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Then Leader of the Opposition, Arnhim Eustace, has told the party that he is stepping down from both positions. (IWN file photo)
Then Leader of the Opposition, Arnhim Eustace, has told the party that he is stepping down from both positions. (IWN file photo)
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By Kenton X. Chance

President of the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), Arnhim Eustace, told the party’s central executive Tuesday night that he is stepping down as Leader of the Opposition and will not seek re-election as party leader at the next convention, expected to be held before year-end.

Eustace, a 72-year-old economist, told the party’s leadership that he made the decision after discussion with other members of the party about the way forward and said he was not forced to step down, sources familiar with the discussion told iWitness News.

NDP chairman, Linton Lewis, however, declined to comment when iWitness News contacted him Tuesday night, saying that he would be in a better position “to talk about that tomorrow afternoon”.

He, however, confirmed that the NDP’s central executive met Tuesday night, but did not say if any major decisions were taken.

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Lewis told iWitness News that the meeting discussed the party’s convention, but he gave no further details.

Sources familiar with Tuesday’s discussions said that Eustace’s parliamentary colleagues could select a Leader of the Opposition before the end of the week.

However, based on the NDP’s constitution, the party can only select a president at its convention and the new leader will be selected then.

Eustace, who has been representing East Kingstown since 1998, will continue as the area’s parliamentary representative, sources familiar with the discussions told iWitness News on condition of anonymity.

The announcement by Eustace Tuesday night at the NDP headquarters in Kingstown came after weeks of discussions following the broaching of the subject of leadership transition in the NDP by Nigel “Nature” Stephenson, Roland “Patel” Matthews and Terrance Ollivierre, Members of Parliament for South Leeward, North Leeward, and Southern Grenadines, sources familiar with the development have told iWitness News.

The decision by Eustace represents a revision of his original position, expressed to iWitness News earlier this year, that the convention would decide his fate.

With the results of the December 2015 general election, which the NDP lost to the Unity Labour Party (ULP) by a single seat, a repeat of the 2010 results, the pressure on Eustace to quit has been mounting, with even some of his most ardent supporters forced to admit, privately, that it is time for the NDP to elect a new leader.

The NDP has refused to accept the results of the elections, in which officials say the ULP secured a fourth consecutive term in office by winning eight of the 15 parliamentary seats, while the remaining seven went to the NDP.

Regional and international observers say the results represent the will of the people, but Eustace and the NDP have maintained that the vote was stolen and have taken their case to court.

Observers say that with the decision to step down, Eustace, who has been leading the NDP since October 2000, may have salvaged his legacy in politics, although he has failed to lead the NDP to victory.

In October 2000, five months before a general election, Eustace came to the helm of a shambolic NDP, which was staring down the barrel of defeat.

The party, which had been in office for the 17 years ending March 2001, under the leadership of Sir James Mitchell, was only able to retain three of the eight seats it held in Parliament as the ULP romped home to victory, amassing 32,925 votes to the NDP’s 23,844.

Almost a decade later, in December 2010, under Eustace’s leadership, the NDP was able to close the gap between itself and the ULP, with just 1,531 separating both parties, and the ULP’s margin of victory reduced from nine seats to one.

But by 2015, the tide was again turning against the NDP which amassed 31,027 votes to the ULP’s 34,246, a difference of 3,219 votes.

While all of the NDP’s seven parliamentarians retained their seat in the 2015 elections, they did so with smaller margins of victory, except for MP for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leacock, which many persons had seen as Eustace’s likely successor.

But sources in the know tell iWitness News that Leacock might have “out-manoeuvred himself” when he told iWitness News in September that he would not challenge Eustace for the NDP leadership and would dissuade any of his colleagues planning to do so.

Leacock’s argument was that any open challenge to Eustace for leadership of the NDP could lead to a fracture within the party, which could see the NDP losing East Kingstown if constituents feel that Eustace was treated unfairly.

But sources say that the conversation started by Stephenson, Matthews, and Ollivierre, revealed that Eustace might have been reconsidering his earlier position and decided to reflect — and then told the party that he will step aside.

Eustace is also leaving the helm of the NDP after galvanising the population behind his party’s position to reject proposed changes to the Constitution put to the electorate in a 2009 referendum.

Political observers say that the vote was, in fact, a referendum on the ULP administration, which would have been voted out of office 13 seats to 2, if the referendum were general elections.

But one year later, the ULP went on to retain governance by a single seat, forcing the NDP to take another self-critical look inwards.

One source told iWitness News that MP for the Northern Grenadines, Godwin Friday, a lawyer, is likely to become Leader of the opposition, a post which, according to the Constitution of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is granted to the persons who commands majority support among opposition lawmakers.

