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PM – A statesman is a dead politician

PM – A statesman is a dead politician

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Prime Minster Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has indicated that while he may extend a hand to the Opposition, he will not be sitting back and be ‘beaten up on’ by his critics.{{more}}

Dr. Gonsalves, who spoke during his first press conference after being sworn in for a third term, said that it was not a case of minority rule, but that of a democracy, when asked about the suggestion by a columnist that he be more of a statesman than a ‘political animal’ in order for reconciliation to prevail.

“Some of those who speak, they would want me to feel that by winning the majority of the votes and by winning the majority of the seats that I must humble myself as though I am the Opposition and govern with the consent of the Opposition. That doesn’t make any sense.”

“The first act of reconciliation which has to be done is a reconciling to the fact that the ULP won the election, it cant be otherwise….what I must do is to sit back, listen to a lot of things being said, the government is beaten up… but to show I am a statesman, I must not answer those things. I must just run government and those persons will come back and say ‘the problem with the Prime Minister is that he was too much of a Prime Minister and not enough of a politician; spend too much time on the government and not on the party….”

The Prime Minister noted that the regular man on the ground was not so much concerned about statesmanship but more about the everyday issues that affect them on a regular basis.

“Ordinary people don’t take any of that sort of a thing seriously…. Ordinary people just want the Prime Minister to listen to them, hear what they are saying, seek to govern in the best way in the people’s interest, create additional opportunities.”

Pointing to the laptop computers that are stored in Cabinet room, the Prime Minister continued: “You know what ordinary people are interested in? You see all these laptops in here? ‘When are the others coming? And when are you going to start the roll out in schools for them to be delivered…. Those are the things which people are concerned about.”

“I went to Fancy yesterday (Monday). Not one person asked me to be more statesmanlike.”

Dr. Gonslaves said that reconciliation does not mean that he should repeatedly turn his cheeks to criticism by his opponents, which would not be an indication of leadership, but rather ‘the surest way for people to come into the streets and kick you out.’

“Must I reconcile myself to the drug men and the money launderers who want to subvert democracy in this country? Never! There is no reconciliation with that.”

“They have to acknowledge that they have to stop trafficking in cocaine, stop involving themselves in gangs, stop laundering money, stop believing that you can control territory. Because if you don’t do that the sheriff will take care of it.”

“I am not reconciling my self to that.”

According to the Prime Minister, the Opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) has reconciled itself with the fact that they are still the minority, despite the fact that they may have more seats and his Unity Labour Party may have fewer.

“That does not mean that I am not the government. All that tells me is that the government has to function in a far more disciplined manner in the conduct of its work and the carrying out of its mandate and I must listen attentively, build bridges and consensus where that is necessary and desirable to be done.”

“For instance, must I reconcile and say I will stop the airport and do ten more years of wind studies? Dr. Gonsalves asked.

“A statesman is a dead politician.”(JJ)

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