Enesto Cooke, former host of the NDP’s “New Times” programme. (IWN file photo)

The New Democratic Party-sponsored “New Times” programme on Nice Radio will be placed “on a proper footing” from today (Monday), in the wake of demands that host Ernesto Cooke has made of the party.

Vice-President of the NDP, St. Clair Leacock, said on Friday that Cooke has laid out to the NDP three criteria for his continued hosting of the daily radio show.

“He needs to get back his vehicle that he hasn’t had, he shouldn’t be spending money out of pocket to get to and from the radio station, and I suppose — he didn’t spell it out in so many terms — he probably wants to get all his monthly salaries on time,” Leacock said.

Leacock spoke as he expressed disappointment in a post that Cooke reportedly made on the social networking website, Facebook.

Leacock said that in the wake of the Christmas floods, the NDP decided that they could not wait until January to recommence the radio programme, after the usual Christmas break.

Cooke was overseas at the time.

“And it fell upon me to host the programme and to take it in a particular direction. And we saw a programme evolving, which we thought could be useful — not just I host it, but other Parliamentarians and caretakers could host it and double up,” Leacock said.

Cooke resumed hosting the programme last week.

Leacock said he informed the manager of Nice Radio, Douglas De Freitas, that Cooke had returned and would resume regular hosting of the programme.

De Freitas, Leacock said, agreed that there should be a proper transitioning, and therefore both Cooke and Leacock hosted the programme together that day.

“But Mr. Cooke also said to me before he went on radio that morning that he would not continue doing the New Times programme unless certain things were put in place,” Leacock siad as he listed Cooke’s terms.

“Now, all of what he said is probably fair and he said he would indicate that to Mr. [Arnhim] Eustace (leader of the NDP), and that is also fair,” Leacock said.

“But if Mr. Cooke takes those positions, you have to make the next step to be on the Facebook and the popular media speaking ill, or speaking bad, or all the other insinuations about the institution for which you are working?

“After all, it’s only a few months before you wanted to be a candidate,” Leacock further said.

Last year, Ben Exeter defeated Cooke to become the NDP’s candidate for Central Leeward in the next general elections, constitutionally due in 2015.

“… people who want to be representatives at a political level have to have wilderness material, have to be able to go for long, arduous times, and stickability to what it is, and you don’t buckle under the first weight and under the first pressure; you don’t wilt like that. You hold on until you get your end result,” Leacock said.

“And when these things happen, it is painful, because some of us, like many of our supporters, are making such a sacrifice for a better St. Vincent and the Grenadines through the New Democratic Party.

“And it is extremely painful when we have to explain these kinds of issues.

“And I really hope, and I believe that the matter has been resolved, and I am confident that the programme will be put on a proper footing from Monday (today)…” Leacock said.

4 replies on “Cooke gives NDP conditions for continued hosting of ‘New Times’ programme”

  1. Cooke did the best he could on the show, if the NDP can meet his demands, then that’s fine and continue, if they cannot just wish him well and part ways. No need for anything unpleasant. Sometimes people have to go there separate ways, big up Mr Cooke and thanks for the good work.

  2. I wrote in June 2013, that the NDP should remove Mr Cooke from the New Times program as this was a clear case of buyer’s remorse. Mr Cooke, has turned out to be a very poor host with one redeeming quality,his voice. Well, the day has come, Mr Cooke has seen it fit to jump off the NDP bandwagon.Or was he pushed? Mm.

