The views expressed in this article are solely those of the writer.
By Rohan Charles
Opinion: Dr Friday a weak leader in challenging times.
Dr. Friday is everything the NDP said of a person who should not become a Prime Minister. However, his emergence as leader of that party after Mr. Eustace was literally forced to give up leadership shows the precarious position NDP had place themselves.
Who is Dr. Friday? Dr Friday is a Vincentian/Canadian married to a Filipino/Canadian/Vincentian. Highlighting those facts are important because it helps to bring out a comparison which I will later make.
It has nothing to do with me being against a race or nationality, none whatsoever.
He returned to St Vincent and the Grenadines with a PHD and as a lawyer from Canadian after spending most of his years there.
He was elected the representative of the Northern Grenadines in 2001 with the retirement of Sir James Mitchell and has been since.
Today he is the leader of the NDP. He is in my opinion a descent man who I have absolutely nothing personal against. I approached him on a boat coming from the Southern Grenadines a few days ago and shared a joke with him and a short chat.
Dr Friday before his entrance to politics was an unknown and up to his emergence as leader of the NDP, remained almost an unknown and in the shadows of the party. Becoming the leader of the NDP would have been as big a shock to him as it would have been to the ordinary NDP supporter and to most of St Vincent and the Grenadines. This, as Mr Leacock has continuously positioned himself as the natural successor to Mr Eustace.
Additionally, the rhetoric of the NDP over the past would have no doubt made leadership of the NDP the last thing on his mind. So much so, that he was forced to admit that he does not really know the country and had to go on a sensitisation campaign not only to get to know the country but for the country to get to know him.
Firstly, with the end of the Mitchell era the mantra of the NDP was “never again a man from from the Grenadines to lead the country”.
They went further in their quest to make Dr Gonsalves seem unsuitable, saying “no more white man to rule the country”.
Dr Friday looked in the mirror and said hey they are speaking about me.
Then, the members and supporters for years in their quest to make Mr Eustace more leadership like and electable as Prime Minister said a lawyer cannot and should not be Prime Minister.
The claim was, an economist, someone with financial training should be Prime Minister. Dr. Friday went, dust of his certificates saw that he was a lawyer and said hey they are talking about me.
Next, the claims to further discredit the Prime Minister was that he doesn’t love Vincentian women his wife is a foreigner so he shouldn’t be Prime Minister.
To Dr Friday’s surprise, he got home from work and said hi darling I am home from work and smiling brightly to greet him, a foreigner.
He stepped back and all he can see was him never being leader of the NDP of Prime Minister. The odds were being stocked against him not by a political opponent but by his own colleagues and party members.
In bolstering his claims on why he is and should be the presumptive leader of the NDP when Mr Eustace steps down, Mr Leacock was not afraid to torpedo Dr. Friday continuously.
He boast of his experience in finance and management to go along with the NDP’s narrative that someone in finance should be Prime Minister.
He then added that it should be someone who has contributed to national development over the years. He then listed his long career in cadets and work dating back to before even I was born in 1979 during the volcanic eruption and his leadership in football.
Dr. Friday went looking in his cupboard and came up bare. Further, Mr Leacock never fails to show him up in Parliament in and effort to show who is more qualified to lead the NDP.
With these in mind is it any wonder why Dr Friday is a weak leader?
His biggest challenge has been from his own who wants him to fail so that they can succeed. He knows that he is the default leader only because his biggest challenger is too arrogant even for the NDP. Imagine that, being rejected on the grounds on which the party is built. The NDP a party filled with huge inflated egos.
So, when a prospective candidate speak on race and makes comments on social media or radio and the leader who is of the same race says the comments does not reflect the party’s slogan of one Vincy, he can do nothing else.
The candidate can double down with no disciplinary actions taken. Why? because Dr. Friday is afraid that speaking out and taking decisive action can see him being ousted.
When a radio host can say the current Prime Minister’s wife is a foreigner, she will not be corrected because his wife too is from another country.
Speak out and be ousted.
Then when he is asked on radio about posts of one of NDP’s biggest activist of social media he has to dance and hop around the question because he is afraid of that venom being directed at him.
In the end, this weak leader has to recoil into a corner, mark time, keep quiet and hope he is not ousted. He’d hope of doing what he never imagined: becoming the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Good news though, he won’t. St Vincent and the Grenadines will continue breathing with strong leader from Dr Ralph Gonsalves.