By: Rawle Titus
ST.GEORGE’S, Grenada, CMC- Prime Minister Tillman Thomas has defended the expulsion of 10 members of his ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) accusing them of colluding with the opposition to bring down his government.
Five former government ministers, two former party chairmen and a leading trade unionist were among those expelled during Sunday’s annual convention of the NDC after delegates voted to support a motion put forward by former government minister Phinsley St. Louis.
“Today they are openly colluding with the opposition in their vengeful bid to bring the government down and then thereafter to deliver votes to the opposition,” Thomas told party supporters gathered in the eastern parish of St. Andrews’.
“Those individuals who have gone down this road have self destructed as politicians,” he said.
Former tourism minister Peter David, who also served as the party’s general secretary for the past 10 years, and former foreign affairs minister Karl Hood, who filed a motion of no confidence in parliament against the Thomas administration, were among expelled.
Prominent trade unionist, Chester Humphrey, who is also the president of the Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU), was also given the boot.
“Great errors in judgment have been made by some of those you entrusted to serve you,” the 67-year-old Thomas told supporters.
“They have displayed an uncaring attitude to their stewardship and allowed their egos to replace the will and concerns of their constituents”.
Political observers say this is the first time in the NDC history that members have been expelled from the floor of a convention. Their expulsion followed a similar decision to throw out acting chairman Pastor Stanford Simon shortly after he begun chairing the proceedings.
The members evicted from the NDC are perceived as being loyal to David, who had resigned from the government earlier this year and has been at loggerheads with Prime Minister Thomas over his leadership style.
“Of greater concerns is the extent to which these individuals have bruised the image of the party and wounded the hearts of many members and supporters. They wanted the NDC brand without the core values” said Prime Minister Thomas.
“You cannot have the brand if you do not share the values. Having failed in their attempts to hijack the party they have now embarked on a mission to mash up NDC”.
A new executive believed to be loyal to Prime Minister Thomas was elected at the convention, postponed from July as a result of the infighting.
They include Finance Minister Nazim Burke who retained his position as deputy political leader, Education Minister Franca Bernadine, the new chairperson and Information Minister Glen Noel, the Public Relations Officer.
Thomas has declared an end to disunity in his party and four and a half year administration, telling supporters “for 18 months the democratic will of the party has been tested. Today the democratic will of the party has prevailed.
“We of the National Democratic Congress have chosen to go forward instead of backward. We have closed the door to disunity and the promotion of personal political agendas”.
General elections are constitutional due by July, 2013 but widely expected before that date.