|Candidates jockey for positions ahead of opposition party convention in Grenada|
|Published on January 20, 2014||
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ST GEORGE’S, Grenada -- Patrick Simmons, the former Grenada youth and sports minister, plans on contesting for a position on the executive of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) at the party's February 2 convention.
Simmons, who wants to be general secretary, made the announcement when he appeared on Sundays With George Grant (SWGG), a three-hour program broadcast on radio and over the internet.
Bernard Isaac, the current general secretary, was elected to the position in September 2012 when former MP Peter David relinquished the party post he held for more than a decade. David and nine other were also expelled from the party at the convention.
Simmons was the only one of the three former NDC ministers on SWGG that plainly declared an intention to run for an executive position, including that of new NDC leader to replace former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas.
Presumed leadership frontrunner, former finance minister Nazim Burke, said he was willing to serve in any capacity, as he has been doing since 2000.
Former education minister, Franka Bernardine, said she is still “carefully evaluating” whether she’ll vie for the post of party leader.
“I am going to be guided by the executive and the convention will decide,” she said.
In an interview in another segment of SWGG, former NDC member William Joseph denied that he had joined the ruling New National Party (NNP) since resigning from the NDC earlier this month.
Joseph, former chief of staff to Thomas, claimed that a “series of lies and allegations” have been leveled against him since quitting the NDC.
He reiterated his stance that a Burke leadership of the NDC was “not in the best interest” of the party.
However, Joseph added that he did not resign from the NDC because of his opposition to Burke possibly assuming the role of party leader.
According to Joseph, he resigned because of “serious misconduct” by Burke. He did not elaborate on the nature of the “misconduct”.
Joseph was an NDC strategist in last year’s general election in which the party lost 15 – 0 to the NNP of Prime Minister Keith Mitchell.
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The political wrangling that is going within the NDC party presently shows clearly well that Grenada lacks media freedom. Writers and thinkers with independent mind-set are not given the freedom and opportunity to express their opinion freely. Those who have the ability to think beyond the tribal politics are not allowed to give their political analysis on various issues.
The NDC is/was never a cohesive political organisation. The majority of people who are at the core of the organisation are not able to connect with the masses. The core leadership of the party sort of created a division between them and the people.
And due to the lack of communication between the leadership and the grassroots people, the party became dormant. It remained dormant for a very long period of time, until some persons with opposite political ideas and agenda, came in and fills in the void, with the intention hijacking it. But as we always know that avocado and lime cannot remain health fruits, when they are paced together in the same box, they will spoil, when the box is covered. So the unity between the old group and the new group did not last too long.
Now we are seeing and hearing William Joseph, who is a top party member of the NDC organisation surface as the new rebel. Joseph openly shows his dislike for Nazim Burke. His behaviour is a surprise for some party supporters. However, Joseph erratic action is not a surprise for those of us who have the ability to analyze political issues independently.
There is a possibility that Joseph could very well be a supporter of the rebel faction within the NDC government and his role is/was to remain silent until Tillman Thomas step aside as the party political leader and Nazim Burke make the move to take over the leadership. Another suggestion is that, Joseph has his own political ambition and he is not comfortable with Burke taking over that leadership.
But then again, we have to ask ourselves this question: Why Hamlet Mark is giving his support to Joseph, even though Mark is no longer associated with the NDC party and he now employed by the present government? This is the same Hamlet make who was bitterly opposed to Keith Mitchell not too long ago.
Now we cannot make excuses and pretend that we do not know that the NDC is a sort of elite’s party. As in all societies class plays a big role and it is expected that some NDC supporters will like to see Franka Bernardine become the new leader of the party. So there is another twist in the melee again. It is a pity that veteran journalist Leslie Pierre, editors and owners of ‘Voice’ newspaper have retired. If Mr. Pierre was still active in the media, independent writers would have been able to expose the infighting within the NDC organisation. Even though Mr. Pierre had his liking for the NNP party, he never censored other writer’s opinion.
If Franka Bernardine wins the leadership, she will bring a sort of hope for those rebels who were kicked out of the former NDC government. It is no hidden secret that the rebels have political ambition even though they are seeking comfort inside the NDC house. They could very well be seeking temporary shelter waiting for the calm after the storm.
So while we have all the political drama going on inside the NDC organisation. It is amazing to listen to Grenada Broadcast, with host and owner George Grant. Give Mr. Grant what he deserves. He is a very smooth operator who knows how to censor independent voices. He is no different from Hamlet Mark. They both are masters of deception. but there is one point I can give Grant above Mark. Grant is a very good radio disc-jockey. I would say maybe he is the best in Grenada. I listen to his music programme after 12 noon on Sunday’s and I always enjoy every moment of it.
However, the mind-set of NDC politicians has to change, if they want to challenge the present NNP government. With Tillman Thomas stepping down, the new leader who takes his place has to rebuild the organisation and get rid of the old GNP style of politics. A successfully political organisation must create space for all the different classes of people in society. The sad thing is that the vast majority of young people are more material conscious then political conscious. And with that material culture, it will be interesting to see what kind of youthful energy the NDC leader can attract to the party.
NDC is going through a period of restructuring and rebuilding. The party will reform itself into a modern and viable political organisation.
The young people while they are not politically conscious they can be influence to change their ways with the right leadership. Grenada is at the cross roads and it will take leadership to move this country forward.
It would take more time than I have to try out figure out precisely what point(s) you trying. One thing that caught my eyes, though, is this: "There is a possibility that Joseph could very well be a supporter of the rebel faction within the NDC government''.
Do you care to say what's the criteria for being a NDC rebel? Last year, Willie was the good guy throwing rebels out the NDC and endorsing the NDC Hate List. So, Mr George, are you saying than to become a rebel and get on the Hate List you just have to disagree with the party and resign?