Dr Ralph Gonsalves will take his political bow, after the completion of his historic fifth term as Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
He confirmed while speaking on CNC3’s The Morning Brew yesterday, that this term will be his last.
“This is the last time, this is the last time. Part of my political task is to make sure that the succession in the party, in the government, that it goes clean,” he said.
Dr Gonsalves, 74, said it was his duty to complete what he started before he leaves the post behind.
“The people have taken me at my word that I, they have given me an opportunity so that I wouldn’t leave behind any unfinished task. It’s one thing to give me the glass empty to finish, three quarter or more but I have to finish filling up the glass,” he said.
The win in Thursday’s election saw Gonsalves’ Unity Labour Party increased their majority in the St Vincent and the Grenadines parliament as they won one more seat compared to the 2015 election.
But Gonsalves noted that the party had lost ground in some seats they held.
“The majority is reduced in many of the seats. People are saying among other things, ‘You’re very well in directing the affairs of the country. We think that you’re doing a number of the big strategic things well but in the process there are many more personal and community-oriented things of an immediate nature that you have to pay some attention to more than perhaps you’ve paid in the recent past’,” he said.
Former Foreign Affairs Minister Ralph Maraj said the announcement that Dr Gonsalves won’t be returning was in keeping with his character.
“The fact that Ralph Gonsalves has indicated that this is going to be his last term is in consonance with the character of the man. He doesn’t want to hold on to power.”
Maraj said he wasn’t surprised by Gonsalves’ historic re-election as he said it’s a testament to his strong leadership which he has continued to show.
“He’s a conviction politician in my view. And he will continue to provide leadership in the CARICOM region,” said Maraj pointing to Dr Gonsalves’ involvement in the Guyana election fiasco earlier this year.
“He was not afraid to take a position that you know, the votes must be counted and clarity and transparency must be achieved,” Maraj said.
“I’m not surprised that the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have given him another mandate. It’s given him a historic moment, it is a historic victory,” he said.
Maraj believes that Gonsalves, along with Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley and Jamaica’s Andrew Holness, are some of the strong leaders within the CARICOM.
He said that with such leaders, CARICOM has a strong opportunity to make positive strides towards regional integration and development that has been so long sought.