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Dr. Bert Brathwaite: “I will not quit NNP

Dr. Bert Brathwaite – feeling the heat in NNP

I can say that categorically – I am not thinking about resigning from the NNP.

Those were the words of medical doctor Bert Brathwaite in a comment made to THE NEW TODAY on Thursday morning, the day after the opposition New National Party (NNP) voted overwhelming at an executive meeting to bar him from participating in any of its future sessions.

The Disciplinary action was taken weeks after Dr. Brathwaite appeared on a local television programme calling for the NNP to move towards the holding of the long overdue convention in which everyone should be given a free and open opportunity to replace the longstanding Keith Mitchell as the new party boss.

There are reports that only former Agriculture Minister Peter David and the one time insurance executive Stan Phillip from the constituency of St Mark did not support the move against the medical professional.

There are reports that Dr. Mitchell and his longstanding deputy Gregory Bowen are throwing their support behind attorney-at-law Dwight Horsford, a former Assistant General Secretary of the NNP to become the new party chief at the long overdue convention.

Horsford is said to have notified the relevant authority in the British territory of Anguilla that he will not remain in the job of Attorney General on another contract and will be returning to Grenada within a matter of months.

When asked to comment about the manner in which the NNP moved against him, Dr. Brathwaite said: “I am not going to make any comment at this particular point. I will make a comment in the future. I will have to review what is going on before making a comment which is what I usually do.”

The medical doctor was also tight-lipped about whether he was given an opportunity by the NNP Disciplinary Committee to defend himself against allegations that he was engaged in anti-party activities.

He said: “I don’t want to make a comment yet at this point until I reflect on the whole thing then I will be quite comfortable to make a comment probably early next week or thereabout.”

Dr. Brathwaite denied statements being made by pro-Keith Mitchell supporters that he was a member of the Peter David faction within the NNP and was trying to help him to get the top leadership job in the party.

“I am not a member of any faction in the NNP. I am a member of the New National Party and I have not endorsed any particular person in the NNP so no one can say I am part of any faction – I am definitely not a part of any faction,” he said.

The Barbadian-born medical doctor was also quizzed about whether he still enjoyed a good and close personal relationship with Dr. Mitchell as was known to be the case over several decades.

“I communicate with our leader,” he said but chose not to elaborate.

On the night of Dr. Mitchell’s first victory as leader of NNP at the polls in 1995, Dr. Brathwaite was the first senior party official to arrive at his home at Happy Hill in the St George North-west constituency.

Dr. Brathwaite also declined to comment on whether he had personally engaged Dr. Mitchell on the current stalemate within the party on the issue of the failure of NNP since the election two years ago to give the membership an opportunity at a convention to elect a successor.

“Let me come back to you on those issues. Once I put my thoughts together I can talk. I don’t want to make any rash statements or make comments without giving it any thought,” he said.

Asked if he had given any thought to resigning from NNP over the manner in which he was treated, Dr. Brathwaite said: “No, No, am not thinking about that – I can say that categorically. I am not thinking about resigning from the NNP. Why would I resign?”

The senior NNP member reiterated that he will be sticking by the position adopted in the interview with a local journalist that it was time for the party to hold a free and fair convention in which all contenders for the post of Political Leader will be given a fair chance in the contest.

“I stand by what I said,” he quipped.

The former Chief Medical Officer (CMO) in Grenada advocated the need for an open process and transparent voting process in the NNP in which everyone who think they have the potential to take over as Political Leader and are of substance should be allowed to put themselves forward.

“It is as simple as that. This is what ideally should happen in a democratic situation and I strongly advocate that and I stand by that,” he told THE NEW TODAY.

According to Dr. Brathwaite, the NNP as a party has a number of people within its ranks who can put themselves up for leadership if Dr. Mitchell is not contesting to remain at the helm at the convention.

Dr. Mitchell has been the Political Leader of the NNP since 1989 when he deposed late Prime Minister Herbert Blaize at a controversial convention that split the party into two camps.

Blaize along with his Deputy, the late Foreign Minister Ben Jones, along with the then Education Minister George Mc Guire and Alleyne Walker quit NNP and formed THE NATIONAL PARTY (TNP) and won only two seats at the general elections in 1990.

In the current Dr. Mitchell/Peter David clash leading into the convention, the first major casualty was St Andrew North-west Member of Parliament Delma Thomas, the current Minister of Mental Health who quit the party after accusing her boss of urging her to “curse” David for wanting to mash up the party due to his leadership ambition.

MP Thomas also told supporters at a Town Hall meeting about a year ago that Dr. Mitchell nearly “eat off her head” when she suggested to him that one of David’s key allies, attorney-at-law Arley Gill should be considered for one of the three opposition positions in the Upper House of Parliament.

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