The ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) has outlined what for it will be the five issues on which it will fight for a fourth consecutive term in office in the next general elections.
General elections are constitutionally due by March 2016, but Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, who is also political leader of the ULP, has said Vincentians will elect a new government before the end of 2015.
Gonsalves, speaking to party supporters in Lowmans Leeward on Saturday, said the elections will be fought on five issues: the ULP’s vision, philosophy, policies and programmes; its achievements; its candidates; political organisation and inclusiveness; and leadership.
Gonsalves said that the ULP’s achievements since coming to office in March 2001 “are simply impressive, particularly in a context where after 2008 we had the worst global economic crisis for over 100 years, and that crisis is still continuing, and since 2010 where we have had five serious adverse weather events, three of them major floods and disasters and two tremendous droughts,” he said.
He told the gathering at the opening of the party’s West Kingstown constituency office that the ULP’s achievements have been “truly impressive even in the most difficult set of circumstances not caused by us, but external to us, like the external situation and natural disasters”.
The elections, he said, are putting into focus the quality of candidate that they ULP has.
Gonsalves said the ULP’s candidates are “far better” than those of the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), which is expected to present the most serious challenge to the ULP.
“… it is difficult to think of any set of candidates ever offered which are better than what we are putting on offer for 2015 for the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
Gonsalves told party supporters that the elections are also about political organisation and inclusiveness.
“I want to say this to you: we can all attend the rallies, we can be very enthusiastic, the mood can be excellent, but unless you are registered to vote and we are organised in each constituency to make sure that every single Labour supporter goes to the polls, unless those things are happening, the crowd the mood, the spirit would not give you the victory,” Gonsalves said.
He told party supporters to ensure that they are registered to vote.
“And the fifth issue in relation to these elections is leadership,” Gonsalves said.
“You have never heard a leader of the opposition, in this case, Arnhim Eustace, when asked in New York — and the whole world heard him, where are your plans for the next 10 to 15 years, he got up, he said, … “Ask Ralph,’” Gonsalves said.
“And when he said ‘Ask Ralph’, at that point, he surrendered the elections because I have the plan on the website. In 2013, … we, as a government, published a 12-year plan 2013 to 20125. So something must be wrong with him.
“And we are further elaborating those plans, as you will see in our manifesto when it comes out,” Gonsalves said.
The ULP holds eight seats in the 15-member Parliament and the NDP won the remaining 7.
The party will have the “pre-launch” of its election campaign today, Sunday, at Rabacca.
The election will be fought and won on a single overriding issue: which party can buy the most votes.
In this regard, the ULP has a big lead because the party has been in power for over 14 years and has (1) put a lot of people on the public payroll (many of whom could never get comparable employment in the private sector because of a lack of competence, credentials, or experience), (2) put a lot of people on poor relief (many who are of sound mind and body and undeserving of welfare assistance); (3) put a lot of people on temporary work projects such a casual road repair; (4) built a lot of houses for people who have either the means to build their own homes or could otherwise find accommodation if the economy was made stronger by sound public policies; and (5) has succeeded in convincing enough people that the government has the answer to all their problems via their beg and borrow fiscal policies.
The NDP has the advantage of being out of power for over 14 years and hence (1) untarnished by scandals and accusations of corruption and mismanagement, (2) not responsible for a stagnant economy — especially high unemployment and even higher underemployment, (3) blameless for the airport fiasco, and (4) untouched by the absence of concrete measures to turn the economy around on the part of the ULP.
If the NDP can raise enough money to buy enough votes — and bride enough ULPers to defect — they may win. Otherwise, the Comrade may well get his fourth term.
Only five issues?I believe it should be more than that.What about rape?People went from rags to riches overnight.That should be one too.How about the amount of public servants close to the ULP who stole from taxpayers and got promoted for it.How about the economic malaise we are currently in.The persons who have given the HLDC their money and still waiting for their houses while paying rent and mortgage is an issue too.What about public servants frozen salaries for how much years now and your inability to pay the one off salary as requested by the unions.What about the dilapidated state of our roads?How are parents going to face the book stores in a few days time?You have not started to list issues yet Mr PM.Just announce the election date and the vincentian public will tell you about the other many issues.
1/ election bribery
5/ fraudulent registrations
These are the things that may control the outcome unless the NDP watch out, they need to make the world aware of what is going on with all the Human Rights violations.
As the ULP is kicking off their campaign, maybe they can answer the 10 questions below:
1. How do you plan to tackle the high level of youth unemployment?
2. How do you plan to create jobs for the returning graduates to this country?
3. Most Vincentians are complaining about the cost of electricity in this country, do you therefore see a future in solar energy and would your Government encourage such an industry? If yes, how?
4. Do you have any intention of reviving the agricultural industry? If yes, how?
5. Are you prepared to offer a guarantee to the electorate that you will cease the victimisation of the people who support your rivals?
6. Are you prepared to be an open government and tackle corruption across all sectors to create a fairer country? If yes, how?
7. There are many professional Vincentians living abroad who will be willing to return to St. Vincent to make a contribution to their country by starting businesses, working along the current Government (regardless of the party in power) what initiatives do you/can you put in place to open up such avenues to Vincentians.
8. What is the total cost so far of the building of the Argyle International Airport? Simple monetary amounts please.
9. What is the final expected cost of the Argyle International Airport? Simple monetary amounts please.
10. Do you yet have any legally binding agreements with any International Airlines to fly to St. Vincent once the International Airport is built? If yes, can you provide any information to the electorate.
If any representative from the ULP can provide a response to any of the above, these will be greatly appreciated.
To be clear, once the NDP starts campaigning and there are similar articles on here about their campaign strategy I will also pose questions to them which hopefully will in laymans terms will be clear of any political jargon.
Comments are closed.