Wednesday, 30 January 2013

GULP pulls out of 2013 general elections

By Linda Straker

THE island’s oldest political party, the Grenada United Labour Party (GULP),  will not be contesting the February 19 General Elections not only because of its inability to identify suitable candidates, but also because of its failure to comply with rules in its own constitution.

“We decided at a meeting on Saturday that we will not contest because we have some things to get done. We are just not ready to contest the elections,” said President Wilfred Haynes.

The party is yet to elect a leader since the resignation of Collin Francis back in 2009 and according to Haynes that was one of the challenges facing the party. “We did not have a convention to elect a leader since the resignation, although Wayne Francis was caring the title of acting leader,” he said.

A few weeks ago, the party gave the assurance that it will contest the election with former Leader of the Opposition, Michael Baptiste, as the leader for the Election team and the party will have its convention following the elections.

“However, at the meeting we had to accept many realities, including the fact that Mr. Baptiste began appearing on the NDC platform,” said one executive member, who attended the meeting but wished not be named.

“After much debate, we had to agree as an executive that we will let this election pass and reorganise ourselves for the 2018 elections,” he said.

Established back in 1951 with former Prime Minister Sir Eric Gairy as its leader, the last time the GULP seriously contested the elections was in 1995 and two of its candidates were elected to Parliament. These two candidates, namely Baptiste and Clarence Rapier, eventually joined the New National Party of Dr. Keith Mitchell.

Since the death of leader Sir Eric Gairy in 1997, the party has gone through some turmoil which has left it battered, with very few members and party faithful, who from time to time will make efforts to revitalise the once powerful political movement which ruled for 27 years.

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