Opposition Senator Shevern John says that the government opened the two flawed bridges in North Windward last week Thursday because her New Democratic Party (NDP) was holding its “Hope Rally” in Georgetown last Saturday.
“Now, I asked in Parliament recently about why the Bailey bridges were closed … All kinds of stories were given. The nation;s leader told us that the bridges are closed because of the structural condition and because they have some remedy to do and they told us that these bridges will not be ready until July,” John told the rally.
“But lo and behold, we decided to have a rally and they scramble to open their bridge — the same bridges that were to open in July,” the senator further stated.
Up to late April, MP for North Windward, Montgomery Daniel, of the Unity Labour Party, said that remedial work needed to be done on the bridges in Overland and Noel — on which works were completed in January and February, respectively.
The remedial work related to the access road to the bridges, one of which was almost at a 90-degree angle to the river crossing.
Daniel said that the work would be completed by July, but the government later announced that the bridges would be commissioned without the remedial work being done, and did so last Thursday, May 11.
John noted that Daniel had said last November that the bridges would been early Christmas gift to constituents.
“Imagine that. We cannot trust their words; they cannot be trusted for anything. We cannot depend on their promises, trust us to bring the necessary change that this country need,” said John, who is the NDP’s caretaker for North Windward, where the bridges are located.
She pointed out that during the campaign for the November 2020 general elections she promised to develop at least one playing field in the Langley Park–Chapmans area.
“They hurriedly went and break ground for a playing field in that area. Where is the playing field today? Where is it?” said John, who failed by 69 votes in her attempt to unseat Daniel, who was returned for a fifth consecutive, five-year term in office.
“It is nowhere because they have not allocated anything for it. They have no development plan for the people of this constituency. Another failed promise,” she said.
John said the government also promised to ensure that funds were made available for those affected by the volcano.
“Despite these promises, much of the money has not been shared. They’re still left to be paid. Farmers are still left to be paid after nine months of buying stuff, farmers still want their money.”
She said that the broken promises extended to other parts of St. Vincent as well as the Grenadine islands.
“I went to Union and Canouan just recently and the wharf in those islands are in deplorable condition. Watch a time! What a government! It is saddening and it saddens me to say it but the government just doesn’t take us seriously.
“Instead, they want credit for their intentions. They want credit for their fine words. But when it comes to action, they are nowhere to be seen — talk and no action, empty talks. And that is why I support the NDP. Under Dr. Friday’s leadership, we are committed to delivering for everyone.”
Saturday’s rally comes almost three years before the next general elections are constitutionally due, but had a distinct election campaign feel.
“The philosophy, the energy from everyone on this stage in this NDP is to be there for all of you at all times, not just at election time but at every time,” John said.
“We are committed to be judged by our actions and not our words,” she said, noting that MP for Central Kingstown and NDP Vice-President, St. Clair Leacock has repeatedly said that things would get better from the first day of an NDP government in office.
“Yes, from day one, things will be better for you. Things will be better for your children; things will be better for your families; things will be better for your friends; things will get better for St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” John said.
“I’m asking you tonight, when the election is called, whenever that is, convince your neighbour, convince your friends, convince those in your home to vote the NDP resoundingly and send us to government.”
She said an NDP administration would increase funding for infrastructure and ensure that it delivers “new projects across St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“We will build our agriculture sector and the blue economy to be centrepieces of our country’s economic growth. We will upscale the business community to ensure that we have the skill that is necessary across all sectors,” John said.
“Send me to government and I will never take you for granted. I will work as hard as I can, as hard as I am accustomed to, to ensure that you get the representation that you deserve.
“An NDP government will deliver change, will deliver change, will deliver change to this country.”
John noted that she is from North Windward.
“So personally, I want to see the north being the centre of economic activities as well. I want to ensure that the North is great. So, we are going to send a message to the ULP that we should never be taken for granted. And let me tell you, I am not the person who runs away when troubles come. I stand up like the brave. I never run from anybody,” she said.
“I can confidently say that only the NDP can change St. Vincent and Grenadines out of the mess the ULP has created. The team behind me here tonight is ready to take St Vincent and the Grenadines forward.”