By Hudson George
Is proroguing parliament a parliamentary coup by Grenada prime minister and two other visible members of his cabinet? I do not think so, even though a popular recognised Grenadian journalist tends to believe otherwise. However, it can very well be that the journalist is just playing politics.
Hudson George has a BA in Social Science from York University, Toronto, Canada. He has been writing since his early teenage years and now contributes letters and articles to a number of Caribbean newspapers.
The Westminster style of democracy we inherit from Britain makes it part of our constitution where the prime minister can prorogue parliament, if he/she feels that the government can be defeated in a no confidence motion vote from renegade members of parliament from the ruling party, or the opposition parliamentarians. Therefore, I do not believe Prime Minister Tillman Thomas has made a parliamentary coup. I believe he is trying to secure his five years in office based on Grenada’s constitution.
Personally, if I was living in Grenada permanently and eligible to vote in the 2008 general election, I would not have voted for the NDC party, because I saw the great danger ahead. I was fortunate to be in Grenada during the entire 2007, observing what was going on. I left the country the second week in February 2008. During my stay, I observed the behaviour of the various factions of supporters within the NDC, and listened to them speak of the different political dreams they had for a better Grenada and I said to myself, if the NDC wins the election in 2008, it will be more chaos for Grenada.
The errors of things that the NDC politicians and their political activists were blaming the NNP government for, to me did not make any real sense, if they wanted to develop Grenada and to create employment for the unemployed who are mostly young people. I realise they just wanted to defeat the Keith Mitchell administration, and it was always easier for them to criticise Mitchell’s style of leadership because they represented the main political opposition during that time and they had nothing to lose and all to win. The NDC tactic at that time was to make sure that they could convince voters that 13 years of Keith Mitchell’s reign was a detriment to Grenada.
However, I must say I was a bit surprised when the NDC won the election on July 8, 2008, even though they had almost won the previous one and they were a vibrant opposition with lots professional lawyers, whom most Grenadians looked up to for solutions. But then again, after living in North America for very long time, I understand the importance of swing voters and the effect swing votes can have in a general election.
I made it a study to follow the NDC administration from the day they took office in 2008 up to this present moment. The first thing that made me recognise that an early split would occur among some elected parliamentarians was when I saw Peter David as the foreign minister make the quick move to rename Point Salines International Airport after the late former Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. Peter David might be a flamboyant urbanite, but his political actions were not tactical by moving so quickly to rename our international airport. He acted like an educated vibrant youth in his twenties who thought he knew it all.
In addition, Minister David’s quick rush to organise the Grenadian Diaspora in America, Canada and Britain was a big error. He aligned himself with former supporters of the Grenada Revolution that left a bad taste in many Grenadians’ minds. In the past, David and his associates branded many Grenadians as anti-progressive, even though it was based on false allegations in most cases, and for his revolutionary clique’s selfish ambition to consolidate their hold on power. Therefore, he should have moved as Grenada’s foreign minister with more caution; unfortunately, his ego was too big. He thought that he was still a top member of the People’s Revolution.
Other early signs of split within the NDC administration came to the public when some of the so-called progressive elements within the NDC party openly showed their displeasure with Glen Noel as a selected government minister. Even I was kind of shocked when I recognised that the so-called leftist faction did not favour Glen Noel, knowing that Mr Noel was an active Grenadian comrade during the revolution. And I am still trying to find out why they dislike the comrade. I can only presuppose that maybe Mr Noel was not a member of the Bernard Coard faction, or perhaps they see him as too much a creolised rural citizen.
Additionally, when Minister David made his move to become the strong man within NDC party and the top elected parliamentarian to be reckoned with, he was so confident, he challenge the prime minister for leadership, and now he finds himself face to face fighting another battle with Finance Minister Nazim Burke. In spite all the nice urbanite Grenadian talk and flamboyant moves David always portrays, Nazim Burke seems to have him cornered on all the moves he made to grab power. Presently, Mr Burke is hell bent on not allowing Mr David to take over the party and leadership. I predict a big showdown between these two individuals in the near future.
Presently, the political situation in Grenada is very interesting. Even though journalist Hamlet Mark believes that Tillman Thomas, Nazim Burke and Glen Noel hatched a parliamentary coup by proroguing parliament; however, it is impossible that educated Grenadians will believe Mr Mark. Those of us who read and understand the British Westminster style of democracy, know that it is not a parliamentary coup. All prime ministers who govern countries under the Westminster model of democracy basically govern from the centre. A prime minister who rules a country under this model of democracy has lot of power and he/she can use their power when it suits their political comfort.
It does not matter if the prime minister is Tillman Thomas, Peter David, Nazim Burke or Karl Hood. Whoever the leader of the country is will hold on to power by imposing the law and prorogue parliament for their personal benefit. It is very important that those who know better must tell it to others who do not know. It is our duty to make sure that we educate each other, rather than mislead and hide the truth. However, I know that politics is a dirty game, but that does not mean we all should dirty ourselves in the dirty game.