Public squabbling unbecoming and counter productive
The public squabbling between Sir James Mitchell and Mr Arnhim Eustace which broke out last week, for the second time in five years, is unbecoming of these former prime ministers. In fact it is down right embarrassing and serves no purpose other than to erode the legacy of these men, both of whom have made outstanding contributions to St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
It is common knowledge that there has been no love lost between these former presidents of the New Democratic Party (NDP) since the leadership transition from Sir James to Mr Eustace back in 2000. However the state of their relationship descended to an all time low in 2013 when, after being publicly needled by Sir James, Mr. Eustace accused Sir James of being an acolyte of the governing Unity Labour Party (ULP).
And, as was the case then, the latest public spat was started by Sir James, who, unprovoked, during an interview on radio, referred to Mr Eustace as his “biggest error”, for which he apologized to the nation. Mr Eustace could have taken the high road and let Sir James’s jabs pass, but pride got in the way and Mr Eustace offloaded on Sir James in another stinging
open letter to his former boss.
But what really is Sir James’s problem? In 2013 he explained his outburst by saying that it grieves him when his party does not accept his advice. He said too that he was peeved by what he views as the ingratitude shown to him and other members of the NDP by some members of the then executive.
We get that what Sir James considers to be Mr. Eustace’s ingratitude still stings, and that he feels disrespected and pushed aside in the party he founded 43 years ago. But Mr Eustace is no longer president of the NDP, and Sir James himself said that his relationship with Dr Godwin Friday, the current president of the NDP, is good. So why the continued vitriol against Mr. Eustace?
As difficult as it may be, Sir James should restrain himself. The public outbursts do very little to help his cause and will not endear him to the NDP executive, of which Mr. Eustace is still a member. Sir James is a wise, well read man and has decades of political experience which the NDP could make good use of. However, he needs to let go, as painful as that may be. Sir James also needs to respect the current NDP leadership and accept that while advice may be offered, it may not necessarily be accepted.