Sen. Bernadine: Attempts were made at reconciliation

A senior government minister has accused members of a rebel faction within the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration of resisting all attempts at genuine reconciliation.

Senator Franka Bernadine who was a guest on “Sunday’s With George Grant” said she has not seen any serious attempts on the part of the dissident group that is led by General Secretary Peter David to engage in reconciliation.

The female Education Minister disclosed that two years ago it was quite noticeable what was about to surface within Congress.

Sen. Franka Bernadine – efforts have been made at reconciliation

According to her, “an objective person” from the region was brought in to mediate over the reconciliation process and it turned out to be futile.

“We agreed on the person, brought in the person. With great arrogance… and a lack of understanding of what they were selling (to) the country, the other group… refused to come to the table”, she said.

“The gentleman came, Prime Minister (Tillman) Thomas came hurrying back from St. Kitts… We were sitting at this table in the stadium. They (the rebels) would not come to the table,” she added.

Sen. Bernadine told the programme host that a number of persons including herself had warned that this attitude that was being displayed by the members of the other faction would deteriorate into what is now occurring.

A second attempt was made at reconciliation, but according to the senior government minister it was once again resisted by the dissidents.

She charged that the rebels are only paying lip service to reconciliation and are not sincere about it.

“Efforts have been made, but as far as I can see… there has been very little attempt to meet us on the table to talk. We put forward several negotiating teams, there is not a willingness to listen. There is one united call – we have to get rid of Tillman Thomas,” she said of the attitude of the rebels.

Minister Bernadine stated that she was disgusted over the way some of the people who are said to be leaders in the country are behaving.

She also commented on the two activities that took place on Sunday involving NDC members to mark the fourth anniversary of the election victory on July 8, 2008.

Prime Minister Thomas and Cabinet ministers staged a government rally at Gouyave, St. John’s, while members of the David-led National Executive were engaged in a day of cook, fun and frolic at La Tante Beach, St. David’s.

Sen. Bernadine agreed with the position adopted by Prime Minister Thomas to stage the Gouyave activity in order to give an account of the government’s stewardship to the people.

“A party must work close and hand-in-hand with a government. It is not about one being one way, and one being another way,” she said.

She described as “rude and out of order” the stand taken by some members who were championing for the beach frolic instead of supporting the government’s rally.

“I think that is so rude and out of order. Totally out of order for (the) Prime Minister to indicate that he wishes his Cabinet to present back to the people. The least we could do is to operate accordingly because it makes sense to all of us. It wasn’t an over-ruling or dictatorship as certain factions would want to suggest. What about Tillman Thomas is a dictator?” she asked.

“It is clear to me that what has happened is a clear undermining of a much longer term plan that has been in place for two or three years to undermine the Executive so that it thinks in a certain way,” she said.

Sen. Bernadine also accused some members on the NDC Executive who are also holding positions of Chairpersons of their constituency branches of not holding Branch meetings for more than seven months.

Prime Minister Thomas is said to be mustering his support base to push for the holding of a Convention of the party within the next two months to try and effect some leadership changes.

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