Within the past week, the ruling New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has seen two major developments in the candidate selection process for the general election which the Grenadian leader signalled will be “very soon”.
Two of the senior members of the party – Deputy Prime Minister, Elvin Nimrod (Carriacou & Petite Martinique) and Minister of Youth & Sports, Roland Bhola (St. Andrew North-east) – have announced to their constituents that they will not be seeking re-election.
THE NEW TODAY is not taken by surprise over the developments in light of reports circulating from within the camp of the ruling party for some time now.
It is known that the two have certain medical challenges and unlike Bhola, the 75-year old Nimrod was virtually pushed out by forces on the sister isle who were calling for his removal on grounds of age.
It is said that politics have a morality of its own and Nimrod might have become a victim of his own doing.
The M.P for Carriacou & Petite Martinique was known to be very anti-NNP back in the 1990’s but a shrewd Dr. Mitchell was able to woo him into the NNP camp after his party’s electoral victory in the 1995 poll.
Nimrod, an attorney-at-law by profession, had left his New York base to return to Carriacou as the likely Congress candidate to replace then Prime Minister Sir Nicholas Brathwaite for the Carriacou & Petite Martinique constituency.
He soon became frustrated with the National Democratic Congress (NDC) that was in power as Sir Nicholas asked him to wait as the timing was not yet right to step down as Prime Minister in favour of the late George Brizan.
Nimrod decided to run as an Independent candidate with the hope that he could become the kingmaker in the event of a 7-7 outcome on the mainland.
The NNP sent no less than three emissaries to the sister isle to try and entice Nimrod to run on its ticket but he refused to shift from his position.
However, within weeks of the NNP’s slim victory in the June 1995 poll, and Nimrod’s own close lost to NDC’s Joan Purcell for the seat, he was wearing “Green” after accepting a position in the Senate to take over as Minister of State for Carriacou & Petite Martinique.
Nimrod soon stamped his authority on the sister isle and won the seat for the NNP in the general elections of 1999, 2003, 2008 and 2013.
Prior to this, the sister isle was considered a stronghold for Congress.
Although Nimrod was never able to fulfil his ambition of becoming the Prime Minister of the tri-island State, the manner in which he was humiliated and pushed aside by some leading NNP’ites in the twilight of his political career is rather unfortunate.
Will Nimrod pound “the ground” for the replacement candidate in the upcoming campaign to ensure that Carriacou & Petite Martinique remains in the house of the NNP?
The ruling New National Party is also looking towards female attorney-at-law, Karen Samuel as its replacement for Bhola in St. Andrew North-east.
It was a rather surprising choice that would have taken most political pundits in the country by surprise.
Although the attorney was originally born in the Tivoli area of the constituency, there are many who felt that she had lost touch after moving out and taking up residence in St. George’s for so many years.
The NNP has maintained a stranglehold on the constituency for the past 22 years and will no doubt rely on its machinery to try and bring home the seat in the upcoming poll.
The “Samuel” catch is said to be the work of former Congress General Secretary, Peter David and has left many within the NNP camp itself dumfounded at his growing influence within the party.
The anti-David forces are suspicious that he is lining up candidates to help parachute him in the top spot when a replacement for 70-year old PM Mitchell becomes a reality.
David is also motivated to “choke the life out of NDC” as a political force in the country given his growing dislike for his former Revolutionary Comrade of the 1979-83 era, Senator Nazim Burke who now occupies the top spot in the party.
The two were in the front seat to replace the Congress leader, Tillman Thomas but David’s expulsion from the party in September 2012 ended any ambition he had to get to the top spot in NDC.
The former NDC General Secretary has found an ally in Prime Minister Mitchell – and the mission in the upcoming general election is not only to maintain NNP’s political stranglehold in the country but to “kill” Nazim Burke politically and to make sure that he does not ever regain the St. George North-east seat.
Whenever the election is held, the outcome will again result like was the case in 2013 with major casualties as the vote cast by the Grenadian electorate will bring an end to the political careers of many of the candidates.