving candidates making their case before Party members at the branch level so as to discontinue the practice of ‘elections by ambush’ at the Convention. Furthermore, I had also suggested that the Party would be better off finding a person who was acceptable to Grenada as a national leader and then make that person the Party leader. I believe that this particular idea did not sit well with Mr Burke and was the real reason behind what I call “THE RAW MEAT WAR”; a self-made red herring used to mask his true concern.
It is very wrong and untenable for people to say that mere differences over the issue of personal support for an individual aspiring to become Party leader are evidence of division and infighting.
RADIO AND FACEBOOK PROPAGANDA ATTACK
On Sunday last an entity styled “Ethical Grenada” placed a post on Facebook containing an image of myself and words to the effect that I had joined the NNP, along with other allegations. That statement was an obscene fabrication! It was manufactured with the obvious intention of causing NDC members and supporters to place me on the ‘NDC HATE LIST’. The results were predictable as a number of persons, seemingly NDC-connected, sought to slaughter me in cyberspace. Quite understandably, they thought that they needed to fight for their party in this way, recalling the trauma of the division problems of 2012. The second plank of the attack occurred on Wednesday night by the host of a radio program called “The People’s Court”. It is these assaults that have inspired the preparation of this Statementand its justification.
Unfortunately, the persons who swallowed the propaganda were not aware that they were being falsely and deliberately misled and incensed to do harm to me and my reputation. If the treatment on Facebook was brutal, the attack by the host on the radio program, one Kem Jones, (repeated this very day) was vicious, contemptuous and unprincipled. His narrative was carefully crafted and specifically approved as being ‘fit for purpose’.
One may or may not discover who the inspirational author of that mischief was. Discovering who the legion of propagandists involved was may also be difficult. Nonetheless, a useful question is why was it necessary to subject me to such treatment? In whose interest was these venomous materials published?
Presumably, thinking people may well conjecture that the assault had to do with the contents of my letter of resignation. They are likely to tell themselves that some person or persons decided that it was necessary to make a pre-emptive strike so as to muddy the waters and divert attention, while at the same time setting me up for the slaughter. On reflection, the whole episode reminds one that Maurice Bishop was declared a ‘counter’ as a pretext for putting him under house arrest and his eventual execution. In the present case, they decided to declare me a ‘turn-coat and sell-out’, telling Grenada and the world that I had joined the NNP along with other negative branding so that I could then be seized upon, drawn and quartered by angry NDC members and supporters.
The planned and faithfully executed course of action (Facebook and radio) was reckless and despicable in every respect. In my opinion, the worst part of it was the taking of a conscious decision to deceive innocent and unsuspecting Party faithfuls and the public with the aim of causing harm to another. That is unconscionable and unpardonable misconduct.
Based on their consistent utterings, it is clear that they dedicated themselves to this latest political execution because I do not support Burke for Party leadership. Who would have thought that Grenadians would be subjected to such open disrespect of their basic right as citizens to support whoever they wish? How is it that they have a right to support Burke, but that I do not have a right not to do so? Where will this kind of thinking and commitment take us? Are the citizens of St George North-east who did not vote for Mr Burke to now live in fear? It is hoped that Mr Burke will suspend his ‘strategy of silence’ and distance himself from that assault on my rights. In fact, I call upon and urge him to do so.
I welcome the Statement put out on Wednesday by the NDC Party Chairman. However, it would appear that the persons involved have severely hurt the good name and standing of the NDC. Their conduct definitely cannot help the NDC to win the next General Elections.