TAIPEI, Taiwan: The opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) on Wednesday outlined what it said will be some of the major issues in the upcoming general elections in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Party president and Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace, addressing at the campaign prelaunch in Kingstown, said he was speaking “with a little anger brought on by the state of affairs” in the country.
Eustace punctuated his speech with “Enough! No More!”, suggesting that this will be the NDP’s mantra for the campaign for elections, due by March 2011.
He said Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves had refused to answer “key questions” and “constantly hides behind threats of legal action to suppress those views with which he does not agree”.
“He has gone so far as to threaten our consultants to unleash his forces against them,” Eustace said, adding, “What message is he sending to the tourism industry when he speaks of ‘white colonialists’?”
Eustace again questioned the origin of US$1 million (EC$2.7 million) in cash deposited in the Accountant General’s account at the National Commercial Bank.
“With typical contempt and bombastic arrogance, [Gonsalves] refused to answer. But the people want to know!” he said.
He also spoke about the financing of Gonsalves’ Unity Labour Party (ULP), asking if Iran and Libya were contributors.
He asked why the female police officer, who, in January 2008, accused Gonsalves of raping her, was not among the 19 persons whom the prime minister had sued for defamation.
The former prime minister said there was a “lack of transparency” on the financing of the international airport project and that the economy was “in shambles” after two years of negative growth.
He also wanted to know why 16 charges were brought against public servant Anesia Richards for her participation in the “Vote No” Constitution Referendum campaign while no charges were brought against state employees who spoke in support of the government.
Eustace was critical of the government’s plans to increase the number of constituencies from 15 to 17, saying that citizens had rejected such a proposal in the Constitution Referendum last November. (Follow I Witness-News on Facebook)
Both the NDP and the ULP have called on their supporters to gather outside the House of Assembly on Thursday to protest and support the move.
“Dictatorship, lack of transparency and accountability are all unacceptable in a democracy,” Eustace said.
“Those are some of the issues that will engage us during the campaign,” he added.
The NDP, bolstered by the success of its “Vote No” referendum campaign last year, is asking Vincentians to return them to power after ten years in opposition.
“I really sincerely hope that we can come to some solution on these issues. But I am satisfied that only in the New Democratic Party you will get the solutions. That is the only how we will get the solutions to the problems that this country now faces,” Eustace said.
But Gonsalves, on Tuesday said “only part humorously” that the NDP’s had “tired leadership” and people who are “dunce and disorderly”.
“What are they offering the country? They have every mark about them that is provisional, temporizing; no boldness, no creativity, no ingenuity,” he said.