Grenada set to have parliamentary opposition first time in six years

Tobias Clement seen here in campaign mood.
New National Party, File

Grenada is set to have parliamentary opposition for the first time in six years after parliamentarian (NNP) Tobias Clement severed ties with the ruling New National Party last week.

Clement, who twice won the North East constituency on the NNP ticket, is now considering becoming leader of the opposition, a position which is expected to be occupied for the first time since the 2013 general elections.

“Even if one must be opposition leader one must be a responsible opposition leader,” Clement declared.

“This is the move that I will make to be responsible opposition to the government.”

Grenada was without an official Opposition Leader since NNP swept the polls in the last two general elections winning back-to-back all 15 seats in the House of Representatives in 2013 and 2018.

Clement submitted his resignation shortly before the 2020 budget presentation in parliament last week, after sharp differences with party leader and Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.

“The action of the political leadership to move to take full control of the constituencies office is in itself contrary to the legislative role that members of parliament play. The action of the New National Party secretariat to treat the constituencies offices as party sub-offices runs contrary to the norms of our principles,” protested Clement in his resignation letter.

“These and other points that I have been critical of. Those criticisms were generally ignored and my loyalty to leadership questioned.”

Clements’ decision to quit the party was widely expected following well-publicized reports of differences with Prime Minister Mitchell over salaries for parliamentarians and the running of his St. George North-East constituency office.

Last month, the MP snubbed Prime Minister Mitchell by boycotting a public meeting he organized in his constituency and also by refusing to attend the party’s convention.

“Having a member of the opposition on the other side who is a former member elected by the NNP it’s not a problem. I think it is healthy for the debate in the house. Its healthy for our country,” said Prime Minister Mitchell.

“The only problem is that the opposition has been demonstrating so much weakness in terms of their agenda.”

Clement is now expected to approach Governor-General Dame Cecile La Grenade to be appointed Leader of the Opposition which gives him the right to appoint three Senators to the upper house.

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