ST GEORGE’S, Grenada -- Grenada’s Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, who is also leader of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), has said that problems besetting the government and party have nothing to do with his leadership.
Prime Minister Tillman Thomas
The NDC, in general elections held in 2008, won 11 of 15 parliamentary seats to form the government.
However, internal party strife led to the postponement of the NDC’s convention from July to Sunday, September 30.
In addition, four MPs have resigned from cabinet and one was dismissed by the prime minister in January. All five are now backbenchers in the House of Representatives.
Thomas, in an interview on Friday with the Government Information Service, blamed the troubles on an alleged power struggle and “an attempt to take over the party”.
The situation has “nothing to do with leadership,” he insisted. Had there been a team that was “cohesive and focused,” the government would have done much better in the four years it has been in office, the prime minister added.
Former Environment Minister Glynis Roberts, who resigned September 20 from government, told a meeting of her constituents that she has never questioned the prime minister’s character, “only his leadership choices”.
Chairman of the meeting, former Senator Arley Gill, called for parliament – which has been suspended – to be reconvened. He also criticized Finance Minister Nazim Burke for refusing to say when, and from where, the government is borrowing money to deal with the country’s fiscal challenges.
“We can’t accuse the NNP of doing hush-hush things and when we’re in government, we’re doing hush-hush things,” Gill said.
Thomas claims there is a strategy aimed at his government to “encourage people to resign,” and also to “create instability in the country.”
“We have to pray for people like Arley Gill and others,” said Thomas, whose party heads into what he describes as a “very historic convention” on Sunday.
The convention, he said, will position the NDC for victory at the next general election.
Meanwhile, Gill has said that he welcomes the prayers of Thomas.
“I have always kept him in my prayers,” Gill commented on Friday. “While he’s at it, I want him to join me in saying a prayer for the country.”
In the meantime, the latest action by the government to sell its shares in GRENLEC to pay public workers salaries and wages is being described by former finance minister Anthony Boatswain as a desperate and reckless act by a financially bankrupt government -- one that has neither the administrative skills nor the vision and foresight to manage the economy.
According to Boatswain, the government has reached the point of bankruptcy and is taking irresponsible actions with the people’s assets. These actions can have negative consequences for the future of the nation.
This behaviour, said Boatswain, reveals a very troubling pattern of behaviour by the NDC government. He added that with this kind of hasty action, there is absolutely no way that the government will get the best price for its shares in the company
Boatswain also wanted the Grenadian public to know as that the government is now giving up representation on the board of directors of GRENLEC and will no longer have any say in the decisions regarding the electricity company. This, he says, is a development that can haunt the Grenadian people in the future, as rates are already very high.
Boatswain warned that Grenadians must never forget that it was the same NDC government that sold GRENLEC for a very low price prior to the 1995 general elections. Many business and homeowners are now struggling as a result.
With the recent decision by the prime minister to prorogue parliament, the government will become even more desperate to meet its basic operational expenses and this kind of desperate action may continue, he said.