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PM: Leaders usually forgotten in latter years

PM: Leaders usually forgotten in latter years

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Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves is interested in the Golden Years Activity Centre, which is being built at Black Point in the North Central Windward constituency. And his concern about that institution comes from his observation of what has befallen past leaders.

“When the lights of power dim, when the curtains fall, when the players leave the stage, they are forgotten.” That’s how Dr. Gonsalves summed up the situation of two of this country’s former leaders. {{more}}

He was addressing the opening of the Golden Years Activity Centre at Cane Grove last Tuesday. The facility, built at a cost of $738,150, was erected with funds by the National Insurance Services.

Dr. Gonsalves, in his feature presentation, lamented the treatment meted out to leaders after their tour of duty.

He recounted that first Chief Minister Ebenezer Theodore Joshua, whom Dr. Gonsalves referred to as the “darling of the masses”, was cared for during his final days by expatriates from the Church of Latter Day Saints, also known as Mormons.

In a somewhat derisive comment, Dr. Gonsalves remarked that many persons “mourned him (Joshua) for the record”, but the Prime Minister was not happy with the way Joshua was treated during his latter days.

Ebenezer Theodore Joshua was one of this country’s most fiery, militant and anti-colonial warriors. He was a symbol of national pride and many galvanised around his People’s Political Party (PPP).

Joshua was similarly enigmatic. He ceded the position of Premier to independent candidate James Mitchell following the famous six/six tie in the April 7, 1972 election.

Joshua was again in the spotlight when in 1974, he pulled the rug from under Mitchell forcing an election.

First Premier Milton Cato won that poll. Cato became the first Prime Minister on the attainment of this country’s independence on October 27, 1979.

Dr. Gonsalves noted that Cato fared better than Joshua did in his final days, but that “many supped with him when he was in power”, but shunned him when the glare faded.

“That fate is in store for me,” Dr. Gonsalves pointed out.

“That is why I want the one (Golden Years Activity Centre) at Black Point to be built properly,” the Prime Minister said.