The political, social and economic situation in Grenada is very 'dicey', unpredictable and potentially dangerous and maybe even tragic.
Grenada is polarised between two camps . NNP and NDC. One people! Two political camps.
In recent times we have seen the emergence of a third group, the so called social partners with their ideologies as diverse as the conservative, theocracy, capitalist and socialist. How this so call social partners would meet a consensus on issues affecting the country only God know.
Grenada is in such a state of disarray right now that one wonders where all this is heading. There is no clear vision with the powers to be, their cronies and affiliates speaking from all sides of their mouth confusing and misleading the masses day after day. The end product of this lack of vision is a divided and desperate is the emergence of divided and desperate communities.
I would like to remind the political leaders of the National Democratic Congress, NDC Hon Tillman Thomas and the New National Party, NNP Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell of their obligations to the country, it's people, and constitution. I would also like for these two leaders to remind themselves of the country's national anthem which states:
Hail Grenada land of ours, we pledge ourselves to thee. Heads, hearts and hand in UNITY to reach our destiny. Ever conscious of God. Being proud of our heritage. May we with FAITH and COURAGE aspire build advance. As ONE PEOPLE, ONE FAMILY. God bless our nation
The country is too polarised along party political lines for there to be any sustainable growth and development. The NNP isn't the solution to our economic troubles The upcoming national convention of both parties must centre around national unity and reconciliation. The delegates of both parties should elect individuals that would build bridges, instead of barriers. NDC has purged the rebel faction and so one would expect the party to come out of their convention a united team rallying around a new political leader . NNP however will have the same political leader and so one shouldn't expect anything new from that party. It will be the same old divisive politics that is the hallmark of this political organisation.
Former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas philosophy on nation building is the right one. His respect for the rule of law and the democratic institutions, preservation of the fundamental rights and privileges of the people is noble. He respects the independence of the judiciary and the Royal Grenada Police Force. Six months into the administration of the NNP the gains made by the NDC have been reversed and the country runs the risk of going back to the dark days the Eric Gairy era and the 1995-2008 era under the NNP.
Having ruled the country previously for thirteen years , Dr Mitchell is ideally placed to work to unite the country around common goals .He legacy will be damning if he continues on his current path. All indications the prime minister is hell bent on dividing the country along party lines with the support of the social partners to ensure he retains his base.
Chester Humphrey is willing to work with the 'New NNP ' as he claims, forgetting conveniently the excesses of the previous NNP administration. He has become a supporter of this division .TAWU and the PWU as part of colluding with the government failed to effectively defend the rights of the hundreds of workers that were dismissed by the NNP. Political hypocrisy has transcended workers rights and freedoms. What Chester has to understand is that there is no new NNP. A leopard can't change its spots. Humphrey's new found love story with the NNP is pure political hypocrisy. Looking at his body language on the GIS program one gets the feelings that he was acting more than speaking out of conviction .Even the TUC and the media is divided along party lines with both organisations compromising their integrity.
It is hypocritical to talk and unity and inclusion and at the same time taking actions that further polarises the country. A weak and divided society results in weak and divided families. This social division is partly responsible for all the social ills plaguing the country. Dr Mitchell likes to pride himself on the premise that he is the father of the parliament and by extension the nation. A good father however will look after the welfare of all his children and not those who provide material support. Former PM Thomas is on record as saying that he is not prime minister for NDC but he is prime minister of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. His comment came after he was accused of not looking after the interest of the supporters of the NDC.
David is on record as saying that there is much tribalism in Grenada in 2012 following the fall out within the NDC. He has since worked out an accommodation with the NNP of Dr Keith Mitchell. Political hypocrisy at the highest level. Seven months into the NNP administration one would like to know that given the level of victimisation and discrimination that has taken place what are Peter David's view on the current political situation Unfortunately he seems to have lost his vocal cords. He probably in hibernation plotting his next sinister political episode.
Senator Ray Roberts is an example of the kind of leader that is needed in Grenada and must be commended for his efforts in the Senate. He has demonstrated great courage and political will in tackling the problems facing the nation
As the nation struggles under lethargic leadership, economic problems and the IMF structural adjustment program the upcoming party conventions will be very interesting.. The outcome of these conventions will lay the foundation for the battles that certainly lies ahead for the right to run the affairs of the country for the next ten years. Will the upcoming conventions usher in a new crop of leaders and a new brand of politics? Within the NNP it won't but certainly for the NDC it will,
The outcome of the NNP national convention will determine if the country continues on the path of division and destruction or whether someone will emerge in a leadership position to build political consensus and unity among the various interest groups. Major changes are expected within the executive of the party with the 'old guards' bowing out to make way for new young leadership, Time will tell it that actually happens given the lust for power by the NNP old men. Dr Mitchell being prime minister is expected to remain as the political leader; however the deputy political leader and party chairman Hon Elvin Nimrod and Hon Gregory Bowen are expected to make way since these two men may not contest the next general elections. It is also alleged that both men are of poor health and may not even complete their five year term in office. While Gregory Bowen may remain as party chairman, Elvin Nimrod may have to give up the deputy political leadership role in favour of Peter David or Nicholas Steele. Serious times ahead.
