The fall of Peter David

Peter David – losses his grips on the NDC

The man who once threatened to get the members of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) to sanction Prime Minister Tillman Thomas as political leader of the party has himself been found wanting.

Former General Secretary and Ex-minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation, Peter David was among ten persons expelled on Sunday by NDC members at the party’s annual convention held at Telescope in St. Andrew’s.

When the decisive vote was taken, an overwhelming majority of 390 persons voted to expel David as a member of Congress.

Four months earlier, David had threatened to use the NDC platform to review the performance of Prime Minister Thomas since the July 8, 2008 general election.

“…We will initiate and support the tabling of the appropriate measure within our party to trigger an examination and review of the stewardship of our party and government since assuming office in 2008”, David told Parliament in his May 15, 2012 contribution in an opposition-sponsored Motion of No-confidence against the Grenadian leader.

The ex-government minister, widely regarded as the leader of the expelled group of NDC members did not show up at Sunday’s Convention of party delegates to put forward his motion to censor the Prime Minister.

As a public service, THE NEW TODAY reproduces some of the major highlights of the contribution made by David in his contribution to the No-confidence motion against Prime Minister Thomas by former Opposition Leader, Dr. Keith Mitchell:

Mr. Speaker, I have not disguised my own difficulty with the management style of the Honorable Prime Minister. Indeed, I have been vilified by some in my own party for speaking frankly to the issue of my leader’s reluctance to embrace differing ideas and opinions, both from within and outside the National Democratic Congress. That smear campaign, Mr. Speaker, continues unabated.

I have fundamental concerns about the prioritisation, or lack thereof, of several key projects and initiatives. I am not in full agreement with some of the fiscal measures pursued by the government and generally I have a fundamental difference with my leader on how the issue of poverty reduction and social rehabilitation could, and should be, pursued.

When I resigned …. Mr. Speaker, I was deliberate in not resigning as General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress or as a Member of this Honorable Chamber as the Member of Parliament for the Town of St. George. I resigned from the Cabinet because, under the Westminster System of Government that we follow, the Cabinet is that of the Prime Minister; and those who differ fundamentally with how the Cabinet and – by extension – the government is run, should follow the age old convention of resigning. And that is exactly what I did.

But I have also examined the very serious situation that confronts us in Grenada today. I sense that there are many persons who are not happy with the style of leadership of our Prime Minister and Political Leader.

The Constitution of Grenada says clearly that the Prime Minister shall be the person who commands the support of the majority of parliamentarians in this Honorable Chamber. Mr. Speaker, that person, more often than not, would be the Political Leader of the governing party, popularly elected by the members of that party.

I am persuaded that if a review of that leadership is to be initiated and made, it ought to be done by the membership of the party that voted for, and endorsed, the ascension of that leader. That is the proper and correct thing to do!

I do not believe, Mr. Speaker, that a leader, popularly elected by hundreds of persons at a party conference, should be dislodged by a simple majority of eight of 15 elected members. That, to my mind, robs the people of their right to decide! Any such change must be the verdict of those who elected that leader!

I believe that the stewardship of our leader as Prime Minister cannot be divorced from his leadership as Political Leader of the ruling party, for that is how he qualified to become Prime Minister in the first place. We must hear first from the membership of the National Democratic Congress!

I propose, as a member of the National Democratic Congress and as a Parliamentarian who has some fundamental concerns about the trend that is developing in our party and government, to initiate a process whereby the issues we are concerned about will be dealt with within the mechanism and constitution of the party.

I believe firmly that ultimate power must rest in the hands of the people. I would wish to discover whether persons in the party, from across the length of this beautiful country, including our sister islands, feel as many of us do, that there is need for a rethink of the direction in which we are headed as a country and a party.

I have been a member of the NDC for many years and I am in touch and in tune with the membership of our party. I believe in the strength and capacity of that party to handle any awkward situation that might arise. I still believe in the ability of the NDC to take stock and recover from what, and from where, some may describe as a precarious situation.

The voters of this country went to the polls and voted overwhelmingly for this government. It was their wish to have the NNP administration replaced by an NDC government. I do not sense that that wish and resolve have changed. I do not believe that as 15 parliamentarians we should seek to take it into our hands to alter or circumvent the will of the people.

Accordingly, Mr. Speaker, I hereby serve notice that we will oppose this motion of no-confidence. At the same time, we also serve notice that we will initiate and support the tabling of the appropriate measure within our party to trigger an examination and review of the stewardship of our party and government since assuming office in 2008.

When that is done and the people have spoken, we would then, as NDC Parliamentarians, have a much better perspective of what our role and posture should be in a situation such as this. Ultimately power resides in the people, not in 15 Parliamentarians, on an important issue such as this.

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