Budding politician, Maia Eustace, has spoken out against what she says is indifference among some Vincentians about whether the Dec. 9 general elections were stolen.
The New Democratic Party, which Eustace’s father, Arnhim Eustace leads, claims that the Ralph Gonsalves-led Unity Labour Party stole the elections and a fourth term in office.
Speaking at the NDP’s “Victory Rally” in Layou on Saturday, Ms Eustace said that all Vincentians, regardless of who they support, are all invested in one thing.
“We don’t have to agree with them, but we can recognise at least that we are all engaged in a struggle,” she said.
She said that her comments at the rally are for those who have nothing to “say, to think, to feel about what is happening”.
Vincentians are often enraged by atrocities overseas, she said.
“But for some reason, we are right here in a moment, in a defining stage of St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ history and we don’t know where to stand,” Eustace said.
“That group is the one I am speaking to because you are waiting on an opinion moulder to tell you how to feel about what has taken place in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. You are waiting for another nation to express its outrage at what is happening in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the way that we did when it was happening in St. Kitts,” she said.
“Why does the argument always have to be framed for some of us? Why do we always have to be told how to think, how to feel about a particular issue? When is that going to change?
“… When you say nothing and you think nothing about it and you say to people ‘It done happen; move on’, you are an upholder; and the upholder is worse that the thief.”
She said many of the comments made about the NDP in the aftermath of the elections are intended to sap supporters of their motivation and make them question why the NDP is standing against the declared results.
Eustace said these questions and arguments fall into the “so what” or the “it’s your own fault” camp.
She said the “it’s-your-own-fault camp” is a manifestation of the “the blame-the-victim mentality”.
“But the problem with the blame-the-victim mentality is that they do not recognise that the victim is not the NDP. The victim of an election like the one we had is the nation. It is all Vincentians,” Eustace said.
She said that “compensated endorsers” have argued things like the NDP ran a terrible campaign, hence the loss.
“This New Democratic Party ran the best campaign it has ever run and a far superior campaign to anything the ULP produced. Our public meetings were based on message, on substance; never were they based on who could whine (dance) a certain way and who had the commess (gossip) to share in a particular way,” said Eustace who was an NDP platform speaker during the campaign.
“Our meetings were never based on degrading anyone but on speaking to the issues that matter to Vincentians. So, let us set aside that nonsense argument and be wary of people who induce you into arguments that are designed to rob you of the argument.”
Eustace said that comments about issues affected women were misconstrued to mean a hatred of men.
“You talk about race, you are racist; you talk about a stolen election, you are a sore loser. When you enter that sort of discussion, from the moment you recognise that this is the thrust of the discussion, step back; extract yourself. I am not engaging you on that. I am sorry; goodbye.”
The NDP is challenging the results of the election in court and has filed two petitions in this regard.
Eustace, a lawyer, noting that she is an officer of the court, said she has no comment to make on the petitions that her party has filed.
“When they come at you about the petitions and they tell you ‘Oh, no evidence in there’ and ‘Not a shred of evidence’ — as I hear some of them saying, don’t engage. There is a particular procedure and we are following it.”
Eustace, however, reiterated that there are two courts: the Court of Justice and the court of public opinion, a point she also made during the election campaign.
“What we have to focus on is public protest. You have a constitutionally enshrined right to protest. You can assemble as you see fit, and you can speak as you see fit, so long as you’re not defaming anybody. But fear not. You are not defaming, because you are not lying.”
NDP supporters have been protesting daily outside the office of the Supervisor of Elections since the election results.
The NDP has accused the ULP administration of using state resources to bribe voters.
Eustace said that a senior lawyer commented that the NDP should have ensured that they stopped the bribery, and, therefore, it is the NDP’s fault that it lost the election.
“You see where that discussion is headed? Yet that lawyer endorsed some of that argument. So, he recognises that it’s (the election) stolen; he recognises that there is bribery, ‘But so what?’” she said.
“Well, I am not entertaining any discussion on the ‘So what?’ or the ‘It’s your fault’, because we have a tendency to forget what the issues are in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, what are the burning issues,” Eustace said.