Dr. Keith Mitchell, the head of New National, the biggest opposition party, says his group would not be persuaded to call a long overdue convention “because some people’s personal interest is behind a convention.” The convention won’t happen until the party is confident that it is prepared for the political event, according to Mitchell, who guided the party to loss in the June 2022 general election.
The NNP hasn’t conducted a convention or a general council for the longest time—21 months—since any legally required organ of the party, aside from the executive, has convened any caucus. “It seems like some people’s concentration is convention, convention, convention,” Mitchell told a news conference, adding “you have to organize your party before you go to a convention.
“The convention is the final event especially when you are talking about changing of the guards and that’s possible, so the organization must be in place and the executive of the party, the leadership of the party makes those decisions. “I get the impression that some people feel is one of us or two of us in the party making a decision,” said the 76-year-old Mitchell, who Mitchell, 76, who served as prime minister from 1995 to 2008 and from 2013 to 2022, and had promised to give up the leadership of the party at the next.
However, he has hinted at remaining at the helm if delegates vote for him to remain as leader. “So, to go and have a convention without organizing your party and putting structures in place will be absolutely politically backward and foolish and we don’t operate in that manner. So, we are on the ground,” said Mitchell who admitted that the party lost the last general election because it had lost support on the ground.
The defeat to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) came after the NNP had won the previous two general elections by capturing all 15 seats in the Parliament. “And it was our fault, in the lack of organization, the lack of contact with the ground that we lost but the work is taking place now, I cannot tell you that I am extremely happy with the work in every single area but we are certainly working and will continue to do so,” he said.
The NDC won the polls by a 9-6 margin, securing 31, 432 of the popular votes as against 28,960 votes for the NNP.