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The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not represent the opinions or editorial position of I-Witness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

With the Vincentian population at the crossroad of this important upcoming 2015-16 general election, the time is ripe for nationally televised debates amongst all active political parties in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Although unprecedented in the region, such political debates at this juncture might be the most effective exegesis of openness to the general public. This new method can engender a tremendous amount of transparency and hope of each party’s purpose, objective, goals, and intentions. The outcome might be the highest demonstration of true democracy in the Caribbean — the people’s ultimate decision that is derived out of their volitions.

During these debates, the leader or a worthy representative of each political party will be called upon to outline and define clearly his/her party’s agenda or a concise version of his manifesto for the upcoming five years. They will be asked to speak on pressing issues that are currently plaguing the island’s growth and development e.g. (unemployment, lack or reduction of export trade) the nation’s deficits and other pressing issues. They also will be opportune to speak of the nation’s strengths, challenges and viable means that are necessary to transform them into commerce if possible.

Such debates will enable the people of St. Vincent & the Grenadines to be apprised of the political landscape, to learn more about each political party, personalities and their track records. But most importantly, they will be served with the opportunity to have a thorough insight of each party’s role and intentions to move the country forward for the next five years.

Having a profound insight of each party’s agenda and initiatives, Vincentians at home and abroad will be fortified with the necessary tools and ammunition to make educated choices, some at the poles. They in turn will be able to throw their support, endorse or make consciously determined decisions regarding the party that they think is most capable of managing the affairs of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

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For the first time in the history of St. Vincent’s politics that four political parties are vying for political leadership to take the country forward for the next five years. Mrs. Anesia Baptiste, leader of the Democratic Republic Party (DRP) and Mr. Ivan O’Neal of the SVG Green Party have already made their request for a national debate with the incumbent Unity Labour Party (ULP) of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, and the New Democratic Party (NDP) that is led by Mr. Arnhim Eustace.

Said the leader of the DRP as she calls for a debate among the other parties, “Political debate organized would give us the opportunity to focus on the issues and would allow each political party’s leader to outline their plans and policies to Vincentians. This debate will allow Vincentians to access each leader based on the issues and policies, and to make the decision as to who they will vote for based on those things.” She went on to say, “Let us come together and be questioned by journalists on various issues that people will like to hear us on, and let the people know exactly where we stand. I am asking for three debates. Why? Having three debates, allow the persons who are asking the questions on a variety of issues and the public to access us on consistency. Are you going to flip-flop on a question in your second debate? Are you going to change your position on the final debate from what it was in the first debate? These are the things that can come out when you are tested on three different occasions.”

The entire Vincentian diaspora is eagerly waiting for such an event to take place in the near future. After all, we have an innate vested interest in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and all of its affairs. We the diaspora of North America are saying “BRING ON THE 2015 POLITICAL DEBATE.”

Josiah Stewart ([email protected])


The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

11 replies on “National televised political debates needed in St. Vincent”

  1. Such a debate will not happen; nor should it happen, for reasons that I will give in a forthcoming essay.

  2. Dr. Dexter Lewis says:

    A foolish idea. We do not have a presidential system. We have a system where each representative has equal weight so if we get the heads of each political party in debate we will certainly have a carnival. But we will not get clarity.

    If it is not clear to Mr. “Stewart” what the policies are of each political party he needs to get their manifesto or have lived in SVG over the lat 15 years to see the effects of bad policy. That alone tells us where we need to put an “X”. Not who sweats more.

    I placed “Stewart” in quotation marks when I see a word like “exegesis”. A wounded leopard cannot hide its spots.

    1. Yes, I share your raised antenna with the word “exegesis.”

      The PM, a skilled student debater, a polished legal advocate, and a skillful sophist of the highest degree, would like nothing better than to argue about issues on TV with the less articulate, charismatic, and photogenic opposition leader that have endlessly been debated for nearly 15 years in House of Assembly. Eustace et al will never fall for this trick.

      If Gonsalves publicly proposes a televised debate, this should seen as a sure sign that his poll numbers point to a defeat on election day.

      As for O’Neil and Baptiste, they would love a public debate because they would only gain from the free publicity this would bring to their marginal chances of gaining even a single seat in the upcoming election.

