Author: MNI Political Reporter | Date: 20 May 2012
Grenada's prime minister, Tillman Thomas, is shouldering added ministerial responsibility following the resignation on Thursday of a senior cabinet member.
Karl Hood tendered his resignation as foreign minister, citing lack of support from his government and party , the National Democratic Congress (NDC) , for him as a minister and also as MP for St George South East.
During the 2012 budget debate in March, Hood openly criticized the government, saying it had squandered the opportunity it received after the NDC won general elections in 2008.
When the opposition New National Party (NNP) brought a motion of no-confidence against the prime minister, Hood abstained from voting on Tuesday in parliament.
NDC colleague Michael Church, who resigned from government in 2010, voted in favour of the motion, which was defeated 8 to 5.
Hood is the fourth NDC MP to move from cabinet member to the backbench of the House of Representative, leaving Thomas with a minority of seven government parliamentarians.
The NNP has four MPs including Dr Keith Mitchell, its leader and a former Grenada prime minister.
Within hours of Hood's resignation, Thomas addressed the nation and announced that he was assuming the role as the new foreign minister.
The other portfolios of the prime minister, who is assisted by junior minister, Senator Glen Noel, are Legal Affairs; National Security; Public Administration; Information and Information and Communication Technology; Environment; Foreign Trade; and Export Development.
In his national radio and television address on Thursday night, Thomas invited Grenadians to a public event he said he was hosting in the eastern parish of St Andrew.
As an act of appreciation for the fervent prayers and expressions of support for the government especially in the past two weeks, I , in my capacity as prime minister , will be holding a national thanksgiving rally at the Grenville Car Park on Sunday, 20 May," the prime minister said. The entire nation is invited to join us in giving thanks and acknowledging our gratitude."
Several top NDC officials, who were contacted Friday, said they were unaware of the planned rally, and were only notified of it at a Thursday evening party executive meeting in St George's.
The rally was not organized by, or through, the NDC," said general secretary Peter David. As the prime minister himself said, he is holding the event in his capacity as leader of government."
Meetings that Thomas has been having in the past few months have excluded top officials of the party, such as the acting chairman, general secretary and public relations officer.
The Solidarity Sunday Meetings" of the prime minister are said to have deepened divisions in his party, especially after the release of a videotape in April of one of the meetings.
On the tape, Sen. Noel accused several NDC members, including general secretary and former tourism minister, Peter David, of conspiring to take control of the party and to undermine the prime minister.
The allegations angered David, who resigned on April 30 from government.
David's departure led to the removal of his junior minister, Arley Gill, who was replaced in the senate by Dr George Vincent, the new Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture.
The pulling of Gill from the senate is reported to have drawn the ire of some NDC officials, who point to what they describe as a phalanx of NDC members and supporters who appear to be arbitrarily losing their jobs; being fired by their own government. Among the casualties have been the deputy public relations officer of the party and one of our assistant general secretaries."