The New Today

Letters

NDC badly injured or well cured for elections and governance?

It seems that the devotion for disorder and destruction by way of the leadership conspiracy toward the National Democratic Congress (NDC) would be perilously manifested in the manner of the preparations for and the proceedings of the NDC’s Party Convention …. this convention could be the ‘most negative’, not merely for the party but for the country.…. 

This is an extract from Part Four of the earlier internet-circulated article “Grenada’s Opposition NDC Party Plagued By Leadership Conspiracy”, which received ridicule by those Executive members who seem to be confident and comfortable with the status and strategy of the party but lack the insight, intelligence and inclination towards decent political conquests.

Significantly though; The New Today E-paper editorial of Friday, 29 October 2021, had the heading “Sunday – Make or Break for NDC!!!”. It declares that October 31, 2021 could be a defining moment for the main opposition party and its chances of making an improved showing in the upcoming general election, warns that the supporters take the convention very seriously as the party enters into very stormy and unprecedented waters in seeking to elect a leader, holds 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 considers that the new political leader would be starting at a serious disadvantage with the monumental task to rebuild and showcase the party as ready for national leadership.

Despite the exciting high point with the election of a youthful and brilliant leader who has tremendous contacts and access to resources, as the desired attributes seemingly hunted, the intrigues and anxieties which evolved on the verge of the over one-year overdue annual convention of the NDC may have sealed its political prospect.

Certainly, the resoluteness of NDC on its core values, as well as the truthfulness of the public’s allusions and impressions about the party, were put to the test in the process.

Moreover, a better understanding on the reasons for the sluggishness and shabbiness of the party to esteem constructive criticisms, to enhance its organisational operations and pursuits, and to be forceful in attacking government’s policies including the manner of the declaration of a State of Emergency on the COVID-19 epidemic and in rallying the masses on sovereign issues such as heritage, ‘free and fair’ elections, and constitutional reforms was concluded.

Principally though, how substantial and sanitised is the ‘motivation and momentum’ which pervaded the process, to give much admirations for the party?

The puzzling and perturbing signals which emerged with the eagerness and energy to usher a new era in the history of the NDC by electing, embracing and moving forward with an Executive consisting of “another generation”, have been described by its eminent officials as “democracy at its best” in which “sometimes lively democracy is viewed as contention and division and fighting”.

There is the boasting that the occasion was unprecedented in many respects; also, in terms of exposing and educating the people about the functioning of party politics, with the pathway and prerequisites for a citizen to arise to serve as the Prime Minister.

Should rhetoric, exuberance and grandstanding overshadow the explicit ugliness and ills which were exuded? Should past political turmoil with devious avoidances be ignored?

Has the NDC accepted compromises on the grounds that “the end justifies the means”, even to the extent of selling one’s soul to the devil in order to have State power, and is this the will and delight of Grenadians? Was the essence of the “morality in public affairs” as outlined in NDC’s constitution demonstrated and upheld, especially to attract and earn respect by the new intakes of the party?

What is the ‘ethical validation and democratic standard’ for the application, association and action of the “unheard of Leadership Search and Development Committee” (LSDC) which tends to sway the outcome for the political leadership? Were there any concerns by the LSDC about ‘due diligence and due process’ for checking on the profiles of those inducted into the party for Executive positions?

Recall the previous article “To What Extent Should The NDC Compromise On A Coalition?”, arguing that foremost for its existence and functioning should be about esteeming and capitalising on the brand, platform and image in the national interest, and not about gambling in an ‘unprincipled and ill-defined’ pursuit for power.

Ill-gotten gains can bring sour, stressful and suspicious feelings, and particularly Grenada might be still experiencing the misfortunes of obtaining State power by any means. The political maneuvering against Prime Minister Herbert Blaize by his confidante Works Minister Keith Mitchell, for leadership of the New National Party (NNP) at its convention in January 1989, may account for the ‘dictatorial and defensive’ approach which Mitchell exhibits in preserving his governing position.

The political instability as is typical of the hostility and backstabbing within parties, has its basis in the military overthrow of the elected democratic Grenada United Labour Party in March 1979 by the communist-styled New Jewel Movement (NJM) party, the People’s Revolutionary Government of the NJM was eventually self-destruct in October 1983 with subversions and killings.

