Sen. Burke: We intend to right the wrongs

The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) says it is watching with keen interest the anticipated move of the Keith Mitchell-led Government to split the constituencies of St. David’s and South St. George.

Political Leader of Congress, Senator Nazim Burke told a talk show programme that his party is looking at the situation as there are things they are seeing and anticipating but did not elaborate.

NDC officials were scheduled to meet with Supervisor of Elections, Alex Phillip on the proposed increase from 15 to 17, the number of constituencies on the island.

Sen. Burke also spoke of recommendations being considered by the Electoral Office on the island for the upcoming electoral process.

He charged that Phillip and his electoral team have put forward a number of suggestions as regards some minor amendments to the legislation to ensure a smoother and efficient General Elections.

“They (the Electoral Office) have put forward some areas that they believe they would like to see revised and amended,” he said.

The Congress Leader spoke of the party having been given a copy of the proposed recommendations, which its lawyers are now considering.

He said NDC will put forward suggestions as to what it thinks can be done to ensure a smoother elections, and will express an opinion on the things that the Electoral Office is proposing.

However, he said regardless of what the Supervisor of Elections puts forward as recommendations for amending the Representation of the People’s Act, it must not be forgotten that it is the government that would decide what would be put into a draft Bill to be brought to Parliament.

“Because the government side has the majority they would pass it into law. By ourselves, the Supervisor of Elections, the opposition parties will not get to decide this, the government does, and that’s why it is so important that we have the collective weight of resistance coming from other persons in the community – the trade unions, business community, churches, civic society – speaking up on these issues to bring the collective weight on the government,” he said.

Sen. Burke stressed that he is cautious in not wanting to publicly disclose what are some of the things Congress is trying to do to ensure that “the elections are not robbed from us.”

“Be asnsured that we are not going to just lie down and watch the elections being stolen from us”, he said.

Speculation is rife that one of the proposed changes is for a mark other than the usual “x” by someone on the ballot paper to be recognised as expressing the will of a voter.

Sen. Burke also addressed other issues, which he believes are of national importance including the number of taxes imposed by Mitchell’s NNP since its return to office in February 2013.

The Congress leader warns that government cannot tax its way to prosperity and it needs to get the economy growing. He promised that a Congress Government in office would cut back on the taxes.

However, Sen. Burke said he cannot say which are the taxes a future NDC Government will remove and by what percentages, “because we know that we have to recalibrate the taxes… to get revenues, but at the same time don’t suffocate the country.”

“We intend to right the wrongs. Take my word. We, as a party, we continue to keep a very close eye on what is going on in the country.

We believe what is going on is wrong, and we believe that Grenada deserves a better kind of government,” he remarked.

Congress was voted out of office in a 15-0 drubbing at the hands of Mitchell’s NNP which campaigned on a promise of thousands of jobs and an influx of foreign investors.

Of the five hotels promised, only one – the Silver Sands by an Egyptian businessman – has actually started on a section of the Grand Anse beach.

Mitchell’s three years in office has been marked by the imposition of a Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) with a string of austerity measures with backing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help ease a severe fiscal deficit.

Within one month of coming into office, Dr. Mitchell announced that government was defaulting on payment of a millions owed to U.S bondholders.

The IMF-brokered deal will see the island starting to repay the creditors from around the middle of this year.

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