      Many thanks, Dr. Lewis, for pointing out the foolishness of this idea.

  3. Why do you think that we need a debate Mr Stewart?My only conclusion is that you want Ralph Gonsalves to look good.It is public knowledge that Gonsalves is good with words so we all know how that will go.The unfortunate thing is that all Gonsalves has is mouth and no substance to back his mouth.It,s no wonder why SVG economy is in tatters.A public debate is not going to put food on people,s table.What you should do is encourage him to send home Vincent Beach to make room for the many young people leaving school with no hope of employment.Encourage him to pay the hard working teachers the one month salary from the 400 million he claims he has to spend that he says he is not leaving for the NDP to spend.Can you imagine a learned prime minister making such utterances.I hope you ask him to explain that during the debate.

    1. To make Ralph Gonzalves look good on a debate being that he is an eloquent speaker and native son is far from my thoughts. That’s not what I am looking forward to. In fact, I want everyone who broaches the rostrum on these debates to exhaust themselves about their party’s plans to move the country forward for the next five years. In doing so Mr. Peter Griffin, the entire Vincentian Diaspora (at home and abroad) will be much more apprised of the current political landscape. would there be an air of sensationalism? Maybe! Should that prohibit such a debate? I don’t think so. My brother, our people just have to grow and evolve and mature someday. Don’t you think? I know will agree with this.

  4. This is a distraction. The PM of SVG is a master rhetorician and would win any debate, in SVG, with anyone, hands down. In my opinion, he would win a debate with President Obama himself, if such a thing were to take place.

    The problem is, despite his natural rhetorical talents, he has demonstrated a clear ineptitude in the *actual management of a country* (unlike President Obama, who has proven himself good at both things). SVG has been comprehensively mismanaged by this government over the past 10 years – but the ULP’s rhetoric today is as fanciful and inspiring as it ever was. There’s a fundamental contradiction there, visible to anyone who cares to examine such matters closely, instead of just to copy what goes on in developed countries.

  5. Even though I don’t really support a debate for our election, it is a clear sign to me from your explanations Mr Ben David that Ralph will trample all over all the opposition. So with that you don’t want Mr Eustace to fumble his only chance of victory which is clearly not in sight at this moment. What I would really like the PM to do is call the date of the election get the weak hearts of the opposition pumping.

  6. Vinciman says, “BRING ON THE 2015 POLITICAL DEBATE”. Yep! Bring it on. Let us separate the wolf from the sheep once and for all. (Good.”All yo fraid Ralph”!!??) Let us see who can handle themselves on the platform with TV cameras and microphones “up in yo face”, beaming across the Caribbean for the world to see “all yo”, faced with tough questions on leadership, on the economy, on foreign policies, on energy, on climate control, on same sex marriages, on women issues, on legalization of medical marijuana, and a whole slew of things that I Vinciman and the people of SVG would like to know about, and “how all yo stand on these issues”. (ah done know Arnhim gwine fail already, wid he “ask Ralph”.)
    I think it’s a wonderful idea and we need to get on with it immediately, in spite of what detractors like “Has Sa Mule”, “De Exter Lowest”, and “See Bend Avid” all adherents of oppressive anti-dialogical actions, activities and un-Vincy like characteristics, who’s only objection to this debate is “ we fraid Ralph!”. What nonsense is this! Go bury all yo head in shame!
    “Has”! Ah mean Haz! You, of all people should be included in this debate in some form or the other, or we need to set up a separate debate where” you” and “lowest” and “see bend” will debate Vinciman on the “Argyle International Airport its genesis, sustainability and longevity, for the future of St Vincent and the Grenadines”. Yep! No hiding behind yo’ keyboard anymore, spewing BS. Come in front the camera and face da Vinciman; and “bring Kenton wid yo”.

      1. How is Vinciman hiding, and a fake name, and Haz is not ? So are you going to come back and say to me “Well my REAL name is Haz and I’m not hiding,” Oh! well my REAL name is Vinciman, and you’ve just responded to me, and i am replying to you. I never get your point, ever! Even with the Airport bit. Yep, that’s what I said “hiding” behind a keyboard, one can do wonders. But in a live debate whole different ball game.

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