ST. VINCENT: – Leader of the Opposition and president of the New Democratic Party (NDP) Arnhim Eustace has appealed for calm in the wake of the attempted shooting of a man who spoke on behalf of his party at a campaign event Thursday night, Nov. 18.
The attempt on the life of farmer/calyposonian Selwyn “Jinny” Delplesche, who spoke and sang a calypso at the NDP rally in Marriaqua, was among “three disturbing events” that caused Eustace to appeal for “calm” as campaign for the Dec. 13 general elections intensifies.
Delplesche recounted the incident during calls Nice Radio. He said the assailant(s), who was apparently lurking in his yard, fired several shots in his direction.
Delplesche, who was not hurt, said he took cover after hearing the first shot but bullets damaged parts of his home.
“This morning, I [found] a knife on the scene and the knife looks familiar so I am going t take it to the police,” he said.
He commended Special Services Unit officers and cops in Mesopotamia for their rapid response and for taking his wife and children to a safe location.
Delpleshe said that he is accustomed to return home late but it is the first time that an attempt has been made on his life.
He appealed to NDP supporters to “keep the peace”.
“This thing has to be politically motivated. That person was listening that meeting …” he said.
Eustace issued a statement on Saturday, Nov. 20, also saying that his secretary Rishatha Nicholls was assaulted by a young man not connected to the electoral office.
Police in Kingstown are investigating the incident in which Randy Gurley of Rockies, East Kingstown, reportedly grabbed Nicholls by the throat after Nicholls made some queries of a registering voter.
The incident is said to have occurred on Tuesday while Nicholls was observing the registration process on behalf of Eustace, who is the constituency representative for the area.
Eustace further said that in a in a separate incident in Belmont, East St. George, someone maliciously attempted to sever the transmission cable to the tower of Nice Radio.
Nice Radio, the main broadcaster of NDP programmes and campaign events, is widely regarded as sympathetic to the NDP.
Eustace said the sabotage interrupted the station’s broadcast to “many, many people”.
“I unequivocally condemn the perpetrators of these actions. I want to repeat that. I unequivocally condemn the perpetrators of these actions. While emotions understandably run high at this time, I wish to appeal to all, and I repeat, all of our citizens, to remain calm. Do not let your emotions run away with you.
“We all need to take control of ourselves and let the democratic process proceed so that we can enjoy free and fair elections. I appeal to all our citizens to reject violence. Let’s keep things cool. Let’s keep things cool,” Eustace said.
Gonsalves announced the election date at a rally in Calliaqua last Sunday, during which he also announced the dissolution of Parliament on Nov. 15 and the official nomination of candidates on Nov. 26.
“Naturally, since the announcement of the date, there has been heightened political activity and emotion all over this country as people on all sides of the political spectrum debate the issues that confront our nation at this time,” Eustace said as he appealed for calm.
I Witness-News understand that one man was stabbed in the abdomen during the ULP rally at Calliaqua on Sunday as a result of a disagreement over a non-election-related matter. The victim is a patient at Milton Cato Memorial Hospital in Kingstown.