The internal strife within the National Democratic Congress (NDC) continue to result in political casualties as seven members of the ruling party, including General Secretary Peter David and trade unionist Chester Humphrey, were expelled at the annual convention in the eastern parish of St Andrew’s, which took place on September 30.Peter David
The other high-ranking members who the convention voted overwhelmingly to expel were, former cabinet ministers Joseph Gilbert, Karl Hood, Arley Gill, Glynnis Roberts, and disciplinary committee member Siddiqui Sylvester.
Former Government Minister Phinsley St Louis reportedly moved a motion for the party delegates to expel the seven members, who are all known supporters of David.
David, who had been general secretary for more than a decade, had announced early in September that he would not be seeking reelection to the NDC executive. The former tourism minister, who resigned in April, is a parliamentary backbencher and member of parliament (MP) for the town of St. George.
The expulsions were the highlight of a dramatic gathering of the party faithful as acting party chairman, Stanford Simon, was also thrown out of the convention, after executive member Vincent Roberts moved a motion calling for his expulsion.
Former environment minister Roberts was the most recent minister in the Tillman Thomas cabinet to resign from her position, following paths set by Hood the former foreign affairs minister and David.
Gilbert was fired for writing to American investors promising them a casino license without cabinet’s approval while Gill was sacked in the aftermath of David’s resignation.
When Roberts resigned on September 20 she told a meeting of her constituents that she has never questioned the Prime Minister’s character, “only his leadership choices’’.
However, Prime Minister Thomas, who is also leader of the NDC, has said that problems besetting the government and party have nothing to do with his leadership.
In an interview on September 26 with the Government Information Service, blamed the troubles on an alleged power struggle and “an attempt to take over the party’’.
The situation has “nothing to do with leadership,’’ he insisted. Had there been a team that was “cohesive and focused,’’ the government would have done much better in the four years it has been in office, the prime minister added.
According to the grenadabroadcast.com website, the expulsions were a response by supporters of Thomas to an offensive launched by David to capture control of the executive of the party.
The officers elected to the NDC’s executive yesterday include Education Minister Franka Bernardine, who is the new Chairman.
“It’s a new day for us in NDC,’’ Bernardine said at a rally that followed a morning closed-door session that included the election of officers.
Former NDC general secretary and businessman Kent Joseph is the new Deputy Chairman.
St Louis is one of two trustees while Information Minister Glen Noel has replaced Gill as Public Relations Officer.