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NDP stalwart vows to bring down leader

NDP stalwart vows to bring down leader

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A member of the Garifuna delegation that visited St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) a few weeks ago says he can no longer accept the treatment meted out to him by New Democratic Party (NDP) president Arnhim Eustace and will do all in his power to remove Eustace as leader.

Anatol Scott, who says he has been working for months with Eustace to develop a plan{{more}} for deeper Garifuna engagement with SVG, claims that over the past few weeks Eustace has sidelined him and ignored repeated requests for a meeting.

Fed up and disillusioned, the retired businessman and academic opened up to SEARCHLIGHT in an interview last Tuesday evening.

A Vincentian citizen, Scott shared that he got involved with the Garifuna in the diaspora a few years ago, when he started publishing online articles which argued that the case of the Garifuna people for reparations is separate from the St Vincent case.

“They have a stronger case … of genocide, on their own, instead of linking anyway to CARICOM.”

Scott, who resides in Edmonton, Canada, says based on his articles, the Garifuna people started communicating with him.

He said during the course of the discussions, the Garifuna explained to him that in their past dealings with Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and his government, they were rejected.

“…They (the Garifuna) wanted some other political group to get them an inroad into SVG.”

Scott, who is the brother of former NDP parliamentarian Jerry Scott, said he then suggested that they approach the NDP and its leader Arnhim Eustace.

According to Scott, at the request of the Garifuna, he put together a document to be presented to Eustace to kick start the discussions.

He mentioned that around the same time, he began communicating with US based Vincentian Luzette King, the host of the Global Highlights programme on Nice Radio. He said King volunteered to pass the document to Eustace, as she “had a direct line to him.”

“She was part of the discussions; she knew everything.

“We are all involved on the Internet in different discussion groups. That is how the contact was established – online.”

Scott said within two weeks, Eustace responded saying the document was something he wanted to bring forward to his executive.

“He was absolutely delighted, positive, it was nothing but positive coming out of his mouth!”

According to Scott, the Garifuna were happy and this led to a series of teleconferences between Scott, the Garifuna, Eustace and King.

Scott, 69, said his document argued that one of the ways of reconnecting the Garifuna with SVG was through tourism and in it, he laid out a structure as to how Garifuna people could be attracted to the country. He further argued that the island of Balliceaux was central to his proposal and should become the basis of the return of the Garifuna.

He, however, disclosed that during the course of the discussions, a rift developed between him and King, based on a comment he alleges she posted on Facebook.

According to Scott, King stated that she supported Eustace as leader of the NDP, but did not support the NDP. He said he challenged the statement, as it made no sense to him.

“That was the first disagreement that we had between us. Now Luzette King is a very controlling woman and you either agree with everything she thinks, or you are in trouble. From that moment on, she became a thorn in my side.”

SEARCHLIGHT reached out to King for a response to Scott’s allegations, but up to press time, she had not responded to a message sent to her on Facebook.

Scott also alleged that from the point of the rift on, there was an “underground battle” by King to undermine him.

Despite this, Scott said he travelled from Alberta, Canada to New York at his own expense to meet with Eustace when the party leader travelled there for face-to-face discussions with the Garifuna in May, 2015.

He said in New York, he, the Garifuna and Eustace again went over the details of the plan he outlined in his document and Eustace reiterated his desire to implement the proposal.

“…Honorary citizenship is not any part of my document!”

“And then he dropped the bombshell on us. That is when he made, in private with us, the announcement that he intended to announce at the town hall meeting that he is going to grant honorary citizenship. Honorary citizenship is not any part of my document!”

Scott said the idea of honorary citizenship did not come from the Garifuna either.

“We all, the Garifuna and myself, we all sat there in total shock, because we did not expect it, we had not heard about it, we had no inclination of any of this coming up….

“Until Mr Eustace brought up this citizenship, it was a matter of discussing Balliceaux. It was a matter of discussing how can they begin to have an input into developing Balliceaux and making it a sacred place for them. As soon as the citizenship issue was introduced by Mr Eustace, it put a totally different slant on it and this is where [Wellington C] Ramos began to indicate a special interest.”

Scott said he understands politics and was concerned about the discussion taking a political slant.

“What Eustace has pulled with me, with what I handed over to him and what he has turned this into, with this political initiative is something I do not agree with….”

Scott said Ramos, who also visited SVG a few weeks ago as part of the Garifuna delegation, was one of the last people to join the team. He said he and Ramos were supposed to travel to SVG together, but when the travel arrangements came from the NDP, they had booked for Ramos to travel ahead of him.

According to Scott, very early in the discussions, it was agreed among him and the Garifuna that they would operate as a team; however, when he arrived in SVG, he got his first shock when he realized that Ramos, who had arrived a day and a half before before, had been elevated to the leader of the delegation.

