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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, left, and social commentator, Jomo Thomas. (iWN file photo)
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, left, and social commentator, Jomo Thomas. (iWN file photo)
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Former Unity Labour Party member Jomo Thomas has rubbished the statement by party leader Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves that the party is a family and anyone who leaves is “dead – politically”.

Thomas who was the ULP’s candidate for South Leeward in the December 2015 election quit the party last October amidst a continued onslaught against him on the ULP’s radio station.

He will also demit the post of Speaker of the House of Assembly this week, in keeping with his announcement last year to leave that office by the first quarter of 2020.

Thomas, a lawyer, social commentator and journalist who writes a weekly commentary, said that he plans to complete two books that he is working on.

“I have a number of things that I’m doing, apart from those things which are announced,” Thomas told iWitness News but said he did not want to speak about those things just this minute.

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“I know that a lot of people are hoping to hear answers to that precise question. A lot of people are wondering.

“But I know that the governing party has said that it is a family and if you leave the family — a rather mafioso thought, that characterisation — … you are dead politically,” Thomas said.

Speaking last November at a rally to celebrate the ULP’s 25th anniversary, Gonsalves said:

“And I tell you this further: anytime anybody within this Unity Labour Party, which is a national movement, the heart of the labour movement and which is a family, and any renegade, any traitor, and any castaway who leave the labour family, they are dead politically.”

Gonsalves continued:

“I tell you this: we have had one or two opportunists of different ideological shapes and sizes.”

As the prime minister made his comment, someone close to the front of the stage shouted out “Jomo!”

Thomas told iWitness News on Monday that as recently as last week Tuesday, Minister of Transport and Works, Senator Julian Francis, who is also general secretary of the ULP, described him (Thomas) as a spent force, politically.

Thomas said that in the same breath, Francis said that if he (Thomas) should go on a platform, any place in South Leeward, people will stone him.

“I thought that was very, very suggestive and I said that in my column,” Thomas said.

“Now, this politically dead person, this person who’s a spent force seems to be generating a tremendous amount of coverage.

“Now, the way people deal with dead is to leave it alone. There’s nothing to do with that; just let it be because it’s a spent force, there is no currency there; can’t do anything;  just let it be — so I am a little — what is the word?”

Thomas said this seems contradictory to him.

He said that mass parties play to their base.

“Me, as an activist, all my life have played to the fringes. I’m going for thinking — that narrow sliver of people, those independent voices, who may make a difference, who would see reason who would think a little bit more, who’re not so beholden to a government paycheque or would say, ‘I have my children to take care of’, ‘I have my mortgage to pay’, ‘I have my school loan to pay’ … all of those encumbrances that stop people from thinking, and acting in ways that they really should act.

“So I am not going for the mass. I know I can’t influence the base in radical, destabilising ways, but I can certainly put my voice out there and hope that it contends with all of the noise. And through that noise, people would say, ‘Well, I think this man is making some sense’,” Thomas said.

Jomo Senator Ralph Gonsalves
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and Jomo Thomas in August 2013, when Thomas became a senator in Gonsalves’ administration. (Photo: Lance Neverson/Facebook)

He said that in the 1970s as a young activist, he read an article that Cheddi Jagan, the leader of the Guyana’s People’s [Progressive] Party, wrote in the party’s journal.

Thomas said that in the article Jagan laid out his battle against Burnham’s corrupt practices.

However, Jagan also thought that in foreign policy, Burnham had a progressive position.

“And the position of the PPP then was that we would give critical support — we will support those positions, which we believe are in the interest of the country and we will be harshly critical of those [that are not],” Thomas told iWitness News.

He continued: “Ever since I read that article. I said, ‘Wow! This is beautiful.’ Because you no longer become married to any side simply because you are married to them.”

Rather, people would ally themselves to positions that help to advance the country.

Thomas said:

“I don’t know why, for example, people say in St. Vincent that I am this party ‘til death. I don’t understand that.

“We grew up in families. There are times when we do speak to our sister, would speak to our mothers; we are married, we don’t speak to her (wife); we get divorced; we leave churches. All of these are fundamental and important institutions to us. But when it comes to politics, we say we do it for life.

“So irrespective, you may break up with your mom, because she did something wrong or because you perceive that you did something wrong — or your wife or your girlfriend or your sister or your brother or your pastor. But [you] ain’t breaking up with that symbol for life. I mean, that is a monumental commitment. That stronghold needs to be broken if St. Vincent is to break the current tribalism and to go forward,” Thomas told iWitness News.

10 replies on “Jomo rubbishes PM’s ‘dead politically’ comment”

  1. Jomo you didnt talk but you preach my brother …… many times I mentioned about the same political tribalism ……….free your minds from mental slavery SVG

  2. We all know how dangerous the ULP dogs are which Julian once bragged about. For Gonsalves and Francis leaders of the dynasty to make such statements there is a danger that the dogs will read what was said as a coded message. This a matter of incitement, if anything happens to Jomo it will be the same as if they pulled the trigger, wielded the cutlass, or jabbed the blade.

