Twelve months ago, the New National Party (NNP) of Dr. Keith Mitchell looked invincible and set for a third consecutive term in office.
However, the situation changed drastically in a matter of weeks to the point where many have reached the conclusion that the party is now without a leader and that its aging 75-year old boss is now politically irrelevant in the scheme of things in the country.
In eight months, a rookie politician, 44-year old Attorney-at-law Dickon Mitchell turned the politics upside down in the country when he led the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to a 9-6 victory at the polls following back-to-back 15-0 drubbing at the hands of the once all-conquering Green Machine.
The mighty NNP often humiliated Congress by asking its members to go and find a leader who can compete with their own leader.
Today the situation has turned full circle, 360 degrees around with many now asking the NNP – who is your leader?
The June 23, 2022 victory at the polls by Dickon Mitchell has left the NNP without a leader as the clear message from the country for Dr. Mitchell is that the generational changes has swept him aside and he is no longer relevant to the changing times on the horizon politically, as the era of the young people is now in our midst.
Dr. Mitchell should really even disqualify himself from helping the party look for a new leader to take it into the future.
He had over 30 years to help put in place the plans for a successor and never did anything about it.
Just over a decade ago, a proposal was put on the table for the current General Secretary, Roland Bhola to understudy him as the next political leader of the party but it was shot down on the grounds that the then Minister of Agriculture did not possess a degree.
That being the case then the former Education Minister Emmalin Pierre who is without a degree clearly does not fit the bill as the next Political Leader of the island’s current main opposition party.
The other pretender among the six opposition members in the house for NNP is former Agriculture Minister Peter David who once held the powerful position of General Secretary in Congress.
THE NEW TODAY is not taking “Pedro” serious when it comes to leadership of a party and country based on his track record.
Time has also caught up with the former NDC member who is no longer a potent political force like 10 to 12 years ago when he was a significant player in the local politics and many were “eating out of his hand.”
Pedro has disappointed too many people in the recent past to be taken seriously now and might not be able to attract the right coalition of forces to take him to the top.
Back in the 2008-13 Congress government, the then General Secretary had the support of about eight of the eleven NDC elected Members of Parliament and when called upon by his backers to take over from Prime Minister Tillman Thomas he backed away on the grounds that “the timing was not right.”
Pedro again demonstrated no leadership qualities when he left his close ally, Glynis Roberts (South St George MP) in the rain and cold after nudging her to form the National United Front (NUF) for the 2013 general election and ran away and cut a deal for himself by helping NNP win the poll.
This behaviour left a sour taste in the mouths of several supporters of the new party who claimed that they expected “Pedro” to be their leader but three times he forced them from setting the date for its launching.
The wily Keith Mitchell did not need “Pedro” and his disciples to win the 2013 poll as victory was already assured for the NNP by the manner in which NDC self-destructed due to the infighting for leadership by the 1979-83 Grenada Revolution elements.
The calculating Keith Mitchell needed the likes of Peter David and Chester Humphrey and company to help him achieve his objective which was the total destruction of the NDC as a political force in the country and to leave him in the envious position of running a one-party State.
Pedro is no threat when it comes to the issue of taking over the leadership of NNP from its veteran leader.
Keith Mitchell remains unchallenged for the time being as he is the bread winner of the party and comes up with almost 100% of the finances to keep the party machinery up and running, despite a 50% cut in the monthly cheque of its workers in NNP party offices, since the defeat at the polls nearly seven months ago.
Any NNP’ite know that the party has to look for new and younger leadership to match Dickon Mitchell and the NDC young Turks but equally understand that the “one who pays the piper calls the tune.”
THE NEW TODAY is convinced that it will take a 3rd Force within the NNP to uproot Keith Mitchell as leader once they meet the criteria that controls the party – THE MONEY.
Pedro might be able to raise the money but the odds are highly against him emerging as the new leader as Keith Mitchell will never give him the nod as his successor, coupled with the fact that there are many within the NNP who never fully embraced him and saw his usefulness for one thing only – helping to bring down Tillman Thomas and the NDC government in 2013.
The NNP dilemma is that the longer Keith Mitchell hangs around the more entrenched will Dickon Mitchell become as Prime Minister of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.