“Ultimately power resides in the people”.
These were the key words used by Member of Parliament for the Town of St. George, The Honourable Peter David in his decision not to support the Motion of No-confidence brought against Prime Minister, Tillman Thomas by Opposition Leader, Dr. Keith Mitchell in May this year.
It is “the people” of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) meeting as delegates at a legally-constituted convention last Sunday at the St. Andrew’s Anglican Secondary School (SAASS) in Telescope who decided to end their relationship with Messrs David and company as members of their party, dogged by infighting in recent years.
In his speech before Parliament, Mr. David said, “ I am persuaded that if a review of that leadership (Tillman Thomas) is to be initiated and made, it ought to be done by the membership of the party that voted for, and endorsed, the ascension of that leader. That is the proper and correct thing to do!
“I do not believe, Mr. Speaker, that a leader, popularly elected by hundreds of persons at a party conference, should be dislodged by a simple majority of eight of 15 elected members. That, to my mind, robs the people of their right to decide! Any such change must be the verdict of those who elected that leader!”
It is the view of THE NEW TODAY newspaper that it was the membership of Congress, meeting as the highest decision-making body or organ of the party who had every right to take a decision to expel persons who were hurting the image of NDC and its chances of re-election in office.
The business of politicians is to gain power in order to try and make a difference in the lives of people and a nation. Politics is fought on the battlefield and not before a judge in a courtroom.
As such, the so-called Group of Rebels who were expelled by NDC delegates at their convention on Sunday should have realised that those who are seeking political power must equally be prepared for a backlash from those with the power in their hands.
As Mr. David told Parliament back in May, one needs to “hear first from the membership of the National Democratic Congress” on a fundamental issue like removing PM Thomas from office and not leaving the issue solely up to 15 MP’s sitting in one little room.
This newspaper agrees with the rationale of Mr. David. So the logical conclusion can be drawn that the people have a right to determine whether or not they wish to continue or end their association with the so-called members of the Rebel Group.
Mr. David went even further to expound in Parliament on his belief that the people should be allowed to make the ultimate decision on fundamental issues in keeping with the motto of the NDC: Let the people’s voices be heard.
These were his words: “I propose, as a member of the National Democratic Congress and as a Parliamentarian who has some fundamental concerns about the trend that is developing in our party and government, to initiate a process whereby the issues we are concerned about will be dealt with within the mechanism and constitution of the party.
“I believe firmly that ultimate power must rest in the hands of the people. I would wish to discover whether persons in the party, from across the length of this beautiful country, including our sister islands, feel as many of us do, that there is need for a rethink of the direction in which we are headed as a country and a party.
“…We also serve notice that we will initiate and support the tabling of the appropriate measure within our party to trigger an examination and review of the stewardship of our party and government since assuming office in 2008.
“When that is done and the people have spoken, we would then, as NDC Parliamentarians, have a much better perspective of what our role and posture should be in a situation such as this. Ultimately power resides in the people, not in 15 Parliamentarians, on an important issue such as this (a motion to remove Tillman Thomas as Prime Minister of Grenada)”.
Mr. David had a golden opportunity on Sunday to attend the NDC Convention and trigger the mechanism that he had in mind in order to get the highest decision making body of the party to review the stewardship of Tillman Joseph Thomas as head of the duly-elected government of this country.
Why did he and other prominent members of the so-called Rebel group insult the intelligence of the delegates by not showing up at the convention?
Did the delegates have a right or not to trigger their own mechanism in order to review the continued membership of Mr. David and his associates in their midst?
Mr. David is schooled in the doctrine of Democratic Centralism and fully understands that when the Central Committee of the ruling party hands down an edict that it is the law of the land.
Equally, when delegates of a ruling party meet in their annual convention, they have a right to pass motions that touch on any issue including their desire to end a relationship that is no longer workable, tenable and bearable.
Which high court judge can tell the duly-elected and constituted delegates who attended the NDC convention that they will have to go back in bed with the likes of Comrades Peter David, Chester Humphrey, Joseph Gilbert, Kenrick Fullerton, Pastor Stanford Simon, Michael Church, Karl Hood, Siddiqui Sylvester, Arley Gill and Sister Glynis Roberts?
Let’s put the scenario another way – will these people be brave and bold-faced enough to want to go back to the NDC to sit down and continue a political arrangement with PM Thomas?
The NDC delegates might have heard the intention of the group as expounded by Sister Roberts that their commitment is to go ahead and build “a coalition” for Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
THE NEW TODAY believes that the effect of Sunday’s massive expulsion by the Congress delegates is to ensure that the NDC brand remains with Tillman Thomas and no one else and to give the Prime Minister and his new team the chance that they never really got in the past four years to govern the country.
Mr. David and Company are now afforded the opportunity to build a political brand in their own image and likeness and to come before the Grenadian electorate to seek their permission to give them a chance to implement their plans and programmes to take the country to the next level.
The playing field is now open to them without any intervention from PM Thomas to sell to the people their ideas on casino gambling and their intentions to flirt with President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and his ALBA arrangement.