ST. VINCENT: Luke Browne, 24, has appealed to constituents in East Kingstown to vote out Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace, 65, saying former Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell imposed Eustace on constituents 12 years ago.
Browne said the task was like the biblical confrontation of Goliath by David and said he accepted the challenge to run again Eustace in elections due by next March.
The former national and Rhode scholar delivered his maiden speech in the constituency during a Unity Labour Party (ULP) rally on Sunday, Oct. 24.
“He didn’t come here because of any real connection to our condition. It was political opportunism directed by the founder of the New Democratic Party,” Browne said of Eustace, an economist, former prime minister and former minister of finance who first won the seat in 1998.
“Nowhere … in the considerations was the suggestion that the choice of candidate for East Kingstown was based on a judgment of what is best for this constituency. Nowhere did they recognize that the representative must live in the strictest union, almost like a marriage, with the constituents he represents. Nowhere … did they say that a representative must be in the closest correspondence with the people that he represents,” Browne said. (Go to the homepage to subscribe to I Witness-News)
“They did not say that a representative and his constituents must have the most unreserved communication. You see me in this constituency all the time. You can talk to me whenever you need. You can stop me whenever I pass in the street. You could come to my home. You could call at my home. That is what we call unreserved communication with your representative,” he added.
“The fact that we are here tonight, shows that we are ready to break new grounds. The fact that we are here shows that we are ready to solidify our cleanup campaign, including our bid to clean up 12 years of misrepresentation in this constituency,” he told constituents.
“You have heard, comrades, that this is like David and Goliath … and I say now that if that is so, I move forward with nothing but a sling and a stone, comrades. And we [are] going to take down that apparent giant. … Comrades, I accept this challenge to defeat the Leader of the Opposition in East Kingstown. Comrades, I recognize that together, we cannot fail in this constituency…” Browne said.
Browne spoke of the ULP’s policies over the past nine years, saying they have increased the standard of living of constituents and the nation as a whole.
He said he will soon release a “constituency development plan”.
“It is going to be a plan that caters for all aspects of our development. It is going to be a plan that caters for the development of youth
in this area and the development of the older folks and middle-aged folks in this constituency as well,” he said. (Follow I Witness-News on Facebook)
“I have passed around this constituency on numerous occasions from time to time. I have seen many of the needs of the people who come from this area and I want to meet those needs. And as I think about needing to meet those needs, I say to myself that that EC$19 million (US$7 million) that was spent in wasteful Ottley Hall interest could have come in handy for dealing with the needs of people in East Kingstown,” Browne said.
He was referring to the monies repaid by Eustace when he was Minister of Finance on loans used to construct the Ottley Hall Marina.
The marina was built in 1993 under the Mitchell led NDP administration and was later valued at between EC$3.5 million (US$1.26 million) and EC$7 million (US$2.59 million) but left the nation with a debt of $200 million (US$74 million), for which Gonsalves has secured debt forgiveness.
“Comrades … I want you to bear in mind that we don’t clean up lives and rebuild communities in a day. There could be no major adjustments to the way people live in a day. Comrades, I think of this as being a life’s work, but not only being a life’s work — Comrades, but my life’s work. I want to dedicate my life to improving the condition in which people in East Kingstown live,” Browne said.
“Comrades, as we move forward, let us remember those who have fought for 30 years without supporting a winning candidate in this constituency. I want you to remember the men and women who voted as many as six times without success but believe on this, the seventh occasion, success is going to come. Comrades, I believe, too, that success will come,” he added.