Political Leader of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Senator Nazim Burke, has brushed aside claims that former Labour Senator, Raymond Roberts, who was on Sunday endorsed as the party’s caretaker candidate for the South St. George constituency is unfit for the role.
Speaking to a crowd of people gathered at the Camerhogne Park to support and share in Ray’s endorsement celebration, the Congress leader dismissed the remarks, which he indicated were made by Health Minister, Nicholas Steele, elected Member of Parliament for the Town of St. George.
Minister Steele is being sent from the town by the ruling New National Party (NNP) to be its candidate for South St. George in the upcoming general elections, which is due in a matter of months.
The Congress leader poured scorn on those who are questioning Sen. Roberts’ intention to contest the south seat.
He said: “You know they (the NNP) have somebody in the south or supposedly running the south, who boldly announced that Brother Ray Roberts, is not fit to represent the people in the south.
“Imagine that,” Burke declared, adding “But, sisters and brothers we have to continue to remind Dr. Keith Mitchell and the team that is running the country that Grenada is ours.”
During Sunday’s endorsement ceremony, former NNP Foreign Affairs Minister, Mark Isaac made a brief appearance on the platform to give support to Roberts for the upcoming election.
Sen. Burke called on the people of the south, to throw their maximum support behind Roberts in his efforts to win the seat.
Roberts, who was diagnosed with Polio, a crippling and potentially deadly infectious disease, which is caused by the poliovirus at a very tender age, also addressed this issue when he took to the podium for the very first time on the NDC platform.
The 2 times national table tennis champion tournament winner, who grew up in Grand Anse all his life had this to say about those negative remarks as it related to his suspected lack of competence to run for the South St. George constituency.
“Now I am told that it (my disability) has become a topical issue on some talk shows but I want you to know tonight that Ray Roberts has no disability, absolutely no disability”, he declared.
Noting that living with disability is not easy,” the NDC Caretaker recalled that his “transition occurred as a result of being part of the Catholic family,” which he said is what helped him to “understand and appreciate the challenges of disabilities.”
According to his younger brother, Terrence “Beggs” Roberts, while polio affected many persons and prevented them from engaging in various physical activities, Ray’s disability never put him down.
“Polio stopped many people from doing many things but not my brother…because he played football, he played cricket, Ray played (table and lawn) tennis… Ray played tennis every damn thing,” the younger Roberts told the gathering.
Sen. Roberts, who will leave the island on Sunday for a brief overseas trip gave assurance that upon his return he will make an official walk through the constituency to explain to residents the NDC’s plans and policies for the area as he seeks to secure their votes.
“I am going to Abu Dhabi on Sunday for a meeting. I will be back here on the 10th (and) my car shall be parked up in the yard and I shall be walking from south to south … looking for your votes and more importantly to talk to you about our programmes for the development of your constituency and a better Grenada. So, keep that in mind,” Roberts told his supporters.
South St. George is regarded as the biggest of the 15 constituencies on the island, in terms of voters, with approximately 9,000 persons already registered for the upcoming elections.