Less than three months after taking court action to try and get the nod to run as a candidate for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the February 19 general elections, former Foreign Affairs Minister, Karl Hood has come out publicly against his former colleagues.
Hood, who won the St. George South-east seat in the 2008 general elections, is now throwing his support behind the main opposition New National Party (NNP) of Dr. Keith Mitchell’s as the best choice to govern Grenada after Tuesday’s poll.
Addressing thousands of NNP supporters at the party’s rally at Pearls, St Andrew on Sunday night, the ex-government minister and religious leader apologised to the Grenadian people for associating with Congress in the last General Election.
A smiling Dr. Mitchell who was basking from Hood’s endorsement later reminded the crowd that, “this man (Hood) comes from Happy Hill” which is a major voting area in his St. George North-west constituency.
“…”I told (Prime Minister) Tillman (Thomas) that if he follow the Happy Hill fellahs he will get fever and from that fever he will never recover””, the ex-Prime minister told the crowd amidst loud applause.
As Hood walked slowly up the steps and onto the stage, he warmly embraced the candidates of the NNP and was given a hug by Dr. Mitchell who seemingly whispered something into his ears.
“I am here, not because I resigned, but because in all conscience, I do not see the NDC as having the construct to govern the people,” said Hood in his maiden address on the NNP platform.
“For the love of country, I stand here tonight fully prepared to endorse the NNP to govern this country”, he said.
The atmosphere surrounding the Pearls Airstrip erupted with loud shouts from the people many in surprise at seeing the former NDC government minister on their platform.
According to Hood, after serving the Congress administration for the past four years, he has come to the conclusion that “the driver could not drive”, hence the reason he filed a motion of No-confidence against Prime Minister Thomas.
The motion was never debated in Parliament before its dissolution.
Hood told NNP supporters that the real driver in Congress is Deputy Political Leader, Nazim Burke who is the Minister of Finance and Energy.
During his 15 minutes presentation, a smiling Hood told Grenadians that he needed to apologise to the electorate for encouraging them to vote for NDC in the 2008 poll.
“I stand here tonight and I make my apology. I am sorry that I said so. I stand against the Nazim Burke hypocrisy… this election is about leadership … Tillman Thomas and Nazim Burke have proven that they cannot lead this country”, he said.
He charged that what the NDC has not done in its four and a half years in office it will never do in five years if given another chance to govern.
Hood said that at the time of his affiliation with Congress, he regarded the political leader as the best person to lead the country and admitted that he had even chastised the Opposition Leader because he believed in the Prime Minister’s stance on accountability, transparency and good governance.
However, he said he changed his mind when reports surfaced that the Prime Minister collected money for NDC in his private bank account and when pressed to disclose the source of funds, he openly refused to do so.
“I had to say something about it. The party (NDC) has betrayed the goodwill of the people”, he added.
Prime Minister Thomas had declared the funds (US$50, 000.00) to the local bank as a donation for his party.
The Opposition Leader had made a claim that the sum was US$150, 000.00.
The NDC General Secretary, Bernard Isaac stated publicly that the funds were used to pay off some of the party’s expenses.
Hood was one of 10 executive members who were expelled from Congress during its Convention last September at the height of internal squabbling in the face of reports that a dissident group was seeking to take over the leadership of the party and government from the Prime Minister.
The former Foreign Affairs Minister responded by getting his attorney-at-law brother, Cajeton Hood to institute legal action against the NDC Executive.
Female high court judge, Justice Margaret Mohammed dismissed one limb from hood and ruled in favour of the NDC to elect its candidate Randall Robinson to contest the February 19 election on the St. George South-east seat but deemed the expulsion from the party as illegal.
The matter of the expulsion from the party will be debated at a later date.