Expelled Congress member, Peter David who is now a member of the ruling New National Party (NNP) government has launched a scathing attack on Labour Representative in the Upper House of Parliament, Senator Raymond Roberts.
David, a former General Secretary of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), is now a Government Senator in the Upper House, and also landed the position of Assistant General Secretary of NNP at its recent annual convention.
A leading leftist figure in the 1979-83 Grenada Revolution, the new entrant in NNP took a swipe at Sen. Roberts for being critical of the 1995-2008 stewardship of the party in government under the leadership of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.
In making his contribution to the Fiscal Responsibility Bill 2015 in Parliament last week Friday, Sen. Roberts stated that Dr. Mitchell’s Government was an extremely poor performer in the management of the finances of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique.
“No other Finance Minister in this country has been as blatant as the one, 1995 to 2008. We ignored all rules and we did as we wished,” Sen Roberts told the Senate.
In defence of the Mitchell-led regime, Sen David felt that instead of criticising the government, Sen. Roberts should be complimenting the administration for crafting such a Bill.
“My dear friend, the Representative of the Labour Movement, let’s compliment the government. Let’s compliment the government for its efforts to bring sustainable development to this country,” he said.
According to Sen David, he expected his Senatorial colleague to praise the government for the Bill rather than focusing on what took place 15 years ago.
“Are you really serious about supporting development?” he asked while looking in the direction of Sen. Roberts.
The former revolutionary activist accused the Labour Representative of having political ambitions.
Sen David who has already declared his intention to contest the next general election sought to question Sen. Roberts on who he is representing in the Senate.
“My friend from the labour movement, my very dear friend, sometimes when you rise I wonder who you rise to represent. At the end of your speech a while ago I thought you were going to declare which constituency you (are) running for because my dear friend continues just to be tribal, to be political with everything,” he remarked.
“I know that my dear friend has a certain ambition in sight, but leave that for the political platform, and I say to my friend, I really long for the day when he would declare his hands so at least we could get into real combat,” he said.
Sen. David along with President of the Senate, Chester Humphrey, another expelled member of Congress, are currently associated with the Mitchell-led government in the so-called initiative known as “Project Grenada”, an initiative blasted in the past by Sen. Roberts.
In reacting to the charges levelled against him, Sen Roberts told Sen. David: “I don’t have to sing for my supper.”
He informed the house that he was the authentic labour representative
in the Upper House and two months ago he was re-elected unopposed on
the Executive of the Grenada Trades Union Council during its annual convention.
“My credentials as to who I am representing is very clear,” he remarked.
Speculation was rife within the local trade union movement that the Technical & Allied Workers Union (TAWU), headed by Sen. Humphrey was making moves behind the scene to put up a candidate against Roberts in the TUC elections.
A leading TUC official told this newspaper that if Roberts had lost his position in the umbrella labour movement then it would have been interpreted that his colleagues had lost confidence in him and he would have had to consider resigning as the labour representative in the Senate.
Sen. Roberts sought to assure his colleagues that the labour movement will always have opposing views at times with any government on issues in the country.
“We are not here to chorus everything and to sing praises. This is not blind following,” he said.
Sen Roberts said it is not his style to be “batting with the winning team” unlike those from the 1970’s to present.
This is a clear reference to elements of the 1979-83 Grenada Revolution who are bent on always wanting to be part of the government of the day.
Sen. Roberts said: “I am not here for confusion, I am here to participate in the development of this country, but you cannot expect me to sing for my supper. I don’t have that philosophy in me”.
In response to the charge of having a political ambition, Sen Roberts informed the Senate that “the country wants good people,” and that he is available, “if they want good people.”
Opposition Senator, Franka Bernadine who used the opportunity upon the adjournment of the Senate to comment on David’s attack of the Labour Representative questioned what is the concern about critiquing Bills that come to the Senate.
The female Parliamentarian stressed that the opposition Senators are not there “to congratulate a government.”
“We are here to put our heads together and try to find the flaws so that the best possible Bills could come forward for Grenada. So this constant being negative, I am unable to understand what is happening there,” she said.
During the 2008-13 rule of Congress under Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, Cabinet sources often identified Sen. Bernadine as the one who often chided Sen. David, the then Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism “for engaging in childish behaviour”.