By: Rawle Titus
Prime Minister Tillman Thomas has announced that he will be leading a fresh slate of candidates as the National Democratic Congress (NDC) seeks another mandate in General Elections due next July.
Prime Minister Thomas made the disclosure while addressing a Government rally to celebrate the 4th anniversary of NDS’s election to government, amidst a major split in the party.
While hundreds attended the Prime Minister’s rally in the west coast fishing town of Gouyave On Sunday, scores turned out to a fun day organized by the party in the south eastern parish of St. David.
“We will face the next elections as a renewed, re-energized and united team under one leader” declared Prime Minister Thomas.
“We need to ensure that the candidates we present to you for the upcoming Elections are acceptable to you”.
The Prime Minister’s open campaign to have a different slate going into next year’s election has been a source of major contention in the NDC which came into office following the July 8th 2008 poll.
Earlier this year, Thomas’s proposal that the party accepts the list of candidates that he plans to nominate was rejected by the majority of the executive as breaking with tradition.
“We need people that you can trust to manage the affairs of your government. People who will not engage in wrong-doing” Thomas said.
“People who understand that the vote you give to them is for them to go into office to serve all the People; not themselves”.
Prime Minister Thomas’s revelation contradicts a denial from his office to media reports earlier this year, that he was promoting a new slate.
“The vote you give to them is not theirs to do as they please” in likely reference to the departure from his cabinet of at least six members in the last four years.
One cabinet member was fired for using government stationery to lobby an American high court judge on a personal matter.
Another was demoted and later resigned for travelling overseas without the cabinet’s approval; while another minister was sacked for promising American investors a casino license.
Recently, two senior Government ministers resigned from Prime Minister Thomas’ cabinet and a third fired in controversial circumstances.
“Some have walked out on you the People. Others have mis-behaved and have had to be disciplined “said the Prime Minister whose rally was dominated by speeches from senators and former ministers who served in government during the party’s reign in the 1990’s, as well as current Deputy Leader and Finance Minister Nazim Burke.
The majority of the 11 MPs in the NDC attended the party event including Agriculture Minister Dennis Lett and Environment Minister Glynnis Roberts.
“Brothers and sisters keep hope and don’t let them distract you. Every man has to put his shoulder to the wheel “said General Secretary Peter David in an address to the party’s social event on Sunday.
“Go back to the trenches and work hard for the party” added David who resigned from Thomas’s cabinet earlier at the height of internal wrangling.
Meantime Prime Minister Thomas called on his supporters to lobby the NDC executive to call a convention of the party which was originally scheduled for Sunday.
The convention was postponed indefinitely by what was reported as a mutual decision by both factions of the NDC.
“They intend to withhold the National Convention which was set for July 8th 2012. But they cannot continue to frustrate the holding of Convention indefinitely “said Thomas.
“You have to call your representative, your constituency chairman, the party chairman, the General Secretary and others and demand that our Convention be held”.©