ULP spreading political propaganda – opposition parliamentarians
January 11, 2013

ULP spreading political propaganda – opposition parliamentarians

Opposition parliamentarian and New Democratic Party (NDP) vice president St Claire Leacock has denied that three of his colleagues were supporting him in a coup to replace Arnhim Eustace as president of the NDP.{{more}}

General Secretary of the Unity Labour Party, Senator Julian Francis, a ULP strategist, on Tuesday named Leacock among the four opposition lawmakers he said were involved in the alleged plot.

But Leacock, Northern Grenadines representative Dr Godwin Friday — the other NDP vice president, and North Leeward representative Roland Matthews on Wednesday told SEARCHLIGHT in separate telephone interviews that Francis was peddling ULP “propaganda”.

SEARCHLIGHT failed in repeated attempts to reach by telephone West Kingstown representative Daniel Cummings, who Francis said was also involved in the move.

Francis had said in December that NDP sources had told him Eustace would resign.

He said Tuesday he is standing by his story. He further named four opposition legislators, saying they tried to unseat their leader, but the party’s financiers rejected a proposal that Leacock be made head.

But Leacock told SEARCHLIGHT he supports Eustace as leader of the NDP and that Francis’ statements “ain’t have a basis”.

“That has to be imagination of the highest order,” Leacock said, adding that the leadership of the NDP is “very firm that Mr Eustace is the best person, at the given time, to take the party leadership, for more reasons than one.

“So, a statement like that has to be a high level of political propaganda … It should be dismissed out of hand,” he told SEARCHLIGHT.

Leacock, who was elected to Parliament in 2010, said Eustace “has his imperfections, like all of us.

“I think there are areas in which he could be more robust and socially engaging, but on the fundamental that this country requires now, which is an understanding and an implementation of economic reforms and programmes and fiscal discipline, he is the best person for the time.”

Matthews also said there was no move to replace Eustace, who was re-elected to head the NDP when he put the presidency to a vote one year ahead of schedule.

“I have no idea where Mr Francis got his information and my opinion is that Mr Francis is grabbing at straws, and all kinds of fairy tales, concocted stories you will be hearing from now on,” Matthews said.

“That is part of their (the ULP’s) plan, it seems — to put a kind of situation in the party — that is the NDP —that doesn’t exist at all,” said Matthews, who described Francis as “one of the ULP’s main propagandists”.

“So you have to expect this kind of illusion behaviour from Mr Francis,” he added, even as he said he was “totally satisfied” with the leadership of Eustace.

“And that, I believe, is the general view of the New Democratic Party, especially those that are in the Parliament,” he further said of Eustace, who led the NDP to three consecutive election defeats.

And Friday said Francis “probably gets his information from outer space.

“I don’t know what he is talking about … The only thing I can say is that this is ULP propaganda trying to throw a cat among the pigeons.”

Friday said he was “absolutely” satisfied with the leadership of Eustace, who has been representing East Kingstown since 1998.

“Mr Eustace has the support of the parliamentary caucus, he has the support of the candidates, he has the support of the rank and file of the party,” Friday said.

“I am one hundred per cent behind Mr Eustace; the caucus is behind Mr Eustace. And this is just political games that they (the ULP) are playing. But they will do better to focus on what is happening in the country and on the economy, rather than focusing on what’s happening in the New Democratic Party,” Friday told SEARCHLIGHT.

Eustace last week noted to SEARCHLIGHT that he defeated Francis in East Kingstown in 2005.

But Francis said Eustace’s challenge for another face-off in the constituency was meant to “throw cold water” on his comments about the alleged leadership squabble within the NDP.