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Resignation talks are just rumour – Opposition Leader

Resignation talks are just rumour – Opposition Leader

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Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace is working on his response to the January 14 Budget Address, not his resignation as President of the New Democratic Party (NDP).{{more}}

The East Kingstown representative told SEARCHLIGHT Wednesday that government senator Julian Francis can have his fill of talk about his resignation.

Francis, who is general secretary and campaign manager for the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP), said on radio on Sunday, December 30, 2012, that an “impeccable source” had informed him that Eustace will step down as head of the NDP “in early 2013”.

Francis said he has ULP agents that source information from within the NDP.

One such operative, he said, had informed him in April 2011 that former opposition senator Anesia Baptiste had written an 11-page letter to Eustace and would be fired as a result.

This was the case. And Francis said on WE FM’s “Issue at Hand” programme, hosted by Cecil Ryan, that “the same person or connection that I have in the NDP” relayed the information about Eustace on Friday, December 28, 2012.

“He said to me, ‘Julian, Arnhim is going to resign from the leadership for health reasons in 2013 — early in 2013’,” Francis said on radio.

“So, that’s why I am saying bacchanal start inside the NDP. Now, all I am saying to you is my source has been impeccable so far. That same source has given me this piece of information,” he further said.

“I don’t know if he is going to resign from the constituency,” Francis said of Eustace, who has been representing East Kingstown since 1998 and defeated Francis there in the 2005 general elections.

“I don’t think they would want to have a challenge now for East Kingstown. But, apparently, he is not responding well to medical treatment on the shoulder — the damage that he got — and other health reasons.

“I understand that he is going to resign. And so, they may very well have the axes and the cutlasses that have been buried and the shovels and so on, they might go and dig them up,” Francis said with a laugh.

Eustace is nursing a shoulder injury he sustained during an NDP march and rally on November 8, 2012.

“Senator Francis could open his mouth as much as he wants. That (resignation) is nowhere in my thoughts,” Eustace told SEARCHLIGHT by telephone on Monday.

“All these rumours, nobody has asked me a question. I am just hearing all these things on the radio. And people calling me all the time and asking me if I am going to resign. I don’t know why that is of so much interest,” he said.

Stating he was not criticizing journalists for asking the question, Eustace said, “It is just these things arise out of the blue; nobody asks a question; they are spoken of as if it is the truth and he has his own motives. I think they should concentrate on the leadership problem in their own party.”

Asked why he thinks there is a leadership problem in the ULP, Eustace said:

“I will leave that for you to determine. I always find it amusing. People say you should go and then they make up the story as to why you are going to go.

“Nobody asks you a single question. I just heard it. Somebody called me and told me they heard Francis say so. I said, ‘Well, that is a matter for Francis. He can talk what he wants. All I know, he came up against me in East Kingstown and he left the way he came,” he said, referring to his trouncing Francis in the 2005 vote.

Eustace further said his shoulder “is much improved now.

“I am just entering the phase of physiotherapy.”

Eustace did not participate in the Estimates debate in December and Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said having the Budget on January 14 should allow Eustace some time to heal.

And Eustace said he is working on his reply to the budget, scheduled for January 15.

He, however, declined comment on what fiscal policies he thinks the government will announce.

“No, I won’t make any comment on that. I will wait and see what is said in the Budget Address,” he told SEARCHLIGHT.

(kentonchance@searchlight.vc)

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