Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves is warning the Vincentian voters against what he says is glib talk of wealth.
“Beware of those who talk glibly of wealth for country, gotten by vanity, trumpeted like a proverbial golden calf, seduced by the mirage of a pot of gold at the end of the metaphoric rainbow of selling passports and citizenship, and the dumping for quick cash, the sacraments of our nationhood,” he said on Thursday.
“The Book of Proverbs advises that wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished but he that gather it by labour shall increase,” Gonsalves told the Unity labour Party’s virtual public meeting, where he announced Nov. 5 as the date for the next general elections.
Gonsalves and his ULP are seeking a fifth consecutive term in office.
“Be extremely careful not to embrace those who are determined to abandon tried, tested and trusted friends and allies at home and abroad and replace them by convenient acquaintances and opportunistic alliances.
“You ask yourself, so why this push by the opposition, for example, to kick out Taiwan and bring in China; there is more in this mortar beside in the pestle,” said Gonsalves, who was strongly opposed to SVG-Taiwan ties before coming to office, but has maintained the relationship for his 19-year tenure.
Gonsalves noted that in December 2015, the ULP was returned to office, under his leadership for a fourth successive term.
Gonsalves spoke about hope, saying it is “confident trust with the expectation of fulfilment”.
“And hope is linked to faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” he said, echoing the Bible.
“But faith without works is dead,” he further said, again, quoting scripture.
“Faith and hope are conjoined to love, which is an ever fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken. We put on faith and love as a breastplate and the hope of salvation as a helmet.”
The politician posited and went on to answer the question of how one has faith and hope in, for example, a politician and his or her words or promises.
The prime minister said “from the vantage point of my experience, one cannot have absolute certainty because men and women are not divine”.
“But you can make informed judgments and you have instincts upon which you can rely in relation to your choice of leader or representative. And you can surely apply your heart to wisdom.”
Gonsalves said that voters must, therefore, examine the politician’s ideas, vision, philosophy and programmes.
“You look at his or her record of achievement. You check out his or her commitment to you as a people. You can interrogate his or her professional life, to see whether it has been about money grabbing, unconscionable fleecing of people or has it been a fair delivery of quality service to clients or customers without any unscrupulous shake down.
“You look at his or her representation of your interests, and those of our nation. You watch his or her interactions with you and the people of all classes, creeds, ethnicities, rich and poor, Kalinago, Garifuna, black, white, Arab, Chinese or anyone in between.
“You observe his or her seriousness, and thoughtfulness in words or deeds, about the nation’s business. You look not for perfection, since no human being is perfect, but you look at him or her in the totality of all the facts and circumstances.”
The prime minister also advised that voters check out the political party to which the politician belongs, including its philosophy and policies, its organisation and functioning, its state of unity or disunity, its record, its slate of candidates, its leadership.
“… and then you ask your mother or father, you ask your daughter or son, you ask those close to you, you inquire how can we make a whole daughter or a whole son out of the compromises which the fever of history has made us. And I repeat, you rely on your instincts and apply your heart to wisdom.”
But Gonsalves said that the ultimate consideration is love.
“Above all, make sure that the representative or political leader truly loves you. I feel sure that you cannot conceive of electing someone as a leader or candidate who does not truly know the people and whom the people do not truly know. That is basic.
“To lead or represent people is not a vanity trip. A status seeking venture, a hustle to make money or a convenient pit stop on the way to the poorhouse. A person who wants to lead or represent you must be sincere.
“The person must have a strong track record of service and must walk humbly with the people. He or she must avoid malice, hatred, and anger in words or deeds, malice, hatred and anger are the opposite of love. They are the antithesis of right reason. He or she must evidently be committed to service and hopefulness. Not to learn helplessness. And always I repeat, he or she must love you,” Gonsalves said.