Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Thomas, Burke, Noel stage parliamentary coup

(To rule by decree!)

IN his national address on Tuesday night, Grenada’s prime minister accused former Foreign Minister, Karl Hood, of colluding with the opposition New National Party in possibly removing his government from office.

Now I don't know if that is true, or if his statement was the case of a failed leader crying wolf.

In fact, I don't care if it's true.

My reaction to the statement however was -- so what?

Didn't the Prime Minister not collude with what he now calls "evil men" to get into office in 2008?

The biggest modern-day collusion with the NNP however is in the way the Prime Minister has mismanaged the change agenda and sacrificed a historic opportunity to usher in a new era.

The people had given up on NNP for dead on July 8, 2008.

Thomas has single-handedly resurrected it.

If this was a game of marbles, I would have thought he was playing "pad" with NNP leader Dr Keith Mitchell.

And, it was that, which was frustratingly disingenuous about the Prime Minister's address on Tuesday night -- his continued failure to take responsibility for the state of affairs.

It is everybody and everything else's fault.

Dependent on what side of the bed he gets up on -- it's either "the leftists", the world economy, Peter David, a "conspiracy" and now Karl Hood.

Somebody needs to explain to me how a leader who started out with a team of 11 and lost most of them, could be faultless.

Herbert Blaize did not lose as many MPs, and yet Thomas -- who was one of the rebels then -- called him a failed leader.

(BTW Thomas was right then to rebel against Blaize's autocracy; only just classless to curse him off at his memorial).

There is something about politicians -- and Thomas is just the latest -- maybe a more desperate version of it -- that bothers me.

They are always right; always have the national interest, and everybody else is either unpatriotic or power hungry.

As reported elsewhere, Prime Minister Thomas has indicated that he would not be deterred and has no plans of calling snap elections.

He said his government "would not be cheated out of its term in office.’’

Wait! Is an MP calling for a debate in parliament an attempt to cheat?

Sir, the decision to run from the parliament and establish an executive dictatorship is the real attempt to cheat -- to cheat people of their democracy that even you went to jail for.

Power not only corrupts. Now we know, it also confuses.

Here goes the Prime Minister in his address: “Our resolve is to respect our democracy and the Constitution of Grenada."

And how does he do that? By suspending parliament?

What's worse, he has suspended the parliament and is now ruling by decree, without even really announcing it.

That is what has happened in the last 24 hours. Read through the codes.

And, who once spoke about a conspiracy against the people again?

Talking about power grab?

If based on what the Prime Minister says, this is the NNP 's game plan -- then they might have been learning lately from the his own actions with the way the NDC boss has taken over his party by undemocratic means.

Here he goes again - "We will maintain the course while keeping your best interests uppermost in our minds.’’

Who gets to decide what's our best interest? What is the mechanism for this?

Isn't under our system that parliament is the best place?

And if we all accept that, so how come is the parliament suspended, so that an executive dictatorship can be installed?

On a personal level, in certain situations I don't mind a dictatorship. Just give me a more enlightened one.

The Prime Minister sold a bunch of fear in his address of the other night. He basically said don't change me because you should still fear NNP.

After four years, is that a re-election strategy? That I am not worse than the other guy?

That in itself is the declaration of failure, right there.

The Prime Minister, like I suspect are most other politicians, will do whatever it takes to save his skin -- while watching people in their eye and declaring it is "in the national interest."

So I will concede that, as a reality of politics everywhere.

But I take objections sir, to you calling a legitimate motion by Hood (whatever is its merit or demerit), "mischief".

Just like how I took objection with you unilaterally over-turning every democratic decision by your party, while dismissing it as a "conspiracy".

The Prime Minister called the motion a "a blatant act of disobedience and dishonor" and at another point called it "reckless" and " highly unpatriotic".

Do those coded words give any other person pause? Or is it just me?

Aren't those loaded phrases the language of paranoid despots?

How can a parliamentary action be an act of disobedience and dishonor? Disobedience to whom? The divine leader?

Kim Jung Ill is dead, sir.

And speaking about reckless. We have had four years of it.

Confusion. Busted budgets. Hate. Lies. And helping to resurrected NNP.

Because of the Prime Minister's failing, progressive people are in tears. Jonah is about to emerge from the belly of the whale -- compliments this government of confusion.

What's more reckless than that?

Thomas noted in his address that “eight votes are needed for such a motion to be passed." (So you can do the math).

That's true -- except sir, you won't allow it.

You have unilaterally hijacked the democracy -- and like in your cabinet -- MPs don't get the chance to vote any more.

On the advice of Nazim Burke and Glen Noel (both with short lived junta experiences), the Prime Minister has staged an unannounced parliamentary coup in Grenada.

Forget Carib's three-for-ten promotions. We now have three-for-15.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


WHAT tragic irony, that our leader who has championed himself as a true democrat, is this weekend sitting with unelected advisers, trying to figure out a way to stay away from parliament as long as possible.

I have listened to various legal arguments as to whether what Tillman Thomas is trying to do -- prolong his government for another six to nine months -- can be achieved.

While I will seek to leave the legal pundits to sort out what's legal or not; the ordinary people like me can quickly work out what is immoral and what's not.

While the Karl Hood lodging of the no confidence motion has set a particular train in motion, the truth is the current government has entered an area where they do not control all aspects of the timetable.

In their best case scenario -- it has another nine months -- after which, barring some divine intervention of biblical proportions, this regime will have the ignominy of not just one term -- but of breaking the heart of a nation who had looked to it for refuge.

Whatever Thomas or Hood may want -- and have a right to in making their own political points -- the bigger question will be what's best for the nation.

When you talk to workers and business people; the youth and women -- that part of the bargain is not hard to work out.

Thomas should not carry out this grand conspiracy to put democracy on hold; but understandably neither can he risk -- once his stubbornness and foolish ego get out of the way -- a parliamentary sitting where he will become the first Grenada Prime Minister to be sent packing through a vote of no confidence.

Even without it, history won't be kind towards him for a leadership that has squandered a historic opportunity to set a new political tempo in a tempestuous land.

But with a vote, will come an exclamation mark to a sordid unfeeling incompetence.

I remember clearly that Saturday night in December 1998 when Raphael Fletcher resigned and effectively rendered the Keith Mitchell administration a minority government.

When I called the then Prime Minister to get some initial comments -- at the end of the formal interview -- he sought out my opinion on the development.

He did not say it, but I sensed he was trying to figure out a way to keep his government going.

My comment to him was: Sometimes there comes a time in politics that you can't play games with democracy. You have to trust yourself and trust people -- and give them a chance as soon as possible to settle this.

I said to him -- of course there are risks and some areas are uncertain; but win or lose, you cannot allow yourself to go down as a man who sought to hang on to power at any cost.

Yes, you must be concerned about now; but also be concerned about your legacy and how history will see you.

I don't suspect the current Prime Minister will ask me what I think -- but uninvited -- that advice remains relevant today. And I give it to him freely and lovingly.

The essence of politics -- for every politician -- is the ability to access power in whatever form.

But even in doing so, you cannot be so obsessed that you lose both your soul and your dignity.

For a lifetime in politics, Prime Minister Thomas has talked the good talk.

Now is the time that he must walk the walk of a democrat.