Leader of the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) and Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves warned opposition leader and New Democratic Party (NDP) president Dr Godwin Friday that he would be targeting him as leader, indicating that leadership will be a pivotal issue on the campaign trail for the 2020 general elections.
Dr Gonsalves comment came as he addressed the ULP’s 24th annual national convention at the Campden Park Secondary School on Sunday.
“Ah coming at you, too, you know Friday,” Dr Gonsalves said.
Dr Gonsalves said that Dr Friday, “after 15 years as representative in Bequia and he was given the leadership of the party after Eustace left, the first statement he said for the past 15 years” he had been in Bequia, he did “not know the people of St Vincent.”
“You don’t want an apprentice to do a master craftsman job. Learn about the people and learn the geography of St Vincent and the Grenadines before you begin to offer yourself for leadership,” Dr Gonsalves said.
Dr Gonsalves said that it is already being bandied about in Bequia that Dr Friday represent only the ex-patriates who live comfortable lives on that Northern Grenadine island.
Indicating the strength of his leadership to his Unity Labour Party, Dr Gonsalves said that in September 2018 his Unity Labour Party (ULP) had a meeting of the central executive at which the issue on the table was transition towards new leadership – as proposed by him. He said the meeting, involving 41 members and chaired by party chairman Edwin Snagg, saw a debate which lasted three hours.
“After three hours of debate, there was a vote – forty voted one way, one the other way. Forty voted for me to stay; the only vote for me to go was Ralph. I told them that I see this as a draft of their opinion and in a month’s time they must reflect on it in my absence just in case they were afraid to talk,” he said.
“Julian called me about ten o’clock the night saying ‘Well, boy you lose the vote thirty-nine to one. I say, who is the sensible one who vote for me to go? He say, I don’t want you to go but I vote for you because me and you are best friends; and I know if you were here you woulda vote for yourself. So, I put that vote for you.
“I came to the national council, the national council said they didn’t want to hear anything. I ask Convention, the same thing,” Dr Gonsalves further said.