Prime Minister and Political Leader of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) Tillman Thomas is optimistic about the future of his 25 year old party in the upcoming general election.
Prime Minister Thomas who was at the time addressing a rally that climaxed the convention of the NDC said the members of the party have taken the decision to go forward instead of backward.
He was confident that Grenada, now under the rule of NDC following 13 years of governance by the former Keith Mitchell administration, has a stable and prosperous future.
Prime Minister Thomas disclosed that despite the fiscal challenges inherited, his government has put in place a number of safety net programmes that include the duty-free barrel system at Christmas time, and the energy for the poor programme.
The Grenadian Leader said the NDC Leadership has committed itself to serving the country with the highest degree of patriotism.
In a wide-ranging address, Prime Minister Thomas disclosed that work on the long awaited Farm Roads Project is expected to commence next month.
Other infrastructural work poised to come on stream is the impending construction of an international hotel at Hog Island and refurbishment work of the athletics stadium at Queen’s Park – both with financial assistance from China.
Prime Minister Thomas said he is confident that the country would begin to see revenues coming out of the oil and gas resources in the second quarter of 2013.
Recently, the island signed a co-operation agreement with neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago to exploit the energy sector.
The Prime Minister addressed the disunity that plagued the NDC over the past two years by a group of former ministers who included Peter David, Joseph Gilbert and Glynis Roberts.
He charged that they wanted the NDC Brand without the core-values.
“You cannot have the brand if you do not share the values,” he told a gathering of NDC supporters a few hours after the ex-ministers were among a group of persons expelled from Congress.
He said that grave errors in judgement have been made by some of those who were once trusted.
According to PM Thomas, he was never afraid to trust his Cabinet colleagues, and gave them room to do their job.
“They (ex-Cabinet colleagues) have displayed an uncaring attitude to their stewardship, and allowed egos to replace the zeal and concern of their constituents,” he remarked.
The Grenadian Leader accused his former colleagues of being in open collusion with the main opposition New National Party (NNP) of Dr. Mitchell with a vengeful zeal to bring the government down.
He claimed that having failed in their attempt to hijack the NDC, they have now embarked on a mission to mash up the party.
One week later, in an appearance at a radio programme hosted by NDC, the Prime Minister said he believes that the attempt to mash up the party by the former rebels would only return the country into the hands of former Prime Minister Mitchell.
PM Thomas also said he was satisfied with the outcome of his party’s convention that took place last week at the St. Andrew’s Anglican Secondary School (SAASS) in which delegates voted overwhelmingly to expel a number of persons.
The Grenadian Leader who appeared on the “revived” NDC Heart Beat Programme on Sunday noted that the decisions taken at the convention to expel ten persons were unprecedented, not only in Grenada, but in the Caribbean and was an indication of the resolve of his Political Party.
“It takes a party with a solid foundation, a party that stands on principle, and a party that respects the democratic process to take such decisions,” he said.
Prime Minister Thomas stressed that in the interest of Grenada and for Grenadians, a decision had to be taken to expel these persons in order to get the party on the right footing and to have it strengthened.
Another decision taken by the Congress Delegates was to have Acting Chairman Stanford Simon vacated the seat as Chairman of the convention.
With the exception of Prime Minister Thomas and his Finance Minister Nazim Burke remaining as Political Leader and Deputy Political Leader respectfully, a number of new faces have emerged on the executive.
The NDC created history by electing Education and Human Resource Minister Senator Franka Bernadine as its Chairman. It is the first time that a woman holds that position in any of the major political parties in Grenada.
Prime Minister Thomas said the time has now come for the incumbent party to consolidate as it prepares itself for the upcoming General Elections.
“We have to consolidate now. We have an election to win, and we saw the convention as repositioning NDC for victory at the next election,” he said.
The NDC Political Leader sees his party as still being the best choice for Grenada.
“No one could point and say that NDC is corrupt. We are the best trustees, politically speaking of the Grenadian people right now,” he added.
For the past two years, NDC had been troubled by some infightings, and the Prime Minister indicated that obviously the party could not have faced the electorate with “a divided executive.”
He indicated that not too long ago when the radio programme was hosted by expelled former Public Relations Officer, Arley Gill, the contents, which the leadership were not preview to, could not be considered as reflective of the party.
“We cannot have one side saying… we stand for this, and another group meeting and deciding on other things. That is not in the best interest of the party or the country, so we need to consolidate the party,” he said.
The NDC Political Leader believes the Women’s Arm of congress played a major and significant role in the rebirth of the party in the last few months.
“We must all recognise the power of women. They came in very strong and they were very focused and very committed to forging ahead,” he said.
However, at the same time, the Prime Minister could not overlook the part played by persons whom he described as “stalwarts of the party” for their role in making the convention a success.
This is obvious reference to former Public Utilities Minister, Phinsley St. Louis and businessman, Kent Joseph who have accepted positions on the newlook executive of Congress.