Jomo Thomas speaking at the press conference in Kingstown on Tuesday, during which he announced he had resigned his membership of the ruling Unity Labour Party. (iWN photo)

By Jomo Sanga Thomas

(“Plain Talk”, Nov. 1, 2019)

My departure from the ULP was long in coming. All that was left was timing.

Intolerance and demonisation of persons with opposing or contrary ideas and opinions; confusion and conflation of governing party’s interest with the national interest; the neglect of large swaths of the country and selective approval of the rule of law, are key reasons for my resignation. But this piece is personal because the people of South Leeward and SVG were robbed of the opportunity to elect a disciplined, committed and determined representative.

The 2013 invitation to join the party proved to be a ploy intended to silence me, rather than to utilise my training, experience and advocacy to assist in the development of our people and country.  When it became clear that I could not be bought or silenced, the effort to deny me an elected seat in Parliament and to sideline and ostracise me, began in earnest.

I am a serious man who loves SVG. This is no mere rhetorical flourish that is so often mouthed by politicians. It is a commitment that comes from deep within my being, and one for which I am committed to die for. This is no idle boast. I have been serving this life sentence since I was 14 years old, and one which nothing  — not money, fame, fortune, or women — could detour.

I really have no vices. Many accuse me of having a boring existence. I don’t eat meat, smoke, take or sell drugs, engage in money laundering, cheat clients in my law practice or the government of taxes due. I am a social drinker for whom three drinks are plenty.  Except for my mouth and brain, which I did not leave in my mother, as well as advocacy of “unpopular causes”, there is nothing I say or do on which society will frown. I have a voracious appetite for reading and learning, criticism and self-criticism, and quite frankly, don’t suffer fools gladly.  

I joined the ULP in 2013 because I was convinced, at the time, that it constituted the best avenue through which the people could realise some of their most basic dreams.  My first central executive meeting was a revelation of what was to come. It lasted all of 171 minutes, of which Prime Minister Gonsalves spoke for 136; and so, it went on, whenever infrequent meetings were called.

At most meetings, I became either bored, nervous or angsty.  From my YULIMO/UPM days, I had grown accustomed to challenging and testing my views against those of Renwick Rose, Adrian Saunders, Mike Browne, Oscar Allen, Caspar London and Ralph Gonsalves in a spirit of camaraderie.  Not so with the ULP. 

Before you could finish your thought, you were cut off in mid-sentence. There is only one fount of wisdom.

As the elections of 2015 approached, there was a concerted effort to steer me away from South Leeward and into West Kingstown, a constituency where I had neither presence nor electoral interest. The leader was committed to a candidate for South Leeward who had little or no chance of winning. My team out hustled the contender. A Peter Wickham pool in May 2015 showed that on all trending points, I was the choice of the people. That poll also indicated that I was ahead of the New Democratic Party incumbent Nigel Stephenson by a 49/48 percentage. Sadly, by July 2015, a top party official had predicted I had “no chance of winning”.

Edgar “Cookie” Cruickshank, who died tragicallys ubsequently, was convinced by the party leader I would not be the candidate and, therefore, must support my rival. When I emerged as the candidate, Cookie felt betrayed, became confused, and spent his last days campaigning against a leader and party he had once sworn to defend with his life. 

The ULP activist we all know as Garfield “Coals” Joseph, who had welcomed my candidacy since, in his words, “what better man we could have to represent us than someone fighting for reparations”, admitted to members of my campaign team that he had been directed by the party leader not to support me.  He became cold and was “fired up” to attack me in meetings and on radio. When he died, few followed him to the cemetery. No one from his Vermont community paid him a tribute. But I was there to witness how good sons and daughters of our people were used, abused, discarded and forgotten.

Every Nov. 15, I posted the following on Facebook page: “On this date in 2015, the ULP lost the South Leeward seat.”  It is true. Jerry Scott had represented South Leeward for 17 years. He liked my advocacy, and on more than one occasion, implored me to return to SVG and contribute to national development.  When I got into the race, I engaged Mr. Scott in quiet diplomacy. I knew he was estranged from the NDP and I wanted to keep him out of the campaign. I also knew that he was still loved and respected by many in the area. He committed not to do anything to affect my electoral chances.  I, however, made the cardinal error of telling Dr. Gonsalves. 

