Newly elected Political Leader of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), attorney-at-law Dickon Mitchell is being promoted in the St David constituency as the next Maurice Bishop in Grenada.
This was told to THE NEW TODAY on Thursday by a key member of the NDC constituency branch in the parish which is doing the political work on the ground in the parish for the 44-year old political newcomer who has signaled his intention to contest the seat against Foreign Affairs Minister, Oliver Joseph.
“We’re sharing the message and we are promoting my man (Dickon Mitchell) as a prototype of Maurice Bishop because he’s eloquent and he’s handling all the public relations issues properly and that’s what we are proud of,” he said.
According to the NDC political activist, the advent of Dickon Mitchell on the political landscape in the country following the October 31 convention of Congress when he was elected overwhelmingly as the new political leader, has created panic and sent shock waves within the ruling New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.
He said the NNP has been looking for “dirt” to throw at their new leader but has been unable to come up with anything worthy of note.
“No matter what they do the man has no baggage – the men (NNP) worried,” he quipped.
He spoke of being confident that Dickon Mitchell will return St David which was once considered as a “garrison constituency” for Congress into the NDC fold in the upcoming general election.
He said that a lot of people in the constituency are impressed with Dickon Mitchell who was born in the small village of Petite Esperance and are ready to vote for him to enter Parliament as their next Member of Parliament.
“We gone clear. We are in charge of St David’s – trust me. I have never seen so many people in St David’s so excited – people going and get registered to vote – Oliver done, Oliver gone- that’s it for him. People are energised – NNP (is) in problems,” he remarked.
“The guy (Dickon Mitchell) is appealing. People decide they have had enough of Keith Mitchell. They (NNP) could do what they want St David’s gone. Even though is one seat NDC will get it, they go get St David,” he said.
The new NDC leader opened his constituency office last week Friday in Red Gate, using the same building that former Congress MP for the constituency, Agriculture Minister, the late Michael Denis Lett used to campaign in the 2008 general election.
Dickon Mitchell has already described Lett as one of his mentors and the person whom he looked up to and decided to attend the same secondary school with the ex-government minister, the Presentation Brothers College (PBC) in Old Fort, St. George.
After graduating from PBC, the NDC boss joined the staff as a teacher before leaving for Barbados to attend the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) to study law.
According to the NDC “foot soldier” in St. David, he is excited about the amount of young people who are getting registered to vote in the next election with the support of “Team Dickon Mitchell”.
“Most of the guys who are going and register now are youths,” he said.
He told THE NEW TODAY that Dickon Mitchell has re-energised the NDC base in the constituency and the impact is such that several other residents who never bothered with past elections are now getting registered to vote for him in St David.
“We are on the ground – we are working for our man. The thing is the man (Dickon Mitchell) came from humble beginnings and he’s eloquent, a lot of people are diverting to him,” he said.
“A lot of people who never voted in their life are now registering to do so. They fed up with Oliver (Joseph) in St David’s – people fed up with him,” he added.
The NDC activist is not disturbed by the announcement this week by Minister Joseph about a new hotel to be constructed at La Sagesse in St David’s that will transform the constituency, despite this not being mentioned in the recently presented 2022 budget.
He did not see this having any major impact on the people as they are showing signs of wanting to see regime change in the country.
He also dropped hints that the NDC supporters in St David are out for revenge as they did not take too kindly to Minister Joseph who migrated to the constituency from Balthazar in St Andrew coming into the area and winning the seat in a contest against a local person, Deputy Political Leader of Congress, Adrian “Persuader” Thomas.
The activist pointed out the minister came to St David after getting married to a lady from Pomme Rose but Thomas was born in Vincennes in the constituency.
He also supported the decision taken by the Number Two man in NDC to resign as the party’s Caretaker for the constituency in favour of Dickon Mitchell going into battle against Minister Joseph.
The Congress member admitted that Dickon Mitchell is concentrating at the moment on other constituencies around the island for NDC and not focused at the moment on St. David.
“He’s leaving St David’s for last because he knows we are there – the boys are on the ground.”
On Tuesday, Thomas rejected suggestions that he was forced to step down as Caretaker for the St David constituency in order to make way for Dickon Mitchell to contest the seat in the next general election.
Speaking to THE NEW TODAY, Thomas said he decided to step down after giving careful consideration and analysis to the political situation in the country and not because of any pressure from anyone.
“Not at all – well you know me, politics can’t pressure me,” said the Number Two man in the Congress party.
According to Thomas, it was also a decision that was made in the interest of the party which has been going forward under Dickon Mitchell’s leadership under the agenda of “Movement for Change”.
“It was my own line of thinking (and how I analysed the politics and what I think is best for myself and what is best for the country,” he remarked.
Thomas also pointed out that within the Congress party, St David cannot have two caretakers and two candidates given the fact that both he and the political leader are from adjacent villages in the parish.
“He is from Petite Esperance and I am from Belle Vue,” he said.
The NDC Number Two indicated that his resignation letter was sent to the Chairman of the party’s constituency branch and that he did not offer any reason in it for his decision to quit the position.
In a brief statement on Tuesday afternoon, the NDC said: “As part of the process of beginning the selection of candidates to contest the next general election, the NDC is pleased to announce that the current caretaker for St. David has stepped down as the caretaker in light of the expressed interest of the Political Leader to contest the St. David Seat.
“We thank the prior caretaker and those who have supported him and ask for their sustained support as he continues in the post of Deputy Political Leader of the NDC. We look forward to this new phase of candidate selection in all our constituencies under the stewardship of our new Party Leader”.
There were reports in some quarters that Dickon Mitchell who lives in the south of the island might be thinking of running in South St George but party insiders indicated that he should concentrate on St David as he was born and grew up in a small village in the parish.
Speculation is rife that the Dickon Mitchell-led Congress is looking at an almost new slate of candidates to contest the upcoming national poll against Prime Minister Mitchell and his ruling party.
The new NDC leader is believed to have held some co-operation meetings with Opposition Leader Tobias Clement, a former member of NNP.