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Wickham: NDP failed to score political points


A respected political scientist and consultant says that in the court of public opinion, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves is a clear winner, and the Opposition has lost marks in political strategizing.{{more}}

Barbadian Peter Wickham, who is also Director of Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES), in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT earlier this week, said that the solidarity rally held by the Unity Labour Party (ULP) over the weekend was a good political strategy.

Speaking from the UK, Wickham said that the rally in fact threw a challenge out to the Opposition, which has called on the Prime Minister to step aside while the matter of the rape allegation against him winds itself through the courts.

“By calling the Opposition out in this way, he is demonstrating to those in St Vincent and the Grenadines and around the Caribbean, who may have had some doubts, that there is really nothing to this thing,” Wickham said.

Wickham suggested that unless Dr Gonsalves is at least charged with an offence, the matter of the rape allegation will taper out to a point of being “coffee table discussion.”

He also told SEARCHLIGHT that he did not expect the issue to have an effect on how Vincentians vote in two to three years time.

“I don’t think that when people go to place their X that this issue will be one that they vote on,” Wickham said.

Regarding the Opposition, Wickham said that while the Opposition has called on Dr Gonsalves to step aside, he believes that they have failed to gain any political points on the matter.

The Opposition has had two rallies since the issue broke over a month ago. One at their Democrat House headquarters, and another at Hollywood, Sharpes; both meetings paled in comparison to the event that was the ULP’s support rally.

However, Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace says that his party isn’t finished with the issue.

Eustace told SEARCHLIGHT that the NDP has chosen to take certain steps, and “each time we will be building it bigger and bigger.”

He said that the support rally held by the ULP was in poor taste, suggesting that such a rally should only be held when the matter in question is over, if the Prime Minister is fully exonerated.

“A lot of time was spent there just saying dirty things about people, and I really find that out of order,” Eustace said.

He said that the NDP respects that the matter is before the courts, and will be monitoring how the justice system is allowed to work, and will make decisions as to the way forward from there.