Several myths about the Grenada Situation (Part1)
In the coming days, I will write about some of the myths the official lynch-mob media in Grenada deliberately peddle without conversing with established historical and statistical facts.
· (i) NDC won the 2008 election only because of Tillman Thomas
The polling before and after the election, does not bear that out – and I had the privilege to see a lot of those in real time (so I am not trying to be revisionist here).
What the polling had shown was that Grenada did not have a fundamental problem with him per se, and that even while NNP was collectively in trouble, Keith Mitchell was still scoring higher than him on a leader-to-leader basis.
Frankly the election results of 2008 had to do more with NNP fatigue in the end that anything decidedly pro-NDC.
After 13 years of NNP people were decidedly fed-up with the Keith Mitchell administration, and what many felt –rightly or wrongly were – (a) the emerging arrogance and (b) a concern about corruption; those coupled with the fact that the economy was already tightening.
The Mitchell administration had fought all the wrong battles – and lost the NGOs, the trade unions, the religious sector and the media. (It was a hard deficit for them to make up in other areas).
There was another factor – for the first time in its history under Mitchell, NNP had to confront election campaign machinery that was sleeker, bolder and more disciplined than his was.
Inspite of all of the above, three weeks before the election, internal polling had also shown that Thomas was losing his own seat – and a decision was taken to divert resources from many areas in an all-out effort that he pulls through. In the end, he did so, by under 100 votes.
Without that effort, and a last minute push in St Andrew’s South East as well, NDC would have won nine seats – and the government – without any last minute dash; and without Tillman Thomas.
It is also instructive as to who was at the forefront of that push to ensure Thomas as leader wins his seat – even when it was known the party could have won “without” him and in that sense his seat was not crucial.
They are all those who are today referred to, conveniently as “the rebels”.
In fact there is a firsthand encounter I can relate. I had personally approached a very senior member of the party – who is now a very powerful man in the cabinet – to join this effort to ensure the leader wins his seat.
I was told by that person, he has his own seat to win (even though everybody else felt he was safe), and don’t have time for that.
If the media still have their records, they could check within the last month of the campaign which candidates showed up in St Patrick’s East.
It is even more instructive, who did not show up.
(But I will say more to that in a detailed forthcoming book).
At the national level, a concerted effort was made to “hide” him in certain situations from fear he would “bring down” the campaign. In one instance George Prime, the then deputy was selected to give a rebuttal to a national address by the then Prime Minister – and there was a neat spin as to why it was Prime and not the political leader.
There was a clear instruction to avoid a national debate with NNP leader Keith Mitchell – and the fact that a debate was avoided without looking as if he was running away from a fight – was one of the successes of the 2008 NDC campaign.
· (ii) No Tilly, No NDC!
Even before this current blow-out, a poll as late as last October showed that 60 percent of NDC members thought the party would perform better with someone else than the current leader.
At the last general convention, most delegates – including from his own constituency – voted against what was some of his clear wishes.
NDC may not survive in the short term not because it is led or not by Tillman Thomas, but because of how the current crisis has been managed.
In fact if there was a disciplined change, it would have had a positive impact.
(iii) It’s the “revolution boys” causing problems
People who make that argument with a straight face, conveniently leave out some historic facts.
(a) There is only one member of the RMC who became a member of any cabinet post-revolutionary Grenada - and that is Nazim Burke. No other person was a member of the RMC; and no other government except this one had an ex RMC.
(b) Tillman’s two advisers and ‘hit-men’ in cabinet – Burke and Glen Noel – are boys of the revolution. (So it’s like two versus one).
I just make those points for what they are worth – though I am not one of those who jump on this bogey for convenience.
For those who further argue that they have changed – I ask – so is it only those two can change?
But to carry on this argument, is to simplify – in fact distort – the problems facing Grenada right now.
It is not an ideological problem. It is not am ambition problem. It is a leadership problem.
To make any other argument, is to begin not getting to the root of the problem in seeking to find a solution.