Our Readers' Opinions
November 3, 2015
Can we seriously trust Arnhim Eustace to lead this country?

Editor: One of the reasons I listed in my last letter why Mr Arnhim Eustace could not be a preferred alternative to the current leadership of the country was his boycotting of the Independence parade at Victoria Park every year since he lost the position of prime minister in 2001. I was pleasantly surprised to observe that Mr Eustace finally put country before party and joined the diplomatic corps at the rally, along with most of his candidates hoping to win seats in the next general elections.{{more}}

I can’t help but wonder though, if this sudden change in heart, after 15 years of absences, represents an election gimmick. I am reminded of the sudden support of the international airport at Argyle by Mr Eustace days before the general elections in 2010 and after five years of bad-mouthing this transformational national project.

Another thought on Mr Eustace’s lack of political leadership ability is his Long Term Empathy (LTE) with Senator Vynnette Frederick. Mr Eustace seems to favour LTE connections with whom he perceives to be loyal to him and Ms Frederick has proven to be a blind follower. In fact, Ms Frederick continues to be a senator at the expense of candidates in the NDP who cannot get the opportunity to raise their profile in the Parliament. When we contrast Mr Eustace’s treatment of Mrs Anesia Baptiste and Mrs Rishatha Nicholls, whose service got disconnected, the indignation, spite and arrogance which Mr Eustace displayed in discarding these women cannot constitute the statesmanship required of a prime minister. It also sends a stark warning to many public servants who may not be LTE compliant should Mr Eustace become the next leader of this country.

Much has been said about Mr Eustace’s economics qualifications and the glory days of the NDP. It must be noted that neither Sir James Mitchell nor the first prime minister, Robert Milton Cato, was an economist. In fact, both gentlemen steered the ship of state with expert support by the professionals in their ministries of finance. Prime ministers only set policy, and even these policies are guided by the civil servants, who continue to do the bulk of the groundwork to develop the country. Hence, the economics qualifications of Mr Eustace do not give him any competitive edge as a prospective leader.

Then, there is his failure to call the meetings of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), in which, as the chairman, he has the responsibility to review the audits of the Government’s accounts and hold the Government accountable to scrutiny. It is here his qualifications could come to bear, but Mr Eustace has failed dismally as a leader to hold these meetings, which should form part of the best practices of good governance. If Mr Eustace refuses to shoulder this important responsibility, how can we seriously trust him to lead this country?

With Dr Ralph Gonsalves, we know what we have. With Mr Eustace, we do not know what we will get and that is a frightening thing.

House Bound