The entry of popular businessman Andy “Hot Spot” Williams as a possible candidate in South St George for the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the upcoming general elections is not being taken lightly by the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.
A well-placed source told THE NEW TODAY that the NNP party branch in the south of the island is worried that its designated candidate, Infrastructure Development Minister, Norland Cox will have a serious battle on his hands if Congress gives the nod to Williams to contest the seat in the election.
The other person who is trying to get the nomination from NDC is former NNP Executive member, Terry Forrester, the political leader of the now defunct Grenada Progressive Movement (GPM).
According to the source, the NNP operatives in the south have identified a number of major hurdles that Minister Cox will have to overcome in order to capture the constituency which the ruling party won in the last two elections in 2013 and 2018.
He admitted that there are a number of “disgruntled people” in the constituency who did not receive good representation from the outgoing Member of Parliament, Nickolas Steele and their concerns will have to be addressed.
He also said that Minister Cox who is from the sister isle of Carriacou still has a lot to do in terms of trying to establish himself in the constituency.
In addition, he said that the NNP recognise that Williams is well known in the south as one who grew up in the area and might be able to attract votes from the major Polling Divisions like Grand Anse Valley, Mont Toute, Calliste and the Housing Scheme.
In recent months, Minister Cox has been seen frequenting a number of villages in the constituency especially the popular bars in The Limes and Grand Anse Valley.
Williams has also been very visible in the constituency in the past two weeks with visits to a number of villages where the marginalised persons in the community are living.
The source pointed out that the NNP branch in the south has conceded that they will have to rely on the influence of Prime Minister Mitchell to help Minister Cox win the seat.
“…Cox has to depend on Keith and the party to bring him home,” he said.
THE NEW TODAY understands that Williams is seen as the clear frontrunner over Forrester to be the NDC flagbearer in the national poll.
Minister Steele officially handed over the South St George constituency at the end of January for Cox to take over as the NNP Caretaker.
The NNP South St George constituency branch is known to have written letters to the party’s head office complaining about the attitude of MP Steele especially his continued non-attendance of meetings.
The NNP insider also expressed concern over what he referred to as “the noticeable lack” of young people at the weekend annual convention of the ruling party.
He stated that unlike previous conventions and mass gatherings there was not a lot of youth around to hype up the Prime Minister whenever he was about to deliver the customary address to bring the proceedings to an end.
“When PM Keith Mitchell go in a convention and (he) going up to speak when they introduce him, you have a set of young people around the stage just waving and stretching their hands (to greet him) …. it didn’t have that this year,” he said.
The NNP was forced to hold a Virtual convention with delegates scattered around the island in about seven different venues due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Both the NNP and NDC have intensified their political activities on the island in the past two months in anticipation of Prime Minister Mitchell calling the election sometime between May and June.