Member of Parliament for South Leeward Nigel “Nature” Stephenson. (IWN file photo)

Leader of the Opposition and President of the New Democratic Party, Arnhim Eustace has ordered MP for South Leeward, Nigel “Nature” Stephenson, who has driven unlicensed and uninsured vehicle for five years, to appear before the party’s disciplinary committee on Jan. 20.

Eustace said in a statement on Friday that he has also instructed Stephenson to pay immediately all outstanding vehicle registration fees to the licensing authority, and insure the vehicle and rectify its legal ownership.

Writing under the rubric “wrong is wrong”, Eustace also outlined “the substance” of the report made to him by Stephenson.

“The Hon. Mr. Stephenson entered into an agreement with Mr. Bernard Punnett for the purchase of a Suzuki Escudo jeep bearing license number PS 759. In July 2009, Mr Stephenson accepted delivery of the vehicle and has been paying for the vehicle by instalments. At the time, the vehicle bore a 2009 registration sticker on its windshield which expired in September 2010, and which it continued to bear until December 2014, when mechanical problems forced Mr Stephenson to take the vehicle off the road.

“Mr. Stephenson consistently operated the vehicle in an unlicensed and uninsured state for the ensuing five years. This was wrong and we condemn it.

“Mr Stephenson has apologised orally and in writing for his conduct,” Eustace said.

Stephenson, in a separate statement on Friday, apologised “for what was a true lapse of judgment on my part.

“Whatever the challenges I may have faced, as a representative of the people, and legislator, I am held to a higher standard of conduct.

Please, accept my apology, and my assurance that this will never happen again,” the opposition lawmaker wrote. (Scroll for full text) 

Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace. (IWN file photo)
Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace. (IWN file photo)

Eustace said that having been elected by the people of South Leeward to the House of Representatives, Stephenson is “rightfully held to a higher standard of accountability than his electors.

“In this respect, I state unequivocally that he has fallen short and has disappointed himself, his party and his country.

“The New Democratic Party — of which Mr. Stephenson is a member and I am leader — describes itself to Vincentians as intolerant of corruption and misbehaviour in public office; and on behalf of Vincentians, has adopted a critical posture in relation not only to the several misdeeds of the ULP (Unity Labour Party) Administration but the absence of any or any appropriate sanctions for those misdeeds.

“The process of restoring St. Vincent and the Grenadines begins, therefore, with us,” Eustace said and outlined his instructions to Stephenson.

Full text of Stephenson’s statement: 

AN OPEN STATEMENT TO THE PUBLIC BY HON. NIGEL “NATURE” STEPHENSON

The people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have quite rightly been paying close attention, and commenting on the fact that I have driven an unlicensed and uninsured vehicle for the past five years.

I knew of my challenges to effect a change of ownership, for the vehicle, but that does not change the fact, that I had and have a responsibility to do all within my power, to pay to the Licensing Authority and Insurance Company, all fees due and outstanding to them.

I am sorry and I apologize for what was a true lapse of judgment on my part. Whatever the challenges I may have faced, as a representative of the people, and legislator, I am held to a higher standard of conduct.

Please, accept my apology, and my assurance that this will never happen again. Yours Respectfully,

Nature.

5 replies on “MP who drove unlicensed vehicle for 5 years ordered to appear before party’s disciplinary committee”

  1. It’s good that Arnhim is getting this issue settled before Ralph uses it as a political tool for this year’s election. Ralph has nothing to run on and would use anything to throw off the spotlight on his failure.

  2. As a young person I’ve lost confidence is all Politicians and the ppolice alike. Some other poor man who would have done this would probably be in jail by now. In Trinidad a minister was driving under the influence and had to step down immediately. In America a ex mayor got 10 years. When are we going to set a precedence in this place? The opposition is pulling down the ruling party and not leading by example. It’s just sad the ruling party needs to go but it’s sadder that the alternative does not look better.

  3. Patrick Ferrari says:

    Which goes to show how ignorant, stupid, dunce, Stephenson is. Above all, it shows that he has potentially corrupt genes.

    The idiot has done irreparable harm to his party. At a time they least need it.

    He has made his bed, now they have to lie in it.

  4. PAY THE UNPAID FEES AND OTHER NECESSARY FINES AND LETS MOVE ON…ELECTION ON THE HORIZON, THE PEOPLE WILL DECIDE THE FAITH OF MR STEPHENSON ONE WAY OR THE OTHER.

  5. I considerable this to be a very serious offence, especially for someone in public office who is also seeking to be returned to power. If Mr. Stephenson were an honourable man, he would already have chosen the ethical path of stepping down.

    If Mr. Eustace is actually the honest, incorruptible, no-nonsense man people claim he is, he would already have asked Mr. Stephenson to resign since the latter has already openly pleaded guilty. If Mr. Stephenson refuses to leave office, Mr. Eustace should prevent him from running again under the NDP banner even if this means changing Party nomination rules.

    Anything short of Mr. Stephenson’s prompt resignation sends a clear signal to all voters that electing an NDP government would be akin to shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    Indeed, this a golden opportunity for Mr. Eustace to show one and all that an NDP government would be a different kind of government in SVG.

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