This simple question, which Mr Boucher neglected to answer, really made me think about whom Vincentians should choose to lead this country in the upcoming elections.
This choice will have far reaching consequences for the continued development of our people.
Both men are accomplished academics and professionals. Dr Gonsalves, however, has consistently contributed to the scholarship of the region through lectures and writings on various topics. Mr Eustace, on the other hand, has failed to engage us on any topical issue. He has not published any papers, delivered any lectures, nor offered any insight into the brilliance in economics he is reputed to possess. Mr Eustace has limited his offerings to debates in the Parliament and a few talking points on his weekly talk show, none of which can be considered as enlightening or empowering.
Mr Eustaceâs statesmanship is also questionable. No leader in waiting should consistently be absent from the two annual events that speak to the very core of being Vincentian, the laying of wreaths at the Chatoyer Obelisk and the Independence Rally. There is no palatable reason why the Leader of the Opposition should not be front and centre at these events. The only excuse, a paltry one, was recently offered with indignation by Mr Eustace at a town hall meeting in New York, when he said he sends a representative. Dr Gonsalves, on the other hand, has led the charge to fly the flag of this country high, locally, regionally and internationally.
The recent attack on the hopes and dreams of Community College students by Mr Eustace also speaks to a capacity for spite and uncaring for the innocent, which cannot be the qualities a good leader exhibits. Mr Eustace in his stubbornness to prove himself right on the issue of accreditation, when he was proven wrong on the issue of recognition of the associate degree programmes, went as far as to imply that anyone who attended an unaccredited school was stupid. Mr Eustace stupidly insulted some of his colleagues, his daughter, and many other professionals who graduated from the then unaccredited University of the West Indies. The education opportunities Dr Gonsalves has created to empower young people are unmatched in our history as a nation.
Then there is Mr Eustaceâs health. It is said that he has to go home to rest after delivering his budget address late into the night, and often misses the next day, due to fatigue. Some observers feel he may not be able to handle the pressures of the office he seeks to occupy. Mr Eustaceâs ability to deliver the workload demanded of a leader in todayâs challenging times simply does not inspire confidence. Dr Gonsalves is younger than Mr Eustace and certainly has shown great physical fortitude in his management of the country, despite terrible natural disasters and external financial shocks.
Dr Gonsalves is by no means a saint, but Mr Eustace is clearly not a choice worth considering. I suspect Mr Boucher would have answered Bing by saying, “stick with what you know!â