KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace no longer believes that the Dr. Ralph Gonsalves Unity Labour Party (ULP) administration will fall within one year of its third term in office.
But the New Democratic Party (NDP) president told I Witness News on Sunday that his party still believes that Vincentians will vote again before 2015, when elections are constitutionally due.
“The NDP doesn’t believe that the government will last five years,” Eustace said of the ULP administration, which began its third term in office last December
“We said so from the beginning [that] we would be campaigning,” Eustace added.
The NDP recommenced its “normal political campaigning” last Thursday with a town hall meeting in Owia, the first of series of such activities.
He said residents of that North Windward community were concerned about arrowroot, the latest crisis in relations to bananas, and the closure of the fisheries complex recently opened there.
“A lot of their concerns have to do with agriculture and joblessness in the area,” Eustace said.
He said the NDP had not had any public meetings for some time and had already decided to have town hall meetings toward the ends of September.
“There are a lot of issues in the country that needs discussing and which we have been airing on talk radio and so on, we have decided now to spread out some more and go back to town hall meetings,” he further said.
The NDP’s town hall meetings come even as the ULP announced that it would have two political rallies every month until the end of the year.
Further, a post by a ULP Member of Parliament on a social networking Website as the ULP began its
rallies several weeks ago, suggest that the party might be preparing for early elections.
“It’s been eight months after the election and you need to see us back on the road. We need to touch flesh and see each other eye to eye and talk face to face,” Sen. Julian Francis, ULP general secretary said of the rallies on radio recently.
He further said that his government was “not delivering maximum as we expect in certain areas but [is] still in touch on all subject areas.”
The ULP last December scraped home to victory with a one-seat majority in the 15-member Parliament.
Asked if he believed that the ULP was preparing for early elections, Eustace told I Witness News “I
am not in a position to say that. They would have been guided by their own thinking on that matter.
“Our objective is to remove the government from office in the normal manner in less than the five-year period. I was working on one year but it doesn’t seem that that will materialise now. But we will continue to work but we don’t expect it (the government) to last,” said Eustace, who was prime minister for the five months ending March 2001.
“We have a very serious economic situation in this country and we have a number of issues [whose] resolution is going to involve some austerity on the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. And that is going to bring a lot of pressure on the political apparatus in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“We cannot continue to have negative grown year after year, to have fiscal deficit ballooning out of control as we have now and not find ourselves in difficulty in the not too distant future,” Eustace said.
He highlighted the debt crises in Greece, with reports on Sunday morning saying that the nation was under pressure “to get the next payment although they have done a lot of things already”.
“We believe that a lot of pressure is going to come down on the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and that will lead to elections,” Eustace said.
Asked what austerity measure he foresaw the government implementing in SVG, Eustace said he was “not commenting on that now”.
“I will see what negotiations the government have had with the International Monetary Fund, what recommendation will be coming forward from that institution — because they are going to have a say in what we do here, whether we like it or not.
“But, the fact remains that the debt has been ballooning out of control and sooner or later we just will not be able to make payments. Our revenue is running much lower than our expenditure and you end up by borrowing more and more and then borrowing become unsustainable at some point in time,” Eustace said.