Vice president of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) St. Clair Leacock has apologised for his comments last week about the timeline for an announcement of a new candidate for East Kingstown, which Arnhim Eustace has been representing since 1998.
In a call to the New Times programme on NICE Radio, on Wednesday, when Leacock made his weekly appearance on the show, an NDP programme, Eustace accepted the apology and said he was ready to move on from the incident.
“I have been listening to the programme; I have heard Mr. Leacock and his presentation. You did indicate that you apologise for the incident. In the circumstances, I accept that apology. I do not wish for us to continue in that vein. Our problem is Ralph Gonsalves. Thank you very much,” Eustace said one day after he used the same programme to slam Leacock as “previous and out of place”.
The development began when Leacock said in a May 21 interview on Xtreme Radio that Eustace has had surgery on his knees, adding, “and you can’t run if you can’t walk.
“Mr Eustace can’t do all those hill climbs that he has to do and as an elder statesman of the party, he will let his wisdom and knowledge go to whoever will contest that seat,” Leacock said.
He had also told listeners that the party had identified three potential replacements for Eustace and that NDP leader Godwin Friday would announce Eustace replacement after further discussion.
In his weekly programme on NICE Radio on Tuesday, Eustace said that Leacock was “previous and out of place” in making the comments.
And, on Wednesday, during his weekly appearance on the same programme, Leacock apologised for his comment.
“That’s the statement and that statement offended Mr. Eustace. I apologise to Mr. Eustace for my statement and I move on. Sometimes, one has to small up oneself so that the bigger picture may flourish,” after reading media reports of what he had said on Xtreme FM.
“May I be permitted to say in the same breath, as I come on here this morning that I had consultation with the leader of my party, namely Dr. Friday, who continues to enjoy my confidence and my respect and I don’t think I will be out of turn in saying Mr Friday’s wish, Dr. Friday’s wish is that I continue to serve as vice president of the New Democratic Party,” Leacock said.
Leacock, who has been representing Central Kingstown since 2010, said Friday wants him to remain a candidate in the next general election and to contest the Central Kingstown seat.
“… and it is his view that the party’s prospects will be best served by me remaining as a member and vice president and a representative in Central Kingstown,” Leacock said.
He said he believes that he owes it himself, to the people of Central Kingstown and of St. Vincent and the Grenadines “to give the loyalty that I had demonstrated to Mr. Eustace to Dr. Friday and continue to put the party before myself, put the leader before myself and give all of my talent, skill and ability to Dr. Friday to assist him in the electoral success of the New Democratic Party and his eventual elevation to that of Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“I can do no less and I do so this morning with all the sincerity that is required of me. With that said, no one should understate my own self-respect and belief in self at this time,,” Leacock said,
Godwin Friday, who is Member of Parliament for the Northern Grenadines since 2001, had served along with Leacock as vice president of the NDP until November 2016.
In November 2016, Friday was elected president of the NDP and Leader of the Opposition after Eustace stepped down from the posts which he had held since October 2000.