Tuesday, September 21, 2010

PM wades into comments by former PM

NEW YORK, CMC – St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonalves, has waded into controversial comments made by former prime minister Sir James Mitchell about the forthcoming general elections.
Sir James is reported to have told a public meeting earlier this month that he does not “trust even Jesus Christ when there is [are] elections, until I see the results”.

Addressing a town hall meeting in Brooklyn over the weekend, Gonsalves said he hopes the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Christian Council and individual churches would comment on the issue.

“Sir James is talking so much foolishness these days that I wonder whether something aint going wrong,” he told a meeting at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center.

“It’s a terrible statement.”

Sir James, the founder and former leader of the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) made the comment while calling for international observers for the general elections, which are constitutionally due by March next year.
He challenged Gonsalves to invite observers “if he wants to prove he is a Democrat.”

“We want them here to go and see what is happening with the Supervisor of Elections,” he said.

“I know that she is an honorable lady, a distinguished lady, and so on, but I don’t trust even Jesus Christ when there is [are] elections, until I see the results”, he added.

“Jesus Christ is honorable and wonderful, but I am trying to exaggerate it to get you to the point,” he clarified.
But Opposition Leader and NDP president, Arnhim Eustace, said such a statement was wrong.

“I want people to understand my position on this matter. It was wrong to make such a statement,” Eustace told party supporters on Saturday.

“The New Democratic party cannot defend that statement. We cannot defend it. But Sir James himself recognises what he did and he called me the day after and he said, ‘I did something wrong’,” Eustace said

Gonsalves told the meeting that while he has “not announced the date for the election I know the date, and I’ve given the matter careful consideration, and Almighty God knows it.

“In due course, we all will know it,” he added.

Gonsalves said the incumbent Unity Labor Party (ULP) will conduct the election campaign on five major planks and urged supporters at home and in the Diaspora to “own the campaign” by defending their leaders, their country and “their gains in the last five years.”

“On the airwaves, they must own it. It belongs to them. It reflects who we are,” he added.