Lawyer Jomo Thomas. (IWN file Photo)

Sen. Jomo Thomas of the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) says he will contend to be the party’s candidate in South Leeward in the next general elections, constitutionally due by December 2015, saying the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), is “a formidable challenge” and he is best positioned to win the seat for the ULP.

He made the announcement to reporters on Monday, one day after the ULP held its 20th annual convention.

“I believe that for the package I bring, the instant name recognition that I bring, the history that I bring, the training and experience that I have, not only here [but also] internationally, once the work is done, the people in the party leadership and in the constituency leadership would conclude that I would be the best candidate who will give the party the best chance of winning the seat,” Thomas said.

Thomas, a lawyer, who became a senator and Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly last September, outlined his vision for the constituency, which is represented by Nigel Stephenson of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP).

“I think that like across the country, the youth are the biggest resource. I want to see them educated, I want to see them involved in sport and culture, I want to see them bring back a community spirit and build up the community in ways that used to be before,” he said.

“I think that young people have to realise that the world is much more than video games and dancehall and music. They have to think about their own future, because too many of our youth have essentially fallen off of that project of being part of the future of the country. Basically, they feel locked out, they feel alienated, they are very vulnerable and the key is to get them back into the system.

“… any party that wants to be long-lasting must sell what it wants to do to the constituency as a whole,” he further said.

“… as a representative or as a party in a country with limited resources, you will not be able to solve all of the needs and concerns of the people. I think you have to think community projects, I think you have to think projects that will make people fuller and whole,” Thomas said.

He said the vision for South Leeward has to concentrate on young people but also re-engage older citizens.

“We need to bring people back out and have them engaged in the resource centres, in the churches, doing work that are particularly important to the constituency and not just my house or my neighbour’s house. I think if we do some of that, particularly when we know we are so poor and it is so difficult to organise resources, … I think if we do that, we will be in a much better position.”

He said that major problems in South Leeward include unemployment, and added that although there have been advances in education, “a lot of people fall off the rail and don’t get the kind of education that would give them a better chance at life”.

Thomas further said that housing is an important issue. He said many constituents are still vulnerable, causing them to build their houses in areas where they are prone to be affected by extreme weather.

Thomas also spoke of culture, sports, and health, and said he has proposed to police in Questelles, an initiative from Grenada, where members of tactical units of the police force provide security to people exercising on the roads early in the morning.

Thomas said that he has heard of other persons who have also expressed interest in being the party’s candidate, including Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit, Grenville Williams.

But he said he decided to run in South Leeward only after understanding clearly that former senator, David Browne, who was the ULP’s candidate in South Leeward in the 2010 general elections, was not going to run again.

Browne, a former deputy speaker of the House of Assembly, was among three senators the government removed from the senate last year, as part of what it said was its renewal and refreshing.

At the time, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, who is also political head of the ULP, said Browne would pursue studies, both by distance and face-to-face.

NDP ‘a formidable challenge’

But while Thomas said he thinks he is the ULP’s best bet in South Leeward, he declined comment on the incumbent.

“ I really wouldn’t want to comment on Mr. Stephenson as a candidate, except to say that he was sufficiently attractive as a candidate that he won the seat last time. So that means that there is something to be said for him, but I think he can be defeated and I intend to defeat him.”

He further said that the NDP’s weaknesses “are manifest”.

“So I wouldn’t want to itemise them. But, they are a party that accumulated 49 per cent of the votes in the last election. They are a party that moved from three seats in 2001 and 2005, to seven seats. So they are sitting at the door of power. My position is that we shouldn’t allow them to get in, for all the reasons we have said they should not get it. But it is clear that the NDP presents a formidable challenge. They might not be a policy challenge, but, certainly, when we count the votes, and when we count the seats in Parliament, it is a challenge that we need to pay close attention to.”

Thomas noted the 51-49 per cent split in the popular vote for the ULP and the main opposition New Democratic Party, respectively, in the last general elections.

He, however, said he thinks the ULP’s chances of winning a fourth term “is as good as any”, adding that the party held “against the flow of things” while many incumbent parties have been voted out of office since 2007.

ULP needs rebuilding

Thomas responded to a question about dissatisfaction among some ULP supporters.

“I think it would be difficult if not impossible for some people, who, after a party ahs been in power for 13 years and continuing to not become disappointed or even disenchanted with their leadership and their ministers.

“But I also believe we have an enormous amount of work to do. I think we have structures to rebuild and repair,” he further said, mentioning the youth and women arms of the party.

“The entire party, we need to rebuild it, we need to reinvigorate it, we need to make it stronger. … I think we can bring that energy back and I have absolutely no doubts if we do our work well, and plan our work well, and execute our work well, we will bring in the kind of people that are gravitating to the party even … after serving for 13 years. I think we have a good chance — I think we have an excellent chance,” Thomas said.

Thomas said the mindset of the ULP going forward is “prepare, prepare, prepare; organise, organise, organize.

