A Caribbean political analyst believes that the ongoing internal problems within the New National Party (NNP) of ex-Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell provides an opportunity for the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) of new Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell to consolidate its hold on power in Grenada.
Speaking to THE NEW TODAY, the analyst who operates from a neighboring island said that Congress which just held its annual convention to put a new executive in place should step up on its political activities especially in the area of party building and mobilisation to capitalise on a much weakened NNP.
Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell led NDC to a comfortable 9-6 victory at the polls on June 23, 2022 to end back-to-back 15-0 defeat by NNP in the 2013 and 2018 general election.
The analyst said the NDC must come up with a political plan to do serious party work, as well as design a programme for that kind of work even if they have to hire a political consultant to get the job done for them.
He raised concerns over whether the NDC has been able to form and organise new groups following the convention so as “to build power and organisation” to face the next general election.
He said the NDC leaders would be making a terrible mistake if they see the election of persons to serve on the newlook executive as “an event” as opposed to being “an activity where we start the rebuilding process” and for what he called “the reset and building the capacity” of members and to bring the party to the grassroot in the society.
“You can’t expect Dickon (Mitchell) to do everything – performance does beat ole talk,” he remarked.
“They (NDC) have to get these things going…the groups and organise it,” he said but was quick to add that he feared that the party might not “have the capacity in organising groups” and should seek assistance in getting the task done.
The political analyst pointed out that the re-elected General Secretary Learrie Barry has a key role to play in putting together a work plan for the year to advance the cause of the party.
He said that party members must not be afraid to call on him to “see the party work plan.”
He suggested that Congress needs to position itself to help its members and supporters especially at the village and community level to benefit from the activities of their government in office.
He said the party needs to put community leaders in place who can look out for job opportunities for the people who support the party.
According to the analyst, there is a need for the NDC to concentrate on “building capacity in our people” because this is how “we grow as party groups because it is the party that put the government in power.”
“The party continues to gain its strength and you can only continue to do that when you are organised,” he said.
The analyst stated that the NDC also needs to put structures in place to always focus on the new voter’s list that is issued by the Parliamentary Election Office in order “to see how many of your members on the Voters list” and to look out “for your members who voted for you.”
This information, he said, is critical and vital and should be put in a Database to know at any given time “all who are on the Voters list.”
He stressed that an organised political party will know all “the names and numbers of your supporters, all the senior people and their birthday.”
“You must also know how many young people are associated with the party between the ages of 18 to around 45,” he said, as he referred to these people as “the consolidating age group.”
The analyst urged Congress to concentrate on building an organisation to the point where details of everyone who visits a party constituency office is documented coupled with the type of support that they are requesting.
According to the analyst, this kind of information is useful as it gives the sitting Member of Parliament or the potential Candidate for the party a good idea “of the behaviour of your constituency.”
“…If every (Parliamentary Representative) could have that and ensure that they service their constituency right, he’s there for another 20 years,” he said.
He also expressed concern that since coming into government, the NDC is depending too much on Town Hall meetings “to spread the news of the NDC.”
“…It should not be so, the party should have its own thing, its own fundraising, its own fun day”.
The analyst believes that Congress can learn something from the approach of two of the NNP successful candidates in the last election – Emmalin Pierre in St Andrew South-west and Delma Thomas in St Andrew North-west.
He said both Pierre and Thomas hold Fun Day for their members and supporters at the constituency level.
“That is good political work, party work. What are NDC people doing to bring the community together? The people do like that – whether it is cricket on a Good Friday or Easter Monday, whether it is sports day for children and the community – you have to bring NDC people together? Sometimes it is the ordinary people that give you the best suggestions when you have these groups going – so the fellahs have to wake up and smell the coffee”.
“The world is changing, the dynamics of things are changing and politics is about people … and you have to get eyeball to eyeball with your people, keep them together, keep in touch with them and ensure it is ok with your support base.
The analyst suggested that Congress needs to concentrate on engaging in serious organised political work as the ageing 76-year old NNP leader, former Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell is showing no signs of allowing anyone to take over the leadership from him.
“…Keith is going down, his machinery will be in shambles in a while after he gone” he said.