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July 22, 2014
NDP not ashamed of uproar at funeral – Leacock

Both the president and vice president of the New Democratic Party (NDP) have laid the blame for the disturbance caused at the funeral of former radio host Elwardo G Lynch squarely at the feet of the Prime Minister.

The funeral service, which took place at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Georgetown, erupted into deafening shouts of protestation and ringing of a bell{{more}} when Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves took to the podium to speak about the deceased.

During the broadcast of the New Times Programme, which aired on Nice Radio, yesterday, July 21, Opposition leader Arnhim Eustace said: “He [the prime minister] started it! This thing was organised to cause as much confusion as possible, and lay the blame on the New Democratic Party.”

St Claire Leacock, NDP vice president and Central Kingstown MP shared Eustace’s sentiment and added that the party and its leadership are “in no way ashamed of the expressions of the people who were at the church”.

“All of that could have been avoided if common sense, decency and principle prevailed,” insisted Leacock.

Eustace went on to say that he did not intervene in the fiasco because he knew it was a “set up”.

“He [Lynch] was well loved and respected by many,” he explained. “People were incensed because… they knew how he was treated and they objected to that treatment!”

Throughout the radio programme, both Eustace and Leacock repeatedly referenced an audio clip of Prime Minister Gonsalves speaking about E G Lynch during a broadcast on Star Radio a few years ago.

In it, Gonsalves spoke about refusing Lynch’s pleas for leniency and forgiveness in the matter of court action that the Prime Minster had brought against him.

Eustace heavily criticised Gonsalves for his words, describing it as “…such disdain and contempt for a man who used to be his friend.”

Leacock recalled the numerous times he attended court in support of Lynch, noting that although the former radio host put on a brave face, it was evident that the court matters were wearing him down.

“And who was driving all of this?” he questioned. “Having him jailed, having him named… and shamed. Who was doing that?”

Leacock also pointed out that the Prime Minister’s decision to join the procession that accompanied Lynch’s body into the church was “disrespectful and… the wrong thing to do.”

This he attributed to Gonsalves’s “persistent attention deficit disorder.” Leacock further offered that the Prime Minister should either have refrained from attending the funeral or turned up on time to be seated before the casket was placed at the altar, and should not have addressed the congregation.

Eustace concluded that he hopes that this incident has taught the Prime Minister a lesson, and admonished him to do better in future.

“You must set the standard so that others may follow!” (JSV)