Callers throw support behind Eustace, denounce Sir James’ statements
March 5, 2013
Callers throw support behind Eustace, denounce Sir James’ statements

While New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Arnhim Eustace said very little on the matter, supporters continued to rally around him, denouncing statements made by party Founder Sir James Mitchell, as diversions.{{more}}

On his “New Times” programme on NICE Radio yesterday, Eustace acknowledged callers who voiced their support for him during the two and a half hour long programme. He, however, opted to refrain from commenting directly to statements made by Sir James, during the “Unrendered” television show which aired twice on IKTV on Sunday.

Among other statements aimed at Eustace, the former prime minister repeated his call for his former prime minister and finance minister to step down as leader of the NDP and the parliamentary opposition.

Sir James also said that he made Eustace prime minister once, but Eustace had made himself opposition leader three times.

Eustace’s demeanour was restrained yesterday, compared with those of the persons who phoned in, who suggested, and in some cases demanded that Mitchell, who was prime minister from 1984 to 2000, refrain from being a nuisance.

They also described him as being hypocritical with his references to Eustace, and the things that are affecting the country.

Of the past leader, a female caller stated: “Mr Mitchell, you are someone whom I admired immensely – past tense. Why are you destroying all that you have done by being so vindictive? You know jolly well you made your plan with this prime minister (Gonsalves), that you are going to get Arnhim out of the way and put him there…. You get so old now, sit down and rest yourself. Go lie down, go and rest yourself. Don’t destroy what little respect people have left for you….”

Sir James was called out of order by NDP supporters for claiming that he made Eustace the prime minister when he demitted office in 2000.

The callers also flung their support behind Eustace, whom they predicted to be the next prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines

“He did not make you prime minister. Mr Mitchell chose you to be the leader of the party, but you could not have been the leader of the party without the support of people like Jerry Scott, John Horne, Allan Cruickshank and the others who were cabinet members of the time.

“Mr Mitchell alone didn’t have the authority to make you prime minister, so you need to let him know that,” said one caller.

“I want you to remain focused, because all that these people are doing is just trying to drag you down. And I hope that you could stay strong and just do what you have to do,” a female caller said.

“I would like to encourage NDP supporters and those who sit on the fence, not to be distracted by a well orchestrated event when the heat is on the Unity Labour Party,” one caller said.

Eustace stayed quiet on the topic for the most part, except to say that he was the one who made the selection of the party’s leader more democratic than before, and agreed that the statements by his former boss were merely a distraction.

“I put up myself three times for leadership of the party.

“I am the one who moved to change the constitution of the party; instead of the members in parliament choosing the leader, I asked for an amendment of the constitution to allow the annual convention… to choose the leader, and reduce the term of the leader from five years to three years.

“When Mitchell was there, the leader was for five years and it was the parliamentary caucus who used to change the leader. I tried to make the thing more democratic… and after election I went back to the convention and say I am offering myself, if they vote for me, they vote, if they don’t then I just step away.

“We have so much things to deal with in St Vincent and the Grenadines; I look at these things as distractions, and I’m not going to let that distract me.

“There is a lot of things Mitchell claimed that he did, he alone…. A number of people have called me over the weekend because of things Sir James said, but quite frankly I not really taking that on,” Eustace added.