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Eustace: “Keep your comments to yourself”

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“Keep your comments to yourself.”

That was the stern advice given to Parnell Campbell Q.C., the Chairman of the Constitutional Review Steering Committee (CRSC) by Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace.{{more}}

Eustace was speaking in parliament on Thursday, November 13, when the Committee of the Whole House, assisted by the CRSC, presented the Revised Final Report of the Constitutional Review Commission to the House of Assembly. After initially supporting the process, on July 27, 2008, Eustace wrote to Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves indicating that the Opposition will be boycotting the process until four issues are clarified.

These issues are namely: that Rodney Adams resign as the Supervisor of Elections, the ULP billboards erected during the last General Elections be dismantled, the Supervisor of Elections report for the 2005 elections be released to the Opposition, and Senator Julian Francis explain controversial statements he made about how many Syrians in Cane Garden voted for him in the 2005 General Elections.

As he addressed the House on the presentation of the final report, Eustace slammed Campbell for what he considered to be a condescending attitude towards him and the opposition, in statements Campbell made during meetings of the committee, which are documented in the Appendix of the report.

In one of those documents, Campbell suggests that they (the Committee of the Whole House) “bend even further backwards to try to persuade the Opposition to come back on board…” Campbell also said “we would really like the Prime Minister to almost…I don’t want to use the term ‘beg’ but if we have to use that term, to almost beg them to come back on board.”

“On any reasonable basis they ought to be persuaded…that is, the people in the opposition…that in the interest of the nation and in their own place in history,” Campbell also said. Eustace was, however, very indignant by Campbell’s statements. “We accept what ever place history put us in. Let the Chairman look after his place in history,” was Eustace’s response to Campbell.

Eustace suggested that the issues he raised are important and believed that they could have been dealt with quite easily, if the Prime Minister and the government had the will to do so.

In a letter on September 3rd to Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, that is also included in the final report, Eustace said only two of his concerns have been addressed, while the other two remain outstanding.

The billboards have been taken down and the supervisor of election’s report has been released, while Rodney Adams is still on the job and Senator Francis, while he has given an explanation on the issue, has not given an explanation that is satisfactory to Eustace. (KJ)