KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Opposition Senator Anesia Baptiste does not plan to vie for leadership of the New Democratic Party (NDP) at the party’s convention on Nov. 20 but will “most likely” do so sometime during the next five years.
“However, circumstances will determine my decision,” said Baptiste, 31, who has long said she wants to be this country’s first female prime minister.
Baptiste, who has declared interest in representing the NDP in West St. George, joined the NDP in 2009 and was elected Assistant Secretary General at the party’s convention last year July.
“I do not plan to vie for leadership of the party at the party’s next convention in November 2011. As far as I am aware, the presidency of the party is not even up for election in the November convention,” Baptiste told I Witness New this week.
Opposition Leader and NDP president Arnhim Eustace is into the first year of another three-year term at the helm of the party.
Some NDP supporters and political commentators have called on Eustace, 66, who has been representing East Kingstown since 1998, to step down, having led the party to three consecutive electoral defeats.
The NDP, under Eustace’s leadership lost the 2001 and 2005 elections 12-3 to the Dr. Ralph Gonsalves-led Unity Labour Party (ULP) but last year increased it winnings to seven seats, one seat short of forming the government.
Eustace was Minister of Finance for about two years during the last NDP administration and served as Prime Minister for about five months.
Baptiste, then a civil servant, was instrumental is galvanising support for the NDP-led Vote No constitution referendum campaign in 2009.
She was slapped with 16 charges ans suspended from her post as communications manager at the Ministry of Tourism in relations to statements made during that campaign and later resigned from the public service.
“I make decisions from convictions based on the circumstances,” said Baptiste, a national scholar, who has said she wants to represent the NDP in West St. George in the next general elections, constitutionally due in 2015.
“It is true that serving the people from an office of influence is very important but that is a decision I will have to make when the circumstances are right,” she added.
“Of course, when that time comes, if I do have that intention, I will let my people know first before publishing in the media,” she further said.