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Ralph Gonsalves

Prime Minister and Political Leader of the Unity Labour Party, Ralph Gonsalves. (File photo: Lance Neverson/Facebook)

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Political Leader of the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP), Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has reminded party supporters that its constitution prohibits public criticism of the party’s principles and policies.

The reminder came Tuesday night on the party’s radio station, Star FM, as the ULP prepares to host its 25th annual convention on Sunday.

Gonsalves, citing the party’s constitution, spoke of the objectives of the ULP, as well as members’ rights and obligations.

“Notice, the next one. ‘To refrain from making public statements contrary to the declared principles and policies of the party and from doing anything which is inconsistent with the interest of policies of the party’,” the prime minister said.

“You can’t be inside of the party, you are a member of the party, decisions are taken, you can’t go on Facebook and make a public statement contrary to the declared principles and policies of the party because when those are determined, they are determined,” said Gonsalves, who has been political leader of the ULP since 1998.

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“You are a member of the party, you participate in those decisions, too. And if you don’t participate, that’s your fault. And you have to refrain from doing anything which is inconsistent to the interest and policies of the party. It is not a free for all. We are in a party,” he said.

Gonsalves, 76, has said that no one has been nominated to compete against him for the post of party leader, when the ULP hold, on Sunday, its first convention since 2020.

Speaking on WE FM, on Sunday, he said he would lead the party into the next general elections, constitutionally due in February, 2025 — six months before his 80th birthday. 

Gonsalves said that Julian Francis, the party’s general secretary — who suffered a stroke later Sunday afternoon — had told him that his was the only name put up for the party’s leaders.

Gonsalves, in his comments on Tuesday said that Francis, who has been general secretary of the ULP since its formation, had printed thousands of copies of the party’s constitution and circulated them to members at the ULP’s  first convention on Oct. 16, 1994.

He said that ULP members have “four main bundles of rights”, the first being, “Every individual member of the party shall have the right to demand that the party’s constitution, programmes, decisions and resolutions be observed.”

“You have a right to demand that,” Gonsalves commented, adding that members also have a right to participate in the meetings of the party that they are entitled to attend “to discuss all matters fully and to vote on them”.

Further, ULP members have a right to be “eligible for election to the offices of the party and as a delegate to the national council and national convention” and to “afford himself or herself of any other right, including the right to vote at the elections of party officers”.

Gonsalves commented: 

“But of course, you’d vote at elections for party officers in the various organs but at the national council and the national convention you’d go as a delegate. And the constitution spells that out.”

The ULP leader then spoke of the seven obligations that members have to the party, the first of which is “to be disciplined and to be committed to the party’s work, principles and decisions”.

Gonsalves said, “So you have a right to demand the observance of the party’s principles and decisions, but you, as an individual, you have to be disciplined and you have to be committed to the party’s work, principles and decision.

‘We may talk and talk but when we make our decisions, you have to be committed to those decisions.”

Another obligation of ULP members is to “strengthen and extend the relations between the party and the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.

“You have to link with the people,” the prime minister said. 

Members are also expected to “practice the virtues of humility, honesty, integrity, and fraternal love for one’s fellowman and woman and to struggle against selfishness, arrogance and conceit”.

Gonsalves said: 

“There are some people who will tell you, ‘It is my right to do this’ and so on and ‘you can’t tell me what to do’, in a very arrogant and selfish and conceited way. But you have to practise the virtues of honesty, integrity, humility and fraternal love for one’s fellow human being and committed to the party’s work, principles and decisions.”

He said party members have an obligation to “be critical and self critical within the party so as to eliminate mistakes which can be harmful to the party”.

“So you are criticising inside policies, programmes, individuals and you yourself have to be self critical so that we eliminate mistakes which can be harmful to the party,” he said.

ULP members are also obligated to be “bound by the decisions and policies of the party,” Gonsalves said.

“You have to be bound by them. You can’t pick and choose. Otherwise, what you have is chaos,” he said, adding that the seventh obligation is “to pay dues promptly and regularly as laid down by the party”.

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5 replies on “ULP members reminded that public criticism of party’s policies not allowed ”

  1. the dictator speaks. he will allow no descent. alyo lame brain set of people how alyo so stupid? those people are slowly changing SVG into Cuba.

  2. Nathan J Green says:

    Sounds like being an honorary member of the Cuban Communist party has gone to his head. The ULP has adopted much of the Cuban keep them as field slaves policies.

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