Former Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has sent a clear warning to one of his ex-government ministers who has expressed an interest in replacing him as the next Political Leader of the New National Party (NNP) in Grenada.
Dr. Mitchell has warned the former Agriculture Minister Peter David that now is not the time for talking about seeking power and political position at the top but to engage in the rebuilding of the party that was defeated 9-6 by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in general elections held seven months ago.
The former Grenadian leader addressed the issue 24-hours after David appeared on a radio programme in which he indicated interest in contesting for the post of Political Leader of the party which has dominated the political landscape in the country for the past 30 years.
David recalled the public utterances made prior and after the June 23 general election that the poll was the last to be contested by the 76-year old ageing party boss who was seeking re-election on the mantra “one for the road.”
Dr. Mitchell did not get his wish as Congress under rookie politician, 44-year old attorney-at-law dashed the hopes of the island’s longest serving Parliamentarian.
In commenting on his ambition to seek the NNP top job, David who was expelled from Congress in 2012 amidst a bitter leadership feud with then Prime Minister Tillman Thomas said he anticipated the NNP Convention will be held between April to June and he was actively giving consideration to replace Dr. Mitchell at the helm.
There have been reports inside the NNP that relations are rather cold between the two top party members and that Dr. Mitchell does not favour David being his successor.
Dr. Mitchell said the party’s constitution stipulates that a convention must be held each year and that one was held last year and that “most likely we will have one this year.”
He stated that it is the party’s Executive which makes decisions as to when a convention is held and no one else.
“I might have my views as to when it should be held. I have heard other people expressing views but their views are not as important as far as the party is concerned. The Executive of the party will determine when a convention is going to be held. I don’t know what all this worry about a convention is concerned (about),” he said.
Without calling David by name, the NNP boss indicated that those who are obsessed with convention for leadership change should focus their attention on what he said was “a government murdering the people of the country – that’s what you should be concerned about.”
He called on those with this mindset about leadership change within the NNP to focus on issues affecting the working poor, as well as farmers, market vendors, business community especially the small business around the country, and the construction sector.
Dr. Mitchell was not amused at those who were spending time “on when we are going to have convention, when there is going to be leadership change.”
“That’s not the critical factor. The critical factor is that we are supposed to be serving people, helping people, not finding positions and looking for power.
That’s not what it’s all about – power will come but let’s serve people,” he said.
“(The) emphasis must be placed on protecting the vulnerable, helping people in the country, not this attempt at gaining positions in an organisation. Let us get away from this. This does not help,” he added.
Dr. Mitchell disclosed that the party is currently attempting to re-organise its constituency branches in each of the 15 constituencies around the island.
He said that a group of persons have been recommended to lead the organisational work which includes the revamping of the party’s organisation in every village and constituency throughout the country.
“So you will see a lot of organisational type activities in the next several months going forward – so that is one aspect and also some social activities and of course some political activities will be held,” he told the programme host.
Dr. Mitchell indicated that the NNP General Secretary Roland Bhola and the NNP Team and Executive will be responsible for these planned activities.
“…There is no issue – the party is alive and well. I don’t know that there has to be any concern about The New National Party. NNP is alive and strong,” he said.