The New Today

Defeat vs United Front

There is sufficient evidence around to suggest that the upcoming general election could see the Opposition forces being affected by some of the candidates who are already in the line-up to run as independents.

THE NEW TODAY sees the poll as a straight battle between the two main political parties on the island – the ruling New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) under new leadership, 44-year old attorney-at-law, Dickon Mitchell.

The once dominant Grenada United Labour Party (GULP), apparently led by Geoffrey Preudomme, is a non-starter at this stage since very little is heard about any political work being done on the ground by the party.

The NDC needs every vote it can muster in all 15 constituencies in order to break the cycle of back-to-back clean sweep of the polls by NNP and a plethora of independent candidates can prove to be detrimental to its chances in the election.

The current dispensation calls for Congress to be forward looking and engage other opposition elements in the country to forge a “United Front” to go into the battle on polling day.

Former Opposition Leader Michael Baptiste has announced publicly last weekend in his hometown of Munich that he will be entering the race to try and unseat the incumbent Member of Parliament, Sports and Culture Minister Yolande Bain-Horsford of NNP.

Many persons are inclined to rule out Mr. Baptiste’s chances of winning back the St Andrew South-west seat but his involvement as a candidate will benefit Bain-Horsford and put NDC at a tremendous disadvantage.

The ex-MP is looking to pick up the majority of his votes in Munich like he did back in the 2003 election when he was locked in battle against the eventual winner, Bain-Horsford and the Congress candidate, Osbert Charles.

It should be recalled that the Baptiste/Charles combination of votes were more than enough to deliver a sound beating on the current NNP government minister.

Are we about to see a repeat in the upcoming general election in which the former Opposition Leader can do serious harm and damage to NDC in St Andrew South-west?

THE NEW TODAY is at a loss to understand why the Congress leaders have been rather slow in engaging persons like Mr. Baptiste to get them involved in a “United Front” effort for the bruising battle ahead with Dr. Mitchell and his ruthless bunch in the NNP.

The main opposition party seems to be lacking the personnel with the political skills to engage in serious dialogue with other forces in the opposition to come together against the “common enemy” in a national cause in the interest of the people of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.

The 4-seats in St Andrew will be crucial in determining the outcome of the upcoming general election.

The NDC must target no less than two seats to win to put the party in any position to compete for the government.

Our intelligence is suggesting that candidate selection in the St Andrew seats could make or break the chances of Congress in the big parish and on the national scale.

The NDC cannot rule out the former TGM member, Wayne Mitchell as a person with great potential in the St Andrew South-east seat against Education Minister, Emmalin Pierre.

The opposition forces should see wisdom in coming together and to put all their resources into one single candidate to take on the opponent from the NNP.

Mr. Mitchell should be assisted as much as possible to break the stranglehold of Minister Pierre in Telescope in order to open up the constituency as this is the key area where the bulk of the votes is concentrated.

In 2008, Mrs. Pierre was within touching distance of winning the seat but her opponent former Sports Minister, Patrick Simmons scored heavily in Telescope and snatched the seat from her as the final results came in from that polling division.

THE NEW TODAY is not sure whether the NDC has put in place a scientific and realistic roadmap that shows it a clear passage to win eight seats in the upcoming election to form the next government in St George.

A key component of the roadmap is the personnel serving on the Selection Committee to identify the 15 candidates to go into battle against NNP.

This is serious business and not a job to be done by political rookies, novices and persons who have no track record in politics.

This is a gentle reminder that an individual with an impressive record in business does not mean that the same results will emerge in the political arena.

How can persons who lack political skills interview the likes of Mr. Baptiste and Opposition Leader Tobias Clement to determine their suitability to contest and win seats at the polls in Grenada?

In the last two elections, the NDC failed to win a seat and should be mindful of the fact that the NNP is no walk over in the upcoming battle and will be most dangerous when the ruling party starts to spend money on the ground to back the state resources which are being rolled out at the moment to target the key youth vote at the polls.

Congress has no chance in the election if it fails to recognise that it has to forge a United Front with like-minded persons in the opposition even at this late stage to become competitive on Election Day.

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