TAIPEI, Taiwan: – Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace believes that democracy in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is “under threat”.
He said that notwithstanding the “God-given” and constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and freedom of association, citizens where being “squeeze[d] for all sorts of reasons, many of them political”.
Eustace, speaking on radio on Monday, said his New Democratic Party will highlight these issues in the run up to general elections, expected this year.
“As we are going to put it, we’ve had enough. Enough! No more! This is a serious matter,” he said.
Last week, Commissioner of Police Keith Miller called for broadcast standards, saying that a “reckless practice” that has blossomed in the industry, “in particular [at] two radio stations”, could result in violence.
He said police analyses indicate that some radio talk show hosts use their programmes to make mischief and abuse and malign citizens.
Miller said intolerant citizens might commit criminal acts against radio personalities who are perceived to have infringed upon those citizens’ rights.
But Eustace said Vincentians increasingly think that there is “no fair play” in the country.
He reiterated his view on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), saying that while he lauds the efforts to insulate the institution from the political directorate, the CCJ should be shelved “until something is done about interference in the lower courts”.
“People are concerned about our court system. We have to keep our finger on these things. People perceive that all are not equal under the law. Soon, we will have a generation of Vincentians who will not perceive that there is fair play in this country,” Eustace said. (Follow I Witness-News on Facebook)
He said he and other NDP leaders, including former Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell and party chairman Dr. Linton Lewis, will address these and other national issues on Wednesday.
On Thursday, party supporters are expected to picket parliament in solidarity with public servant Anesia Richards who faces 16 charges stemming from comments she made during last year’s referendum campaign and in the media.
“Everywhere you look, some effort [is being made] to stifle somebody, to stifle their rights. Everywhere you turn, this is happening
“When you add all these things together, there is a growing feeling out there that we are being put in a straight jacket. It is a very serious matter and I want the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to reflect on these things,” Eustace said.