Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves on Tuesday recited English Romantic poet John Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn” as he commented on opposition supporters who turned out at the ceremonial opening of Parliament to protest the results of the Dec. 9 general elections.
“It is an absolutely excellent day,” Gonsalves told reporters as he made his way into Parliament after the formalities outside.
“The people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines have welcomed their prime minister and their new government. You have some dissents, clearly,” he said.
The main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) says it does not accept the result of the Dec. 9 poll, which electoral official say Gonsalves’ Unity Labour Party (ULP) won by capturing eight of the 15 seats, while the remainder went to the NDP.
Independent observers have also declared the elections free and fair.
“Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard/Are sweeter,” Gonsalves said, reciting Keats.
“The unheard melodies which are particularly sweet are the 34,219 persons who voted for the ULP and gave us a majority, a convincing majority in the secrecy of the ballot. Their melodies are unheard, but they are made sweeter and they are made manifest in today’s opening [of Parliament].”
He called on the opposition to accept the results of the election, saying, “Those who have lost must accept their defeat, starting with the person who said they are not going to be sworn in, but yesterday asked the Governor General to make him Leader of the Opposition.”
NDP leader Arnhim Eustace had announced on Dec. 12 that opposition MP will not be sworn in, but he backed away from that position after, citing legal advice that the NDP would lose the seats it holds in Parliament.
“Today, I am sitting as Prime Minister, he is Leader of the Opposition. That’s where he remains. The dissidence from the NDP, because that’s what they are; look at them. They want to protest? Look at how they look. Remember we just won the elections.” Gonsalves said of the protester in the streets outside Parliament.
A number of ULP supporters also gathered outside of the Parliament precinct in support of the government.