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My Good Friday conversation with the Prime Minister

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Editor: On Good Friday morning I was fortunate enough to have a breakfast conversation with Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves.

It’s very clear that Dr Gonsalves has his thoughts, mind and hands on everything in this country. We spoke on many different topics, like religion and politics. I reminded him that when he came out on the political scene that he stated he only wanted two terms as the Prime Minister. Dr Gonsalves admitted that he said that,{{more}} but he said he changed his mind when he was elected for two main reasons: the country’s development and the fact that the executive of the Unity Labour Party (ULP) insist that he stays around. So, we are stuck with him! I’m not convinced that Vincentians will give him the fourth term; I came to this conclusion after contemplating the mistakes made by the ULP. Going back to Sir Louis Straker, to me, is their biggest mistake.

Dr Gonsalves thinks that Mr Straker has the potential to win and winning is essential for Dr Gonsalves. I mentioned Mr Kirk DaSilva to the Prime Minister during our conversation. He said while Mr DaSilva is well-rounded, he doesn’t think he is a winner. The Prime Minister then asked me what I think of Kirk DaSilva. I responded by saying he is my friend, but I don’t think he is a winner. The Prime Minister said to me, well, it’s clear.

A Prince in Marriaqua?

The people of Mesopotamia after having a rose in Minister Miguel, they need a prince now and Jimmy will bring what they are asking for.

As the conversation progressed, the discussion of a successor arose. I asked him who would be his choice. He said to me if heredity is real, his son may take his place. Do you think it’s strange that he wants his son to take over? Camillo Gonsalves is bright, hard-working and has a great deal of international experience.

Dr Gonsalves has tremendous faith in his ULP government, as he boasts about having the winning team; but we all know that he will do anything to win the upcoming general elections.

As I continued having the discussion with Dr Gonsalves, I asked him why Jomo? He replied by saying “Jomo is from the old school with 21st century thinking,” and he thinks that Mr “Nature” Stephenson is not a mature politician, and he thinks that Jomo’s experience will work in his favour.

I then mentioned my views on the ULP to Dr Gonsalves. I told him these are the candidates that will win their seats in the next elections: Jimmy Prince, Dr Gonsalves, Frederick Stephenson, Carlos James, Camillo Gonsalves, Saboto Caesar and Jomo Thomas. The Prime Minister became very frustrated after I gave my opinion. I could sense that he did not agree with my opinion. I said to him “You have to work very hard to win the upcoming election;” he brushed my opinion aside.

Good parliamentarians, poor candidates

Minister Daniel, Minister Miguel, Minister McKie, Minister Charles all make good parliamentarians, but very poor candidates for their constituencies. Dr Gonsalves asked me my thoughts on Jomo Thomas, Camillo Gonsalves, Jimmy Prince and Mrs Charles. I told him I feel that they all are quite worthy of becoming elected in the next elections. I said to Dr Gonsalves if by some stretch of the imagination the ULP wins the upcoming elections, then I would love to be a card-carrying member of the ULP. He said to me that I have no influence and he would not advise the executive to make me a member, because he won before without me.

Dr Gonsalves and I had a very good conversation on Good Friday; it was heated and robust.

As the conversation went on, I asked his thoughts on Clem Ballah, Anthony Dennie, Elson Crick, Noel Jackson, Frank DaSilva and those persons who speak for the ULP on radio talk shows. He answered me by asking me the same question.

He asked me what are my thoughts on them. I replied by saying all these persons who speak on behalf of the ULP are wasting precious radio time because the content of their discussion is very poor. Tell the general secretary Mr Julian Francis to get replacements for all these persons.

Outstanding

Dr Gonsalves then asked me my thoughts on his leadership. I replied with one word: “Outstanding!” He quickly said “I find you want to replace me with Mr Eustace!”

He also said to me never compare his leadership to Mr Eustace, because he is miles ahead of Mr Eustace.

After our conversation on Good Friday I am still convinced that the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines will make a change at the next general elections. Mr Eustace spent the last 17 years learning from the best — Dr Gonsalves — in terms of leadership, and that’s why I think he has the experience and he is best placed to lead this country. So, I am hoping Vincentians give Mr Arnhim Eustace a chance to lead us into the future.

Kingsley DeFreitas

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