West St George NDP delegates give Dr Ferdinand the nod
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November 2, 2012
West St George NDP delegates give Dr Ferdinand the nod

Supporters of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) in West St George, on Tuesday elected Dr Julian “Jules” Ferdinand, to represent them when the next general elections are held.{{more}}

Ferdinand, a former manager of the Eastern Caribbean Group of Companies, defeated police officer Henry Hope, 35 votes to four, Louis “Major” Thompson, chair of the NDP’s West St George Constituency, told SEARCHLIGHT Wednesday.

Thompson said Ferdinand would “bring sanity” to politics in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“[Parliamentarians] stand in Parliament or sit in Parliament and say you have the constitutional right to utter falsehoods. I know that won’t come … from him (Ferdinand) because he is a believer in Christ. And we need to change these things,” Thompson said.

SEARCHLIGHT noted other politicians also profess Christianity.

“They profess to be, but I think this person, I know he is above most of them who say that they are believers.”

Ferdinand declined an interview Wednesday, saying he would talk to the media after meeting with the NDP’s West St George delegates.

“I have a meeting scheduled with the delegates next week and will want to discuss my plans with them, before I even think of sharing them with the media,” he said via email.

“They should hear it from me, rather than reading it in the newspapers or hearing it on the radio,” Ferdinand further said.

The NDP’s central committee will ratify Ferdinand’s candidacy when it meets “shortly”, Opposition Leader and NDP president Arnhim Eustace told SEARCHLIGHT by telephone Wednesday.

“It’s really a ratification, because he got more than 75 per cent of the votes. Once it’s 75 per cent of the vote or more, the central committee just ratifies the decision,” he explained.

And Eustace said Ferdinand is “a good candidate.”

“He is knowledgeable in a lot of areas, which are important to the economy, including industry,” he said.

Many Vincentians might know Ferdinand through his weekly column in The Vincentian newspaper.

But he also lectures in strategic management, multinational strategy, and corporate turnaround in the International Masters in Business Management programmes at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business.

He conducts the strategy dynamics course in the Doctorate in Business Administration programmes at Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business and the Cave Hill School of Business in Barbados.

Asked if he thinks Ferdinand’s candidacy would attract more candidates like Ferdinand to the NDP, Eustace said, “I hope it does so, not only for this party, but for the whole country.

“I think he is a good candidate; he is a knowledgeable person and can make a significant contribution. So, the more people like

that we have involved in the political arena, the better I think it would be.”

Ferdinand replaces Anesia Baptiste, a former NDP senator fired in April for refusing to obey a party policy.

“We always want to have a candidate for the upcoming elections,” Thompson told SEARCHLIGHT in the telephone interview.

“We don’t know when that election will be called, so we need to have somebody there and we can work with that person and they work along with us in terms of what we can do in West St George…” he explained.

He said that before voting Tuesday, delegates heard presentations from Ferdinand and Hope.

“The results, it was overwhelming for Dr Jules,” Thompson said, adding that he believes most of the delegates knew of Ferdinand’s work.

But he also said Hope has worked with youths in the constituency.

“As a police officer, he is able to bring them up and to make something good out of them. People usually have respect for an officer. So, he works with them and they respect him…

“I know both gentlemen; they are respectful people,” he further said.

And, in commenting on the representation of the ruling Unity Labour Party’s Cecil “Ces” Mckie, who was elected in West St George in the 2010 general elections, Thompson said constituents “are still crying out.

“They have not had good representation…”

Asked how Ferdinand came to be on the ballot, Thompson said, “We were just there hunting, looking for an individual to sit there with us, to work there with us. He showed interest and he was asked and he accepted the challenge.”

He said the academic qualifications of McKie and Ferdinand are “far different”.

McKie had significant experience in banking and insurance before entering politics.

Ferdinand holds a doctorate in business administration from the University of Bradford (England), a master’s degree in business administration (with distinction) and a teachers’ training certificate from the University of the West Indies (UWI). He is also trained in residential social work and special education.

“… and even working, … when you look around to who he’s (Ferdinand) been working with, you know you always have good report. One or two might have some negative …” Thompson further said.

Ferdinand is a past president of the SVG Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the Rotary Club of St Vincent, the past chair of the SVG Development Bank, and has served on a number of boards throughout the Caribbean.

He has also represented the private sector on the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Trade Negotiating Group and is the chair of the OECS Trade and Distribution Co Ltd.

He is the Honorary Consul for Spain to SVG and received the Civil Order Cross from Spain’s King Juan Carlos I for outstanding service to the government and people of Spain in his capacity as Honorary Consul.

Thompson also said that the constituency has healed after the fallout in April between the NDP and Baptiste — who has since formed a political party.

Baptiste wrote Eustace an 11-page letter that was widely regarded, across the political divide, as disrespectful of Eustace.

“I think what she did … [and the] way she went about it, it was wrong. We realised that it was wrong and we decide that’s … bygone. So, we don’t have people discussing that,” he said. (kentonchance@searchlight.vc)