KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Some supporters of the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) are angry that their leader, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, has offered to withdraw two defamation cases against two opposition parliamentarians.
Gonsalves said in Parliament on Jan. 11 that in a move toward national reconciliation he would not proceed with the cases in which he had obtained judgements against Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace and Daniel Cummings.
Eustace has not responded formally to Gonsalves’ offer. But he said at a press conference last week that he could not accept while Gonsalves has cases pending against his allies and supporters, including NICE Radio and New Democratic Party (NDP) talk show host Eduardo “E.G.” Lynch.
“When the matter comes up at the court, we will see what instructions his lawyers have,” Gonsalves said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Cummings, through his attorney, has said that he has no objections to Gonsalves discontinuing the case. His attorney, however, said but said that the Prime Minister’s lawyer does not need his or the court’s permission to discontinue the case.
“In this matter, I would wish all those involved should follow Eli’s injunction to Samuel,” Gonsalves said after explaining the “impulse” that resulted in him announcing the withdrawal of the cases.
“Forget the politics for the moment: Speak Lord, your servant is listening. And get the inner voice. Even when what the inner voice tells you is against what your rabid rank and file wants you to say or do,” he further stated.
“You think there are elements of the ULP rank and file like what I have done? I hear it on the radio. They say what De Comrade had to apologise for? There is nothing to be apologetic about and why is it he has withdrawn the cases,” Gonsalves further stated, noting that Cummings has said that Gonsalves has no judgement against him.
“So some of my supporters are angered that I have taken the position that I have taken but I am a leader. And more than that, too, when it happened, quickly within the Parliament, I wasn’t thinking about my supporters; I wasn’t thinking anything like that; nothing like that. I say to you, I was thinking, there was an impulse in me which brought forth this gesture of goodness…” Gonsalves said, adding that he would leave the arguing to the lawyers.