    Now as much as I came to dislike Mr Cooke as the host of the New Times, I do respect his position on asking for certain demands, in relation to his job, to be met. He may not have gone about it in the most professional manner, maybe he figured no one was taking him seriously, I don’t know. But what I found to be most unprofessional was what Mr Leacock did on Friday night by virtually throwing Mr Cooke under the bus at the same time giving the impression he is sympathetic to Mr Cooke concerns. He placed both parties-the NDP and Mr Cooke- in an untenable position, for which there was only one out come. Mr Cooke was done. Here you have Mr Leacock as the Vice President of the NDP lambasting Mr Cooke for airing his views in the media but he is doing the same thing by coming on the radio and talking all this nonsense. Clearly this an internal matter to be dealt with in private. If Mr Cooke wants to go and act a fool on social media, then so be it but you as an organisation cannot come on the radio and do likewise. And if a decision had already been made about the future of Mr Cooke, prior to Mr Leacock coming on the radio; then let the process takes its course and try to stay above the fray with hopes of winning, when the issue inevitably enter in the “court of public opinion”. The NDP seem not to understand public relations 101.

    Is there a crisis in the NDP leadership? The detractors have been saying this for some time now. These recent internal wranglings coupled with the bungling of the relieve efforts and the farcical Budgets debate,it would suggest all is not well in the NDP camp. Mr Eustace seem to have lost his handle on the internal affairs of the NDP and his decision making as the Opposition leader seems questionable. Mr Leacock on the other hand is not helping the cause, he is too capricious as a leader;seems too eager to get into the limelight and comes across as someone trying to prove a point. Dr Friday has the air of a man who knows that he will always win his seat and nothing else bothers him; which in the grand scheme of things, is most unfortunate, as he looks to have the right temperament and gravitas to be the heir apparent to Eustace. As for the other members of the NDP, forget about it.

    With an election on the horizon, the NDP have to get their house in order in a jiffy. All this bickering and back-biting; firings and resignations, sap the energy and the confidence of supporters. Supporters want to know that their party is ready and focus on taking the reigns of Government…but at this rate, the NDP seem unable to take the reigns of their own organisation.

  3. I wanted to get rid of Arnhim some years ago, because he wasn’t a politician. On second thought he was the best man to lead the country out of this financial tsunami and that’s why I believe he should remain the leader. I am sure he will step down after the NDP wins the 2015 election, unlike the traitor James Mitchell.
    The old song say, “don’t count your money when you are sitting at he table, there will time enough to count it, when the deal is done’. Arnhim has moved the goal post from 3 to 7 and should be allowed to complete the task. A change of captain in mid-stream will be trouble for the NDP. The other members should start DUKING it out with Ralph to take some strain off Arnhim. There are plenty issues for them to start bringing forward to the people of SVG. Ralph has nothing to run on, even JOMO knows that and has said that much.

  4. So that where the trouble started! I remember hearing of three candidates who wanted to run in my constituency. But I know only two of them. No I see the third coming forth with bitterness after he lost out to Ben. I wanted the people in the constituency to select their own representative and it appears they did. The people have spoken and Cooke should accept their choice. I wanted to be at that meeting, because I wanted to ask all candidates some serious questions about their vision for the people in Central Leeward. What ideas they have to try to bring back the economic vehicles that once made the area prosperous. Have they spoken to the farmers and fisherman to form co-ops? My support hinges on what I hear from Ben about tackling the issues that needs to be addressed in my little home town and all the other towns and villages in that constituency. I also need assurance from Arnhim that he will reintroduce the town and village boards. This is important to get the people involved in tackling the problems in the area and to help build a better environment and society. No amount of police will do that because the residents know each other and will work with each other, as long as there is no party affiliation involved. One ULP supporter told me, “If you needed a light bulb changed in Layou, you have to go to town”: To me that where people want to have total control, so everybody has to go to Papa. It’s time the people get back their live and live in a crime free and amicable environment.
    I will like to see Layou become the Silicon Valley of SVG and I’d be willing to work with Ben or anyone to help develop the resources. I am doing this because one of Ralph’s staunch supporters said to me one day, “I hear you are good at computers and I hope you will pass on some of that knowledge to the folks here”. I am not that good, but I believe I have some basic knowledge that I can and will pass on the next time I visit. I’d be willing to help out in other areas besides Layou – can’t be too selfish. Like I’ve said I will work with anyone. I don’t carry a party card and I don’t need one. I will do this for love of country not party. So please check me out when I visit in the next time.

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