Grenville is hugged after the meeting. Carlos James, the ULP’s candidate for N. Leeward, and activist Grantley Williams are centre and right. (IWN photo)

Grenville Williams on Saturday nominated fellow contender Sen. Jomo Thomas as the Unity Labour Party’s (ULP) candidate for South Leeward in the next general elections, as the party’s constituency conference met in Vermont.

Some of Williams’ supporters did not approve of the move and walked out in protest.

“As I said in my speech, there would be come persons who are disappointed that David Browne was not the candidate. There would be persons who are disappointed that Grenville Williams is not the candidate,” Williams told reporters after the meeting.

“At the end of the day, Jomo Thomas is the candidate and we do this in the interest of our country, we do this in the interest of our party. And I do believe that the Unity Labour Party has the best policies for the country at this point in time, and we have to live together,” said Williams, a lawyer and director of the Financial Intelligence Unit.

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After the meeting, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, who is also political leader of the ULP, told reporters that former senator, David Browne, who lost to the opposition New Democratic Party’s Nigel “Nature” Stephenson in the 2010 general elections, seconded Williams’ nomination of Thomas as the candidate.

“There was a unanimous vote, not one dissenting voice, [from the] over 200 delegates; none said abstention,” Gonsalves said.

“It is a fantastic feeling. Grenville made a masterful speech. David, in his very own homespun way, was very emphatic in his support for Jomo, and Jomo recommitted himself to serving the nation and particularly the poor and working people, and the constituents of South Leeward,” Gonsalves further said.

Meanwhile, Thomas told reporters he is confident that he will wrestle the seat from the NDP.

“I have no doubts whatsoever that when the votes are counted on election night, the constituency of South Leeward would move from the NDP column back into the column of the Unity Labour Party,” he said.

But Thomas has emerged from the process after a very bruising campaign that has seen long-time party faithful and activists, including Questelles resident Edgar Cruickshank, remaining adamant that Williams should be the candidate.

Cruickshank did not attend Saturday’s meeting.

ULP South Leeward council member demands candidate selection runoff

Sen. Jomo Thomas is greeted after Saturday's meeting. (IWN photo)
Sen. Jomo Thomas is greeted after Saturday’s meeting. (IWN photo)

Asked how he intends to reach out to persons such as Cruickshank, Thomas said: “Well, you have to understand, in a hotly contested effort to emerge as the candidate, some people line up on one side, others line up with me.

“It is unfortunate that other persons who had selected somebody that that person didn’t win, and you expect that people are going to have some hard feeling; people are going to be hurt that their person did not emerge.

“But, I think at the end of day, all of us are Labour Party partisans, all of us are Labour Party stalwarts, all of us are Labour Party comrades, and I think we will look to the larger issue, to bring this seat back into the Labour Party column and I think that that will happen,” said Thomas, a lawyer.

“I am prepared to work with everybody. I have always said that irrespective of how the race went, I will work with the winner. It so happens that I emerged the winner, my team emerged the winner, and we are intending to unite all of the forces, all of the ULP people in South Leeward to ensure that we do the kind of work necessary to win this seat and to bring it back into the ULP.”

Thomas said he was elated that the process went in his favour.

“I am a very, very good candidate. I know that I will be able to carry the ULP banner well, I know I will be able to articulate the issues and push the questions that are necessary to get people, to convince people to vote for the Unity Labour Party.

“I think I have a history, a tradition of struggle, I have a history of uniting with people and fighting for people and I think that tradition would push itself forward and people, once they get to know me more, will come to the conclusion that I am a much better candidate than Nature Stephenson. They will be convinced that I am the candidate who can help to become a really good representative in South Leeward.

“So, I know that people might be disappointed that their person did not go forward, but I have no doubt at all that in the end we will unite the party.”

Thomas has emerged, as the candidate after a process that some members of the ULP have said contravenes the party’s constitution.

After neither Thomas nor Williams indicated that they would give way to the other, they agreed for the party to poll their names, along with that of David Browne.

Some inconsistency has emerged about the results of the poll, with initial reports saying that Browne was the most favoured, followed by Thomas, then Williams.

But Gonsalves told the meeting on Saturday that Thomas was the overall winner of the poll.

PM Gonsalves, centre, fist-bumps a man after the meeting. (IWN photo)
PM Gonsalves, centre, fist-bumps a man after the meeting. (IWN photo)

Gonsalves told reporters that the next stage in the candidate selection process is a meeting next week of the candidate selection committee, in accordance with the constitution of the ULP.

“Jomo will be screened now by the mechanism of the candidate selection committee for me to be able to report to the central executive for the confirmation of his candidacy.”

Gonsalves said the screening committee will raise a number of issues to Thomas about what is expected of a candidate of the ULP.

On Thursday, the ULP’s national council will approve Thomas and Carlos James, who was nominated by the North Leeward conference last week, Gonsalves said.

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12 replies on “Supporters walk out as Williams nominates Thomas as S. Leeward candidate”

  1. This happened before in the NDP when the party groups of Central K/Town we’re routing for Randolph Kydd after the death of Eddie Griffith. Parnell Campbell was the better candidate. Sir James, leader of the party and prime minister of the country was able to manuaver the group and PR it was. It took a while to get things going on the road but once we got going there was no stopping to get PR elected. Kydd stepped aside and was made a Senator which was a more fitting role for him given the circumstances at the time. A lot of things were taken into consideration and it was a brilliant move to get PR elected at that time. PR did make a big impact and served well.

