Leader of the Opposition Godwin Friday is encouraging the young peopel of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to continue to hope, but noted that it takes more than hope to move a country forward.
“All of you young people out there are tempted to say in politics that you’re not interested because all politicians are the same and you have lost faith in our system, again, I say to you don’t quit. I will not quit on you. The members of our team will not quit on you.”
Friday told his New Democratic Party’s (NDP) virtual public meeting on Thursday that the upcoming general election is an “opportunity to create something that will make us the shining light in the Caribbean.
“I always say this. There is no reason why in St. Vincent we’re always known for all of the wrong things: a high crime rate, sexual violence and rape.
“We can do better. It is within us to do better. We must believe in ourselves. We, in the New Democratic Party, that is what we are about — getting our people to believe in ourselves to transform our country,” the opposition leader said.
He said people change a government so that they can change our country.
“But I want us to think beyond just mere incremental change. Think about transformational change. Let’s aim high. Let us set high standards, our goals and let us work together to achieve them. It is possible, it is desirable, and it will happen. I feel it in my heart. And I want to appeal to all of our people to join us in this holy crusade to save our country and to transform St. Vincent and Grenadines into being a better place,” the opposition leader said.
“Let us continue to hope but hope is not a strategy, we have to plan. And in the Democratic Party, we have a plan to create jobs, to bring investment to this country.”
Friday said that the NDP’s plan is to make a more prosperous life for all of the nation’s people, adding, “that makes so much more possible.
“It makes it possible for us to have a better education system to provide the amenities in the schools,” he told the meeting, which was broadcast live on social media and radio.
He said that when the NDP talks about technology in schools, it is not talking about just giving out a laptop or a tablet, and leaving it at that.
“… we are talking about meaningfully implementing a programme that allows us to take advantage of the technology to teach our students so that we can talk about not just change, we can talk about transformation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
The NDP held the public meeting virtually amidst the physical distancing guidelines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I want our people to think, lift your eyes, lift up your eyes onto the hills, from whence cometh our help. Let us dream of something that we can be, that is possible for us to be because of what we have within us. We have the talent, we have the skill, we have the determination to build a brighter future for all of us. And we will outline this as we go along.
“This is just our first meeting. But I want people to be excited about the future even in this very difficult time, to be hopeful about the future, even in this difficult [time] because we can use it as an opportunity to transcend our present circumstances, to go beyond our limitations, to dream of a brighter and better future in our country, and to deliver it for ourselves because we have to do it for ourselves.”
The opposition leader, who has been Member of Parliament for the Northern Grenadines since 2001, said he believes in the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“All those people who go abroad and work so hard and build somebody else’s country, what they do is send their much needed remittances here. But they want to be here too.
“This is why it takes such a great interest on the internet and various other fields, mediums, and people would criticise them and insult them, because they dare to take an interest in what’s happening in their homeland.”
Friday said he welcomes those diaspora Vincentians not only for the money and barrels they send back to SVG, “but for the interest in defending democracy in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the interest they take in building hope in believing in our people that we can do better.”
He said that the process that the NDP started with Thursday’s meeting will not end until election day.
General elections are constitutionally due by March 2021, and Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said earlier this year that Vincentians would go to the polls before year-end.
He later said that amidst the impact of the COVID-19 that he had given no thought for a revised timeline for the vote.