Opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate for West St. George, Dr. Julian “Jules” Ferdinand, says he is focusing on “2 H’s and 2 E’s” – health, housing, education, and employment.
“We can do a lot to help ourselves and to help each other and so, my theme going forward is “People helping people’,” Ferdinand said at an NDP rally in West St. George on Saturday.
He said he will talk more about the theme another time and focused his speech on housing.
Noting “education and employment” elements of his mantra, Ferdinand said that is why he is happy to be a candidate for the NDP, which is lead by Opposition Leader, Arnhim Eustace.
“When you listen to the Social and Spiritual Redemption Charter and you listen to Arnhim Eustace talk about having at least one person employed in each household, that is the direction to go so that we have people who are there with some dignity,” Ferdinand said.
“It is not dignity when we encourage some people to beg. It is not dignity that when we encourage people to come and register for poor relief (public assistance).
“There is reason to hope, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and we will make it,” the political newcomer further stated.
He spoke of a recent article in the media about some research in Chateaubelair.
Ferdinand said that in the introductory statement, the researcher refers to the incidence of diabetes and the amputations that are taking place in Barbados.
“It is a challenge that plagues the entire region,” Ferdinand further stated.
“We are going beyond politics. We are not playing politics with this. We are saying that we must stop this thing about talking about the things that we think people want to hear, that we put plans in place to make positive change. And so I throw out a challenge to you tonight,” he said.
Ferdinand had a bag of limes, which he said he picked from a tree at his home that is close to 30 years old.
“Where am I going with this?” Ferdinand said as he added that he has four children, two of whom are adults.
“All of my children started their bank account from picking limes from the lime tree and I help them sell them,” Ferdinand said.
He said that he gives away about 400 lime trees annually.
“I have been doing this for years. So, this is not something new that I am doing for some political gimmick. This is who I am.”
Ferdinand said that about 20 years ago, he offered a lime plant to each staff member at the Feed Mill.
“And I told them then that my children saw their account move from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. I am not exaggerating it. My little children were able to have savings that reached the thousands from selling limes.”
He also brought a soursop tree to the meeting and said that they are being sold on Amazon.com because it has been discovered that the tropical fruit soursop can cure a lot of the regular diseases that affect human beings.
“So let us plant. You will reap in time. But, if you never plant, you never reap,” Ferdinand said, adding that he has close to 200 lime plants at his home ready to give away.
“One of the reasons why I am encouraging the growth of limes and the use of limes is because our people, especially our children, are drinking too much of the other kinds of sugary drinks.
“We can mix these local fresh drinks for them and I plead with you that on a regular basis you cut back on the amount of sugar that you are putting in the drink. Children want the sweet but the sweet is not good for them,” he further stated.
Ferdinand further said that last week, epidemiologist Dr. Jennifer George, addressed business people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines about the chronic diseases.
He sad that 70 per cent of the 800 persons who die annually in SVG die of diabetes and hypertension related ailments.
“But the thing about it, we can do something to cut that down,” he said, noting that diabetes is a lifestyle disease.
He said that about 6,200 of the nation’s approximately 108,000 people have hypertension.
“Something can be done about it because it is a diet problem that influences it,” Ferdinand said.
He further stated that according to the presentation, 50 per cent of the 8,500 patients admitted to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital annually are there because of some complication related to alcohol, obesity and bad diet.
“So, what am I saying all of this for at a political meeting? This NDP, this New Democratic Party is concerned about the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We are not only concerned about putting infrastructure in place, about looking for jobs; we are also concerned about the health and welfare of our people….
“So, my brothers, my sisters, that is a little insight in me. So, I want to say to you, don’t lose hope. There are many persons, when I go around the constituency, are losing hope.
“But we are saying that it is possible for you to look at employing yourself …” he said.
He further stated that a meeting about setting up businesses will be held at the constituency office in Arnos Vale.