The most outspoken Attorney-at-Law in Grenada, Anselm Clouden has called on his colleague Nazim Burke to step down as Political Leader of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), if the party is to survive, following its back to back defeat in the February 19, 2013 and March 13, 2018, elections.
The attorney, who is a former NDC political affiliate, issued the call during an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY on Wednesday, expressing the view that Burke along with the team that has been at the helm of Congress in recent years should step aside if the party is to survive in another national poll.
Burke lost the St. George North-east seat to Tobias Clement of the ruling New National Party (NNP) in the last two elections.
According to Clouden, the fact that Congress has suffered such massive defeats at the polls is indicative that Burke’s leadership is now brought under scrutiny.
“He (Burke) was defeated in his constituency (in February 2013), not as party leader but as someone aspiring to be party leader and he was defeated in his constituency again as party leader (at the March 13 poll) – that’s sufficient to signal to him that the people of his constituency do not impose the level of confidence in him to have him as their representative”, he said.
According to Clouden, it is time for Burke to resign as the political leader of NDC in light of the “negative” manner in which he was targeted during the just-ended election campaign which “demonstrates his unsuitability for leadership”.
“I think he should make way and not fetter or inhibit the ability of the party to re-organise itself (and) do some introspective thinking, with a view to becoming a viable opposition or party in government at some subsequent time…but for now I think the proper course of action for Mr. Burke and the Executive of the party (and) all those who have suffered this massive defeat, they should step aside and give the party an opportunity at the earliest possible convenient time to re-organise itself, and that is my observation,” he said.
Clouden, who said he is no longer politically aligned, stated that there are “young people, like Mr. (Tevin) Andrews from Carriacou, who is a great man of promise and a number of (other) young people in the youth arm of the NDC, who must be given an opportunity to test the waters and to re-organise the party”.
He also suggested that Burke should follow in the tradition of defeated leaders in the Westminister system of Parliamentary democracy and resign after suffering a massive defeat at the polls.
“…There is a certain protocol (and) culture, that has prevailed in western democracies for well over 300 years and is peculiarly adaptable in Commonwealth countries such as ours, where the leader of a party looses an election or for that matter on two occasions has been unsuccessful at the polls, it is in keeping with the Westminster tradition of parliamentary democracy that such an individual should tender his resignation.
“We saw it happen in the United Kingdom when the Brexit referendum was called (when) the then Prime Minister Mr. Cameron, who initiated the referendum, lost and within hours after his defeat, tendered his resignation.
“I was taken aback with the reluctance of Mr. Nazim Burke as the defeated leader of the NDC, who having been defeated at the polls on 2 subsequent occasions has signaled a reluctance to do the proper thing in keeping with the Westminster culture and representative parliamentary democracy.
“As Mr. Cameron did as Prime Minister and other parliamentary representatives have done in the past, when the tide is against you and you are no longer able to stay that tide, you do the proper thing and resign (and) if at some subsequent date and occasion, the people of your constituency seek to have you return to participate as a representative, then they will do that, but certainly not as party leader,” he added.
In last week’s editorial, THE NEW TODAY newspaper dropped hints to Burke that he should quit as political leader in order for the NDC to start the process of immediately rebuilding and re-organising under new leadership.