ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, May 3, CMC – Embattled Grenadian leader Tillman Thomas, at the centre of a widening rift in his government, is to address the nation Thursday night “on the present situation in the country”, a brief statement from the prime minister’s office said.
The statement said the prime minister’s broadcast was scheduled for 8 p.m. (0000 GMT Friday) “on all stations” and comes as the main opposition New National Party files a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Thomas amid internal wrangling which has so far resulted in the resignation of a senior minister and the sacking of a junior minister.
The prime minister is expected to announce a new tourism minister to fill the vacancies left by Peter David and his junior tourism minister Senator Arley Gill.
“Among the issues to be addressed will be the appointment of a Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture,” the statement added.
On Monday, David resigned from the cabinet. Then on Wednesday, Thomas confirmed that he asked Governor General Sir Carlyle Glean to revoke the senatorial position of Gill, the junior tourism and culture minister, saying that he would most probably be given a diplomatic posting.
“He was not fired from the government but he will no longer be a parliamentarian, his position as a senator will be revoked, we are in the process of doing just this,” Thomas told reporters.
“We will be finding a position for him as an ambassador or something else, that does not tantamount to a demotion or fired, as far as I know he is still part of the government,” he said.
The country has entered a second week of charges and counter-charges among party leaders, claims of conspiracy, and open verbal warfare among ministers.
Prime Minister Thomas Wednesday denied receiving any proposal from David seeking a retraction of statements made by Information Minister Glen Noel. Last week, Noel accused David and a number of cabinet ministers of plotting to unseat the prime minister, a charge David denied.
“I was pushed into having to take this decision after the Prime Minister refused to accept the proposal that the Minister of Information retract public comments that sought to bring the party and government into disrepute,’’ David said confirming his resignation.
Caribbean pollster Peter Wickham Thursday said Thomas should step down from leading the government to avoid a disgraceful end to his political career.
Wickham said Thomas’s career is in jeopardy and that he risks losing a no-confidence vote in parliament later this month.
“My feeling is that it would be incumbent on him to just give up the reins of government not to face going down in a vote of no confidence but to at least exit gracefully and at least save a certain level of integrity and also save the NDC to see if it can fight another day” said Wickham who carried out the last poll for the NDC, currently riven with internal strife.