Former High Commissioner to London, Joslyn Whiteman has confirmed that he will be a candidate in the upcoming general election for the constituency of St. David.
Whiteman issued a public statement Tuesday indicating that he will stand in the election in opposition to the incumbent, Economic Development Minister, Oliver Joseph.
The former diplomat had stated weeks ago that the ruling New National Party (NNP) should look for a replacement candidate for Joseph since he (the current Member of Parliament) was not interested in representing the people of the constituency.
According to Whiteman, Joseph had told him in a conversation that he enjoyed being a minister in government but was not happy in the role of MP.
Speculation is rife that the Economic Development Minister is growing weary of the number of persons who are bombarding him on a monthly basis for financial help in the constituency.
Joseph, a former top civil servant, was brought in as a replacement candidate in the constituency for the late Engineer Gabriel Henry who was forced out after police arrested him in a case involving domestic abuse.
The decision by Whiteman to contest the seat in the upcoming poll is further signs of division within the Keith Mitchell-led NNP which has dominated the Grenada political landscape since 1995.
Whiteman served as MP for St. David during the 1999-2003 period when he won the seat running on the NNP ticket.
However, he lost the seat in the following election to the late Michael Denis Lett of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Whiteman’s entry in the race comes against a failed attempt by Prime Minister Mitchell to convince him in a meeting to back outfrom the head-on-battle with Minister Joseph “in the national interest”.
The former MP maintains that a number of pro-NNP supporters are urging him to throw his hat in the race since Joseph has lost their support.
The other major contender for the seat is former civil servant/calypsonian, Adrian “Persuader” Thomas of Congress.
Following is the full text of Whiteman’s statement in which he confirmed that he would be standing in the national poll:
“Following my statement to the media some weeks ago regarding my possible intention to contest the St David seat in the upcoming election, I would like to inform the general public that my party having named the caretaker for the constituency, I have decided to act on the many requests received from St. David to answer their call to represent their interest once again.
It is regrettable to note that the general consensus by the constituents is that they are not at all satisfied with the level of representation of the current representative and will not support him for a second term.
I have discussed my concerns and that of the people of St David at the highest level, and have given notice that if the incumbent was selected to run for a second term, then I would be forced to offer myself as an alternative candidate.
Now that the caretaker has been named, I can confirm that I will indeed be offering myself as an alternative candidate for the constituency of St. David thus giving the constituents the freedom of choice.
I would like to add that my motivation for the decision is wholly based on my deep-rooted sense of responsibility to my parish of birth.
It is certainly not a direct slur against my party with whom I have always and will continue to respect and work together regardless of the election outcome.
Together we will strive to unite St David and return good representation for the benefit of all.
I look forward to working closely with the people of St David.
May our heavenly father guide my efforts in the interest of the people of St David and by extension Grenada.”