NDP supporters held their “Ring De Bell” protest march in Kingstown on Thursday. (Click for more photos)

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The opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) announced on Thursday that it will no longer co-operate with the Ralph Gonsalves Unity Labour Party (ULP) government until general elections, constitutionally due in December 2015, are called.

“From here on, with a one-seat majority, Ralph, the New Democratic Party is not co-operating with you on anything, save and except for the next general elections,” MP for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leacock told an NDP rally in Kingstown.

“So if you want our support in any activity, in any action, and for any decision you make, ring the bell, call the election, relieve yourself from your misery, and bring back good governance to this country, and bring back the New Democratic party, bring back Eustace into prime ministership of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” said Leacock, who is also an NDP vice-president.

The rally came at the end of the party’s “Ring De Bell” protest march against the Gonsalves government’s handling of the nation’s affairs.

Persons carried placard highlighting a number of issues, including their inability to buy schoolbooks, pay their utility bills, and the state of agricultural sector.

“I brought you on the street today, and I have to tell you, I have a case against the government,” Leacock said.

“The ULP, before they came into government, said that they … would be hard on crime. It is not my problem today that crime is hard on the ULP,” he said.

Leacock carried up a bag, which he said contained the Director of Audits reports from 2004 to 2010.

“I am not saying what I think, I am not saying what I believe; they are here in black and white.”

Leacock reiterated that he only has the audit report up to 2010.

“So you have to add four years of crime to what I am talking about to get up to speed, including the Registrar, of course,” he said.

‘time for a change’ 

Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace, centre, at the head of the march. (IWN photo)
Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace, centre, at the head of the march. (IWN photo)

Leader of the Opposition and the NDP, Arnhim Eustace, said the rally has one specific purpose: “to say to you, the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, that it’s time for a change in the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“I am not saying so out of a sense of wanting to be the prime minister. I am saying so as a Vincentian who sees the decline, the failings, the suffering of our people,” said Eustace, who was prime minister for the five months ending March 2001, when the NDP was voted out of office after 17 years.

“After 13 years of Ralph Gonsalves, after his contempt shown for the people of this country, I know that he has to go,” the former finance minister said.

“But in addition to that, I know that those of us who are on the platform of the NDP have the skills and the experience to guide this country forward and take it out of the mess that is in now. I am confident about that, and I give you the promise today, that Arnhim Eustace and the rest of the team will bring back prosperity to St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Eustace said.

‘not even one pity vote’

And, Nick Francis, president of the Young Democrats, the youth arm of the NDP, spoke specifically to young Vincentians.

“To that single mother who looks in the face of her hungry children, to that young man who feels he has to sell something illegal to get by, the NDP hears your cry today, and we know that unemployment is the biggest problem among our young people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the ULP has failed to provide the jobs and the opportunities for our young people to get a better head in life,” he said.

Francis said corruption is rampant in SVG.

“What a failure they have been for the young people and our generation in this country,” he said of the ULP, which came to office in March 2001.

Francis said that Prime Minister Gonsalves went to the Central Leeward town of Barrouallie and asked the young people to give him a fourth term in office.

“Well, I have a message for the Comrade today: not even one pity vote you getting! Not even on pity vote! Because when the young people hit the polls, is only one thing we voting, it’s NDP, NDP; NDP again and again,” Francis said.

‘from beggar days to better days’

NDP candidate for North Windward, Lauron Baptiste, said Vincentians want better days, not bitter days. (IWN photo)
NDP candidate for North Windward, Lauron Baptiste, said Vincentians want better days, not bitter days. (IWN photo)

“‘Destruction of the poor is his poverty. …/ Destruction of your soul is vanity,’” Lauron Baptiste, the NDP’s candidate for North Windward said, quoting lyrics from Jamaican artiste Buju Banton’s song, “Destiny”.

“I cannot allow these words to resonate in our land today, because today I see myself as a representative of the poor, a representative of the downtrodden, a representative of the Rasta man, a representatives of the youth, a representative of the ghetto youth in this country,” Baptiste said.

“Today, the choice that you will make, or are about to make, is going to affect your life for the better or for the worst. So, the choice is clear, ladies and gentlemen,” he said, and encourage persons to vote for the NDP, saying the party will form the next government in SVG.

He said the ULP government wants citizens to go to them for everything.

“Even to pay your bills, … they want you to come to them to pay your bills. They even want to determine what colour house, what size house you live in in this country. We cannot allow that to continue in this country,” Baptiste said.

He said the NDP “will build a new economy in this country — one that is growing.

“We want to move this country from beggar days to better days,” said Baptiste, an agriculturalist.

$6 million grant for farmers

A farmer demonstrates in Kingstown during the NDP's protest march. (IWN photo)
A farmer demonstrates in Kingstown during the NDP’s protest march. (IWN photo)

Meanwhile, NDP spokesperson on agriculture, MP for North Leeward, Roland Matthews, told the rally that his party is committed to making things better for the poor and the farmers.

“… this Unity Labour Party government, headed by Ralph Gonsalves, has killed agriculture and has destroyed banana in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said.

He told the rally that while the Ministry of Agriculture knew in 2009 that black sigatoka was coming, and had a plan, the ministry did not have the resources to manage the disease, which causes the leaves of the banana tree to wilt and fruits to ripen prematurely.

“As a result, the banana industry in this country suffered, and suffered tremendously,” Matthews said.

He said the NDP has gone through all the agricultural districts and met with farmers.

“And based on what you told us, we have come to an agreement in this NDP,” he said, an announced that the party will convert to a grant the EC$6 million that the ULP government lent to farmers.