The source speculated to iWitness that Friday is likely to garner at least four of the seven votes and thereby become Leader of the Opposition.

“The person the parliamentarians choose as Leader of the Opposition is very likely to become president of the NDP,” one source told iWitness News.

17 replies on “Eustace tells NDP he is quitting as Opposition Leader, party head”

    1. Your sell by date has long expired David I am sure your boy friend would like to see the back of you. Wow! what am I saying? He already has.

  1. If Eustace were really a man of honour and integrity, as his supporters claim, he would certainly vacate his parliamentary seat as well — as Milton Cato did in similar circumstances and as Ralph Gonsalves would surely do if faced with such a defeat — to allow a fresh election in his seat which would surely energize this demoralized party.

    But I guess it’s just too hard for this gready old man to give up his fat salary and other perks.

  2. Not one of the six could ever win Ralph, not because he is a great leader but because he is a clever politician.

  3. A very sad time, his glory stolen by the ULP during several elections by their application of obvious fraud.

    But he is I am sure tired and needs a break from the demanding position of Opposition Leader. He and his family need to claim their lives back, get some leisure and vacation time.

    He will be remembered for his honesty and the fact that unlike some ULP politicians has never been accused of sexual assault or rape.

    He is as honest and clean as the day is long. He isn’t recognised as a serial liar like some we can name.

    1. 1. There you go again, Peter, making all sorts of scurrilous accusations without a shred of verifiable evidence. But I guess its your middle name as well as your NDP vocation. I guess all the external agencies who declared the 2015 election fair and square where either blind or biased or scampish. Is that your evidence?

      2. Which “demanding position as opposition leader” are you talking about? I disagree with most of the fart that comes out of the Comrade’s mouth but he was dead right when he said the job of the opposition leader is the easiest one in SVG. Eustace has been on vacation for the past 15 years my deal friend, Peter.

      3. As for being accused of sexual assault or rape, the burden of proof rests with the complainant, on the one had, and the accused is deemed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, on the other. Or would you prefer to see vigilante justice instead any time someone is accused of a crime, as in hang them first and them find them guilty of refusing to show up at their trial.

      3. Eustace is just as dishonest, as are the rest of our politicians: (a) he libelled the ULP by saying they stole the last two elections; (b) he falsely claimed the he lots of investors to finish Argyle airport and build a 1,000 room hotel at Mt. Wynne; and (3) he repudiated the plan in his party’s 2015 election to sell Mt. Wynne/Peter’s Hope to foreign investors just because he found out that the government has sold a few acres there to foreign investors. And this is only a short list.

      So tell us, Peter, what great things did Eustace accomplish during his l-o-n-g holiday as leader of the opposition except divide our people as much as the Comrade divided them? Nothing, you say. Just as I thought.

      1. Thank you David for confirming your current status as court jester. We know it is your given duty to make such statements and comments because you told us so.

        But if you are going to make these type of comments than we expect proper research and references, your personal opinions do not count. Remember you are still claiming to be a PhD University Professor, or are you. Can you confirm that David by sending proof of the same to Kenton Chance.

    2. You can’t blame him,we all just witnessed an election where a guy who was accused of more rapes/sexual harassment than our pm,a man who says more racist things than our PM,A man with zero political experience won..The world has gotten very crass…the time for class is over,but it has been over in SVG a long time ago,SVG is just pure crass..Arnhim is just catching on to the fact.

  4. The wierdest thing is Peter my sister rang me this morning from Milton Keynes and told me that you wrote something nice about Arnhim Eustace. She went on to say how she thought C. ben-David would react and she was spot on right. He attacked Eustace in the most spiteful and malicious way, really to get at you. I told my sister just watch only the two of us and Vinciman can see Peter is playing him like a fish.

    Peter remember the illness/s that I wrote about how absolutely spot on the analysis is. Word for word spot on.

    Sandra B

    1. Are you talking about this Sandra?

      Perhaps this is even more appropriate when looking at C. ben-David’s bullying tactics and wild claims.

      “The serial bully displays behaviour congruent with many of the diagnostic criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Characterised by a pervasive pattern of grandiosity and self-importance, need for admiration, and lack of empathy, people with narcissistic personality disorder overestimate their abilities and inflate their accomplishments, often appearing boastful and pretentious, whilst correspondingly underestimating and devaluing the achievements and accomplishments of others.

