The ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) in St Vincent and the Grenadines will soon be holding its party convention to witness the election of new party officers, and it would seem the current political leader, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, will be leading the party for the next general election which is constitutionally due in 2025.
Gonsalves who had recently been discussing the issue of passing on the mantle of leadership said the organs within the ULP are not ready for him to go just yet.
Speaking over the weekend on WEFM99.9’s Issues at Hand programme on the topic of the party’s upcoming convention, Gonsalves, 75, noted that he began the conversation about transition before the last election… during the election and subsequently.
He said it is important to note that there was no demand from the leadership of the party, the organs of the party, the rank and file of the party or the electorate for a transition.
“I took it upon myself. I talk about it because I consider it an obligation of mine as a leader to talk about transition.”
In November 2020, Gonsalves was reappointed as prime minister for a fifth term in a row.
The prime minister said as the ULP’s convention drew closer this year, the organs of the party, leadership and rank and file said to him in no unmistakable terms that “I could talk about transition but they are not ready for transition. We want you to be there and to continue to lead this process”
Gonsalves stated that he began the conversation and this is the response that he received from the rank and file and other leaders of the party.
According to Gonsalves, the organs of the party have told him they are not ready for transition and the leadership as well as the rank and file says now is not the time for any transition.
“So I will continue. But we have leaders inside the party if anything were to happen to Ralph, that they could take up the mantle of leadership.”
The ULP political leader said at the moment he expects, and was informed by the general secretary that for the position of political leader, there is no name advanced by an organ of the party or constituency council other than Ralph, to be elected to a further two-year term as political leader.
Gonsalves said he also expects Montgomery Daniel to be elected as deputy political leader in accordance with what he has heard about the nominations in accordance with the constitution of the ULP.
“I can’t force transition… it is a matter you have to discuss.”
The veteran Vincentian politician said he is prepared to do what the organs of the party require of him.
“Unless advised otherwise I would lead the party in the next general elections.”
He went on to state: “At the end of the day, I have to listen to the structures of the party. They said no… not now. If they change that conversation anytime within the next two… three years, I am prepared to entertain the conversation.”
The ULP’s party convention takes place on July 31, 2022.
In terms of his health Gonsalves said he feels good, he feels fit, has been working long hours, and has lost some weight but won’t say how much.
The prime minister said he believes the ULP will win the next general election in 2025 or whenever it is called and will win it bigger than the last time.