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Owia Government School. (Photo: Facebook)
Owia Government School. (Photo: Facebook)

The main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) has been forced to postpone its Arrowroot Forum, scheduled for tonight (Tuesday) in Owia.

The party took the decision after failing to secure an appropriate alternate venue in the wake of the decision by the Ministry of Education to deny them the use of the Owia Government School.

“The Ministry of Education denied permission for us to use the Owia Government School for this important and timely event. The school was the most suitable facility in the community for such a large public event,” the NDP said in a press statement Tuesday afternoon.

“It is unacceptable in a free, democratic society, that the main political party that forms the official Opposition in Parliament, be denied the use of the public school building for such an important event. The Arrowroot Forum is intended to be of benefit to farmers and, indeed, the country in general.”

The NDP said that efforts were made to secure an alternate suitable venue, but for various reasons “including the climate of fear that pervades this country, we were unable to do so in time for today’s event”.

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The party said the forum has been postponed for a later date in Owia and the details will follow in a timely manner.

“The NDP remains committed to the cause of listening to all Vincentians, understanding their challenges and together developing a framework by which we can make St. Vincent and the Grenadines work for all,” the party said.

The decision by the Ministry of Education to deny the NDP use of the school comes two weeks after the NDP suffered a public relations black eye after the hosting of its 40th convention at the Greiggs Primary School.

The school was closed on June 5, two days after the convention, because a service provider failed to remove two portable toilets from the school the day after the convention, as the party said had been agreed.

The school was closed for a second day, on June 6, because of garbage left at the facility.

The party accused those involved in deciding to close the school for a second day of being involved in politics, saying that they had not been told about the garbage situation on June 5, when the toilets were removed.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has used his press conference last Thursday to criticise the NDP over the delay in the removal of the portable toilets.

He, however, remained silent on the dilapidated conditions at the school that pre-dated and that prevail beyond the day of the convention.

The NDP’s Arrowroot Forum was billed as “a platform for arrowroot farmers to voice their plight and identify the challenges and current issues within the industry that impact their lives”.

The NDP said that it would be an opportunity to “listen to the concerns and solicit ideas from the farmers on how to revitalize the arrowroot industry”.

4 replies on “NDP denied use of Owia school for ‘Arrowroot Forum’”

  1. No political party — an organization which is not part of government — should not be allowed to hold a partisan event, or any other event, in a public venue such as a school without the appropriate legislation being put in place. This should apply regardless of which party is in power.

    To be sure, schools and other public venues shoud be rented out for private events as long as a large damage deposit plus a rental fee are given up front to provide revene for the facility or the central government.

    Both parties are guilty of leaving the public facilities they get free of charge, including playing fields, in a very nasty condition.

    Enforceable legislation needs to be put in place regarding the use of all public facilties for purposes other than those they were built for.

  2. C.ben-Ben here you go again, should the government in power be allowed to use the facility freely? Why should they? I am for insurance coverage. However,not because you are in power you should be exempted. You are being partisan.

  3. I am flabbergasted to learned that the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines would deny the opposition party which also represent the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines, access to the Owia government school where their arrowroot forum was stated to take place.
    What was the reason for the abrupt change given by the government. ” We are protecting state property”.

    (1) Who /what make up the state?

    (2) Is the opposition part of the state or not?

    (3) Who owns the state institutions?

    (4) where did the government get their monies from to build and renovate these state property?

    (5) What is the new policy, and when was this policy implemented by the ministry of Education?

    (6) Why the public was not aware of this close door policy ?

    So the government is “protecting state property” from the citizens who are taxpayers of the state. But failed to protect the state and its property from British American Insurance Company,Dave Ames, the resort owner who fled St. Vincent on charges of theft and tax evasion charges. Are you protecting our state (St. Vincent) from its people( Vincentians), while foreigners come into our backyard and take advantage of state properties and exploit our people MR Prime Minister, I ask you to protect our state and property from them too. This stroke is not a master stroke this time let called it as it is tyrannical behavior.

    This whole shenanigans from the Prime Minister is laughable, because we all known that this policy would not be executed by his administration.The NDP SHUD-DAH DON PRE PARE FUH DIS from RALPHIE after the Greggs saga. Victimization at its best.” WHO FOOLING WHO,WHO MISLEADING WHO”.

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