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Prime Minister Gonsalves addressed Vincentians at a town hall meeting in New York. (Photo: SVG UN Mission)

ST. VINCENT: – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves engaged the Vincentian diaspora in New York on the weekend ahead of his weeklong participation in activities at the United Nations (UN).

A release from the country’s Permanent Mission to the UN said Gonsalves was the feature speaker at a town hall meeting and was also the specially invited guest at a gospel concert to benefit persons suffering from kidney ailments.

The release said Gonsalves mixed politics and policy when he addressed the over 400 person who heard him speak at the venue where large photographs illustrated his government’s accomplishments over the past decade.

Speaking at the meeting on Saturday, Sept 18, Gonsalves detailed major accomplishments of his government, including poverty reduction, infrastructural development, and the successful “education revolution,” which revolutionlised access to education in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

He also discussed projects that are ongoing, including the medical diagnostic centre at Georgetown, access to early childhood education, and the Argyle International Airport. (Go to the homepage to subscribe to I Witness-News)

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Gonsalves reminded the audience that elections are constitutionally due by March 2011, and asked them to encourage their friends and relatives back home to re-elect the incumbent Unity Labour Party (ULP).

He discussed the background and qualifications of some of the first-time ULP candidates, and contrasted the fresh faces and ideas of his government with the candidates and policies of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP).

Gonsalves also spoke of the NDP’s embrace of foreign elements to assist them in their efforts to unseat the incumbent government, including British company Strategic Communications Laboratories and American dot-com millionaire Dave Copps.

The Prime Minister, addressing claims by the NDP that democracy is under threat in Saint SVG, asked whether the opposition intended to “save” democracy or “sell” it to the highest foreign bidder. (Follow I Witness-News on Facebook)

A section of the crowd at the meeting in New York. (Photo: SVG UN Mission)

Deputy Consul General Cyrill “Scorcher” Thomas and United Nations Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves also made brief remarks at the town hall meeting. A lengthy question and answer period followed the Prime Minister’s address.

On Sunday, Sept. 19, the Prime Minister attended the annual gospel concert held in Brooklyn to benefit Vincentians who suffer from renal failure and other kidney ailments.

In remarks to the audience, he detailed the advancements being made by his government in the treatment of kidney ailments, including the construction of the medical diagnostic centre at Georgetown, which will include 10 dialysis machines.

Pastor Wendy Mitchell, the concert’s headline performer, invited Prime Minister Gonsalves to join her for a spirited dance and singing of some popular gospel songs.

The Prime Minister is in New York to attend the United Nations summit called to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The high-level meeting of the General Assembly is being held to take stock of the progress made so far towards the MDGs – which include slashing poverty, combating disease, fighting hunger, protecting the environment and boosting education – and to accelerate progress to reach the Goals by their 2015 target date.