On Nov.15, 2015, at Clare Valley, the Prime Minister spent 14 minutes talking about how great Jerry Scoot was and that he would make him the point man for developing Campden Park into the 7th Town.  On that night Mr. Scott received close to 100 calls accusing him of selling out to Ralph Gonsalves.  On Nov. 22 at Campden Park, Mr. Scott, bending to pressure to prove he was not a sellout, mounted the NDP platform — for the only time in the campaign — and spoke for 11 minutes. It was enough. The old guard became convinced the old bull was in.  The ULP handed the seat to NDP, and Stephenson won by 118 votes.

But there is more. Our campaign team also found that there were 83 known NDP supporters registered in South Leeward but who lived in West Kingstown. The party leadership was asked to make representation to the Supervisor of Elections to have them switched. Nothing was done.  Seventy-one of these persons voted. 

Because of the general lack of material support and inattention of the party leadership, I told Dr. Gonsalves in the presence of his wife and daughter: “I know you don’t want me to win, but I will still win.” We fell short through no fault of ours.

Since 2016, the nation has witnessed a jaundiced, venomous and scurrilous barrage against me. These persistent attacks were sponsored, sanctioned, coordinated and executed by the party leadership. Star Radio was the medium of delivery.   

*Jomo Sanga Thomas is a lawyer, journalist, social commentator and Speaker of the House of Assembly in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. 

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to news.iwitness@gmail.com.

16 replies on “Why I resigned from the ULP”

  1. What a time in SVG… careful the end is not like that if the late Glen Jackson… I fear the worst and I trust non of the monarchy

  2. JOSHUA RICHARDSON says:

    Jomo, you do not walk into a lion’s lair and tell him that he has bad breath. You have failed miserably because you continued to feed at the trough. Lick your wounds and move on with your life. My granny used to say. “Cockroach have no business at a fowl cock party.”

  3. Rawlston Pompey says:

    PUBLIC REVELATIONS – INSULTS AND INDIGNITIES

    Except for ‘…melodrama or sentimentality,’ these self-serving and self-revealing episodes, may very well be left alone.

    The writer seemed to have endured and/or tolerated or subjected himself to innumerable insults and indignities that had propelled his ‘…marginalization; …ostracization’ and ultimately his organizational demise.

    The child at play with others that suddenly cries out, is usually the one another child had struck.

    Conversely, ‘…Throw a stone into the pig sty (pen), the one that squeals, is usually the one that got struck.’
    Well, so the saying goes.

    Not to be taken, neither as an advice nor a criticism.

    Such ‘…Public Revelations’ for resigning, are clearly not helpful or even as important as ‘…manning-up’ and moving on or charting a new personal course.

    There is where ‘…energies and imaginations’ shall now be concentrated.

  4. I truly understand where you are coming from Jomo..I visit my homeland every so often and it’s disheartening what’s happening in Vincy.
    There’s a minuscule few who would tell you that things couldn’t be better in St vincent and the truth be told, these people are close to the Ultimate leader one way or the other.
    But go to the grocery stores and the pharmacies and then you realize that the vast majority of Vincentians are suffering ;hence the increase in poor relief.This administration keeps promising the people pie in the sky ;hotel jobs,airport jobs, agriculture jobs and nothing ever materializes. The private sector which is supposed to be the main job provider and economic driver is dead as a door post.
    St Vincent is hopelessly at sea with a drunken Captain who thinks he knows what’s best for the crew and passengers. A captain who could sweet talk his way into the hearts of his passengers only to RIP out the same hearts of those who trust him.I pray that my people would wake up before this ship called the Vincy runs aground to never more be called the” land of the blessed ” all because of this illegitimate Captain.

  5. Dear Sir,

    From the moment your candidacy was announced I confessed I thought you a sellout because I knew to my core “the 2013 invitation to join the party proved to be a ploy intended to silence [you], rather than to utilise [your] training, experience and advocacy to assist in the development of our people and country…” that the aforementioned was nothing but the truth.

    I could not and would not support your decision as the team you chose to be apart of is nothing short of a selfish bunch of anti-Vincentian folk. I however opted to give you the benefit of the doubt.

    Despite the risk of being called a turn coat maybe your efforts should now be employed to unseat this unscrupulous bunch and empower the NDP to do what must be done to move us forward. Even if your support falls short of the NDP, please consider running as an independent at the very least as you still have so much to offer this multi-island tropical paradise.

    Stay the course brother. May your resolve be continuously strengthened.