“We had always been a team. We had no such thing as a leader. How the hell did Wellington Ramos become leader of this delegation?”

Scott said from that point on, all communication with the delegation was made through Ramos and he had difficulty getting information on planned activities and was also excluded from all press conferences and radio programmes.

He, however, spoke at a public meeting at Greiggs on July 31, but even there, he said “a stunt” was pulled on him. He said he and the third member of the delegation, Joseph Guerrero, were restricted to speaking for 10 minutes, while Ramos was allowed to go on for 55 minutes.

“That’s when to me everything began to come absolutely clear in my head. We are supposed to be limited, but Ramos is allowed to go on with his damn nonsense talk…”

Scott said listening to Ramos, he realized that Ramos did not know the full Garifuna history.

“…he had Garifuna history up on a pedestal and our history was down on a bottom…. This man has no conception whatever of those Caribs or Garifuna that were left behind, with what they put up with in St Vincent. The loss of their culture, through legislation and through every way, what they suffered.

“…Ramos knows nothing about this history and he is standing up there and spouting all this nonsense?”

“Ramos is proud of the fact that they were not slaves. Well, I am proud of the fact that my … background comes through slavery…. Ramos knows nothing about this history and he is standing up there and spouting all this nonsense?”

Scott said when he saw what was going on, he could not understand what was happening and decided he would stay in the background from that point on.

He, however, said he was prepared to speak at a rally at Sandy Bay on August 2, but 10 minutes before that meeting was scheduled to start, he received some disturbing news.

Scott claims that Joseph Guerrero pulled him aside and told him that Eustace said that he, Anatol, will not be allowed to speak at Sandy Bay and he should not come close to the stage where they were sitting.

In shock, Scott said he pressed public relations officer of the NDP Vynnette Frederick for an explanation. According to Scott, Frederick told him that Eustace had heard from a trusted friend that he, Anatol, was in SVG to challenge Eustace’s leadership of the party and Anatol already had someone in mind to replace Eustace as leader.

“That’s the word that came out of Vynnette’s mouth!”

“Now I was just totally shocked.”

Scott said he, however, agreed to stay away from the stage and decided to deal with the matter later. The following day, during a trip to Balliceaux, Scott said he used the opportunity to try to find out from Eustace what was going on.

“Mr Eustace avoided me throughout the entire trip. At one point, I made one attempt to say something to him… and the man never even answered me. I looked at him and what I saw in his eyes was total fear. Why in the hell Mr Eustace would be afraid of me, I don’t know. But in that moment, I recognized nothing but a coward. A cowering coward was what was sitting in front of me and that for me was the final straw….”

Scott said as leader of the NDP, Eustace should make decisions based on fact and wisdom.

“This man makes decisions based on hearsay. Nothing but commess and there is no way I am going to accept this kind of nonsense. This guy, with the way that he has handled me through this entire thing, he is not fit to lead any party,” Scott said.

Although he was supposed to leave SVG on August 12, Scott said he has decided to remain here until the matter is dealt with.

“Mr Eustace has to face what he has done. “

Scott said there is no truth to the claims that he was out to replace Eustace as leader.

“I have never had such a conversation with anybody.

“Mr Eustace as far as I am concerned, has to face exactly what he has done. If he is not prepared to face it, I am going to go to the bottom of everything. This man, his place in the NDP, I am going to bring it to an end….

“There are too many people that Eustace has messed up, based on hearsay. It’s a pattern in this man that I find totally unacceptable. He cannot take the word of some hearsay person and throw it in somebody’s face and make it into gospel.”

Scott said if it takes him two months, he will remain here until the matter is dealt with. He said he wants for Eustace to admit that he has done something wrong.

“This man has taken my work… and turned it into something that was not intended.”

“…between now and the next elections, I am going to create a stink, based on what happened to me. ”

“All I am saying is that between now and the next

elections, I am going to create a stink, based on what happened to me. I don’t care how it falls.

“I feel used, I feel abused. There is nothing but absolute crap going on in the NDP. I don’t think that these people should be elected to form a government. But I am a staunch NDP person.

“I may have my negatives about Ralph Gonsalves, but on balance, I can live with the man. That is all I can say about the man. I may not vote for him, but I can live with him. There is no way I can put up with Eustace. I have given Eustace the benefit of the doubt since 2000…. In all these years, on the Internet, everywhere, I have supported this man, then he pulls this stunt on me?

“I wish there was a simple way to end this thing. I have been trying for more than a week and a half to get to Mr Eustace. All I ask is in all of this is please, Mr Eustace, can you please sit with me and talk. Let us meet man to man….Well, I have been ignored for every step of the way. As far as I am concerned, I am not begging anymore.”

During a sitting of Parliament on Tuesday, Eustace, responding to comments made by Gonsalves about the impasse with Scott said he had told Scott his position already and he has “no time to waste with Scott.”