A swell of political arrogance stains a party, hampers governance and boosts tribalism, hooliganism and infuriation in the society; and frightfully the remaining NDC’s stalwarts may not be able to control party’s affairs, as the case when members of ‘covert motives’ were expelled (said led by Phinsley St. Louis, Vincent Roberts and William Joseph), at its September 2012 convention.

The outcome of NDC’s 2021 convention may have caused the party to be fit for rivalling successfully the NNP at the general elections, since it expects “to attract major financiers and the youth vote”.

Consequently, efforts on Campaign Financing could be deemed irrelevant, since the playing field appears level and free for all, and furthermore there should not be any concern about Election Offences on corrupt practices such as bribery, treating and undue influence as provided for in the Representation of the People’s Act.

However, what would be the mode and mood of the governance, and in whose interest and at what cost to the nation would NDC govern? Would the financiers also engage selflessly to make Grenada economically resilient by relieving its debts? Should transparency, accountability and integrity be virtues of the past, in a political configuration where all parties are fed by the same bunch of hands?

Was the ‘confidence and hope’ of the conservative and conscious voters dashed or was it brightened, with NDC’s new focus and waves? Would it be hypocritical or be honest to reference and associate NDC’s founding members in its new thrust, especially former Prime Minister George Brizan whose “legacy was unearthing practical solutions to address socio-economic challenges in small developing countries”?

Is Hon. Tobias Clement, who joined NDC in accommodation talks in August 2021 after resigning from NNP in November 2019 and was appointed Leader of Her Majesty Opposition in April 2020, disappointed with the conduct involving the Convention and particularly about the route taken to save Grenada’s democracy?

Does NDC’s former leader, Nazim Burke, accept that the party has succumbed to “cynical machinations” to turn Grenada into a One Party State and that “the fight to save our democracy” is lost and over?

Are the youths clear on the vision and version of the transformation sought, and on not to be used as pawns in the hands of those who are entrenched in the ‘cruel and corrupt’ system which advances and protects its operatives?

The enticement of the Citizenship By Investment (CBI) programme which tends to lavish sums of finances of questionable sources for secret deals on unproductive projects, presents the greatest threat to Grenada’s democracy, sovereignty, prosperity and reputation.

Undoubtedly the interests of the public and those of the perpetrators of the CBI “are not aligned” as Distinguished Activist Sandra Ferguson verifies in the published article “Political/Party Leader Position For Sale” with reference to the NDC.

It would be miraculous to have NDC rescuing Grenada with a team whose key figures do not have a strong record of any articulation on malfeasance in government and demonstration of solidarity with civil society, except for keeping ‘silent, safe and satisfied’ whilst wrongs flourish and culturised.

Have these officials reconciled with “We The People” on their facilitation of unscrupulous proprietors; or, are they on the same page with NDC which may have retracted the stance outlines in its article “NDC Heartbeat: Call For Urgent Changes To CBI Law And Programme”?

Also recall the circulated article “Could Grenada’s Democracy Be Saved?”, pointing out that this effort requires sacrifice, vigilance, agitation, and integrity.

Should the top members and big sponsors of NDC, and the LSDC and delegates of the party’s convention be culpable for any disastrous future which Grenada may have to bear, as a result of the perceived aiding and abetting in the process of securing its ‘odd’ Executive; whether or not NDC wins at the next election? Or; should the low-level delegates be excused for reasons of ‘weakness and ignorance’ on the party’s inner workings and institutional relationships, as well as its policies and determinations for governance?

What is the reality? The NDC has proven to have caused itself dehydration during its political desert since February 2013; and naturally being frantic for survival, it has resorted to an injection of blood transfusion.

This injection would bring a resemblance either of demise or of recovery for the party; however, the careful monitoring for any side effects should be everybody’s keen business. NDC had a similar ‘struggling’ scenario and entertained an apparent ‘strong, active and capable’ dose before, which brought victory at the July 2008 polls but could not be sustained throughout the government.

What’s the value and prognosis for a ‘fresh start without a sound foundation’, or a ‘fresh start with NNP’s baton?

JK Roberts