ST. VINCENT:- The ruling Unity Labour Party’s (ULP) candidate for Central Leeward has told constituents not to risk the “education revolution” by voting the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) back into office.
Maxwell Charles, speaking at the ULP’s rally in Barrouallie on Sunday, Sept. 26, said that an NDP administration, if forced to reduce national expenditure, will first cut spending in education.
“Can we risk the education revolution with other hands? Could we put in their hands? I say no! And this is why we have to return the ULP to government and give us a third term,” said Charles, a former principal.
Charles, who is also the former Deputy High Commissioner to London, said the NDP was a party of pessimists that described the five-star Buccament Bay Resort as a “phantom project”. (Go to the homepage to subscribe to I Witness-News)
He said the NDP opposed the Argyle International Airport, a project which he said was connected to the Buccament Resort.
“An international airport is a necessity. We cannot do without it as we are propelled into the 21st century,” Charles said, adding that the Vincentian diaspora knows of the hassles of travelling to St. Vincent and supports the project.
Charles said that before he returned to St. Vincent from England, 2.4 million Britons were out of jobs.
He said that when McDonald’s advertised a job to sell chicken and French fries, more than 100 persons applied within an hour.
“Difficult time! So because we are into difficult times, I want to trust my future, the 21st Century, with a ULP government, because we know what we are doing,” he said, adding that the ULP administration had kept the debt to GDP (gross domestic product) ratio at 72 per cent.
Charles also addressed the sale of Vincentian passports and citizenship, saying that a man visited him in London inquiry about the policy of the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) regarding economic citizenship.
He said the man informed him that the country could get US$250, 000 for each passport sold, with buyers prepared to “pump money” into any ailing industry.
He said while he told the man that the ULP administration does not sell SVG’s passport, the man said that he would nonetheless make future inquiries. (Follow I Witness-News on Facebook)
“There are forces out there ready to prey on little St. Vincent to buy our citizenship,” Charles said.
Charles, who is making his first attempt at becoming an elected Member of Parliament, said the Dr. Ralph Gonsalves-led ULP has established relationships with “non-traditional friends”, saying that things have changed since mid-20th Century.
He said there are other emerging nations such as Taiwan, Venezuela, and Brazil, which are helping with the “education revolution”, agriculture, housing, and the international airport.
“Central Leeward, I say Labour, and Labour forever,” Charles said, adding that the party is working to ensure that some residents of Layou receive title for their lands.
Charles spoke of training in outboard motor repairs for Barrouallie residents and for employment at the Buccament Resort, even as he said constituents had some complaints about poorly maintained roads.
“But, bear with us. We are going to deliver. The choice is clear. … We offer hope, the other side offers gloom,” Charles said.
“I want to say that I am thankful and I feel good that so many persons have come out tonight. I’m working together with you. … I want us to bring home this seat again — this Central Leeward seat. What we are seeing here tonight — the sea of red — is going to tell the NDP that they have no room in central Leeward,” Charles said.
Deputy Prime Minister, Sir Louis Straker, is the current parliamentary representative for Central Leeward.
Sir Louis, who is also Minister and Foreign Affairs and has been representing Central Leeward since 1998, will not contest the next general elections, due by next March.
Charles will compete with the NDP’s Norell Hull, a retired Detective Chief Inspector in the Bermuda Police Force, who has failed in three previous attempts to win the Central Leeward seat.