Attorney at Law and aspiring politician Venescia Francis-Banfield will be remembered for her bravery and determination according to Hon Peter David. Reports are that she died May 08 in the United Kingdom; details of the cause of death are sketchy only to say that she died after a short illness.
The lone candidate of the Liberal Party originated from River Road, Saint George’s and later took up residence in L’anse Aux Epines. She represented the town of Saint George in 2018 General Elections as she envisioned a hung parliament in which she could have made a difference. However, she was unsuccessful as the results went in favour of Peter David.
In the run-up to the 2018 General Elections, Francis-Banfield revealed to The Grenadian Voice that her involvement in politics started when she was personal secretary to the former Prime Minister Sir Eric Matthew Gairy in 1989. She later became actively involved in the campaign for the NNP Candidate for the Town of Saint George -Nickolas Steele, who won the seat in the 2013 general elections.
However, she said the people of that constituency and herself felt betrayed after Steele turned his back on them. “Right after the victory rally he jumped into his car and drove away without saying thank you or even honouring his campaign promises of helping the youth and paying them for work done during the campaign.”
In revealing some of her concerns about Grenada’s politics, the lawyer (now deceased) said, “There was an elected Executive in the Town of Saint George (TOSG), which comprised of Mrs Diana Gibbs as Chairman, Dr Kenrick Banfield as Deputy Chairman, Oswald Gilbert as PRO, Helen of Helen Marie & Associates as Welfare Officer, and others. This executive body was unconstitutionally and illegally removed by Mr Nickolas Steele without a general meeting and notification.”
During her campaign in the 2018 General Elections which was shrouded with grit as she appeared on different platforms, the Attorney had some choice words about the representative for the town. “There is now an illegal Candidate in the Town of Saint George, a man, who it is alleged by the Honourable Prime Minister in Parliament and elsewhere, that he is a fraudster, a conman, who brutalized Dr Japal and others because of their fight for Human Rights and Democracy,” she said.
However, in his message of condolence Hon Peter David, MP for Town of Saint George who won the seat in 2018 said, “It is with a deep sense of sadness that I’ve received the unfortunate news of the untimely passing of Ms Venescia Francis-Banfield. She was a fellow member of the bar and demonstrated grit, determination and professionalism as a lawyer.”
He added that she brought the same qualities when she entered the political arena. “I know firsthand her political passion and perseverance because she was one of my opponents in the contest for the Town of Saint George constituency in the 2018 general election. Francis-Banfield also used her professional training and experience while serving on the board of directors of several statutory corporations,” Hon Peter David said.
The late Attorney also expressed concern in her campaign over the management of the Citizen by Investment Programme (CBI) as she pointed to the need for Government to let the ordinary people know who hold Grenadian passports and just how much money Grenada has made from that programme.
“I was part of the programme; but I gave up my certificate when I did not like what was happening. Why did the Government quickly go to Parliament to pass legislation, preventing us from asking about the programme? We know the Russians are here and some of them are living in a very expensive house in L’anse Aux Epines which is owned by a local hotelier. These are things the people must know.”
She made a promise then that if elected into office, she will call for an overhaul of the CBI programme; but as fate would have it that was not meant to be.