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Outgoing president of the New Democratic Party, Arnhim Eustace, left, greets person after his speech Tuesday night. (IWN photo)
Outgoing president of the New Democratic Party, Arnhim Eustace, left, greets person after his speech Tuesday night. (IWN photo)

Outgoing president of the New Democratic Party and immediate past Leader of the Opposition, Arnhim Eustace, said Tuesday night that he is saddened that he was “not availed the opportunity to chart a new course for the development of our people as Prime Minister for any significant period of time”.

He, however, said that his regrets are not personal, but relate to the benefits that could have redounded to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, if he were given a longer stint at the helm of government.

Eustace said this was the reality despite his best efforts, those of the NDP, and the overwhelming support of Vincentians.

“There are so many people — children whose parents struggle to send them to school regularly or even to pay for the examinations they need to take in order to have a fair chance in their adulthood to break the cycle of poverty; young adults burdened with the hopelessness brought about by lack of opportunity and a stagnant, oft shrinking economic landscape; those lucky enough to have sustained employment through these hard times while witnessing their NIS funds misused and squandered; those suffering from the British American and CLICO fiasco; those in need of medical attention forced to rely on the inadequate health facilities … How many unavoidable deaths have occurred?

“And battered and exploited women and children. Given the opportunity many of them would have been reaping the rewards of principled, creative, fiscally prudent management of the country’s affairs, harnessing our potent human and agricultural resources,” Eustace said.

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Eustace, 72, was prime minister for the final five months of the NDP’s 17-year reign.

He inherited the prime ministership from Sir James Mitchell, who transitioned to a new leader five months before early general elections, which he had agreed to in order to end intense protests by the then opposition Unity Labour Party in early 2000.

A section of the audience at Tuesday's event. (IWN photo)
A section of the audience at Tuesday’s event. (IWN photo)

Eustace, as prime minister, announced those elections for March 28, 2001 and the NDP, which had eight seats in the 15-member Parliament, was only able to retain three while the remaining 12 went to the ULP.

The ULP repeated those results in 2005, but in 2010, saw its hold on the Parliament falling to a single seat majority, which it also repeated in 2015.

Eustace, five-time Member of Parliament for East Kingstown, which he has been representing since 1998, will hold that post until a suitable replacement candidate is found, he told party supporters and media audiences during an address from the NDP’s headquarters, Democrat House, Tuesday night.

Eustace, however, said that his disappointments about not having a longer stint as prime minister “are buoyed by my certainty that the institution known as the New Democratic Party is better than ever, stronger than ever and built to stand the test of time.

“So that when that inevitable day dawns, that day of justice for our disenfranchised populace — this team is poised to take the reins of government and create the optimum environment for the talented citizens of this great nation to realize our potential as a people.”

Eustace, an economist, who told Tuesday’s audiences that he has been a public servant for 44 years, said that a friend asked him recently if had any regrets about not returning as prime minister.

“No, I have no regrets for me. But I do have regrets for the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines who in two successive elections have been cheated of getting the government they voted for and the government they deserved.”

He was referring to the NDP’s claim that the 2010 and 2015 elections were stolen.

The party is challenging the results of the 2015 vote in court, but regional and international observers have said that the vote represented the will of the people.

“I have regrets that these fine men and women of the leadership of the NDP, a cadre of men and women who make up the best leaders St. Vincent and the Grenadines has to offer, have been cheated of the opportunity to give back to the country they love as mandated by the people.

“But I stand here tonight hopeful. I believe there is an emerging new generation within the NDP that will take the struggle to remove this illegal family-owned government to a new level,” Eustace said.

He further said that he believes that Vincentians now have a greater understanding of the connection between Government policy and the economic realities they face every day, in part because of his “persistent weekly ventilation of this relationship” on radio.

MP for the Northern Grenadines, Godwin Friday, a long-standing vice-president of the NDP, has been chosen by his colleagues as leader of the opposition.

He will face a challenge by his fellow vice-president, St. Clair Leacock, for the party presidency at an extra-ordinary convention on Sunday.

The NDP will hold a regular convention early in the New Year in which it will elect the remaining members of the executive.

5 replies on “Eustace regrets St. Vincent didn’t have him as PM for longer period”

  1. Saint Vincent would certainly be a far better country today if Eustace were the PM. The very terrible economics of Gonsalves has guaranteed that SVG will have poverty for a long time to come. A country cannot borrow its’ way into wealth. It cannot spend its’ way into wealth and it cannot tax its’ way into wealth. It is clear that Gonsalves does not have a clue on how to solve the problems of St. Vincent. When we have a PM that believes raising taxes will create jobs, we are lost! Gonsalves needs to go back to school and re-learn basic economics.

    1. Many have tried to solve the problems of St. Vincent but all have failed because these problems have no ready economic solutions.

      We simply have to accept that the best we can do is simply limp along as we always have. A chance for First Word prosperity is simply not the hand that nature has dealt us.

      Of course, I agree with you that the present regime has made things worse with its careless borrowing and mindless spending but this is the only way it has been able to maintain power for 15 years.

      I also believe a Eustace government wouldn’t have done much better although it certainly wouldn’t have indebted us so much with a useless and needless airport boondoggle.

  2. The NDP is desperate for Eustace to hang on to the seat that he should have already vacated because the party is terified of losing it to the ULP.

  3. It is important that the NDP select a president who is not a member of parliament. I will be on Friday’s back to bring back the village and town councils in SVG. People from the towns and villages volunteer their time because they are looking for a better community, not money. All they are looking for are peaceful, prosperous and crime free villages and towns to raise their children.
    You know what! NDP don’t have to wait until they take over the government to start the process. I believe I read somewhere that Bequia has started the ball rolling. This is an idea the opposition members of should start working on. There is no better time to show the people that all is not lost, even with a vindictive, criminal and wicked government running the country.
    I refuse to call for Arnhim to step down. I knew he would do it at the right time, not because of Ralph, Nature and Terrance insistence.

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