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Divided we stand

By Christopher Grant

“The ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) applied on April 1 to the Physical Planning Department for permission to keep permanently campaign billboards at Frenches Gate, on which photos of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves and Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar have been displayed since before the November 2020 general elections.” — iWitness News, May 8, 2022  

Today, Oct. 28, 2023, over a year after the publication of the article quoted above and about three years after our last general elections, the election campaign billboards are still there and others can be seen throughout St. Vincent.

It is said that actions speak louder than words. Therefore, the fact that these billboards are still standing, even after being vandalised twice, speaks volumes. In all of my life, I have never seen this happening. In fact, it is normal practice for these to be removed soon after elections. All should be removed regardless of the political party.

Can you imagine being reminded every day for the last three years of a time when many stopped speaking to each other? Arguably, it was a time when people may have even contemplated violence as a means to quell those with differing views. Those who live in St. Vincent and the Grenadines know that tensions are often very high during this period. Families are often divided and family members refuse to speak to each other for months.  Nevertheless, and with all that is known about the political atmosphere in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, an official application was made to permanently keep these campaign billboards.

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The KEYWORD here is PERMANENTLY. It is as if we are in an ever-present state of elections. The amount of effort taken to keep these billboards shows how much of a psychological impact these have on our people. I may be wrong but why then would there be a need to keep election campaign billboards permanently? 

The people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines have been through a lot. We have seen many disasters yet we soldiered on. Notwithstanding, spritely physical appearances can hide the psychological hurt within. Many of us are hurting and unfortunately, even at a time when we should be celebrating our 44th year of independence, we are reminded of how divided our nation is.

How much longer must we be reminded?

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].