THE BATTLE APPEARS to have begun in honest for the leadership of the National Democratic Congress as the party seeks to look past the defeated leadership of Tillman Thomas.
There have been increasing signs in the last seven days of surrogates working on behalf of Nazim Burke and Franka Bernadine becoming more openly vocal about their support of their two likely leaders.
Who next will lead NDC is to be decided at the party’s annual convention, a date for which has not been set at this stage — but likely to be in late September, or early October.
With supporters of Burke in control of the party’s key organs, including the General Secretary-ship and the Women’s arm, there are increased expressions of confidence that Burke will have the delegate support, even if Tillman Thomas seeks to return.
One Burke backer told Caribupdate News that they are still hoping that Thomas, who in recent weeks has given mixed signals about his political future, will in the end, not contest, leaving the way for a “coronation” of Burke, rather than a “contest.”
There have been no signs that Thomas has a team organising to prepare for a likely run.
But there appears to be a move to draft Chairman Franka Bernadine to also run for leadership.
A “Franka Bernadine for Prime Minister in 2018” facebook page has been launched, and it appears that candidate Ali Dowden is one of the persons behind it.
“Please note that someone from the Youth Arm showed me this page and I decided to invite persons from my contact list to like this page. I am a big fan of Sister Bernadine and I will support the cause,” he wrote on the page this week.
Speaking to Caribupdate Weekly Bernadine said she had nothing to do with the development of the page, admitting that she was made aware of the page at a meeting on July 30th. She added that she had not visited the page up to the time she spoke with Caribupdate Weekly and as such it would be “inappropriate to comment on the creation of the page”.
Bernadine didn’t answer conclusively when asked whether she was considering becoming Prime Minister of Grenada in the future. Instead she said sitting in the office of Prime Minister “should not be considered with frivolity at all.”
“It is not about feathering one’s nest; it is not something one should consider lightly,” she added.
The former education minister said being a prime minister is an office that carries great responsibility and anyone aspiring for that position should spend considerable time contemplating what it is they want to do.
Bernadine who now sits as a law maker in the Upper House of Parliament, when pressed as to whether she will spend some time considering what appears to be this new offer, said “one always looks for ways in which one can make a contribution.”
She said however that she was deeply honoured by the fact that someone would create such a page.
The page was created on July 24, 2013, and up to press time only a few dozen people had “liked” the page.
The move to promote Bernadine online comes at a time of signs that the Kem Jones radio talk show has been increasingly used to promote, almost exclusively, Nazim Burke among NDC leadership hopefuls.
Jones has been singing the praises of Burke’s leadership of late, and also earlier this week had on Jenny Rapier, the head of the NDC’s Women’s Arm.
“So right now today, I am pledging my support as leader of the women’s arm for Nazim Burke going forward for the leadership of the party. I have no qualms about it,” Rapier declared.
“I think the entire party understands that (Burke is next in line),” Jones commented, even while quickly adding: “Nobody is pushing Burke down anybody’s throat.”
One of the debutant candidates from this year’s election has reportedly called a few people, including some associated to the so-called expelled rebels, about coming together to support Burke’s candidacy.
But there is a segment of the party said to be wary about a potential Burke takeover, including a significant segment of the youth arm, and the NDC’s so called “old guard.”
“Burke is as bad as all this other revolutionary boys for the party,” one regard ‘foundation member’ commented this week.