Eustace fires back  at Sir James
November 29, 2013
Eustace fires back at Sir James

After years of restraint, Arnhim Eustace is taking the fight to Sir James Mitchell.{{more}}

On Wednesday, Eustace, President of the New Democratic Party (NDP) fired back at the man who made him Prime Minister, for comments made in the media earlier this week.

Eustace, in an open letter to Mitchell (see full text of letter in Our Readers Opinion), said over the years, he has come to regard Mitchell as an acolyte of the governing Unity Labour Party (ULP).

“I must say, that I have come, over recent years to regard you as an acolyte of the ULP, activated, particularly when our party’s message is resonating with the people,” Eustace said in the letter which was read on Nice Radio.

He accused Mitchell of publicly criticizing and deriding him and the NDP, while on the other hand, saying “almost nothing in criticism of the ULP administration that led us to the edge and lacks the capacity to turn back now. Instead, you point aim, always, at the NDP.”

The comments from Mitchell, which ignited Eustace’s wrath, followed the staging of the 37th annual convention of the NDP on Sunday, at Democrat House in Kingstown. Mitchell said on Monday, in an interview with Tony Regisford of IKTV and Crab and Callaloo, that he is worried that the party does not seem to have a strategy to deal with swing voters. He also called again for Eustace to step aside as Party leader, as he continues to have an image of losing which does not attract swing voters. He said in the last general elections, the Party “had a real struggle” to ensure that Eustace kept his seat. The former prime minister also expressed “alarm” that throughout the convention, that no mention was made of the words “airport” or “airline”.

Eustace, in his open letter, went on the offensive, saying that Mitchell lied when he said they “had a real struggle” to ensure that Eustace kept his seat.

“My margin of victory in East Kingstown last time around reached to 467, an increase of 310 votes over the previous election- a tripling of my lead. What did you have to do with that result? Nothing,” Eustace said, adding that Mitchell may have cost the Party votes because of a comment he made about “Almighty God”.

Mitchell had also said in Monday’s interview that he did not attend last Sunday’s convention, because he is not a hypocrite and does not think his presence there would be genuinely appreciated. He also said had he been there, he would have asked feature speaker Luzette King to tear up the ULP party card which she held up during her presentation.

Eustace said he regarded Mitchell’s statement about King, “infantile and in poor taste”, and now that Mitchell has expressed his position attending the convention, the NDP will act in accordance with his wishes at their next convention.

“We do not wish you to be uncomfortable in the company of hypocrites,” Eustace said.

In October 2000, Mitchell resigned as Prime Minister and President of the NDP, handing the leadership of government and party over to Eustace. Mitchell remained in government as Senior Minister until the NDP lost government to the Unity Labour Party in the elections of March 2001.