Former Finance Minister Nazim Burke and all senior members of the party were returned unopposed to serve on the National Executive body of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) at its annual convention over the weekend.
The delegates met on Sunday at the Westerhall Secondary School (WSS) to re-elect Burke as Political Leader for another three-year term in office.
The deputy political leader, Joseph Andall and party Chairman Vincent Roberts were retained in their positions along with General Secretary, Glen Noel.
The only newcomer on the executive is Val Gordon who replaced Terry Noel as a Floor member.
She will share the stage as Floor members with the re-elected Wallace McLeod and Dale Simon.
President of the Women’s arm of the party, Jenny Simon retains her position as Deputy Chairperson of Congress while Randall Robinson will continue to perform the task of Public Relations Officer with Ron Redhead serving again as his deputy.
Juliet Andria Dharangit, Wade Phillip and Elwin McQuilkin were re-elected as Assistant General Secretaries to serve under Glen Noel leadership.
The others who maintained their positions on the NDC executive were Fred Parker (Recording Secretary), Jerry Marryshow (Assistant Recording Secretary), Merle Byer (Treasurer), and Elliot Bishop (Industrial Relations Officer).
NDC officials have described the endorsement of the National Executive as a clear demonstration that the party is “stable, strong and united” going into the upcoming general election.
Congress split into two forces months before the 2013 general election as a faction led by attorney-at-law, Peter David, a former Deputy Secretary for Information in the ill-fated 1979-83 Grenada Revolution wrestled with then Prime Minister Tillman Thomas for control of the government and party.
The NDC was forced to rebuild under Burke following its crushing 15-0 defeat in the polls at the hands of the New National Party (NNP) of Dr. Keith Mitchell that it had hammered 11-4 in the 2008 poll.
David and some of his allies including government ministers Joseph Gilbert and Glynnis Roberts and longstanding trade unionist Chester Humphrey were expelled as members of the party.
David now serves as a Senator in the country’s Parliament and is set to contest the Town of St. George seat in the next election for NNP while Humphrey has landed the key position as President of the Senate.
Addressing hundreds of supporters on Sunday at a massive rally on the grounds of WSS to launch the party’s Election campaign, Burke described as “cancerous elements,” those who tried to take away the party from Prime Minister Thomas.
He said the decision to expel the 12 rebels led by David, his once close revolutionary ally, was taken with the understanding that it could have affected its chances to regain power in the 2013 General Election.
“The stark choice of our party, brothers and sisters back then was whether to seek a mandate under false pretences that we were a united organisation or whether we should immediately rid ourselves of those cancerous elements in our party, knowing full well that it will reduce our chances of winning the next election and it would weaken our organisation,” he told supporters.
“Faced with that choice, sisters and brothers…we elected to expel them from our party (and) we did so confident of the fact that even though we ran the risk of losing the election, we knew that we were going to protect the NDC brand”, he said.
Burke went on: “We knew that we were going to protect the face of our party and that we will live to fight another day and to contest future elections.
“Today as I stand before you, I can say confidently that we feel vindicated by that decision. Today our party is more united than it has ever been. Today sisters and brothers our party is stronger than it has ever been, today our party is more focused that it has ever been.
“Four years ago, they gave up on our party for dead. Today brothers and sisters…our engine is greased and all revved up to contest the upcoming elections”.
Burke described the upcoming elections, which political pundits are now predicting to be held sometime in 2018 as one of the most important in history.
The Congress leader who is seeking to regain the St. George North-east constituency said, the upcoming election will decide whether the country will continue to go down a road of “hopelessness and despair” or whether or not the people will decide to turn around and bring hope to “our young people” by voting NDC back into office.
Speculation is rife that the David faction within the NNP known as “Project Grenada” have vowed to do any and everything possible to stop Burke from winning the seat and returning to Parliament.
The current MP for the constituency is Tobias Clement who has reportedly taken one-year leave of absence from his high-paying St. George’s University (SGU) job estimated at US$5000.00 a month to engage in intensified work to hold onto the seat.
Clement is also the beneficiary of a monthly pay cheque of $7000.00 from government as MP for St. George North-east.