St Vincent to get new opposition leader

Vice President of the New Democratic Party Godwin Friday

St. Vincent

KINGSTOWN, St.Vincent (CARIBUPDATE/NOV 16, 2016)- Godwin Friday, the current MP for the Northern Grenadines and a Vice President of the opposition New Democratic Party is to become that country’s new opposition leader taking over from the retiring Arnhim Eustace.

Party source says the majority of the seven MPs have voted for Friday, a lawyer, to succeed the Eustace, who announced to his team this past week that he is prepared to step down both as opposition leader and President of the NDP.

Who will take over as party leader will be decided later this month, but with Friday now having the backing of the MPs in parliament, he now appears to be the favorite to ascend to the party’s leadership as well.

St Clair Leacock, another Vice President of the party is the likely other alternative.

Though Eustace is stepping down as both Opposition and Party Leader, he will stay on as MP for East Kingstown until the next general elections.

Sources close to Eustace said he has been considering ways to begin the transition in his party and opposition for many months now and always wanted to do so in a manner not to destabilise the movement.

He had agreed to stay on a little while longer, according to the source, following controversial general elections a year ago, because the party was in the midst of the challenge of the electoral results.

“While that matter is ongoing, there is a lot of clarity now, and it’s been a full year and Mr. Eustace believes that the party is in a position where the transition could begin,” a close confidante told CARIBUPDATE NEWS.

Eustace has been at the helm of the NDP since 2000.

After briefly serving as Prime Minister, he was head of the NDP for four election cycles in which it lost, though always maintaining his seat in East Kingstown.

The 72-year old, an economist, has had a long and storied career.

At the age of 27, Eustace became the youngest permanent secretary in St.Vincent and the Grenadines when he was so assigned to the Ministry of Agriculture.

His ascendancy was cut short when in 1976 he resigned from the civil service on a point of principle. 

He was later recruited to work with the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank, for which he worked for 16 years.

In 1985 Eustace was for 18 months seconded by the CDB to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) which assigned him to the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to review and implement changes to the public finance system and to manage government finances as Director General of Finance and Planning.

Upon his 1993 return to St. Vincent, Eustace was appointed Fiscal Adviser to the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

In 1998, he resigned from the public service and ran for political office, winning the East Kingstown parliamentary seat.

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