By Lincoln DePradine
- ST GEORGE’S, Grenada – Grenada’s main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has again failed to win a single seat in general elections in the country. In national polling on Tuesday, Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell’s New National Party (NNP) won all 15 seats in the House of Representatives.
The NNP also won 15-0 victories over the Tillman Thomas-led NDC in 2013, and in 1999 when the party was headed by late Prime Minister George Brizan.
One of the closely watched election races Tuesday was the contest in the capital, St George’s, between lawyers Claudette Joseph of the NDC and NNP’s Peter David.
David is a former NDC general secretary, who served as a senior cabinet minister after the party won general elections in 2008. He was expelled from the NDC in 2012 and later joined the NNP, becoming an executive member of the ruling party.
David won the Town of St George constituency in 2003 and 2008, but sat out the polls of 2013. On Tuesday, he defeated Joseph 1616 votes to 789.
“This victory, I would put it on top of all others,’’ he said. “I think what is most gratifying to me, is that I’m a new member of the New National Party; and the New National Party members embrace me. In addition to that, many persons from the old NDC party that I belonged to, came with me to the New National Party.’’
Tuesday’s election victory, according to David, “is sweet in the sense that it says to me, ‘Peter you made the right decision’; and the people of the Town of St George deserve all the credit.’’
Meanwhile, there was no immediate word Tuesday night on the political future of former finance minister Nazim Burke, current NDC leader, who lost his seat in a second consecutive general election to NNP’s Tobias Clement, a science lecturer at St George’s University.
“We should all be excited about the future, for I believe our best days are ahead of us,’’ said Prime Minister Mitchell, who easily retained his seat in St George North-West. He has represented the constituency since 1984.
Last Sunday, at his party’s final pre-election rally, Mitchell announced that the Russian company, Global Petroleum Group, had discovered “significant gas and oil’’ in a well owned by Grenada.
“The report says that we have found significant gas and oil in the waters of Grenada. In one well,’’ he said “We have several more wells which are even more exciting than the one they just found. In other words, Grenada can be a massive supplier for oil and gas.’’
Well-known Trinidad lawyer and politician, Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, who was in Grenada and addressed last Sunday’s NNP rally, warned the government here to avoid the mistakes of its oil-rich neighbour Trinidad and Tobago. He urged Grenadians to also concentrate on developing other sectors such as agriculture.
Mitchell said proper management of Grenada’s oil and gas resources will give the country “greater abilities to invest in our own economy and our own people; to be able to fund public pensions and a national health insurance scheme; and to ultimately also explore a national unemployment insurance.’’