In Bruce, Leacock gets his pick
In November 2017, Major St Clair Leacock, a vice-president of the New Democratic Party (NDP), stated that Israel Bruce should be given the senatorial position held by Shirlan “Zita” Barnwell.
At that time, Leacock’s public declaration was met with annoyance by some members of the NDP.
But yesterday, the NDP announced that they had taken the decision to replace Barnwell with Bruce.
Leader of the Opposition and President of the NDP Dr Godwin Friday made the announcement at a press conference at Democrat House on Monday.
He said last Friday, January 18, by letter, he advised His Excellency the Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne in accordance with section 28 of the Constitution to appoint Bruce as Senator and similarly, in accordance with Section 29 of the Constitution, to revoke the appointment of Zita Barnwell.
Neither Bruce or Barnwell was present at the press briefing. Bruce is currently out of state on personal business.
Under the Constitution of St Vincent and the Grenadines, two senators in the House are appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition.
“She served well in Parliament and did her duty to the Opposition and the people of our country. As I told her in our meeting last Wednesday, I am very grateful for her service and look forward to her continuing work on behalf of the NDP and the people of SVG in other ways in the future,” the NDP President said.
“Mr Israel Bruce will also be an effective presence in Parliament. He is a lawyer and has been active in public affairs for all his life. He was a teacher, a former President of the National Youth Council and vice-president of the Caribbean Federation of Youth. He served the Party as Public Relations Officer and now has been selected as candidate for South Central Windward in the next general elections. He organizes and sponsors many activities such as sporting competition and teams in his area. Mr Bruce brings this rich history of public service to the House. He will continue to serve the people of this country and of his constituency of South Central Windward with vigour and good effect. My colleagues and I are looking forward to working with him in Parliament and I know he relishes the opportunity to serve our country in the Parliament,” Friday read from prepared notes.
In late 2017, Leacock had aired his opinion that Bruce should take Barnwell’s place and that, among other things, had resulted in Leacock being the victim of what he considered “friendly fire” from supporters of the NDP.
He returned friendly fire of his own, and, as a result, Leacock and Arnhim Eustace, former leader of the NDP, had a public spat over the issue.
Eustace stated on radio that he was troubled by Leacock’s public statement as matters of this nature should be addressed inhouse.
“This undisciplined approach is contributing to a break down in the united approach that distinguishes the NDP from other parties in the present circumstances.
“I have listened to the recent pronouncement about the senatorial position currently occupied by Miss Zita Barnwell. The making of public comments that emanate from outside of the party executive, outside the NDP parliamentary caucus and the other New Democratic Party organs is the right of those to express them. Those comments however that are made from within the party by senior members are most inappropriate,” said Eustace, in reference to Leacock’s comments.
Barnwell served as an Opposition Senator for three years, having been appointed by Eustace on Tuesday, January 2, 2016, immediately after the General Elections of 2015.