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Maxwell is a fine gentleman, but too laid back – Straker

Maxwell is a fine gentleman, but too laid back – Straker

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Parliamentary Representative for Central Leeward Maxwell Charles has been described by the man he succeeded as “not aggressive enough to look out for his people!”

Sir Louis Straker made this declaration earlier this week, as he spoke with constituents about having been selected ahead of Charles to {{more}}contest the upcoming general elections on a Unity Labour Party (ULP) ticket.

Straker’s comments were made public on Tuesday evening, when an audio recording of his conversation with the constituents began circulating on social media.

In the recording, voices are heard asking Straker why did Charles, the elected representative, have to go through a selection process to secure candidacy. Straker, who was the parliamentary representative for the constituency from 1994 to 2010, said he himself had to go through that process on four occasions in the past.

During a meeting of the Central Leeward constituency council last Sunday, Straker was recalled to contest the seat for the ULP, after neither Charles, the current representative, nor challenger Dunstan Johnson agreed to give way to the other.

“Let me tell you, Charles is my brother and is my good friend; he is a fine gentleman; but there were a lot of complaints about him that he is too laid back …,” Straker told constituents.

“When you are in this position… you have to fight because all the other representatives are there.”

The veteran politician then told a story of a young woman from the constituency who sought Charles’ help to get into the School of Nursing. Straker said while Charles helped her get the additional subject needed to qualify, he did not succeed in getting her into the school, as he had promised, and when he failed, said there was nothing he could do about it.

The woman then approached Straker for help. He said when he called the chair of the Nursing Council, he was told that Charles had recommended eight persons, but never called about that person.

“He is not aggressive enough to look out for his people,” Straker, 71 declared.

The veteran politician said when people approach him for help and he tells them go to the parliamentary representative, “they suck they teeth and walk ‘way as if to say that is a waste of time.

“Maxie always said he wanted to take my place when I get out, but you have to be a little bit aggressive in politics,” Straker said to the constituents.

“When I sit in Cabinet and tell them I want that for Central Leeward, they used to say I am damn greedy, I want everything for Central Leeward. How you think you get your learning resource centre there?”

When asked by the constituents why support was not given to Charles, Straker said Charles did not reach out to him.

He said in the four years since Charles had been the parliamentary representative, he had never reached out to him (Straker) to ask how any matter should be handled. Straker said in the last four years, he had only received two calls from the incumbent, one to inform him that he was to receive a plaque for his service in the constituency and the other to enquire about some land in an area in Layou.

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, the day after the audio recording was made public, Straker said his remarks about Charles were not meant to be derogatory in any way and that Charles was a good friend and brother.

“I didn’t bad talk Maxwell Charles,” he said. “[They] were complaining that they felt sorry for Maxwell and we didn’t treat him right. I say well, who is we? Is not anybody treated Maxwell badly; it was an open convention that people had to vote. I told them that the party has not done anything to Maxwell and I said Maxwell is a fine gentleman, but a little too laid back.”

Straker said his example of the young woman who wanted to get into nursing was just given in context of what constituents were saying about Charles being treated unfairly.

“I was trying to show that Maxie probably has to take responsibility for some of that. He has to be a little bit more aggressive, but he can’t be too laid back. I didn’t bad talk him in saying anything derogatory about him at all. I’ve always said that Maxie is a fine gentleman, a good friend and a good brother, but politics doesn’t call for one who is laid back or one who is meek and mild. You have to have a little bit of aggressiveness in seeking out to help your constituents.”(BK)

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