The action taken by Grenada’s Prime Minister Tillman Thomas to prorogue Parliament indefinitely is seen by the vast majority of people at home and abroad as an abuse of power; a mockery of the democratic process as we know it and a last ditch attempt by a discredited and incompetent government and party to hang on to power come what may. When talking to some members of the NDC the only defence they can spurt out is a shameless remark that such an action is within the constitution.
This is true but, as one Grenadian (the Mighty Sparrow) has put it time and time again, “a blind man could see” that the real reason for proroguing Parliament is to rob the country the opportunity of replacing a minority government that has frankly lost its way. What is happening is all party politics (a party desperately trying to save itself from being humiliated at the polls) and has nothing to do with running the country or improving the economy? Let the people decide Mr Thomas; you have played your last trump card. Please let our people speak not for my sake or your sake but for God's sake; let the people decide.
Part of Mr Thomas’s responsibility as head of state includes a duty of care for all citizens, especially those living and working within the Tri-State. This is part of what he pledged when he took the oath of office.
Mr Thomas's action to lead a junta government at a time when the political balance is unfavourable to him does not strike me as a head of state that cares for those who cannot help themselves (the poor, the sick, the old, the disabled); those who have been made redundant and can no longer pay the mortgage and have become vulnerable to losing their family home; those who can no longer pay their rent; those who cannot afford to pay for cooking fuel or fuel to run a vehicle (if they are lucky to own one); those who now find themselves not able to go to the supermarket to purchase essentials to feed their hungry children; those whose electricity or water is likely to be cut off because they cannot afford to pay off the arrears; youngsters who have left the education system over the past four years and have never work because of the lack of employment opportunities; those whose businesses are dying in part as a result of the mismanagement of the economy over the past four years; those who have built up a family business over the years only to see it go the wall; or the many businesses and business people who have carried out business transactions with various government departments and have not been paid; and finally, does his action means that civil servants salaries will be guaranteed? I hasten to doubt it.
Proroguing Parliament will not in my view help ease the hardship on any of the situation I have mentioned. The economic condition is likely to get worse rather than improve as businesses and investors lose confidence in the structure and behaviour of a weak; demoralised; discredited; unpopular and undemocratic government that has lost its way.
I understand that Thomas is a very bad tempered individual of a Jekyll and Hyde character, whenever he finds himself boxed into a corner he would start shouting to colleagues, “I don’t need this, I can do without this, I have my family," etc. If this is the case, Tilley, why don’t you for once in your life stick to your words and resign? The country doesn’t need you; the country would certainly be better off without you, so do the decent thing and go. Seek an audience with the Governor General and ask him to reverse Parliament Prorogue and face the music as a man; the ‘no confidence motion;’ or better still asks the Governor General to dissolve Parliament? These steps are in the constitution and are what we democrats call ‘true democracy.’
The way I see it, with an average of almost 40 percent of the working population unemployed and that figure rising daily with the announcement of a hotel closure and a brewery expected to lay off 60 workers all before Christmas and with nothing on the horizon to help turn the economy round or even having the effect of slowing unemployment down, Thomas and his party is heading for a humiliating defeat at the hands of the electorate whenever the time comes. Delaying an election will make no difference to the outcome except prolonging the pain and hardship of the Grenadian people.
With the expulsion of Messrs David, Roberts and Hood, the NDC is unlikely to hold any seat at all in the Parish of St George. Karl Hood is not popular in any political sense and quite rightly decided not to defend his seat; David and Roberts are extremely popular and pull a lot of personal votes, without them NDC just doesn’t stand a chance in either constituency. Nazim Burke (NDC's only hope in St George), the man who is in charge of the economy during this Parliament, would have a tough job holding on to his seat for two reasons: (1) he would be and should be the target of blame for having the economy in the mess it is in; and (2) everyone knows he is moving house to Westerhall Point in St David, which is outside his constituency. This may have a negative effect in terms of popular support.
Overnight St George is likely to change from Gold to Green, as does the rest of Grenada. The only person likely to stop a complete NDC wipe out is perhaps MP Letts, the much respected Member of Parliament for St David if he can stomach the Mao’s purge that has taken place on 30 September.
Thomas's ship is sinking fast and he knows that but we are dealing with an irrational and bitter man who is determined that if he goes down his party goes down with him. I see his latest move as divisive and at his party’s peril.