Fate of Grenada government still hangs in the balance

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, September 17, 2012 – The August 24 motion of no-confidence filed by National Democratic Congress (NDC) backbencher Karl Hood is still awaiting debate at the next sitting of the Grenada House of Representatives but pressure is being brought on the parliamentarian from within his part to back down from moving the motion.

Former deputy leader of the NDC, Senator George Prime, wants Hood, the NDC member of parliament (MP) for St George South East, to think about the “bigger picture.”

“The bigger picture is the country,” Prime told reporters in commenting on Hood’s no-confidence motion, which accuses government of failing to “fulfill its promise to implement programmes that were marketed to deliver economic and social development to the people of the State of Grenada.”

Hood also charges that the “dismal mismanagement of the economy” has resulted in joblessness rising to “astronomical levels.”

Hood resigned in May as Minister of Foreign Affairs. He is one of four NDC MPs sitting as backbenchers in the House of Representatives.

The house, which has been on recess for the past several weeks, has not yet debated the motion. House passage of the motion could force government into calling early general elections.

Government backbenchers and opposition leader, Dr Keith Mitchell, have all called for a reconvening of parliament.

“The people have long gone back to work after the carnival. As MPs we must also go back to work,” said backbencher Peter David, NDC general secretary and former Tourism Minister.

“It is my view,” said David, “that the motion presently before the parliament should be given the opportunity to be debated in the House of Representatives.”

Mitchell, who served as prime minister from 1995 to 2008, said what’s happening with parliament is “entirely contrary to the principles and practices of democracy; makes a mockery of all the lofty pronouncements about good governance; and risks damaging Grenada’s image in the international and regional community.”

Prime Minister Thomas “needs to ensure that parliament is called to enable the representatives of the people to deal with the people’s business’’, Mitchell said.
Prime, leader of government’s business in the Senate, said nothing is wrong with asking for a sitting of parliament.

There is also nothing sinister or inconsistent in the House of Representatives having not reconvened, he added.

It is “much ado about nothing at all,” Prime said. “The nation should not be unduly perturbed that parliament has not sat,” said Prime, who was replaced as NDC deputy leader by Finance Minister Nazim Burke at the party’s 2009 convention.

He has now become the second government minister to comment publicly on Hood’s motion.

The first – Prime Minister Thomas – said the motion was engineered by the opposition New National Party (NNP).

“This motion, for which the NNP must be fixed with constructive ownership, is planted shamelessly in the name of greed, money and power,” the prime minister said in an address broadcast on radio and television.

“A total of 8 votes is needed for such a motion to be passed,” he said. “The whole nation is, therefore, looking to see whether, and who in the parliament, would join with the NNP to assist them in accomplishing their goal.” Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)