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The Unity Labour Party administration has been likened unto Bequia’s decades old iconic Almond Tree that had to be felled earlier this year because it was rotten inside.

“When I was a boy, there was an old almond tree that was there probably a hundred years before I was born.  A couple of months ago, because it was rotten in the core, in the inside, they had to cut it down,” MP for the Northern Grenadines, Godwin Friday, told a rally of his New Democratic Party in Port Elizabeth, Bequia on Sunday.

“This was a treasured icon of our community in Bequia, and we had to cut it down. If we had to cut that almond tree down because it was rotten inside — and we loved it so much, how much easier would it be to replace a rotten administration that is rotten to its core?” he said.

Friday, who has been representing the Northern Grenadines since 2001, said that the small almond tree and all the other beautiful things around the Grenadine island are a sign of the future in St. Vincent and the Grenadines under an NDP administration.

He said he has seen the standard of living of constituents fall and infrastructure deteriorate since the ULP came to office.

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“You go up and down the length and breadth of this place and you see the level of dereliction, the level of neglect that we have received in this administration,” Friday said, adding that he will highlight more of these things as the election campaign continues.

“What I want to promise you though, and to tell you, that every day that the NDP candidates go out there, they are doing it because they want to bring this future that they promise you back to this country.

“Mr. Eustace, is unquestionably the person most suited, the person most fit, the person most capable to take the reins of government in this country, to bring back prosperity in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Friday said of NDP head and Leader of the Opposition, Arnhim Eustace.

A section of the crowd at the NDP's rally in Bequia on Sunday. (IWN photo)
A section of the crowd at the NDP’s rally in Bequia on Sunday. (IWN photo)

He told party supporters, including hundreds who travelled from St. Vincent, that there are persons in the ULP administration who would say that things would have been worse if the ULP weren’t in office.

“That is a lie,” Friday said.

“We know that when the ULP took office that conditions were better in this country.  We know for 17 years under James Mitchell and Arnhim Eustace the government of this country performed better than under the ULP administration.

“And so when we tell you we can do better, it’s not just promises. It’s because we have a record of performing as well,” he said of the NDP, which was voted out of office in March 2001.

He said that the party’s hope for the youth is that they can have a bright future in St. Vincent and the Grenadines so that they don’t migrate if they don’t want to.

“That they can get a job when they come out of school, that they can pay their school fees when they are going to college, when they are going to secondary school, and they can look forward to a brighter future in this country.

“That is what we are telling the young people, and we are committed to that.

“We want to tell the farmers, the fishermen in my constituency here in the Northern Grenadines, that we understand the pain that you are feeling, we see the neglect that you have endured and we are committed to doing it better. We understand what is needed,” Friday said.

The Northern Grenadines MP has repeatedly spoken out against the routine search, at the Grenadines Wharf in Kingstown, of persons travelling to and from the Grenadines.

“… that indignity must stop,” he said, adding that Grenadine residents have not forgotten “the dollar tax” imposed on persons travelling to the Grenadines some years ago, which has since been suspended.

“… let them wheel and come again. We have not forgotten. We will not put up with this indignity. These are things that tell us that this administration presently does not have the interest of the Grenadines people at heart; that what they want to do is basically take what they can out of here and not put back anything that we deserve,” Friday said.

He said that the NDP is committed to bringing that change back to this constituency and the country as a whole…

“So, I want to tell you, this is not a time for us to be afraid. It is not a time for fear and apprehension. It is a time for hope. It is a time for working. It is a time for doing those things that we know can bring about a change in this country. And I say that the change of which I speak is not an empty one”

Friday said he is speaking of a change that will deal with agriculture, create jobs for young people, address the education system and find market for fish.

“These are some of the things that we will help to put our shoulder to the wheel and achieve.”

He said persons on the island are having a difficult time keeping their restaurants open.

“The taxi drivers are having a hard time finding a fare. Sometimes they sit under the almond tree here and they are having a hard time because the cruise ships don’t come.

“It never used to be that way and it doesn’t have to be that way.

“We can do better and we will do better under the New Democratic Party administration of Arnhim Eustace. Take my word for it. We can do better in this country,” he said.

“What we have now is not a ULP administration. It’s a ULP mal-administration. They believe they invented government so they can do whatever they want with the finances of the country. They are so creative that they tie themselves up in knots, they put us into debt and they don’t even know how to get out of it.

“So we have to bring back common sense. We have to deal with things the way they are supposed to be done and do it for the benefit of all the people of this country,” he told party supporters.