The presence of a “maximum leader” at the head of a political party is one of the reasons a political party is stuck with one leader for a very long period of time.
That’s the view of former Opposition Senator, Devon Rachae, a candidate for the New National Party (NNP) in the 2008 general election as he appeared on a current affairs programme last Monday evening.
Rachae was responding to the question, “Do you think we should have two consecutive terms for Prime Minister?”
During the November referendum, Rachae used his Facebook page to advocate for term limits to be placed on the person holding the Office of Prime Minister.
This is seen as a criticism of the current Political Leader of the NNP, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell who has been at the helm for four terms in office and seeking a 5th in the upcoming national poll.
According to Rachae, in the interest of democracy and succession in a political party, one person should not be serving as Prime Minister for such a long time.
“People can serve in various capacities but I think from what I have seen both internally and externally in the politics of Grenada, there is a fear of persons moving forward in politics because you are not sure how long you are going to be under a particular leadership and that leadership for some reason can make you or break you and there are many factors that influences that kind of thinking.
“…The fact that we do not have regulations in terms of campaign financing, so what you find is that you end up with maximum leaders who build a lot of influence, set up circles around themselves and they manage the powers of the political party. So in a sense, you are sort of stuck with such leaders because if you get rid of them, you get rid of the money and for those persons who understand politics, the success of politics has a lot to do with the resources at your disposal. It’s not the only factor but it is one of the factors.
“So maximum leaders have had the ability of building those circles around themselves, when they become so important that even if you want to rid yourself of them, it’s difficult to do so because you are basically getting rid of the resources.
The former senator also took the opportunity to share insights into the assigning of ministerial positions by the Prime Minister.
Rachae believes that not everyone who is elected into government should be given a ministerial position.
“I personally have an issue with our current system with Cabinet versus a parliamentary representative. I believe we need to review that system and change it.
It’s a major gripe that I have had for a long time in that not everybody that wins a seat should be a Minister of Government. What we have happening is if I am Minister of Works, my constituency gets priority because I am the representative as well”, he said.
He agreed that the Prime Minister should have the ability to choose his Cabinet but that the members should not come from those who offer themselves to be parliamentary representatives.
Rachae also addressed the health care system on the island, which has been under criticisms from many sections of the population.
He told the programme host: “…If you look at our health system – Grenada has St. George’s University … we have some of the best lecturers. We have a broken health system and we have a broken health system for a very long time.
“We also have graduates in Grenada who have studied extensively in the area of public health but when you look at the choices for ministers and so forth for the Ministry of Health, it leaves a lot wanting… this is a perfect example of why not everybody who is a parliamentary representative would be the best person for a minister”.