One of the ten expelled members of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Karl Hood is seeking a court order to get the nod to be the party’s candidate in the upcoming general elections.
Hood who won the St. George’s South East Constituency in the 2008 General Elections has filed an order in the Supreme Court to restrain the NDC hierarchy members – Political Leader and Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, Deputy Political Leader, Nazim Burke, Chairman Senator Franka Bernadine, Deputy Chairman, Kent Joseph, and NDC General Secretary, Bernard Isaac from taking any action aimed at preventing him from participating in the activities of Congress.
The former Government Minister is also seeking to have the court restrain the NDC from replacing him as the candidate for St. George South East.
In his own affidavit filed before the court, Hood charges that, “as a member of the party I have a right to participate in any upcoming general elections for the House of Representative as part of the NDC team, once I am so selected by the qualified persons in the Constituency of St George South East.
“The unconstitutional action taken at the Convention to purportedly revoke my membership of the NDC has deprived me of that right”, he told the court.
Earlier in the year, the born again Christian who is a pastor of a local evangelical church, resigned as Foreign based on what he defined as dissatisfaction with the leadership of the government and in particular Prime Minister Thomas.
The NDC has since identified Tourist Service Provider, Randal Robinson as the person to replace Hood as its candidate for the constituency in the elections due in 2013.
Hood along with former Tourism Minister Peter David, former Works Minister Joseph Gilbert, and former Labour Minister Glynis Roberts were expelled during the party’s convention that took place at Telescope, St. Andrew’s on September 30.
The other members who were expelled are former Senator Arley Gill, Michael Church, Kenrick Fullerton, Senator Chester Humphrey, Siddiqui Sylvester, and Stanford Simon,
The restraining Order against the Prime Minister and others was filed by Hood’s brother, attorney-at-law, Cajeton Hood and sought the following reliefs:
(1). The Defendants and each of them whether by themselves by themselves, their agents, servants and successors or otherwise with immediate effect be restrained from taking any action whatsoever or however styled aimed at preventing or otherwise impending the participation of the Claimant in the activities and processes of the NDC (National Democratic Congress) pursuant to the decision communicated to the Claimants by letter dated October 4, 2012 until further or other order of the court.
(2). The Defendants and each of them whether by themselves, their agents and successors or otherwise with immediate effect be restrained from taking any action whatsoever or howsoever styled in the name of the NDC aimed at selecting, announcing, registering or otherwise identifying any candidate for any upcoming parliamentary elections for the Constituency of St. George South East until further or other order of the Court.
As a public service, THE NEW TODAY reproduces in full the affidavit of Hood in support of his move to prevent Congress from overlooking him as its candidate for the constituency:
I, Ignatius Karl Hood, of Bailes Bacolet in the parish of St. David and state of Grenada Make an OATH AND SAY AS FOLLOWS:
1. I am the Applicant/Claimant in this action and I make this affidavit in support of the application made herein on my behalf against the Respondents/Defendants for injunction and other relief.
2. The matters set out below are within my personal knowledge and are true, except where I indicate to the contrary, in which case they are true to the best of my knowledge, information and belief.
3. I have been a member of the National Democratic Congress (hereinafter referred to as “the party) since 1989. I was invited to be a member by Mrs. Joan Purcell who asked me to be a candidate for the St. George North West constituency in the 1990 general elections. I accepted the invitation and became a member. I have since these recent events been able to obtain a true copy of the constitution of the party but despite diligent enquiries by myself and several other persons on my behalf I have been unable to locate a copy of any articles of association or other document attesting to the formation of the party.
4. I subsequently contested the seat although I never asked for, nor was I offered any finance to conduct that campaign. I did it as a matter of conscience as I considered it to be the correct thing to do at the time. I was unsuccessful in the general elections of 1990 and after the elections I did not lobby for any place in the administration, which was formed by the party.
All that I was offered was to be the personal assistant to Prime Minister Brathwaite, which I refused. I subsequently traveled to the United States of America where I spent almost 5 years, the length of the term of the party in office.