“We understand your situation. We know you can’t pay your light bill, we know you can’t pay your water bill, so we are going to make life better for you so you can improve your life and by extension improve St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Matthews said.

He further said there is too much corruption in SVG.

“Something is definitely wrong in this country, as if we are going through a blight. And if things are so wrong, I have news for you that the New Democratic Party, we are the silver lining behind the dark cloud and we are going to make things better.

“We are going to put St. Vincent and the Grenadines on a new level, with the Honourable Arnhim Ulric Eustace in charge of business,” Matthews said, and described Eustace as “a man of integrity, a man of great leadership ability.

“He has what it takes to move SVG forward. We are not saying that we have the solution to everything, but come on, people, things can’t get worst than it is today.

“You look around you today, health service in problem, construction in problem, agriculture in problem, fishing in problem,” Matthews said.

“Oh God, Vincentians, what else are you expecting? What else are you waiting for, what else are you expecting? And you the unbelievers, you the strong ULP supporters, we in the New Democratic Party are saying to you, put your country in front of your party.

“If you love St. Vincent and the Grenadines, you must tell Ralph Gonsalves to his face that you have damaged St. Vincent and the Grenadines and it is time for you to move on,” he further said.

Matthews said citizens have an opportunity “to show this country that you are a Vincentian to the bone.

“You have to say to you neighbour that you are fed up of the foolishness,” he said.

‘thieving left, right and centre’

A protester holds a placards during Thursday's march and rally. (IWN photo)
A protester holds a placards during Thursday’s march and rally. (IWN photo)

And, MP for West Kingstown, Daniel Cummings told the rally that only a small portion of the iceberg that caused the Titanic to sink was above water.

“It’s the massive island of ice that was below the water that wrecked the ship. I want you to think of how secretive this government is. And if we can unearth so much corruption among the senior members of government in this country, you can only imagine what they are pushing under the rug,” Cummings said.

“That is why no money in this country. It’s thieving left, right and centre. What we seeing … is only a small fragment of the reality,” Cummings said.

He, however, said that an NDP government will not have any commission of inquiry into corruption.

“Mark my word, they going straight to meet whoever in charge of the prison; once we get the evidence, straight before the court,” Cummings said.

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4 replies on “NDP will no longer cooperate with ULP gov’t”

  1. He said the ULP government wants citizens to go to them for everything.

    “Even to pay your bills, … they want you to come to them to pay your bills. They even want to determine what colour house, what size house you live in in this country. We cannot allow that to continue in this country,” Baptiste said.
    The above quote is very important and must be addressed by the NDP. People need to get back to control their lives. They need to be responsible citizens of SVG again. No more “COME TO PAPA”, for everything.
    Let me repeat again: NDP must tell the people it would restore town and village councils to allow them to build the new SVG. Let them take control of their environments so that crime can be controlled and reduced. Farmers can go back to their lands and get the protection from thieves that they deserve.
    As for agriculture: Mathews should start organizing farmers in all areas to begin working together to make their lives easier. They can swap labour the same way it was done many years ago. It can be done and it should be done at very little cost to farmers. They can also help to monitor each other properties from thieves. Many things can be done without a strain on the government purse, by getting people involved in their environments. NDP cannot go it alone. That’s what Ralph tried and he failed and it failed. NDP should not recreate that wheel because it doesn’t spin.

  2. C. ben-David says:

    This is the first that I’ve heard that they were cooperating in the past. All I’ve seen in nearly four years of “cooperation” are (1) repetitive calls for fresh elections and (2) constant cries that the ULP government is corrupt.

    As far as the former is concerned, the ULP has a constitutional mandate to govern for five years. Only the PM can call a new election. And he will do so when it pleases him.

    As far as the second is concerned, the NDP has provided no convincing evidence of corruption coming from or sponsored by the Prime Minister’s office or elected members of his government. All we have are tantilizing rumours, not hard facts. For example, reports about monies unaccounted for may “suggest” corruption but could equally be a product of poor bookeeping.

    And don’t tell us that the actions of a few rotten apples in the office of Foreign Affairs and the Registry proves corruption by elected officials. This won’t wash without direct ties to elected officials shown or a deliberate coverup by these officials proven.

    Please, Mr. Eustace, gives us the details of the exact changes, the names of the politicians involved, the dates of the crimes, the amounts of money involved, and so on. Otherwise, your charges add up to a mountain of commess and a molehill of credibility.

  3. Well said, you can never get the truth if they still there in government, only when the people get them out you will be able to unearth the truth of what was done during the time in office.

    Once you get the evidence and the court convict one, that one will talk on all who in the ring of corruption. who do wrong must be held accountable for it.

    When money go missing the poor suffer for lack of health care, and other services, because they cannot jump on a plane or air ambulance to Trinidad to get health care, the well off one can do that, so they do not have to be concerned about what those in power do, but the state funds are there to provide for the one who cannot provide for them selves.

    I used to say the previous government was bad, but this government make them look like saints, they took corruption to a twin tower level.

  4. Hahah. In them face. Water boots anall, country man always run things in SVG. I am a countryman myself and one thing I know for sure, is that when countryman fedup, that is the end of you. Come down again fellas, and next time bring the spray can and everything.

    Come down election day and bus a cookout in the middle of Kingstown, bring three big stone and put up a fireside and remind them where they came from, cook the Manicou sauce and show them how country man ah roll. I Couldn’t be prouder than seeing a farmer in water boots. Many people like to ride high and try to forget where they came from, but not me, it’s farming that got me where I got to go. BIG UP TO THE FARMERS, the back bone of our country.

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