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Senator Shirlan "Zita" Barnwell. (iWN file photo)
Senator Shirlan “Zita” Barnwell. (iWN file photo)

Founder of the main opposition New Democratic Party, Sir James Mitchell says that Shirlan “Zita” Barnwell, who made a dismal bid on Sunday to become one of the party’s vice-presidents, should resign her senatorial post.

Barnwell, a lawyer, mustered 40 votes compared to Member of Parliament for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leacock’s 197 and 179 for Roland “Patel” Matthews, MP for North Leeward.

Barnwell might have been misled by the 144 votes she gained in last year’s race, when Matthews also made his first bid and there was a rift between Leacock and the party after MP for the Northern Grenadines, Godwin Friday, emerged as leader ahead of him.

This year, she ran a largely internet-based campaigned that focused heavily on her gender.

Speaking on Boom FM on Monday, Sir James said:

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“I notice that Zita Barnwell only got 40 [votes]. But let me say, this talk about women in party politics — in Barbados now, [Prime Minister] Mia [Mottley] has appointed about seven or eight women in the Cabinet. But nowhere in the election in Barbados was there any talk about women coming forward. People were chosen on the basis of their ability. You cannot use the women’s agenda to promote a particular individual,” Sir James said.

Sir James Mitchell
Former Prime Minister and NDP founder, Sir James Mitchell. (iWN photo)

Sir James, a former prime minister, said that he knows the Barnwell family and had nominated her father to be honoured by The Queen.

“…  and we have our good, old linkages, etc., but I think that Zita should realise what the party — obviously, she is not going to be a candidate. I think the graceful thing for her is to step aside and leave the way open for somebody else to be nominated in the Parliament.”

Sir James said he did not think that NDP president, Leader of the Opposition, Godwin Friday, showed weakness by not removing Barnwell from the senate before.

Leacock had called last year for Barnwell to be replaced by Israel Bruce, the party’s candidate for South Central Windward, when Kay Bacchus-Baptiste replaced Julian “Jules” Ferdinand in the senate whom she also replaced as NDP candidate for West St. George.

“I think Dr. Friday has let the whole thing play out, rather than take a decision but I think that the lady, having lost so badly, should be invited to resign…” Sir James said of the situation with Barnwell.

He had some suggestions about how the party should handle the situation.

“When somebody is about to resign, you should have a chat with them and make them feel comfortable. ‘There is room in the party, all hands on deck, we will look after you; but, please step aside and let us move forward.’”

Israel Bruce
Lawyer Israel Bruce has been chosen as the NDP’s candidate for South Central Windward. (iWN file photo)

Sir James was also of the opinion that Bruce should replace Barnwell as a senator.

“Somebody like Bruce, I think it is time, as a young active lawyer and who has been knocking on the door of representation for years, even while we were around and he has gone away and educated himself and I think some [consideration] should be given there.”

The NDP founder was speaking one day after the NDP held its conference of delegates, the business session of its 40th convention, which continues next Sunday in Greiggs.

Commenting on the new executive, he said:

“I think it is the wishes of the people in the party and I congratulate them for going through the exercise and getting the results. I am fascinated that my former secretary, Doris McIntosh, who spent most of her time in the Prime Minister’s Office and now has a prominent position,” he said of McIntosh, who defeated the incumbent, Margaret London, to become assistant general secretary.

“I am glad to see that my good minister, Glenford Stewart has got a prominent position there now.”

Stewart filled the newly created post of vice chairman.

“And I accept the verdict of the election for the vice-presidents,” Sir James said.

11 replies on “Zita should resign – Sir James”

  1. Bertie Jack says:

    Sir James is partially right SVG has too many brilliant young people for our politics to be dominated by mainly older men with that said he is looking at his friend Mahatir Mohammed and thinking he is younger than Mahatir.

