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Speaker of the House of Assembly and former ULP candidate Jomo Thomas speaking to iWitness News on Monday. (iWN photo)
Speaker of the House of Assembly and former ULP candidate Jomo Thomas speaking to iWitness News on Monday. (iWN photo)
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Jomo Thomas, who is quitting as Speaker of the House of Assembly this week, is declining to say if he would campaign against the ruling Unity Labour Party, from which he resigned last October.

He, however, said that St. Vincent and the Grenadines has “become too comfortable” with citizens taking and running with “pat answers” as if they have reached Jerusalem.

As a first-time candidate, in the 2015 general election, Thomas, lost in South Leeward when he attempted to unseat the main opposition New Democratic Party’s Nigel “Nature” Stephenson who was seeking a second term.

Since then, Thomas has fallen out of favour with the party, whose radio station has been used to attack him repeatedly even as he remained the party’s caretaker for South Leeward and House Speaker. 

In a wide-ranging interview with iWitness News on Monday, which premiered on Facebook Wednesday night, Thomas was asked if he was hoping to make an argument against the ULP administration.

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“I’m going to make an argument for St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he told iWitness News.

His argument, he said, is that “there’s so much more that we can do.

“We can broaden our democracy. We can develop best practices; we can become more transparent. We can act in ways that are more empowering to ordinary people.

“For all the noise that we make in St. Vincent — and I would not be one, to deny that a number of important things has happened since the ULP has been in power — but with all of that we have a tremendous amount of unemployment in St. Vincent, particularly the youth unemployment.”

Thomas also said that there are a lot of infrastructure problems, still, such as poorly constructed roads.

“… and the government has done some to pull it back. But we haven’t reached the Promised Land and it is for us to understand that we have not yet reached the Promised Land,” he told iWitness News.

He said his argument will be “for us to push even harder for our government ministers for our permanent secretaries for our civil servants to work even harder to ensure that we get the best bang for the buck”.

He mentioned that amount of monies that has been spent on roads.

“When you look at that you may think that roads are not a scientific project that should have a life. Roads, like everything else we do — buildings, structures and bridges are supposed to have a life — but because they’re so shabbily done, we spend millions and millions and millions of dollars doing this road, fixing this road.”

He mentioned the South Leeward Highway, an EC$25.15 million project, which was completed in 2017.

Since then the government has had to do remedial work on the road to correct faulty workmanship.

South Leeward highway repair
Workers execute remedial work on the South Leeward Highway on Thursday. (iWN photo)

“I’ve been back in St. Vincent for 15 years now and twice we had to dig up the Murray’s Road,” said Thomas who lived in the United States for two decades.

He said that very often the question is the quality of the work that is being done.

 “So I don’t want people to think that because we probably have more university scholarships and more university graduates than ever before or because we have now universal secondary education, we are not thinking about how we place those university graduates after they’re done, or how we ensure that those students who are doing much better now, going to high school all of them and going to community college, many of them, how do they get to feel as though they have a slice — they have an investment in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

Thomas said those are the types of conversations he is hoping to have.

He recounted a years-old conversation he had in the United States with Maia Eustace (daughter of former Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace), when he (Thomas) was the lawyer for the Vincentian students group in New York.

Thomas said he had made a presentation after which Ms Eustace told him, “You know, Jomo, nothing that you have said there exhausts the realm of logical thought.”

Thomas told iWitness News:

“It’s the first time I’d ever heard somebody articulate like that. But it was profound because it was saying ‘when you think that you have really drilled down and gotten all of the answers, look further because there are other answers to be had’.

“I think we have become too comfortable in St. Vincent and we take pat answers and run with them and believe that we have reached Jerusalem and we are still on the road and there all kind of robbers standing on the corner trying to knock us over.

Thomas said that having just left the ULP, he would not do public relations on behalf of the party.

