Five months after becoming a political party on the island, The Grenada Movement (TGM) of Dr. Patrick Antoine has suffered a major blow with the decision of its most prominent member, former Attorney General James “Jimmy” Bristol, QC, to quit the group.
Speaking to THE NEW TODAY on Sunday night, Bristol confirmed that he had spoken to Dr. Antoine and informed him of his decision to leave the movement which is currently making plans to hold a convention to elect its first Executive.
“…I only conveyed my withdrawal on Thursday. I had made up my mind over 3 months ago. It wasn’t what I expected it to be – put it that way so I said no (am leaving),” he said.
“It’s not a personal thing but it’s not just my cup of tea. I didn’t see that my efforts will be well spent,” he added.
This development comes amidst reports that three other frontline members of TGM – former Ambassador to the United Nations, Eugene Pursoo, as well as female activists Faye Thompson and Jenny Rapier – are no longer engaged in active political work with the fledgling party.
Thompson did not respond to a WhatsApp message sent to her by THE NEW TODAY.
According to Bristol, who returned to the island a few days ago after a 3-month break, there is nothing much happening within TGM at the moment and that he cannot describe it really as a party.
The attorney-at-law who had a brief stint as Attorney-General in the 2008-13 National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, described himself more as “a problem solver” and “a helper” in the political process and not a politician.
“I am a person who knows what to do and how to achieve things. I don’t want to be in politics – I want to be part of change,” he said.
Bristol told THE NEW TODAY when he heard about TGM a few months ago, it sounded good to him and he felt at the time that he just wanted to be part of it.
“It was not what I expected. I thought it was an organisation to jump in and move but it turned out that wasn’t the case – that’s all. It wasn’t really an organisation that was organised and I don’t think it was ready to be effective.
“It didn’t appear that there were structures in place. It wasn’t an organised organisation. I want to help with people who are really moving and I didn’t get that impression. I don’t have time with that – it is as simple as that”.
The former Attorney-General described TGM as “a bunch of well-meaning people” who are trying to do something but there is no organisational structure in place to excite him.
“I like to see an organisation – if there isn’t a structure that is not for me. You don’t have to be established but you must have a plan and a route to getting what you want to do. I discovered very early on that it is not that – they have well-meaning people, lovely people but there isn’t an organisation.
Bristol believes that he has done enough for Grenada over the years and at his age it was time that he looked after himself and family “so that’s what I’m going to be doing” in future.
He said that he is now finished with public life in Grenada for good while recalling that over the years he has tried “to be a helpful citizen and has paid my dues.” “Absolutely done,” he quipped.
According to Bristol, he gets the impression that Grenada does not appear to want to move ahead like some of the other islands.
Bristol told THE NEW TODAY that his remarks should not be seen as “an indictment of any individual” within TGM but as an organisation “I don’t think that they are quite ready” because putting together an organisation in Grenada like a political party “is not a walk in the park.”.
He said it was the first time that he decided “to hang his hat in the political ring” with TGM since at the time the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) was in disarray and he sees the ruling New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell “as a joke”.
He said he saw TGM as something new and fresh and decided “to go for it” with the hope that it will blossom into something viable.
“I didn’t find that – my enthusiasm has kind of hit a wall,” he added.
Bristol also said that his family did not want him to be involved in politics and that contributed to his decision to move away from the party.
Speculation is rife that TGM is grappling with a number of internal issues including the lack of leadership provided to the organisation by Dr. Antoine who is based in neighbouring Trinidad & Tobago and visits the island from time to time and is not engaged in full-time political work on the ground.
One insider told THE NEW TODAY that Dr. Antoine was openly confronted at a recent TGM meeting over allegations that he had been meeting secretly with Prime Minister Mitchell with whom he had a fall-out over a year ago.
According to the official, Dr. Antoine denied any relationship with the Grenadian leader and told the session that the last time he saw PM Mitchell was several weeks ago at a funeral and they just acknowledged each other’s presence.
Dr. Mitchell had relieved Dr. Antoine of some of his ambassadorial positions with the NNP regime and the TGM leader subsequently tendered his resignation from other governmental posts.
Dr. Antoine, who has been a regular fixture on the campaign trail with NNP during the holding of general elections on the island, has promised “an official response” Monday on the issue of resignations from the new party.