Space in Grenada Senate causing controversy

Keith Mitchell (image from CARICOM).

The main opposition party has been invited to fill at least one of the three available seats in Grenada’s Senate.

The 13 March general election saw the incumbent New National Party (NNP) win a consecutive clean-sweep at the polls, winning all 15 seats up for grabs, under the leadership of prime minister, Keith Mitchell.

All senate seats are within his nomination, with the second largest party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), in the frame to represent their supporters.

During the last parliamentary session, the senate seat made available to the NDC was filled by NDC leader, Nazim Burke, who was also the minister for finance in the previous Tillman Thomas administration that eventually lost to Mitchell and the NNP in 2013.

This new session has, however, been met with controversy as some people within the NDC are considering whether or not to pick someone from their ranks to fill the senate position, or to allow to continue with whomever he wishes to select under his prerogative.

Divisions within the NDC are apparently torn between both camps, being further fuelled by sentiments of election irregularities, prompting one faction to reject the senate seat offered as a matter of protest.

The side in favour of accepting the offer from Mitchell feels that the principle is larger than the 2018 general election results, and that the NDC should welcome the opportunity to serve its country regardless of the circumstances.

One name that has again been tipped to fill the position offered by Mitchell to the NDC is current party leader, Burke.

Other names being mentioned for the seat are Tevin Andrews, NDC candidate for Petite Carriacou; Franca Bernadine, NDC candidate St George South East; and Ray Roberts, NDC candidate for St George South.

Under the Grenadian constitution, senators are appointed by the governor-general, acting on the advice of the prime minister.

Due to the fact that the NNP has all the seats, there is no numerical reason that would prohibit Mitchell from nominating who he wishes to be seated in the senate.

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