May 9, 2008
Cruickshank: Infighting caused our defeat

Lack of money and in-fighting were major contributors to the defeat that the New Democratic Party (NDP) suffered at the hands of the Unity Labour Party (ULP) in the 2005 general elections.{{more}}

“We just didn’t have the amount of money they (the ULP) had at their disposal, and some our guys were not prepared,” said Allan Cruickshank, the NDP’s campaign manager during the last election.

Cruickshank, who was elected unopposed as the new General Secretary of the party, after the incumbent, Senator Daniel Cummings, resigned due to work commitments overseas, also echoed the belief of many in his party that some impropriety took place.

He, however, noted that despite the alleged impropriety, the finance and in-fighting issues contributed strongly to the defeat.

He told SEARCHLIGHT that in several constituencies there were disagreements over who the candidates should be.

“We tried to do things democratically, but what happened is like what is taking place with the Democratic Party in the United States right now; while the other side is ready for the election, they are still fine tuning who their candidate will be,” Cruickshank explained.

As he starts his tenure as General Secretary, however, Cruickshank said that he is confident that the NDP will be ready to take the fight to the ULP and win the next General Election.

So what about him, would he be contesting the next general elections?

Word on the ground at the party convention, which took place on April 20, was that some people feel that he is one of the members of the old guard who still have something to offer to the electorate.

“Everywhere I go I get that, everywhere I go, but I don’t think at this time …I haven’t decided if that (elected representation) is a priority,” the former Minister of Education, Health, Foreign Affairs, and Agriculture, among others, said.

Cruickshank, who served in government from 1984 to 2001 during the heyday of the NDP, said his priority right now is to build and unite the party.

“My priority is to unite the former, the present and the future of this party.”

“I have no dream to contest the next election,” he said, but hastily added “but in politics…you know it’s funny, I will leave it to the people.”

He told SEARCHLIGHT that he believes that there may be some surprise candidates in the NDP’s slate in the next elections. He said that the will of the people may foster these surprises.

“Even a lot of former candidates are doing well on the ground,” Cruickshank said.

At last month’s convention, Dr Linton Lewis was re-elected unopposed as party chairman, along with Dr Godwin Friday and Senator St Clair Leacock, who were elected first and second Vice President, respectively.

Cameron ‘Dinky’ Balcombe and Vynette Frederick were returned as Treasurer and Public Relations Officer, respectively. Architect Maxim James resoundingly beat former Health Minister Burton Williams to be the Assistant General Secretary.

The five persons elected to the Central Committee of the party were Amos Cruickshank, Harvey Graham, Bert François, Monica Ross and Burton Williams, while party president Arnhim Eustace selected Brian Alexander, Cleve Lewis and John Mc Clean to serve as committee members.

The post of party president was not up for election.