5. I returned to Grenada in December of 1994 and I was approached by Mr. Jerome Joseph to be a candidate again. I refused to do so because I did not think then, that enough was done to warrant my further sacrifice for the party. I rather devoted my time to the services of my church and become Pastor of The People’s Church St Paul’s in August 1995.
I remained a member of the party and confirmed my membership of the party in 2003 when asked to do so by the party through Mr. Cheney Joseph, an officer of the party. I remained committed to the party and spoke often times with Mr. George Prime as I gave him copies of what I was doing, the articles that I was writing and shared my thoughts as to the direction of the party.
6. I was again approached in 2006 to take part in the upcoming elections of 2008. I resisted because I was doing work on the church building and did not want to abandon it. I was again approached in 2007 by Mr. Peter David to accept the nomination as the candidate for the constituency of St George South East as a member of the National Democratic Congress team in the elections of 2008.
The financial support that was promised me never materialised and so I had to again find monies to contest the elections. This I successfully did and won the seat as a loyal member of the party. I resigned my post as Pastor of the People’s Church to devote myself to the work that I was obligated to do as a Member of the Lower House Parliament (Hereinafter referred to as “the House”), a member of Cabinet and a loyal supporter of the party.
Even that I was always a supporter and member of the party, as Pastor, I did not openly show support because persons from both political persuasions were members of my congregation. As I subsequently reiterated in Parliament, I was not prepared to follow a line just because it is a party line; I was committed to following my conscience and the truth.
7. The years in Government were filled with disappointments. I pleaded with the Prime Minister, the First Respondent and the Cabinet, for us to find a common ground, to find the time and space to speak plainly, man to man, so that we can find answers to the difficulties we were facing.
I complained because of the lack of support that I was receiving and begged that we should stay together and fight together for the sake of the people whose voices we represent. My pleas fell on deaf ears. I again spoke to the Prime Minister, the First Respondent, about the problems we were causing to our country’s diplomatic efforts; this also fell on deaf ears.
8. I saw myself as being undermined by the same government that I had sacrificed to put into office. It is because of this that I decided to resign from my post as Minister for Foreign Affairs. My intent was not to bring down the administration but to remove myself from that which affected me. I was shocked at the way that I was treated subsequently. I have never ceased to be a member of the party nor did I ask to withdraw membership of the party.
9. I was again shocked when, after I voted against a bill, I was villified by the First Respondent (PM Thomas), and other members of the party. I responded by saying that I had no confidence in an administration that would treat its own that way. It was in this context that I filed the motion of no confidence. I said publicly that my intent was still not to see the Government fall but, like other democracies, allow for the First Respondent to step down and someone else take the leadership for the rest of the term. In all of this, I did not withdraw my membership or ask to be excused from the party. I have had problems with the way the Government is run but maintained my membership with the party.
10. After my resignation as a minister and member of Cabinet I again began to devote more time to my Christian duties and my work as the parliamentary representative for St George South East. At the time there was much debate about the date for the NDC convention and when the date of the convention on September 30, 2012 was announced (hereinafter referred to as “the Convention”) I was already committed to attend our church’s convention previously scheduled for that Sunday. As a result of the above I was unable to attend the Convention.
11. On the evening of September 30, 2012, I was surprised and embarrassed by the announcement in the public media that at the start of the Convention a resolution had been passed to revoke my rights as a member of the NDC along with other named persons. I was even more taken aback in light of what transpired in the previous convention.
12. In the convention of 2011, a move was made to expel Member of Parliament, Michael Church, from the party. A resolution was brought to the floor which seemed to have much support. I spoke up against it and warned the convention that, as the convention was the ‘court of appeal’ in our constitution, it could not be the executioner or the one to carry out discipline.
I pointed out that the Disciplinary Committee was the place for that so that Mr. Church would be able to have a right to appeal to the convention if he felt aggrieved by their decision. My argument was accepted and the resolution was sent to the Disciplinary Committee.
