Many Grenadians are missing a critical point with the decision of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell to bring into the Senate, Peter David, the former Foreign Affairs Minister under the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of Tillman Thomas.
It’s a very astute political move by Dr. Mitchell who has dominated the Grenadian political landscape in the past 20 years.
The Political Leader of the ruling New National Party (NNP) government has been able to effectively break up a formidable political combination that created some difficulties and headaches for him especially since the 2003 general elections.
The Nazim Burke/Peter David/Chester Humphrey combination came within 6 votes in the 2003 general elections of snatching away the government from Dr. Mitchell after he enjoyed his first clean sweep of the polls four years earlier.
This same combination along with others – the likes of Michael Baptiste and Anselm Clouden – proved too much for the NNP and in 2008 the NDC was able to enjoy a more than comfortable 11-4 victory at the polls.
It appears that David was the weak link in the chain and Dr. Mitchell was able to work on him from inside the very Parliament where he was serving as the Leader of the Opposition.
The first opening the NNP leader got was the division within the Congress Cabinet of Ministers on the Grenada Grand Beach Resort hotel involving Grand Prix driver, Lewis Hamilton.
David and then Attorney-General, Jimmy Bristol were at odds with PM Tillman Thomas and others in the Cabinet who were in favour of taking back the prized lands on the Grand Anse beach and vested it back into the hands of the State.
There were rumblings from inside the government that David and his supporters were also not too happy with the decision of PM Thomas to put Burke to act as Prime Minister in his absence.
Mitchell moved quickly to exploit on the perceived problem and could be heard on a few occasions in Parliament dropping hints to David that Burke was now his senior in the government and this seemingly got into the head of the former Foreign Affairs Minister.
Dr. Mitchell is now in a position in which he no longer has to engage in a bitter battle with Burke who has since emerged as the new Political Leader of Congress.
He will allow David and his main strategist, Chester Humphrey to take the fight to Burke from here on with a view to keeping him out of Parliament and possible the political landscape after the next general elections.
The first test for Burke will come when David and Humphrey officially take their seats in the Senate as replacements for Minister of State for Implementation. Kenny Lalsingh and outgoing President of the Senate, Lawrence Joseph respectively.
PM Mitchell will take up a ring side seat and watch a possible blood bath of words taking place in the Senate as David/Humphrey combination trade punches on behalf of NNP against their former colleague, Nazim Burke.
However, THE EW TODAY suspects that the NDC Leader is not that stupid and already will be looking at ways to deal with the new situation that will confront him in the Senate.
David and Humphrey will have to deliver on the political investment placed in them by Dr. Mitchell because failure on their part to delvier the head of Burke could prove very devastating to them.
The Prime Minister is a consummate user of people and once they are no longer politically useful to him then he would dump them.
It is clear to this newspaper that PM Mitchell is once again more ore-occupied with playing his politics and not getting too bogged down with the harsh economic and financial realities facing his NNP administration.
Although the Prime Minister is the Minister of Finance, the day to day running of the Ministry has been placed firmly in the hands of one of his most trusted lieutenants, Timothy Antoine, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance for several years.
With Timothy Antoine running the nation’s financial affairs, Dr. Mitchell has the breathing space to engage in his political manoeuvrings with his eyes set on the holding of the next general elections possible in 2016 or 2017.
PM Mitchell has a good understanding and knowledge of the weaknesses of the Grenadian man and would seek to work out a strategy to convince the electorate to stay with him at the next poll.
THE NEW TODAY suspects that the NNP Leader would start two or three concrete projects nearer to the elections in order to send a signal to the electorate that he needs more time to complete his work and mission of the promises of “Delivery” that was made in February 2013.
The plus for NDC in going forward is that Dr. Mitchell is a much weaker political figure in 2014 than he was in 1999 when he recorded his first clean sweep at the polls.
Fifteen years ago, the country was creditworthy and the NNP leader could have borrowed significant sums of money to engage in a spending spree on a host of projects that by and large fell into the category of non-productive that could not sustain themselves and pay back for themselves.
Today the government is financially broke and Dr. Mitchell is fast losing his reputation as the man who can go outside the country and come back with “the cash” in hand to keep the troops smiling.
His policies are now being treated with suspicion and disdain from quarters that he could have counted and relied upon in recent years for political support.
The main players in the newly formed Taxpayers Association of Grenada are perceived to be more pro-NNP than NDC and are clearly not in sync with the policies that are being pursued.
As Taxpayers said a week ago, “the present economic policy in Grenada will lead to bankruptcies with the immediate effect of increasing unemployment and fiscal and social instability that will kill the country completely”.
THE NEW TODAY sees this as the most damning statement against the NNP and Dr. Mitchell since their return to power nearly two years ago.