Member of Parliament for South Leeward Nigel “Nature” Stephenson says he is confident that he will retain the seat at the next general elections, regardless of who the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) selects to run against him.
“I read in the paper of all the confusion that is going on in South Leeward with respect to the ULP selecting a candidate to contest against your humble servant,” Stephenson told his New Democratic Party’s “Ring De Bell” island tour meeting in Campden Park Tuesday night.
“Well guess what? If tonight was Monday night, we might all have been watching wrestling. But there is something in wrestling that is called a handicap match. And in a handicap match, you have two fighters against one. So, if they can’t find that appropriate one, the Nature Boy and the people of South Leeward will say to you, ‘Run Grenville and run Jomo on the same ticket and come up against me, and they will get the same amount of licks whenever the general elections are called. Bring it on! We want you to come! We will ensure that nature takes it course,” he told party supporters and radio listeners.
The ULP will on Saturday convene its constituency conference to selection either Jomo Thomas or Grenville, both lawyers, as the name to be sent to its national council.
Thomas is a ULP senator and Williams is head of the Financial Intelligence Unit.
There has been some sniping in the media in the aftermath of a poll, which the ULP had said would be used to decide which of the two should become the candidate.
Both men had said they would have abided by the outcome of the poll, which ULP insiders have said puts former candidate David Browne as the most favoured person, Thomas second, and Williams third.
Browne has said he is not interested in contesting again.
“I ask the question to them. What are you going to do Jomo and/or Grenville when the Nature Boy and the people of South Leeward run wild on you? What are you going to do? Step aside! Step aside!” said Stephenson, a former teacher who defeated Browne in the 2010 general elections.
“One time, they came up and they said Grenville, then they said, ‘No, no, no; let’s change that.’ Then they said, ‘Throw away that.’ Then they said, ‘Jomo.’ But like [MP for Central Leeward] Major St. Clair Leacock used to say, ‘Jomo who?’ Now some people saying, ‘Jomo who?’ But, he get the blessing of the ULP hierarchy.
“He get the blessing, but the people of South Leeward are saying, ‘We don’t want him.’ So, some part don’t want Williams, some part don’t want Jomo. But, it doesn’t matter; we want them to come, and I cannot wait for Sunday to come for them to make their final decision.”
Stephenson further said the losing candidate will end his interactions with constituents.
“And I promise you one thing that I have told you before, when those two names surfaced, I said to you, at the end of the selection, those two persons that have similar characteristics, the one that loses, you will never see that person again. That person will go right back into his shell, and you will not socialise with you, he will not communicate with you; because that is not a natural thing.
“What those guys are doing, I know in California you have Hollywood, and somewhere in India there is Bollywood. But I don’t know what kind of acting is going on in South Leeward, because they are not genuinely people persons. … They don’t care about people; they want the opportunity, they know you now because they want to represent you. But Labour failed, Ralph (Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves) failed, [former MP for South Leeward] Dougie Slater failed. Do you think that under Ralph Gonsalves they will be given an opportunity to do anything down here?” said Stephenson, who also accused the government of allowing infrastructure in South Leeward to run into disrepair as punishment to constituents.
“Ask Jomo, and I ain’t ready to tell you who told me that. He said to me, ‘You want me to tell you how to beat him?” … One of the persons either from Hollywood or Bollywood, said to me, ‘Ah go tell you how to beat him.’ … I can’t tell you that yet. I am waiting until they settle it on Sunday, and they will see what it is like to contest an election in South Leeward,” Stephenson said.