ST. VINCENT: – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has said he will invite election observers to come to St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) when he announces the date for the general elections, constitutionally due by March 2011.
Gonsalves told supporters of his Unity Labour Party (ULP) in Barrouallie on Sunday, Sept. 26, that there was no need for observers before the announcement of the election date, saying, “It’s impossible to steal and election in St. Vincent.”
“I have spoken personally to the Secretary General of CARICOM [the Caribbean Community], face to face, and I told him that we have elections due sometime between now and the end of March next year. And that we will call on CARICOM to send us election observers when I announce the date of the elections, just like we did in 2005,” Gonsalves said.
Gonsalves had just returned to the country after the United Nations meeting in New York last week. (Go to the homepage to subscribe to I Witness-News)
“And, I have spoken face to face with the Secretary General of the Organization of American States and I told him the same thing. The elections are not announced yet, so why you need observers. That has never happened before in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Gonsalves said.
He said that while he had not spoken to the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Secretary General said during the 2005 election that St. Vincent and the Grenadines has good machinery for elections” and the Secretariat did not need to “come and observe”.
“Yo’ can’t steal an election in St. Vincent. It’s impossible to steal and election in St. Vincent. Yo’ may a have a mistake here or there but you can’t have it stolen. Not with the system of check and balances and identification card and dipping yo’ finger in ink. Not with the system of registration which we have, which is open and free and democratic. How are you going to steal it?” Gonsalves said.
‘NDP … set out to divide’
Gonsalves said he has tried to unite the country since coming to office in March 2001 but had met with resistance from the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP).
“We have tried to unite this country. We have not always succeeded because there are NDP elements who set out to divide,” Gonsalves said.
“You put out an olive branch, they spray on it. You ask their leader to talk to you in confidence; as soon as you have spoken to them on a matter of national security, they gone on the radio in breach of the confidence. You try to engage them in a constitution al reform; they played party politics with it, and with foreign monies tried to confuse a number of well meaning people,” Gonsalves said.
Laptops computer & election date
Gonsalves said the Prime Minister of Portugal, José Sócrates, has committed to giving 15, 000 computers to Vincentian children,
aged five to 12. (Follow I Witness-News on Facebook)
Both the ULP and the opposition NDP had said they will give a laptop computer to each Vincentian student.
Gonsalves, whose ULP is seeking a third consecutive term in office, told party supports to get registered to vote in the general elections.
“I want you to register and register soon because, I hear the clinging of the bell in my head!” he said.
Former Prime Minister and NDP founder Sir James Mitchell, on Sept. 10 called for the immediate presence of international observers of the general elections.
“We want them here to go and see what is happening with the Supervisor of Elections. I know that she is an honourable lady, a distinguished lady and so on; but I don’t trust even Jesus Christ when there is elections, until I see the results,” Sir James said.
He has since withdrawn and apologized for the reference to Christ, saying he had gone “overboard”.