There will be no passing of the mantle of leadership of the Unity Labour Party (ULP) when the party holds its convention this Sunday July 31 at the Campden Park Secondary School.
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves told listeners to WE FM’s ‘Issue At Hand’ programme on Sunday July 24: “the organs of the party tell me they not ready for transition, the rank and file saying now is not the time for any transition.”
Gonsalves, who is also political leader of the ULP told listeners that “unless advised otherwise, I would lead the party in the next general elections.”
Gonsalves became leader of the ULP in 1998 while the party was in opposition.
Shortly after that, in 2001, he led the ULP to its first victory at the polls and he also became Prime Minister.
Since then, the ULP has had victory in four other general elections in 2005, 2010, 2015 and most recently the general elections of November 5, 2020.
The political leader recalled that before the 2020 general elections, he had begun a conversation about transition.
“There was no demand by the leadership of the party for a transition, there was no demand by any of the organs of the party for a transition, there was no demand by the rank and file for a transition, there was no demand by the electorate in St Vincent and the Grenadines for a transition,” the ULP leader reflected.
Gonsalves recalled that it was he who had taken it upon himself to talk about transition.
Last week, the ULP’s general secretary, Senator Julian Francis had listed the office of political leader, as one of the four offices for which persons would be elected at the Convention.
Francis did not say that this office was vacant.
The party’s general secretary had made it clear that the only vacancies were for the offices of deputy chairman and deputy political leader.
Next Sunday’s convention will be held under the theme “building our party, strengthening our nation.”
Gonsalves said as the ULP convention date draws closer, “the organs of the party, the leadership of the party, the rank and file of the party say to me, I did not encourage them to come to say to me, they said to me in unmistakable terms that, you can talk about transition, Comrade Ralph, we are not ready for a transition.”
“We want you to be there and we want you to continue to lead this process.”
Gonsalves, who is also the Member of Parliament for the constituency of North Central Windward has been a political activist for over 50 years.
He is not worried about the leadership of the ULP. He expressed confidence, that if anything were to happen to him, there are “leaders inside the party…who can take up the mantle of leadership.”
Next Sunday, Gonsalves will be going into the convention unopposed for the office of political leader.
“I was informed by the General Secretary, that for the office of Political Leader, there is no name advanced by any organ of the party, or any constituency council, other than Ralph, to be re-elected for a further two-year term as political leader.”
The office of deputy political leader in the ULP has been vacant since former deputy political leader Sir Louis Straker demitted office on 2020.
Gonsalves stated that at the upcoming convention, he expects Montgomery Daniel to be elected as the party’s deputy political leader.
Daniel, who is the Member of Parliament for the North Windward constituency has often deputized for Prime Minister Gonsalves.
As it relates to the transitioning of ULP leadership, Dr Gonsalves stressed “at the end of the day, I have to listen to the structures, what are the structures inside the party; what they say, and what the rank and file of the party says.”
The party leader is promising that this weekend’s convention will see the seven unities of the ULP.
He stated that these are: unity with the people, unity of vision, unity of philosophy, unity of program, unity of organization, unity through regionalist and internationalist solidarity and unity in leadership.