ST. VINCENT: – Vincentians will elect a new government on December 13, two days earlier than Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace said they would have.
Parliament will be dissolved on Monday, Nov. 15, and Nomination Day is Nov. 26.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves made the announcements on Sunday, Nov. 14, at a rally in which he spoke of his Unity Labour Party’s (ULP) “outstanding achievements” and made the “overwhelming case for re-election”.
He also said that he called the “bluff” that saw Eustace telling supporters of his New Democratic Party (NDP) on Saturday that the elections would be held on December 15, ahead of the March 29 constitutional deadline.
Eustace told his supporters at a rally in Sion Hill, in his East Kingstown constituency, that the NDP was now “in charge” as he spoke of the elections date.
“Mark my words. The Parliament will be dissolved on Monday and you will go to the polls on the 15th of December. … If Gonsalves change that date, he change it tonight. And he is intending to announce it tomorrow. … And, if he change it, I will know!” Eustace said.
Gonsalves told his supporters in the south-eastern town of Calliaqua that Eustace’s announcement was “absolutely pathetic”.
“For all his dramatic posturing, bluff, vanities and empty boast, I must tell you simply that Eustace got the general elections date wrong,” Gonsalves said as he filled in the requisite documents and proposed newspaper headlines for the development.
“If Eustace is in charge, why does he not send the requisite legal instruments to the Governor General? … Why, if he is in charge, does he not advise the Governor General to dissolve Parliament and activate the electoral machinery for the elections?” Gonsalves said.
“Eustace is engaged in the kind of empty boastfulness reserved for children. Only childish people or those intoxicated with laughable illusion or delusion of grandeur boast vaingloriously about these matters as Eustace did. Eustace could prattle but the power of the most high fall on I. And it is I who act not merely talk,” Gonsalves said as he quoted 1 Corinthians 13.
“He is being childish,” Gonsalves said, adding that he chose the dates “after prayer consideration and divine guidance”.
“Before embarrassing himself as he did, Eustace should have headed the wisdom of the Book of Psalms: ‘May the LORD cut off their flattering lips and silence their boastful tongues’,” Gonsalves said.
“Mark my words: Before the end of this campaign, at least one calamity will befall the NDP — at least one. I say no more about this,” Gonsalves said.
He spoke of an “instance of attempted political one-upmanship in Dominica last year” when the opposition accessed Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerritt’s election speech three hours before he delivered it.
He said the difference was that the opposition in Dominica got the election date correct.
“His (Eustace’s) recklessness last night shows the desperation of a gambler who knows that he has a losing hand. I called his bluff. He must know that I-man-I hold all the aces. Eustace got all the jokers in the pack,” Gonsalves said.
“Just like in Dominica, in this country — in St. Vincent and the Grenadines — the NDP will receive the electoral beating of its life. You and I and the comrades will ensure that,” said Gonsalves, who is seeking a third term in office.
Gonsalves said that objective persons and foreign institutions consider his government the most successful the country has seen.
He said that St. Vincent and the Grenadines is “a marvel” to the Caribbean region and the world.
He further said that his administration, which first came to office in 2001, had reduced the number of person in poverty and indigence from 26,000 to fewer than 2,000.
His government, Gonsalves said, also grew the country gross domestic product (GDP) from EC$1.1 billion (US0.4 billion) in 2001 to EC$2 billion (US0.74 billion) in 2009 adding that this had redound to the benefit of all citizens.