With Grenada just about to finish the first month of the brand New Year, the political atmosphere in the country is heating up quickly with growing signs that Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell is in a haste to prepare the ruling New National Party (NNP) for the much anticipated General Election.
Also, this week alone, the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has started the process to identify prospective candidates to contest all fifteen seats that will be at stake on Polling Day.
The early indication is that several persons including some very interesting names have already sent in applications with the hope of getting the nod to run on the Congress ticket against an opposite number from NNP.
The biggest catch for the NDC so far is Senator Tessa St Cyr who has decided to join forces with the Dickon Mitchell-led party in the battle to try and unseat the incumbent Prime Minister.
This development shows that the newlook NDC is prepared to see itself as the kind of “Unity Tent” that is needed to bring together a formidable coalition of forces to engage in the contest against the current rulers.
THE NEW TODAY has always held the view that no political party can win an election in Grenada without taking on board others to help bolster its chances at the polls.
PM Mitchell has always won elections due to his ability to attract others to come along with him to remain in office.
The first coalition that the NNP leader was engaged in was back in 1995 when he attracted a number of former revolutionary figures like Einstein Louison and the late Joe Charter to take 8 of the 15 seats at stake.
Dr. Mitchell was able to strengthen the coalition when he invited Michael Baptiste of the Grenada United Labour Party (GULP) and soon after Clarence Rapier to become members of the government in his bid to bolster the NNP administration.
The latest coalition that the NNP leader was able to forge to get back into power was with the expelled members of the Congress government of 2008-13 including the likes of Peter David, Pastor Karl Hood, Joseph Gilbert, as well as trade unionist Chester Humphrey and others.
The same Peter David along with other revolutionary figures like Nazim Burke and George Prime were able to come into NDC as part of a coalition arrangement to deliver a decisive 11-4 whipping on the said Dr. Mitchell and NNP at the polls in 2008.
Congress will only be fooling itself if it does not see the wisdom of opening up the party and to be used as “a big tent” to put together a formidable team of candidates to face the electorate in the fight against Dr. Mitchell and company.
It should extend the olive branch to many other prominent forces in the opposition ranks including the current Opposition Leader, Tobias Clement, Michael Baptiste and others like Wayne Mitchell, formerly of The Grenada Movement (TGM) to come on board in the crusade to win back the soul of Grenada from the NNP.
Sen. St Cyr was known to be on both the NNP and NDC radar in recent years and will now give a boost to the image of any political party in the country.
The NDC Political Leader should engage Michael Baptiste to get him to play a role in the upcoming general election as he still has a contribution to make in the political life of the country.
At this stage, Mr. Dickon Mitchell has to be strategic in trying to capture eight seats at a minimum to form the next government in the Spice Isle.
Despite reservations within some sections of the NDC camp about the inclusion of the Opposition Leader on its ticket, Dickon Mitchell has to show and demonstrate bold leadership and convince his supporters of the need for true, meaningful and genuine national unity by creating the conditions for Mr. Clement to defend his St George North-east seat against the NNP candidate in the upcoming general election.
The Opposition Leader can win the seat quite comfortably if the former NDC Leader, Nazim Burke comes forward and sends a signal to his supporters that the political landscape calls for maturity and to stop remaining very silent.
One of the issues that will play out in the upcoming general election is whether the country has gotten tired of the 75-year old aging Prime Minister, especially the young people and might decide to bring about regime change.
It will again be an easy victory for NNP if the young people decide to keep the incumbent in power but it will be “a different ball game” if they decide to look elsewhere and particularly in the direction of a young man who showed bravery in coming forward to try and take away the Prime Ministership of the country from a man who has won five times at the polls within the past 30 years.
THE NEW TODAY is warning the opposition that Prime Minister Mitchell is no roll over and will be going out guns blazing to win all fifteen seats in keeping with his legacy agenda.
The Grenadian leader will be deploying significant resources especially in St George North-east to send a message to the Opposition Leader and also St David to try to humiliate Dickon Mitchell as the mantra is to cut off the head of the NDC leader at all cost.
The so-called “NDC Unity Tent” will have to be strategic on how it goes about the business of targeting no less than 8 of the 15 constituencies with the best team of candidates that can be assembled at this point in time in the battle to rest power from PM Mitchell.
Each passing day will bring new challenges on the political front as the parties head towards the upcoming general election that will have many casualties.