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A Grenville Williams supporter expresses dissatisfaction with Jomo Thomas, second left, becoming the candidate. (IWN photo)
A Grenville Williams supporter expresses dissatisfaction with Jomo Thomas, second left, becoming the candidate. (IWN photo)
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Was Grenville Williams pressured to nominate fellow contender Jomo Thomas as the Unity Labour Party’s (ULP) candidate for South Leeward?

“That is a question I will not answer, but I believe I made a decision in the best interest of the party and the best interest of the country,” Williams told I-Witness News Saturday night after the party’s constituency conference in Vermont.

Some of Williams’ supporters walked out of the meeting after he took to the podium on the heel of an announcement by party leader Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves that Williams would nominate Thomas as the candidate.

(Scroll for link to photos)

After the meeting, one woman was very vocal on the outside of the Vermont Community Centre, where the meeting was held, in voicing her objection to the process.

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After the meeting, as Thomas socialised with other comrades, the woman announced loudly her address and said that Thomas should not come into her yard during his campaign.

Thomas and Williams were contending to be the ULP’s candidate for South Leeward in the next general elections, constitutionally due in December 2015.

The ULP said a runoff would have been too fractious and opted for a poll of constituents.

ULP insiders had previously said that former candidate, ex-senator David Browne, was the most favoured candidate, with Thomas second and Williams third.

But Gonsalves told Saturday’s meeting that Thomas outperformed Williams and Browne.

Browne, who had long indicated that he no longer wishes to vie to be the candidate, seconded the nomination on Saturday.

While Williams nominated Thomas, he was evasive about whether he will actively campaign for him.

“I will be actively working in the best interest of the country,” Williams said. Asked a second time if he will actively campaign for Thomas, Williams responded, “I will be actively working in the best interest of the country and of the party.”

Grenville Williams, left, leaves the Vermont Community after the meeting in which he nominated Sen. Jomo Thomas as the ULP's candidate for South Leeward. (IWN photo)
Grenville Williams, left, leaves the Vermont Community after the meeting in which he nominated Sen. Jomo Thomas as the ULP’s candidate for South Leeward. (IWN photo)

Meanwhile, when asked if Williams was pressured to stand down, Thomas told reporters, “I wasn’t part of any pressure. I got to tell you, … Richard Cox and Sehon Marshall organised a meeting — I had a meeting with Grenville last evening.

“My understanding is that he was prepared — because we had done a process, all of us had decided on a poll. I came out victorious in the poll and in that conversation last night, he had expressed a desire to support me going forward. So, I did not expect any controversy, I certainly didn’t expect a vote because we had already decided on a process,” he said.

Thomas was elected unanimously, as there were no other nominees, and none of the delegates objected or abstained from the vote.

“I think some of the people might have been misled into what should have taken place today, and evidently, once that did not take place as they expected, they might have been disturbed.

“But I expected they might be disturbed. It is inevitable. We can look at events and the way they unfold around the world. When [Barack] Obama went up against Hillary Clinton, many of Hillary Clinton’s supporters would have been disturbed that Obama emerged, but, as we saw in that election of 2008, clearly, they united around Obama and Obama won.

“I expect to see us unite and to fight hard and to win this seat. I have no doubts that it would happen,” Thomas said.

Meanwhile, Gonsalves said, Williams was not pressured to stand down.

“Absolutely not! Grenville Williams? He is a principled man, he is a very committed man, he is a strong supporter of the Unity Labour Party, and what South Leeward has now is three for the price of one:  Grenville, David and Jomo,” Gonsalves said.

Asked about the persons who walked out of the meeting, Gonsalves said,

“If there were persons outside, if they were ULP members, they should have been inside.

“… I didn’t see people walk out of the meeting. You might have seen that. I didn’t see that and I had a vantage point. [They] might have been people on the steps and who came down the steps,” he said.

Gonsalves said the opposition New Democratic Party “will be distressed at this remarkable show of oneness, unity.

“You heard the rousing singing of ‘bind us together, Lord; bind us with cords that cannot be broken’. And we seek the intervention of God to help us in that binding,” he said in reference to the singing of the song at the end of the meeting.

(Click to view photos)

9 replies on “Was Grenville pressured to nominate Jomo as ULP candidate?”

  1. It’s my opinion that Grenville was pressured to be part of this ‘candidate show’ just to make it look like Jomo isn’t forced upon SL. The one that’s placed in Parliament is who Gonsalves want to run, Grenville was just window dressing. Were there telephone calls saying “he in the house already so you have to support him”?.

  2. Brian Alexander says:

    I am on record as saying that the English language could be easily used to mislead.

    The above is one such example of this observation.

    To say that Grenville Williams was PRESSURED into supporting Jomo to be the party’s candidate in South Leeward is certainly an exaggeration. (Stretching the truth).

    I would be one of the first to agree that the party MAY HAVE encouraged Grenville to give way to Jomo. But to use the word “PRESSURED,” is definitely untrue.

    This an example of good, disciplined and responsible government. There was a challenge which the party had to deal with, since there were three individuals interested in representing the party.

    Rather than have the individual prospective candidates fight each other in public and weaken the party, a compromise was arrived at.

    The arrangement resulted in candidate Grenville Williams nominating Jomo Thomas, with candidate David Brown seconding the nomination.

    Rather than looking at this as an individual being “pressured,” why not look at it as being a sober, organised, disciplined, intelligent solution to a complicated challenge?

    Why is this continuous spin necessary!!!

  3. Correction to previous article:
    Jomo you might be good, but your light will grow dim under Ralph or Baby Doc. You cannot and will not accomplish anything with Ralph as leader. Look at what is happening to the other elected members. Can they seriously go back to the people in their constituencies and ask for their vote. I don’t think so! Your other problem is: You were parachuted into South Leeward, where you don’t belong. Do you know what aches the people of the constituency? I don’t think you do and that’s why several ULP supporters did not support you. I wonder what Ralph promised Brown to keep him out? He knows Ralph never keeps his impossible dreams, so why did he back down when the people wanted him?
    Oh! By the way, South Leeward and all other constituencies don’t need quality representatives. They need honest, reliable and trustworthy representatives. I honestly don’t see any of that in the ULP Labour camp.

  4. Urlan Alexander says:

    Typical eh! the PM will resort to the singing of hymn to ground his foolishness. Like how Jerrol was campaigning for the nomination the same week and then go and nominate Carlos James, Same thing happened to Grenville Williams. He sent them a message to all and sundry” if all yo cannot work things out I will choose who I want”. End of story..the window dressing with the nomination process is the cake icing for the fools to wallow up.

  5. It has come to pass that that” his honor” will do as he pleases, the people of Vermont and surrounding villages must stand up to ” his honor” and let him know that they will not vote for the likes of Ralph or Jomo.Take a good look at Jomo Thomas and one sees the face of evil. Wake up residents South Leeward and smell the coffee .

  6. Peter Binose says:

    When choosing the candidate they had a choice of a man with a shit kicker grin or a miniature Marxist.

    We have miniature dogs, miniature horses, so why not.


  8. Peter Binose says:

    I was told that Grenville was promised the Sentatorship if Jomo is elected.

    What a trio, the Grenville the grinning griffin, Browne the clown and Jomo the

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