Dr. Lewis says he will not challenge Eustace
November 13, 2009

Dr. Lewis says he will not challenge Eustace

Dr. Linton Lewis has made it “explicitly clear” he will not challenge Arnhim Eustace for the leadership of the New Democratic Party (NDP) in the upcoming leadership elections.{{more}}

“No!” said Lewis to SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday when asked whether his political ambitions will lead him to challenge Eustace for the top post.

Hints of Lewis’ possible leadership bid have surfaced on the past occasions, but came to the fore in a major way this week after an article written by British journalist Steffan Rhys identified Lewis as a Caribbean leader in waiting.

The article stated that Lewis was tipped to become prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Built around a recent interview with Lewis, the journalist stated that “as Chairman of St.Vincent’s New Democratic Party he (Lewis) is tipped to replace the party’s ageing president in the near future”.

In an exclusive interview at his law firm on Wednesday, Lewis acknowledging that some of the statements in the article were indeed his, but others were Rhys’ opinions.

“For example, on the issue of the aging president what I did say to him when he enquired of me why is it I am not really up there to be prime minister I said listen the gentleman who is before me, the president of the party is older than I am and there is no need for me to rush to push myself into any leadership position when I have time on my side.

“If you notice the way he wrote it the English way he said the aging president. He didn’t put it the way I told him,” said Lewis.

“On the other hand, there is the issue of being the next Prime Minister. The question he asked was: If the president goes would you become the next leader of the party?’. I said the possibility exists that I will be the leader of the party because I am now chairman of the party. So that possibility exists. We all have to stand for elections,” Lewis said he stated.

“He wrote that as if to say that I am going to be the next leader and I’ll be the prime minister after the next general elections.”

Lewis added: “I think it’s just the manner in which he has written it. It was sensationalised. It is written for the Welsh market.”

As to him being a possible contender with Eustace, Lewis said he doesn’t understand why people ask that question.

He said while on one side there are advantages of such prospects, such as people recognising that he possess leadership qualities. On the other hand such notion may generate some mischief which might create a division between persons in the party, as he is not the only individual who would be aspiring to leadership.

“So, no, that is not within my contemplation. I am more concerned about making a meaningful contribution to the development of this country at this time,” said Lewis.

Lewis added that his focus is endearing himself to the people of his constituency to get there support so that he could become a member of parliament.

He noted that he does not view Eustace as a power hungry person and if in the event the president thinks there is an overwhelming majority of persons who are desirous of another individual to be the leader “then he will vacate his position and allow it to happen”.

Lewis stressed that people should not narrow his political ambitions to just challenging Eustace. Instead, they should credit Eustace for helping him in many ways.

“If you wish to understand how I feel about Mr. Eustace and my relationship with him, try to understand my progression in life. If you understand my progression in life you will clearly understand how I feel about Arnhim Eustace,” Lewis explained.