Former parliamentarian honoured by constituency
Paul Marcus Defreitas, a former Minister of Trade as well as Parliamentary representative for West St George, has been honoured by the constituency and party he used to serve.
At the New Democratic Party(NDP) 41st annual Convention, Senator Kay Bacchus-Baptiste, who is the current West St George hopeful bestowed the plaque of honour on the 71-year-old former constituency representative, as well as a bouquet of flowers to his wife of 44 years.
West St George hosted the Convention on Sunday, September 29, and DeFreitas and his wife Sylvia were given front row seats on the podium, next to the leader of the party Dr Godwin Friday and his wife Kathryn.
DeFreitas was showing his political pride with a yellow tie picked out for the occasion, and his wife had donned a fully yellow pants suit ensemble.
It was said that before DeFreitas chose to vie for elections he had established a successful business the Eastern Caribbean Agency Ltd.
However, he made the decision in 1984 that he would enter the political arena. Right away he won the West St George seat for the New Democratic Party and served in this capacity for five years. He was appointed as Minister of State in the Ministry of Trade, Agriculture, and Industry, and then Minister of Trade in 1986.
“Because of his efforts SVG was declared fruit fly free in 1988 opening the way for fruits like Passion Fruit, Mangoes, Yellow plum and avocados to enter the USA,” his citation read.
Another of his major achievements was that the Fisheries Unit saw much improvements during his tenure as well. He is said to have pushed for newer and better conditions for the fishermen and workers in Mustique. The citation said he worked with the Japanese to bring the Tokyo project and the fishing terminals to SVG.
The former politician declared that he wanted to share the award with the late Steven Bascombe. “A man who walked throughout the length and breadth of the constituency with me, who give me the education in terms of who was who in the constituency,” he stated.
In delivering his thanks for the honour, DeFreitas reflected that he has grown in many ways since the day he took up candidacy.
For one, he was not good at public speaking when he began his campaigning, and “When I became a candidate, I didn’t have time to visit all the constituency, I had three weeks.”
“And a man who couldn’t speak…in three weeks…won the elections with the most votes any candidate at that date,” he recalled triumphantly.
“I fought many battles. I won some. I lost some. I made some good choices in life and I made some bad ones too, but thank God there is grace and restoration,” he reminisced.
The former politician who now devotes his time to his faith, also thanked God for “the skills and for the opportunity to represent the people of West St George.”
“…And I could say this without any contradiction…I never had a quarrel in my five years with any residents of the constituency of West St George,” he declared.
To the New Democratic Party supporters at the stadium, he advised them that for the next general elections “you got to work harder and you got to work until victory is achieved. I believe victory is in sight but don’t celebrate before the victory.”