The baton has finally been passed to former Education Minister, Senator Franka Alexis-Bernadine to lead the political work of Congress in the St. George South-east constituency, which is represented in Parliament by Works Minister, Gregory Bowen.
Sen. Bernadine has been selected by the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to take over from small businessman, Randal Robinson who contested the seat for the party in the 2013 General Elections.
The female politician was formally presented to the constituency during a public meeting at the La Borie/St. Paul’s Junction last Friday night.
During her address, the new Caretaker accepted the challenges with the hope of bringing about developmental changes in the constituency, which she said must be people-oriented for their empowerment.
Sen. Bernadine spoke of being proud to have served Grenada in the Cabinet of former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas during 2008-13 as Education Minister under the NDC banner, which saw economic stability in the middle of a world recession.
She referred to the credit rating agency, Standards and Poor, which singled out Grenada for having the lowest credit rating of any country in the Caribbean in July 2008.
The female Caretaker/Candidate said Grenadians are now struggling for survival as she made mention of the collapse of the rural economy through the closure of a number of commercial banks in Grenville.
“The Middle Class, bearing the brunt of the burden, is becoming the lower class… and the lower class are becoming destitute,” she remarked.
The Congress Caretaker indicated that the history of the Constituency of St. George South-east shows that the people are committed and community-minded and have learnt the value of working together to achieve a common goal.
In his address, Political Leader, Sen. Nazim Burke believes Sen. Bernadine will be an outstanding representative in the Parliament for the people of St. George South-east.
Sen. Burke said after careful consideration, reflection, and consultations, Congress came to the conclusion that Sen. Bernadine was the right person to represent the NDC in the constituency.
The Congress Leader spoke highly of the role played by the previous Caretaker in the rebuilding of the party following the humiliating 15-0 defeat at the polls in 2013.
In recognising Robinson’s contribution, the Political Leader singled him out as a person who readily came forward with the courage to help the party rebuild, and one of the few persons who came to the financial rescue of Congress.
“What this gentleman has done for us exemplifies the character of our organization,” he stated.
The Congress Leader indicated that the opposition political party has not just selected a team of candidates for the sake of going into an elections, but has selected the “right people” to represent the people in parliament.
“We are not looking for criminals to represent us in our party, we are not looking for thieves, we are not looking for rapists to represent us. We want decent people,” he said. Robinson is now serving as the party’s Public Relations Officer.
President of the Women’s Arm of NDC, Jenny Simon described Sen. Bernadine as a woman with integrity and of substance.
“In this dear country where our social fabric is decaying, we need a woman of substance in our Parliament of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique,” she said.
Simon informed the endorsement meeting that during the four years of Congress governance of the country under Prime Minister Thomas, the government was able to enact landmark family laws that included the Child Protection and Adoption Act, the Juvenile Justice Act, and the Domestic Violence Act.
She said although there are five women who are members of the ruling New National Party (NNP) sitting in the Lower House of Parliament and one member being a Senator in the Upper House, nothing has been done for the women and children of the country over the past four years.
“We need someone like Sister Franka Bernadine to continue the social development of our human resource in this country along with the National Democratic Congress,” she told the gathering.
The President of the NDC Women’s Arm felt that for too long NNP was concentrating only on concrete structures and it is time to shift to the human resource side and to develop the people.
Caretaker/Candidate for the Constituency of St. Patrick’s East, Cecelia Ann John who also embraced Sen. Bernadine pledged her support in working along with her.
John who is a former Social Worker spoke of the moments she worked along with Sen. Bernadine in past years.
The NDC Caretaker lamented the fact that the successes of Sen. Bernadine as Minister of Education between 2008 and 2013 are now derailed by the NNP Government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.
Congress has reportedly given a commitment to bring back the free schoolbooks programme that was significantly scaled back following the 2013 change of government.