The New Today
Editorials

The exclusion of Tobias Clement!!!

The decision of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to totally exclude Opposition Leader Tobias Clement in any form of political arrangement for the upcoming general election is very unfortunate.

THE NEW TODAY is aware of months of behind the scene meetings between Mr. Clement and new Congress leader, Dickon Mitchell on the way forward in terms of an accommodation for the election.

Quite frankly, the manner in which the Opposition Leader got information like any other member of the public that NDC was no longer interested in any discussion with him is nothing but rude and insulting.

The young brigade that seems to be calling the shots in the party do not understand the history of their own political organisation over the years of its existence.

The very first NDC government of 1990-95 was a coalition arrangement as the party won only 7 seats at the polls and needed the support of one member of the labour party, Edzel Thomas of St John and then Ben Jones and Alleyne Walker of The National Party (TNP) to govern the country.

The NDC victory of 2008 was another coalition involving remnants of the ill-fated 1979-83 Grenada Revolution that had leanings to the radical Bernard Coard faction that attempted to take total control of the process resulting in the execution of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop.

The Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) has always engaged in coalition arrangements to win elections and the latest is with those so-called revolutionaries that were expelled from NDC such as Peter David and Chester Humphrey.

The NDC might have missed a golden opportunity to demonstrate political maturity in working out an accommodation to go into the election with the Opposition Leader.

There was no need to demand that Mr. Clement will only be considered as a candidate by the party on the condition that he had to take out membership in Congress.

The recent general election in St Lucia in which the Labour party won handsomely over Prime Minister Allen Chastanet was a clear demonstration of mature political thinking from seasoned politicians to achieve the objective of regime change.

Labour co-operated with two members of the United Workers Party (UWP) that abandoned PM Chastanet and did not put up any candidate of its own and allowed them to get involved in run-offs only against members of the then ruling party.

Mr. Clement was bringing to the NDC election machinery a critical aspect when it comes to winning elections that the main opposition party has lacked in the last two elections in 2013 and 2018 when it suffered humiliating 15-0 losses at the polls.

The Opposition Leader has trained persons that can play a most critical role for the opposition forces in the proper canvassing of the Voter’s list and the kinds of systems that should be in place on Election Day to challenge for State power.

THE NEW TODAY has always maintained that the ruling New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has a better organised and effective machinery in terms of winning elections than that of Congress.

The total exclusion of Mr. Clement will have the effect of seeing the so-called “soft NNP supporters” no longer trusting the NDC and will easily go back home and off the fence instead of abandoning the “Green Machinery” for the upcoming general election.

Congress will also lose out on those disenchanted NNP’ites who were closely watching the “Movement for Change” as a possible vehicle that can be used to get rid of PM Mitchell once and for all as he is seen as the millstone around the necks of many Grenadians when it comes to serious National Development.

The NDC candidate for Carriacou & Petite Martinique will now have to work even harder to defeat his opponent, attorney-at-law, Kindra Maturine-Stewart with Clement no longer in the picture as he could have helped in delivering some much-needed votes in his hometown of Petite Martinique for Tevin Andrews.

Mr. Clement has always been seen as a very much under-rated candidate and this was the case in the 2013 general election when he stunned the NDC and defeated Finance Minister, Nazim Burke and took away the St. George North-east seat.

He had a greater presence in the constituency than Mr. Burke and did the kind of house-to-house visits and political ground work in every part of the constituency and was able to touch base with many households including several that supported NDC over the years due to their association with former leader, the late George Brizan.

The bottom line is that Mr. Clement has done the political work in the past 10 years in St George North-east and the Congress poll showed him on top over their own selected candidate, Ron Redhead.

These are facts that cannot be seriously contested and should have been taken on board by the NDC in trying to chart the course to reach the magical figure of 8 seats to form the next government of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.

Congress should never lose sight of the fact that elections are a numbers game and like the other islands in the Eastern Caribbean, the process is first past the post – it has nothing to do with coming a close second on polling day.

THE NEW TODAY wish the NDC the very best in going forward and hope that the party might not live to rue its decision to go into battle against PM Mitchell and NNP all on its own and not engaged in meaningful arrangements with others who could help to make a difference on Election Day.

Already, NDC is at a serious disadvantage on Polling Day for the first time in its history as not one member of the 15 that will face the electorate has ever won an electoral seat in their life.

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