      “Often the narcissist will fraudulently claim to have qualifications or experience or affiliations or associations which they don’t have or aren’t entitled to. Belief in superiority, inflating their self-esteem to match that of senior or important people with whom they associate or identify, insisting on having the “top” professionals or being affiliated with the “best” institutions, but criticising the same people who disappoint them are also common features of narcissistic personality disorder.

      “Narcissists react angrily to criticism and when rejected, the narcissist will often denounce the profession which has rejected them (usually for lack of competence or misdeed) but simultaneously and paradoxically represent themselves as belonging to the profession they are vilifying.

      “Fragile self-esteem, a need for constant attention and admiration, fishing for compliments (often with great charm), an expectation of superior entitlement, expecting others to defer to them, and a lack of sensitivity especially when others do not react in the expected manner, are also hallmarks of the disorder. Greed, expecting to receive before and above the needs of others, overworking those around them, and forming romantic (sic) or sexual relationships for the purpose of advancing their purpose or career, abusing special privileges and squandering extra resources also feature.

      “People with narcissistic personality disorder also have difficulty recognizing the needs and feelings of others, and are dismissive, contemptuous and impatient when others share or discuss their concerns or problems. They are also oblivious to the hurtfulness of their behaviour or remarks, show an emotional coldness and a lack of reciprocal interest, exhibit envy (especially when others are accorded recognition), have an arrogant, disdainful and patronizing attitude, and are quick to blame and criticise others when their needs and expectations are not met.

    2. KaribbeanKat = Sandra B (you signed it with both names) = Peter Binose = ???

      Peter Binose, another woman’s name, another frock tail to cling to.

      Don’t you have any real friends and supporters? And, if not, why not?

      And so what. Why should you even care.

      Why not just carry on and write what you want. But beware, your hatred of the Prime Minister, on the one had, and your love for the opposition, on the other, cannot but detract from your credibility as as a writer and social commentator.

      Perhaps you just don’t care and are merely venting your rage for its own sake.

      But if you do care, there is an easy solution.

      Write about what you know; always tell the truth; say you are guessing or inferring when you don’t have proof for what you write; back up everything you write with verifiable evidence.

      Not rocket science, my friend, but this would demand a paradigm shift on your part. Are you up to the challenge?

    3. Nonsense, Peter, as you well know but could never admit. On September 17, 2014, long before I have any recollection of your writings or views, I wrote on this news site that:

      “Led by a dour and ineffectual man, riddled with internal dissension, plagued by lacklustre candidates, lacking concrete and detailed classical liberal solutions to our growing economic woes, terrified of criticising the man-made mirage at Argyle, the NDP is a weak alternative to the current regime. Above all, ordinary Vincentians want their politics served with a little pepper sauce. Mr. Eustace has none to offer them” ( ).

      My views about Eustace have not changed since then. Indeed, they have even hardened. My comment to your comment had nothing to do with spite or malice, only why I do not share your views about Eustace, nothing more, nothing less.

      This is your basic problem, man. You can’t tolerate any criticism or correction or even any questioning of your position on issues, however minor they may be. Everything for you is so personal, a true sign of an immature bully with a terribly fragile ego.

      That you can’t even defend yourself and use invented personas to do your dirty work instead speaks for itself. For God’s sake, grow up, man.

  5. Now! Now! David I hope you are not being a silly boy again? Why do you hate Eustace so? Why do you think that you can give advice on such matters, is that part of your duty again?

    Do you really believe you are qualified to make such an assessment? After all you are the World’s most renowned critic on Argyle Airport that should be a big enough heat-sink for all your hatred and spiteful maliciousness.

    Do you not think the constituency committee would ask him to go if they did not want him. In fact he was elected with a greater majority than ever before at the last election, despite all the fraud and the illegal registrations.

    As for his fat salary there is no elected NDP MP who is getting enough money, all their salaries are being handed out to starving people in their constituencies.

    In the case of Eustace he has given more to poor mothers for school books than he has drawn in salary. Remember the ULP MPs are all getting double salary by being cabinet ministers and being appointed to all sorts of committees, each and every appointment gives them a huge extension to their salaries, as do their ministerial appointments. And the ULP leaders appear to be getting stinking rich, how? Perhaps you can answer that David.

    I was trying to remember who it was who called you dopey Dave, remember that? Who was that David do you remember?

    1. Yes, one of your countless play names, Paul Summers Jr.

      Peter, I have never insulted you in this way. All I’ve every beat you with is the rod of correction which is my duty as an ex-prof.

      Alas, you are a very poor pupil, never taking good advice or looking at the work of others for examples of good writing, insightful observation, logical argumentation, and — above — factual accuracy.

  6. C.ben I am waiting for an apology from you, then we can get on and stop all the nonsense. No apology no forgiveness.

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