ST. VINCENT (Jan. 12):- Leader of the main opposition New Democratic Party, Arnhim Eustace, says he is not aware of a leadership challenge within his party and announces his Shadow Cabinet, which he hopes to replace the Dr. Ralph Gonsalves government in one year.
Gonsalves’ Unity Labour Party secured a third straight term in office when it won the general elections in December by one seat.
Eustace has said the NDP will pressure the government to return to the polls in one year.
On Tuesday lawyers for three of the NDP’s candidates brought private criminal complaints related to “different character assassinations” during the election campaign against Gonsalves and his ministers of foreign affairs, health, and housing.
The complaints were brought under the Representation of the People’s Act and, if found guilty, the accused politicians can be fined EC$750 (US$278) and sentenced to one year in jail.
In the Shadow Cabinet, Eustace, a former prime minister and minister of finance, who is Member of Parliament (MP) for East Kingstown, is responsible for finance, the public service, economic development, and national security.
MP for the Northern Grenadines, Dr. Godwin Friday, will speak to tourism, foreign and diaspora affairs, legal affairs, and electoral matters while Terrance Ollivierre of the Southern Grenadines is responsible for education, health, and Grenadines affairs.
St. Claire Leacock, MP for Central Kingstown, is the NDP’s point man on trade, industry and commerce, private sector facilitation, disaster management, and labour while Daniel Cummings of West Kingstown is responsible for transport and works, energy, water, and housing.
Roland “Patel” Matthews, MP for North Leeward is responsible for agriculture and fisheries, land and surveys, physical planning, and the environment while Nigel “Nature” Stephenson MP for South Leeward, is the NDP’s spokesman on community development, local government, youth, and sports.
Senator Anesia Baptise is responsible for family and gender affairs, and social justice, including ecclesiastical affairs and Senator Vynnette Frederick is responsible for culture, science, telecommunications, and information technology.
Shadow Cabinets usually criticise the current government and its respective legislation and policies, as well as offer alternative policies.