Thousands of supporters of the opposition New Democratic Party marched and rallied in Kingstown on Friday, July 26, 2013 (IWN photo)

Thousands of opposition supporters marched and rallied in Kingstown Friday in protest against the Dr. Ralph Gonsalves Unity Labour Party (ULP) administration.

Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace, speaking to supporters outside the Financial Complex, where the Office of the Prime Minister is located, repeated his call for general elections before yearend — two years ahead of the constitutional deadline.

Eustace said that the protest was originally organised to show support for embattled opposition senator, Vynnette Frederick, but widened to include “a lot of the problems that we face here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.

Friday’s march and rally followed protest rallies in Georgetown and Layou last Saturday and Tuesday, respectively.

“People are suffering too much in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. And everyday, I have to face people coming to my office or calling me at home or meeting me in the street, and everybody is complaining,” Eustace said.

“Even their own supporters are complaining that things are very hard,” he said in reference to the ULP government.

“Sometimes, I wonder how some people make it from one day to the other,” he said, adding that persons cannot pay their utility bills and businesses are closing down.

“You notice the Prime Minister’s restaurant is right over there and that close too,” he said of a café operated by the Prime Minister’s wife, which has relocated from the centre of Kingstown to Frenches.

“We are saying it is time for them to go. The time is now…” Eustace said, adding, “We can’t afford that anymore.”

Opposition Leader and New Democratic Party president, Arhnim Eustace, centre, leads the march in Kingstown on Friday.
Opposition Leader and New Democratic Party president, Arhnim Eustace, centre, leads the march in Kingstown on Friday.

As the protesters departed from the NDP headquarters on Murray’s Road, the march, which began mid-morning Friday, immediately took on a carnival-like atmosphere, three weeks after Vincy Mas 2013 ended.

Trucks blasted amplified soca music and protesters danced in the street and waved placards and large yellow flags — the colour of the NDP.

As the protesters made their way through Kingstown, one could have easily mistaken them for a carnival band on account of the music and the flags.

(Visit our Facebook page for more photos of the march and protest)

“Vynnie V is all ah we”, one placard read, while another said ,“Victimisation is now an institution.” Yet another said, “It’s time for fresh ideas.”

Among the protesters were opposition parliamentarians and members of civil society, including immediate past president of the Bar Association, Kay Bacchus-Browne.

The Bar Association has condemned the arrest of senator Frederick, saying it was unnecessary and intended to embarrass and humiliate her.

Businessman Leon “Bigger Biggs” Samuel, who has had his licence to mine aggregates at Rabbaca revoked, carried a placard that read “Little me can’t fight against the mighty U.L.P.

The revoking of Samuel’s mining licence has brought his block-making business to a halt and placed his investments, said to be in excess of EC$7 million, in jeopardy.

Anglican Priest Father Ulric Jones, wearing a clerical shirt and a tab collar, carried a placard that read, “If one member suffers all suffer together. 1 Corinthians 12:26”.

President of the Public Service Union (PSU), Cools Vanloo, also joined the march.

The PSU represented the Port Police, which is to be disbanded on July 31.

The Government decided to disband the outfit after they held a one-day sickout earlier this year to highlight labour issues, including the non-payment of increments.

Gonsalves said that the sickout compromised the nation’s port and put the country at risk of sanctions under the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code.

The New Democratic Party has originally organised the protest and march in support of embattled senator, Vynnette Frederick (in photo). (IWN photo)
The New Democratic Party has originally organised the protest and march in support of embattled senator, Vynnette Frederick (in photo). (IWN photo)

The NDP had originally rallied their supporters to show dissatisfaction with the arrest and proffering of nine charges against Frederick on July 11.

The charges against the senator who is also a lawyer, relate to false declarations, swearing falsely, and fabricating evidence.

The charges were laid hours after a magistrate threw out six perjury charges against her.

All charges stem from the contents of affidavits that Frederick submitted as part of a private criminal complaint against Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves following the December 2010 general elections.

But while opposition supporters were protesting against the Gonsalves government, the Prime Minister was not in the country.

He left for Cuba on Thursday to join in that country’s celebration of events marking the beginning of the Cuban revolution.

Gonsalves had suggested that the Opposition postpone the rally if they wanted to get his attention.

Eustace on Friday again said that Gonsalves, in making the suggestion, was “out of his damn place”.

Updates: This story has been updated to identify Anglican Priest Father Ulric Jones by name.

7 replies on “Thousands turn out to Opposition protest in Kingstown”

  1. Don’t know what is going on in SVG – don’t follow the politics. However, from the tone of the article one gets the feeling that the arrest of Vynette is retaliation. It seems to me that if the judge already made a decision on the allegation that ruled in her favor, the matter should be settled. When folks begin to focus on petty politics, they lose sight of the big issues and are perceived as vindictive. That is not a wise approach because by becoming vindictive you unite and mobilize your opposition forces against you. The goal should be to win more friends than your opposition rather than to alienate folks and have them join the opposition.

  2. When Ralph looks out on a crowd of 5,000 people and announces that there are 20,000 people in the audience, I forgive him because he is old, his eyesight is bad, and, most of all because that’s what a politician is supposed to do. When Arnhim does the same thing, I forgive him for the same reason.
    But when a “journalist” takes high-res photos that can be zoomed and the people counted individually, I expect a more accurate count. The headline says “thousands”. He repeated the estimate on the radio for CMC. “thousands” means at least two thousand, right? Ok. Take the biggest crowd shot, and spend half an hour counting the marchers, and tell me what number you get. Some ppl always bragging about journalistic standards and credentials, but only apply them when they feel like.
    It was a good march. I was there. They made some good points. The marchers were energised. But there were NOT thousands of ppl there. That is a fact. Sorry. Does it matter that they couldn’t draw thousands of ppl? I didn’t think so. I thought the march was a success. But y rewrite history claiming a number that isn’t real?? Smh

  3. SAFIA, I was there as well with a clicker counter. At one point I had counted 2806 people. Because there were some large flags it became difficult to count all of the people so I suggest there were more than that.

    SAFIA, I want to know how you can declare your statement about number a fact, even mine isn’t an absolute fact, but its a closer fact than yours which is not a fact at all.

    I havn’t counted the people in the photo but would estimate between 300 & 400.

    Either you are mistaken or like the fat man you are a liar, or perhaps just a dreamer. Next time try a scientific method. Hand held tally counters that can be hidden from view in a trouser or jacket pocked are cheap and readilly available. I have used one for years and they are fool proof and acrurate because they are a mechanical counter not an electronic counter.

    if you want one try
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/click-counter/s?ie=UTF8&keywords=click%20counter&page=1&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aclick%20counter

  4. Joshua Richardson. says:

    Am I missing something here? Why should the focus be on the size of the crowd?. Every voice counts and deserves to be heard in a Democracy.

  5. WOW! Gonsalves says there was seven hundred protesters, and he was not even there, he was having a Marxist jolly up in Cuba..

    If he would like to pay me I can supply him with a certified written confirmed head count, not an estimate. Information gathered by scientific collection and logging.

    I am not sure if he is relying on his ability of clairvoyance, of he has sort an answer from his Obeah beliefs.

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