The waiting game is finally over.
Our Parliament has been dissolved thus paving the way for the holding of one of the most crucial general elections in the recent history of the country.
All fifteen Parliamentary seats in the country are now officially vacant and the aspirants have been given the go-ahead to start their campaigns in earnest to become Members of our Parliament for a new five year term and to serve in the law-making assembly of the country.
A day in politics could be a very long time but it is almost impossible to see some of the previous seat holders like Glynis Roberts, Joseph Gilbert, Michael Church, and Karl Hood being able to convince their respective constituencies to return them back to Parliament given the events within the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) in recent years.
The mass expulsion of the co-called Group of Dissidents was the only road that Prime Minister Thomas and his supporters could have travelled in order to present themselves as worthy of being given another chance to govern the island.
With the past now behind us, the country has to look ahead and make a serious determination in the next few days and weeks between “Uncle Tilly” and Dr. Keith Mitchell as their Prime Minister for the next five years.
The NDC will seek to portray themselves as having a team that no one can point fingers at in terms of corruption and illegal activities, as well as putting plans and programmes in place to launch a number of projects like the rebuilding of Parliament, the construction of a five-star hotel at Mt. Hartman with Chinese funds and others.
The opposition will have to restrategise and stay away from their propaganda that the NDC cannot attract foreign investors in light of the coming of Sandals to purchase the La Source hotel at Point Salines.
There is nothing new one can say about Keith Mitchell except to ponder on the seriousness of his plea to Grenadians to be given another chance since he has become a changed man due to his four-and-a-half years of reflection in the opposition.
This period in Grenada’s history is very much reminiscent of the first general elections held after the collapse of the 1979-83 Grenada Revolution to return the island to the parliamentary system of government from the period of non-elected Marxist rule by Maurice Bishop and his New Jewel Movement (NJM) which had seized power in a coup d’état against Sir Eric Matthew Gairy and his Grenada United Labour Party (GULP) government.
Back then, the so-called moderate politicians grouped within three parties – the Grenada National Party (GNP), National Democratic Party (NDP) and the Grenada Democratic Movement (GDM) were brought together under pressure from Caribbean Prime Ministers and Washington to form a single party to keep out Sir Eric from returning to power.
The three parties agreed on Union Island in the presence of then Prime Ministers James Mitchell of St. Vincent & The Grenadines and the late Dame Mary Eugenia Charles of Dominica to form the NNP with the veteran statesman, Herbert Augustus Blaize as the leader.
The thrust and focus of the 1984 campaign was to do everything possible to keep the charismatic but controversial and eccentric Gairy from returning to power in the Spice Isle.
The current Prime Minister Tillman Thomas and the NNP Leader, Dr. Mitchell were part of the GDM setup that combined to form the original NNP team that fought together under one banner to make sure that Gairy and GULP never laid their hands on the seat of power in this country.
Today 29 years later, a large percentage of the population are being called upon to come together to keep out the controversial Mitchell from returning to the Sixth Floor at the Botanical Gardens after 13 years of alleged corruption and mismanagement of the country’s finances and economy during his earlier tenure.
The upcoming election would clearly be determined by the mood of the people. Are the people of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique in favour of sticking with Tillman Thomas as their leader given his commitment to good governance, transparency and accountability or prepared to return to Dr. Mitchell and his style of governance?
If there is a mad rush by Grenadians to get registered between now and the period given to them before the Governor-General issues those writs then the NDC is the party that stands to benefit since the latecomers will more than likely throw their support behind the incumbent.
However, a low turnout at the polls will favour Dr. Mitchell and NNP since most of their supporters will have already been registered and waiting with baited breaths to get back in office to continue with the business of yesteryear.
THE NEW TODAY would also like to comment on the much-talked about elections debate that is being organised by the leading private sector bodies in the country.
The Opposition Leader has stated publicly that the debate should include persons other than the frontline candidates.
This newspaper is totally opposed to such thinking. The voters are being called upon in their respective constituencies to put into office certain persons to sit in Parliament and not the likes of Dr. Patrick Antoine, Aaron Moses, William Joseph, Glen Noel, Dr. Bert Brathwaite and Simon Stiell who might be engaged in policy formulation and the like.
These people are not running for anything and are not accountable to the electorate.
The debate should be focused on the NNP and NDC frontline Candidates coming before the people to defend the respective plans and policies being advanced to take this country forward for the short, medium and long term.
The people have a right to hear from Tillman Thomas, Keith Mitchell, Gregory Bowen, Nazim Burke, Franka Alexis-Bernadine, Delma Thomas, Anthony Boatswain, as well as Dr. George Vincent and company and not be distracted by the power-brokers and back room manipulators.