THE NEW TODAY has picked up information that an internal poll was done by the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the most important issue that came up surrounded the best person to lead the party into the upcoming general election.
It was not surprising to hear that former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas was the overwhelming favourite by those who were polled, for him to make a return to active politics.
It is well-known that THE NEW TODAY had suggested this many weeks ago as those aspiring for leadership of Congress are very far from ready for the job much less the task that lies ahead in defeating the incumbent, Dr. Keith Mitchell and his ruling New National Party (NNP) which has dominated the political landscape for the better part of 25 years.
Congress has had to pay a heavy price politically since 2013 when the party lost 15-0 at the polls to NNP and a similar loss again in 2018 with former Finance Minister Nazim Burke at the helm.
There is suspicion that some so-called influential persons within the NDC are not happy with the prospects of “Uncle Tilly” coming back as leader and are trying to frustrate the process by delaying the upcoming party convention when a new Political Leader has to be voted into office.
The question which Congress supporters need to ask – if not “Uncle Tilly” then who should take over at this stage and lead the party into an election that it needs to either win outright or capture sufficient seats to be a formidable outfit in Parliament?
The other names being mentioned as possible leaders of the main opposition party are lacking in national appeal and cannot be seen as serious contenders as none of them have any serious following at the national level.
It is not only doubtful but also questionable whether these aspirants can attract substantial donation and financial support that are needed to make an impact in national elections.
THE NEW TODAY holds strongly to the position that one of the critical questions to be asked by the electorate is whether the NDC can put forward a candidate outside of “Uncle Tilly” at this critical stage who they will buy into as a serious replacement for the incumbent in the Botanical Gardens?
There are reports that a certain section within the NDC, especially the youth have hatched a plan to go to the convention and ask for the party’s constitution to be suspended in order to facilitate the entry of someone as a possible leader.
This is so foolish. Anyone who wants to contest the post of Political Leader of Congress can do so on the floor of the convention and not through the suspension of the NDC constitution.
Why would NDC want to select a leader who is not even a member of the party? It just doesn’t make any sense.
THE NEW TODAY has warned NDC before and will do it again to be careful of the choice of Political Leader.
The delegates should stay away from anyone who is associated with those who brought so much pain and suffering to Grenada in our most recent history.
These elements were given a chance in the 2000 to 2013 period and the end result was a repeat of the 1979-83 period with infighting for power.
The Tillman Thomas-led government imploded but without the use of the gun as two of the remnants of the Grenada Revolution locked in a battle for leadership similar to the way in which Bernard Coard became power hungry and obsessed with replacing Maurice Bishop as Prime Minister and leader of the Revolutionary process in the country.
The NDC allowed them to enter the party as part of the rebuilding process after the massive defeat in 1999, they were able to lay their hands on many of the influential positions and used it as a launching pad to try and obtain power.
THE NEW TODAY is very mindful of the fact that NDC or any political party in Grenada cannot hope to win national election without engaging in some kind of a coalition arrangement.
Dr. Mitchell has always won at the polls because of a coalition of forces over the years with the likes of the labour movement through Claris Charles and Michael Pierre, the Louison brothers from St. John who came out of the Grenada Revolution, and the money people in the private sector especially those in the south of the island.
Prime Minister Mitchell is currently in office with a coalition involving those who were expelled from NDC in 2012 – Peter David, Chester Humphrey, Pastor Stanford Simon, and Joseph Gilbert among others.
The NNP Coalition was seriously challenged leading up to the 2008 general election as Congress was able to put together its own Coalition and came out on top 11-4 at the polls.
Today, Tillman Thomas should be a much wiser person given the demise of his government in the latter part of 2012 when one of the revolutionaries on the realisation that he could not grab power did everything possible to see all the deck of NDC cards fall flat on the ground.
Uncle Tilly must know that changes are badly needed and that those who led in strategy and tactics in the last two elections cannot continue to play that role and that “new forces and new thinking” should be the order of the day.
In politics, it is one thing to shout out aloud that political work has to be done but it is a different thing when it comes to identifying and pinning down the work that has to be done to move from second in an election race to wining the hearts and minds of the electorate to emerge victorious on Polling Day.
It is precisely for these reasons and more that the upcoming Convention of the NDC will be a make or break for the party as a political force in Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.