With one week to go before the annual Convention of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) it remains unclear who will emerge as Political Leader of the party.
Former Prime Minster and Political Leader of Congress Tillman Thomas has already indicated that he is stepping down from the leadership position of the party.
The main highlight of the NDC Convention which takes place on Sunday, February 2nd at the Westerhall Secondary School in St David’s is the election of Officers.
Both front runners for the leadership position of the embattled NDC, Senator Nazim Burke who is the Deputy Political Leader, and Senator Franka Bernadine, Chairman of the party are staying clear from public debate over the leadership issue.
The two top brass NDC officials refrained from stating clearly their intention to contest the leadership position while appearing on the weekly program, “Sundays With George Grant’’ last week Sunday.
Burke told the host of the program if the membership of the party ask him to lead the party he would be happy to do so, while Bernadine said she is going to be guided by the Executive of the party on whether or not to contest the top position within Congress.
But another party member Patrick Simmons who was also a guest on the program declared that he would be contesting the influential position of General Secretary that is held by small business man, Bernard Isaac.
Burke indicated that since his return to Grenada in 2000, he has been working with the NDC in different capacities and playing different roles. He became the Deputy Political Leader in 2009.
“I am here to serve so if I am called upon to do so I will be happy to do that,’’ he said.
“I am willing to work with anybody for the cause of the NDC and for the country,’’ he added.
According to Burke, it is understandable that the eyes of the world are upon the NDC and that their supporters are expectant.
He claimed that there is no animosity between himself and Bernadine since it is quite clear that the success and future of the party will depend on unity.
Bernadine pointed out that in the current situation, one has to remain very calm and very objective, and look and see what is before him and take the best decision in the interest of the party.
“I have always try to function… throughout my life… I am a team player,’’ she said
The NDC Chairman dismissed public perception that the party is dysfunctional.
She spoke of a number of public ventures the party undertook since it lost the general election almost one year ago.
According to her, the three opposition Senators including Dr George Vincent have done over 71 Television and radio programs individually and collectively, the NDC also held a very successful General Council without the usual controversies, as well as engaged in six Town Hall Meetings, seven People’s Parliament Meetings, and visits to the St. George’s Market Square.
Bernadine appealled to party supporters to remain calm and to not be influenced by all the rumours and statements and negativism that are trying to encroach on the party.
Simmons indicated that this is the first time, he has personally made a decision to do something politically without being driven by anyone as he laid out a case for his decision to contest the top party organising position.
He said the position which the party has now found itself with no seats in Parliament is a good place from which to start the rebuilding process.
Simmons who served as Minister of Youth Empowerment and Sport in the NDC Government between 2008 and 2013 said the party must be prepared to listen to each other more, must be prepared to meet each other half way, and must be prepared to make compromises.
He stated that the main focus of the Convention and the way forward must be unity.
The convention will be held under the theme, “Learning From The Past To Shape The Future”.