NDP chairman Sen. Linton Lewis.

Chairman of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), Sen. Linton Lewis, has described the Ralph Gonsalves-led Unity Labour Party (ULP) administration as the worst in the history of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Lewis made the assertion at an NDP town hall meeting in New York on Saturday, where he also said that each administration had done some good for Vincentians.

“However, although it is correct to state that some of the programmes of the ULP have benefitted a section of the population in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, it is also undeniable that the ULP administration has been the worst in living memory, that has ever governed our beautiful homeland,” he said, and presented reasons for coming to that conclusion.

He said the ULP boasts about the education revolution, the low and no income housing projects and the international airport under construction in Argyle.

But the ULP, which came to office in March 2001, has tremendous efforts to improve education in SVG.

“Whereas those efforts on the one hand are commendable, on the other hand there is some cause for concern about the manner in which those opportunities have been divided up among our people,” Lewis said.

He said there are rampant complaints about political victimisation, discrimination, favouritism, cronyism and nepotism, and those complaints have reduced the gains that were made and cast a cloud of doubt over the fair and equitable distribution of those opportunities.

“The indecent haste towards universal secondary education has resulted in an unfortunate increase in truancy and juvenile delinquencies,” he further said, adding that ULP administration did not place sufficient emphasis on primary education, as children were promoted from one class to the next without having the requisite reading, writing and numerical skills to enter a higher class.

“They were placed in secondary schools even though they failed the common entrance examinations. Unfortunately, for those poor children they were exposed to a level of work for which they were not prepared and so many of them were unable to do the work in and out of the classroom.

“School was no longer a happy place to be. For many, failure became the norm rather than the exception and so many had to leave school either because they had failed too often or that they were subjected to grave embarrassment of having to feel inferior within the class room and among their peers,” he said.

Lewis said teachers were complaining that the children were unable to read and therefore could not understand the work that was given to them, and in some instances, 75 per cent of student did not graduate.

“Admittedly there have been some success stories of the universal secondary education project but when compared with those who have suffered, those success stories are few and far between,” Lewis said, and commended the students who completed their course of study.

Lewis, however, said that in SVG, most persons who have achieved a university education have concluded that unless they say what they think the political directorate wants to hear then promotion, upward mobility or career growth will not be forthcoming.

“It is a feeling that is unfortunately justified because upward mobility or career growth is not dependent on ones ability and effort as much as ones affiliation overtly an otherwise to the ULP,” he said.

Lewis further said the ULP administration removed from the primary schools the woodwork and home economic centres that provide basic training in carpentry and food and nutrition respectively.

“We in the New Democratic Party value education immensely,” Lewis said, and announced that an NDP administration will re-introduce skills training as a matter of urgency by using community centres and suitable personnel at appropriate times to conduct these training throughout the country.

He further said an NDP administration will emphasise the improvement of primary education to ensure that children are able to read and write at their age level.

“Children who are slow learners will have access to remedial teaching to bring them up to the minimum standards required of them,” he said.

Family background or financial status must not be a hindrance to access to good primary and secondary education, Lewis said, adding that the NDP will ensure that there is equality at the outset in education.

He said the party will ensure that primary schools, regardless of their geographical location in SVG, are staffed with suitably qualified teacher, and added that the nation needs to seek the assistance of health care professionals who can attend adequately to the needs of those who are less fortunate and those with learning and other disabilities.

Lewis said the ULP’s Youth Empowerment Service (YES) and Supportive Education and Training (SET) programmes have the potential to relieve some of the frustrations and the financial burdens that many young people endure.

He, however, said there are complaints of victimisation and discrimination in the selection process.

“In the absence of hope, there is confusion and in the face of temptation there is a loss of self control, a lessening of pride and dignity, a preponderance of self pity and a weakening of the fabric of our society.”

Seventy-five per cent of crimes in SVG are committed by persons under the age of 35 years, Lewis said, adding that many of the approximately 25 persons murdered each year are young persons.

“The year 2014 is reminiscent of 2007 when 37 persons were killed of which 58 per cent fell prey to the barrel of a gun. The question is where do we go from here as fear continues to tarnish the picturesque landscape of beautiful St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“Unless the New Democratic Party takes office … the decadence will not cease, the moral decay will be prolonged and the lovely people of our beautiful homeland will continue in total bemusement as to their existence and life’s trajectory.

“So we ask of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves to ring the bell and relieve our people of their misery, ring the bell to rid our people of frustration, poverty, depression, victimisation, discrimination and political polarisation – ring the bell comrade ring the bell,” Lewis said.

9 replies on “ULP is SVG’s worst gov’t ever — Linton says in NY”

  1. A pretty balanced speech. I always challenge children and parents when I see school children out of school. I found that kids had to stay at home if their school uniform was not available, for whatever reason. There is pressure on parents to have the right clothing so their children can attend school. No every parent can afford that luxury, hence the children are denied a good education based on the parent’s income.
    There are some head teachers who sent kids home because they wore slippers to school. I went to primary school bare-foot because my mother could not afford to buy me one pair of shoes for church and one for school. This new system is also a strain on many families, especially in such hard times as folks are now experiencing.
    One excuse I got from a young student was that his mother didn’t have money to give him to buy food. School was less than 400 yards away and I wondered why he wasn’t able to go home for lunch. His explanation was, “there was nothing to cook at home”. My kids don’t understand when I told them I sometimes had to take 3 mangoes for lunch, when I attended secondary school in Kingstown.
    So secondary education may be free, but unless parents have the resources to equip their children with book, uniform and money, then it may not pan out for their children. I also find the same scenario holds true for primary and secondary school children.
    The NDP has to look at all the things that hinder or prevent children from getting a good education. The uniform looks good, but I think it’s an added strain for the parents of primary school children.

