Grenada government rift extends to row over celebrations
ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, Wednesday July 04, 2012 – The rift between Grenada’s government and party appears to have widened to the point where not even a celebration can bridge the gap.
Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, political leader of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), has planned a rally to mark the administration’s July 8 fourth anniversary on the island’s west coast, while the NDC executive has organized a separate event in the central region on the same day.
According to NDC public relations officer Arley Gill, it’s the “near unanimous decision of the executive, the overwhelming will of the majority of chairpersons of all constituencies, and the request of our many field workers” to hold a fun day in the parish of St David on Sunday.
“Having been sanctioned by all major bodies of the party – and given the historic and significant nature of the date – we have to move forward to preserve the integrity and solidity of the party,” Gill said in a statement on Sunday.
He went on to state that the expectation is that NDC leader and prime minister of Grenada, Tillman Thomas, will be “joining his cabinet colleagues, his party leadership, the rank and file members of the party and the general Grenadian community in a non-divisive event of joy and celebration at La Tante Beach on July 8. It is an opportunity to reconnect with our team and our people.”
The prime minister nevertheless told journalists on Monday that he would not attend the event in St David and intends to go ahead with his own government rally in Gouyave, St John, also on Sunday.
“The government will have a major presentation in Gouyave on Sunday under the theme ‘Producing Our Way to Prosperity,’” Thomas said at a media briefing. “Our call is to serve the people. Our duty is to be obedient to that call. Our task is to build a better Grenada for all.”
The prime minister described Gill’s NDC statement as “inconsistent, intriguing, dishonest and lacking in good sense and sound judgment,” adding that it was issued without his “knowledge and approval” as party leader.
Thomas also sought to explain the ongoing issue of government-party relations.
“While it is true that political parties contest elections and that victory enables a party to form a government, the provisions of the constitution of Grenada are supreme in every respect. Accordingly, once a government has been formed, that government owes a duty of accountability to the electorate and the public. The party has no such obligation,” he stated.
Further, he said, the NDC’s constitution “does not allow for the government to be directed or instructed by the party in its decision-making. The obligation is to give consideration to proposal made by the party.”
He added that he is “advancing the agenda of the NDC” and that the government’s rally in St John will be financed by the party.
In his statement on Sunday, Gill said the NDC is “committed” to having its event Sunday in St David.
“We are still hoping,” he said, “that the prime minister and our political leader will reconsider his unilateral stance at having a competing event on the day; and that he will listen instead to the advice of his own party and not that of non-party advisers.”