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Eustace speaks out

Eustace speaks out


‘A lot of people want violent reactions, but NDP will not, once I am the leader!’

While he is ready to continue to carry the fight to take the reins of government, Arnhim Eustace says he will not be baited into becoming an inciter of violence.

As he sat down with SEARCHLIGHT on Old Year’s Day at his Ratho Mill home, Eustace said that he was pleased with his New Democratic Party’s (NDP) flow in 2007, and unrepentant about the party’s strategies.{{more}}

One such strategy that has come up for much discussion was the decision on several occasions to boycott Parliament, starting with the February 28th boycott, when he chose to hold a massive march and rally instead of being in the House of Assembly.

“What they want me to do? What else can be done?” he asked with a deliberate pause, as though expecting an answer.

“What people want to do turn to violence?” he asked again.

Eustace said that he sees the boycotting of Parliament as one mode of protest that can be used.

“There is a limit to how many rallies and marches you can have,” he said.

Then there are the issues that the Opposition has raised all year long.

The improper introduction of the Value Added Tax, the rising national debt which currently stands at over $1 billion, the release of convicted drug man Alex Lawrence about four months before his scheduled time on National Security grounds, and the introduction of the $1 user fee at the Grenadines terminal.

None of these issues SEARCHLIGHT suggested to Eustace seemed to be able to galvanize the type of support needed to truly pressure an incumbent administration.

Eustace disagrees.

He believes that many Vincentians are seeing the problems, and are concerned, but are forced to protest in silence because of fears of victimization.

“I think the public is well aware, but they are afraid of losing their jobs,” Eustace said.

Could the seeming lack of overt resistance to the Government be an indictment on his leadership, his laid back style; should Eustace be more forceful in his actions?

Eustace said that be believes that by being tougher, some are subtly suggesting civil unrest, even violence, to unsettle the government; a strategy that he wants no part off.

“It is easy to get someone and let them set off something to cause a lot of trouble in the country, but that is not in our interest, and, therefore, we will not do it,” Eustace said.

“A lot of people want violent reactions, but NDP will not, once I am the leader,” Eustace stressed.

But he continues to express his concerns, suggesting that because of the nature of the causes he has championed, it may take years before Vincentians truly appreciate the depth of what he is talking about.

Case in point is the national debt.

Eustace said that he knows that in the midst of enhancements and salary increases, and the many capital projects being proposed, it may be hard to get the average person to see what it could mean for the country down the road.

He remains convinced that Dr Gonsalves is leading the country over a financial precipice, as he dangles temporary goodies to citizens.

He said this is why he continues to bring to the fore the issue of the national debt, and what it means for this country, when it deals with international agencies like the International Monetary Fund in the future.

Regarding the Argyle International Airport, Eustace said that he isn’t convinced that the airport will be built, because he suspects it will cost much more than was previously anticipated.

“I don’t believe that the airport is going to cost anything less than $1 billion,” Eustace said.

He said that while he understands the emotional attachment to an international airport, it just isn’t feasible, suggesting that it will be an added financial burden in the future.

“It looks good. Everybody has an emotional attachment to the international airport, even me myself…but I don’t want to get carried away by emotions,” Eustace said.

He conceded, however, that he expects that if the airport is in fact constructed that elections will be called to coincide with its opening, and can be a serious emotional tool in the battle.

So he is gearing up for elections, and the question is, what if the NDP loses again, what Eustace will do?

“I have not given that any thought,” he said.