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Did Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace get it wrong?

Did Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace get it wrong?


President of the New Democratic Party (NDP) Arnhim Eustace may have got it wrong when he said that founder of the NDP Sir James Mitchell was reading from a manifesto which had been discarded,{{more}} when he spoke recently about the cocoa project.

When Mitchell referred to the Manifesto, he was being interviewed by Jerry George on his Up Next television show on May 29.

Mitchell had said that in the NDP 2010 Manifesto, in the section on Agriculture and Fisheries on pages 20, 21 and 22, there is “not a word about cocoa”.

Mitchell however went on to say, “Cocoa is only mentioned in a little section in front here, talkng about Geest Industries and the diversification of agriculture.”

The sections referred to by Mitchell seem to be those on pages 4 and 5 which deal with NDP Development Projects and the Party’s 20/20 Vision.

However, in responding to MItchell, Eustace, in an interview which was aired on Nice Radio on Sunday, June 12, said that the manifesto to which Mitchell referred in his May 29 interview as not mentioning cocoa, was never released by his party.

Eustace said a second manifesto was released instead, to incorporate developmental projects, such as the Amajaro Cocoa Project, that were first put forward to the nation by the NDP.

“That manifesto had been discarded; it was not distributed, because we wanted to make changes. We started working on our manifesto early. The other one was never distributed; this is what was distributed,” said Eustace.

Eustace said the cocoa project was brought into the manifesto in two areas. Firstly among the projects that the NDP would do if they formed government, and secondly in the party’s 20/20 Vision for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. He then read from point number 10 on page four, which mentions cocoa in relation to the restructuring of the agriculture sector. Under the 20/20 Vision, cocoa is mentioned in a section which says, “Regionalize agriculture and leverage Geest Investments for agricultural exports and diversification and expand cocoa production.”

SEARCHLIGHT referred to a copy of the NDP 2010 Manifesto which we obtained after its launch in the week before the December 13, 2011 elections. That document has references to cocoa on pages 4 and 5 as indicated by both Mitchell and Eustace. Our document also has no reference to cocoa on pages 20, 21 and 22.

Both Eustace and Mitchell seem to be referring to the same document.