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 news.iwitness@gmail.com

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 news.iwitness@gmail.com.

16 replies on “Choosing the lesser of SVG’s political evils”

  1. It really doesn’t matter which party is in power or whether we have two, three, or even ten parties competing for power.

    This is because our social and economic problems are intractable: (1) high and growing crime and murder rates; (2) a paucity of economic opportunities rooted in our limited resourses, except for farming a largely hilly terain where labour and cost saving tools are impractical; (3) small area and population size rendering all imported goods and services more expensive than elsewhere and while also making the production of export goods, especially agricultural products, very expensive; (4) a poorly educated, unmotivated, and unproductive work force; (5) a disconnect between our education system and existing job opportunities; (6) a job killing taxation system; and (7) other poor public policies oriented to staying in power rather than developing the country.

    1. C.ben-David, you seem to always have the thought or suggestion as to the possible best course of action and whatever are the most feasible methods for SVG.
      Have you ever given serious thoughts to starting you own party? Only then you may be willing to reveal your true identify.
      The sayings:- “A wild goose never laid a tame egg.” “Clothes may disguise a fool, but his voice will give him away.”

      1. Actually, I have never had a “thought or suggestion as to the possible best course of action and whatever are the most feasible methods for SVG” except to opine that there is much more scope for tourist development in the Grenadines (see https://www.iwnsvg.com/2017/12/03/argyle-airports-opportunity-cost/ ).

        As for starting my own political party in SVG, I could never do such a thing because I would never be able to lie to the people the way all politicians have lied to the people since the day of E.T. Joshua.

    2. Although everything you say seems to be correct C ben, I ….hope…that one day we will get leadership that cares more about the country than themselves. Only then can we START to eradicate the problems you mention. Do not forget we will at the same time get a constant influx of peoples coming from other islands that may or may not be any different than what we have in this country right now.

    3. Rafael Stefania says:

      C Ben, you are the most negative person in the whole of SVG. Why don’t you kill yourself. All you ever do is badmouth the country. Every time you write something, it is to badmouth and insult the people and government of SVG. AS if you are better. And you never seem to offer solutions just destructive criticism. if you are so capable and super analytical, why don’t you become a government advisor so that you can help and make a positive contribution. Instead of always writing depressing comments. As if you have nothing better to do. The government should start a campaign to empower the people give them positive role models and rewards when they contribute to the development of the SVG society. All you get is jokers like you, who has nothing good to contribute. Go live somewhere else where the people are smart like yourself. You f**king idiot.

  2. Vincy in New York says:

    Labour fatigue is enveloping the land.

    The NDP is not making any bold statements to the ppl. They are hoping for governance through luck and not hard work. Why would a clerk, making $10k, vote for the NDP if not EXPECTING an increase in salary?

    Instead of the NDP crying how civil servants are not getting paid and no money is available, ask for their votes using a sweetener. Would change for more of the same?

    Friday is yet to make a bold statement on matters of governance or economics. When Arnhim stated his intent to grant honorary citizenship to garifunas, Ralph got high blood pressure. Arnhim relented on that strategy and now is just a member of the party. Friday ought to be bold and simple and keep up the pressure.

    Austerity measures should not be in vocabulary of the opposition NDP.

    Every 3 or 6 months leading up to the next general election, the ULP will be embroiled in a scandal and the opposition NDP will not gain any political ground. Thus is because they do not master the art of political marination.

    Parliament is the right place to ensure that the seasoning and salt reach the flesh and bones of the red meat. Instead the NDP is running out of parliament and wanting to make statements on nice radio for dougie to pay.

    1. Very sadly, everyone always talks about an increase in salary,….more money, more money! The problem is that when a government believes they can bring a better standard of living by raising taxes, WE ARE IN BIG TROUBLE! Prices go up and then the people want more salary. This means the price of our products will have to also get more expensive. That means other countries will look for places they get the product for cheaper. Already tourists I talk to tell me that Saint Vincent costs more than MOST other Caribbean nations and they will never come back because the quality is worse yet at a higher price.
      TAXES, DUTIES, GOVERNMENT FEES NEED TO COME DOWN, NOT GO UP!!!

      1. Vincy in New York says:

        Hence the reason the NDP needs to make a bold and economic stance: promise to remove VAT and revisit it in 2 years.

        U LP fiscal policies are backward. Taxes are levied without any thought given. $8 on overnight stays is boneheaded. They promise an economic takeoff in tourism yet already taxing.

        The season is ripe for change.

    2. C. ben, I like the way we always place the blame on the opposition when the issues are clear in front of us. What bold is Friday or the NDP should make? It is the people of this country who needs to stand up and make a bold statement to our politicians, both NDP and ULP! No wonder the politicians turn around and treat us the way they because we leave it up to them to do what they like. Then we turn around and blame the opposition. This country does not belong to the ULP or NDP. this is our country and until we the people can stand up and demand better from our government, whether ULP or NDP or any other P for that matter, then we are simply spinning our own tap in mud, PERIOD! So stop blaming the opposition. That is exactly what the ruling party wants you to do. Focus on the other guy and find fault with them, not on the government. If the country needs a change then the people are the ones to do so and demand better from whom ever they put their. Until we can do them then crappo smoke our pipe, and people like you would continue to point your finger at the opposition than taking the people themselves to task. The people are the true rulers of this country, don’t forget that!

