Public Relations Officer of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), Arley Gill has said that there is no confusion over the two-tier celebration to mark the fourth anniversary of the party’s victory at the polls on July 8, 2008.
The Government of Prime Minister Tillman Thomas has planned a major rally at Gouyave on Sunday, the actual date of the anniversary, while another faction in the party has planned a fun-day at La Tante Beach to commemorate the anniversary.
Gill who was promoting the fun-day through a Press Conference on Tuesday told members of the media that the Prime Minister’s rally is being put on by the government, and the executive members of the party felt that the government did not exist on July 8, 2008, but it was the party that was voted into Office.
“It is only fair and reasonable that the commemoration, the celebration of the fourth year in Office, could only be of the party,” he said.
According to Gill, unlike the perception that there is confusion over both celebrations taking place on the same day, he is merely trying to promote the event from the party’s perspective.
“The government, through its Minister of Information, is promoting the government… So there is absolutely no confusion in my mind as to what is expected,” he said.
Gill is widely regarded in local circles as a key supporter of former Tourism Minister, Peter David, the man often singled out as the leader of a rebel group within Congress.
He told reporters it is expected that both the Political Leader, deputy leader, Nazim Burke and all Cabinet Ministers would attend the function at La Tante Beach since it is an opportunity for the leadership of the party to fraternise and socialise with the rank and file members.
Gill was rather cautious in stating whether he would be attending the Prime Minister’s event at Gouyave.
The former government Senator was also asked to respond to a claim made by PM Thomas that he had no prior knowledge of a Press Release that he (Gill) had issued pertaining to Sunday’s fun-day.
Gill said the statement was in conformity with the traditions of the NDC and it was merely a communication to the nation of a decision taken by the National Executive at its monthly meeting last week Thursday.
“That statement that was issued by myself as Public Relations Officer of the party was based on the Executive decision of the National Democratic Congress,” he remarked.
Gill stressed that there is no protocol indicating that any statement being issued has to have the blessings of the Political Leader.
He said that for more than ten years he has spoken for and on behalf of the NDC locally, as well as regionally and internationally.
The PRO pointed out that on many occasions, statements made by him on behalf of the party, were never approved directly by the Political Leader although they would have reflected the views of the NDC.
“It has always been the tradition of the party for the PRO to communicate the views and the perspectives and the decisions of the Executive to the national population, to the wider world and I believe that at the same time I just simply continue that tradition of communicating the views and perspectives of the party to the wider world,” he said.
Gill spoke of having a great relationship with Prime Minister Thomas whom he said he loves dearly and would always have a special place in his heart for him.
He recalled being the person who championed and coined the phrase “Uncle Tilly” in the build-up to the July 2008 poll.
“I respect the Political Leader, I would defend the Political Leader as I have done. I have promoted the Political Leader from 2003 to 2008, and I am pleased for the part I have played as the Chairman and political strategist of the party in ensuring that the Honourable Tillman Thomas is Prime Minister today,” he said.
Assistant General Secretary, Valdon Paul who also addressed the Press Conference felt that the fun-day can be used as an occasion to re-energise the party base since many people have felt alienated since the victory at the polls.
“We can rebuild that wonderful bond that we once had… and to really put our party on the right footing to go forward in an attempt to, once again regain our place in government,” Paul said.