The ruling New National Party (NNP) is putting structures in place to contest the next General Election that is constitutionally due in 2018.
Prime Minister and Political Leader of the party, Dr. Keith Mitchell told party supporters during last week’s General Council at the Gouyave Anglican School in St. John’s that the hierarchy of the party will be going into a retreat on July 29th.
Dr. Mitchell said the retreat will have the “key leadership” of the NNP assessing the state of the party, and the way forward.
He believes NNP still has a lot of work to do in order to convince the people of Grenada to return it to Office for another five-year term, and as such they should take no chance.
“We have to do serious house-to-house work. For those of us who are doing it already, we need more to double it, and those who have not done it yet must start,” he said.
The NNP Political Leader indicated that a General Election is open and that that they cannot take chances with the future of the country.
He reminded the delegates of the 2003 poll when NNP narrowly held onto power 8-7 after winning all 15 seats in the 1999 poll.
“We got away by the skin of our teeth,” he interjected.
According to Dr. Mitchell, the people at the time were telling them that some Representatives were not doing their work and that the party needed to do more work in certain areas and nothing was done about it.
Party insiders have told this newspaper that the ruling party expect stiff challenges from the main opposition in the two St. Patrick constituencies, along with St. David’s, St. George North-east and two in St. Andrew.
Dr. Mitchell dropped hints that not all of the NNP Parliamentarians will once again be contesting the next General Election.
“There is nothing in the law that says because I was the Representative (I must run) because that’s what caused us the problem in ’99, because you win you must run next time. That ain’t so. You must only run if the people in the constituency are saying that you have represented me well, and you need to go back for a second time around,” he said.
Speculation is rife that newly appointed Government Senator Pamela Moses will replace Clifton Paul as the NNP Candidate for St. Patrick’s East.
In addition, Sen. Peter David, the former Foreign Minister in Congress is said to have his eyes set on running in the Town of St. George’s for NNP instead of the incumbent Minister of Health, Nickolas Steele. Prime Minister Mitchell accused some of the Representatives of becoming complacent, and only believing in a few people around them.
“We cannot take anything for granted in politics. This thing about we win already is nonsense. I don’t want to hear that word at all because that is a medicine for disaster,” he remarked.
Party insiders have said that the Grenadian leader was not happy with the leadership given to the Youth by St. Andrew South-east MP, Emmalin Pierre and decided to replace her with Agriculture Minister, Roland Bhola.
According to a well-placed source, PM Mitchell is fearful that if the youth vote shifted significantly from his party the NNP would be hard-pressed to pull off the upcoming general election.
The NNP Boss also chided party supporters for engaging in behaviour that can affect the NNP chances at the polls.
PM Mitchell said some supporters who claim they like the party and Parliamentary Representative are the most difficult thing for the NNP.
“We go out there and we say a lot of foolish things to hurt the party because it pushes our ego,” he said as he admonished those guilty of this conduct.
The Prime Minister singled out the distribution of the ongoing road work as one area where it is not shared equally, and advised delegates to inform them of places where the work is not being distributed properly.
The NNP has often been accused of utilising mainly party supporters and loyalists in debushing gangs at the expense of persons associated with the main opposition party.
Dr. Mitchell stated that the first period of the debushing programme which has just ended would cost government $8M, and that an additional $8M will be pumped into the second period which is expected to run from October to the end of November.
He announced at the General Council that Grenada will host the CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting in July 2017.
The NNP Political Leader observed that few of the young people were attracted to the General Council.
“I looked at it today, and one thing I noticed we did not have too much young people in the audience,” he said.
The Prime Minister admonished the supporters to organise the young people and have them registered to participate in the elections.
Dr. Mitchell who serves as the country’s Minister of Finance reported that his government has been successful in stabilising the economy.
He described the Grenadian economy as one of the most robust presently in the region, adding that good signs are being seen in employment opportunities in the country.
Dr. Mitchell accused the opposition of doing things to make sure that there is little employment in the country.
He spoke of the opposition to the relocation of Camerhogne Park, which will facilitate the construction of a hotel.
Dr. Mitchell said before the issue of the development of Camerhogne Park came to the fore there hardly was anyone there, but as soon as the development was about to take place people started to go there.
“You go down there now, you ain’t seeing nobody in Camerhogne Park now because the thing (opposition to building a hotel on the site) appear to die down… Let me tell you something, we are going to bring jobs to the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique, no matter how much noise they make,” he told delegates at the General Council.
“Camerhogne Park had to do with no work must come under NNP. That is what it’s all about, we must stop every opportunity to create jobs,” he said.
However, the NNP Boss said the public relations team has been doing a good job in presenting a number of documents on the development of the country through every forum held by the party.
He admonished his party supporters “to protect” what has been gained by his administration over the past three years, and to also “protect our democracy.”
PM Mitchell who said he is now concerned about his legacy is expected to lead NNP into the next poll to seek a historic fifth term in office.