Supporters of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) have been told to prepare for fresh general elections, four months after the last vote.
In making the call at his annual Easter Monday beach picnic, NDP President and Leader of the Opposition, Arnhim Eustace said fresh elections could result from the election petitions that the party has filed.
“We believe that we have strong evidence in our petitions. We believe that we will win those petitions. But all of us have to use our heads and listen, and for some of us it is a learning curve all the time,” he told party supporters.
The NDP, which electoral officials say lost the Dec. 9 vote by a single seat, is challenging the results in Central Leeward and North Windward.
The Unity Labour Party administration has asked the court to throw out the petitions, claiming that they were improperly filed.
Eustace told picnic-goers on Monday that Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves could call elections anytime, regardless of the outcome of the court matters.
“That is the first thing I want you to understand in this process. He can call an election anytime, petition or no petition. Even as this case is going on now, he may call an election; we don’t know.
“What I am saying to you, the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, don’t assume that election will come months from now. It will come in a short period of time, petition or no petition. So we have to work and prepare ourselves as the New Democratic Party to prepare for elections,” Eustace said.
He told the hundred or person attending the picnic that NDP lawmakers have not been participating in Parliament because they are not convinced that they lost the election.
He, however, said the party has respect for the court and have gone there, and are assuming that the nation has justice coming from the court.
“I am not going to stand here and say anything. Our system depend on justice and we think if you don’t have any justice you are not going to have any peace,” Eustace said.
He said that those responsible for justice in the country must take warning.
“We will not be backing down on any matter pertaining to any general election to be held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. And we don’t want the existing Supervisor of Elections and those persons who ran the last election to run the next one…”
He told the gathering that the NDP is convinced that the elections were stolen.
“And we are not going to rest until the matter is settled. Settled in our interest, settled to the point where people in this country would be calm and peaceful because they know that right has been done, the correction has been made and our country can go forward as a democracy in line with the rest of our Caribbean brothers and sisters, and, indeed, with the rest of the democratic world.”
Eustace paid tribute to the persons who have been protesting near the electoral office in Kingstown since Dec. 11, saying that a lot of them are the poorest of the poor.
He noted that he has been representing East Kingstown since 1998, adding that he is very appreciative of the confidence that constituents have and continue to put in him since.
Eustace, however, said something has to be done to change the situation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and make the people better off, adding that that can only be done by the NDP.
He said the time will come when the topic at the Easter fun day will be sometime else.
“I will be telling you what we’re doing about the charges we bring against those in the present government.
“We are not skylarking. We are serious about what we mean. St. Vincent and the Grenadines has to change and the change will come in this year. And mark what I say: election will be called
“Elections will be called again not far from now. Mark my words: elections will be called again not far from now. So the candles have to be lit,” Eustace said.
He said the NDP will announce in a couple of days a programme of activities protesting the “current situation” in the country.
He said that in SVG a lot of things are taken for granted, as citizens are easy-going.
But, increasingly, the country is getting more violent, Eustace said.
“And you need a government in your country which understands what is happening, not only here but is happening internationally so that we can carve our course through the maze of difficulties that are all over the world. And I say to you tonight that I, Arnhim Eustace, give you that commitment that I will work as hard as I possibly can to ensure that the New Democratic Party and the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines shave a better and a brighter day,” Eustace said.