March 24, 2015
Charles, Johnson throw support behind Sir Louis

Central Leeward candidate for the Unity Labour Party (ULP) Sir Louis Straker has the full support of the incumbent, Maxwell Charles and his challenger, Dunstan Johnson.

Both men pledged their support to Straker, who recently returned to active politics, during a press conference {{more}}yesterday at the ULP Headquarters.

While speaking, Charles made reference to what went on at the Central Leeward constituency council meeting on March 15, where Straker was recalled as a candidate when neither Charles nor his challenger, Johnson, would give way to the other.

“It was felt that if either of us goes forward, Dunstan or I, this may have affected the party somewhat. Well, the long and short of it is history now. In the interest of unity in the party, I gave in and I nominated Sir Louis. Let me here say, I am a loyal supporter of the ULP.

This was never in question,” he said.

Charles told reporters that he wants the party to go forward on a united front and so those wanting to “roll back the fortunes of this great nation” will not have a chance to do so.

Charles’ challenger, Johnson, noted that, contrary to commentary in the media, there was no mudslinging going on at the council meeting. He noted that it was simply a case where both he and Charles had steadfast supporters and neither wanted to budge.

Johnson expressed his full support of the ULP leader, Dr Ralph Gonsalves’ decision to call Straker back to represent the constituency once more.

“His decision to bring back Comrade Straker, it was a means of healing the breach. Comrade Louis is still loved by the people of Central Leeward. He still works for the people, still works for Central Leeward, moves around all the time. He has the charisma, integrity, honesty to lead the way, as he did prior to 2010,” Johnson said, adding that he had confidence in Straker’s ability to win at the next general elections.

According to the veteran politician, who has been in retirement since 2010, it was not his intention to return to active politics. He added that when the proposal came from Gonsalves’ the first time, he refused.

“I wanted to show complete neutrality and I did not want to be there at Peter’s Hope. I wanted the process to go forward. The Prime Minister informed me that the two candidates have expressed the view that if I were to come into the ring, the incumbent would move the motion and the challenger, Dunstan Johnson, would second the motion,” Straker said.

“Something that is hardly reported is that when the Prime Minister came to get me at Barrouallie, from under the tent crusade, Maxwell was there and Dunstan was there. So I had the two candidates and the leader of the party, coming there to fetch me to go back to Peter’s Hope to be the candidate.”

The former deputy prime minister said that he had no other choice than to obey the call of his party and constituency. He further noted that he has had a long and close relationship with both Charles and Johnson and that he was not picked to become the candidate for Central Leeward, but that a vote took place in an honest and transparent manner. (BK)