This paves the way for him to be sworn in as leader of the opposition.
This development comes just two days after Arnhim Eustace, who led the NDP since October 2000 and became opposition leader in March 2001, told the NDP’s central committee that he is stepping down from both posts.
Following Friday’s selection, a letter was sent to Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne informing him of the development as well as a communiqué stating that Arnhim Eustace had formally resigned as leader of the opposition.
It was widely speculated that Friday, who along with MP for the Southern Grenadines, Terrance Ollivierre, were elected in March 2001, making them the longest serving opposition MP’s after Eustace, would have defeated the other two contenders for the position – the MP for Central Kingstown and fellow NPD vice president, St. Clair Leacock and his West Kingstown colleagues, Daniel Cummings.
According to Friday, he is “delighted always to serve”, adding that the selection process has been “very enlightening and rewarding”.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues in the house when the appointment is formalized by the Governor General, which will be soon.”
Friday also thanked his colleagues “for the confidence they place in me” adding that NDP lawmakers are pledging to continue to work on behalf of the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“That’s why we are in Parliament…but I believe we have the potential to rise to the (occasion).
The new NDP leader said the general approach under his stewardship, as opposition leader is to make the government accountable, nothing that the debates on the Estimates of Income and Expenditure and the Budget for 2016 are coming up soon.
Friday said those debates are always a challenge and the opposition has always been asking that the Estimates reflect the current conditions in the country.
While Friday has been voted in as leader of the opposition, he still has to face the party’s convention on November 27, when they will elect a new president.
Friday says he is also in that race, noting that while that is a different office from leader of the opposition, it has been the NDP’s stance to have both positions united in one person.
“And so, therefore, having accepted the leadership of the opposition, I am also going to put my name in for leadership of the party,” Friday said, adding that he is hoping to prevail in that race as well.
Friday also responded to those who have said he is not a fighter – telling them to look at his achievements in terms of the goals that he has set for himself.
“It is not a matter of demeanour. It is a matter of results. And I believe that I produce the result and I have and can do so.”
Friday paid tribute to former opposition leader Eustace, saying his legacy is “one of true statesmanship; dedication to country.
“As you know, he has served in the public service. He is a national and a regional public servant. This is a person who has given his life to public service and people cannot underestimate the contribution he has made. And when he steps back from the stage, that is when, as they say, you would truly appreciate the contribution he has made.”
He said the leadership and supporters of the NDP who have been in opposition since March 2001, after 17 years in government, owe Eustace “a great debt of gratitude for keeping this party together and viable”.
“It is not an easy thing to do it for 16 years in opposition and he has done so and that is a great accomplishment,” Friday said.
In addition to being an NDP vice-president, Friday is the party’s shadow minister of tourism, foreign, Diaspora and legal affairs and electoral matters.
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