Speculation is rife that the return of Camillo Gonsalves to SVG would see the first son of the Prime Minister replacing him as leader of the ULP and Prime Minister of SVG.
If that were to happen it would be the first time in our history that a son succeeded his father as PM. Not at all a good history to make, according to some, who seem to have a real repulsion to the idea that after Gonsalves’ abusive rule we would have to contend with Gonsalves living vicariously through his son for another term or two.
I see it as a party matter to begin with and it should be therefore left to the party to sort out.
Ralph Gonsalves rose to power just over 12 years ago and has been the most divisive prime minister in our nation’s history. While he rewards his most loyal of supporters with jobs and scholarships and does nothing about their indiscretions in public office, he has filed more lawsuits against private persons than any other Vincentian, living or dead. He has also ended the careers of persons who he merely perceived to be his critics, while the truth be told, persons were fired, denied promotions, transferred, or frustrated for barely speaking up. No need to rehash a list here, but Otto Sam and Anesia Baptiste remain two best-known cases. That background was for folks who didn’t know what Gonsalves is like.
I welcome Camillo Gonsalves back to SVG. I don’t know to what extent he has become his father over the years but the reality is that we cannot and should not even consider preventing the off springs of politicians from entering politics.
I am sure that he has something more substantial than this present crop of ULP politicians to offer. By the way, the ULP cabinet is the weakest in the history of our nation. It is replete with yes men with little or no conscience and some who can’t pronounce their names properly. Anyhow, Camillo could replace anyone of them in a flash and do a far better job than all of them with the exceptions of Saboto Caesar perhaps. Saboto will be Camillo’s closest rival for leadership, but it is fair to conclude that with the Prime Minister’s substantial financial resources that he gathered over the years and the backing of Julian Francis, The Hadleys, Sir Vincent and the elite in the ULP that Saboto is the dark horse that just won’t make it.
The only question that remains to be answered this very minute as I pen this letter is which constituency should be given to Camillo. Now safe seats are hard to find these days. Since PM Gonsalves will lead the party into the next elections, he will keep his constituency of North Central Windward. In fact it is believed that if the PM vacates that seat so Camillo could run it, and runs in another constituency, like North Windward that his defeat will be sound. So the PM will remain where he would be spared the embarrassment of an ignominious thrashing in this latter part of his life.
Camillo stands a good chance in North Windward. Well here is the reasoning of an insider: Camillo is young, tall, handsome, light skinned with curly hair and single.
Now, it is a ridiculous notion to use colour and other physical attributes but strategists like Julian Francis and Ralph Gonsalves will leave no stones unturned. Remember he is known for making references to his whiteness. He has ridiculed African features in the past.
Anyhow, they are hoping that he will be a heartthrob sensation across the river and capture the imagination and hearts of the young women and men too. With good looks and lots of money to spend the ULP could retain North Windward with Camillo Gonsalves. It is a sad indictment of how the ULP sees the rural areas but the “country people” may just prove them wrong.
Now, only one situation remains. If Camillo were to run in North Windward what do we do with Montgomery Daniel? He might have to be persuaded to give up his seat. Money might help and the chairmanship of a few boards. An ambassadorship might appeal more to Daniel but that was struck from the list given his very obvious limitations not least his unrefined social skills.
Some of the discussion pointed to Camillo running in East Kingstown. He lived in Frenches for many years. But it was quickly taken off the table. Luke Browne will remain there to run against Eustace. It is not expected that he will come close to beating a Prime Minister in waiting. People fed up of chicken back juice.
Besides the whole exercise must begin with a safe seat for the ULP not the NDP!
Clayton Burgin will gladly give up his seat for Camillo Gonsalves to run in East St. George. That is the view of the elite in the party. Burgin is one of the ULP politicians who have taken a back seat over the years to Julian Francis who has never won a seat. So he would do it for the PM’s son. That is their reasoning. Burgin might have to remain in SVG and chair a few boards. He is not ambassador material. There is the possibility that he might manage the Argyle Airport.
In any event, with Dr. Linton Lewis’ elevation to senator and House of Parliament, it is believed that he could take East St. George next elections. It is not a safe seat for the ULP.
The only other safe seat besides North Central Windward is South Central Windward. Gustaus Stevenson is young, like Camillo, but they are like “chalk and cheese” in terms of capacity and it is believed that Stevenson – said to be battling with ill health — will not be missed
Neither would he make a fuss about it. It could be presented as a great opportunity for Stevenson to go back to school. He could go to Cuba, Mexico or Venezuela to pursue his first degree. If he doesn’t fancy the idea of getting some tertiary education he could be Camillo’s parliamentary secretary.
But Camillo will run in a safe seat. Glen Beache won it and he wasn’t talented. Stephenson won it and he was less talented than Glen Beache. Surely the son of the Prime Minister who is far brighter and far fairer than Glen and Stephenson will win South Central Windward.
So, we have a seat. Well, they have a seat. Which one is it? Only time will tell.
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