Thursday, December 14, 2017

Grenadians to select new govt today

l st georges

Grenada's two major political parties were entering the final 24 hours of their campaign for today's general election, buoyed by the large turnout of supporters Sunday and predicting a win that would allow them to govern for the next five years.

Supporters of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), dressed in their yellow T-shirts, gathered at an old disused airstrip at Pearls in the north east of the island, while supporters of the main opposition New National Party (NNP), clad in their green jerseys crowded the playing field at Tanteen just on the outskirts of the capital.

Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, seeking another five year term in office, said his party was committed to building a country "where we will all live in harmony" while Opposition Leader, Dr Keith Mitchell, whose NNP was routed in the 2008 general election said, "February 19 is the day when you will change the future of this beautiful island."

The rallies were preceded by motorcades, as supporters waving flags, and motorists honking their horns, joined party officials in a last-minute bid to woe undecided voters. The rallies were also interspersed with religious music in keeping with the Lenten season and a call by the churches for the political parties to observe the occasion.

Both the NDC and the NNP have called on supporters to observe the religious event in prayer. The NNP said it had declared yesterday, a day of prayer and reflection.

Police reported no incidents during Sunday's final national campaign rallies and both parties had announced low-key events for yesterday.

"We have the best team and we are asking you to support the National Democratic Congress," Thomas told cheering supporters close to midnight, while earlier, Mitchell urged NNP supporters to remember "we are the best choice for this little land of ours".

Thomas, who led the NDC to a rousing 11-4 victory in 2008, told supporters the party should be re-elected to continue the work it has been doing in education, health, governance over the last four-and-a-half years.

He said millions of dollars had already been acquired for major projects, including road construction, when his administration is returned to power today.

"I am asking you to support my team come February 19th and we will continue our development," he said, urging voters to "support a party that has managed the assets of this country efficiently".

He said after four-and-a-half years, the NDC had brought back integrity to governance in Grenada and reminded voters "we have a great responsibility and we have to take the politics seriously".

"We need to have people in government who will reflect our, aims, aspirations and values," he said, telling supporters, "I want us to make the right decision come February 19."

But Mitchell and the NNP have painted the ruling party as a dismal failure, saying "they want to blame everybody but themselves".

"The NNP prefers to be part of a new emerging global space where you can only succeed if you improve your standards to be part of that space," Mitchell said.

He said the policies of the Tillman Thomas administration had resulted in negative economic growth, increased unemployment and lack of investor confidence, adding "anyone who does not accept that we are in a serious crisis can't provide serious solutions to our problems".

"When you elect a government you expect that government ... to report on what it has done, but the NDC has come into that campaign and all they are talking about is NNP and Keith Mitchell," he said, adding "we believe the time is now for us to unlock our resources again, to begin the recovery, the growth and the transformation of this little land of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique".

"February 19 is your day, you will change the future of this beautiful land from what it is today," Mitchell said, telling supporters he would have preferred a campaign not held during the Lenten season.

"But I have to respect our Christian values (and) when you talk to your God you can't go wrong."

—Peter Richards