Member of Parliament for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leacock, has told constituents that he is “deadly serious” about his proposed constituency development fund and has pledged to fight for it if the New Democratic Party (NDP) wins the upcoming general elections.
“I will fight tooth and nail about it. Mr Eustace knows how I stand, my colleagues know how I stand and I do not say it in any disrespectful way, but, if as an elected representative of a people, I cannot spend money for my constituency, leave me alone. Leave me out of politics,” Leacock, an NDP vice-president, told a campaign rally in Redemption Sharpes on Saturday.
“Because if I come to you and I promise and I say I will do these things, in office I must be provided with the means to look after the people who have put me in office … and I am deadly serious about that; very serious,” he said.
Leacock has said that the constituency development fund, which will be managed by the central government, will be used to finance public projects identified by the area representative of a constituency.
Leacock called for politics to be done differently, saying that if every constituency develops, the whole country develops.
He said that every constituency in St. Vincent and the Grenadines has gone backwards since the Unity Labour Party came to office in 2001.
“We have lost ground and we cannot have that anymore,” he said.
He told the rally that a national budget is not a “pie in the sky to do what makes you as a prime minister, look good, what makes you as a minister of government look good, but what you the people of the constituency need for preparing the budget to run a country.
“I have been there long enough. I have been in the boardrooms of VINLEC, I have been president of the Employers’ Federation, I have been a vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce, I have been president of Football, I have been in every single major capital of the world, I have looked at development in the east and I have looked at it in the west and we can develop our people and our country differently,” Leacock said.
“Development is about people and whether it starts here, or in Layou, or in Barrouallie, or in Union Island, or in Bequia, or in Greiggs, we must develop our country in the interest of our people and not in our personal self-interest.”
He spoke of the 30-year-old Redemption Sharpes playing field where the rally was held and pointed out that it is still not lighted.
When it rains, water runs through the stand, and the toilets have not been working for a year, Leacock said.
He said the Water Authority reconnected the water after he begged, and he also got tiles for the floor, but the restrooms are still dysfunctional because he can’t get permission from the National Lotteries Authority and the National Sports Council to do any additional work on the facility.
Leacock also said the doors should be installed on the public bath in the area, and sinks should be built for washing, adding that he has raised that issue in Parliament multiple times.
“And you know what the prime minister says, if they want some place to crap — you know there is a better word for that — come beg he for a toilet. But let me say this to you: the people of Sharpes and Central Kingstown, Ralph, are not on your estate.
“That bath, with NDP, it’s not going away right now. The poor will always be among us and that bath has a need here in Sharpes and we will put it in a condition for decency and pride of the people who need to use it,” Leacock said.
(Watch below a March 2015 IWN video about the public bath in Redemption Sharpes)
The government of #SVG says that the public bath in Redemption Sharpes will be phased out, as the government has been doing with all others across the country since 2001, having facilitated water connection to most homes. But one resident of Redemption Sharpes says there is a case for repairing the one in the Central Kingstown community.
Posted by iWitness News on Thursday, March 5, 2015
Leacock said that Central Kingstown is the only constituency without a health facility of its own and announced that he has had preliminary talks with some land owners as part of a plan to build such a clinic constituency.
“I didn’t say it will happen today for tomorrow, but Sharpes and Central Kingstown must have its own policlinic. But I will seek the permission, I will work with my Prime Minister and Minister of Finance so that we can source and find the funds to provide a proper health facility for our people in Central Kingstown and Redemption Sharpes. It has to be done,” Leacock said.
He said politicians have to work harder and smarter to attend to the needs of the people, adding that people want “jobs, jobs, and more jobs.
“… When I am in government — and I will be in government — and I drive through here and I see you sitting idly on the block, my question to you will be ‘Why are you here? Why are you not working?’ Because it is my job to see whether you are on a piece of agricultural land, whether you are on a fishing boat, whether you’re gone back to retool yourself, whether you are in an apprentice programme, whether we have found some factory for you where we are doing ginger and pepper sauce and chips. You must be working to help and respect yourself.
“Ah don’t want no 10 o’clock sun meeting you with no ‘Gi mi sumting’ philosophy. Every man and able body person must have the mentality of wanting to work
“I didn’t say we can provide full employment. I can say we will give you the tools and the means to try and have respect for yourself and create those opportunities for yourself. And I know we can do it in the New Democratic Party,” Leacock said.