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Dr Jules Ferdinand: ULP wanted me to run in 2010ULP never made any offer – Francis

Dr Jules Ferdinand: ULP wanted me to run in 2010ULP never made any offer – Francis

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The claim by New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate Dr Jules Ferdinand that the Unity Labour Party (ULP) wanted him to run for them in the 2010 general elections has been strongly denied by ULP general secretary Julian Francis.{{more}}

Ferdinand, at Fairbaine Pasture, last Saturday evening, in his first major political speech, said that in April, 2010 — eight months before the December 2010 general elections — the ULP executive for Central Kingstown met with him and asked him to run under a ULP ticket, against NDP candidate St Claire Leacock.

“Some of you would be aware of the fact that when the Unity Labour Party had their convention…they took a swipe at me,” said Ferdinand, who will be contesting the West St George seat on an NDP ticket in the 2015 general elections.

“…but let me tell you something that you need to know, when the executive of the Unity Labour Party threw out the statements that they did and I was asked to respond, I refused to respond and I sent a message back to them to say that I will pick the arena and I will pick the weapons when we will fight that fight.

“So, the arena is here, and I am here to tell you something about that,” he said.

According to Ferdinand, he was approached by members of the ULP Central Kingstown group.

“I was invited to meet with the representatives of the Unity Labour Party Central Kingstown group – they wanted me to run for them against St Claire Leacock,” Ferdinand told those gathered at the public meeting in the West St George constitutency.

“You tell me when they met with me, and I could give you all the names and all the good things they said about me.

“I could tell you the promises they made and I turned them down,” Ferdinand continued.

He said that he told the group that he met with them on a matter of principle.

“But all the good things they said about me, could it be that those who met with me did so without the approval of the executive of the Unity Labour Party?” he questioned.

“Could they have done that? Could they have told me all the nice things without having first cleared it with the Executive?”

Ferdinand said that he was told that he had the potential to be deputy prime minister.

“If I was good enough for them to run in Central Kingstown; if I was good enough for them to perform duties as deputy prime minister; if I was good enough for them in April, how come today they saying that I don’t have what it takes to represent the people of West St George,” the NDP candidate asked.

He said that he would reveal more in time to come.

During the ULP convention in December 2012, political leader of the ULP Dr Ralph Gonsalves challenged Ferdinand about the time he served as manager at the Eastern Caribbean Group of Companies.

“Did the company which you headed not experience a serious decline under your stewardship?” asked Gonsalves.

“I want to ask him: tell us your record in your last job in St Vincent and the Grenadines,” Gonsalves said at the 19th convention of his Unity Labour Party (ULP) last year.

Gonsalves asked about the situation in which Ferdinand fired six employees because they joined a trade union.

“I know that story well, because I represented them – one of them is my youngest brother,” the ULP political leader said.

“You fired workers because they joined a union and you want to run the cleanest campaign in 2015?” Gonsalves said.

He described Ferdinand as “backward, colonial, anti-worker and anti-union”.

“If anybody supports anyone, who first of all camouflages himself that he above politics, you want to come in it now?” Gonsalves said.

He further asked why Ferdinand has decided to enter politics now, saying most of his productive years were gone.

“All the years he say he ain’t getting involved in politics, he said he already reached that stage – he gone past that and you are at the autumnal years of your life, he coming now. He coming now to do what?”

Gonsalves asked what creative offerings Ferdinand had for the challenges that the country faces and further asked what Ferdinand stands for “other than hypocritical platitudes.”

However, in an interview yesterday, Francis denied Ferdinand’s claims, saying that the leadership of the ULP has no knowledge of what Ferdinand was speaking about.

“There may have been some persons from Central Kingstown who spoke to Dr Ferdinand, but the leadership of this party never made an offer and never asked Dr Ferdinand to be a candidate for the ULP, much less to offer him deputy prime minister in this party,” Francis said.

“I deny that and I speak on behalf of the leadership of the party.”

According to Francis, it had taken about one year for Ferdinand to respond to statements made at the ULP’s national convention last year.

“He is a little slower than the Leader of the Opposition,” Francis said.

He said although Ferdinand had been selected as the candidate for West St George for the NDP, he (Francis) does not see him writing anything political, although he is a weekly columnist in the Vincentian newspaper.

“He has realised that nobody is talking about his candidacy, except some statements made at our convention one year ago; surely he must see himself as a dud and being a dud in the political scene, he is now wishing to create some sort of sensationalism, to see if he can get a jump start on his candidacy,” the ULP’s general secretary said.

Francis said that he was not saying that no one spoke to Ferdinand; however, in the 2010 general elections, Ferdinand’s name never came up at the party level for consideration.

If Ferdinand was being considered, Francis said, his name would have been alongside Beresford Philips and Elvis Charles, who eventually contested the seat on a ULP ticket.

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