The political stand-off within the main opposition New National Party (NNP) between its 76-year old leader Dr. Keith Mitchell and the man trying to replace him Peter David, the former Agriculture Minister is intensifying.
David has been telling his close aides that he picked up information from the camp of the ex-Prime Minister that he is planning to bring in former Solicitor General Dwight Horsford from Anguilla as the person to challenge for the post of Political Leader of NNP at the upcoming party convention and election to fill several executive positions.
According to one key David supporter, the former senior NNP Minister who was expelled from the Congress party in 2012, believes that it was more likely that Horsford will be the one given the nod by Mitchell to battle against him for the NNP Political Leader position at the convention.
David has said repeatedly that he has no intention of bowing out of the race and will appear at the convention to seek the position of top party boss.
Relations between David and Dr. Mitchell have soured after the former government minister declared that he was interested in the NNP leadership post after the defeated Prime Minister indicated that he would not be contesting another general election in the country.
One informed source said that the Mitchell-David confrontation has taken on a new dimension following the decision taken by the party’s Member of Parliament for St Andrew North-west Delma Thomas to resign from the NNP this past week.
He said that David, out of recognition that Thomas was a key ally in the internal battle for leadership had sent envoys to the home of the female parliamentarian to ask her to hold back on her resignation for at least one year.
“No Peter doesn’t want her to go but the decision has already been made,” said one person known to be close to the Delma Thomas camp.
According to the insider, MP Thomas took the position that David wanted her to stick around for his own agenda but she had to consider her own interest in the matter.
He said that the former NNP Minister of Social Development is currently waiting for the arrival of “Team Delma” jerseys from the United States as part of her next political moves.
The insider is predicting that the next major announcement from MP Thomas is that she had decided to join the NDC administration of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell.
Speculation is rife that MP Thomas has already worked out a deal with Congress in the interest of her family as part of the arrangement to cross the floor at the appropriate time.
A pro-government talk show host was on Thursday making a plea to MP Thomas to hurriedly sanitise herself from the politics of NNP and come over to the government.
“We don’t want to catch what you have and we don’t want you to contaminate us. Sanitise yourself – hurry up – do it genuinely but be fast as we have a nation to build – we have a journey to set out on,” he said in a message directed at the former senior NNP member.
According to one NNP insider, the former Grenadian leader is courting the current President of the Grenada Bar Association (GBA) Derick Sylvester to try and woo him into the party as the next possible leader.
He spoke of several behind the scene meetings between Mitchell and Sylvester but no firm assurances have been given by the attorney-at-law to join NNP.
Sylvester is said to have told several persons to ignore “the noise” and “rumours” in the country about him joining the Keith Mitchell outfit because he is “a wise man.”
The source pointed out that a sticking point in the Mitchell/Sylvester behind the scene discussions is the constituency that the ex-Prime Minister is suggesting that the attorney should keep a close eye on.
He said that Sylvester is being asked to focus on his hometown of St. David which is currently held in Parliament by the Prime Minister and Political Leader of the ruling National Democratic Congress.
The attorney has reportedly told the NNP leadership that he can contest several seats on the island including South St George (held by Implementation Minister Andy Mitchell) and St George North-east of Minister of Youth and Culture Ron Redhead.
Speculation is rife that Sylvester is reluctant to go in a toe-to-toe battle with Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell.
The source also said that one issue that is bothering Dr. Mitchell and his Camp are reports that circulated in the local media a few weeks ago that Sylvester had submitted an application to join the Congress party just over a year ago.
The attorney was known to be engaged in discussions with several NDC operatives who had formed a group known as “Youth For Change” who was looking for a younger generation of leaders to take over Congress from the likes of former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas and Finance Minister Nazim Burke.
According to the source, there was a strong anti-Sylvester group within the NDC, especially some attorneys who raised questions about his manner of practice in matters before the court.
Sylvester was also known to be engaged in discussion with another group of persons that he had approached to engage in talks about forming a new political party.
One of the persons told THE NEW TODAY that after several rounds of discussions the attorney disappeared and was not answering telephone calls placed to him.
He said this is one of the suspected weaknesses of Sylvester, a sense that he lacked commitment to do the political work that is needed at the ground level to excel in politics.
Grenadians are not due to go back to the polls until 2027.