Controversial attorney-at-Law, Venescia Francis-Banfield has finally launched The Liberal Party to contest the upcoming general election.
The party which has been in the making for the past year was launched on Saturday at a public meeting held in front of La Crette’s Shop at River Road, St. George’s, the home village of the founder and leader.
Francis-Banfield said she is ready to give the Caretaker for the ruling New National Party (NNP) for the town of St. George, Senator Peter David a run for his money in the upcoming general election.
She told the gathering that she needs their help in rejecting David and prevent him from representing the people of the town of St. George in Parliament.
The current MP for the constituency is Health Minister, Nicholas Steele who is being switched to the Constituency of South St. George by the NNP for the upcoming poll.
David had won the city seat in the 2003 and 2008 elections but sat out the 2013 poll as he was expelled from Congress in a struggle for power with then Prime Minister Tillman Thomas.
The former Foreign Affairs Minister was tipped to become the leader of the newly formed National United Front of Glynis Roberts who was also expelled from Congress but he choose instead to give behind-the scene support to NNP.
Francis-Banfield, a former NNP supporter, said the people of the Town will not sit down and just accept any person sent to represent them in Parliament by the ruling party.
She said, “Let them know that they have to change and think differently. We are not going to sit down and accept who they give us – that person has to be baptised within the sweat and the salt and (be) up to date. They haven’t done it.
“Yes, Keith Mitchell has defined Peter David – he has defined him for us. So, why give rubbish that we don’t want – we don’t want that. You said all kind of things about him, yet for all you wrap him in biblical, we are not going to stand for that.”
This is an obvious reference to the several attacks that Prime Minister Mitchell had levelled against David in Parliament when he was on the opposition side with the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
PM Mitchell had alleged that David had pulled a gun on his father, Chasley David during the October 1983 political crisis that led to the execution of then Marxist leader, Maurice Bishop, as well as sought to link him to a credit card scam in the United States.
David also claimed that he represented a Grenadian woman who sought asylum in the United States and made a claim of a certain sexual nature against Prime Minister Mitchell.
According to Francis-Banfield, she decided to get involved in frontline politics after seeing the “neglect and pain and pain they’ve cause over the years” to represent the people.
“I will stand with you, no one will come and abuse you. I will speak up for you as I have done in 2013 right here when they decided to handpick a few and leave out the many – that was wrong. I am not going to sit simply by and allow them to abuse you – enough is enough. This day onwards, we’re going to make a difference in this place”, she said.
The attorney had campaigned for NNP and Steele in the last general election.
The leader of the Liberal Party urged the people of the Town of St. George to reject any offer of bribes in return for their votes.
According to Francis-Banfield, be on guard as Dr. Mitchell will be coming soon as Santa Clause bearing gifts this Christmas with the upcoming general election in mind.
“I can see now father Santa Clause is coming, yes, he is coming every four-and-a-half and five years. It is a well known established phenomena that Santa Clause will come once a year – we accept that.
“… We have a Santa Clause that they send for us coming to give us early gifts of $20 and $40 and telling us to vote for them again. We are going to say no. Do you hear me? We want more than that. We will not be bribed to make them feel comfortable and sit in their nice cushion and air-conditioned offices. We will stand with you, I will stand with you.
The Liberal Party is the newest political entity to be launched on the island.
Its motto is Togetherness, Aspirations, Achievements for a better Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
Francis-Banfield told the gathering that her past and background have not deterred her from wanting to represent the people in the city.
She spoke of some people seemingly not aware that she was born and raised in the River Road area.
The attorney told the gathering: “A lot of them thought that I came from England, that I was born in England and some even went so far to vent and say don’t say you’re from River Road. Why? They think everyone in River Road is bad but they know that they like us around the time of the election but I tell them my past has not deterred me, my past has not destroyed me, my past has not defeated me.
“It has strengthened me and I am telling you get on board. Let us show them our strength, let us show them that we will not be summoned when they call and be bribed for a vote. Let us show them that we mean business and tonight is the night we launch The Liberal Party. We’re going to take them on.
Francis-Banfield called on Prime Minister Mitchell to stop delaying and set the date for the election as she is ready to take on David at the polls.
“Tell Dr. Mitchell to call the election, call it now. We cannot wait any longer, we want the date, just give us the date and we will take it from there.
“Let us talk at the polls, let us show them where we come from – we mean business, we’re not going to have business as usual – people using us, people destroying us, look at us, we value more.
Francis-Banfield is the third figure associated with the NNP to have declared their intention to run against candidates being put forward by the party in the upcoming poll.
Former NNP MP for St. David and ex-High Commissioner to London, Joslyn Whiteman has announced that he would seek to unseat Economic Development Minister, Oliver Joseph for the seat.
The other is former Public Relations Officer (PRO), Terrence Forrester who had a public spat with PM Mitchell on his ambitions to contest the South St. George seat instead of Steele.
Forrester took strong objection to the 71-year old Grenadian leader turning down his request to replace Alexandra Otway-Noel as the NNP candidate in the south of the island on the grounds of age.
The Prime Minister reportedly told Forrester who is believed to be in his mid 60’s that he (Forrester) had already had his time and it was now the time for the younger people in the party to be given the opportunity to run in the election.