KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Deputy House Speaker, Sen. David Browne, like former health minister Burton Williams, seems to subscribe to the parsons-christen-their-children-first philosophy when it comes to politics.
Browne, during a call to the ruling Unity Labour Party’s (ULP) Star FM yesterday, said supporters of the party should help their own before donating to opposition talk show host Eduardo “E.G.” Lynch, whose eyesight is failing.
Lynch, who hosted the New Democratic Party’s (NDP) “New Times” programme on NICE Radio for 11 years until his eyesight began deteriorating last year, announced on radio on Tuesday that he needs to seek medical attention overseas.
He said that his eyesight is diminishing and asked listeners to contribute to his medical fund by depositing monies into account 5059179 at the Bank of Nova Scotia in Kingstown.
Lynch has made several trips to Barbados, where he has received treatment for his eyes. He, however, said he needs to seek specialist treatment outside of the region.
But callers to Star FM yesterday suggested that the NDP has not taken care of Lynch in the face of his contribution to the party over the last decade.
However, I-Witness News understands that while Lynch has not been hosting the New Times programme for months, the NDP continues to give him a stipend.
Browne was among two public political figures and members of the ULP contributing to the discussion about Lynch’s eyesight on radio yesterday. The other, Director of Grenadines Affairs Edwin Snagg, called to say that he thought there were other things that could be discussed.
“So, you are asking the woman this morning who woke up and saw her daughter ill to ignore that and run to she neighbour and see her neighbour’s child is ill and take care of her neighbour own first?” said Browne, who failed to win South Leeward for the ULP in the December 2010 general election.
“While we all will understand what is happening in the situation there, the gentleman needs some assistance, it would be very, very, I would say mind-wrecking for some of our supporters, who are going through similar medical thing and need assistance and asking ourselves to pool resources to help somebody outside of our household of faith,” the Deputy Speaker added.
“That is my thing. The gentleman needs assistance, yes, and they must first look within their household before they can look outside,” Browne further said.
But Snagg, in a call more than 20 minutes later, said the discussion “doesn’t resonate nicely”.
“Comrades, we have open the floodgates this morning but I somehow feel that we should really desist from having public debate and discussion on this particular matter,” said Snagg, who also failed to win Southern Grenadines for the ULP in 2005 and 2010.
“Somehow, this one this morning ain’t really touch me. You know what I mean? I feel that we have other issues that we could deal with in St. Vincent. I think that the question of a man’s illness and how his party deals with him, somehow this topic this morning doesn’t resonate nicely. I feel that we need to show a greater sense of maturity and that we ask callers to desist from further discussion on this matter. Leh we leave this one alone. I strongly feel so,” Snagg said.
Other opinions on the programme varied from condemnation of the NDP for allegedly abandoning Lynch, to condemnation of Lynch because, according to the callers, his health situation was because of his pronouncements against Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves since 2001.
Still some callers said that politics should be separated from people’s health and Lynch should be aided like any other Vincentian.
Former health minister Burton Williams, who was an NDP candidate in the December 2010 elections, said during the election campaign that if elected to office he would take care of NDP supporters first. He received widespread condemnation from both the NDP and the ULP.
In January, Gonsalves apologised to opposition lawmaker Daniel Cummings after then minister of agriculture, now Minister of Housing, Montgomery Daniel made fun of Cummings’ back injury.