    1. All of you are fool to say the prime minister is the worst. What NDP ever did for vincentian? Ulp government meet the country in the worst state ever and help so far to bring it back on track, so that your children can get a better education and a better live living. NDP government are to blind to see what is good from bad, that’s why you all are so stupid. NDP don’t have no vision what so ever to run the country.if the leader of the NDP can’t take care of his own mouth, would he take care of the country?

      1. James the lion monroe says:

        I really don’t give a shit about ndp or ulp, just as long as the country is doing well. At this moment, the state of svg is in a mess. giving any party more than two terms is a grave mistake. If the people of svg is tired of the same old two parties, then they should give the green party a chance or elect themselves a coalition govt.

  2. One thing that Dr. Lewis fails to mention about the so-called “education revolution” is that it is really an “education devolution” along the lines of the American “no child left behind” dumbing-down of education standards in that expectations for all are lowered when programmes are put in place that assume all children are potentially brilliant scholars.

    Every human being is a unique individual with different wants, needs, and abilities. To assume otherwise is to punish the truly gifted by giving them a second-class edication, falsely reward those who underperform thus ill preparing them for the real world outside the classroom, and generally weakening the overall level of learning and training in the country.

  3. What this big head man Linton talking about? Ralph is the best prime minister for svg. He is doing his best to help vincentian here and aboard. If you all want to get back on of being the prime minister for svg, you all don’t need to run down the u.l.p government. You all talk more than you all do. We don’t need no talking, we need action and you all action is to take svg under the sea. Because you don’t have any vision what so ever. NDP leader is lazy, he not even go around in the community to visit the citizens of s.v.g This man is only for the rich and famous and don’t give about the poor, he is useless and empty headed with no vision. If he can’t take care of his own mouth, how would he take care of the country. Vincentian be careful what you all do, don’t live to regret, live to get by your sweat.

  4. This is brilliant!
    I hold a master’s degree in marketing and I could not come up with this.
    Keep the focus on party politics and let the masses forget the real problems.
    Come on people; we need to be more sophisticated about things. All politicians are more or less the same and they are governed by blind fear. Ironically, that fear is dictated by the puerile and inconclusive beliefs of the people; it really is a bitter cycle.

    Can’t we find a new way?
    Can’t we wake up tomorrow and say not more party politics?
    Can’t we just put the country first?

    I challenge you to reject old school mug slinging and personalised politics and focus on policy.
    What are the policies?
    Do they make sense?
    Is there god governance?

    People, don’t let ignorance be your guide.

  5. John I will discount what you say because you are obviously not the full ticket.

    CLINTON JAMES, you are obviously a silly illinformed or uninformed person of low interlect to come here and spout such crap, we in SVG are liveing the hardships, the spite malice and hatred that is administerd to none ULP supporters on a daily basis.

    Are Vincention better off today than when the were under the NDP, no they are many times worse off.

    The NIS has been raided for the airport, we have lost our national bank for the airport.

    School children are still leaving school unable to read and write, no mathmatical skills whatsoever. Children are sent to school without breakfast, many cannot go to school because they have no uniform, no books, no shoes. And you come with your crap and tell us how well we are doing under this Marxist led regime.

    The main meal of the day for up to 25% of families is pilau, rice and chicken back. They eat that for breakfast lunch and dinner. Some have to eat mango’s for every meal, because they are free and plentiful, but not all times of the year.

    I do not like or support the NDP, and I certainly do not like or support the party of hate and spite ULP. But if it comes to voting, I will vote NDP because they have at least got a leader who doesn’t tell lies about every little thing.

  6. Duffield Cottle says:

    Doctor Lewis’ remarks on the state of saint Vincent and The Grenadines are factual and timely, to say that this ULP Government has been the worst since conquest and settlement is an understatement. I grew up in SVG and left at the age of nineteen to travel to the US – I grew up with my grandmother and saw her working on the Ruthland Vale Estate, I remember seeing my grandmother cleaning cotton where at times she was buried behind mountains of uncleaned cotton.

    Although the conditions we lived under then were colonial, I would much rather those living conditions today than the conditions which exist in SVG right now…there’s too much crime; too much poverty; too much prostitution; too much racism and a complete breakdown of all of the key components of a good and progressive society. Let me be clear, Ralph Gonsalves is post-colonial racist and our people were caught unprepared to deal with this brand of racism. I’ve said from day one that Ralph Gonsalves is on a disenfranchisement campaign – a campaign to make the black population of Saint Vincent and The Grenadfines poor and dependent on government by destroying their entrepreneurial spirit and living on handouts and rations, and, unfortunately he has succeeded by making a significant portion of the population believe that this the best way to live.

    The NDP will win the next general election but let us not kid ourselves its going to be an extremely tough job to repair the damage – not only the economic damage but also the pysycological damage that’s been done to our people. We are likely to see a spike in crime after the NDP wins the next election. After the NDP take the reigns of government I believe the people who suffered most under the ULP will call for justice for their suffering and any attempt to ignore that call could be problematic. So among the clouds is silver lining but I fear the future for my people.

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