THE document penned by former Tillman Thomas Chief of Staff William Joseph about why Nazim Burke is a bad choice for leader of the National Democratic Congress makes interesting reading.
rather than his former comrades in the NDC making a frank and mature analysis
of his arguments, they have -- as is their way of operation -- resorted to name
calling; as if by smearing
Joseph with all the bad brushes they can suddenly find, will make a lot of the points not relevant.
Willie is the most vocal against the pending Burke leadership he is not alone.
Even George Worme has pause about the idea, and would rather Franka Bernardine.
Phinsley St Louis thinks the party is about to commit another political
suicide. Ken Joseph thinks it is all finished.
Unfortunately for Willie and some of his other friends the pending February 2 coronation of Burke as NDC leader is
a play that has been in the making since 2002 (at least) -- and I know because
I used to have Friday
evening meetings with the leader-designate at Ciboney Chambers.
the likes of Arley Gill, Kenrick Fullerton and Michael Church -- my first real
contact with the modern NDC was with Burke -- not anybody else.
three months of meetings, I was convinced that he was not good to lead the
party or the country. (Forgive
me if I don't want to go into details about that just yet).
week, someone reminded me of the conversation I initiated about the issue in
the lead up to the 2003 general elections.
to the likes of Peter David at the time, words to the effect: "I know you
all are bent on promoting Naz in the long-term,
as leader of this party. I know you all regard him as a comrade and everything,
but if that was to happen it will be a colossal mistake; it will be unfair to
the nation and I will break ranks and fight all of all-you."
It is a
pity Willie and company did not see it coming until now. I saw it from a mile
predicted it since 2003 -- and how I wish for their sake, I was wrong.
leadership of Tillman Thomas has, to be fair, long passed its sell-by date.
Truth be told, if he had
adhered to his mantra of accountability -- the essence of which is
responsibility -- he should have resigned the night of the last elections as
party leader. (But that's one of the many contradictions of the former prime
this very moment, Thomas has not taken responsibility for such a humiliation of
the NDC at the polls and a
near-fatal tainting of the brand.
Everything Thomas eventually got, he deserved, and the "No Tilly, No
NDC" was just, in the end, an inappropriate but convenient election
prediction is that the new NDC under Burke will so seek to remake the party
after February 2, that Thomas would
not even be mentioned as a footnote to its history.
anyone have a right to desire to replace Tillo after the beating of last year.
To be fair to them, it would have been untenable and unwise to tie their
political futures to such a failed leader.
That said, Tillman's ultimate failure would not have happened so spectacularly
if the seeds were not sown by Naz and his friends since 2002.
how the strategy unfolded over the years: try to get anyone who might stand in the way of Burke's planned coronation by seeking to bring them in disrepute in the
party, knowing that down the road a weak Tillman won't be able to stop
Never mind the humiliation and the loss of power -- that 12 year plan has
worked well. Give Burke and his crew
credit for that.
the ironies of the NDC, while in
power between 2008 and 2013, is
that Thomas succeeded in getting rid of all the major players who stood up to
defend his leadership while in opposition -- especially with the two attempts
to formally move against his leadership.
The likes of Gill, Gilbert, David, Glynis Roberts, Colin LaBarie, Michael Lett,
Pauline Andrew and Jerome Joseph were veterans in that struggle to whip
delegates into line, when the Burke camp, with the late Teddy Victor as their
chief surrogate, looked to
those crazy attempted suicide missions,
as we called it then, was in the aftermath of the 2003 elections when
the party came from nowhere to almost win that poll.
of consolidation and moving forward, these crazy men were then talking about
removing the leader. (In
hindsight maybe they were right. It would have saved Grenada some blushes).
Having being barred twice from challenging
Tillo, the Naz camp decided soon after the 2008 election victory, to a strategy
of divide-and-rule -- separate the new leader from people such as David, Roberts and
They played to Tillo's worst fears, and by the convention of 2009 at the GBSS
Auditorium they moved to take control of the party with all their henchmen,
leaving only the leadership and the general secretaryship (understanding they could not challenge those).
the convention of the unceremonious sacking of LaBarie as chairman, when Glen
Noel took over; and Naz, against advice from some of us, went from PRO to
deputy leader after they railroaded George Prime.
Sensing trouble on the horizon, David gave one of his better political speeches
-- the "we've come too far to lose the vision too soon" address.
sometimes naive and too-trusting man he can often be, David came out of the convention still upbeat that in spite of some bad signs, the party
won't be divided and everybody would go forward together.
was that Sunday
I began to be convinced, barring
some divine intervention, the suicide pact was sealed.
it all culminated in the 2010 "swearing in stand-off".
That, to me, was another telling moment. With the government on the brink of
collapse, Burke went missing in action.
frantic dialogue and
conversations on how to solve
the crisis, Burke consulted no one. Never gave his input.
myself then - what kind of deputy leader is that -- who will not engage
his colleagues at a time of such deep crisis?
excuse afterwards when confronted on the issue: he did not want to insert himself from fear of further inflaming
theory is that he wanted it to collapse, understanding that both the likes of
Tillo and Pedro will be swept away, and he would be the last man standing to
lead the party).
Well it came a few years later.
the last man standing wanting to lead. He deserves that NDC, and NDC deserves
him. (Never mind the legitimate questions being asked about the scholarship
know why Willie and dem want to rain
on the man's parade.
all enjoy the coronation, and then see what happens next!