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Former North Leeward MP, Roland "Patel" Matthews speaking at the New Democratic Party's village meeting in North Leeward on Tuesday, April 7, 2024.
Former North Leeward MP, Roland “Patel” Matthews speaking at the New Democratic Party’s village meeting in North Leeward on Tuesday, April 7, 2024.
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Former North Leeward MP Roland “Patel” Matthews on Tuesday pledged his support for the next New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate for North Leeward, saying that he wants to state this publicly in light of rumours that were circulating.

Matthews, a former NDP vice-president, was MP for North Leeward from 2010 to 2020 when the Unity Labour Party’s Carlos James was declared winner of the seat one vote after a contentious recount.  

At an NDP village meeting in Troumaca on Tuesday, Matthews thanked constituents and the NDP, saying, “a guy from Petit Bordel born to a poor woman, was able, because of the New Democratic Party, to elevate to the status of Member of Parliament for this constituency”.

Matthews, a former educator, said he wanted to show that the NDP “takes care of people.

“Doesn’t matter where you come from, once you’re committed to the party, great things and good things will happen to you,” he said.

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He also thanked party president and Opposition Leader, Godwin Friday for having a “long overdue” meeting in the constituency, adding that if he had his way, “we would have had the whole of North Leeward with us. But that’s a matter for another time.”

Matthews then went on to give “a solid commitment” to constituents.

“… when you hear the commess (rumours), when you hear the old talk, when you hear the lies, say this, and you’re quoting Patel now:

“When the people of North Leeward select the next candidate to represent us in North Leeward, Patel Matthews would be behind that candidate 100%,” Matthews told the meeting.

“I am saying this because I know how some of our people are. They love commess, because to them, it’s sweet. So, you heard it from the horse’s mouth tonight that I will support whoever the people want for the next MP for this constituency.”

General elections are constitutionally due by February 2026 but are widely expected by December 2025.

North Leeward had changed parties three times since 2001, when the ULP came to office.

Matthews said that after the next vote, the NDP will be representing the constituency in Parliament.

“Because whenever our candidate is decided on, I will work tirelessly, along with that candidate to ensure a New Democratic Party victory in this constituency.

“I have been very cautious in my approach because I know our people, and I don’t want to send the wrong message,” he said.

“So, I am waiting. [NDP President and Opposition Leader] Dr. Friday and I just had a discussion on the very matter. And very soon, my people of North Leeward, you will know who your candidate is so that we could rally around that person and bring the North Leeward seat home in the next election for the New Democratic Party,” Matthews said.