KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent: – Founder of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) and former prime minister Sir James Mitchell will speak at a press conference next Tuesday, marking the launch of the party’s campaign for a ‘No’ vote in the Constitution Referendum on November 25.
NDP president and Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace will also address the press conference.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, whose government will campaign for a ‘Yes’ vote, has said that Sir James, who retired from active politics ten years ago, supports the proposed constitution.
The launching comes one day before the government tables the Referendum Bill in Parliament, which will see Vincentians voting on the proposed constitution.
If the referendum garners 66.67 percent or more of the votes validly cast, the proposed constitution will replace the one handed to the country when the British granted independence 30 years ago this October 27.
This week, NDP vice president and senator, St. Clair Leacock described to The News newspaper as “political mischief” claims that he supported the proposed constitution but was forced to align himself with his party.
Dr. Linton Lewis, another NDP vice-president, will speak on the proposed constitution and his party’s stance during a broadcast on SVGTV on Sunday evening.
A source close to the party told I Witness-News that Dr. Lewis will discuss the proposed changes to the constitution.
There will be politics in the presentation but the changes would not be explained with a political bias, the source told I Witness-News.
NDP public relations officer Vynnette Frederick told I Witness-News that there would be live video and audio internet streaming of the launching, which takes place at the party’s headquarters at Murray’s Road.
Parliament debated and passed the Constitution Bill earlier this month and Eustace said during the three-day debate that his party agreed with some sections of the proposed Constitution
He however said that six years after the process started, the constitution reform exercise had not met its “seminal challenge” of making the country a republic, reducing the powers of the prime minister and deepening the rights and freedoms of citizens.
“I am not getting carried away by all this talk about dramatic change, at all. We have our position on some of these matters and we maintain our position, and we will vote ‘No’ in relation to this piece of legislation,” Eustace told Parliament then.