  2. C. ben-David says:

    Having read several of Mr. Thomas’ newspaper columns, I am convinced that he is an old-school Socialist.

    When he says that he has “recommitted himself to serving the nation and particularly the poor” he means that he is going to work increase the control of the State over the lives of the people through such measures as placing more able-bodied people on the welfare rolls and raising the amount of relief existing welfare recipients are receiving. This is a long-standing Socialist trick and trap.

    The alternative would be to work to reduce the size, scope, and control of government and to enact policies that would encourage the private sector to expand their operations or create new businesses that would result in more people being hired thereby reducing the number of people who are dependent on scarce government handouts. This is a long-standing Capitalist solution to economic decline or stagnation.

    But enabling Capitalist development would be an anathema to the Socialist goal of making as many people as possible dependent on the State for their livelihood because keeping people poor and dependent ensures that socialist parties keep getting elected until the economic house of cards they have created begins to collapse (see the Soviet Union, Greece, Portugal, Spain, etc.).

    We are not far from the precipice but still too foolishly beguiled by the destructive promises (read: lies) of Big Government and Big Brother to turn back before we fall into the abyss.

    This is why the Labour Party has an excellent chance of winning a fourth term in office.

    1. The Game Changer says:

      Look at this A… hole. The Labour party getting a fourth term in Office. Are you mad? If I love corruption and jobs going to only people who can wave a red flag then Vincentian can put them back again. No F..ing …… way. Words on the street the PM wife just bought another house in Cane Garden. Where are these money coming from to purchase these expensive homes? Certainly, her current camouflage work activity will not give her that money. All right minded Vincentian now is the time to act and get down very hard on this wicked group in power.

      1. Pat Robinson Commissiong says:

        Game Changer, it’s not what you hope for. It’s what Vincentians will do that matters. I didn’t think they would put the ULP back the last time. I thought they had learned to take the handouts on offer, then to go an vote with the brains the Good Lord gave them. But you know the result of that election. So I’m not sure this time around so I have to agree with C ben-David’s conclusion. Vincentians could indeed put them back. A lot depends not only on how fed-up Vincentians are but also on how effective their polling agents & watchers are. I well remember one election when the NDP candidate was so sure he had won, that he and his agents left the poling station to celebrate. He lost (I won’t put in writing what I think /know happened). And there were the busloads of people shifted from one “safe’ constituency to another that the party wanted to win. Watchfulness prevented that in at least one case that I know of. Then there was the agent who left her post to buy lunches for everybody – her candidate lost too.
        And C ben-Davis, I don’t know what are Jomo Thomas’s politics. He has written a great deal of nonsense from time to time. All I am fairly sure about is that if he were to be elected he would do whatever Ralph demands of him. I think he would be one of those people who, when told by the leader to jump, responds “How high boss?” And I agree with you that that would be disastrous for this country – I well remember what Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham and his acolytes did to Guyana. He too called himself a socialist but was more interested in controlling everything and everybody. But the desire to control (totalitarianism) is not confined to socialists. Right wing politicians (Hitler and the Nazis, remember?) and capitalists can want to control everything too – much as I like Amazon I know that there are some who think Jeff Bezos is on that path! The trouble with socialism is that it’s very difficult to get people to accept the principle of “from each according to his abilities to each according to his needs” Most people want to work for “me and those dear to me”. We all approve of altruism in principle but rarely in practice – especially if we see people in leadership positions getting far more than the “needs” of the ordinary person – hence the need for control.

  3. Urlan Alexander says:

    PM I hope that all of them is well scrutinised. I am hearing talks about a strong possibility one of your candidate may not pass certain test if due diligence takes place. Don’t think people don’t know the history. They are only waiting for the right moment to pounce on him. All yo go right ahead. lol! lol! LOL!

  4. The first question to Jomo during his screening will be, “Will you support Camillo as leader when Ralph quits or is defeated in the next election”?
    Of course his answer will be yes so he can run. But he will challenge Camillo later for the leadership. There is no doubt in my mind that’s in his cards.
    The bottom line is that he can’t beat the Nature Boy.

  5. Allan Palmer says:

    Williams had the opportunity to impressed the PM by exploiting Lynch’s death however it backfired and Gonsalves was booed right out of his own constituency. What should he expect a gold spoon. He is lucky the Gonsalves talk to him after that. Watch what happen next. Williams will be transferred and put in a position where he will be supervised. How there you cause Gonsalves most humiliating experience.

  6. Peter Binose says:

    Do we realy want a party of clowns to continue leading us?

    What a photo Gonsalves looks like Ronald McDonald, what a clown.

  7. maro Robinson says:

    At the end of the day,all of them carry the same banner,the labour banner,so they now have to put their differences aside & work together to bring home this seat, all the best Comrade.

  8. I think the time is ripe for folks to express their displeasure with this government. Start demonstrating to force Ralph to ring the bell. It’s time to stop the hemorrhaging of SVG nationals, the economy, the security and the island reputation.

  9. Margaret London says:

    Had we not spoken / raised the issue of the Party’s Constitution, would this meeting ever have been called? Mourine —– did the NDP ever conducted a poll in violation of the party’s Constitution to select a candidate? If that ever happened it proved Hughes correct when he said Gonsalves and Mitchell are “Two peas in a pod”!!!!

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