A Grenadian political activist believes that all so-called Caretakers of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) should voluntarily step down and allow the new Political Leader, Dickon Mitchell and the newly elected Executive to take charge of the process that will lead to the selection of candidates for the upcoming general election.
The activist who has done political work in some Caribbean islands made the comment against the backdrop of the decision of Deputy Political Leader of Congress (NDC), Adrian “Persuader” Thomas taking the decision last week to quit as Caretaker for St. David in order to pave the way for Dickon Mitchell to contest the seat.
There are reports that some of the caretakers are reluctant to remove themselves from the position and insist on wanting to be candidates for the next poll.
According to the political activist, the new executive under Dickon Mitchell should be given a free hand in the selection process because some of the said caretakers might even be reinstated to their positions.
He said that since the new Congress leader was elected into office six weeks ago, he has seemingly been doing a good Public Relations (PR) job for the party especially in the amount of media coverage generated.
He pointed out that Dickon Mitchell is now ahead of current Prime Minister Dr. Mitchell in the battle for the “minds and hearts” of the Grenadian people at the moment but the critical period still lies ahead in canvassing the Voter’s list to identify the numbers that are needed on a constituency level to win the general election.
“(Dickon is) beating him already in the media and with the PR with the young people. You have to keep winning him,” he said.
The activist urged Dickon Mitchell to continue with his campaign strategy against the 75-year old aging Grenadian leader but early in the New Year start to shift gear and move towards “heavy canvassing” and “Clinical canvassing” of the voter’s list to “identify your support, identify your votes because it’s a numbers game.”
He warned Dickon Mitchell to be careful and to guard against Prime Minister Mitchell “beating him in the canvassing and the numbers” as the ruling New National Party (NNP) is known to have a formidable election machinery at its disposal.
Dr. Mitchell, the most successful Grenadian politician in electoral politics in the country, has won clean sweeps of the polls in 1999, 2013 and 2018.
Dickon Mitchell has been generating interest among the population especially the youth in visits to many parts of the countryside.
According to the political activist, the real test for the new Congress leader will come when he has to put systems in place “to ensure that in every constituency and every village when the candidates are (put) in place that you do that clinical canvassing and know your numbers”.
He called for an overhaul of the system used by NDC in the last two elections when it lost heavily to Prime Minister Mitchell and to put something new in place to compete against the ruling party.
He was critical of the previous system in which the people who were identified to do the work of canvassing for Congress were brought together in one area to be trained to do the work but instead confine it to villages in the respective constituency.
The activist suggested that Dickon Mitchell should bring together about 15 to 20 persons who know the constituency especially the villagers to get an objective assessment of the voter’s list and provide good coverage to do “your clinical canvassing” of the Voter’s list.
“You must know your numbers, know who is NNP, know who is NDC, know even those you don’t know their views, those you cannot identify on the voter’s list, those who are living outside the constituency but registered in the constituency but live out of the constituency, those who live in other neighbouring islands and the USA… you have to identify them. Once you have that you are sailing,” he said.
“You have to know every voter in the constituency. You must know who is NNP, NDC and those who do not give their views and you cannot identify them easily, those with question marks around their name, and also know who is deceased but their name is still on the Voter’s list. Every candidate has to do that,” he added.
The activist pointed out the NDC needs to have systems in place to know how the various villages are performing in terms of numbers for their game plan to allow them to understand “how to beef up” their support base in order to win seats in the general election.
He also indicated that the new NDC leader should start to give hope to the young people especially those in the Imanis programme who have been brought into the service for over a decade now but still lack job security to get loans from financial institutions to develop themselves and family.
He said that it is very unfortunate that some Imanis have been in the system for the past 10 years now and cannot get a permanent job under Mitchell’s NNP regime.
He accused Prime Minister Mitchell of running a system that is breeding “a generation of people” who cannot obtain upward mobility in life financially”.
“You are breeding a new set of poverty,” he remarked.
The political activist noted that the average person in the Caribbean depends on Hire Purchase to advance in society and jobs which can allow them to pay for goods and services.
He said: ‘You go (and) you take some material by (name of business place withheld), you take some by (name of other firm not being mention) and you’re able to pay and pay and in 3-years’ time you finish pay but you can’t get that facility on a 1-year contract. They need at least 5-years of job security in order to take a hire Purchase to be paid off in 3-years.
Both the NNP and NDC have been engaged in heavy political campaigning “on the ground” in recent weeks with many government ministers seen visiting their constituencies and purchasing drinks at local bars for their supporters.
THE NEW TODAY understands that the hierarchy of the ruling party, led by Prime Minister Mitchell, has been holding closed door meetings to discuss strategy in dealing with the current wave of support for Dickon Mitchell in the country.
Speculation is rife that the Grenadian leader is inclined to call election as early as March in an effort to limit the time period given to the new Congress leader to prepare for the polls.