An opposition lawmaker is urging Vincentian professionals to have the “moral” courage to fix what he says is a broken system.
“We have a country now — and I want to reach home to our young people, many of you are going to vote for the first time — where there’s a complete absence of moral courage in the country to look injustice in the face, and say that is wrong, and change it and turn around,” St. Clair Leacock told the New Democratic Party’s virtual meeting on Thursday.
“And so across St. Vincent and the Grenadines now, repeatedly, we can find professional people either turning a blind eye, looking the other way, saying it’s not my problem, and St. Vincent continues its merry way downhill to nothingness,” the Central Kingstown representative said.
“We have to arrest that. And all of us who are rendering our services and selves available in this upcoming election have to agree that the pillars upon which a society is developed, and built, must be attended to,” he told social media and radio audiences.
Leacock said he is pleased about the NDP’s “very rich record of performance … steeped in democratic traditions, respectful of constitutional government, and exemplary moral courage”.
In this regard, he mentioned former NDP leader, Arnhim Eustace, who has been representing East Kingstown since 1998 and but will not contest the next election because of poor health.
Leacock said an NDP administration would reverse, for all times, the absence of moral courage in the country.
“Because we cannot have a country in which only half of the country is functioning, and others starve, we can’t continue into that kind of rotational system of governance and say we are doing the best that we can for and on behalf of the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said.
“All across this country, we see a government that has been determined not to allow the people to have a greater hand in determining their fate and their destinies.”
He noted that Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has stated his opposition to the NDP’s proposal.
Leacock said that with such a fund in place, “every parliamentary representative is empowered and put into a position to translate promises and programmes into real action, that politics becomes a verb.”
Leacock pointed out that he had asked Gonsalves in Parliament to state his position on the proposed fund.
“And he hemmed and hawed but ultimately said, no, no, it’s my way or the highway. He’s singularly determined the destiny of one and all in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said.
Leacock said that he did not speak loosely when he mentioned earlier in his speech that St. Vincent and the Grenadines is facing a “political pandemic”.
“Look around St. Vincent and the Grenadines and you will see the thousands of families who have to disrupt their life, take their belly make boat and set up shop whether it is in Canada, the BVI, Antigua, Barbados, or neighbouring countries.
“When you have no shame, it doesn’t matter. Because those same people are prepared, same people who couldn’t find a plane to bring our students home from Jamaica are prepared to send aircraft to those same destinations to bring people to vote to keep a broken system in place,” Leacock said.
“We have to have the moral courage. We have to have the courage to say that that isn’t good enough for us in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. And I so ask of all my colleagues because I know that’s a feature of my political leader, Dr. Friday; that accountability, respect for law and order, constitutional rule and democratic traditions will be the hallmarks to propel our country forward,” he said.