The National Unity Front (NUF), which was launched on Tuesday night as the newest political party in the country, has been described as a new movement for all progressive and patriotic Grenadians.
This was the view stated by former Minister of Labour and Tourism, Glynis Roberts who was introduced at the launch at the Grenada Grand Beach Resorts as the Interim President of the newest party.
The last two so-called “progressive” parties in Grenada were the left-leaning New Jewel Movement (NJM) of Maurice Bishop which charted the 1979-83 Grenada Revolution and its successor the small Maurice Bishop Patriotic Movement (MBPM) of medical doctor, Terrence Marryshow.
In her address to about 200 persons and lasting approximately 20 minutes, Roberts who was expelled from the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) in September said that she was introducing the Grenadian people to “the birth of a political movement that will herald a new beginning in Grenadian politics”.
She promised that under NUF, a new type of politics will be introduced in Grenada since the party does not intend to be similar in outlook to the two other significant parties in the country Congress and the main Opposition New National Party (NNP).
“…We will not open the old playbook where spite, petty politics, quasi- dictatorship, corruption, and laziness abound”, she said.
The current Member of Parliament for the South St. George Constituency labeled the two other parties on the island as behaving as “political cartels”.
“The fact is there are two political cartels whose real functions are to try to win elections and then to spend five years in office ensuring that in their view nobody else cheats them of their chance – whatever that means”“, she added.
Roberts stated that her party is not just about winning elections but intends to develop “a genuine governance strategy that puts people first and can transform ideas and plans into action.
She said the NUF will seek to promote a platform that “turns good governance not into a mere slogan, but a developmental philosophy that will bring jobs and benefits to real people in real communities.”
This is an apparent attack on Prime Minister Tillman Thomas who has been promoting a government based on accountability, transparency and good governance.
Roberts who resigned from the government as a Minister in September and was expelled a few weeks later from Congress has often accused the Grenadian leader of demonstrating dictatorial tendencies and not prepared to listen to the views of others.
The sitting MP made it clear that high office never changed her, “ I know who I am and I am comfortable in my skin.
“I was, and always will be, motivated by the power of love, and not the love of power. High office never changed me and it never will”, she said.
In taking a swipe at Congress, she pointed out that, “Good governance cannot thrive in an atmosphere of bad politics”.
She said, “the era of saying one thing and doing another must come to an end and a new era that shows respect for families, and that seeks to build communities rather than garrisons must emerge.
“A new era that respects diverse opinions and tolerates different points of views must come to pass. Debate is not the mischief of miscreants; it is the tool wise leadership uses to get better”, she added.
Roberts disclosed that the NUF platform would be unveiled in the New Year (2013) on completion of consultations and community meetings as they embark on a membership drive and a national delegates conference through which the official leadership of “this people’s movement” will be elected.
During the launch of the party it was quite noticeable that several of the expelled members of Congress were absent like Peter David (Foreign Affairs), Joseph Gilbert (Communication & Works), Karl Hood (Foreign Affairs) and Michael Church (Foreign Trade & Energy), NDC Chairman, Kenrick Fullerton, former Senator, Arley Gill, Labour Representative in the Upper House of Parliament, Senator Chester Humphrey and Deputy Chairman, Pastor Stanford Simon.
Amidst reports circulating in the country of differences among the Expelled Ten on the formation of a new party so soon after their expulsions from Congress, Roberts said, “We have dear colleagues and comrades who are not yet part of this movement that we hold out hope will also join us. We appreciate that not everybody might be convinced of what the approach might be in each stage of challenges in life.
“But we remain confidant that we have the same vision and that we want the same great dawn for our country. For those who are not with us now, our friendship and our comradeship are intact; our love for each other is undiminished and our mutual admiration and solidarity stand the test of time”, she remarked.
The only so-called Dissidents who were presence for the launch of NUF were Jerome Joseph, Feron Lowe and Siddiqui Sylvester.
Roberts made an impassionate plea for the gathering, comprised mainly of members of the diplomatic community, private sector and residents of South St. George “join this movement for creating a new beginning.
“NUF is not Glynis’ party or Joe’s party, or Siddiqui’s party. NUF is your party. NUF is your party,” she said.
“You have finally found a reason why to vote in the next general elections in 2013. I am here to announce that this is the vehicle on which to ride on – this is where the real change movement lies. This unstoppable journey starts tonight; this train now rides out of the station, so get onboard”, she told the gathering.
The ex-government minister gave an insight into some of the policies and programmes to be initiated by NUF if given a chance to govern the island.
According to Roberts, her movement adheres to the belief “that real growth will come when the productive sector expands and when private entrepreneurship is encouraged and supported”.
“We have to build a society where it will become easier for young people to start their own businesses through government-backed soft loans and grants”, she said.
“I have this idea that I have been advocating, where we will seek special international grant funds that will be put into a pool to help small business development”, she added.
She explained that under this proposed arrangement, everybody under 35 years who has a business idea and who through the help of a special agency can develop a viable business plan with a strong marketing component will be given the needed capital to start their business at a very low interest rate.
This, she said will target especially those young people with no collateral, whose ideas are sound, but who otherwise are not qualified for a regular commercial loan because they do not have the necessary security.
The NUF platform is also committed to the following: –
*Building on its agricultural base, and seeking value added through the development of a robust agro-industrial sector
*Developing a partnership with our neighbor Trinidad and Tobago to exploit oil and gas potential in our offshore areas
*Revamping our energy sector with the ultimate objective of reducing the cost of electricity to all sectors of the economy.
*Training and developing our young people particularly in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and encouraging companies to locate in Grenada knowing that there is a cadre of trained professionals ready to work in these industries.