After another landslide defeat at the polls on March 13, 2018, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has started the rebuilding process and several of its young members are tipped to take the lead.
The party, for the second consecutive time in this decade, has lost all 15 of Grenada’s parliamentary seats and will need to pursue radical changes to become more attractive and competitive in this modern era of Caribbean politics.
In Barbados, the Democratic Labour Party, which suffered NDC’s fate at the May 24 polls to Mia Mottley’s Barbados Labour Party, has already begun to pursue the necessary changes in that the youths are playing pivotal roles in its transformation and readiness for the next general election.
According to Curtis Cave, president of the Young Democrats in an article in the Barbados Nation newspaper entitled: Young Dems in rebuilding, August 02 2018: “A number of young people, those between the ages of 16 and 40, will be vying for all the positions on the party’s executive except President, as well as seeking to serve on the General Council… there were others who expressed interest in being candidates and were prepared to start working from now”.
In the case of the NDC, it was Nazim Burke, the former political leader, who was responsible for involving the youths in the decision-making process and will now get to see the few fruits of his labour ripen despite his recent departure from the frontline.
Moreover, the party has already appointed two young members to serve as Senators in the Upper House of Parliament on April 27, 2018.
This group will no doubt bring a sense of hope and renewed vigour to the NDC in whatever role it may play in the future of Grenadian politics. The party’s General Secretary, Glen Noel, who was rejected by the Governor General, Dame Cecile La Grenade from serving with the young people in the Senate, has on several occasions, through public media, indicated to the party’s base that “we must change our approach or else”.
These statements come from a man who once shouldered the blame for the demise of the NDC and are indicative of a different style and approach forced upon the party from the continued failures by the party’s seniors to secure any parliamentary seats in consecutive elections.
In fact, the three “no comments boys” at the Camerhonge Park press conference are said to be one of the main reasons for this progressive and positive approach towards a meaningful restructuring of the party.
They have been accused by some of encouraging several former NDC members and high-ranking Grenadian officials once again to join and work with the NDC without the leadership’s knowledge.
This is a political move that catapulted the Mitchell regime into power for the last two consecutive terms – Dr Timothy Harris of St Kitts has only recently found himself in a similar situation. If an alternative is not properly developed through a massive coalition of all opposition forces, the NDC may see itself losing a fourth consecutive election to the detriment of the NDC supporters which will no doubt see the NNP’s leader strengthen his grip on the Grenadian resources particularly the oil and gas.
Joseph Andall who was appointed interim leader of the NDC is said to be more popular among the youth but struggles with national appeal. He will no doubt be unable to do it by himself and whoever emerges as the new leader of the NDC, he or she will have to be seen nationally by all generations, as a leader.
Several of the leadership positions at its upcoming convention should now be held by new faces with new ideas if the NDC is to survive in the coming years.
Apart from simply articulating positions on issues, the party will have to once and for all stamp its political brand on the Grenadian society and it will require a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm from young people.