Grant’s decision to make way as Political Leader was announced in a press conference Tuesday morning, at the Ocean Terrace Inn.
Though his announcement may have caught many off-guard, it is one that has fallen in line with the traditions of the People’s Action Movement, which in the past has opted for a smooth transfer of leadership power, dating back to the 1970s. When the PAM was established in 1965, it was led by Dr. William Valentine Herbert, the co-founder. However, after many years of unsuccessful attempts to win a seat at the polls in St. Kitts, Herbert, thought it was necessary to step aside as leader, after the 1975 poll, making way for party secretary, Dr. Kennedy Simmonds, to take up the mantle of leadership.
Another significant change came in the late 1970s with the death of former Premier Robert Bradshaw, in 1978, making it necessary for a by-election in the Central Basseterre Constituency. At the time Simmonds was the known candidate for PAM in East Basseterre with Michael Powell the candidate in Central Basseterre. However, it was the strong view of many in the party and in the country that if Powell were to make way for Simmonds to run in Central Basseterre, the chances of victory would be better. The switch was made and the gamble paid off with Dr. Simmonds winning the seat over Labour’s Anthony Ribeiro. The party went on to win the General Elections two years later, in 1980, with Simmonds becoming Premier and Powell his Deputy.
PAM continued its internal changes at the top, when in 2000, after another loss at the polls to Labour, former Prime Minister and Leader of PAM, (Simmonds) took the decision to step down as National Political Leader of his party, to pave the way for the new leadership of the young lawyer, Lindsay F Grant. Grant went on to lead the party in the 2004 and 2010 General Elections, both of which were mired in controversy and charges of electoral fraud and irregularities.
Now today, on Tuesday 17th July, 2012, PAM is again changing its leadership with the person at the helm, (Grant), deciding that it is time to move on. There are many who hold the view that given the high negatives being observed in the area of leadership within the two main political parties (Labour and PAM), the departure of Grant could result in a stronger showing at the next poll, which is constitutionally due in 2015, but widely believed to take place at an earlier period.
Some who have responded to Grant’s departure have described him as brave and selfless, committed to the struggle to effect change and patriotic; for placing the interest of the country above any ambitions he may have had to serve in the highest office in the land.