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NDC moving to consolidate power

Sen. Quinc Britton - accepting his instrument of appointment from Governor General Dame Cecile LaGrenade (Photo credit: Dwain Thomas the official photographer to Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell)

Grenada’s 46-year old Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell has a plan to ensure that the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) remains in office for the next 10 to 15 years to effectively implement its Transformational Agenda.

An influential senior party member told THE NEW TODAY that 2024 will be the Year for “Political Transformation in Congress as the party moves to put its plan in place to contest the next general election.

He said that all the current elected Members of Parliament and Ministers who hold the rank of Senators and want to contest the 2027 general elections “have to start the work now in order for them to run” or be left out of the process.

He disclosed that in 2025, Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell and the leadership of the party will decide “who making sense and who ain’t making sense” in going forward as potential candidates.

Speculation is rife that Congress will be paying close attention to two current Senators – Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Senator Claudette Joseph in the Town of St George constituency given the fact that she lost the seat in the 2018 and 2022 general elections, as well as Education Minister Senator David Andrew in St Andrew South-east against former Education Minister Emmalin Pierre.

Congress insiders are predicting that former New National Party (NNP) MP for St Andrew North-west Delma Thomas who was given a Cabinet posting a week ago by Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell after defecting to Congress is the clear front-runner to run on the party ticket in the next general election.

The NNP which lost the 2022 poll 9-6 to Congress is currently facing political uncertainties in light of moves by former Agriculture Minister Peter David to seek to replace the aging 77-year old Keith Mitchell as the Political Leader of the party.

The former Prime Minister has vowed to keep David out and accused him of trying to “mash up” the NNP.

According to the Congress insider, the NDC is working towards putting a strong party structure in place especially in key positions such as Political Leader, General Secretary, Chairman , as well as the various arms of the party and also to recruit other “strong people” to fulfill the task of keeping the party in power.

Another top party insider hinted that the current General Secretary Learrie Barry’s position is on the line since he has not been effective and could face the prospects of being removed at the next Convention.

He feared that if Barry is not removed “then we are doomed” as a party in government.

Barry has been under fire for several months within a certain section of the party who have often criticised him as being “more of a talker than a performer.”

The latest salvo thrown at the current NDC General Secretary is that he appeared on a recent “Heartbeat” radio programme of the party and focused his attention on the work and achievements of the government in office and not dealt with the party.

The NDC insider indicated that the recent Cabinet reshuffle undertaken by the Prime Minister was done in order to address some of the weaknesses discovered since Congress assumed office 18 months ago.

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He said the workload of some government ministers will be lightened in order to allow them to spend “a little bit more time doing what they’re supposed to do in the field.”

He indicated that Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell, the Members of the Cabinet along with the political arm of the party recognize that there are some weaknesses that need urgent attention in going forward with the Transformational Agenda.

According to the party insider in order for NDC to achieve its objectives in government “some strategic decisions and moves” have to be made “and the earlier that you make it is the better.”

“There are some people who might not necessarily be in the Cabinet – it is not necessarily a demotion but thinking 6 to 10 years down the road taking into consideration the plan to remain in office for the next 10 to 15 years,” he said.

This is an obvious reference to the decision taken to exclude the Minister of State for Sports and Culture, Ron Redhead who is the Member of Parliament for St George North-east from the Cabinet in order to allow him the time-off to pursue studies towards a Master’s Degree.

The top NDC official said that opponents of the government will deliberately seek to interpret the decisions being made including that with Redhead and “try and spin it in all kinds of way” in order to create some kind of negativity.

However, he said Congress is cognisant of the fact that some decisions have to be made right now so that some people are allowed to “stay on the ground so that we can get some of the work that we need going strategically.”

The Congress insider pointed out that the Dickon Mitchell plan to govern the island recognizes that there are some ministers who are good performers and must “be placed in critical positions to help push some of the work that we want to see happen.”

He said that political assessments have already taken place in every constituency.

“We know where we are weak, we know where we are strong, we know the changes that need to be made and that is being done.

“We won’t be able to make all the changes one time but gradually as we go (along) and that is what is happening. It will be gradual – we can’t make all the changes in one go. So the moves that are being made are strategic ones.

“This NDC team ain’t stupid and we are thinking of the future leadership of the party and the country and making the investments therein in our decisions.”

The top Congress executive member also disclosed that Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell will soon make changes among the Permanent Secretaries following assessments that were done.

“We saw the weaknesses – we saw the strengths and changes are being made,” he told THE NEW TODAY.

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