ST GEORGE’S, Grenada -- Grenada’s Education Minister, Senator Franka Bernardine, does not believe that recent rumours claiming that she had replaced Nazim Burke as finance minister are accidental.
It was also alleged that Burke had walked out of a cabinet meeting on September 17.
The rumours, which were posted on social networking sites and even made it into mainstream newscasts in Grenada, were “calculated to create uncertainty and unrest in the country,” Bernardine said in an interview on Sunday.
Burke, commenting last week on the reports of his cabinet walkout and firing as finance minister, described it as the work of “desperate newsmongers.”
At the September 17 cabinet meeting, said Burke, “I was there in my capacity as the minister of finance. It is really sad that these hopeless and desperate newsmongers have to be spending so much time trying to mislead people.”
Former prime minister Dr Keith Mitchell said his opposition New National Party (NNP) had nothing to do with spreading the rumours of Burke’s walkout and dismissal.
However, Mitchell argued that Burke should have been fired years ago, adding that the installation of a new finance minister would not now do anything to help the struggling Grenada economy.
“The prime minister, if he has any confidence in himself and knew what was going on, he would have fired the minister of finance maybe two years ago,” Mitchell said. “So, I don’t know if doing it now makes any sense whatsoever. It’s too late for any changes right now.”
Mitchell, whose NNP lost to Thomas’s National Democratic Congress (NDC) in general elections in 2008, thinks the end is near for the government that has been hit by four cabinet resignations and the firing of one minister in just over four years.
Government backbenchers and opposition MPs have been calling for a reconvening of parliament, which has been prorogued.
“As far as I am concerned,” said Mitchell, “this government’s time is literally over. It doesn’t matter who becomes minister of finance. They have failed the country for four-and-a-half years.”
Bernardine, in Sunday’s interview with broadcaster George Grant, called the prorogation of parliament a “pretty routine procedure.”
“It is nothing unusual,” said the minister. “The democratic process is alive and well.”
General elections are due in Grenada by next year and the ruling NDC will hold its annual convention on Sunday, September 30.
With these two approaching political events, there is “unhealthy galloping and stirring up,” the senator said. “What is the hurry?”
She urged Grenadians to stay calm and ignore rumours.
“We must remain stable and focused under the guidance of the prime minister,” she appealed.
Bernadine, who ran and lost the deputy chairmanship of the NDC at the 2011 convention, is expected to again seek an elected position on the executive during the party’s meeting on Sunday.