St Vin­cent and The Gre­nadines’ Op­po­si­tion Leader Step­ping Down

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL -

In an un­ex­pected move on Tues­day, vet­eran Vin­cen­tian politi­cian Arn­him Eus­tace an­nounced plans to step down as Op­po­si­tion Leader and leader of his New Demo­cratic Party (NDP).

Eus­tace, a 72-year-old econ­o­mist who took over the lead­er­ship of the NDP in 2001 from for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Sir James Mitchell, told his col­leagues at the party’s Cen­tral Com­mit­tee meet­ing that it was time to pass on the ba­ton to some­one else, af­ter more than 16 years at the helm. And he sig­naled he was fully pre­pared to sup­port his suc­ces­sor. He, how­ever, plans to con­tinue as the MP for East Kingston, the con­stituency he has rep­re­sented for 18 years.

Party mem­bers praised and thanked Eus­tace for his out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion to the party and to the coun­try and pledged to host a spe­cial event to hon­our his long and ded­i­cated ser­vice.

Eus­tace, who served as Prime Min­is­ter in Oc­to­ber 2000 for just about five months be­fore his NDP was de­feated in the 2001 gen­eral elec­tion by the Ralph Gon­salves-led United Labour Party, has en­joyed a mixed po­lit­i­cal ca­reer.

The NDP has lost three gen­eral elec­tions un­der his lead­er­ship, though he suc­cess­fully in­creased the party’s per­for­mance, nar­row­ing the mar­gin of de­feat to just one seat in the De­cem­ber 2015 gen­eral elec­tion.

The NDP will hold an ex­tra­or­di­nary con­ven­tion on Novem­ber 27 to elect a new party leader.

Af­ter 16 years of head­ing the main op­po­si­tion party in Saint Vin­cent, Par­lia­men­tary Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Arn­him Eus­tace is step­ping down.

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