Cabinet ministers Joseph Andall and Claudette Joseph have declared their intentions to compete for the Number Two party position in the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) headed by Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell.
The two expressed interest in landing the job before party members in a session that was conducted on the zoom platform ahead of the March 5 annual convention of Congress to be held at the MacDonlad College in St Patrick.
Andall currently holds the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs and Joseph, a senator in the Upper House of Parliament is the island’s Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs.
The position is held by Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Adrian “Persuader” Thomas who was not a candidate in the June 23 general election in which Congress replaced the New National Party (NNP) of long-standing Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.
Andall was victorious at the polls in the rural St Patrick West seat in which he defeated NNP’s Phillip while Sen. Joseph failed in her bid to capture the Town of St George constituency from former Agriculture Minister Peter David who ran on the NNP ticket.
It will be Sen. Joseph’s second attempt at the Number Two party job after losing in the 2021 battle against Sen. Thomas.
Andall once held the position of Interim Political Leader of the party but has never contested for the position of Party Leader.
The candidates who are vying for party positions were able to make their case before party members on Monday night.
Three candidates have expressed interest in becoming party Chairman – former holder of the post Terry Moore, as well as current Deputy Chairman Sylvester Quarless and Osbert Charles who had contested the St Andrew South-west seat for NDC without success in the 2003 general election.
However, the post that is generating the most interest is that of General Secretary in which the two front-runners are the current holder Learrie Barry and Minister of Mobilisation Implementation and Transformation Andy Williams.
A top party insider told THE NEW TODAY that Williams, the Member of Parliament for South St George is facing some opposition from several party members who believe that he already has a tremendous workload as a member of the Cabinet of Ministers.
Both Williams and Barry were able to put forward their case for election to the key party post on Monday night.
Party insiders have also expressed concern with the below par performance of the NDC and its Public Relations arm since the victory at the polls eight months ago.
The current holder of the position is Orlando Romain, known as a close ally of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell.
Under the NDC constitution, the position of Prime Minister and Political Leader cannot be challenged once the party is in office.