  2. steven collins says:

    With all due respect Sir James this isn’t 1984..I’ll always be grateful for the gouti track you built in my village..Sir this is 2017 and to be honest I think Ms Barnwell’s efforts were noble..What you’re saying in 2018 or at least that’s my interpretation of what you’re saying is ; Ms Barnwell definitely has a role to play but it’s a role that gives way to the senior people and those selected as candidates to contest the next election..hope to God Dr Friday and the leadership of the NDP would distance themselves from this statement you’ve made.

  3. Is there another Political Resurrection on the horizon?

    Sir James does have A LOT to say these days. Though, I normally don’t agree with what he states these days, on this matter, I fully agree.

    The ULP needs a challenge and the NDP needs to be very strategic in its approach going forward prior to 2020. This will start with the positions at the helm. I was hoping to see more fresher and younger faces on the executive, however, who am I to have an opinion? “Fowl nah have no calling in cock party!” In fact, this fowl may not be “qualified” to attend any party at all.

  4. C. ben-David says:

    In a recent Facebook post, political activist for the New Democratic Party, Doug Howard, is Party supporters of the party angered over the election of the new executive of the NDP, at their 40th Convention on Sunday 27th May 2018.

    Howard said that if an election is called today you would hear the same cry that was echoed in 2015.

    “The same cry that was echoed in 2005, 2010, 2015, you will hear it in 2020 or before the same cry” that the Gonsalves regime thief the elections.

    “No, you lazy as*es, get up and go to work, you did not put the right people in the right position, you putting square pegs in round hole, and you expect it to fit. It is not going to fit”.

    Howard said the masses should rise up and kick out the NDP, and replace it with another opposition party.

    I strongly agree with Mr. Howard’s message.

  5. C. ben-David says:

    Zita and Jomo should get back together, join forces with Ivan O’Neal and Anesia Baptiste, and form a new Revolutionary Socialist Party. LOL.

    I can laugh out loud because all four of them are jokers.

  6. Ricardo Francis says:

    Here are my questions and concerns:

    1. Why was Zita Barnwell appointed a senator in the first place?

    2. What were the specific reasons for her appointment?

    3. Does the NDP have a vetting sheet for senators?

    4. Was she promised an opportunity to be a candidate?

    5. Does her fraternization with the Speaker of the House have anything to do with her potential removal and or resignation as a senator?

    6. Did Zita Barnwell tried to stage an internal coup of the party organization?

    7. Are there not other available options for Zita Barnwell be a political candidate?
    Answer: Yes. Here are some options for her: (1).She can seek political office as an independent candidate; (2). She can join another existing political party and become a candidate; and (3) She can start a political party of her own.

    8. James Mitchell, are you not a personal friend of Ralph Gonsalves?

    9. How many favours have Ralph granted you since he has been Prime Minister?

    10. […]

    11. What is your exact relationship with Ralph?

    12. If you had a choice you would have made Ralph Prime Minister instead of Ulric Arnhim Eustace?

    13. Why in the 17 years in office, James, you did not bring about electoral reform?

    For the record, I am not a member of any political party in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and I do NOT support any politician in SVG. James Mitchell, remember, you once told me, it took Vincentians 18 years to trust you and I can say that some have never trusted you and still do not trust you.

    The political elites in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are pulling their strings behind the scenes and in your faces about who should and should not be a candidate. James Mitchell, you have some nerves. I am very fearless.

    Ricardo Francis, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Waiting and in the Making

  7. Agustus Carr says:

    There needs to be a new model to replace political parties. They have become too tribalistic and absolete. Persons wanting to be in Government should apply to become candidates and should be awarded the positions based on qualifications. An applicant should state the reason for their application, the portfolio they wish to hold and the constituency where they would like to run.

    Once you have done that the nominees goes to the poles. This means people from all different background who meet the qualifying criteria can become a candidate. Candidates must possess a bachelors or masters degree from a leading university to be considered. Whoever gets the most vote win. The government would then be form from all the winning candidates. These candidates are only bonded by loyalty to the country and nothing else.

    A country must be ran like a a major corporation. To be a profitable business for its shareholders, which are the citizens in this case.

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