KINGSTOWN, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Wednesday November 16, 2016 – In an unexpected move last night, veteran Vincentian politician Arnhim Eustace announced plans to step down as Opposition Leader and leader of his New Democratic Party (NDP).
Eustace, a 72-year-old economist who took over the leadership of the NDP in 2001 from former Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell, told his colleagues at the party’s Central Committee meeting that it was time to pass on the baton to someone else, after more than 16 years at the helm. And he signaled he was fully prepared to support his successor.
He, however, plans to continue as the MP for East Kingston, the constituency he has represented for 18 years.
Party members praised and thanked Eustace for his outstanding contribution to the party and to the country and pledged to host a special event to honour his long and dedicated service.
Eustace, who served as Prime Minister in October 2000 for just about five months before his NDP was defeated in the 2001 general election by the Ralph Gonsalves-led United Labour Party, has enjoyed a mixed political career.
The NDP has lost three general elections under his leadership, though he successfully increased the party’s performance, narrowing the margin of defeat to just one seat in the December 2015 general election.
The NDP will hold an extraordinary convention on November 27 to elect a new party leader.