He told iWitness News:

“I have a clear view of the future. And where that is. I recall that when I became a senator of the ULP back in 2013, I wrote a column titled ‘Why I became a ULP senator’ and I said [to myself] I’m sure that ULP supporters are gleeful and NDP people are cursing me to end. “What a difference six years has made. ULP people are cursing me to no end and NDP people are a little bit more gleeful. So the tables have gone like 180 degrees. But what can we say? It is part of the process.”

14 replies on “SVG hasn’t reached the Promised Land — Jomo”

  1. SVG will never be the promised land whilst it is a tool of Cuba and Venezuela, both you and Gonsalves are guilty of aligning us with such countries.

  2. Urlan Alexander says:

    Jomo public servants can only work hard wherever the government takes the politics out and allow the professionals to their jobs effectively. Everything in SVG is hinged in politics and unless our public servants are allow to their work with the efficiency required away from political intrusions things will always be the way they are.

  3. Mr Thomas we the people of SVG have to keep this ULP administration honest.
    It’s alleged that the last election was actually stolen by government. Let’s be vigilant as a people,let’s demand and put into place the mechanisms that would help us to have a transparent , free and fair election in Vincy.

    That is the monumental challenge that’s facing Vincentians. We have a non permanent seat on the UN security council ; the opposition should
    start airing their concerns now about free and fair elections at the UN. Get the word out that we need help to keep this administration honest as it pertains to the up coming elections in Vincy. This is one of the most important issues facing Vincentians as we try to forge ahead. Let’s not slight it.

  4. Jomo, it is quite possible that as you say: “We can broaden our democracy. We can develop best practices; we can become more transparent. We can act in ways that are more empowering to ordinary people”. But my friend the entire are just words with no directive as to how those dreams can be accomplished, without a strategy, they are only castles in the air, the ongoing political mayhem between leaders.

  5. The problem is Gonsalves wants to take us all down his chosen rail line in joining with Cuba and Venezuela. What a mess they are in, and what a further mess we can expect if we allow Gonsalves to continue.

    Jomo Thomas may have better intentions over management but he also wants us to jump on the Marxism bound train as he slows it at the station, hoping we will all jump into his carriage instead of Gonsalves.

    We don’t want either of them, we do not want their unachievable promises. Lets give the NDP a chance to prove to us how better things are available for all Vincentian people.

    There are jobs available and there is an answer to better control crime, there is even a real answer to climate change. They do have the answers, they really do.

    So, sorry Jomo but you cannot take us on that left wing journey you have been dreaming about for years.

  6. Agreed JOLLY “SVG will never be the promised land whilst it is a tool of Cuba and Venezuela” When one family rules over us as if we were a collection of docile children on a plantation which they own. Just look at how they are denying us even a basic FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT. The PAPA there telling us that we ought to remember who rules us and there is no other freedom other than what his family permits.

    I would love to be able to work for the betterment of SVG with the likes of JOMO and any other Vincentian who would want to see better for SVG as a nation, but the man JOMO we can see, is an old pseudo-socialist, with failed economic policies just like his old friend Ralph Gonsalves. Stalin autocratic despotic rule is all we will ever have from them.

    The likes of Ralph Gonsalves and his ULP we know, are nothing but wolves in sheep clothing.
    The quicker we get rid of this bunch of users and manipulators, the better it would be for us all. Their socialist policies is now playing out itself in Cuba and Venezuela for all to see bringing with it stagnation repressive rule and tyranny for their inhabitants. Welcome to SVG of the future unless we get rid

    of these guys and fast!

  7. Eh Jomo bway, yo appears to be quite conflicted between hero worship of de man Ralph Gonsalves, yo commitment to dat unworkable an outdated socialism, and being treated as ah donkey man, meat to be sent on errands!

    Yo look hurt bad man! Ah waay yo ah go do now dat dem ah dash yo waay?

  8. You really hurting. Your political career couldn’t come to an end fast enough. Look now, inspirado por Chavez, follado por Ralph. No matter how much mayonaise you put in bullshit it won’t become a tuna sandwich.

  9. Bro Jomo, some of us recognize the “pat answers” I’ll say bull, but the latter half of acts 9:5, the Bible does not lie.

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