(See video at end of post)
The opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) had one at its convention in November and the ruling Unity Labour had one at its convention at its convention on Sunday: a prominent member of the other party in attendance.
Political activist Frank Da Silva, who vied to be a candidate for the NDP in the 2005 general elections, attended the ULP’s 20th annual convention at the Campden Park Secondary School on Monday.
Da Silva, dressed in brown, entered to loud cheers, as master of ceremony, ULP chair Edwin Snagg, announced, “Frank Da Silva is in the house. Frank is in the house.”
Da Silva walked directly to the head table and handed two books to Gonsalves, who had left his seat to meeting him on the convention floor.
Both men, who were smiling broadly, embraced, as the DJ began playing “We Naah Tun Bak”, a ULP theme song from the 2010 general elections.
Da Silva later sat among delegates at the convention as Gonsalves delivered the feature address, and clapped repeatedly as Gonsalves criticised NDP leader, Arnhim Eustace.
In welcoming persons to the convention, Gonsalves said, “And, of course, there are other brothers and sisters, some at varying levels on their journey to be full-fledged comrades and whom we welcome.
“And I acknowledge the presence of a card-carrying member of the New Democratic Party, Frank Da Silva,” Gonsalves said as Da Silva stood and waved his hands as his name was called.
“Of course, you could expect the NDP to heighten their war against Frank. But I say to him, once he is on the side of rightness, which is what the Unity Labour Party is about, you don’t worry about those who are bent on embracing something other than that which is right.
“If indeed Frank was speaking here at this convention, and he is not, he is attending and listening, but if he were to speak, I would have followed the advise of Sir James Mitchell and ask him to tear up his party card.”
Sir James Mitchell is founder of the NDP and a former prime minister.
Sir James criticised the NDP after Luzette King, a member of the ULP, delivered the feature address at the NDP’s convention last year.
During her address, King spoke about her ULP membership, and Mitchell, who did not attend the convention, later said that if he were present, he would have asked her to tear up her ULP party card.
Da Silva, like Mitchell, has publicly criticised Eustace for his leadership of the NDP, which lost the 2001, 2005, and 2010 general election with Eustace at the helm.