Grenada’s tourism minister quits amid dispute
ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, Wednesday May 02, 2012 – Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture, Peter David, has resigned in a move that is expected to heighten tensions within the troubled Grenada government.
David said he decided to step down Monday after the information minister refused to retract public comments made last week accusing David and other party colleagues of plotting to remove Prime Minister Tillman Thomas as leader.
David also hinted at the possibility of others joining the exodus from the four-year-old government.
“This is a matter of conscience which I felt I must act on, and will leave it up to other cabinet colleagues who have been similarly maligned and unjustly characterized to deal with it in their own way,” he told reporters at a news conference.
“My withdrawal therefore affords the Prime Minister the opportunity to mould a cabinet with members he feels he can trust or who will tell him the things he approves,” added David, warning “It is clear that this entire matter is becoming too much of a distraction and this gathering cloud of uncertainty is hampering the economic and social development of Grenada”.
David, who refused to take questions from the media, said that he would make a comprehensive statement when he addresses his constituents in the town of St. George tomorrow (May 3).
There has been much speculation that the main opposition New National Party (NNP) is planning to move a vote of no-confidence in the Tillman Thomas administration, which has been plagued by infighting since it won the 2008 general election by an 11-4 margin.
A number of government ministers have either resigned or been dismissed, and last week Information Minister Glen Noel, in a video posted on the social networking site Facebook, accused David and some of his colleagues of seeking to overthrow the 66-year-old prime minister.
David told reporters he was “pushed” into submitting his resignation, blaming the video broadcast by Noel for the situation.
“I was pushed into having to take this decision after the Prime Minister refused to accept the proposal that the Minister of Information retract public comments that sought to bring the party and government into disrepute,’’ David said, adding that “Many people have seen the online video where incendiary and unbecoming comments, almost bordering on slander, were levelled against me and other cabinet colleagues”.
“The record is there to show that, in spite of repeated provocations and a well-orchestrated smear campaign against my name, until now I have said nothing publicly on the issues at hand,’’ David said, adding “However, within the last week the situation became untenable with the publication of the comments by the Minister that was made in the presence of Prime Minister Thomas and Minister of Finance Nazim Burke”.
“Given their presence, and their subsequent stance Monday when the issue was brought up, it is now clearer that the comments were made with their tacit approval,” David said, noting that he would remain Member of Parliament for the Town of St. George and NDC general secretary.