Two expelled members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) are accused of giving support to the main Opposition New National Party (NNP) to unseat Prime Minister Tillman Thomas in his St. Patrick’s East Constituency in the February 19 general elections.
Former Opposition Leader Michael Baptiste identified former Government Ministers Peter David and Joseph Gilbert as the two who are campaigning against the Grenadian Leader.
Baptiste who appeared on the NDC Platform last week Sunday during a mass rally at the Roy St. John Playing Field in St. George’s admonished the Congress supporters to stand firm and not allow the two former government ministers to derail them.
“I intend to come to St. Patrick’s to do everything that we can to ensure that this decent Prime Minister, this humble man, this honest man…. remain Prime Minister of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique,” he told an energetic crowd of NDC supporters.
Baptiste recalled that during the tenure of the NNP, Gilbert who was then a senior civil servant, was removed from the Pearls, St. Andrew’s Office when he worked in conjunction with the European Union.
According to Baptiste, the NNP Candidate for St. Patrick’s West, former Finance Minister, Anthony Boatswain is promising to have Gilbert return to a position under an NNP regime.
David and Gilbert were among five former NDC Ministers who were expelled at the September 30, 2012 party’s convention at Telescope, St. Andrew’s.
The so-called group of dissidents was identified as troublemakers who were bent on removing Prime Minister Thomas from the leadership of the party.
Hours before gracing the NDC Platform, Baptiste who was slated to lead the Grenada United Labour Party (GULP) into the February 19 General Elections appeared on the “Sundays With George Grant Programme.”
The outspoken and fiery labour politician told the host of the programme, George Grant that he decided to withdraw from the election race in order to avoid being a spoiler.
The former Opposition Leader who was looking at contesting the St. Andrew’s South West Constituency that is held by the NDC’s Sylvester Quarless felt that it would have been a disservice to the General Public and the country as a whole to enter the race and allow the NNP Candidate, Yolande Bain-Horsford to probably slip through.
“I could not live with that and myself if such a thing had happened,” he said.
Baptiste believes that the elections are crucial as the country future is at stake and that the NNP should be prevented from regaining political power in the Spice Isle.
At the NDC Rally held a few hours later, Baptiste said the Government of Prime Minister Thomas has restored democratic institutions.
He charged that the Royal Grenada Police Force, during the 13-year reign of the NNP was nothing but a “party group.”
“No longer shall we have a Commissioner of Police who is bragging and saying he is the sixteenth minister,” he said.
The former Parliamentarian indicated that Prime Minister Thomas’ good governance agenda is taking shape in the country and pointed in the direction of the independence of the judiciary.
Baptiste charged that the Director of Public Prosecutions has now recalled his Office and no Special Prosecutor is at large.
“Today, he (the Prime Minister) has restored that democratic institution of the Director of Public Prosecutions” he said.
This is a clear reference to the decision of the former NNP administration to hire top-paying Jamaica attorney-at-law, Hugh Wildman as a Special Prosecutor.
During his stint, Wildman had spearheaded a number of criminal cases brought by Mitchell and his NNP government against opponents including Baptiste himself, as well as former Editor of the now defunct GRENADA TODAY newspaper, George Worme.
The former Opposition Leader was critical of the NNP’s theme for the 2013 campaign: “We Will Deliver.”
Baptiste recalled that against the warnings given by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, former Prime Minister Mitchell and and his Finance Minister, Anthony Boatswain facilitated the operations of CapBank to the detriment of the people of Grenada.
He noted that the people of the country lost millions of dollars as the bank, operated by St. George’s businessman, Finton DeBourg was forced into receivership.
Baptiste also blasted the NNP record on multi-million dollar guarantees to fly-by-night investors like E.J Miller and the much-talked about Ritz Carlton hotel at Mt. Hartman, the Garden Group of hotels in the south of the island, the Poultry project at Victoria, St. Mark’s, and the Dunfermline housing scheme in St. Andrew’s among others.