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Ben Exeter, the New Democratic Party's candidate for Central Leeward. (IWN file photo)
Ben Exeter, the New Democratic Party’s candidate for Central Leeward. (IWN file photo)
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Sir Louis Straker has come out of retirement to represent the UlP in Central Leeward. (Internet photo)
Sir Louis Straker has come out of retirement to represent the UlP in Central Leeward. (Internet photo)

Unity Labour Party candidate for Central Leeward Sir Louis Straker on Monday dismissed as “wishful thinking” reports that the main opposition New Democratic Party’s (NDP) Ben Exeter had outpolled the ULP in the constituency, causing him to return to politics five years after retiring.

“I hear a lot of talk about poll showing that Ben Exeter was ahead. That is just a wishful thinking. The party support remains very strong, very, very strong in Central Leeward, but there was a division,” Straker said.

Neither incumbent Member of Parliament for Central Leeward, the ULP’s Maxwell Charles, nor his challenger, Dunstan Johnson, received an outright majority at the constituency conference Sunday night and neither of the men was willing to give way to the other.

The impasse triggered Political Leader of the ULP, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves to ask Straker to carry the ULP’s banner in the next general elections, due in March 2016, but widely expected this year.

Speaking on radio on Monday, Starker said that both camps were very strong in their support for either Charles or Johnson and a third candidate was needed.

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And five years after he retired from politics after 16 years representing Central Leeward, the 73-year-old politician thinks that he still have what it takes to win again.

“I think that I have the confidence of the people in Layou, the confidence of the people in Barrouallie, the confidence of all the people in the constituency to serve for one more term in Central Leeward to do some of the things that the people want done, and to be the standard-bearer so that next elections they can get a younger person to go on,” said Straker, a former deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs.

“But I am in good health and I feel I can carry on the campaign. I am honoured to serve with the team that is emerging under the ULP, under the leadership of Ralph Gonsalves who has been my friend, and who has been a benefactor, in a sense, to Central Leeward. Many of the things we got done in Central Leeward is because I had the full support of the Prime Minister,” Straker said.

He said would be glad if he could be of some assistance to Sen. Jomo Thomas, the ULP’s South Leeward candidate, and Carlos James, who is representing the party in North Leeward.

Straker noted that the bulk of his relatives are in the Buccament Valley in South Leeward.

“I have a lot of relatives and that’s why I worked so hard to get that bridge to help the people from Francois into Vermont,” he said.

Gonsalves on Monday also sought to pour cold water on suggestions that Straker’s return was in response to inroads that Exeter, a first-time candidate, might have made in Central Leeward.

“Anybody who has seriously written something like that, men in white coats should go for that person and take them out of Orange Hill, where you have persons with a particular challenge mentally.

It’s just rubbish, absolutely,” Gonsalves said.

“That’s a crazy person. You know sometimes you have some rabid NDP people, they’re rabid to the point of stupidity and stupidity even degenerates to the point of madness. For somebody to tell me about Ben Exeter being a quality candidate, I mean — come on,” Gonsalves said.

“One of NDP’s problems is quality of candidates and quality of leadership. You have some people who, their disposition and their countenance appear so sad and mournful, it’s like the proverbial farmer who is so disappointed that everything is going wrong for them, that he prefer to throw himself under the proverbial omnibus.

“I mean anybody can seriously talk about Ben Exeter as a quality candidate? The fella doesn’t understand the simplest thing about governance and government. I mean the number of gaps you would have heard, the level of his immaturity, despite the fact that he is a grown man.

“Maxwell Charles and Dunstan Johnson are candidates with record of service to their country, which excel, by far, that of Ben Exeter. So what they talking about, much less to a veteran like Sir Louis, whose worth and merit we know well,” Gonsalves said.

“Now, I am quite sure that this morning the opposition must be quaking in their boots with the prospect of the return of Sir Louis. Comrade Louis has served that constituency incredibly well,” Gonsalves said.

4 replies on “ULP denies Straker’s return is in response to Ben Exeter’s popularity in Central Leeward”

  1. Since Straker took the PM’s bait and accepted a Knighthood, he is now part of the British nobility, in my book he is unacceptable to stand in any constituancy. Not because he is a Knight but because as a so called socialist and a ULP person he accepted that Knighthood against the beliefs of Scientific Socialism.

    He is from the same ULP mould as Beache who was given a Knighthood and jobs for life.

    1. C. ben-David says:

      Peter, stop your nonsense! What about Sir James who in 1995 accepted a knighthood while still Prime Minister and also made sure there was a (white elephant) airport named after him also while still in office?

      The same Sir James, who you seem to be fond of for some strange reason was very lucky to get a positive Privy Council decision based not on the facts of what really happened at Ottley Hall but rather concerning the alleged bias of the commissioner in the inquiry. If legal proceeding, following a forensic audit, had taken place, perhaps we would have seen a different outcome.

      So Straker is well within his rights and lots of precedence to come back from the graveyard of washed up politicians to run and surely end his career with a big loss against young and attractive Ben Exeter.

      Peter, you are just like the rest of the 90 plus percent of Vincentians who can’t or refuse to accept that all Vincie politicians, indeed most all Caribbean politicians, are cut from the same cloth.

      What is the difference between Joshua, Cato, Mitchell, Eustace, and Gonsalves? Not a hell of a lot as far as I’m concerned.

  2. Listen to this cry baby calling Mr Exeter immature.listen to the venom.This shows that Exeter getting under his skin.Do your thing Exeter,you have them ah run up and down like headless chickens.I remember Ralph saying that if NDP get him vex he will call the elections but how cad he do that and he doesnt even have even spoke in Barrouallie so long ago and say he giving NDP a short rope.Well this short rope is very very a man

  3. One question for the worlds brightest prime minister:why was maxwell charles rejected by a section of their own people?Is it because of poor representation mr pm?am just curious mr pm

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