13. The very points about the right to a hearing and the right of appeal were raised in a letter dated October2, 2012 to the General Secretary of the Party by counsel, Cajeton Hood on behalf of all members of the party who purportedly had their membership to the party revoked during the party convention on September 30, 2012.
14. The General Secretary of the party responded in a letter dated October 4, 2012 simply confirming that the basis of the purported revocation was the passing of a resolution to that effect at the Annual Convention of the party held on September 30, 2012.
15. Since the purported revocation of my membership of the party I have been able to obtain a copy of the resolution that was presented at the annual Convention of the party held on September 30, 2012 to support the revocation of my membership of the party. I am very disturbed to find in the resolution the following statements which by implication and/or otherwise are very untrue with respect to me and I consider them to be highly defamatory, namely that:
(i). I have been party to public displays of hostility towards the political leader;
(ii). I was engaged in a power struggle to oust the Prime Minister;
(iii). My conduct has damaged the interests of the party and adversely affected its good name.
None of the allegations which appear to have caused the convention to move the revocation of my membership of the party is true and I believe that the move to have me expelled was done with malicious intent.
16. A true copy of the amended resolution which was submitted at the convention of the party on September 30, 2012 to justify the revocation of my membership is hereto attached and marked as “IKH3”. In the said resolution the party clearly acknowledges the need to provide me and the other members whose membership was being considered with the following:
(i). Details of any formal complaint(s) and allegations;
(ii). Details of any evidence depended upon to establish the complaints or allegations;
(iii). An opportunity to be heard and to make representations on my behalf or have representations made on my behalf.
The resolution also acknowledges the need to have the imposition of an appropriate sanction after due process has been followed.
17. It is clear that the resolution sets out or recommends a disciplinary sanction against me and other unnamed members of the party at section 17 and prescribes a process which sets out the following steps, namely:
(i). Investigation by the Disciplinary Committee of the party;
(ii). Report to the National Executive Council;
(iii). Decision on the appropriate sanction by the National Executive Council;
(iv). Right of Appeal to the General Council;
(v). Further right of appeal tot he Party Convention.
(18). Further, the constitution obliges the Disciplinary Committee, the National Executive Council, the General Council and the Party Convention to give each accused person an opportunity to be heard and entities the accused person to representation by counsel at his own expense.
(19). None of the procedures that have been outlined in the constitution of the party have been followed. It is clear also that there has been no effort to amend the constitution of the party since the provisions of section 22 of the constitution of the party have not been invoked.
(20). The resolution seeks to justify the unconstitutional conduct of the party by suggesting that elections are imminent and this is one of the very reasons why I have filed this action and make this application for an injunction.
(21). As a member of the NDC I have a right to be selected as an officer of the NDC. The decision to purportedly revoke my rights as a member of the NDC effectively prevented me from being considered for selection as an officer of the party. I am of the view that the reason why the resolution to revoke the membership of me and other persons was to prevent us from being considered for selection as officers of the NDC.
(22). As a member of the party I have a right to participate in any upcoming general elections for the House of Representative as part of the NDC team, once I am so selected by the qualified persons in the Constituency of St George South East. The unconstitutional action taken at the Convention to purportedly revoke my membership of the NDC has deprived me of that right.
(23). I am desirous of contesting any upcoming parliamentary elections as part of the NDC as I believe that I have much to offer to my party and my country in the role of a member of the House. I am informed by members of the Constituency of St. George South East which I now represent, and I verily believe, that without any notice to the presently serving executive of the constituency or myself a process of selecting another person to contest upcoming parliamentary elections for the constituency of St. George South East on behalf of the NDC was completed.
(24). In the above premises, I fear that, unless is restrained by this Honourable Court, the party will proceed to “imminent” general elections while denying me of the right to so participate in keeping with the constitution of the party.
(25). In the premises I pray for the interim relief sought in the Application and Draft Order which have been filed with this Affidavit