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NNP moving on North-east constituency

MP Clement – slow in taking up the position of Opposition Leader

The ruling New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell is making moves to re-organise its St. George North-east constituency following the decision of Member of Parliament Tobias Clement to resign from the group.

Well-placed sources told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that Ambassador to Cuba, Claris Charles spent the last few weeks on the island taking part in the re-organisation effort to help the party to hold on to the seat in the next general election.

A source who asked not to be named said that Ambassador Charles held private discussions with a number of persons from the constituency to try and lure them to the cause of the party.

He said that he did not know how successful was the effort but a few persons declined the invitation on the grounds that they do not want to get involved in active politics in the country.

One of the persons who was approached told this newspaper that he was visited a few weeks ago by an activist of the NNP, a former government employee in the Ministry of Agriculture who indicated that he should expect a visit from Ambassador Charles, a former Minister of Education.

Ambassador Charles – a member of the NNP old guard

He said the NNP operative told him that the party sees him as someone of “influence” in St. George North-east and would like to work with him.

According to the source, he declined on the grounds that he was a public officer who operated within the confines of the Public Service Commission (PSC), the body responsible for civil servants.

“I was told that I can help to do the work for NNP and do not have to appear on the political platform with them. I told the man straight up that I am a public officer and will not get involved in any politics period”. he remarked.

The source said that the NNP operative blasted MP Clement as “too ungrateful” given the amount of things done for him by the party including assistance with scholarships to study abroad.

Ambassador Charles is known to have played a key role in the NNP’s effort in the 2013 general election to unseat former Finance Minister Nazim Burke of Congress who had won the St George North-east seat in the 2003 and 2008 general election.

Although MP Clement has resigned from the NNP over two months ago, he has not taken up the position of Opposition Leader in Parliament.

He accused the ruling party of a lack of respect and trying to influence him to sack some of his office workers and to replace them with people sent directly from the head office to control the branch.

THE NEW TODAY also understands that the ruling party is planning to replace Health Minister Nicholas Steele in the South St. George constituency with Minister of Sports, Senator Norland Cox who is from the sister isle of Carriacou.

Speculation is rife that Sen. Cox could be promoted to the position of Minister of Public Utilities with the current holder, Gregory Bowen taking over from Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell as the new Minister of Finance.

A party insider told this newspaper that the NNP Party branch in South St. George has been complaining since the 2018 poll about the lack of performance of Minister Steele in the constituency.

There are reports that the branch wrote to the NNP head office last year complaining that Minister Steele had refused to attend meetings at the invitation of the group to address some of the burning issues within the constituency.

Grenada has been operating as a virtual one-party state since 2013 when the NNP won all fifteen seats in the 2013 and 2018 general elections to keep the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) out of the Lower House of Parliament.

The next general election in Grenada is constitutionally due in 2023.

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