Tuesday night’s coronation of Peter Charles David as an official member of the ruling New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has not come as a surprise.
The former General Secretary of the major opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and once Foreign Affairs Minister had virtually became an NNP operative while a member of the Cabinet of Ministers of former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas as early as the 2009/10 period.
The stand-off between the so-called Group of Rebels within the Congress government in which David was widely regarded as the Leader of the pack and their indifference towards Mr. Thomas opened the crack in the door for Dr. Mitchell and company to start to breathe new life in their political fortunes following the July 2008 defeat of NNP at the polls.
Mr. David is a free man like any other Grenadian to join and associate with any organisation of his choice.
Undoubtedly, his decision to join the ranks of the NNP will hurt the pride and feelings of many within Congress who rallied to his cause when Dr. Mitchell and the likes of Special Prosecutor, Hugh Wildman of Jamaica attempted to unseat him as the Member of Parliament for the town of St. George on the Canadian citizenship issue.
The Congress supporters will not easily forget the barrage of attacks on David from Dr. Mitchell himself including allegations that David had pulled a gun on his father, had planted arms and ammunition into a vehicle to convict the late Teddy Victor, as well as allegations about credit card fraud.
Even David himself had journeyed to the United States to meet with former U.S Attorney-General, Ramsey Clark to solicit his help to use his influence with officials in the State Department to get the infamous “Briefcase Tape” that depicted Dr. Mitchell getting the US$500, 000.00 alleged bribery payment from convicted fraudster, Eric Resteiner.
Indeed, politics do make strange bedfellows and the game is such that there are really no permanent friends nor enemies along the road being traversed to get on top.
However, Mr. David’s deflection to the NNP camp must also be seen in the context of the behaviour of other major political figures in the country over the years.
The late Dr. Wellington Friday, who was very much liked by the anti-Gairy elements in St. Patrick West, was never able to recover from his political mistake by betraying the GNP people who championed his cause and quickly turning around and disappoint them by going over to the Grenada United Labour Party (GULP) camp after the 1972 general elections.
Even in our midst, there is Winston Whyte who has struggled politically and disappointed many after his several political somersaults over the years from almost every political organisation in the country – GULP, ULP, NNP, CDLP and others except the NJM.
THE NEW TODAY cannot see Mr. David taking any sizable amount of NDC supporters in the country and bringing them over to the NNP Camp.
Former Congress member and current Minister of State for Implementation, Kenny Lalsingh was not able to take with him any significant person when he and NDC parted companies and he joined the ranks of then Opposition Leader, Michael Baptiste in Parliament in 1999-2003 period.
Mr. David will not be able to take with him the hardcore NDC support base. Instead, the political leadership of Congress should try and use the Peter David issue to re-energise their party for the battle that lies ahead.
This newspaper can understand the political gamble that Mr. David has decided to take by formally joining NNP given his age and possible shelf life as a politician in the country.
The former Foreign Affairs Minister is closer to 60 than 50 and time is not on his side. He is forced to look at self-interest rather than commit himself to the uphill task with the fledgling National United Front (NUF) that many expected him to lead – and not Glynis Roberts – after the Rebels were expelled from Congress in December 2013.
Grenada is now virtually a two-party State with NNP and NDC in control of the various political bases in the country.
Mr. David wants to be a player on the national stage and an association with NUF will not suffice.
A foreseeable problem for NNP with Mr. David’s association is that he brings with him a particular group that always consider themselves as leaders and not followers.
The new high profile NNP party member is a good fund raiser and at some point in time will seek to cash in on his political investment.
His modus operandi is to use the funds at his disposal to gain a majority on his side – similar to the manner in which Bernard Coard gained a majority of CC Members to look up to him and eventually cast aside late Prime Minister Maurice Bishop.
Dr. Mitchell might be shrewd to use David in the same manner in which late Prime Minister Eric Gairy had handled his bright attorney-at-law, Derek Knight – appoint him a Minister without Portfolio but never allow him to get elected as a Parliamentarian in order to ferment plots to unseat him as the Prime Minister.
However, this newspaper is convinced that the real factor that will determine the fate of both PM Mitchell, Peter David and many others in the country is the economy.
The increased taxes are now biting deep and hard among the people and if the electorate determine that they were lied to about job creation and a better day then the winners of 2013 would be in serious trouble on the next polling day.