Founder of the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), former prime minister, Sir James Mitchell, has welcomed the changes in the leadership of the party.
The NDP, last November, elected Member of Parliament for the Northern Grenadines, Godwin Friday as its leader, replacing MP for East Kingstown, Arnhim Eustace, who had led the party since October 2000.
At the NDP’s convention on Feb. 12, the party also elected a new general secretary, assistant general secretary, and public relations officer.
Speaking on radio this week, Sir James, who bowed out of politics in 2000 after 16 years as prime minister, wished the new executive of the NDP well.
“Good luck to them, I wish them luck and, as I said before, I am delighted.”
He noted that he had said that when there is a dead in the house it is important to keep the windows and doors open and to let in fresh air.
“And I hope that the party will continue to let in fresh air. That job is an ongoing exercise to attract new people and attract new people with talent and make sure these are people who are prepared to learn and who are prepared to learn fast,” Sir James said.
“St. Vincent can’t afford to be making mistakes, or the party can’t afford to be making mistakes and losing and losing and losing,” he said.
“People like a lot of them are annoyed that without my help and guidance we would have lost the referendum,” he said in reference to the 2009 Constitution Referendum in which the NDP was able to convince the electorate to reject proposed changes to the nation’s constitution.
“The only time they had victory was when I returned to help them. And I hope they will see victory again,” Sir James said.
But the former prime minister’s comments are not true.
In 2001, 2005 and 2010, Sir James campaigned with the NDP, which lost all of those elections.
Some observers say that Sir James, in fact, hurt the NDP when he said during the 2010 campaign that he does not even trust Jesus Christ to manage the electoral process.
On Sept. 10, 2010, as the election campaign gained momentum, Sir James called for the immediate presence of international observers here.
“We want them here to go and see what is happening with the Supervisor of Elections [Sylvia Findlay-Scrubb]. I know that she is an honourable lady, a distinguished lady and so on; but I don’t trust even Jesus Christ when there is [sic] elections, until I see the results,” he said.