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Leader of the Opposition, Godwin Friday. (iWN file photo)
Leader of the Opposition, Godwin Friday. (iWN file photo)
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2020 is the year of change for the better in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), Leader of the Opposition Godwin Friday said on radio on Monday.

“This is a very exciting time for us in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We are in the year 2020. This will be a year of change, it will be a year of hope, it will be a year when lives will change for the better in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, because the New Democratic Party will make it happen,” he said on his first radio show for the year.

Speaking on “New Times”, his party’s daily show on Nice Radio, Friday said he was excited about “getting on with this work so that we could change the government of this country to change the country itself”.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has said that the Vincentian electorate will go to the polls by the end of the year, ahead of the March 2021 constitutional deadline.

And Friday believes that his New Democratic Party (NDP) will be elected to office, thereby preventing the Gonsalves-led Unity Labour Party (ULP) from securing a fifth consecutive term in officer.

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The opposition leader said that SVG has so much potential.

“All we need to do is make sure that we liberate that potential within the people but also to work tirelessly to create jobs, to create economic opportunity to get the government off of people’s backs so that we can create an environment where economic prosperity will come to St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said.

“The same thing that so many of our Caribbean people are enjoying elsewhere, that we will partake in this in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Friday told listeners.

He said that when people say they are looking forward to the New Year, he is excited to talk to them because he knows what his party has to offer.

Friday said that SVG has had, under the ULP, a lot of talk and braggadocio, “big shiny objects, project here and there.

“As I have always said, what matters is how it affects people’s lives. If it makes your life better, then it is a good project; it is a useful project. If it only makes the government look better in the sense that they say ‘look at this big thing here that we can brag about’ but then your life doesn’t change, what’s the point of that? I want to focus on what is good for the people.”

Friday said that between 2014 and 2018, the Vincentian economy grew at an annual average rate of 1.5%, according to the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.

“… that is negligible. That is almost no growth at all. People don’t feel that in their lives. It doesn’t change anything materially around you,” the opposition leader said.

In that same period, however, Grenada’s economy grew at an average annual rate of 5.2%, Friday said.

“That is where you can see things are actually happening. You can see buildings going up, you can see people dressed up nice and going to work, you can hear school children coming out and saying they can get a job. You can see businesses, local business, our local business people finding opportunities to succeed and nobody has to worry about a government coming down and chopping your knees out because you say something that was critical of them.”

Friday said that the NDP wants to create a society where everyone can succeed irrespective of their political affiliation.

“We will have differences politically; that’s what democracy is about. I welcome that because that energy, I think, will make this country dynamic and transform it in a way that we won’t recognise — transform it for the better.

“I have no doubt that the people of this country can do better and that with the NDP in office, with myself as the prime minister of this country, leading the development changes in this country, that we will not just grow St. Vincent and the Grenadines, we will transform this country because that is my objective.”

Friday said he believes that SVG has potential that exceeds that of many of its neighbours.

“… and so we have to liberate them. We have a chance now, we have, in this year coming — I have always said they can run but they can’t hide, eventually, they have to come and face the electorate and they will come with all of their plans…”

He said that that with election approaching, the government will send works to build bridges and roads “and make people think that this is how it is going to be for the future”.

“But just remember that when they finish election, the first thing they do is they bring taxes to re-collect that money that they say they spend on you.

“And, moreover, it is a cynical way of really staying or maintaining political control.  We have to make it so that people feel that they have their long-term best interest in the government that is in place. There is no long-term best interest is served by that government. The present administration has not delivered that.”

He said the ULP has done projects and building here and there but there are fewer jobs available now than in 2001, when the government first came to office.

“If that is the case, how can you say that you have improved people’s lives?”

8 replies on “2020 a year of change, hope — Friday”

  1. Well said Sir, lets hope that more people start to realise they can have a better life, and they deserve a better life. It is possible to create work for more of our people, and it is possible to slash the crime rate in SVG.

  2. Dr Friday is an intelligent and respectable man.
    But he has no political instincts hence no political strategy to defeat Gonsalves. Politics in the region is about the cult of personality, Dr Friday has the personality of Mr Rogers. Nice for the neighborhood but terrible for the political arena.

    Dr Friday, here is a basic plan of action for 2020. Find about 4 broad areas of concern for Vincentians. For eg:

    SECURITY-Rape epidemic, gun culture, a general sense of fear.

