“My philosophy about St. David and Grenada has not changed…I am very happy with what I do and if there is anything that I can do to lift the well-being of our St. David’s people, then quite obviously I will be willing to do so from time to time.”
Those were the words of former diplomat and Member of Parliament, Joslyn Whiteman in an interview with THE NEW TODAY following his failure as an independent candidate to capture the St. David’s seat in the March 13 General elections.
The St. David’s seat was won for a second consecutive term by the incumbent Minister of Economic Development, Oliver Joseph of the ruling New National Party (NNP).
Whiteman, who has been a member of the NNP for over 30 years, was only able to amass 34 votes in the poll, compared to the 3282 captured by Joseph who many analysts were predicting would not retain the seat.
He said the People of Grenada and St. David’s have spoken and would respect their wishes.
“Quite obviously, as I outlined from the outset, I didn’t not go into politics for Joslyn Whiteman and family. I went into politics for the people of St. David and by extension Grenada”, he added.
The former government minister reiterated that he decided to plunge into the race based on representation made to him by persons who were not happy with the minister’s performance in the constituency during the 2013-18 period.
“The people of St. David outlined … that they were not happy with the representation given by Mr. Oliver Joseph and quite obviously, when I spoke to the leader (Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell) … I told him how I felt and under the circumstances I decided (that) I would run as an independent candidate”, Whiteman told THE NEW TODAY.
He dropped hints that unlike many persons he was not afraid of being ridiculed by the hierarchy of his party as well as being rejected by the people.
“That does not exist in my life. I stand for what I believe in and I make it known…It was not necessarily running to win a seat but it was to make a public statement”, he said.
Whiteman had won the St. David’s seat for the NNP in its clean sweep of the polls in 1999 but lost on other attempts in 1990, 1995 and 2003.
He served as the island’s High Commissioner to London for the period 2004-2005, after losing the St. David Constituency to Congress candidate, the late Michael Lett in the 2003 poll.
The former diplomat, who has been identified as a major financial contributor to the NNP in the 1990 election told the paper that he is no longer interested in frontline party politics.
When asked about his position with the NNP following his defeat in the recent general election, Whiteman said: “I have been a member of the NNP for many, many years, in excess of 30 years and quite obviously I don’t belong to anyone and as a matter of fact, I don’t take any active part in party politics anymore (but) if there is anything that I can do in my community in the parish where I was born, quite obviously, I would assist in any way I can but I would not want to get involved in any form of party politics anymore.
“I have made my contribution and I think it’s time that I call it a day…I am not one that is looking for friends or position…and quite obviously, at the end of the day, the people in the party, not only the New National Party but (also) in the opposition, they are all my friends and I want to maintain this kind of relationship till the father is ready for me.
“So, whether it’s NNP or NDC (National Democratic Congress), I see myself as a Grenadian patriot and I will respect the government of the day, I respect the opposition – they are all my friends”.
Dr. Mitchell has often stated that anyone who engages in anti-NNP activities should leave the party and not wait to be expelled from the political organisation.