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Keep leadership race clean – Eustace

Keep leadership race clean – Eustace

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Outgoing President of the New Democratic Party (NDP) Arnhim Eustace is encouraging the candidates vying for leadership of the party to engage in a respectful and disciplined campaign.

The candidates, who are Dr Godwin Friday, the parliamentary representative for the Northern Grenadines and St Clair Leacock, parliamentary representative for Central Kingstown, were also urged to conduct their campaign as colleagues and friends.

Eustace made this request last Tuesday night at the Democrat House during his resignation speech, in front of family, friends and colleagues.{{more}}

“My brothers St Clair Leacock and Godwin Friday must conduct this spirited contest as friends and colleagues lest the party comes undone, and whoever emerges I am confident will lead a united and determined party going forward. I expect a short, spirited, disciplined and respectful campaign in the next few days as they jostle for your vote,” Eustace stated.

He said if the race to become president is lowered to finger pointing, wild accusations, lies and bitterness, he will take it as an attack on his legacy.

“I will take it as an attack on my legacy if this race degenerates into finger pointing, wild accusations, vitriol, lies and bitterness. I did not work to resuscitate the NDP and reinvigorate this dying party at the time that I inherited it, to have it torn aside by intrigue and rancour,” said Eustace, who was given leadership of the party in October 2000.

He encouraged Friday and Leacock, both of whom are vice-presidents of the party, to fight a good, fair and democratic battle.

“My colleagues will fight a good fight, fair democratic battle and come together afterward to fight the war to ensure good governance, transparency and prosperity for all of St Vincent and the Grenadines.”

He reminded them that the vote on Sunday, November 27 for the new president is a contest among friends, who are united in the cause of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Eustace proudly explained that under his leadership he has deepened democracy in the party, by giving about 300 members of the party the ability to elect the new party president.

“I am proud to say that under my stewardship, we have succeeded in deepening the democracy of our party and hundreds of members of our party now have a genuine say in its affairs. I think from two or three, we now have about 300 persons who can vote for president of the party,” he boasted.

Eustace, who has been NDP president for 16 years, stated that unlike other political parties, anyone who wants to lead the party must first pay their dues.

“In our democracy, our party leaders do not get to hand down leadership to family members as if it were personal property. Family members like other party members must pay their dues…they must pay their dues too; there is no handing down. In a genuine democracy, real people get to choose their real leaders,” he said to loud applause and cheers from the large crowd.

On Tuesday, October 15, Eustace, at meeting of the Central Committee of the NDP, announced his decision to resign as Leader of the Opposition and president of the NDP.

Last Monday, after receiving the majority support of his parliamen­tary colleagues, Friday was officially appointed the new Leader of the Opposition.

However, the position of president of the NDP will be decided this Sunday at the party’s Extraordinary Convention at Democrat House.

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