Former Education Minister, George Mc Guire has endorsed Attorney-at-Law, Claudette Joseph as the Caretaker Candidate of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Town of St. George.
The endorsement ceremony for Joseph was held Monday night at the auditorium of St. Joseph’s Convent-St. George’s, the school she attended to obtain her secondary education.
The room was filled to capacity with residents from the town of the St. George and other surrounding constituencies who came out as a show of support for Joseph.
Mc Guire was among two former Education Minister attending the ceremony – the other being Franka Alexis-Bernadine, who represented Congress as its candidate for the seat in the 2013 general election.
Bernadine who was not successful is now the NDC Caretaker for the St. George South-east constituency held by Works Minister, Gregory Bowen.
In endorsing the female barrister, Mc Guire, a former Member of Parliament for the town seat and Ex-Speaker of the House of Representatives is optimistic that she can emerge victorious in the upcoming poll.
He referred to Joseph as one who possess the same character and spirit of the Father of West Indies Federation, Theophilus Albert Marryshow.
He said the challenge will “be great” to capture the seat that was won in the 2013 poll by Health Minister, Nicholas Steele who is being shifted by the ruling New National Party (NNP) to the Constituency of St. George South.
Steele is making way for former Congress General Secretary, Peter David, now a full-fledged NNP member following his expulsion from Congress in September 2012 at the height of a bitter power struggle with then Prime Minister, Tillman Thomas.
According to Mc Guire, he is confident that “the people of St. George’s … will be full square behind Claudette”.
“The last time I endorsed the candidate for the town of St. George on the NDC platform, I began with the words, ‘the end is nigh’ and I must say that again. I must say the end is nigh permanently”.
This is a clear reference to David who was endorsed by the former Education Minister when he was running on a Congress ticket.
Mc Guire also had a message for Attorney Joseph of the task ahead in legal matters if Congress formed the government after the upcoming election.
“I want to say that you will have deep constitutional issues to address but I am the one who (will) stand full square behind you….”, he said.
The ex-Parliamentarian felt that Joseph is well poised to help restore Grenadians to “the status we need to have to become proud citizens of this country”.
In her own acceptance speech, the NDC Caretaker stated that she had decided to align with Congress after earlier turning down many offers to get involved in politics.
“Those invitations I must tell you came from both sides of the political divide…as most young people I became disappointed and disheartened with politicians over the years and as a result completely turned off”, she said.
According to Joseph, she became convinced that despite its shortcomings the NDC has proved time and time again to be the best Political Party in the country.
“… My own values are in line (with) those of the NDC’s core principles and those principles are principles of God first, patriotism, education, self-reliance and as a nation, education and youth empowerment, protection of the poor and vulnerable”, she said.
Joseph recalled that before getting involved in frontline politics she was one who spoke out on a number of issues in the country on behalf of people.
“…It was an easy choice for me to make (to join NDC) once I accepted that it’s not just speaking up for people, sometimes in addition to speaking up, you have to stand up…I needed to stand up and I needed to stand up with someone and that was the NDC”, she said.
The Congress Caretaker for the city believes that NDC has displayed by far a better and superior appetite for social, economic, educational, and cultural programmes and justice for the people of Grenada.
The party’s Political Leader, Senator Nazim Burke who led a number of Executive members attending the endorsement told the gathering that selecting a Caretaker is not an easy task.
However, Burke, the former Minister of Finance in the 2008-13 Congress government believes that the party has made the right choice in selecting Joseph as the Caretaker.
“Today we see the beginning of a new chapter; the chapter that marks the day when the city will be put in the hands of responsible people”, he said.
“Sister Claudette, you plant a good seed and we want to let you know, we are there watching your back, we are all in this together. We are very confident that we are heading in the right direction…” he added.
Resident of the town of St. George and neighbour of Joseph, small businessman Augustus Marshall gave his full support to the new Caretaker and assured the gathering that the female barrister can indeed move the town of St. George and its residents forward.
“I look around…and it tells me that something good is happening for Claudette. Claudette, I know that you are quite capable …..”, he told the party supporters.
“There is no doubt in my mind. Claudette, I applaud you and I know great things are going to come for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the town of St. George,” he said.
The Baton was passed to Joseph by Sen. Bernardine who gave her full support to the handing over.
“I want to say tonight (with) every good wish that I could muster from every part of me, (it) goes to Claudette to secure the seat for the town of the St. George”, she said.
“She is a woman of Grenada…she is going to get the job done if you give her the chance”, she remarked.
The NDC and its supporters appear to be fully confident that Joseph will be the next Parliamentary Representative for the town of St. George after rthe next election.
This was underscored by veteran Poet Michael “Senator” Mitchell who read a poem and sent a strong message to David.
“…I can hear Black Stalin sweet refrain reverberating ‘wait Peter, wait Peter, look Claudette, she’s in the race, you will suffer ill fate.
“You too over confident; boasting you win already but it’s Claudette go get the victory…a woman of action and an unquestionable conviction to transform our nation.
“She can fully unmask all the masked men in the mask band. My dear people, don’t be lying, join the line, eat them out, drink them out, vote them out…”, said Senator in the poem.
NDC has now officially endorsed 14 of its 15 Caretakers for the upcoming election.
The outstanding one is South St. George where a former trade union leader is tipped to get the nod.