PM challenges Ferdinand
December 11, 2012

PM challenges Ferdinand

The opposition New Democratic Party’s (NDP) candidate for West St George, Dr Julian “Jules” Ferdinand, has not said much about his politics, but Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has some questions for him.{{more}}

“I want to ask him: tell us your record in your last job in St Vincent and the Grenadines,” Gonsalves said Sunday at the 19th convention of his Unity Labour Party (ULP).

“Did the company which you headed not experience a serious decline under your stewardship?” added Gonsalves, who is political leader at the ULP.

Ferdinand, a former manager of the Eastern Caribbean Group of Companies, was elected in October to be the NDP’s West St George candidate in the next election there.

General elections are constitutionally due in 2015.

Ferdinand replaces former senator Anesia Baptiste, who was fired following her decision not to comply with a policy of the NDP.

Gonsalves asked about Ferdinand firing six employees because they joined a trade union.

“I know that story well, because I represented them — one of them is my youngest brother,” he said.

“You fired workers because they joined a union and you want to run the cleanest campaign in 2015?” the prime minister said.

He described Ferdinand as “backward, colonial, anti-worker and anti-union”.

“If anybody supports anyone who first of all camouflage himself that he above politics, you want to come in it now?” Gonsalves said.

He further asked why Ferdinand has decided to enter politics now, saying most of his productive years were gone.

“All the years he say he ain’t getting involved in politics, he said he already reached that stage — he gone past that and you are at the autumnal years of your life, he coming now. He coming now to do what?”

Gonsalves asked what creative offerings Ferdinand had for the challenges that the country faces.

He further asked what Ferdinand stands for “other than hypocritical platitudes.

“You say that you are a self-proclaimed church man; how can you find it possible to embrace within the core of your party’s leadership a man who publicly and unapologetically confirmed that he stoned the church while the Christian pilgrims were at prayer and who insists that he would do the same thing again if necessary and you are on the same platform with him?” he said.

Gonsalves also spoke of Lauren Baptiste, the NDP’s candidate for North Windward, saying that he did not think that there would be any problem for the ULP to defeat him.

He said that he believed that Baptiste will be defeated by a larger margin than the 352 votes Elvis Daniel lost by to the ULP’s Montgomery Daniel — Minister of Housing — in 2010.

“Frankly speaking, none of them brings absolutely nothing to the table,” Gonsalves said.

“In North Windward, the candidate they bring has no appeal in North Windward,” he continued.Ferdinand declined comment when SEARCHLIGHT contacted him yesterday, saying that he had not heard Gonsalves’ comments and would prefer to listen to them before responding. (DD)