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Troy Prince in an Oct. 1, 2022 photo.
Troy Prince in an Oct. 1, 2022 photo.
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By: Troy Prince

“Nuttin’ nah happen fuh we down yah.” This is the chorus echoed throughout the villages of North leeward as residents reflect on the lives of members of the community. Those of you who follow, love, and have dedicated much attention to North Leeward would vehemently agree with me that the Ralph Gonsalves-led Unity Labour Party (ULP) government continues to neglect and kill the constituency of North Leeward.

Indeed, we who advocate for better representation and attention from the government have long been disappointed with the lack of such. In fact, for almost two decades now we have been crying out in North Leeward for more assistance and support from the government of the day. Clearly, as far as my eyes can see, North Leeward is in a devastating state. The state of economic affairs in North Leeward is one that only brings about shock to those of us who knew North Leeward when it was a thriving constituency prior to 2001.

Firstly, the ULP and Carlos James are at a historic juncture as it relates to the welfare of the people of North Leeward. In 2020, Carlos James campaigned on the slogan “real representation”, this was his mantra, suggesting that Patel Matthews at the time was failing to represent his North Leeward people as the Member of Parliament (MP). If we may put aside bias and feelings, we can all agree that Patel’s tenure as MP for North Leeward leading up to the 2020 general elections was ineffective, since he was on the opposition’s side of Parliament. It was always headed for doom. This is not to make any excuses for any personal faults and responsibilities that Mr. Matthews may have had. However, let us not be naïve, or even blind to the fact that opposition MPs in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) since 2001 have not been treated in the manner in which they ought to be treated in a democratic state.

How many times have we witnessed opponents of the Ralph Gonsalves government being treated unfairly, criminalised, harassed and disadvantaged? The evidence is there to show that the roles, powers and responsibilities of the opposition in SVG have gravely been reduced. As a result, power for the last two decades has been monopolised by the ULP. There is no commitment to democratic dialogue; listening to the opinions of the NDP in decision making has long been thrown out the window. Such actions by the ULP crippled Patel’s chances of being re-elected as MP for North Leeward in 2020. Instead, Carlos James, supported by the leader of the ULP and the country’s treasury, won the NL seat by one vote in 2020.

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Secondly, one would think that winning a seat with a one-vote margin would serve as a motive to ensure that promises are delivered. Contrastingly, it is evident that the arrogance of Carlos James has gotten the best of him. If he can be honest and reflect on his time as MP for North Leeward thus far, he would realise that his political career might just be short lived. It is highly probable that Carlos James would only be a “one-term uncle”. Mr. James and his clique continue to fail to deliver to the people of North Leeward, evidence of “REAL REPRESENTATION”.

Since the last election, it has been very difficult to articulate what Carlos James has genuinely done for his constituents. His followers blinded by red cataract would argue that he has fixed the wharf in Chateaubelair, refurbished the Chateaubelair Hospital, rebuilt the Sharpes bridge and patch potholes. However, praises like these have already been proven unworthy in an article published on ‘Witness News called “Undeserved Praises, Heaped on N. Leeward MP Carlos James”. In essence, the article revealed how disingenuous Carlos James continues to be in regards to representing his constituents.

Thirdly, as I reflect on North Leeward prior to 2001, I ask myself the following question: Are the people of North Leeward better off now than before 2001, and even more so, now that Carlos James is given the chance to represent them? Before you answer, let me first take you on a journey back into a better North Leeward. Growing up in the streets of North Leeward as a young man for the last 32 years has afforded me the opportunity to see North Leeward while it was thriving and North Leeward now it is a graveyard. North Leeward before the ULP and Calos James had the following working for us:

  • A lucrative banana industry. The banana industry was supplemented by other agricultural produce that thousands of farmers proudly and happily used to be involved in. The agricultural sector in North Leeward allowed farmers to be meaningfully and gainfully employed. This sector has since lost its life under the ULP administration. Up to this day, the people of North Leeward are yet to have been given an alternative.
  • In addition to agriculture, NL had a vibrant fishing industry. Hundreds of fisher folks from Richmond to Gordon Yard were raking in thousands of dollars weekly. This industry was also murdered by the ULP.
  • Another key income-earner that had North Leeward on a level that caused the other constituencies to envy us was the marijuana industry. This industry by far contributed the most to North Leeward being independent and successful prior to 2001. Ganja farmers in these times were able to happily and comfortably build houses, buy vehicles and provide for their families without having to borrow from any lending institutions. I remember the times when there was a constant circulation of the US and Barbados dollars and euros. Small businesses were well stocked and profitable. The blocks in North Leeward used to be lively and entertaining. Now, the shops are closing at a rapid pace and the streets are like a ghost town as early as 8 p.m. in North Leeward.

Sadly, today, as I walk the streets of North Leeward, I am forced to conclude that “death is knocking” on the doors. The death of the industries listed above are key contributors to the demise of NL. This has been coupled by the fact that since 2001, the biggest projects North Leeward have seen are the Belle Isles landfill, Belle Isles Prison and the Rayneau Quarry at Richmond. Note that none of these projects are able to provide any form of sustainable development in NL.

Alarmingly, the number of school dropouts keep rising every school term. This, consequently, drives up the already sky-high unemployment rate in North Leeward. Also, inflation of prices on basic food supplies continues to reduce a significant number of North Leeward residents to beggars.

In summary, I know that this article will not be taken lightly by the vast majority of blind ULP faithful in North Leeward. Also, those of you who cannot accept reality or take off your political spectacles would flag me for writing in such a manner. However, this is my reality and it satisfies my soul to get it off my chest. For far too long we have allowed ourselves in North Leeward to be dumb and reduced to vagabonds. The time has come for the following to take place in North Leeward:

  • Rise up and say enough! No more!
  • Demand better of these politicians and governments.
  • Take electoral vengeance against the ULP and Carlos James for all the suffering they have brought on us.
  • Change the government and pray that our situation in North Leeward takes a turn for the better.

My people of North Leeward the time is now, and the persons who should feel the wrath of North Leeward the most are Ralph Gonsalves and Carlos James. 1 vote! 1 term uncle!

The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].