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Review of the election play 2022

The main political parties were gearing up for the polls which were due in the first half of 2023. The NDC (National Democratic Congress) won zero seats as the NNP (New National Party) swept them out of parliament twice, winning all 15-seats.

But in October of 2021, the NDC put forward a young Mitchell to face up against the incumbent and ‘not-so young’ Mitchell. The stage is set for a Mitchell and Mitchell showdown on Election Day. The curtains are raised and the election play begins.

Act 1: Scene 1

In October of 2021, the struggling NDC recruited a brilliant young city lawyer, who was born in the rural parish of St. David, to lead them out of the hole of failure in the previous elections.

At first, the gloating NNP were scoffing at this move, dismissing it as maybe a blimp that would not have any significant bearing on their performance in the elections which were due in 2023. But soon the action began, as people all over Grenada started to compare the Mitchell’s ages, the incumbent Keith Mitchell (KM) being Dickon Mitchell’s (DM) senior by far.

There was a 3-generation gap difference between the two leaders. The extent to which this age difference would have impacted the election results is yet to analyse.

Notwithstanding the generation gap, the rebuilding of NDC soon began to take root as this young and energetic leader turned his attention to his home constituency of St. David. He started to charm the young and old with his speeches, and his unassuming (humble, modest, ordinary, down-to-earth) demeanour attracted many as he patrolled all the 15- constituencies.

‘Dickon’ was soon becoming a household name among the people of ‘Petite Martinique, Carriacou and Grenada (I am stealing his order of naming our islands in the tri-island state). He was taking the people by storm, much to the fear of and some aggravation to the NNP.

In fact, KM in a rally, was adamant that he, DM, parachuted into the wrong constituency and as such he was no real threat to NNP at the polls. He would certainly be destroyed by the NNP. KM also claimed that he (DM) can buy a party, but he certainly cannot buy the people of Grenada and an election.

Act 1: Scene 2

But what seemed to be an idle and unconvincing threat by the NDC to the NNP, soon turned into panic for them (NNP). And as the plot tightened, speculation on when the election will be called, how long the campaign would be, who will be the candidates for the NDC and of course which of the Mitchells’ would eventually win, flew.

Remember, the NDC were in shambles for the better part of a decade and to bring them out of these broken pieces would take huge efforts, with excellent team work and stalwart leadership.

DM however, stuck to the task of rebuilding and as he did, some pieces that were no longer fitting into the new look NDC were discarded. Of course, leading change while maintaining the status core is a big contradiction.

In the meantime, the NNP were watching and waiting and teasing about calling the election date. This is a party that never likes to demonstrate weakness and any small signs of such. But as NDC stuck to the task of re-building, there were obvious concerns shown by the NNP.

They began to quietly roll out the election machinery, with small village meetings being held around the parishes. The clock continued to tick, and the intrigue in the plot heightened as NDC got themselves into a position of fielding 15-candidates.

The election bell soon rang. In fact, the Election Day announcement was even unusual, as the day the election date was to be announced was provided before. And so, at a rally in the big parish of St. Andrew, it was announced that the general election was to be held on 23 June 2022.

Act 2: Scene 1

Between 16 May and 22 June 2022, the silly season was in full bloom.

There were the usual large weekend rallies, small pocket meetings, rum shop debates and discussions, T-shirts and other campaign item distributions, and house-to-house visits.

Rallies on both sides were huge, and in the absence of any access (on my part) to canvass figures and results from polls, I had a general feeling that the election would not have been a walk in the park for the NNP.

In fact, among my close friends and some who are self-proclaimed political pundits, we agreed that this election was on a knife’s edge and that it could go anyway. The election might have been so close that it led one of my friends in the St. Andrew North West Constituency, where there was Thomas vs Thomas, to say with no fear of victimisation: ‘I am voting for a Thomas to put a Mitchell in power’.

The day came, we voted and sat around between 5:00 p.m. and up to around 8:00 p.m. when NDC was declared the winner, 9-seats to 6-seats for the NNP. The country exploded into celebration as the winner took it all. The losers simply and quickly vanished, while some braved the tide and stuck around taking in some of the celebration.

From my vantage point in my seat at the theatre, yellow flags and yellow cladded people were zooming by, heading towards where this young, unassuming leader was parachuted into St. David, for what I heard was a long celebration into the wee hours of Friday morning.

And for the first time in just under 10 years, Grenada has an opposition. But who would have thought that the opposition would be the NNP? As indicated earlier, while watching the play, it was too close to call. However, as the plot thickened there were some signs that the NNP was crumbling in many seats, while the NDC was gaining ground. The result at the end of the play proved this observation right.

Epilogue (Conclusion)

After the feting subsided, it was down to serious business, and at separate ceremonies the elected members of parliament took their oaths. At the National Stadium the government MPs, with their ministerial portfolios were sown-in. And so, the government was formed, with twelve ministries created. Six senators were also selected, some with ministerial attachments.

While at the second ceremony, held at the Trade Center, the NNP brought in some of their crowd to formally establish the parliamentary opposition in the Lower House and to complete the government. It is still left to be seen who will be the opposition senators. And in the meantime, we also await the final senator to be selected by the new government. The posts of President of the Senate and Speaker of the House are also left to be seen.

In conclusion, I wish to extend my congratulations, God’s speed and all success to PM Dickon Mitchell and all your MPs and Cabinet. May you achieve all your goals and the critical and important promises in your Manifesto!!!

To paraphrase your own words Mr. PM, it is going to be a steep learning curve – so stand up to the plate and begin the climb. To Opposition Leader Keith Mitchell and your members of parliament, you have a tremendous task to keep this new government in check. So here is to all success and God’s speed with these endeavours.

Dr. John N. Telesford