Former Newfoundland premier Roger Grimes makes his way to the back door of the Confederation Building in St. John's, Nfld. (CP file photo)

Newfoundland and Labrador Opposition leader Roger Grimes stepped down Monday as head of the provincial Liberal party.

After 16 years in public life, Grimes, 55, said the time is right for him to retire from provincial politics. He said he has no particular plans, and will spend the summer considering his options.

The Liberal leadership met this weekend to prepare for life after Grimes. While no final decisions were made, party insiders expect an interim leader to be appointed and a leadership convention to be held in 2006.

Grimes was first elected in Exploits district in 1989. He had previously served as president of the Newfoundland Teachers' Association.

His career took him through several cabinet posts and all the way to the premier's office.

Grimes was sworn in as premier Feb. 13, 2001, 10 days after winning a bitter campaign for the Liberal leadership over rival John Efford.

He and the Liberals were defeated by Danny Williams's Conservatives in the Oct. 21, 2003 election.

As Opposition leader, Grimes leads a caucus of 12 in the provincial legislature.