Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace says former Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell (forefront) “recognises what he did” (File photo).

ST. VINCENT:- The opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) has said it “cannot defend” a statement by its founder and former Prime Minster, Sir James Mitchell, that he does not trust “even Jesus Christ” when it comes to elections.

Sir James made the comments at an NDP rally last Friday, Sept.10, according to The Vincentian newspaper.

The publication said Sir James’s comments came as he called for the immediate presence of international observers of the general elections, constitutionally due by next March. (Go to the homepage to subscribe to I Witness-News)

“We want them here to go and see what is happening with the Supervisor of Elections. I know that she is an honourable lady, a distinguished lady and so on; but I don’t trust even Jesus Christ when there is elections, until I see the results,” The Vincentian quoted Sir James as saying.

“Jesus Christ is honourable and wonderful, but I am trying to exaggerate it to get you to the point. You have to make sure that the job is done, and I am only going to pass judgement to say that we have a wonderful Supervisor of Elections only when the elections is over. I don’t care who saying she nice and she good. I will see when the results come home,” he further said.

NDP president and Leader of the Opposition 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, Sept. 18. (Follow I Witness-News on Facebook)

“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.

Eustace said he believed that Sir James, who retired from electoral politics in 2000, “would make his own statement shortly for the benefit of the public”.

“Because he himself was concerned enough, he called me the very next morning after the meeting. I was not at the meeting. But, I know that he himself is not happy about the statement … I just want to let people understand that the new democratic party cannot defend that statement and we will allow Sir James to come forward and say what he has to say to the public of St. Vincent,” Eustace said.

Sir James was Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines from 1984 to 2000 and has observed elections in several countries.

He said observing elections go beyond watching what happens on election day.

“A proper observer team should be able to give two opinions about the elections. They must give an opinion before the elections to say that all the preparation is in order. Don’t wait until after the elections to say that the registration was not good. That is an opinion you have to give before the elections,” Sir James said, according to The Vincentian.