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Sir James: I made reference to Jesus Christ, which I wish to withdraw…

Sir James: I made reference to Jesus Christ, which I wish to withdraw…

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Former Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell has withdrawn and apologized for a controversial statement he made at a meeting at Enhams of the New Democratic Party (NDP) on Friday, September 10.{{more}}

In a written statement issued to the media on Wednesday, September 22, Sir James said when speaking about the need for international observers to monitor the upcoming elections, in seeking to drive home his point, he went overboard.

“I went overboard in emphasizing that I did not trust the electoral authorities. In this exaggeration, I made reference to Jesus Christ, which I wish to withdraw and apologize. I knew I had gone overboard, and tried to retrieve the message in my closing statement at the meeting, reaffirming our guidance from the Almighty. But this seems to have been not enough,” Wednesday’s statement said.

Mitchell said as he left the rostrum, former Minister under the NDP administration Marcus DeFreitas pointed out his error and he immediately told him he had a point. He said he also discussed it with others, including the party Chairman Linton Lewis and President Arnhim Eustace.

“I raised the matter the next morning with Linton Lewis. I also called Arnhim and told him about it, and assured him that I would deal with the matter in due course. I met Bassy Alexander (Searchlight columnist) that morning in the supermarket. He graciously thanked me for my leadership

in my promotion of cocoa production. We discussed also the religious issue and I again acknowledged I was in error,” Sir James said.

Sir James has, however, made it clear that he will not retract what he said are his concerns about the elections.

“I will not give my blessing to the work of the Supervisor of Elections and the role of the authorities when they are already cheating in their selection of a candidate. We have to continue to pay meticulous attention to the manipulation of constituency boundaries which can so impact our democracy for a long time. Let me repeat, we need international observers for our election process now.”

He also acknowledged his humanity and called for Vincentians to be careful about mixing religion and politics.

“Finally, I want to say that I remain simply a normal human being. I seek neither to be the conscience of this country nor claim any Godlike kinship. We have to be careful about mixing religion and politics, as extremists always take over the process. We are daily witnessing the big conflict in the world affecting all of us; the conflict between the major monotheistic religions. We in St. Vincent & the Grenadines must avoid that pitfall at all cost,” he said.

At the meeting at Enhams two weeks ago, Sir James said: “We want them (international observers) here to go and see what is happening with the Supervisor of Elections. I know she is an honourable lady, a distinguished lady and so on, but I don’t even trust Jesus Christ with any elections.

“Until I see the results, Jesus Christ is honorable and wonderful, but while I exaggerating to get you to the point, you have to make sure that the job is done and I am only going to pass judgement to say that we have a wonderful Supervisor of Elections only when the elections over. I don’t trust a soul when it comes to elections,” he had added.

In Wednesday’s statement, the man who founded the NDP over thirty years ago also thanked his friends and members of the party for their “criticism and moral guidance”.

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