  3. Our political system is designed to keep Vincy people in a cycle of poverty irrespective of the party in power.NDP’s on the sidelines and the people are hoping that they would bring meaningful change..sorry to burst your bubble people but having a new party in power would only benefit a selected few as is the present case.
    If only we could get a system where the opposition (people)could have more power to keep the government of the day in check then that would be a start. We need to try and and knock heads and come up with a system that would educate and empower our people. This system where the people only have power once every five yrs. has proven time and again to be a dismal failure.

  4. This is quite clearly a clever propaganda piece.

    “as the saying goes “It is uncomfortable to leave your comfort zone to journey in parts unknown”.

    What comfort zone there are no comfort zones in SVG just discomfort, hatred, spite and malice towards any citizen that actually wants a change.

    We must all remember that in 2001 we were all promissed a 40% increase in wages if we voted ULP, once elected we have not got that amount in 17 years. Almost a score of years of prices rising and wages failing to keep pace and falling light years behind what is called a living wage. The dollar in our pocket is worth far less than in 2001. We are many times worse off financially than when the NDP left, defeated on a wave of lies and broken promises to the voters

    Since 2001 we have suffered years of lurching from political crisis to political crisis, and in between all the accusations of rape and sexual assault.

    Only the ignorant, brainwashed and bribed will vote for the ULP in the next elections.

    1. It is no propaganda to say that the NDP have shown no sign of being ready to govern, an assertion supported by their founder and former leader for 17 years, James F. Mitchell, and underscored by most former parliamentarians during his reign.

      1. C.ben-Twatt [CBT] you have show no sign of being ready to be admitted as an acceptable commentator either.

        Like your dear friend and family employer DREG’s you are a self confirmed liar and user of a stolen identity. DREGs told us he sometimes tells lies, and then went on to prove that he does that but more frequently than sometimes.

        So when you wrote this CBT “Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet (including my postings) because some 99 percent is pure bullshit. ” Therefore linked with stolen identity and pretense of being a PhD professor, you quite simply excluded yourself from truthful comment.

  5. Vincy NY I agree with first statement 100 percent….. Season is ripe for change but change to what…. Surly not incompetence or worse. Ulp may not be perfect and have some flaws but who’s perfect I ask…… NDP has no meaningful rebuttals to anything the government do and has yet to layout and substantial blueprint for the country or citizens to advance forward. At least the ppl is seeing some form of progress and development with the current government like it or not.

  6. A1 Al, you are actually a very silly person, do you really expect anyone to believe anything you write when you try and advance the argument that the ULP has done anywhere near an acceptable job over the last 17 years.

    All the that has been heaped on our small nation with crisis after crisis including some really nasty matters that appear on an almost weekly basis. The whole of the Caribbean have laughed at us in our ignorance of allowing your boss DREGs to create a dynasty and turn the populous into a mass of dregs, paupers and peasants, all destined to be slaves of the dynasty.

    You then like C.ben Twatt want the people to believe that the ULP should be allowed to continue to destroy the Vincentians peoples future. Bad mouthing any party that will bring back real and lasting decency, jobs and a future to the people, all the people not just their supporters.

    We have gone from ownership to stealership. Own the Jobs, remember that? Well now it is steal the jobs, steal the law, steal the parliament, steal the elections and more lately steal the poor fund payments. And you A1 Al want people to have more of that, theft of the peoples lives and future.

  7. I agree with most of your assessment. However, I disagree with your statement that the opposition is not ready and able to handle this country. This is kind ideology and nonsense the ruling ULP party keeps projecting onto the young people to keep them ignorant. Look at our neighbors St. Lucia and St. Kitts, for example. They were not afraid to change government and now these countries are doing much better economically than under the former administrations. I have the privilege of living under an NDP administration and as most of the older heads would tell you that it was under the NDP that this country has seen its best years in terms of overall development and living condition, hand down! Not just for a few but for the entire country at large. The country was doing so well that farmers were able to purchase land, vehicles, build home, send their children to school and university without borrowing a dime from the bank. Only the very poor depended on the government for a handout. No one used to beg for anything because everyone had a little. That’s how good it was back then. Therefore, do not be blinded by the ULP propaganda that the opposition are ineffective leaders or party to handle this county. It is their way of you keeping them in power no matter how badly they function. If St. Lucia and St. Kitts can do it then so can we. If Ralph said back in 2000 that the NDP has become to complacent and should be voted out of office so now has the ULP and it is time for a change. Put your country before your party, that used to be the general mindset of this country and we need to get back to that. Never before have I ever seen my country so divided, so depressive by an administration who proclaimed that they love us so much. If someone tells you they love you so much and turn around and treat you badly, you certainly would not stick around. Therefore, we why are still in this abusive love affair? Let us find a new lover!

Comments are closed.