The leader of the main opposition party in Grenada has told WIC News that his party’s “patriotic” general election candidates have the skills to take on the responsibility of government.
The National Democratic Congress – represented in the Senate as the country’s de facto opposition – has finalised its list of 15 constituency caretakers ahead of the upcoming general election.
The ruling New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has also announced its 15 caretakers.
No date has been fixed for the polls but it is expected that Prime Minister Mitchell will announce a date before year-end.
At present, there are no NDC members in the Lower House of Parliament after the NNP won all 15 seats in the 2013 poll.
Social Development Minister, Delma Charles-Thomas has publicly stated that the ruling party is on the verge of another historic 15-0 victory at the polls but its emphasis is on making sure that all opponents lose their deposits.
According to former Finance Minister, Nazim Burke, leader of NDC, his party has learnt from that defeat.
“We are very proud in the team we have been able to put together. It is no secret that our party suffered a serious blow in the 2013 election.
“Our priority in the immediate aftermath of that election was to rebuild the organisation and to find credible, competent, patriotic Grenadians who were willing to step forward to represent our party and to serve the interests of the people.
“We feel a sense of pride that after some very diligent effort and searching we have found a very desirable mix of individuals with varying skill sets and experience.
“They not only add significant value to our team but are well positioned to assume cabinet positions and run a government.”
The NDC caretaker list is an eclectic blend, including people who have previously served as government ministers.
Sen. Franka Bernardine, standing in St George South East, is a former education minister, while Patrick Simmons, previously sports and youth minister, is caretaker for St Andrew South East.
A number of people have sidestepped into the political arena for the first time, such as St Patrick West caretaker Cecelia Ann John, who leader Burke described as “very experienced in matters pertaining to Social Development”.
Claudette Joseph (Town of St George), an attorney-at-law, and Phillip Alexander (St Andrew North West) were also singled out by Burke as new blood coming through for the party.
WIC News has approached the NNP for a comment on their selection but are yet to receive a reply.
One source, who asked not to be named, said he wasn’t impressed with NNP’s selection.
“They’re struggling to put a team together. Many of the persons who were there recognise that he (Keith Mitchell) may be leaving. There has been a lot of jostling for positions,” he said.
“And in order for the party to survive his exit, he seems to be pulling in people that he believes are likely to be more compliant, and more subservient”, he added.
The source felt that Mitchell’s recent reshuffle was nothing but “posturing” in order to give people some sort of a profile before the election.
The reshuffle saw no new entrants in frontline politics, former secondary school teacher Kate Lewis getting a position as Parliamentary Secretary for Education and female attorney-at-law, Kindra Maturine-Stewart being appointed as Advisor to the Minister of Carriacou & Petite Martinique.
Lewis has been named as Caretaker for St. Andrew North-east as replacement for former Youth Minister Roland Bhola while Maturine-Stewart is taking over from Foreign Affairs Minister Elvin Nimrod on the sister isles.