Opposition Leader makes surprising Remembrance Day appearance
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November 15, 2013

Opposition Leader makes surprising Remembrance Day appearance

Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace may have surprised some observers when he turned up last Sunday, at the cenotaph in Kingstown, for the annual wreath laying ceremony on Remembrance Day.

Usually, Eustace is represented at these ceremonies by Parliamentary Representative for Central Kingstown and vice president of the New Democratic Party (NDP) St Claire Leacock.

Eustace’s attendance may have come on the urging of Leacock, who just two weeks ago, during an address in Parliament on October 29, slammed parliamentarians, including members of his party, for not attending the annual Independence celebrations at Victoria Park.

“… I implore all members of the Parliament to drop whatever they’re doing and find themselves at the Victoria Park when our nation is celebrating Independence,” he said.

“Independence and nation building is a serious exercise…and those of us who want to lead the nation must demonstrate that when the occasion presents itself. That’s how I feel about it,” Leacock said.

At the Independence parade on October 27, Leacock was the only Opposition parliamentarian seated in the area designated for Members of Parliament.

Leacock’s criticism last month was not the first time he commented on the absence of the Leader of the Opposition from official functions.

Earlier this year, when he spoke on March 14 at the wreath laying ceremony for National Heroes Day, at the obelisk at Dorsetshire Hill, Leacock, who is also known as “The Major” said that he looked forward to the day when he could appear at an official function in his own capacity, and not representing someone else.

“….I would have preferred if it was my own person, but it always appears that I’m representing an office, that of the Leader of the Opposition… but somehow it seems to befall on me that on every national occasion: Heroes Day, Poppy Day, Independence Day, Queen’s Birthday, the Major is standing in for an office….”

Remembrance Day, also known as Poppy Day or Armistice Day, is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth countries since the end of World War I to remember the members of their armed forces who died in the line of duty.

Leacock was also present at the cenotaph last Sunday, but this year, did not lay a wreath; he sat under the tent with the other observers.