ULP candidate returns $250 to Leacock
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October 1, 2010
ULP candidate returns $250 to Leacock

The quantity of cash which was handed over to Unity Labour Party (ULP) candidate for Central Kingstown Elvis Charles by Senator St. Clair Leacock, his rival in the upcoming general elections, is now up for debate, as the men differ on the amount.{{more}}

Leacock, the New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate for the constituency, has indicated to SEARCHLIGHT that the figure being quoted by Charles is not the amount that was given, but at the same time, he refused to say how much it was, as he was not interested in ‘fanning flames’ around his adversary.

“I am not interested in getting in any boxing match with him (Charles). I have far more important things to concentrate on in terms of representation.”

“They are taking it to make a side show and that’s not the issue. Ask him to tell the truth.”

Last Thursday, September 23, at Green Hill during an NDP political meeting, Leacock, among other things, described Charles as “ungrateful and hypocritical”.

Leacock in his speech said that Charles had come to him, because he (Charles) could not pay his school fees and wanted help.

“…Because before I went to sleep and before I wake up, he was wanting assistance from me to pay his education fee,” Leacock had said.

Charles, who visited SEARCHLIGHT’s office this Wednesday, said that he was very disappointed when he heard the comments made by his one time friend.

The educator said that he did indeed, at one time, speak to the Senator about furthering his studies, but did not ask him for a donation towards his university tuition.

“Two years and four months ago, we were at an NDP fundraiser at Green Hill and we were speaking about studies, and I told him that I was going to pursue my Masters, and because we got along well at that time, he talked about people who he helped and all that…”

Charles said that Leacock promised to assist him. He however, made it clear that he did not ask Leacock for any funding.

“He gave me $250 in cash at Mothercare, opposite Karib Cable, about minutes to three one afternoon, when I was on my way to pick up my children from school.”

Charles said that he accepted the money and used it towards his university project, which involved the establishment of a counseling room at the Bethel High School.

“I begged for a computer so that the counselor could store information safely. I begged for other embellishments for the counseling room. In fact, Courts St. Vincent Limited and other establishments gave me donations, and I was able to buy an iron, a cell phone and a pressure cooker and raffle them to raise funds for the counseling room, and none of these businesses spoke of the donations that they gave to me.”

According to Charles, he took a loan from the National Commercial Bank to finance his way through university, and had to pay $3,883.11 a semester for almost two years.

He said that most of his studies were done online, but during the summer, he travelled to the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus in Jamaica, for additional courses.

Charles stated that the day after Leacock made the statement, he made attempts to repay the money by giving a friend of the Senator $250 in cash.

He said that she refused to take the money, so on Wednesday, September 29, he purchased a manager’s cheque and decided to take it to NDP Headquarters and leave it for Leacock.

Charles, accompanied by two witnesses, traveled to the NDP’s Richmond Hill headquarters, later Wednesday morning, where he attempted to give the cheque to secretary at the NDP Headquarters Rishatha Nicholls.

Nicholls, after making a call to Leacock, claimed that the Senator stated that the amount on the cheque was not the correct amount, and she had been instructed not to accept it, and that she should ask the men to leave.

Charles exited the building but returned moments later and placed the cheque on Nicholls’ desk.

Nicholls later spoke to SEARCHLIGHT and indicated that the envelope was still on the desk where Charles had left it, and that neither she nor anyone else at the NDP Headquarters had any intention of touching it, as she did not want her fingerprints on the envelope.

Charles, however, indicated that he had no ill feelings to his rival, but realized that Leacock was not speaking with him after cordial attempts to greet his opponent were not returned.

He said that he incident has encouraged him to continue his campaign, which he said could only get better.

He said he has no plans to mention Leacock in any of his campaign speeches.

“I will continue to tell the people what I want to do for them. I don’t think I am going down that road to mention him. I will let the people judge.”

“He shouldn’t have used it for political mileage…, and I realize that the NDP supporters would have believed him…. If he had said that he gave me $250 dollars I would have felt better. I would not have had any reply to give to Mr. Leacock.”

“But when you make that kind of statement that he funded my way, that now I am ungrateful and hypocritical and want to run against him, I want the public to know that that was not true.”