The new Leader of the Opposition in St. Vincent and the Grenadines says he looks forward to serving the people the best he can and has promised “vigours opposition” to the Ralph Gonsalves administration, which is into the first year of a fourth consecutive term in office.
Member of Parliament for the Northern Grenadines, Godwin Friday, on Monday took over from Arnhim Eustace as leader of the opposition, ending Eustace’s almost 15-year stint in that post.
Friday defeated fellow vice-president of the New Democratic Party, Central Kingstown MP, St. Clair Leacock, and West Kingstown MP, Daniel Cummings, for the post, garnering five of the seven votes last week.
“… we are going to provide vigorous opposition on behalf of the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Friday said on Eustace’s weekly radio programme on Monday, which Eustace was hosting for the final time as president of the NDP.
“I certainly will put all my effort into it and I know and I am very grateful for your support, sir, for saying you will be there and I know you will be there to assist and to continue with your work in the parliament as well on behalf of the constituency of East Kingstown,” he told Eustace.
Friday will host a press conference on Wednesday during which he will outline his plans for the new role and the NDP, which has been in opposition since 2001, when it was voted out of office, after 17 years.
“For now, this is a tremendous day for us in St. Vincent and you, Mr. Eustace, your record will stand by itself,” he told Eustace, who has retained remains MP for East Kingstown — a post he has held since 1998 — but is preparing for his final exit from politics.
Friday said that Eustace’s is “a record of public service that I think is unmatched by anybody in this country and people will look at this and say that this is, in fact, true.
“It is not a matter of me as a member of your party, a member who has sat beside you in Parliament for so many years. This is a matter of fact. This is a matter of record not just here in St. Vincent, but in the region. And the amount of respect you have had here and in the region is proof of that,” he said.
Friday urged Vincentians to rally together to understand the importance of the politics of the country, the role everyone has to play and called on everyone to join the NDP in providing good service to the people of SVG.
“We have committed ourselves to so doing. All of our colleagues, I am sure, will do likewise and we have, Mr. Eustace, in your example, a very high standard to meet in terms of public service that you have provided to this country,” Friday said.
Friday, who has been representing the Northern Grenadines since 2001, is expected to be elected, unopposed, as president of the NDP when the party holds its convention on Sunday. He has been the party’s shadow minister of tourism, electoral matters, and foreign, diaspora and legal affairs, but it is not clear if those assignments would be adjusted.
Friday holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and political science from the University of Waterloo, Canada and a Bachelor of Laws Degree from Queen’s University, Canada.
He also holds a Master’s in history from the University of Waterloo, Canada and a doctorate in political studies from Queen’s University, Canada.