A group of expelled political activists of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) are making moves to form an “alternative party” to contest the upcoming general elections.
THE NEW TODAY was informed that a group of about 20 persons who were once aligned to Congress met at the Marian Community Centre on Sunday to discuss the formation of the party that would seek to challenge the dominance of both Congress and the main opposition, New National Party (NNP) of ex-Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell on the local political landscape.
Among the persons spotted at the meeting included former Foreign Affairs Minister, Karl Hood, as well as three persons known to be close to attorney-at-law, Peter David whose name has been often called as the possible leader of the new political group in the making.
They are Ferron Lowe, a former Labour Relations Officer with Congress, as well as Yvonne James, the former Assistant General Secretary of Congress, and Medical Doctor, Winston Thomas, the current Chairman of the Town of St. George Constituency of David who was expelled one month ago from Congress.
The others seen at the meeting included Wilbey Stewart, a former Chairman of the NDC St. George South-east branch, Peter Spencer, the former Chairman of the NDC South St. George branch, Ralph Lord, a former Deputy Public Relations Officer of NDC and Lincoln “Torro” Depradine, a pubic relations official who is known to be close to the David Camp.
THE NEW TODAY was able to obtain the transcript of the Minutes of the meeting as put together by one of the person inside the building:
The meeting began with Mr. Lord stating that they invited supporters/former supporters of the National Democratic Congress to enquire if they share their view of an alternative party.
He mentioned that they were disappointed with the turn of events and hinted that the Political Leader Tillman Thomas was the problem.
Mr. Ferron Lowe was invited to shed some light on the issues and he repeated Mr. Lord sentiments that he went to school with Peter in Canada and worked with him and allegations of Peter wanting power was untrue.
He mentioned how Peter and himself and a few others were the main players in revamping the NDC.
Mr. Lowe went on further to say that he knew allegations of Peter wanting power (were) untrue because whenever they traveled, Peter used to offer to carry his bags. Mr. Lowe never dealt with the hard biting issues within the party which caused the fallouts.
Hon. Karl Hood said that they were all aware that Tillman had flaws but they had sold his image to the people that he was a good man and now it is very difficult to reverse that opinion.
I noted that Karl Hood has not being invited to the two previous meetings of the group although he said Ms. James had told him about it, no one officially had invited him. He attended today’s meeting because Mr. Lord gave him an invitation.
Mr. Lowe made it clear that eventually he will either have to declare his hand or be fired from his job (in the Ministry of Agriculture) since it would be unethical to continue working with government and be involved with the alternative party.
The group made it very clear that they hope no member of the NDC SGSE (St. George South-east) Executive was in attendance at the meeting. They are curious of new members although they are open to having more persons join the group (they raise questions as to who invite you and your name etc).
Ralph Lord was appointed Chairman/Meeting Organiser, Stephanie Noel, Secretary in the interim until they can officially elect a Constituency Executive.
It is clear that the alternative (group) is of the view that they should contest the upcoming election to test their strengths/weakness and they should not wait for another 5 or 7 years to do so.
Mr. Lowe estimated that the upcoming general elections would be held by latest March, 2013. He indicated that they will be launching a party (and) they are already drafting the party constitution, manifesto and economic development plan.
Mr. Lowe is the Chairman of the Economic Development Planning Group and he is assisted by Dr. Wayne Sandiford, and Lennox Andrew (these persons he said did not mind their names being mentioned).
The question was raised – what is the purpose of the alternative party? Was it to split votes or to win seats? Mr. Lord made it clear their intention is to win seats. Torro Depradine and Ralph Lord however (are) concerned about personnel to get the job done i.e. campaigning and spreading the word about the new party to influence voters.
Torro was also concerned about the image of the party if they put up 15 candidates and only win 2 or 3 seats their poor performance at the polls may affect their future chances, also financing to run the campaign e.g. to pay buses to take people to meetings etc.
On the 28th October, 2012, the alternative party will have a fun day at the Moliniere area. On November 4, 2012, there will be a national conference with representatives of each constituency to meet at a location to be decided on in one of the constituencies where major discussions on the party would be discussed as to the way forward, name of party etc.
Torro Depradine was not in favour of Mr. Lowe announcing this information (as) he was concerned about this reaching the media re the upcoming conference.
Another question raised was who will be the Leader of this alternative party and it was said Peter David, will be the leader.
However, Mr. Lowe said that it would not be wise for Peter to come out to the public and declare he is the leader. The plan is that persons within the alternative party will first come out and indicate to the public that Peter is best suited to be the leader of the party after which he (Peter David) can declare himself to the public that he is the Leader of the party. (So you see the level of deception?)
Also, Wilby stated that they need to speedily form a youth group in SGSE constituency and it is intended that they will even go to the level of the schools to get student bodies to form groups representing their party (I have no idea how they can get into the school system). Be reminded that this would also be a national plan if their party decides to go with it.
Karl Hood indicated that one of the weakness of the NDC party is having a care-taker and a Chairman of the constituency. He wants the alternative party to be formed to let the Caretaker also be the Chairman because he had so much problems under NDC with the Chairman not co-operating when he wanted to call meetings.
Karl Hood also said that the NNP support is solid but the NDC support is fickle.
I am of the opinion that their sole intention of forming this party is to split votes but as usual they are not prepared to disclose this to unsuspecting Grenadians because they know very well that they do not have the support in any of the constituencies to win a seat outright.
Also, from what Lowe said Glynis already has her constituency group organised and functioning in the South.
The group also made it clear that to appeal to the public they will not get into maligning people’s character but they will do the opposite of what the other parties are doing that is stick to the issues