Thousands of supporters of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) have sent a clear message to a rebel faction of the party headed by former Tourism Minister, Peter David.
The NDC dissidents, and Government Ministers Glynis Roberts and Denis Lett stayed away from a government-organised rally at Gouyave, St. John’s to mark the fourth anniversary of the party last Sunday and went ahead with a fun and frolic at La Tante Beach, St. David’s.
Despite many press releases, a Press Conference, and radio and television advertisements to promote the beach fete as a means of luring people to the rebel faction activity, only a handful of persons including several children showed up for the event.
Over four thousand persons, the vast majority of them wearing the NDC party colours journeyed to Gouyave to give their support to Prime Minister Tillman Thomas and his Cabinet Ministers at a public rally.
Prime Minister Thomas who was firing off on all cylinders told the large gathering that he believes the people now understand the games that are being played by the rebels.
In his clearest statement so far, the Prime Minister dropped strong hints that there was a need to purge the party.
“The time has come for some clinical changes,” the NDC Political Leader told the people amidst loud applause.
“We are ready to take action on all fronts. Those of you who are NDC supporters who do not want to see the return of the past now need to act,” he said.
With General Elections due next year, Prime Minister Thomas informed the people that the NDC would face the polls as a renewed, re-energised and united team under one leader.
Sources close to the Grenadian leader have said that PM Thomas has no intention of running on the same platform with David (MP for the Town of St. George) and sacked Foreign Trade and Environment Minister, Joseph Gilbert (MP for St. Patrick West).
Prime Minister Thomas told the crowd there is a closed-door policy being executed by some members of the David-controlled National Executive of Congress, which he said, has to come to an end.
He accused the rebels of withholding the NDC Convention that was originally planned for July 8 when the party held its General Council in Carriacou earlier this year.
A decision was taken to postpone the Convention to a later date as infighting erupted within NDC over the selection of candidates to contest the national election.
The Prime Minister reminded the gathering that as a build up to last year’s convention, he went out publicly to avoid the image of the party being tarnished, but he did not get the support.
“I have always set out to protect the image of the National Democratic Congress, and I will continue to do this,” he said.
He was making reference to the election of controversial former Policeman, Kenrick Fullerton, who had the backing of the David faction, to the post of party Chairman.
Fullerton is currently on bail awaiting a fraud-related case before a local magistrate.
Prime Minister Thomas reported that in recent weeks the membership of the party has been growing and this is a worrying sign for those who intend to keep a stranglehold on the party.
The NDC Political Leader indicated that the mantra of the party is “Let the people’s voices be heard.”
He said it is because of this, he heeded the call of the people who have been calling for the rally, and the National Executive must understand that the voices of the people must be heard.
“Deviation from this would not be tolerated and accepted by the people,” he added.
Deputy Political Leader Nazim Burke indicated that when the people voted for change four years ago, they voted for a change from Dr. Keith Mitchell to Tillman Thomas, and a change from corruption to decency.
Burke indicated that 29,000 people said yes to Thomas and the NDC, but today 25 members want to take the party from the leader.
He said the NDC Government has a responsibility to the country, hence the reason why the vast majority of ministers have given their support to the Prime Minister.
“We know in Tillman Thomas we have a man of integrity in government. We know in Tillman Thomas we have a man of accountability in government. We know in Tillman Thomas we have a man who is committed to integrity in public life,” he remarked.
One of the Founding Fathers of the NDC, Phinsley St. Louis who appeared on the platform reiterated his call for members of the rebel faction to leave the party.
“The persons who may not feel that they can be members of this party, let them go,” he said.
“I think those who are not satisfied with the leadership of Tillman Thomas… I think they should leave the party,” he added.
St. Louis spoke of the compassionate nature of Prime Minister Thomas who went against the wishes of some of the older members of the NDC to accommodate the “new kids on the block.”
He said the Political Leader “opened the doors of the party” to allow certain people who were “looking for a home” and brought them in against the wishes of a number of people.
St. Louis stated that the Gouyave Rally clearly shows that there is one NDC, noting that the people are adamant that without “Uncle Tilly” there is no NDC.
“This is the NDC Family, and this is the party that we brought together… to ensure that we have a party that is a family party,” he said.
Youth Empowerment and Sports Minister, Patrick Simmons said when he was approached to be a candidate in 2008 for the NDC he understood the various roles of the leadership.
Simmons said he agreed to be a candidate because of the Political Leader, and he is there to serve the people of St. Andrew’s South East as he is committed to the cause and committed to supporting Prime Minister Thomas.
He thanked the people for coming out to show their support and loyalty to “Uncle Tilly.”
“You have sent a very clear signal and a very clear message to the Grenadian people that your support for the Prime Minister is unwavering,” he said.
Social Development Minister Sylvester Quarless acknowledged that the four years in Office for the NDC Administration had many challenges.
However, Quarless joined many of the other speakers who appealed to the people to get themselves registered to ensure a return of the NDC into Office.
He said election is about numbers and if the people do not register as members of the NDC it would be difficult for the party to be victorious at the polls.
Quarless who is the Member of Parliament for St. Andrew’s South West admonished the people to venture out on a campaign to encourage their close relatives and neighbours to register.
“Without that we can’t win, and without that we cannot form the government, and without that we cannot be an NDC in Government. So the charge here… is to make sure that our people are registered to vote,” he said.
Education and Human Resource Development Minister, Senator Franka Bernadine addressed the qualities of Prime Minister Thomas.
Sen. Bernadine said he has brought to Grenada the stability, integrity, transparency, and a great degree of accountability to the affairs of the nation.
Minister of Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs, Senator George Prime said he is now being branded as being a “Tilly Boy” as he is seeking to once again become the Candidate for that constituency.
“The side that I am on is the side of the cause of National Democratic Congress,” he told the crowd.
Prime was elated over the achievements of the government for the past four years.
He said even the people of the sister isles continue to see the light of the NDC shinning on Carriacou and Petite Martinique.