ST GEORGE’S, Grenada -- All of Grenada’s weekly newspapers devoted ample space in news and commentaries to the February 19 general elections, in which the prime minister lost his seat and his government booted out of office after one term.
Keith Mitchell, who has a doctorate in mathematics and statistics, has returned as Grenada’s prime minister after losing the position when his New National Party (NNP) was swept from office in 2008 by the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Surveys of potential voters, and analyses of the local political climate in the run up to the elections, had suggested that the NDC was in trouble and likely to lose at the polls.
As it turned out, the NDC lost all 15 seats, including St Patrick’s East where Prime Minister Tillman Thomas was the incumbent, and St George North East, where then finance minister and deputy NDC leader, Nazim Burke, was seeking a third consecutive parliamentary term.
The New Today, usually a critic of Mitchell and the NNP, congratulated him and his party on the election victory.
“The New Today is calling on all Grenadians to respect the decision taken by the vast majority of those who voted in the election to place all 15 seats in the hands of the NNP,” the paper said in an editorial.
It added that, “the NDC will have to do its own soul-searching in due course and engage the populace to find answers to important questions such as the factors responsible for the clean sweep by the NNP and the reasons for the loss in key strongholds such as St George North East, South St George and St David”.
Former politician, Dr Terrence Marryshow, in a commentary in Grenada Informer, said the first task of the newly elected NNP government “must be directed at uniting the people after what has been a most fractious campaign. They must give all the people the assurance and the confidence that, despite the support of some for the other party, it is – and will be – a government of all of the people”.
One former NDC minister, who was fired by Thomas, said the former prime minister has “reaped the harvest that he himself cultivated” by promoting division, and playing favouritism within the party.
“The leader treated some members of his cabinet better than others; and took sides rather than standing up and leading with impartiality,” former senator Arley Gill said in a commentary in Caribupdate Weekly.
“By the way I am extremely happy that Nazim Burke lost his St George North East seat,” said Gill, who urged Grenada to be patient and support the new government led by Mitchell.
“We need to give him a chance,” Gill said.
Lawyer Jerry Edwin, also writing in Caribupdate Weekly, was critical as well of Thomas and his leadership ability.
“Tillman Thomas is a minor mind who does not have the goods to lead a party, much less a government and country,” said Edwin.
“That the NDC election manifesto is inundated solely with pictures of that pea-brained character, demonstrates that the party did not mature in 4.5 years to rouse the people with the collective ability of its team,” he charged. “Relying on a man who is incapable of building consensus, repairing relationships, building bridges, focusing policies, or charting a development agenda, implicates impotence.”