NDC in preparation mode

Chairman of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Vincent Roberts is confident that the party would form the next government whenever Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell calls fresh general elections.

Speaking to reporters in St. George’s, Roberts expressed the view that this confidence is based on a number of things including the response from individuals on the various call-in programmes on local radio stations and interaction with people via discussion and Social Media.

“At this point we are satisfied that if an election is called within (the next) three weeks, we can win the election”, he said.

“We are satisfied that at this time the people have come to realise that we stand for something which every patriotic Grenadian should be proud to stand with”, he added.

The next poll is constitutionally due in 2018 but speculation is rife that Prime Minister Mitchell is planning a snap general election.

Roberts confirmed reports that NDC has been engaging a few Jamaican political strategists to help prepare the party for the next battle against the ruling New National Party (NNP).

He said that three Jamaicans – Alston Stewart, Donovan Nelson and Attorney-at-Law Michael Vaccianna – were in Grenada last weekend to engage NDC in a “frank dialogue”.

He spoke of Congress giving the political strategists “access to our systems, processes and procedures so that they can assist in making a determination”.

According to Roberts, the political strategists are expected to give an “honest objective assessment of our internal methods of operation and confidential systems and what they consider to be our level of preparedness”.

Stewart is a Jamaican businessman who is associated with the Public Relations and mobilising team of the opposition People’s National Party (PNP) of former Jamaica Prime Minister, Portia Simpson-Miller.

The Jamaican is believed to have played a significant role in the change of government in Guyana last year in which the ruling People’s Progressive Party (PPP) lost power to a combined opposition grouping under the leadership of now President Grainger.

Vaccianna is a former Jamaica Ambassador to the United States and served on numerous boards when the PNP was in office while Nelson also served on various boards under the reign of Simpson-Miller.

During the recently held NDC General Council session, delegates approved a policy agenda document that will soon be presented to the General Public for feedback.

According to Roberts, it is a dynamic document that “contains the policy position of the NDC, looking at many areas of focus from health, education, youth, the environment, the people, our culture, our aspiration and where the NDC puts itself in that regard”.

He said that “based on the roll out and feedback received (on the policy agenda) we will tweak it and that would form the basis for our manifesto going forward”.

Roberts pointed out that one of the main things on the agenda of Congress is ensuring the preservation of heritage sites in the country.

“…Our environment should be preserved – we think that our cultural heritage should be preserved, so we are going to make sure that the Camerhogne Park be forever written into our Constitution (and) in addition other similar areas be placed in our Constitution for preservation in perpetuity”, he said.

“Our position with regards to health care and financing will be made known – we think the time has come when our people should stop going around with donation sheets and begging when our health crises afflict someone. We think that the dignity of our people should be respected”, he added.

The NDC has been on a rebuilding process since losing the 2013 general election 15-0 to Mitchell’s NNP.

Roberts stated that since the massive defeat, Congress has been educating supporters and members “as to the values of our party and what differentiates our party from the other parties in Grenada and the fact that people who felt that they could not adhere to the values of the party challenged these values and as a result had to be separated”.

This is reference to the group of dissidents led by former Foreign Minister and General Secretary, Peter David who were expelled in 2012 and are now members of NNP.

Roberts also alluded to the People’s Parliament held every Wednesday in a different constituency to bring across the message of Congress to the Grenadians at the village level.

He said these sessions speak “to our values and why we are willing to be the last man standing according to (former Prime Minister and Political Leader) Tillman Thomas who personifies the values of our party – integrity, transparency, accountability, good governance and all that it encompasses”.

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