Former opposition leader retires from competitive politics

By Demion McTair. Updated 11:40 p.m., Thursday, October 8, 2020, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).

Hon. Arnhim U. Eustace. Photo: Sarah Amissah.

Kingstown, St. Vincent (ONE NEWS SVG) – Member of Parliament for East Kingstown constituency and former Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Arnhim Eustace, brought the curtains down on his career in representative politics on October 8, 2020.

Mr. Eustace first won his seat in Parliament in 1998 and retained his seat in the 2001, 2005, 2010, and 2015 general elections for the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP).

He succeeded Sir. James Mitchell as the leader of the NDP and Prime Minister in 2000, until the life of the NDP administration was cut short in 2001 due to political instability in the country.

He served as leader of the opposition from March 2001 to November 2016. But, he remained a member of the house as the representative for East Kingstown from November 2016 to October 8, 2020.

Later on October 8, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves called a snap election slated for November 5, 2020 and asked the Governor-General to dissolve Parliament on October 9, 2020.

Prior to entering competitive politics, Mr. Eustace, a trained economist, was a public servant, having been appointed as one of the youngest permanent secretaries in the country’s history.

Members on both sides of the house paid tribute to Mr. Eustace, with opposition members describing him as a model public servant who dealt in integrity, and government members wishing him all the best.

In his remarks in Parliament, Mr. Eustace expressed his disappointment at a decision to not have his wife, daughter and friends allowed in the parliament for his final day in the house.

In responding to Mr. Eustace’s plight, the house speaker, Mr. Carlos James stated that due to COVID-19 protocols, there is no strangers gallery in the house, thus any requests by any member to have strangers in the house could not be honored.

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