“We are not going to win an election by PM Gonsalves talking about all the projects that we are doing as a government,” Thomas said, adding that the time that “ULP propagandists” spend talking about the opposition can used to inform the electorate about the country’s progress under the ULP.

6 replies on “Jomo Thomas wants to run for ULP in South Leeward”

  1. I am not surprise! I saw this coming and I am sure if I-Witness goes back into some of my correspondences, it will find where I predicted Jomo will run.
    I believe he can try to get his government, to do all the things he observed that’s wrong with life in SVG today. As a matter of fact, he doesn’t have to run to see those changes, because as a senator he can call on his government to make those changes. His shopping list shows he knows that Ralph is not doing a good job. He definitely can’t blame the NDP for the unemployment and other factors that impede the mobility of the educated youths. How he intends to change all that is any body’s guess?
    I wonder if anyone noticed his challenge to Ralph when he call him a “ULP propagandists” who talks about what he has done for the voters. I mean those who voted for him – like giving one family of 3, three stoves, 3 refrigerators and three beds. The beds are ok, but 3 refrigerators and 3 stoves in one household are too much.
    Anyway good luck Jomo, I don’t think you can win.

  2. The creeping cancer of extreme socialism is about to try and take advantage of the ignorant once more.

    Reject the policy and reject this man who I consider a Gonsalves ‘Mini Me’ we have seen some of his judgment policies already in a certain recent litigatory case.

  3. I enjoy listening and reading Jomo’s writings. He is knowledgeable and quite balance. I believe that every positive thought can produce positive result. Jomo shows confidence in the people by demonstrating in Court the laws and fighting for the rights. He is fearless in what he believes and stands for, so much so that very often he is being misconstrued as to his loyalty. Jomo nothing beats a trial but a failure. GO FOR IT! Always remember God is in control so pray for his guidance and listen to when he speaks.

  4. Jomo’s article just gave me a bellyful of laugh; he mentioned an interesting list of his own proposals and vision for SLC: what he wants to do; when he wants to do them; why he wants to do them; and what he would like to see happen in the constituency, if ever he is elected. What baffles me about his article is that the ULP Government has been in office now for twelve years and neither Slater nor Gonsalves have seen it fit to implement Jomo’ shopping list during those years; the very same party that Jomo is a part of. But Jomo is now asking for the chance to implement his talking points under the same party headed by Ralph Gonsalves who did not do any of the things that Jomo would like to do for all the years they have been in power.But he wants Vincentians to give him another five years under the same ULP Party! Does he think that Vincentians are so dumb?

  5. “ULP propagandists” spend talking about the opposition can used to inform the electorate about the country’s progress under the ULP.”

    I agree with that Jomo, but it’s the only thing they could do, because any conversation of a serious non partisan matter, they wouldn’t have anything to say and would be ashamed. That’s why you hear all the gutter talk from them, and name calling. I made a mistake one day and tried to listen to shakeup and I have to say all I hear is Vincentians being pulled down, it got so bad that even the Prime Minister had to change the channel when he was listening (he said so, not me).

    You’re speech sounds good, but Vincentians as a whole are fedup of nice words, nice words got us in debt and pressure, and we don’t want to hear that anymore. People want to get back to work and move on with there lives. The ULP has been in office for 13 years and what do they have to show for it? Our country is at the lowest point it has ever been in the last 30 years. Unemployment in the double digits, Agriculture in shambles, no tourism.

    I had high hopes for the comrade and like you Jomo he failed all of us. Governing in favor of his party was a lesson for disaster and now we are all paying the price for it. The ULP are not going to win again, it’s facts and nothing at this point can change that. Vincentians had too much pressure, and they are fedup. Like R Kelly song say “when a woman fedup there is nothing you can do about it. Ring the bell and let Vincentians decide.

  6. He is just a pawn, no not a prawn, perhaps a shrimp, he is just a pawn in the scheme of things. A regime throw away, I believe he has something that the donkey wants, wants to control, or wants to silence, perhaps any one or all of those things.

    Like the donkey he is from the same or similar stable, with perhaps some of the same trainers.

    I thought he was an intelligent man, but I have had to rethink that. It seems to me all these left wing lawyers in and around parliament have got something in common, more than a knowledge of the law. What I would describe as an educated stupidity, a serious lack of streetwise common sense. They must have that because to be in parliament, serving under a nasty Marxist regime, blighting their futures with the mealy bug excretion of ULP fester, which will stay with them for the rest of their lives. They must be educated idiots, they really must be.

    But for those who have come from a similar stable as the ‘donkey’ el ‘burro’, I suppose its like coming home, having been locked out for some 30 years.

    But like those before them they will all be dumped by the ‘donkey‘, bucked off, donkey dunged on from a great height, stamped on, kicked and then disposed of, stepped over, dug in as fertilizer in the rose gardens of Russia. Or simply to become light bulb changers for some Cuban giveaway program. Keep going, because that you all may well achieve.

    It really is time for one or two of the ULP members to cross the floor, just leave it to the donkey and his mule son, dos burro’s.

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