Advertisement 87
Advertisement 323
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves speaking at Unity Labour Party's 23rd anniversary rally in Arnos Vale on Sunday, April 6, 2024. (Photo: Lance Neverson/Facebook)
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves speaking at Unity Labour Party’s 23rd anniversary rally in Arnos Vale on Sunday, April 6, 2024. (Photo: Lance Neverson/Facebook)
Advertisement 219

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says he hopes to live to be 110 years old but the next general election would be the last he would contest as leader of the Unity Labour Party (ULP).

Gonsalves, who turns 78 in August and has been representing North Central Windward for 30 years, said that in representational politics, “once you give a commitment, you give it a commitment, basically, for life.

On April 7, ULP held a rally at Arnos Vale to celebrate 23 years in office.

Speaking on WE FM hours before the rally, Gonsalves thanked the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for allowing him to serve as prime minister for 23 years.

“And I want to thank the people of North Central Windward for giving me the opportunity to serve them thus far for 30 years. 

Advertisement 271

“And I know it has been a long time both as an MP — Member of Parliament — and also as prime minister,” he said adding that he is the longest-serving among the current leaders in CARICOM.

“… and I don’t know how many prime ministers, if any, across the world now served a longer period of time.”

Gonsalves said that he thought that the 2020 general elections would have been the last with him as head of the ULP ticket.

“And I so indicated. But I’m a party man and the party leadership insisted that I go again. That I’m healthy. They see my work ethic, my hours — I mean knock wood, knock glass –that I’m still doing the work and long hours and they see my work on a daily basis. I think the people see it, too,” the prime minister said. 

“So I’m going to be contesting, definitely. This is going to be the last occasion that I’ll be leading the ticket.  I’m in the hands of the people and the party as to the period between 2025 and 2030. And I’m also in the hands of nature, in the hands of God. 

“But I give the assurance that once I can continue to do the job, within the period 2025 to 2030 I will do the job.”

Gonsalves said as regards his “capacity in working, the hours are not slackening and I’m still doing it with the same commitment that I’ve done it from the beginning”. 

The prime minister said a lot of people who are not involved in representational politics do not understand why he still does it.

“When you love people, and the people love you and you establish a bond with them, it is always a difficulty when they wish you to continue that you say ‘Nah, I’m walking away.’ In a sense, once you give a commitment you give it a commitment basically for life,” Gonsalves said. 

“… this service that I have been doing has been a privilege and a blessing,” Gonsalves said, adding, that when he started the journey of political involvement, he did not think he would have been prime minister for so long.

“But the people bought into the vision which we put out. And they are seeing, in a sense, the manifestation, practically, of that vision,” Gonsalves said.

“And they’re saying well you have some things still to do. And I do still have some things to do.”

He mentioned the education revolution, health, the city at Arnos Vale, a facility at the old port in Kingstown. 

“And perhaps if we can get the tunnel done through Cane Garden Point, linking Kingstown and the Arnos Vale cit,” Gonsalves said. 

 “And then we have a number of cultural and educational hubs which we have to put in place,” he further stated, adding that the funding is in place and the designs are being prepared.

“So those could go on really without me, but I suspect that I’d be needed for a few of the like, big projects. I’m talking about the port, some of the educational stuff and generally to prepare the party for new leadership,” Gonsalves said.

He said part of his leadership task is “to prepare the party also for new leadership”, adding that the party has “a lot of good young people”.

Among them, he mentioned Agriculture Minister Saboto Caesar, Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves, Tourism Minister Carlos James, Minister of National Mobilisation Orando Brewster, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Keisal Peters.

“There’s lots of good young people are coming along I just named those by examples, but because there are others, too,” Gonsalves said.  

“Those who are in the front line and there are others who will emerge and I think it has been shown that I try keep refreshing the party personnel, refreshing policies within the framework of the vision. 

“And that’s why when people think that you run out of juice, you ain’t running out of juice, you have a lot of things still in the pipeline to be done because human civilisation that’s how you moving, one thing to the next.”

The prime minister said he was  “pleased at what we have done in the party and what we have done in the country.

“Of course, there are things which you would have hoped to have done already. There are some challenges which have arisen which you think would not have arisen. But the world is a complex place and there’re things which intervene,” he said.

He noted the unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and the eruption of La Soufriere in 2021. 

“But if you notice, for vulnerability, we have set up the Contingency Fund, which now has 60 odd million dollars in it,” he said, adding that the opposition criticised the move, which is funded by one percentage point from the VAT.

Gonsalves said he did not want to sound “in anywhere religious about this but when I look back, I find that many tests have been put in my path to see how I can deal with those tests. 

“And I think that by meeting those tests it is as though it was a preparation for a long haul. It’s like the wilderness. We have a lot of tests and even when you arrive at the office, you still get tests and is like you and the people come in as one in some strange way,” he said.

“And obviously, I’m confident that the people will return us to government by the end of next year because they have seen the progress. And they have seen the developments and those who say they want the chance, I just tell them simply, ‘I’m in charge of the lotto. By all means, take a chance, buy you Lotto daily’,” Gonsalves said. 

“But running the country is not a lotto, have your chance, play Lotto, play 3D but don’t play games at the Office of the Prime Minister.”

5 replies on “Gonsalves hopes to live to 110; plans to remain MP til 2030”

  1. A good leader must also have faith in the younger generation and should also know when to call it quits. At his age he should he enjoying his senior life and relaxing somewhere on the beach.
    Like everyone else in the public service, there should he a retirement age for politicians

    1. C. ben-David says:

      Nothing is 100% certain in life but some things are more certain than others and my belief is that the Honourable Dr. Ralph Gonsalves will certainly gain another term in office and that the unimpressive Friday guy will be yet another deposed opposition leader after the next election.

  2. Alban kenvil Horne says:

    If Ralph born 1946. How come he turning 77 in August .I born 19 49 so if my math’s are correct that makes me 75.. isn’t Ralph Three years older than me ??

  3. Roslindale Ryan says:

    Dem NDP members better get a bill passed for duty free concession on Depends and Tena.The NDP seems like they’re preparing to wait out Ralph for a further 30 plus years. They’re digging their heels in.

Comments closed.