ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, April 29, CMC — Five senior members of Grenada’s ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), are “working hard” to mend the party’s expanding rift, possibly by “shedding” some dissident members, party elders said in a statement here.
“We give every assurance that as senior, long-standing and committed members of the party we are working hard to find a solution,” the officials said in a statement.
“It may mean the emergence of an NDC that may have to shed some individuals who refuse to abide by the democratic principles which govern the way we carry out the business of the party,” the elders said.
“We recognize that polarisation has set in and while the party is functioning according to the democratic norms enshrined in its constitution, there are others in the party who are on a divergent course,” the senior members said.
They said the team, including senior minister Denis Lett and former party chairman Colin La Barrie, could not deny the perception of a division within the government and party.
“This is not a secret as it is played out regularly in the media and in public utterances by our own political leader. The public’s perception of division within the government and within the NDC cannot be denied,” they added.
Prime Minister Tillman Thomas has confirmed a division within the NDC which came to power in general elections four years ago.
The statement also comes two days after party chairman Stanford Simon accused Thomas, the NDC’s political leader of dividing his own party.
That same day the rift within the party appeared to widen when Minister for Information Senator Glen Noel accused his cabinet colleagues of being part of a plot to remove the prime minister.
But while the senior NDC officials said there was no truth to rumours of a gang of ministers and party members trying to unseat the prime minister, the statement also appeared to reign in the political leader who has sought to define an ideological divide in the party.
“The cabinet members and others who have not seen eye to eye with the prime minister on some issues have been labelled as a “gang” whose aim is to unseat the PM – this is a falsehood,” the officials insisted in the statement.
“No one is challenging (Prime Minister Thomas) for leadership. The issue is the way he treats and labels those with viewpoints other than his,” the party elders said.
“There is no ideological gap within the NDC. One cannot deny that the emergence of the Party as a strong political organization is representative of persons who, from a historical perspective, have come from different sides of the political spectrum,” the statement added.
The statement continued: “This has never been an issue; and the detractors who are making references to “Leftists’’, resurrecting labels associated with the turbulent period of our history, are bent on destroying the NDC.”
The NDC is preparing for what observers say is a defining convention on July 8, one year from general elections are constitutionally due.