‘I do not trust current leader of opposition’ – PM
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has publicly expressed his distrust in the leader of the opposition and president of the New Democratic Party (NDP), Dr Godwin Friday.
Gonsalves, who was speaking on Boom FM on Monday, was referring to the NDP and Friday’s approach to the current crime situation in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
“I do not have the trust in the current leader of the opposition. Absolutely not, I don’t,” he said.
And the prime minister, who is also the minister with responsibility for national security, used an encounter with former opposition leader, Arnhim Eustace to explain why this was so.
“Once, I had a discussion with the former leader of the opposition on a matter of national security; between he, the former attorney general and myself and I explained to him the issue and said this is a matter of national security, this has been given to you in confidence. I’m not gonna ask you to take the oath of secrecy. He said fine and he accept that and everything and he left and went to the radio station and talk everything,” Gonsalves said.
In August, the NDP called on the prime minister to address the nation on the government’s plan to deal with the crime situation in the country.
But Gonsalves believes that the opposition leader is choosing to address crime in an “opportunistic way”.
“He is being opportunistic about it and he is suggesting, making statements which are just plain wrong. You call them extreme, I call them erroneous to the nth degree so that if persons like that want to politicize crime, in the same way, you can’t politicize the worship of God,” Gonsalves said.
“God doesn’t recognize ULP or NDP. You think the criminals who going about asking whether a person is ULP or NDP? There are some criminals who will rob from their mother as a matter of choice, greed, wickedness in the mind.”
But Friday, in response to the prime minister’s statements, said that he is not that kind of politician.
The opposition leader, while speaking on the New Times radio programme on Monday, said that the NDP has been consistent in the matter of crime over the years.
“Mr Eustace, when he was the leader of the opposition, he offered to have a joint effort going forward to work with the government to come up with a national strategy to deal with it but the prime minister brushed it aside,” Friday said. “Similarly now, I have reiterated that call because it affects everybody but ultimately the responsibility is his and he is dodging it. All the time, you talk about crime and he come and attacking me.”
Friday also said that the prime minister is “out of touch” with the issue of crime, while everyone else seems to be acknowledging that there is a problem in the country.
“I’m not looking for fame. I’m trying to raise the problem as a matter of national urgency, not just that the people are aware of it. I know the people of the country are already aware of it but the government seems to be unaware,” he said.
On September 8, the executive of the NDP held a 22-mile walk from Fitz Hughes to Kingstown to raise awareness for crime and unemployment in SVG. A second “walk for jobs” and “walk against crime” took place on September 15 from Rabacca to Kingstown.