By Elma Francis
Throughout my 20-plus years, St. Vincent and the Grenadines has had two major political parties, namely, the Unity Labour Party (ULP) and the New Democratic Party (NDP). Considering the nation’s small population of approximately 110,000 people, it is quite understandable. However, it’s the drawback that comes with having only two major parties that is worrisome.
The matter is made worse since the Constitution doesn’t limit the number of terms that a prime minister can serve, leaving citizens to bargain with choosing between a rock and a hard place.
I can recall vividly from childhood a number of protests spearheaded by the ULP targeting the NDP administration and the cry for accountability and transparency. This was in the late 1990s. Many were of the opinion that the prolonged rule of Prime Minister Mitchell, who evidently got too comfortable and complacent, gave rise to corruption.
Many may or may not agree with me when I say that history seems to be repeating itself in St. Vincent and the Grenadines under the current ULP administration and possibly to a greater extent. There have been more protests, though not very effective, more cry for accountability and transparency, more accusation against varying minister of government, more victimisation and the list seems to be on an exponential climb.
For a few years, I thought the people were to be blamed and maybe I still do, but lately I think that the problem is the fact that they are forced to choose the lesser of two evils. And as the saying goes “It is uncomfortable to leave your comfort zone to journey in parts unknown”.
In socialising with men/women from all works of life, a commonality they all share about St. Vincent politics is that a “political change is needed — but the party in opposition isn’t ready, they can’t handle the country”. Even supporters of the government will say to me, “The country is in a mess but…”. Doesn’t that sound like settling for less because, in essence, there is no more to be had? That is what I call lesser of the two evils.
This situation seems to be falling in a pattern where we replace the one party with the other, when the evils become unbearable. Knowing that it’s only a matter of time before we cry wolf again.
As a concerned citizen, I’m very fearful of the situation and I believe it is time that we all as Vincentian channel our voices to address the socio-political issues that will segregate and destroy us if immediate attention is not given to them.
But until we unite as a people who know what is needed and what we should stand for, I guess we will be tossed between the two major political parties. One who will bring a no confidence motion and walk away feeling defeated, before the battle starts and the other who is so feared that they are comfortable and disrespectful enough to amend a no confidence motion, to a confidence motion.
Vincentians, let us reflect, refresh and recollect ourselves during this month dedicated to Black History. It starts with you!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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@example.com.