Former Grenada PM repeats call for immediate general election

By NY Net News
Posted on 16 Apr 2012 at 9:34am

ST GEORGE’S, Grenada — Opposition leader Dr Keith Mitchell has repeated his often-made appeal for Grenada’s Prime Minister Tillman Thomas to dissolve parliament and call an immediate general election.

Mitchell’s latest appeal came on Thursday against the backdrop of recent comments from Thomas, who said the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) is divided between the “forces of good and evil” and accused unnamed persons in the NDC of trying to “restrict” him from interacting with the rank and file of the party.

There are also reports of tension in the NDC over the selection of candidates for general elections that are due by next year.

Thomas, as NDC leader, has said that he has the right to choose candidates. However, others point out that under the NDC’s constitution, the ultimate choice of candidate is a collective decision of the national executive of the party.

Joseph Gilbert, who was fired from government by the prime minister in January, was endorsed on Thursday evening by members of the NDC St Patrick West Constituency Branch to run again as the party’s candidate for the area. He won the seat in 2008.

The meeting and endorsement occurred despite attempts at disruption by a small group that appeared opposed to Gilbert’s candidacy.

However, Thursday’s vote favouring Gilbert may not be the end of the matter. Informed sources say the outcome, as well as the recent candidacy selection of two other NDC parliamentarians not fancied by the prime minister, could end up before the courts.

“There is no way these guys will run for the party. We will fight it even if we have to drag it out in court,” one news source said in quoting an anonymous NDC official and confidante of Thomas.

Well-known Grenadian columnist, Hamlet Mark, has described the NDC situation as a “jihadist suicide mission, led by a self-appointed moral fanatic, who determines who are the infidels.”

“They say politics is the art of compromise. But Grenada’s prime minister has declared he won’t compromise, and he won’t seek unity or consensus,” Mark said. “His views and his stances are bigger than the party or government he leads. Everybody else must follow the leader or be demonized.”

There is only one way of solving the problems of the NDC party and government, Dr Mitchell said on Thursday.

“There must be a national election,” said the opposition New National Party (NNP) leader, who served as prime minister from 1995 to 2008.

The government is “dysfunctional” and Prime Minister Thomas must urgently call general elections to put an end to a situation, which is “not something you can patch up,” Mitchell said.

Grenada’s next general election is due by next year. In the last national poll, in 2008, the NNP was unseated by the NDC, which won 11 of 15 seats.

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