NDP says ‘We Ready’ at 37th annual convention
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November 26, 2013
NDP says ‘We Ready’ at 37th annual convention

Declaring their readiness to take over governance, members and supporters of the New Democratic Party (NDP) gathered in their numbers on Sunday for the political party’s 37th annual convention.{{more}}

Held at Democrat House, the party’s headquarters, Sunday’s convention was held under the theme “We Ready.”

The convention started with the procession of all fifteen candidates for the next general election. This was followed by the prayer by Dwight France and then the national anthem and party’s song, which was led by former parliamentarian and education minister John Horne.

Dressed in the party colour, yellow, supporters filled the party headquarters, spilling over to the outside.

Among the members of the diplomatic corps in attendance at the convention were Taiwan’s Ambassador to St Vincent and the Grenadines, Weber V.B. Shih and Cuba’s Ambassador His Excellency Pablo Rodriguez Vidal.

Noticeably absent though, was founder of the NDP, Sir James Mitchell.

The day-long event, which began at 10 a.m., one hour later than scheduled, featured addresses by party president Arnhim Eustace, general secretary Allan Cruickshank and chair of the party Dr Linton Lewis.

Political activist Luzette King, a Vincentian who resides in Washington, D.C., was the featured speaker.

As King presented, the crowd listened in rapt attention, jumping to their feet with spontaneous outbursts of applause throughout the presentation.

The registered nurse told the audience that she firmly believes in the leadership of the NDP to bring about the much needed change that is yearned for.

“I believe that the Arnhim Eustace led New Democratic Party, as shown now in Opposition, would practise a different type of political management. One that is not of theoretical doctrine but of real people-centered origin,” King said.

“The party has shown its willingness as a mass party to help those in need, to apply themselves to helping as many schoolchildren with supplies every academic year. The party in Opposition has refused to score cheap political points, by reaching across the aisle and supporting government initiatives that they think are in the best interest of the country. So too, they have given strong Opposition and rebuke to the many shortcomings of this present government.

“We expect Mr Arnhim Eustace and his team to take this foundation with them in governance and build from there. This integrity and excellence in leadership must filter down to all sectors of the economy, every department and reach the ears of all employees, both in the public and private sector,” King firmly stated.

King said that the talk of leader and leadership often rears its ugly head in Vincentian politics, largely due to the “politics of distraction” practised in some quarters.

She further noted that although it is scientifically debunked that any particular leadership style is better than the other, many have fallen victims on the altar of charisma, charm and hugs.

“When current U.S. president Barack Obama and wife Michelle Obama and children Malia and Sasha turned up at the White House as the first family of African descent to lead the nation, in many quarters, they were thought to be undeserving despite the overwhelming result. Despite how hard he has worked, many simply cannot accept a black U.S president and when I listen to the insinuations and aspersions made toward Mr Eustace, it appears sadly, that some among us hold a similar view that strong black leaders should not lead.

“By the way, strength is not always measured by brawn and big mouth; there is also strength of integrity and character, which we can all see in Arnhim Eustace.

So, when you hear the reasons given for why one leader is better than the other, it shocks you, and I find it alarming that the most vocal opponents of Arnhim Eustace’s leadership are on the other side. They would like to see him go so badly that they stir up discord within the party. Yet, the facts are plain for all to see. Anytime anyone accuses Mr Eustace of weak leadership, you the delegates seated here and listening to my voice must first say, like what a wife says about her beloved husband, ‘that’s how like him.’

‘That’s how I like him,” King repeated.

King’s comment resulted in loud applause and cheers from the audience.

Sunday’s convention also saw the election of the NDP’s executive, which resulted in the party’s president Arnhim Eustace along with vice presidents Dr Godwin Friday, St Clair Leacock, treasurer Bernard Mills and deputy general secretary Doris McIntosh being re-elected unopposed.

The position of public relations officer was relinquished by Ernesto Cooke. He was replaced by Senator Vynnette Frederick, who was elected unopposed. Senator Linton Lewis, who came up against Parliamentary Representative for West Kingstown Daniel Cummings, was also re-elected as chair of the NDP. A release from the NDP said the vote for chair resulted in a tie of 135 votes each for Cummings and Lewis, but to settle the deadlock, Cummings conceded the position, as he considered the tie to mean that he did not “beat” his colleague.

The next major event for the New Democratic Party will be a Christmas event, at a date to be announced. (AA)