The opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) cannot dictate the political leadership of the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP), because they are not members of the party.
So says ULP Senator Keisal Peters, as she spoke on the Issue at Hand programme last Sunday.
The issue of possible transition of leadership was a much talked about topic, in the period leading up to the ULP’s recently held 25 National Convention.
However, the party’s Political Leader and Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves had stated that there would be no transition of leadership at the recent convention.
Senator Peters told listeners to WE FM on Sunday that “the Membership of the ULP made a decision to re-elect the prime minister as our Political Leader.”
“The New Democratic Party cannot dictate that, they are not members.”
“It was a decision of the party, the membership of the party,” the ULP senator declared.
Peters, who is also Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that while everybody seems to be hung up about the ULP’s leadership “when we are ready, we will take that decision, but as of now, the membership has spoken and we are happy with our decision.”
We are the ones who are going to have to ensure that there is continuity in the Unity Labour Party in the years ahead.”
Asked about reported chants of “Caesar, Caesar” as Prime Minister Gonsalves made his entry into the convention hall, Senator Peters said “I can’t say that I heard it.”
She however noted that if this were so, it shows that the people were enthusiastic about their representative.
Saboto Caesar, parliamentary representative for South Central Windward has long been touted as a possible successor to Ralph Gonsalves.
“This is the kind of energy that we foster in the ULP,” Peters further suggested that the fact that the people have such energy, means that he (Caesar) is a good representative, and they are happy for him.
“ULP supporters are always enthusiastic,” Senator Peters added.
Gonsalves celebrated his 76th birthday on Monday August 8, and when asked about the age of the party’s leader, Senator Peters said “age is nothing but a number.”
“With age comes wisdom,” she added.
Peters noted that the ULP’s membership has already decided on its political leader and “what we should be concentrating on, is not the person’s age, but whether or not they have transferred the knowledge that they have gained, the wisdom they have gained.”
“We are all here and we are learning, and knowledge and wisdom is being transferred.”
Senator Peters said the NDP “shouldn’t be worrying about our prime minister and how old he is; they should be worrying about the fact that he is transferring his knowledge to us, the younger ones, who are going to have to continue the fight.”
The ULP senator also expressed the view that “not because somebody is of a certain age, you should put them out to pasture, they are of no good, no consequence, no importance.”
Reflecting on the recent convention, Senator Peters said most of the members who spoke in the open forum, did so to commend the government and the leadership of the ULP “on the work that we are doing to lift St Vincent and the Grenadines higher.”