The New Today
Editorials

Sunday – Make or Break for NDC!!!

Sunday, October 31, 2021 could be a defining moment for the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and its chances of making an improved showing in the upcoming general election.

The party delegates will be meeting in the much-postponed annual convention to elect a new Political Leader who will most likely lead its slate of 15 candidates in the national poll which many suspect could be around the middle of next year.

Congress is still hurting badly from the two back-to-back 15-0 defeats at the polls in 2013 and 2018 at the hands of the ruling New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.

It is noteworthy that the party is going into the convention with three persons vying for the post of Political Leader – barrister Dickon Mitchell, former NNP member Terry Forrester , and businessman and poultry producer Phillip Telesford.

Although Forrester is the only one of the three with a national profile of more than 25 years in the local political arena, it is very unlikely that the delegates will give him a look in the door to climb the ladder to sit on the top chair in the party.

THE NEW TODAY suspects that it will be a battle between Mitchell and Telesford – two contestants with very little or no experience at this level of party politics in the country.

There has been whispers that former Finance Minister Nazim Burke who stepped down from the post of Political Leader after the 2018 election might be nominated on the floor of the convention to challenge for the top job once again.

It’s Burke right and no one should prevent him from putting his name on the list of contenders.

However, the question which many should ask is whether the ex-government minister has what it takes to mount another serious challenge to PM Mitchell and NNP for the prize of being the Prime Minister of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.

The key question to be answered by the NDC members about those candidates running for the post of Political Leader of Congress is the following – which one of them have what it takes to put together a Coalition of Forces like in 2008 when the party was able to defeat the NNP and take charge of the Cabinet room in the Ministerial Complex in the Botanical Gardens.

The NDC supporters should take this convention very seriously as the party is entering into very stormy and unprecedented waters in seeking to elect a leader and it is factual that the two main front-runners – Mitchell and Telesford – have no political experience and are short of being battle tested at the national level.

The NNP is showing signs that it is preparing to address the next election – the latest being the introduction of a new Senator to take over the St Patrick West constituency from the incumbent, Anthony Boatswain.

PM Mitchell is also building back his election machinery by reaching out to several persons to come on board the NNP team to help with the political work for election.

After 8 years in office, there are signs that Grenadians have had enough of the ruling party but it will not be an easy task to snatch power from the 75-year old leader who is still very much thirsty to remain in the job.

There is no doubt that the NNP is beatable but not by mere talk – the serious organised political work has to be done by people who know what they are about and are able to apply the science to get the job done.

The task ahead for the new NDC Political Leader is monumental as the party has to showcase to the electorate a team that can provide good leadership of the country, and has appeal to the ordinary man on the ground.

The battle for power in the next election will be determined by which of the two major political parties is able to convince “the small man” that he is the better choice for them.

The last time that Congress was able to win the battle was in 2008 before the party self-destructed in government with some of the main players engaged in bitter infighting for power almost similar to the demise of the Grenada Revolution in 1983.

The new NDC leader is starting at a serious disadvantage as he will have to hit the ground running the moment that he gets the nod from the delegates.

Will the old guards who have entrenched themselves in the belly of the party be willing to give way to new blood?

There is also a missing link which the NDC leaders have not tapped into in a very serious way the role that can be played by the current Opposition Leader Tobias Clement who is very much under-estimated as a very shrewd politician and can bring on the table persons who are very much equipped to help with the battle that lies ahead against the NNP.

THE NEW TODAY holds strongly to the view that the NDC might be making a serious political blunder in the manner in which it is seeking to transition from the old into a new phase of the politics in the country and should “Hasten Slowly”.

The NNP strategy will be to cut off the head of the person challenging Dr. Mitchell for his power along the same lines that they beat up on Burke in the last national poll.

The hot heads who are clamouring for change do not appreciate that in their midst is the most trusted and popular person in the country, the former Prime Minister, Tillman Thomas who should have been asked to come back to lead the team into the election alongside one of the upcoming young leaders as deputy to send a signal to the rest of the country where Congress is heading politically.

“Uncle Tilly” won the internal poll as the best choice and it is mind-boggling that at this stage when experience and competence might be the two greatest ingredients in rebuilding the party to go forward, they will allow the power brokers to throw this out of the window and engage in a game of chance similar to the National Lottery Authority.