Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves (File photo).

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Government senator and General Secretary of the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP), Julian Francis this week congratulated Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves for reaching the milestone of 18 years as an elected Member of Parliament (MP).

“… I honestly want, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of members of this side, and I am sure, of the other side, to extend congratulations on behalf of our organisation to him,” Francis told Parliament, noting that Gonsalves is currently the longest serving MP.

“You do not become a man until you become 18 years of age. Your father tells you that. So he is now a man in politics,” Francis said of Gonsalves, who has been involved in politics or political activism for four decades.

“Congratulations, Mr. Prime Minister on your achievement and may you stay in this Honourable House for a long time to come,” said Francis, who is currently the longest serving senator, having been appointed after the ULP came to office in March 2001.

Francis noted that the parliament was without an opposition between 1989 and 1994, when the New Democratic Party (NDP) won all of the 15 parliamentary seats.

“Not even a senator was named and the NDP had ruled supreme from 1989 until the 20th of February 1994 – 15 nil. And then on the 21st of February 1994, there was general elections and a young man of 48 years of age got elected to this Parliament along with two older citizens to represent the Unity Labour Party and to break the stranglehold of the New Democratic Party,” he said.

“Mr. Speaker, the old people say ‘‘Tory dey fuh talk but time nah dey’. So I wouldn’t take you into a long history of how he came to winning that election in 1994. That is for a different occasion. I hope it comes very quickly,” Francis further stated.

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