    Jomo be very careful, the spite and malice will increase once you have resigned the speaker of the house job.

  3. Masa im know how fo sik one slave pon de odda! Yard bway or House bway, im sure know how fo use dem. Man dem chains ah go tek ah lang time fo brok!

  4. What about the elephant in the room!

    I think that many people in SVG have noticed that the words used by our Prime Minister when it comes to his political party, may suggest a hint or a warning in the minds of thinking Vincentians. (Those that make the connections between words and actions). Some may say “veiled threats”,
    Like Jomo, I have heard our PM say that the ULP is like a family and no one ever leaves. If that does not sound scary?!…What about the “politically dead” choice of words? Has anyone ever noticed that certain individuals that leave the “family” end up more than just “politically” dead?
    Throughout the world some people are so political that they put party above not only country but above humanity itself! See what happened to Seth Rich in the USA. He supported Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton in the last US election. There are more than just Seth Rich that paid the ultimate price by going against the DNC. Look at what much of what Tulsi Gabbard has said.
    Obviously some in the ULP in high positions put party above country, (and possibly humanity), or they at least believe thier party IS the country, and they try to make the electorate believe that as well. If this is not authoritarian and anti-democratic then someone please set me straight.

    In the Election petitions trial some of the evidence that came out should be shocking to anyone. What about all the evidence that the judge blocked from being presented! Thinking about that I am very ashamed that we as people allow a political party and its top leadership spit and defecate on democracy. When we allow judges to continue practicing, (and other high officials) that have been proven to hold political bias we should know something is wrong.

    Why doesn’t Jomo talk about all this? I will give him the best advice he has ever gotten: If he does not have the courage to tell us some of these things in a more direct way than he has been, he will end up more than just “politically” dead. Jomo! Have you ever heard of a “dead man’s switch”. I suggest you get one and let the top leaders of your former political party and the entire country know that you have one!

  5. Did I read that right? Has Jomo called Gonsalves a Mafioso? While this is a classic case of [Jomo]being thrown under the bus. Look at the photo’s, carefully. When I was a growing up boys were continually trying to outdo each other. I can’t imagine Jomo went through that or he would have developed a spine.

  6. Jomo man yo look close to tears man carse dem done wid yo! Yo gee yo whole adult life fo de party, yo gee dem yo commitment an service, an see waay dem ah do? Dem ah dash yo waay like yo ah piece ah dutty clarth. Yo feel it man! Yo na mussa feel it!

    Yo know dat nah right! Dem treat yo bad man. Bad, bad, bad man, an it ah show pon yo, it ah show ena yo face like yo wana cry.

    Poor you dread. See how now dem done wid yo, an wah? Dem even ah tell yo dat dem nah warnt yo back pon de stage. Bwaay dat musa hurt! After all ah yo life work fo de man who yo ah look up to!

    Yo put yo faith enna de man, dee party an de cause of im socialism an see how de man ah susu pan yo, an even tell de brodder man dem to treat yo like yo ah pariah. Wah, yo tink dem really ah go pelt yo wid stones? Dat nah right man, na right. Me see yo hurt man! Me ah see it fo true.

  7. This is JOMO’s vision of SVG were Ralph Gonsalves to depart like buddies who have recently gone down that long lonesome road, but what idiot or one suffering from mental-slavery would agree with JOMO? 1000% inflation in 2017. 2000% inflation 2018.

    When Cuba, Venezuela and SVG shares the same foolish unworkable ideology would we not be much better off when we are able to jettison Ralph Gonsalves and his family.

  8. Ah who say Puss an Darg carr be friend, but watch yoh nah Jomo, you ah do all we ah disservice man!

    Yoh ah disrespect we dread because we ah descended fram African slaves. Yo think we too dunce like de man, an carr lookout fo we self! Dat we always need ah bakra papa fo look out fo we! Me naar buy dat dread. Me know who we be an me like freedom an want total freedom like bakra!

    Yo ah say we carr do widout de bakra man who ah look parr we as latterday slaves! We nar go be dat dread, ah nah so it ah go go down dread.

    Im can look pon you ah im slave but nat pon we dread! Dat caar be so fo me man. We brighter dan dat man, an we lang fo see de man fo go! An carr wait fo see im garne!

    So wen time come me hope dat we can sing de song of freedom.

  9. Jolly Green says:

    Grace so do I, the special branch should arrest some of those making terrorist remarks about stoning Jomo.

    Let there be no doubt if anyone suggested Ralph or Julian were stoned their feet would not touch the floor until they rested in prison with a lengthy prison term.

    The Special Branch secretly attend every NDP meeting on fatty’s instruction, recording every word spoken to be used in evidence

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