By Hudson George
Don’t expect the political confusion in Grenada to calm down very soon, even though the ruling party has successfully purged members who opposed the leadership and wanted to take over the reins of the political organisation.
After Prime Minister Tillman Thomas's faction successfully took complete control of the government and party, the official opposition NNP has stepped up its electoral campaign and it seems as though the opposition leader is feeling confident that his party will be re-elected when the general election is held in the next few months. But there are other ambitious politicians with smaller followings hoping to make a name too, when Election Day comes.
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
As it is expected, the two traditional political parties will be trying to hold on to their followers' support and the campaign will become heated when parliament is dissolved and an election date is announced. However, on the other hand, the ruling party will have to face another attack from former political members who were expelled from the party and government. These former NDC members are expected to form a new political party to contest the election. It will be very interesting to hear the kind of statements they will make when they announce the formation of their newly organised political party.
Former NDC members, such as Peter David, who is the Member of Parliament for the town of St George; Glynis Roberts, the Member of Parliament for St George South; Joseph Gilbert, the Member of Parliament for St Patrick West; and Arley Gill, a former Minister of Culture, will definitely make their political move and contest the coming election. And even though their chances of winning any contested seats are very low, they will surely come out and campaign with a sort of revenge against their former friends and comrades within the ruling party. They have already demonstrated such behaviour in their town hall meetings, making statements opposed to the ruling party before they were expelled.
It is obvious that those former NDC officials will get a lot of attention, in terms of the political melee they can create, rather than votes they will get in the coming election, due to the major role they played as front line members in the NDC party and government, before they rebelled and were expelled. As we have already seen, Arley Gill is making personal attacks on Finance Minister Nazim Burke's personal achievements outside of the political arena. And being, as Arley Gill is, the new kid inside the political arena, he seems to be the one who will fire a dangerous salvo at his former political allies. And it is expected that well known political activist and trade unionist Chester Humphrey will join the melee too.
The ruling NDC officials will definitely find themselves on the receiving end, because they are the government of the day, and it is expected the main opposition NNP will be attacking them and try to label them as wasted politicians who have done nothing tangible for the country since they took office in July 2008. The opposition NNP will have a strong hold on that debate, because the NDC politicians were not working together in a cohesive way in the interest of the country, and they were hiding the truth from the Grenadian people, until everything came out in public when one faction of the NDC held a rally in Grenville, and the other faction organised a picnic on popular beach in St David.
Now that the infighting among top officials within the NDC is over and one faction defeated the other faction and expelled those who rebelled, these former NDC politicians who were expelled from the party and government will not sit quietly. They will make another political move to achieve their goal. They will try to explain to voters, the reason why they rebelled against Tillman Thomas leadership, and by so doing they will expect the Grenadian people to have some kind of sympathy for them.
However, on the other hand, the official opposition NNP politicians have nothing to lose but to gain in this coming election campaign. And it is expected that they will come out swinging at the former NDC politicians too and accuse them of misleading the people, when they were part of the NDC team that brought down the last NNP government. But it seems as though the politicians who will get the most criticisms are the ones holding top positions in this present government. The contest will be nasty because the bottom line is all about winning the general election and to control state power and the daily functions of the tri-island state.
In addition, the latest news report from Grenada is that many business places in St George’s are going out of business. Some of them are already closed down, due to the downturn in the global economy. We can image how the ordinary folks on the streets reacted when they heard the news that some popular businesses in the city were closing. It is obvious that most of them cannot understand what is going on. Therefore it is expected that the various political parties contesting the coming general election will use that issue as part of their political campaign, because those business places that are closing have a long history of distributing products to consumers for many years, since the days of British rule.
Presently, there are some educated persons involved in Grenada politics but, culturally, they are still struggling to understand the world we are living in. The education they get from top class institutions of learning is not enough to create a better Grenada and that is one of the reasons we have so many educated folks creating the political conflicts and the less educated citizens who make up the bulk of the masses are still waiting on their favourite political figure to make a miracle and change things for the better.
However, it will never happen that way, until the majority of people come to the understanding that cultural habits and behaviour varies from place to place and country to country. And as long as the Grenadian people divide themselves politically, rather than working together to solve the economic problems, the confusion will continue.