ST. VINCENT: – The member of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves’ media relations team who made “an inadvertent typing error” in keying in December 15 as the date for the general elections has apologized to Gonsalves and offered to resign.
Gonsalves announced at Calliaqua on Sunday, Nov. 14, that General elections will be held on December 13.
Parliament would be dissolved on Monday, Nov. 15, while election candidates are to be officially nominated on Nov. 26, Gonsalves said.
But Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace had told his supporters on Saturday, Nov. 13, that Vincentians will go to the poll on December 15.
“If Gonsalves change that date, he change it tonight. And he is intending to announce it tomorrow. … And, if he change it, I will know!” Eustace said.
Photographs of Gonsalves’ script at the rally on Sunday suggest that he had scribbled in at the event the dates of the dissolution of Parliament, Nomination Day, and the general elections.
However, Elson Crick, Communication consultant in the Office of the Prime Minister, circulated to the media on Monday a copy of Gonsalves’ speech that had the election date as December 15.
“You received a document from me today with the text of the address made by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, at the ULP rally on November 14th at Calliaqua, at which he announced the date for the next general elections in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“In that document you will notice on Page 83, the date of the election is stated as December 15 th. That is an inadvertent typing error made by me, and I wish to apologise for this. The date should be December 13th,” Crick wrote in an apology to news editors to whom he had sent the speech.
“The original document as read by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves on November 14 th, was blank in respect of the dates for the proroguing of the House of Assembly, Nomination Day, and the date for the Election. If you covered that event you will recall that Prime Minister Gonsalves inserted those dates publicly at the meeting.
“When the document came to me this morning, November 15th, it was blank as it should be. I inserted the dates to complete the document. I typed the correct dates for the proroguing of the House, and Nomination Day. I typed the wrong information for the election date. It was an honest mistake by me. I typed 15 th rather than 13th,” Crick wrote.
“It is clear from the Prime Minister’s references to Proverbs Chapter 12 and verse 13, and Proverbs chapter 13 and verse 12, which signaled the scriptural connections to the date which he announced for the elections, that I made a silly but honest mistake. The simple fact is that Arnhim Eustace, the Leader of the Opposition, called the election date wrong, as the Prime Minister showed above,” Crick further said in his apology.
“My integrity is well known. I have been an honest media person over the last 31 years, and no one should make mischief from my error.
“I have already apologized to the Prime Minister, verbally. I will do so in writing, and will place my letter of resignation at his disposal,” the media consultant further said.
Crick also sent to the media a “a copy of the blank presentation made by Prime Minister and the corrected copy”.
I Witness-News had previously published an extract from the relevant sections of Gonsalves’ speech, as sent earlier on Monday, Nov. 15.
Following is an extract from the same speech, as Crick said it was sent to him:
“It has been drawn to my attention that at a public meeting last night, the Leader of the Opposition, Arnhim Eustace, was thumping his chest with a vain boast that the NDP run things because someone informed him about the alleged dates for Parliament’s dissolution and the General Elections. How pathetic! If they are in charge why does he not send the requisite legal instruments to the Governor General? Why does he not advise the Governor General on Parliament’s dissolution and activate the electoral machinery for General Elections? Eustace is engaged in the kind of empty boastfulness reserved for children. Only childish people or those intoxicated with illusions of grandeur boast vaingloriously about these matters as Eustace did. He could prattle; but the power of the Most High fall on I; and it is I who act, not merely talk. The Good Book says:
“When I was a child, I spoke and thought like a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.”
“The dates which I chose for the dissolution of Parliament and General Elections were so chosen after prayer consideration and divine guidance. Eustace should heed the wisdom of Psalms Chapter 12, Verse 3: “May the Lord cut off their flattering lips and silence their boastful tongues”. Mark my words, before the end of this campaign, at least one calamity would befall the NDP. I say no more on this.
“I remind Comrades, friends, and citizens about an instance of attempted political one-upmanship in Dominica in November last year, but with one difference, the opposition in that country got it right, but Eustace now got it wrong. The opposition in Dominica had apparently hacked into a computer and obtained the entire announcement speech of that country’s Prime Minister, three hours before he was due to deliver it. That speech contained, among other things, the dates for dissolution and general elections. The Opposition in Dominica, just as in St. Vincent and the Grenadines last night, reveled vaingloriously in what they though was a major scoop. In effect, it was of no moment. At the polls, the opposition received an election drubbing; the ruling Dominica Labour Party won an historic landslide victory. Clearly, Eustace did not absorb that lesson; his recklessness last night shows the desperation of a gambler who knows that he has a losing hand. I call his bluff. He must know that i-man hold all the aces. In St. Vincent and the Grenadines the NDP will receive the electoral beating of its life. You and I will ensure it!
“For all his dramatic posturings, bluff, vanities, and empty boats, I must tell you simply that Eustace got the general elections date wrong! He wanted he newspaper headline. Now he has one: Eustace calls the date wrong! He is really a foolish and inexperienced politician; a reckless bull in the proverbial china shop!
“In 2005, Parliament was dissolved on November 7th and General Elections were on December 7th. This year, 2010, we are having General Elections again in December. Today, I formally advised His Excellency the Governor General that Parliament be dissolved on _________________. Nomination Day will be ____________________. General Elections will be held on _______________________. The Honourable Attorney General is ensuring that all the relevant legal instruments are in place.
“Neither the Mitchell Junta nor the NDP has ever won general elections in December. They lost in December 1974, in December 1979, and in December 2005. They will lose ever more disastrously in December 2010 than they did in 2005. Our great Party, the ULP, will be triumphant yet again, but we will never exhibit a triumphalist attitude. In the ensuing campaign, be assured always that the ULP would be most sensitive to the fact that our country and large numbers of our people are suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Tomas.
“On August 22, 2010, I asked you, the people, at Mt. Bentinck to “own the campaign”. You have been doing so magnificently. You must redouble your efforts. Please ensure that everyone in your family who is 18 years of age, registers to vote. Please make sure that your friends are registered to vote. Canvass your neighbours, your co-workers, and your college mates to vote for the ULP. We have built up in this country a natural majority for the ULP. If all the ULP supporters vote, we would sweep the elections hugely. Do not stay away from the polls to teach your representative or candidate a lesson because of this or that personal issue. Look at the big picture. The ULP government has been very good to, and for, the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Do not try to be a Samson and pull the temple down on everybody’s heads, including your own. This ULP government has delivered benefits and opportunities to everyone, to every family, to every community. Defend your gains and vote the ULP.
“Please be assured that you are in my prayers always. I thank you for keeping me in your prayers, too. Let us work together meaningfully for another five years. I pray for God’s blessings upon us all.