ST GEORGE’S, Grenada -- Former deputy leader of Grenada’s ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Senator George Prime, has described MP Karl Hood as a “colleague and friend.” However, Prime wants Hood – who has filed a motion of no-confidence against the government – to think about the “bigger picture.”
“The bigger picture is the country,” Prime told reporters in commenting on Hood’s no-confidence motion, which accuses government of failing to “fulfill its promise to implement programmes that were marketed to deliver economic and social development to the people of the State of Grenada.”
Hood, the NDC MP for St George South East, also charges that the “dismal mismanagement of the economy” has resulted in joblessness rising to “astronomical levels”.
Hood resigned in May as Minister of Foreign Affairs. He is one of four NDC MPs sitting as backbenchers in the House of Representatives.
The house, which has been on recess for the past several weeks, has not yet debated the motion. House passage of the motion could force government into calling early general elections.
Government backbenchers and opposition leader, Dr Keith Mitchell, have all called for a reconvening of parliament.
“The people have long gone back to work after the carnival. As MPs we must also go back to work,” said backbencher Peter David, NDC general secretary and former tourism minister.
“It is my view,” said David, “that the motion presently before the parliament should be given the opportunity to be debated in the House of Representatives.”
Mitchell, who served as prime minister from 1995 to 2008, said what’s happening with parliament is “entirely contrary to the principles and practices of democracy; makes a mockery of all the lofty pronouncements about good governance; and risks damaging Grenada’s image in the international and regional community”.
Prime Minister Thomas “needs to ensure that parliament is called to enable the representatives of the people to deal with the people’s business”, Mitchell said.
Prime, Leader of Government Business in the senate, said nothing is wrong with asking for a sitting of parliament.
There is also nothing sinister or inconsistent in the House of Representatives having not reconvened, he added.
It is “much ado about nothing at all,” Prime said. “The nation should not be unduly perturbed that parliament has not sat,” said Prime, who was replaced as NDC deputy leader by Finance Minister Nazim Burke at the party’s 2009 convention.
His replacement took place within eight months of the 2008 general election that was won by the NDC. Prime, for the second time in two elections, ran and lost the Carriacou and Petite Martinique constituency.
While the NDC constituency branch in Carriacou and Petite Martinique has endorsed him as their candidate to contest the next general election, Prime Minister Thomas and some of his advisors are said to be lukewarm to the idea and may be considering other potential candidates.
Prime, who is Minister for Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs, labeled Hood’s no-confidence motion as “unfortunate and unwarranted.”
He has now become the second government minister to comment publicly on Hood’s motion.
The first – Prime Minister Thomas – said the motion was engineered by the opposition New National Party (NNP).
“This motion, for which the NNP must be fixed with constructive ownership, is planted shamelessly in the name of greed, money and power,” the prime minister said in an address broadcast on radio and television.
“A total of 8 votes is needed for such a motion to be passed,” he said. “The whole nation is, therefore, looking to see whether, and who in the parliament, would join with the NNP to assist them in accomplishing their goal.”
An NNP motion of no-confidence filed in May was defeated in parliament.
Hood, who was still foreign minister, abstained from the vote.
Only backbencher and former Environment Minister, Michael Church, voted with the four opposition MPs in support of the motion.