Embattled Political Leader of the main opposition New National Party (NNP) Dr. Keith Mitchell made a surprising approach at a beach outing on Whit Monday to his former Agriculture Minister Peter David who is seeking to replace him as party boss to address party supporters.
An insider in the Peter David camp told THE NEW TODAY that the former minister who is not enjoying the best of relations with Dr. Mitchell since the defeat of the party at the polls nearly one year ago was reluctant to do so but agreed in the end “to say a few words”.
He said the move was intended to send a message to the country that there is no real rift within the NNP between Mitchell and David, the current Deputy General Secretary of the party.
The former Minister has made it no secret that he plans to put his name on the ballot paper at the next convention for the post of NNP Political Leader.
The 76-year old Mitchell is not supportive of David’s declaration that he intends to contest the position following the former Prime Minister’s public statement that he will not be contesting another general election on the island.
Dr. Mitchell is said to have made overtures to two local barristers – Dwight Horsford and Derick Sylvester – to promote them as the new Political Leader of NNP at the convention.
Sylvester who told close aides that he was approached by Mitchell to take over the leadership of the party is believed to be distancing himself in recent weeks from the NNP.
Horsford who is currently serving as Attorney General of the British territory of Anguilla was spotted on the island two weeks ago but no details have emerged on whether he held talks with Mitchell and his deputy, former Works Minister Gregory Bowen.
Member of Parliament for St Andrew North-west Delma Thomas, the former NNP Social Development Minister who resigned from the party told her constituents at a Town Hall meeting that Dr. Mitchell told her to go and “curse” David as he was the one creating problems within NNP.
According to MP Thomas who has now officially joined Congress, the issue within the NNP is a leadership problem especially David’s declared intention to contest the post of Political Leader.
She said that Dr. Mitchell became upset when she told him that David could be a good “Interim Leader” for the party in light of the ex-Prime Minister’s announcement that he was bowing out of elective politics.
David’s association with NNP came after he was expelled along with several others in Congress in 2012 after a leadership feud with then Prime Minister and Political Leader Tillman Thomas.
A recent poll done by Canadian-based Grenadian Dr. Justine Pierre revealed that Dr. Mitchell’s continued leadership of NNP is hurting the party.
Pierre said: “In a recent poll conducted on April 17th, it is believed that the longer the New National Party (NNP) leadership stalemate continues, the better the chances for the NDC to maintain and consolidate political powers in Grenada.
“The NNP leadership struggles are dividing the party. The survey indicated that 43% of elementary workers (Dr. Mitchell strongest supporters) (ISCO codes) believe that their leader should not contest for the leadership position of the party.
“This is the first time that this group of voters have indicated they are losing confidence in Dr. Mitchell’s ability to lead the party towards victory in the next election.
“On June 23, 2022, the NNP political leader had overwhelming support from these base supporters (63.7%).
However, over the last year, we have seen that this support is steadily declining as he continues to remain at the head of the organization.”