The New Today
Editorials

Changing of the guard!!!

Sunday’s convention by the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has the potential to change the political landscape in Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.

The next six months in the political life of the country will give a clear indication as to whether the new generation of Congress leaders can instill fear in the well-oiled machinery of the seasoned and battle tested ruling New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.

The “old guards” in the NDC have been rolled over time and time again by the “Green House” to the point where Prime Minister Mitchell looks down upon them with scant courtesy, disrespect and no regards.

The NDC camp might be gloating with the election of a new executive but one day in politics could be very long and enduring for the combatants who are on the battlefield.

The party has clearly signaled its intention to shift the political spectrum by handing the job of Political Leader to 44-year old Attorney-at-law, Dickon Mitchell who is from the parish of St. David which in the 80’s and 90’s was considered a garrison for Congress.

However, NDC cannot lose sight of the fact that it is coming up against a wily political figure in Prime Minister Mitchell who hates to lose even a game of marble much less the job of Prime Minister of the country.

Unfortunately, the new NDC executive members have inherited a party that needs a serious overhaul to make it functional and not merely engage in patch work at this point in time.

The important organs of the party are lacking any serious heart beat despite of the glowing report given at Sunday’s annual convention of delegates by the outgoing General Secretary, Glen Noel.

The new political leader has a tremendous task on hand to turn around the NDC in such a short space of time and to put it on a proper footing as a party and at the same time get the troops ready for general election.

It is a well-known fact that Congress has been engaged in more “chat room” politics since the lost in the 2018 general election and not engaged in any serious and organised political work on the ground in this country.

The new General Secretary Learie Barry has been provided with a golden opportunity to show to the executive of the party that he has the capacity and capability to advance the cause of the party and not continue with the mantra of the old guards of just talk and talk and no action on the ground.

The new leadership will have to move quickly and engage in task work for its newly installed Executive officers in order to determine very quickly who can do the work and who cannot deliver in an effort to separate the sheep from the goats.

Mr. Dickon Mitchell will also need to set up a Disciplinary Committee as a matter of urgency and priority to enforce discipline in this group which has demonstrated a certain amount of waywardness in recent years.

The lack of effective leadership in Congress in recent years has allowed the party to degenerate and become “a free for all” with too many executive members allowed to do their own thing.

Mr. Mitchell will have to take the bull by the horn” and turn the Congress party into a disciplined outfit that is committed to the job at hand in order to make an impact among the voters in the upcoming general election.

The Social Media platforms will not determine the outcome of the next election but the effectiveness of the boots on the ground to convince “The Masses” that it is now TIME FOR CHANGE.

It is quite noticeable that after the Convention, the new party leader is yet to spell out the plans in going forward politically and economically.

THE NEW TODAY senses that Dickon Mitchell will be contesting the St. David seat in the next election against the incumbent, Foreign Affairs Minister Oliver Joseph who has been representing the constituency since 2013 as its elected Member of Parliament.

It is the seat that has great potential for NDC and no reason why it should not put forward a candidate like the Leader whose prospects will be far greater than the current Deputy Political Leader, Adrian “Persuader” Thomas who has had two unsuccessful attempts in the 2013 and 2018 elections.

The newlook NDC has little time on hand to seriously mount a challenge to the NNP for State power in all 15 seats if elections are called by the middle of next year.

The best hope for the party is to launch an attack along the eastern corridor from St. David into St Patrick West to try and crack the walls of the NNP on polling day and be hopeful in some of the seats in the urban areas once “A Wind of Change” is blowing throughout the tri-island State.

However, the new leadership of Congress should be mindful of the fact and be realistic that NDC cannot do it on its own and need to engage in genuine and honest discussion and dialogue with others in order to bring together a coalition of forces like 2008 to take down the NNP in office.

Prime Minister Mitchell has two things going for him at this point in time – the NNP will not be short of money for an elaborate campaign and the party has a solid base of supporters throughout the length and breadth of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.

Dickon Mitchell and company can take comfort from the fact that in 1999, Dr. Mitchell won all 15 seats in election but 4 years later he was lucky to survive as Congress came within a mere 6 voters of winning the 2003 poll.