    EMPLOYMENT- Promise a ton load of jobs by embarking on an infrastructure and technology bonanza. Lots of incentives for the agricultural sector.

    HEALTH-Better run Hospital. No more long arse wait at the emergency room. Medical insurance.

    SPORTS-Indoor sports complex, converting some fields into artificial turf, a meaningful national award show for our sporting community.

    Dr Friday, if you follow this plan of action and of course find your inner Trump, yes notice I said Trump and not Obama. In our gutter politics, unfortunately; Obama would be taken to the cleaners. Trump on the other hand will revel in the mudslinging of our politics. But I digress, as I was saying, stick to this plan by beating the government 24-7 on these issues and you will be the next prime minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

    I guarantee it.

    1. You make good sense Saadiss. The objective is to make SVG a better place. At the moment there is mainly not enough jobs and too much crime and hatred, (along with other problems such as Medical Care). One is an economic problem and the other is a cultural problem. I wonder if SVG will ever produce a leader that has a plan to solve these main problems.

  3. When a people allow a political family to dominate their politics for far too long, this is for sure, the type of excess they end up with, as the bulk of the population go without and suffer in poverty.

    “Africa’s richest woman and British-educated daughter of Angola’s former leader has part of her £1.7billion ($6.001 billion XCD) fortune frozen and claims her family is being ‘victimised’ by the country’s new president in corruption crackdown. Jose Eduardo dos Santos’s 38 years in power were synonymous with corruption, nepotism and authoritarianism.

    Isabel dos Santos, the 46-year-old daughter of Jose Eduardo dos Santos, has a fortune estimated at £1.7billion ($6,001 billion XCD)which she amassed during her father’s reign in which billions of dollars of state funds went missing, according to investigations by international financial institutions.

    Isabel dos Santos accrued her vast fortune while father Jose Eduardo was leader. He retired but his successor fired her from the oil company she was appointed to. Angola’s court has now frozen her assets and seized shares worth £750 million. ($2,647.5 million XCD)But she has slammed the ‘politically motivated witch-hunt’ and denied claims”.

  4. Mr. Friday you have got to start to show some teeth. Hit big-belly-Gonsalves where it will hurt, his 20-year bad economic record. Work hard, Go directly to the people an ask for their vote. The greater cross-section of disenfranchised Vincies who are jobless who have families to care. The rastaman them who want more freedom. A change in government would be a good thing right now. We start the millennium quite disastrous now we have to correct that. Good luck. Another thing is that the NDP has to shake off the Mitchell image. Rebrand if necessary.

  5. Here is a thing to note, “The US economy added 145,000 jobs in December, said the US Department of Labour on Friday, closing out the decade with a tenth straight year of labour market gains”. But for those looking for work in SVG, it is not jobs gain but rather more pain and increase joblessness. Ah wen tings ah go change?

    Another thing to note is that, for near on twenty years, some in the ULP, particularly the family elite, have never known what it is to be without a job, unlike those labour MP’s up there in the UK who had backed their leader’s plans for a return to the terrible Tax and Spend. A policy which the Gonsalves family have been following here in SVG from the start.

    A policy that produces nothing but joblessness and eventually poverty for all people, driving us in SVG into being “gross parasites” on the rest of the world.

    The stark reality of joblessness and all that it brings, is now a very sobering reality for some Labour MP’s up there in the UK. Could this reality too be a future reality likewise for these Labour MP’s here in SVG?

    Ah wen we ah go know?

  6. Tax and Spend, Tax and Spend! Then beg the world over when the Tax and Spend fails!
    Labour isn’t working in SVG! Parasites on the rest of the world!

    By far, far too many unemployed people here. And this is why? The wrong set of ideas, far-left economics, the big state, and Tax and Spend according to Tony Blair. And nope! Labour here isn’t working here either! Time for a change!

    1. James, You do have great smarts in economics as well as many other topics. Some things I disagree with you on. It is unfortunate that the current government in SVG is terrible when it comes to economics and some other things but Ralph Gonsalves is extremely good in geopolitics and even better in politics at home. He knows how to win in that arena. He needs to make drastic changes in policing and economics. Tony Blair and most politicians are very dishonest. I do not know about Godwin Friday. In any case, if we do not change our economic philosophy of spending and taxing as much as possible, and our poor economic management practices, wrong priorities, such as ignoring vital infrastructure such as roads, we will remain a poor and backward nation regardless of geopolitics or anything else.

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