News
January 24, 2014
I am not falling in line – Eustace

Arnhim Eustace, this country’s Opposition Leader has described Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves as “out of plac,e, for remarks that were made concerning New Democratic Party members falling in line to join disaster relief efforts.{{more}}

“I have listened to some of the comments made by the Prime Minister on this matter in relation to myself and other representatives. I have heard the comments about him being a general and his foot soldiers must fall in place or fall in line,” Eustace said, while delivering his budget response on Tuesday.

During his address, which lasted for a little more than half of his allotted four hours, Eustace opined that these comments, displayed Gonsalves’ arrogance and contempt towards him (Eustace) and other persons of his party and that the Prime Minister was out of place for saying so.

“I am not falling in line with anybody because the general speaks. The only general I have is God! I will cooperate in matters related to our nation,” he declared. “We have to change in this country. We have to recognize and respect those who the people put here to represent them whether they are from the NDP or the ULP. We have the responsibility to look after the interest of our constituents and we have the responsibility to look at the way our nation develops”.

Eustace said that as Prime Minister, Gonsalves’ role is “to serve, not to rule. That’s his role. To serve the people of this country who elected him to parliament and his colleagues who facilitated his position as Prime Minister. You are no general.”

In his response to Eustace’s address, the Prime Minister described his metaphor.

“I made the point that metaphoric soldiers must report for duty. I didn’t mean that people were foot soldiers. I’m talking metaphorically, not literally. No war has been declared but in a disaster, it’s almost like war conditions. So if we have to put ourselves in order, we have to work,” Gonsalves said.

“What it means is to be mobilized. Get ourselves going and I never called myself a general. I said that in this situation, the Prime Minister is like a commander-in-chief because I have to give the general and specific instructions to the director.”

In addition, the Prime Minister revealed that while Eustace finds it out of place that he said persons should report for duty, Anesia Baptiste, leader of the Democratic Republican Party (DRP) has been working with National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), since the disaster.

“I certainly wouldn’t call the honourable Leader of the Opposition “general” because it would be an oxymoron because there are no qualities of generalship. So let them go ahead and call me general. Big me up! Big me up, the comrade general, because what it means is that I’m doing my work of leadership for the people of St Vincent,” Dr Gonsalves said.