The leader of the main opposition party in Grenada has told WIC News that his party’s “patriotic” general election candidates have the skills to take on the responsibility of government.
The National Democratic Congress – represented in the Senate as the country’s de facto opposition – have finalised their list of 15 constituency caretakers ahead of an election.
The ruling New National Congress have also announced who will be standing for them.
No date has been fixed for Grenada to head to the polls but it is expected that Prime Minister Keith Mitchell will announce a vote in the coming months.
At present there are no NDC members of parliament after the NNP took every seat in the previous election.
Nazim Burke, leader of the NDC, said his party has learnt from that defeat.
“We are very proud in the team we have been able to put together. It is no secret that our party suffered a serious blow in the 2013 election,” he said.
“Our priority in the immediate aftermath of that election was to rebuild the organisation and the find credible, competent, patriotic Grenadians who were willing to step forward to represent our party and to serve the interests of the people.
“We feel a sense of pride that after some very diligent effort and searching we have found a very desirable mix of individuals with varying skill sets and experience.
“They not only add significant value to our team but are well positioned to assume cabinet positions and run a government.”
Former ministers and new faces
The NDC caretaker list is an eclectic blend, including people who have previously served as government ministers.
Franka Bernardine, standing in St George South East, is a former education minister, while Patrick Simmons, previously sports and youth minister, is caretaker for St Andrew South East.
A number of people have sidestepped into the political arena for the first time, such as St Patrick West caretaker Cecelia Ann John, who leader Burke described as “very experienced in matters pertaining to social development”.
Claudette Joseph (St George), an attorney at law, and Phillip Alexander (St Andrew North West) were also singled out by Burke as new blood coming through for the party.
SCROLL FOR THE FULL LIST OF CARETAKERS
WIC News has approached the New National Party for a comment on their selection but are yet to receive a reply.
One source, who asked not to be named, said he wasn’t impressed with NNP’s selection.
“They’re struggling to put a team together. Many of the persons who were there recognise that he [Keith Mitchell] may be leaving. There has been a lot of jostling for positions,” he said.
“And in order for the party to survive his exit there he seems to be pulling in people that he believes are likely to be more compliant, and more subservient.”
Mitchell’s recent reshuffle was “posturing” to give people profile before an election, he added.