As Dr Mitchell and the NNP consolidate political power there are some unsettling issues that will become clearer in the NNP next convention. The issue of what will happen to the political career of Peter David and the other members of the rebel faction is a very interesting one. Peter David, Joseph Gilbert, Michael Church, Arley Gill , Stanford Simon and Chester Humphrey refused to become members of NUF having been expelled from the NDC. They have not formally joined the NNP even though they seemingly have some sort of loose arrangement with Dr Mitchell. It will be very interesting to see if this group will turn up as delegates in the next NNP convention or as mere specially invited guest. Whether this faction are card carrying members of the NNP remains a mystery The activities of this faction will be closely monitored by Dr Mitchell. The changes within the RGPF is also designed for that purpose. Dr Mitchell will try to ensure his security even as he tolerates those RMC remnants as he likes to call them. A dog is always a dog even if it loses a few canines.
The word in the grapevine is that Peter David has been issued a promissory note by Dr Mitchell to become the political leader of the NNP. He has been seen in the company of Dr Mitchell locally and has accompanied him on foreign trips. Dr Mitchell is on record as saying that if he realises that he isn't as effective a leader then he will give way to another person. He however is a very wily politician who has a history of making political friends when it suits his interest and dumps them when they are no longer politically useful. Power has a very strange way of changing the personality of an individual and whether Dr Mitchell continues to dye his hair to look young so as to become the Caribbean Robert Mugabe is left to be seen. What is certain is that Peter David doesn’t have the patience or tolerance level to rally peacefully for long. Serious times ahead.
The next NNP convention will result either in the elevation of Peter David or his demise into the political dustbin. What happens however depends on certain political, economic and social dynamics. If the economic continues to decline then anything can happen, however if the country economic fortunes improve then Mitchell may feel empowered to act against his one time political nemesis. It is well known that there is no natural love existing between these men. Dr Mitchell is on record as saying that Peter David is a very dangerous man who once pulled a gun on his parents. These are very strong words and it's a matter of time before the true meaning of these words unfolds in the current political landscape.
Even if Peter David emerges as the political leader of the NNP sometimes in the future, the performance of the party has been so poor and with the IMF in town for the next five years he may end up as leader of the opposition NNP to his great disappointment. Peter David’s ambition is to become prime minister by any means necessary.
The nations awaits the NNP convention with great anticipation and trepidation. Something explosive is about to happen on the roof of the house. As the saying goes 'either Jonah (KCM) swallow the whale (PD), or the whale swallow Jonah '.
The NDC convention would be the party's first following its defeat in the last general elections The party must be commended for its resiliency and its ability to rebound after such a huge loss.The party's base of over 20,000 voters is very solid and given the failures of the NNP seven months after winning a landslide elections the base is well energised.
After a very successful general council the party is ready for its convention which may result in the election of a new leader. The front runners are Hon Nazim Burke and Hon Franca Alexis Bernadine. Nazim Burke may have the edge given his intellect, experience and command of the issues affecting the country. His credentials as a lawyer and economist will also work in his favour. The NDC appears to be a much more united party coming out of the general council and the fallout out from the expulsion of the rebels may have subsided.
Peter David and the rebel faction seem to still have a love / hate relationship with the NDC. There is no regret within the NDC camp about the expulsion of the infamous ten. They haven't had any measure of success since being expelled from the party and this has worked in the favour of the NDC. Former general secretary of the party Peter David is at the mercy of his one time political nemesis Dr Mitchell. He is vexingly awaiting the 'will' to the NNP that was promised to him. While he is anxiously awaiting his distance price the NDC is making a gallant effort to rebuild with Hon Nazim Burke at the forefront. The future belongs to the NDC and the next convention will certainly lay the foundation for the party.
There are a few critical issues that the party needs to address during the next convention which have nothing to do with leadership. There isn't any leadership crisis within the party. Political leader Tillman Thomas performed like a 'Boss'. His like that Grenada needs more Judy Benoit and less Keith Mitchell was well received by the delegates. The transition from Tillman Thomas to a new leader will be smooth, with Naxim Burke as the favourite. Nazim Burke is not a stranger to the people of Grenada and he is no monster as some would want us to believe. He like Franca are very sober minded family oriented individuals. The critical issues the party must look at are as follows:
a. empowering the young people within the organisation Young people make up over 60% of the electorate. Many of them are poor and vulnerable and so the NDC needs young leaders to work with them so that they can understand their needs much better.
b. strong public relations. This has been a disastrous failure on the part of the party even when it was recognised as a weakness. The party must elect the best and brightest for this role and should ensure that every constituency has a public relations team. The battle will be for the youth vote, who need to have the right information to make sensible decisions.
c. building networks to access funds. Politics is about money and the party which has the ability to obtain monies will have the advantage as has been the case in the last elections.
Interesting time lies ahead. No doubt there will be winners and losers after the conventions. There will also be some rising stars within the NDC who will be tasked to take the battle to the NNP. Given the shaky ground that the government is on and will be on for the foreseeable future, a united strong and committed NDC can apply sufficient pressure on Dr Mitchell and the NNP to call early elections. The IMF structural adjustment program will put a lot of pressure on this administration having sold the people a fairy tale and will be hard pressed to deliver. Chester Humphrey 'Project Grenada' may be yet another dream and campaign slogan but the reality is Grenadians are 'Poorer'. A new prime minister is the solution.