“… the circumstances before us, which is a major distraction, is regrettable …” — NDP VP

NDP Vice-President and Member of Parliament for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leacock (Photo: Oris Robinson, via Facebook).

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – A vice-president of the New Democratic Party (NDP) has defended the party’s consensus-forming process on the heels of the dismissal of opposition Senator Anesia Baptiste last week.

“I don’t want people to feel here that we are dealing here with any dictatorship and Mr. [Arnhim] Eustace is a one-man band,” Central Kingstown representative St. Clair Leacock said on Monday.

He said that the NDP is a democratic organisation and spoke of an “excessive abundance of patience that is demonstrated in our meetings,” as he defended the decision by NDP president, Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace, to fire Anesia Baptiste from the senate last Thursday after she said she would not obey an NDP policy of not making adverse comments about religions.

“I want our supporters to understand this: Democracy is alive and well and kicking in the New Democratic Party and our supporters must not, for a minute, get the impression that the sky is falling in,” Leacock said on a radio programme on which Eustace was making his weekly appearance.

“… the circumstances before us, which is a major distraction, is regrettable, but it is better we address them now once and for all,” Leacock said.

“We are a well-oiled machinery, we have our challenges, like every other organisation, at the resource level, whether it is finance. But in terms of consultative process, deliberations, strategic thinking, tactical manoeuvres, and mobilisation of all our key networks, we cannot be at fault at this time,” he said.

Leacock said that the NDP is “about serious business” and the its purpose is to form the government, something it had failed to do in three consecutive attempts since it was voted out of office in 2001, after 17 years.

“And we cannot allow for distractive activities to take away from our energies and from out focus of where we want to get,” Leacock said.

He further stated that Eustace, who led the NDP to the three electoral defeats, is still “the best bet to take party into next general elections”.

“This thing of wanting to question him and have him looking over his shoulders needs to disappear from the party in totality and to be clear that we are on one track, one mission: to get the New Democratic Party into government. And any distraction should be shunned aside in the further benefit of the New Democratic Party,” Leacock said.

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