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WikiLeaks: NDP ‘woeful and lost’ and ‘dispirited, mired in self pity’

WikiLeaks: NDP ‘woeful and lost’ and ‘dispirited, mired in self pity’


A leaked confidential US Embassy cable originating from Bridgetown labelled the New Democratic Party (NDP) as “woeful and lost” and “dispirited and mired in self pity”, going into last year’s General elections.{{more}}

The cable is part of a series of unredacted documents leaked by WikiLeaks on August 30, 2011.

According to Embassy officials in Bridgetown, the NDP was “lacking ideas on how to move forward and mount a serious challenge to [Ralph] Gonsalves” and the governing Unity Labour Party.

Embassy officials told Washington that “Gonsalves has so far shown an impressive ability to weather scandal and controversy, and likely has little to fear and much to gain from moving forward with swelling the voter rolls” ahead of the December 15, 2010, elections.

The leaked cable said that “unless the opposition can reorganise itself, which seems improbable in the short term, Prime Minister Gonsalves will likely have an easy time when he calls elections.”

The opposition NDP was labelled “a party adrift”, and a party “lacking strong leadership and a clear sense of direction.”

Embassy officials told Washington that the Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace, while undeniably intelligent and acutely aware of the problems facing the country, he is a “singularly uncharismatic and uninspiring figure who is unable to translate his technocratic expertise into any kind of viable or sustained political activity.”

According to the confidential cable, without a stronger leader, the NDP’s influence will be muted.

“The party’s lackluster leadership has had difficulty targeting their criticisms and making them stick. With money scarce and Prime Minister Gonsalves running circles around the opposition in parliament, the NDP is unlikely to be able to mount a serious challenge unless former PM Sir James Mitchell comes out of retirement,” the cable said.

Washington was told that one glimmer of hope for the NDP may be Godwin Friday, the NDP’s parliamentary representative for the Northern Grenadines. Friday, a Canadian-trained attorney, was described by embassy officials as “an articulate, well respected and slightly more charismatic.”

Political Officers at the Embassy saw Friday as “someone who has a solid grasp of the challenges ahead.”

According to the Embassy in Bridgetown, which has responsibility for the Eastern Caribbean, during meetings with political officers, other NDP leaders, including Eustace, valued Friday’s opinion and often turned to him for answers.

“Friday does not share the same apocalyptic view of the future other members of the NDP have.

Friday is also the NDP leader best equipped to deal with the press, and he has a good analytical grasp of both domestic political and economic issues,” the Embassy revealed to Washington.

Aside from Eustace, the Embassy made it clear to Washington that Friday appears to be the only other real option for leadership in the NDP as currently constructed. “Without an infusion of strong, new (or returning) leadership and political savvy, the NDP and

its nearly-empty war chest is ill-equipped to generate a strong election campaign,” the Embassy said.

The governing ULP won the December 15, 2010 elections 8-7. (CJ)