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Diary of an Ingrate [Chapter 7] Candidate Selection Debacle 2005

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Thur Mar 13, 2013

by Frank E Da Silva

“I have no hang-up on popularity. What I want to make sure is that the people who are leading the party – I am using leadership in the broadest sense – are competent. I want competent, committed people who really interested in SVG. I not going to ignore the competence, I am not going to stick to popularity for the benefit of any individual [Jerry Scott]. I am putting competence before popularity.{{more}}

“… Some prefer what I would regard as the old way. I don’t think that is compatible with The Party ….If that is the way we have to go I will make my departure. I am not going back to any of that old kind of…under any circumstances. AND I keep telling people and they don’t understand me – I have no particular desire to remain in politics or to be PM. I could easily leave this party tomorrow morning based on my own personal feelings. I want people to understand that. I have no overwhelming desire to be PM of…. – it ain’t an ambition that I had – it never has been an ambition that I have. If it come, it come, if it ain’t come, it ain’t come…I could have resigned – I could have resigned easy. I got an offer. I could have taken it but I stay back as leader of the opposition which would be much better for my own family in … but I decided to stick it out…but I have no overwhelming desire to me PM – NONE WHATSOEVER…and I want people in our party to understand that. Is no… is how I feel, is how I feel….I was lucky, I bought the piece of land when I was young. I done pay my mortgage already….” Arnhim Eustace July 2005.

That was the President of the then NDP, Arnhim Ulrick Eustace, after he had muddled the selection process in Central Kingstown, Central Leeward, West St George, South Leeward, South Central Windward, South Windward and West Kingstown – eight of the fifteen constituencies. Today we will deal with the constituencies of West Kingstown with Curtis Dennie up against Daniel Cummings and Hermus “Scombo” John in South Windward.

Expanding Democracy

After the NDP loss of 2001, Mr Curtis Dennie, knowing that the coffers of the NDP were empty, sojourned to the headquarters to make a financial contribution. His receipt number was 001. This was used in part to help the NDP journey to Barbados to hold a press conference since it claimed not to be able to get any publicity [not even from The News which today secures all its headlines from the speakers of the EGP] on the huge number of layoffs of ordinary workers by the ULP administration. Two years later Mr Dennie consulted with Mr Eustace and informed him that he wished to contest the West Kingstown constituency. Given the rules, Mr Dennie spent huge sums, taking full page advertisements and began to seriously canvass the voters. Mr Dennie produced one of the best proposal – perhaps the first of its kind – outlining his plans for the constituency. All this time Daniel Cummings was calling the New Times programme defending and promoting what Julian Francis’ father described as “land rape” at Belle Isle, and was promoter-in-chief, accompanied by Jerrol Thompson, for the denial of Layou’s famous “Big Gut’ water to the people of Layou, for export. When the people of Layou objected Mr Daniel Cummings described them as “empty barrels”.

Soon, confusion developed between Mr Cummings and the CWSA board/ Government. Mr Cummings parted ways with the corporation. The parting [April 2004] was not amicable as it later resulted in Claim number 124 of 2009, Daniel Cummings v CWSA filed in the High Court. In the twinkling of an eye, Mr Cummings was being courted to be a candidate for the NDP – a challenge to the longstanding NDP supporter Curtis Dennie. Dennie was getting rave reviews [Sir James at the MagicClean in Bottom Town called me to say he was surrounded by about forty persons shouting for Dennie] in West Kingstown but he had a problem – Brian Alexander had a personal gripe against Mr Dennie, the detail I will not reprise here. At one vote, constituents by a 78 to 17 vote supported Mr Dennie. The NDP elites would have none of it, the vote had to be redone. According to them persons who were not eligible to vote, voted. The vote was allowed and Dennie was defeated 15 to 3. Promises of work were made to strong supporters of Mr Dennie. I do not know if anyone got work but a baby was delivered.

When in South Central Windward [Bruce v Horne] some thirty persons who should not have vote voted, Arnhim Ulrick Eustace told me “the democracy was extended” and John Horne said a new vote would be conducted “over his dead body”.

Gale force winds

One morning I got a call from a Central Kingstown voter from a place called “Big Yard”. I was informed that there were some thirty-five voters there and they were not going to vote because of the way their cousin Dennie was treated. I called Leacock. He not only visited Big Yard, he visited Curtis Dennie. No one else did, certainly not Arnhim Ulrick Eustace – not even a call. On the day that gravedigger Cummings was to be launched, John Horne visited Mr Dennie at his office wanting his mother to do the opening prayer – gale force winds blew down the speakers. Daniel Cummings lost. He would later admit to me that had Arnhim Ulrick Eustace reached out to Mr Dennie he would have won.

To be continued.

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