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].

The NDP’s campaign has gone off the rails. Instead of focusing on a positive agenda for the future, their campaign has wallowed in the gutter. At a time when Vincentians are hungry for new ideas to move our country forward, the NDP campaign has offered little more than smears, insults, racialization, the belittling of women and personal attacks.

Consider some of their statements. St. Clair Leacock and Maia Eustace have taken to the platform to try to create racial animosity in this country and try to divide us. Our country has a rich history. We have Vincentians of African descent, European descent and Carib descent. We are now one mixing pot of people who all have respect for each other and, unlike other islands like Trinidad and Tobago, we do not pit races against each other to win political power. A mature body politic would never seek to make this campaign about race, but, instead make it about ideas. It is, therefore, disappointing to see the NDP seeking to try to divide us with boldly racist statements instead of focusing on their vision for the country. The language of Maia Eustace and St. Clair Leacock would be seen as hate speech in some countries. They should not be rewarded for racist language at the polls.

The belittling of women has also been a hallmark of the NDP’s campaign. The excuse offered by the NDP candidate for North Windward should be taken as offensive by every woman in this country. He said that the NDP didn’t need any women candidates because they have women supporters! So, is he really saying that the NDP has no value for a woman’s perspective in leadership or that a woman’s perspective is not helpful in prioritising policies that will uplift the nation? Women have many unique needs in this country. Women need assistance with childcare, protection from abuse, protection from deadbeat dads, quality education for their kids and an opportunity for economic advancement. These are reasons why it is good to have a woman’s voice at the decision making table. It seems that the NDP disagrees, and, ridiculous statements like the one made by Lauron “Sheara” Baptiste should have no place in our political discourse.

It is further telling by the way the NDP has savaged two women in particular — Rishatha Nicholls and Isis Gonslaves. Both of these strong women were brutally attacked with their character and strength called into question by an NDP who could’ve used their anger to focus on the issues, but, instead, used it to savage the reputations of two strong, professional women who spoke their mind during the election.

By making this campaign about the degradation of women and the division on racial lines, the NDP has lowered the quality of political discourse in this country. As Isis Gonsalves said, “elections are about the future … the plans and policies for the country”. Instead of spending their time telling us how they differ from the existing government and what ideas they have for the future, the NDP’s campaign is based on a disgusting set of recordings, on racial division and on the belittling of women.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines deserves better from its opposition. And, while their fervent supporters are good-hearted people, it is clear that in this campaign, their political leadership has failed them — Eustace, Cummings, Leacock and the rest have not articulated why they should be in government.

Rodan John

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

3 replies on “The NDP’s race baiting, women belittling campaign”

  1. OMG! Some quotes please? Enough of this foolishness.
    Belittling and degrading women? Surely you are talking of the ULP leadership. Where have you been Rodan John? Or do you really believe that the illicit sexual escapades of these married leaders, some recorded, are not “degradation” of women? Of young women, some of whom may be minors? Let’s be fair, Isis Gonsalves and Rashita Nicholls put themselves in the mix, and as you know anything goes in Vincentian politics. Now man up and call out ULP for all the degrading and belittling things they have said and done to our womenfolk.
    I won’t even stoop to addressing your accusation of race baiting, again without evidence/examples of said race baiting.

  2. Rodan John, your essay is a goldmine of false ideas:

    1. The “positive agenda” of the NDP you try to scorn is detailed in its 86-page agenda which contains none of the so-called negative issues you mention. Too bad you didn’t take time to read it.

    2. The “smears, insults, racialization, the belittling of women and personal attacks” have mainly come from Dr. Gonsalves who has gone as far as questioning whether the Black opposition members are even able to read — a slur that was levelled by white supremacists and codified in laws which kept black people from voting all over the world for centuries. Remember also who said that George Bush would never recognize Arnhim Eustace if he passed him at night because the latter is a black man.

    As for the “belittling of women,” which of the two leaders has been accused of raping and fondling so many Black women; which of the two leaders has used every means possible to refuse answering to these accusations in a court of law; and which of the two leaders has been widely identified as engaging in telephone sex with a vulnerable Black women almost 50 years his junior?

    3. The “racial animosity” you refer to was born and has been fanned by the ideology and behaviour of our white and mulato people who still form a minority of the population but possess power, privileges, and wealth well beyond their numbers: the descendants of the unions between free whites and black slaves; the remnants of the slavery master class; the Poor White/Bajan people who migrated here from Barbados in the 19th century to toil as sugarcane workers but who soon took advantage of their colour to rise high in the colour/class hierarchy; and the Portuguese who also came here during the 19th century as sugarcane workers and also rose up in the colour-class hierarchy within a generation or two.

    All of these groups prospered at the expense of our Black and aboriginal populations using racist policies and beliefs.

    4. Is it surprising then that the majority Back population has been brainwashed to believe that only white and near-white men should lead them as they have for the past 31 years?

    Contrary to what you say, racism and sexism is entrenched in the highest ranks of the ULP just as it was during the Mitchel-ledl NDP years.

  3. No one in this election is playing the race card more than Camilio Gonsalves who never misses an opportunity to preach to the media, on the election platform, and in paid radio adverts about the way he claims he was manhandled by a white police officer in New York City a few years ago, all done to downplay the complexion of his lily white father.

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