ST. VINCENT: – A New Democratic Party (NDP) government led by Arnhim Eustace would not appoint a foreigner as commissioner of police or reduce the size of the civil service.
Eustace outlined the NDP’s position in an interview with I Witness-News at the end of a vigil in Kingstown on Thursday, Sept. 2, held to protest a meeting of the Boundaries Commission.
“That shocked me. Because I have not discusses anything about police. I am going to look within the ranks of the police force to get people to head the police force,” he said.
Eustace said some police officers had gotten their position because of their political affiliation and “not on the basis of their qualification or experience.”
He further said the top ranking member of the force were mostly from Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves’ North Central Windward constituency. (Go to the homepage to subscribe to I Witness-News)
He said what exists in the constabulary is part of the victimization by Gonsalves’ Unity Labour Party (ULP) of person who do not support them.
“The minute you start doing that, you are depriving people of their rights,” he said, adding that democracy in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) has been “under treat for a long time now”.
“The minute you start to victimize people, remove people and promote people on the basis of their party affiliation, in a country which is sometimes very politically divided, you are doing without half of your population. ‘Cause both parties have about 40 per cent of the vote that is standard,” he said.
Eustace said 641 “ordinary Vincentians” were fired during the first five months after the Gonsalves administration came to office in March 2001,
He said he had presented a list of the persons victimized to the United Nations and the Organization of American States even as local newspaper did not report on the situation.
“That sort of victimization has helped to divide this country in a way we will not believe. … When you bypass a person who is qualified to put in a party hack who is not qualified, you are doing a disservice to this country,” Eustace said.
Eustace, a trained economist, further said the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) recent EC$100 million (US$37 million) loan to Gonsalves’ government to pay off the debts of state agencies was because of “a failure of government”.
“And, it is because of the way they treat people,” he said, adding that this undermines job security at the state-owned National Commercial Bank (NCB). (Follow I Witness-News on Facebook)
“You see people have already been sent home from the National Commercial Bank yet he saying I [am] going to send home people. He [has started] to send them home because of his nonsense in the way he dealt with the bank,” Eustace said.
He further said the ULP administration is forced to sell the NCB but added that the new owners would not give the government the same level of overdraft it now has at the financial institution.
“And if they don’t have the same amount of money, they will have less staff. So, when Gonsalves talking about Eustace is going to cut staff, Gonsalves has prepared the ground now and he has started to cut staff,” he told I Witness-News.
Eustace reiterated his NDP convention promise that his party will not reduce the size of the public service.
He told party supports at the end of the protest that he still wanted “a kinder and gentler society”.
“But when I have to take action, I will take action. And I promise you that a New Democratic Party government will deal with the issues that confront you as a people. … We will bring back St. Vincent and the Grenadines from where it is today,” Eustace said.