Today the only visible politician in Grenada, who knows just what he wants to say, and says it is the leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Senator Nazim Burke’s adamant opposition to Mitchell’s nonsense and dotishness, Keith Mitchell is a mirror image of recklessness.
But after a chaotic 15 months of Mitchell’s NNP government faints and fumbles, accompanied by vamping and vacillation among his so-called leaders, the odd duck senator from the previous NDC administration has emerged as an anchor of principle, the signal amid the noise. It’s not the first time that the senator has proved that he is a true leader throughout Grenada.
Senator Nazim Burke has recently sent a letter to the OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, detailing what today is occurring within the Mitchell regime. The people of Grenada are praying and hoping that the response from his Excellency Insulza will be swift and immediate. The people of the tri-island don’t want another invasion. The crisis that’s existing within the Mitchell regime in Grenada has thrust him center stage. Nazim Burke has become Grenada’s most compelling and prescient political actor, he is standing up with the less fortunate, organizing the youths, that voted overwhelmingly for Mitchell and his NNP based on false promises of jobs.
His ascent began in earnest after he was nominated as the new leader of the National Democratic Congress political party, since then, events have kept playing into his hands. The speed of his rise has been remarkable – all the more so given how idiosyncratic he is by the standards of either party.
He is earnest and direct, and not much given to laughter or the other public displays of feelings that stuffy NNP politicians like Keith Mitchell, who have allowed power to get to his head, try to simulate once in the arena. Grenada is polarized, but with Mitchell and his goons gone, and some or all of the party’s current leaders in Parliament gone as well, except for the minister of tourism, who is doing a fantastic job, the dynamics of our partisan culture will inevitably change.
Burke, it seems, is one of the few contenders for the leadership of the country out there who seem to get the fact that a time is coming when the last general election of 2013 will not be refought over and over again like some infernal groundhog day. Some within the NNP camp who lump with Mitchell are still hoping to fight the last war.
Burke is an original. He has the quality that can’t be learned or bought. He is interesting. In that sense, he’s kind of like former prime minister, the legendary Maurice Bishop, destined to shake things up without necessarily reaping the rewards for himself, the way Mitchell has being doing by revealing his shallowness and idiocy, he has come across as a phony. As we begin to imagine a post-Mitchell national politics where the NNP front runners may be of social security age and some of the other political parties seem to lack presumptive leaders, or a coherent path forward, Burke can hardly be dismissed. We are also still awaiting the Grenada Progressive Party and its leader.
Nature abhors a vacuum, and Nazim Burke doesn’t hide his ambitions to fill it. In his own NDC party, he’s the one who is stirring the drink, having managed in his political career, to have gained stature in spite of, or perhaps because of his ability to enrage and usurp the NNP leaders. He is one putative contender for the country’s leadership. Still capable of doing something you don’t expect, or saying something that hasn’t been freeze-dried into anodyne.
Senator Burke doesn’t do shtick, he rarely engages in sound bites or sloganeering. He speaks as if he was thinking aloud and has a way of making his most radical notions sound plausible in the moment. It doesn’t hurt that what he says makes a lot of sense.
Grenadians are hounded by this idiotic Mitchell NNP government regulations and bureaucrats, the people’s tales of woe against Mitchell are no doubt equally true, and often egregious. The problem is that out of such grievances, Burke builds a blanket case for castrating or doing away with government agencies and regulations that not working. He is not against all regulations, he is against overzealous regulations. There’s no “Don’t tread on me” overkill in his public preachments. He harbours not so much as a scintilla of Mitchell’s hatred even as he leads the charge against what he sees as the Mitchell NNP government nightmare at all levels of government, whether it’s the Electoral Office, or Bowen as attorney general.
Mitchell and his government is leading our country into the ditch, he does not have the power under the Grenada constitution to unilaterally authorize any change to anything. That’s more or less the Grenadian center now. Before the last general election, some people said “Mitchell was untrustworthy and too intrusive”; I did not believe them.
Nazim Burke has the chance to grow the NDC party by appealing to the frustrated youths to whom Mitchell lied during his electoral campaign, manipulated them, even wearing tight-fitted jeans and T-shirt and behaved like a teenager, he imitated the youths. Today, the youths have nothing to imitate.
What’s most important about Nazim Burke, however, is not his own prospects for higher office, but the kind of politics his success will foretell for post-Mitchell Grenada. He doesn’t feel he has to be a bully, a screamer, a birther, a bigot, or a lock-and load rabble-rouser to be heard above the din.
He has principled ideas about government that he believes he can sell with logic rather than threats and bomb-throwing. For that and other matters, he may prove equally capable of making the NNP candidates or any other political candidate prospects for 2018 looks like a nostalgia act. This leaves Burke, for the moment at least, a man with a future, he is nonetheless performing an invaluable service. Whatever else may come from it, his rise illuminates just how small an opening there might be for other independent and iconoclastic politicians willing to challenge the sclerosis of the NNP party in the post-Mitchell age, like Miss Hermie Penney who is appealing to people who would like to see a more moderate and less aggressive government against our people.