Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has signalled that elections will be held ahead of the 2015 constitutional deadline and told party supporters on Sunday, “on your marks”.
Speaking at the 20th annual convention of the Unity Labour Party, party chairman, Edwin Snagg, suggested that there could be snap elections as the ULP seeks a fourth consecutive term in office.
Snagg said that while, traditionally, a race begins with “on your mark, get set, go”, ULP supporters could hear “On your marks, go!”
But Gonsalves, the political leader of the ULP, gave only the “on your marks” order as he addressed the convention at the Campden Park Secondary School.
He spoke about his party’s accomplishment since coming to office in 2001, and its vision for a fourth term, but also spent much of his two-hour address saying why he thinks the main opposition New Democratic Party, which holds seven of the 15 seats in Parliament, is not fit to govern the country.
The Prime Minister said Opposition Leader, Arnhim Eustace, who is embroiled in a saga over severance pay for his former secretary, Rishatha Nicholls, who he fired last year, cannot manage his office, which has a staff of three, much more the country.
Gonsalves also spoke of the rift between Eustace and NDP founder, former prime minister, James Mitchell.
Eustace has been at the helm of the NDP when it lost the 2001, 2005, and 2010 general elections, and Mitchell has publicly criticised his leadership and has called for him to step down as head of the NDP.
Among the audience at the convention was NDP member, political activist Frank Da Silva, a close ally of Mitchell, who has also publicly criticised Eustace’s leadership.
Da Silva entered to cheers while the convention was already underway and walked up to the head table and handed two books to Gonsalves.
He later sat among convention delegates and supporters, and applauded loudly as Gonsalves criticised Eustace’s leadership.
It was the second time in months that a prominent member of a political party here attended the convention of another party.
In November, Luzette King, a Washington-based Vincentian political activist, delivered the feature address at the NDP’s convention, during which she boasted about her ULP membership.
The ULP later said that King’s membership had been revoked and that she was not a member of the ULP when she delivered the address.
In making the case for re-election of the ULP, Gonsalves said SVG is the only Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States’ nine members that registered economic growth in both 2011 and 2012.
He said the estimated 2 per cent growth in 2013, exceeded the projected 1.5, and added that he believes the same will happen again this year, when growth is projected at 2.5 per cent.
“But, you got to vote. You got to organise. I tell you this: the NDP, even without James Mitchell supporting them, even without Frank Da Silva making the case for them, might still reach in the region of 40 per cent of the votes.
“Can’t tek no chance. You can’t stay home. When the bell rings, you have to come out and vote,” he said.
Gonsalves said the NDP, will roll back many of his administration’s social programme, mentioning among these the “Home Help for the Elderly” initiative, which the NDP has repeatedly said it believes is a good programme and supports.
The Christmas floods and the resulting approximately EC$330 million in damage and loss, and the nine dead and three missing persons, also featured heavily in Gonsalves’ speech.
He had previously said that there are six Rs — relief, reconstruction, roads (including bridges), river defences, reforestation, and relocation (including housing) — as the nation rebuilds after the storm.
“We are going to rebuild, we are going to recover and St. Vincent and the Grenadines will arise. And we are going to arise and deal with these six Rs,” Gonsalves said.
“But what frightens the NDP with those six Rs is not those six Rs, you know. The seventh ‘R’ they talking about is re-election. And the eighth ‘R’ they are worried about is Ralph,” Gonsalves said.
The convention was held under the theme under them “On Yoh Marks!!! Forward to the Fourth Term. Let the Progress Continue.”
Bla Bla Bla More taxes
Bla Bla Bla Higher Electricity
Bla Bla Bla Lower standards of living.
Finally I cannot weight. Vincentians, it’s time to get rid of this guy, who likes to look down on people in SVG. There is only one person who has the right to look down on me and that is God, not Ralph Gonsalves and his family.
Everybody knows SVG was wayyy better before the ULP came to office, and all they gave us was lower standards of living and higher taxes. Get rid of them Vincentians, I am calling on supporters of both parties to get rid of these guys for the future of our generations to come. Last minute belly full is not going to work again.
Ralph Gonsalves is the worst prime minister St. Vincent & the Grenadines has ever had; he is divisive, contemptuous, disrespectful and vindictive. He cannot walk in Arnhim Eustace’ shoes when it comes to integrity and competence in governance of this country.
The PM stated at his party’s convention that Mr. Eustace was embroiled in a saga with a dismissed former employee; now tell me what is so different about this matter. Many employers often times dismiss workers for various reasons and in many cases, justifiably so. When an employee is caught in dishonest and unscrupulous acts then they ought to be disciplined. That to me is part of PROPER MANAGEMENT OF AN ORGANIZATION.
But lets take a look at the response of this Prime Minister when faced with similar and or worse situations; the two former permanent secretaries at the Ministry of Agriculture who were found guilty of misappropriating government monies and stealing office stores and the PS at Health involving the Cubans and KFC chicken. What did Gonsalves do? He simply moved them around and in some instance, promoted two of them to more high paying jobs in the public service.
Now tell me which of the two is a better manager? Which of them is corrupt? Which of them is honest? Which of them seek to ensure that taxpayers money is not wasted or stolen? Who is more likely to stand for principles rather than compromise their integrity?
This sounds like desperate plea for voters like (Mitt Romney) Republician Party USA.
Who would vote for a party (NDP) who is going no where.
Bla Bla Bla yep you sound like a sheep.
I rather vote for a party who is going nowhere than Vote ULP who is up to no good. It is high time they go. They are useless.
Hhahah. I just have to laugh, you idiots can say what you want but these fools are not going to win again. I can’t wait for when they are out of office.
Own the Jail, Own the charges, then you “Own people will turn against you all. Vincentians had enough, and these fools are not gone. When they leave office they have quite a few things to own. Hahahah
Own the jail!!!!!!
I have never seen him behave more like Hitler at a Blackshirt ralley than this.
I will say nothing of the people, because Lord they know not what they do.
” Look Venezuela, look Cuba, look ALBA, we conforming to the red shirt policy we observing club rules, we all good communists now, please can we have the Cubans wages, sorry about Wikileaks, please can we have our money, stopped talking to the US ambassador in Barbados, please can we have the Cubans wages and money you promised for the equipment that we have had to pay for”
Those of you in the Diaspora, wake up and smell the sulphur.
I am not surprise. He has nothing to run on, so he wants to use the disaster as an issue. Think about it: Can he talk about the airport or any other positive plans for the country and its economy? The longer he puts off the election the more exposure he gets to his bad handling of the economical situation in SVG. One question folks should ask themselves is: AM I better off now than I was 5 years ago? I am not even going back as far as when the ULP usurped power.
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