The saga between former Minister of Finance, who’s now Political Leader of the National Democratic Congress, V Nazim Burke, and Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr Keith Mitchell over Burke’s application to the Commonwealth Secretariat for employment has taken a new turn.
What started in his presentation during the wrap up of the 2017 budget debate, when Dr Mitchell somewhat jokingly commented that, contrary to the rumour published in a local newspaper that he tried without success to block the employment of one Brian Francis with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the only person he did not give support to for employment when his opinion was sought by the Commonwealth Secretariat was Senator Burke.
Dr Mitchell, noting his reason for not supporting Burke’s application, said it was to ensure that the main opposition party was not reduced of its top leaders, thus giving rise to a one party state in Grenada. But, on the other hand, does the Prime Minister have the jurisdiction over who the Commonwealth chooses to hire?
At a recent press conference of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Senator Burke admitted to the nation that he had in fact applied to a number of organisations including the Commonwealth Secretariat for one of the deputy Secretary General positions that was about to become vacant, after the expiration of the contract of another Caribbean diplomat.
Senator Burke accused Prime Minister Mitchell of denying him employment and standing in the way of him being able to provide for his family. This writer will not support any move to prevent one from gaining employment. However, I admit that there might be occasions when this might be necessary on grounds of national security.
The deputy Secretary General’s position for which Senator Burke applied at the Commonwealth, if successful, will require him to be appointed an ambassador of the country, but, at the time, he was the deputy political leader of the NDC. It is not normal for a sitting government to appoint an opponent to be an ambassador. Therefore, it was rather strange for Senator Burke to apply for the Commonwealth posting and expect the government to give support to his application.
It is well known that Senator Burke is a brilliant man and ought to have known this, but is this an indication that the senator was prepared to give up his position as deputy political leader of the NDC even at the time when the Political leader, former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, had signaled his intention to bow out of active politics after his 15-nil defeat at the polls.
Thinking about it, could it also be the case where he was prepared to quit politics altogether and leave the NDC in “limbo”?