The ruling New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has taken punitive action against one of its long-standing Executive members, Terry Forrester for mounting a challenge to Health Minister Nickolas Steele to get the nod as the party’s candidate for the upcoming general election in St. George South.
A well-placed source told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that a decision was taken by the Cabinet on Monday to remove Forrester as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the state-owned National Water & Sewerage Authority (NAWASA).
He said the Cabinet directive was communicated to Forrester by Public Utilities Minister, Gregory Bowen, regarded as the Number 2 man in the administration.
He spoke of Forrester informing Bowen to put in writing the Cabinet decision to sack him from the NAWASA board.
“I understand that Terry tell him (Bowen) that he (Forrester) got a letter of appointment to the NAWASA Board and that he expected to get a similar letter of dismissal. And Bowen told him that the letter will soon follow”, he said.
Forrester has reportedly told an aide that he got from a “third party” that the Mitchell-led Cabinet also took a decision to remove him as the point man for the company set up to look after the Ministerial and Financial Complexes.
He said the action taken against Forrester would have received “the blessings” of Prime Minister Mitchell who reportedly urged him not to proceed with plans to challenge Steele.
Despite the announcement of Steele as the Caretaker for the constituency, Forrester is known to be openly campaigning in villages in the south of the island to solicit support for his possible candidacy.
The senior NNP executive member is known to have pumped money into a recent road race in St. George South.
The source spoke of Forrester informing Dr. Mitchell of his interest in the constituency but the 70-year old Prime Minister told the former Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the NNP that it is now the time for young people to be considered as candidates.
“I understand that the PM told Mr. Forrester that we the old people in the party have had our time and it is now the time for the young people to take over”, said the source.
“I don’t think that Mr. Forrester believed him because if the PM is serious he should be the first to step down to show example because he is already 70 years old and not getting any younger”, he added.
Forester did not answer telephone calls made to him by THE NEW TODAY.
The source said that the removal of Forrester from both NAWASA and the Financial Complexes is not the only actions to be taken against him.
He dropped hints that pressure would be brought to bear on Forrester to hand over a vehicle that he has been using for months that allegedly belongs to the company owned by embattled Chinese investor, Charles Liu who is associated with the US$2 billion Hog Island project.
The project has been left in limbo after Liu was charged by the Security Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States with fraud in connection with a cancer project in California.
He is accused of misusing approximately two-thirds of the US$24.7 million raised from investors who are mainly Chinese towards the project.
Forrester has emerged as the local contact person for the multi-million dollar tourism and health project which is intended to transform the southern peninsula of Grenada.
The NNP is also said to be having internal problems on the sister isle of Carriacou & Petite Martinique after female attorney-at-law Kindra Maturine-Stewart was announced as the Caretaker for the constituency.
There are reports that Parliamentary Secretary for Carriacou & Petite Martinique Affairs, Sen. Nolan Cox emerged as the front-runner in an internal polling done by the ruling party on the two sister isle.
THE NEW TODAY understands that the NNP support base in the constituency has split into two with one faction pledging loyalty to Cox and the other following the party’s chosen candidate, Maturine-Stewart.
The pro-Cox supporters have allegedly pledged to throw their support behind 24-year old Tevin Andrews of the rival National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the upcoming general election if Cox is not given the nod to contest the seat.
The NNP is in the process of selecting a candidate for the seat following the announcement from ageing Minister of Legal Affairs, Elvin Nimrod who was under pressure to quit, that he would be retiring from frontline politics and the party will have to look for a replacement.