Opposition Leader, Arnhim Eustace says he fired, from a statutory body for corruption more than a decade ago, a man who was on radio last week criticising his leadership.
Eustace did not name the critic or the radio station on which he spoke, but said two persons were making the comments.
However, he said the person made negative comments on Thursday and Friday about him and other members of the New Democratic Party.
Eustace told a New Democratic Party (NDP) rally in West St. George on Saturday that the person was calling for him to step down as leader of the NDP.
“I heard two of them on a radio station Thursday and Friday and they were asking at the time for Eustace to go and so on. So, I am assuming that they want to come,” said Eustace, who has been at the helm of the NDP when it suffered defeats in 2001, 2005, and 2010.
“Those individuals, they have their own records, they have their own interest, and they have their own ambitions -– nothing wrong with that. But I know that in one of those cases, the person was heading a statutory body and I was the Minister of Finance…, and therefore had responsibility for the particular statutory body. And, he entered into a contract with a company in which he had shares to do business with the authority which he was running,” Eustace recounted.
He said that he questioned the person about the transaction, worth some $15,000 and the person admitted to it.
“I said, ‘Bring it back tomorrow, or you have to go.’ Today, he is calling on me to leave. I shoulda lock him up,” Eustace said.
He further stated that the same individual was asked, in his capacity at the statutory body, to find lands to build headquarters for the statutory body.
Eustace said that when the individual was questioned about land he said he had located, he said the land belonged to his mother.
“I say, ‘You have to go’,” Eustace, who was finance minister from 1998 to 2001 said of his decision.
He said he took the decision to fire the person in the interest of the country.
“And I am not going to allow any corruption… We have too much of that in St. Vincent and the Grenadines; far too much. And if we have to bring back the economy of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, we have to get rid of a lot of the corruption that is taking place in St. Vincent and the Grenadines today,” he told party supporters.
He further said that while the critics were calling for him to demit office as head of the NDP, it was him who amended the party’s constitution to allow the convention, rather than just elected MPs to choose the party leader and had also reduced the term of leadership from five to three years.
“Every three years, the delegates can get together at the convention and change whatever leader they want. No restrictions,” Eustace said, adding that he has won every time he contested the in-house vote.
“So, I don’t want to hold on to no particular power, but I want to answer some of them,” Eustace said.
He further noted that the persons have a democratic right to talk and added that they have a right to talk “stupidness” if they choose.