  6. Jomo, should we be looking forward for an upcoming book release? the best seller anthology: ‘A Ploy to silence – Plain talk’

  7. This is all shocking! So many people have mentioned through all the years that the ULP is run like a dictatorship and now we hear it from an insider. When other ideas are not considered or even listened to it is no wonder that SVG continues to get worse and worse for the people and gets better for only the few.
    .
    The biggest indicators to me of the continued decline are the massive lines at Western Union and Moneygram, as well as all the street vendors. Although Jomo’s economics are essentially the same as Ralph’s, an infusion of new ideas would have possibly at least made some improvements. All in all, the NDP and the Green Party have far better economic policy, but Jomo is one of the few in the ULP that “had” integrity and love the country more than himself. These are traits very much lacking in the supreme leader of that party. No wonder SVG is in such bad condition and continues to get worse. Without Jomo, on ya few will speak out against all the terrible policy of the high leadership; and those that do, will not do so in the way Jomo did. This could mean that unless we get a change of leadership we could see even worse decline!

  8. Jomo you make me so confused b that I don’t know what to say. You have stated that the part on whose ticket you represented undermined your chances of victory from the onset. However, you remained a loyal supporter during the subsequent years without saying a word to that effect. Honestly, you caused me so baffled that you left a reasonable reader like myself knownin not what to make of your allegations. Is it a case of sour grapes. I will like your response to this.

  9. Vincy in New York says:

    This shows that you cannot “baby house” much less the game of politics. You were outplayed, outwitted and even silenced.

    What does a shrewd politician do when faced with an intellectual who is perceived as a threat? Place the threat in a post to diminish the competition and remove any teeth.

    The world is a stage, and as a player on that stage, I do hope that you have a rabbit in your hat to keep the audiences attention. Otherwise, sour grapes, they dont like me or weeping man over spilled milk may apply to u . Rather, you should have broken ties and kept those reasons to yourself for now unless, as I said, more acts to come.

    The adage “if you can’t beat them, join them” does not always ring true in politics. Party and personnel must align with your philosophy. Strange bedfellows apply here.

    Advice – Plan your nexr moves carefully, keep your agenda to yourself and seek spiritual guidance.

  10. This whole article is nothing but bullshit. First of all, if the party didn’t want you to win, they would not have run you in a swing or marginal seat. They would have told you they have their candidate already. They did NOT tell you that.
    The other thing, you are an introvert. You cannot look people in their faces to talk to them because you’re a phony. You used comrades on the ground to do the bulk work, stop fooling people. Activists overseas gave you tremendous help, you were just a bad phony candidate.
    Did you tell them you refused a gospel concert in Campden Park because you’re an atheist? Talk the whole truth. What about your US citizenship? Did you renounce?
    Stop being a phony bro! You stayed on as speaker because of the money! You also took the homosexual cases because of money, you are a mercenary!

  11. Ricardo Francis says:

    Jomo is a hypocrite.

    Ralph is a hypocrite.

    It is believed that the ULP is full of hypocrites.

    Is the NDP full of hypocrites, also???

    It was a question of time, Jomo.

    I do not GENUFLECT to nobody especially Ralph, the Pharaoh leader.

    You made your bed Jomo and you feathered it, for sometime.

    You should re-consider your quest for the alternative lifestyle representation. It may bring you more grief. I do not believe that you need that additional burden.

    Jomo, every rope has an end.

    Ralph does not believe that his rope has an end.

    Ralph applies and employs heavy/high-handed tactics that are full of venom, that even a venomous snake will refuse.

    Jomo, God is GREAT.

    You should examine your faith in the creator and perhaps read the bible, you may find some answers, Jomo.

    Jomo, have you ever considered:” walking softly and carrying a big stick”? The interpretation of this proverb and or saying has different and varied meanings. I will let you decide.

    Jomo, Ralph wanted you to drink the milk, and not count the cows.

    Jomo, Ralph controls the farm with the cows and he decides the following:

    1. Who gets to drink the milk?;

    2. When you should drink the milk?;

    3. How much milk you get to drink?;

    4. Why you drink the milk and how much milk you drink?;

    5. Which cow and or cows’ milk that you get to drink?;

    6. Remember, not all cows give the same amount of milk and not all cows have the same quality milk;

    7. Again remember, choose the milk carefully that you drink and you may know the cows; and

    8. Ralph does not want anyone who wants the farm, and the cows.

    I have no knowledge and or information of the specific details of your exit, except what I have read in the media. However, I have forensic lenses that can see very far.

    I am very fearless and courageous.

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

    Reply

  12. Jomo you are not a strategist , you should listen to some of thee opinion here for advice. You will slide further and be ostracized if you go ahead with support for those Buller. It’s a bad move Jomo, Vincy are not so forgiving.

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