The time has come for a change, for unity and co-operation, understanding and consideration in East St. George, says opposition New Democratic Party candidate, Sen. Linton Lewis.
“And, in East St. George, we have decided to bring that to the people through what we will call our Co-operative social enterprise programme,” Lewis told a party rally in Fair Hall on Thursday.
“We are introducing the Cooperative Social Enterprise Programme. We are bringing that to the boys on the block. We are not just going to tell you come in to a meeting room, because sometimes you do not want to leave your comfort zone.”
He told party supporters that many of the young men in the constituency are skilled in carpentry, masonry, painting, mechanics, and are good artists.
“Why do we call it cooperative? Because we want all of them to come together and co-operate. Why do we call it social? Because you socialise on the block all the time. Why do we call it enterprise? Because it is going to be business,” he said.
He illustrated, saying that if someone gets a job to trim a yard and they see carpentry work to be done, they tell their friends in the same cooperative and recommend them to the owner, and so forth.
“The Cooperative Social Enterprise Programme, creating employment for yourself and your fellowmen. And that is what we’re bringing to East St. George. I have stood up at the corners long enough to know the skills of the people,” Lewis said.
He said many of the young men in the constituency are seafarers.
Lewis further noted that many ships fly Vincentians flags on the high seas and said he would explore whether they can change the law to ensure that ships that fly Vincentian flags employ a few Vincentians.
“That is exactly what we are looking at: job creation,” Lewis said.
In the area of sports, Lewis, a former national cricketer, who also played football, said East St. George is the mecca of sports in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
He said an NDP administration will ensure that there are sports clubs instead of just sports teams.
“I was brought up in a club structure from a little boy all the way up. What does it do to you? Every club has its rules, every club has its constitution.”
And members are expected to meet its standards.
“So the club structure disciplines you … but at the same time you understand the importance of teamwork and co-operation.”
He said the NDP will “bring back” floodlights to the Glen hard court, light the hard court in Enhams and will make sure that Brighton gets back a hard court “because we believe in sports in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
Lewis said that the government must find a way to improve the surfaces on which footballers play, adding that he will show the people of East St. George how important sports is to the NDP.