Touching, unusual address by ‘Major’ moves PM Gonsalves
December 20, 2016

Touching, unusual address by ‘Major’ moves PM Gonsalves

The statement made in Parliament last Thursday by Parliamentary Representative for Central Kingstown St Clair Leacock, during the period reserved for congratulatory remarks, was one of the most unusual, ever.

This is the view of Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, which he expressed following a 20-minute presentation by the Opposition parliamentarian, who is commonly referred to as ‘The Major.’{{more}}

“I was really moved … because it was an unusual congratulation; it’s the most usual that I had heard in my time as parliamentarian and I am the longest serving parliamentarian currently in this honourable House.”

Apart from the oddity of speech, Gonsalves also stated that he was touched by Leacock’s words.

“But it touched me, his words that he is enduring great suffering and humiliation and… his great suffering and humiliation and pain are occasioned by those in an organization to which he has given 35 years service,” the Prime Minister said.

He stated that Leacock’s speech was a public expression of “anguish, pain and humiliation,” directed at those he has served faithfully and well for 35 years.

Gonsalves noted that someone with Leacock’s long track record of service should be treated with respect.

“But there is a large question… the large question is this: when persons serve for a long period of time either in their going and when they are gone and when they have completed their service, it is a fundamental that such a person be treated with respect,” he stated.

Gonsalves recognized Leacock for his years of service and described last Thursday as a day he would not forget.

Opposition Leader Dr Godwin Friday also responded to Leacock’s presentation, describing his colleague as someone for whom he has the greatest respect.

Friday thanked his Opposition colleagues for congratulating him on his new position and specially singled out Leacock and the support he has given him.

“The member for Central Kingstown especially, he called … the day following to congratulate me and to give his support and allegiance to me in the house here,” Friday said.

Friday urged persons who wished to sow the seeds of division to find something else to do.

“For those … who would sow the seeds of division and who would delight in the difficult circumstances, I would say, find something better to do with your time.

“The honourable member for Central Kingstown has indicated his service to this country which I acknowledge and I expect that he will continue to provide service because that’s the desire and that service …will continue to be on behalf of the New Democratic Party and this honourable house,” Friday added.

During his cryptic speech, Leacock congratulated his colleague Dr Godwin Friday on his recent elevation to the positions of Leader of the Opposition and president of the Opposition New Democratic Party (NDP). He then recounted his years of service to the country and the New Democratic Party, following which he lamented the manner in which he has been treated by the members of his own party.

He then stated what he had said on radio the previous week, that while he has not left the NDP, the NDP seemingly has left him.

Leacock stated that while he has received consolation from the Prime Minister and former Prime Minister and founder of the NDP Sir James Mitchell, he had not received consolation from his colleagues in the NDP, other than Dr Jules Ferdinand.

Following his address to Parliament, Leacock, after being given permission, shook the hands of all parliamentarians on the Opposition side of the House before hugging the Opposition Leader, then crossing and sharing a hug with the Prime Minister. (CM)