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‘ULP does not want to be caught with its pants down’

‘ULP does not want to be caught with its pants down’

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The Unity Labour Party will be changing its line-up of candidates for the 2010 general elections.

A reliable party insider told SEARCHLIGHT that as many as seven of the present parliamentary representatives will not be going back to the polls but the source declined to name the people who were presently being considered for replacement by the party’s hierarchy.{{more}}

Deputy Prime Minister Sir Louis Straker had already announced his intention to step down from elective politics at the end of the present term. Central Kingstown’s representative Conrad Sayers is also likely to step down due to health concerns.

The well-placed insider said that the thinking of the party is that they must prepare now for a further change of the guard in 2015 as the ULP continued to rejuvenate itself and pass the baton.

“This change is really to position ourselves two elections down the road, as the party does not want to be caught with its pants down ten years from now,” the source said.

The comments came from the insider after party leader Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves told the 13th National Convention of his party last weekend to prepare for “renewal”.

“We have to begin our process of renewal bit by bit, gradually, in a structured way,” he said. Without going into details he punctuated his speech with hints.

“Between now and 2010, as we say here today, the party must refresh itself,” he told the average 400 delegates and well-wishers present. “If you don’t refresh the party there will come a time you will have a serious challenge, where you have to refresh it by moving practically everybody, especially if you win a third term with the same faces,” Dr Gonsalves said.

Those who decide not to contest the 2010 polls, he said, would not be left in the cold as there was ample opportunity for service outside of elected office.

“Such a person has great experience to be brought to bear in other important work to be done for the government, and that has to be understood with absolute clarity,” he said.

Dr Gonsalves said that the party had many bright young people coming up in the ranks, including the three current Senators, Rochelle Ford, Ronald Marks, and Richard Williams.

He also challenged the Youth Arm to be more sprightly and vigorous in the execution of their responsibilities.

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