With two weeks to go before the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) of Prime Minister, Dickon Mitchell, due to hold its first convention following its 9-6 victory at the June 2022 national poll, the race is heating up for the key position of General Secretary to organise the party for the next general election.
Minister for Mobilisation, Implementation and Transformation (MIT) Andy Williams has announced his intention to run for the position at the convention fixed for March 5 at the MacDonald Secondary School in St Patrick.
In an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY, Williams, the current Member of Parliament for the South St George constituency said that he believes the position needs someone with a high profile like a government minister who can get things going much faster for the party as that is not the case at the moment.
He said he decided to take on the new challenge out of a belief that the party “needs a new image and a new vibe.”
“The party needs to wake up – it looks like if the party is sleeping right now,” he added.
The current General Secretary is Learrie Barry who is under fire in some quarters “as being more of a talker and not someone who gets things done” and his perceived lack of organisational skills and not doing much in terms of party building since its victory at the polls.
Party member on the west coast, Raphael Paul, has also expressed an interest in running for the key position of NDC General Secretary at the upcoming convention.
According to Minister Williams, the key for NDC in going forward is to elect someone to the post of General Secretary who can bring power and authority to the job.
“I think if you have to have a Gen Sec – you need a Gen Sec who can have some kind of authority and a Gen Sec outside of government can’t really do – he could just talk but really doesn’t have the teeth or authority to act or the power to act to make things happen,” he said.
“…I think having a Gen Sec outside of government will be harder to achieve what you want to achieve and having a Gen Sec in government now – that’s where you can see all the opportunities and not just for all Grenadians but also your supporters and so you can see what opportunities that they can get,” he added.
Minister Williams who has a background in business suggested that the time has come for NDC to start doing things “a little bit more scientific” and not just haphazard.
He cited the need for putting in place a register “where we know what skillset our people have” so that when opportunities arise “you know who to call.”
He also said that Grenadians need to prepare themselves to take advantage of opportunities that may come along and not expect to just get things “on a silver platter.”
”That is what we need right now,” he quipped.
According to Minister Williams, his MIT ministry lies at the centre of everything within the government in terms of “projects and programmes” and as General Secretary he will be ideally placed to offer more assistance to the people including at the party level.
“So being in government and having the portfolio is a help for the party and that is one of the main reasons I think that being in government will assist in the Gen Sec position – knowing that you have a position with someone who has power and authority in it that could make decisions that will affect the party.
Minister Williams brushed aside the suggestion that his workload as a full-time member of the Cabinet of Ministers will not afford him the opportunity to do the task that is required of an effective party General Secretary.
He said the NDC executive has other positions like Assistant General Secretaries and a Secretariat that can provide the necessary support to get the job done for Congress to be in a position to win a second consecutive term in office.
“You don’t have to be there doing all the work yourself – you have people that will help you in doing the work.”
“What we need from the General Secretary is a direction and once you get the direction then you delegate responsibilities to people that surround you so that they can actually do the work and push it.”
“How I operate, it looks like if I am doing all the work in the South but I’m not. How I operate I motivate and inspire people to work.”
Minister Williams cited as an example the weekend community work that was being done along the Lagoon and in other parts of his constituency, especially on the Sunday when he was in New York to take part in Grenada’s 49th anniversary of independence.
“At the end of the day I will look good but the people who are actually working are the troops on the ground,” he remarked.
The senior government minister pointed out that in the South St George constituency, he has been able to set up groups in each and every community and when it comes to the holding of events “they mobilise and get the people going.”
He said he has already done the hard work by putting the structures in place in his own constituency “to ensure that I don’t have to be there for everything to take place.”
“With me being the Gen Sec now, for one, you will get the energy, interest, vibes, motivation from the people. Once you see I’m involved in something it always moves and this is what the party needs right now – it needs movement, it needs strategy, structure, motivation.”
Minister Williams said he intends to reach out to as many persons as possible in the coming days as part of his campaign to secure the key party position for mobilisation and organisation of Congress to hold onto power.