Political Leader of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Senator Nazim Burke has ordered his team of Caretakers to become more visible in their communities.
Sen. Burke who was at the time addressing a public meeting of his political party in Grand Anse, St. George’s said that as Congress touches base with the people, they are crying out to the 28-year old Political Party to become more present and visible.
As part of its public image, NDC conducts a “Heart-to-Heart” meet and greet at different villages each Sunday and Burke undertakes weekly visits to the St. George’s General hospital.
Sen. Burke said that although many of the NDC Caretakers have their own challenges, he is still calling on them to make the extra effort in reaching out to the people.
He advised them that they should not wait until an election is called to prepare the people in their communities and asking them for their vote.
“We must build a relationship with them (the electorate). We must earn their trust and their confidence so when an election is called they know who they’re voting for,” he said.
“Let’s continue to work for our country, let’s continue to make the sacrifices for our country,” he added.
Congress has been forced to rebuild following its humiliating 15-0 at the polls in February 2013 at the hands of the then opposition New National Party (NNP) of Dr. Keith Mitchell.
Sen. Burke said Congress has to demonstrate that it has a competent, united-purpose team of people, who are prepared to make sacrifices for the country and not for selfish desires.
As a former Finance Minister in the Tillman Thomas-led government of 2008-13, he spoke of some of the challenges faced in managing the economy.
He recalled that when NDC was in office, it found itself in the middle of an economic crisis, but in spite of the challenges the jobs of public servants were secured but presently workers at various Statutory Bodies including the Grenada Postal Corporation (GPC) are “shaking in their boots.”
“What is sad… is that those who have said they were fighting for the workers, those who said they were the champions of the working class have collaborated with the government against the workers, and working with the government secretly against the workers instead of standing up for the workers’ rights,” he said.
This is a clear attack on expelled Congress member, Senator Chester Humphrey who is the President-General of the Technical & Allied Workers Union (TAWU) and a fierce critic of Burke.
Humphrey is now closely aligned to the ruling party under the so-called “Project Grenada” banner and landed the Number Three Job in the country as President of the Senate.
His union is one of two bargaining agents for the soon-to-be retrenched workers at the post office.
The new NDC Political Leader outlined the mantra that showcases Congress throughout its 28 years of existence.
Sen. Burke told the public meeting that NDC is a party of integrity and character.
“That is why all sorts of criminals and semi-criminals who used to be hanging around our party have now left and gone their separate ways. That is why… many of them have found their natural habitat, and we are not grieving over their loss – this is where they belong. Our party is a party of decency,” he told the gathering.
Of the nine persons expelled by NDC in 2012, only Sen. Humphrey has a questionable track record dating back to an incident in the United States in the 1970’s.
Humphrey skipped bail within months of the triumph of the 1979-83 Grenada Revolution after he was charged with gun-running for shipping arms and ammunition back to the Spice Isle.
Speculation is rife that the alleged arms and ammunition were used by the leftist New Jewel Movement (NJM) of Maurice Bishop to stage the March 13, 1979 coup d’etat against the elected Eric Gairy government.
Apart from Sen. Humphrey, three other high profile expelled Congress members are now associated with NNP – former General Secretary, Peter David, former Party Chairman, Colin La Barrie, and ex-Works Minister, Joseph Gilbert.