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Jomo Sanga Thomas is a lawyer, journalist, social commentator and a former Speaker of the House of Assembly in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. (iWN file photo)
Jomo Sanga Thomas is a lawyer, journalist, social commentator and a former Speaker of the House of Assembly in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. (iWN file photo)
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By *Jomo Sanga Thomas

(“Plain Talk” Feb. 2, 2024)

Today marks 812 days since the increasingly unpopular and autocratic government of Ralph Gonsalves unleashed its dreaded vaccine mandate on the people of SVG. Hundreds of workers in the private and public sectors lost their jobs. The suffering has been unbearable. As a result of the government’s actions, workers could not make ends meet. Many lost their minds as the mental health crisis brought on by the mandate took its toll.

Yesterday, the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal was due to hear the vaccine mandate case. Following the resounding legal thrashing Gonsalves suffered when Justice Esco Henry delivered her decision on March 13, 2023, Gonsalves said the judge was wrong in fact and law and vowed to appeal. He made this declaration without having digested the court ruling.

Justice Esco Henry is an erudite and courageous judge. The intellectual rigour that undergirds her decisions is difficult to break through. The government lawyers who will be paid hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ money will have difficulty convincing the appeal panel that the decision should be overturned.

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Fundamental to the government’s argument is that it should be allowed to do anything once it declares a medical emergency. State workers who refused to take the vaccine maintained that even in a medical emergency, their rights secured under the Constitution had meaning and should be enforced. 

It should never have come to this. Even with low vaccination rates, SVG never really had a medical emergency. Countries with many more infections and deaths never resorted to Gonsalves’ draconian policies. Our government was the only country in the region that wilfully and heartlessly dismissed workers for refusing to go along with its dreaded policies.

What most Vincentians know now is what some of us knew and explained very early in the plandemic. By the time Gonsalves imposed his vaccine mandate, Antigua had dropped its policy. Reports from Israel and the UK indicated that the vaccines were neither safe nor effective. Even before the mandates were imposed here, Chief Medical Officer Dr Simone Keizer-Beache and the government knew that the vaccines did not protect against infection, hospitalisation or death. In her affidavit, she disclosed that persons who were vaccinated were being infected, and at least one vaccinated man had died from COVID-19.

By February 2022, eight government parliamentarians, all of whom Gonsalves claimed were vaccinated, tested positive for COVID. Yet the government insisted and persisted with its devilish policies. Gonsalves was the only leader in the world who claimed that he wanted to vaccinate 90% of the population. Today, Gonsalves SVG is the only country in the world that maintains a medical emergency.

The sad reality from this very sordid vaccine affair is many in which so-called progressives abandoned their responsibility and toady up to Gonsalves’s nonsense. Following the overwhelming legal victory of the workers in March of 2023, rather than demand that Gonsalves end his madness, they allied with him, claiming that “everyone expected an appeal”. The 13 other leaders across CARICOM never mistreated their citizens as Gonsalves did. Yet Gonsalves claimed that regional leaders encouraged him to appeal because they wanted to know how to act in an emergency. A court does not have to tell the government. Our constitutions instruct us how to act.

It was the refusal and failure of the government to act in keeping with the Constitution that Justice Henry ruled the government vaccine mandate “illegal, unconstitutional, ultra vires and tainted with procedurally improper”.

Gonsalves’ mistreatment of Vincentian workers offers a powerful reason why his government should be removed from power. Workers must mobilise and organise to ensure that the defeat is massive. Those younger parliamentarians who sat idly while Gonsalves’ vile, vindictive, selfish and mean-spirited policies wreaked havoc must be punished electorally.

But there are many more reasons why this government must go. Day by day, it demonstrates that it has outlived its usefulness. Nothing it does now points to a sustainable plan for the country’s development. All plans represent its attempt to hoodwink the population to retain its domination over our country.

After 23 years in government, Gonsalves and his clansmen are primarily committed to feathering their own nest at the expense of citizens. As they get fatter and more decadent, they become increasingly alienated from the people. They cannot point to one sustainable project that will place St Vincent and the Grenadines in a better place economically or socially.

Four out of every 10 Vincentians live in poverty. Another two or three out of 10 live just above the poverty level. Unemployment is over 40%. Underemployment is a growing problem as young people leave school and are forced to take jobs that pay a few hundred dollars monthly. Social prostitution is on the rise. The exploitation and sexploitation of workers, especially women, are on the increase. Crime, with 52 murders recorded in 2023, its most glaring indicator, points to the government’s failure. Fear stalks the land. Hopelessness and helplessness are detected on many faces.

They claim that tourism drives our development, yet the sites that should attract tourists are poorly maintained. The roads to Dark View Falls, Fort Charlotte, Montreal Gardens, and Richmond are a disaster; the toilet facility at our volcano is a non-functional mess. The only thing that works is the government giveaway of our national treasures to foreign business enterprises. Rayneau gets 59 acres of our lands at Richmond for a measly EC$1,200 a year. It despoils the landscape, anticipating multiple orgasms only to have its joy interrupted by plenty of soil and few stones.

Justifying the giveaway and environmental degradation, our PM cluelessly likened SVG to “a big stone heap with good soil”. As if that was not bad enough, he embarked on a useless, expensive, unsustainable EC$600 million port project. The contractors budgeted to spend tens of millions of dollars to import sand to fill in the Kingstown harbour. Gonsalves initially said he would collect $1, then $2, then $4.5 million for 1.17 million cubic meters of sand. Only after stout advocacy and opposition to the fire sale of our country’s resources, Gonsalves, the cunumunu, claims he demanded EC$20 million for the sand. Meanwhile, the profit the contractors make from dredging the sand rather than importing it remains a “company secret”. Unknown is the environmental consequence of disturbing the sea bed off Argyle.

No thinking person who loves SVG can be impressed with such a dismal report card. Failure is written all over this administration. Gonsalves’ hold on our country must be broken.

*Jomo Sanga Thomas is a lawyer, journalist, social commentator and a former senator and Speaker of the House of Assembly in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

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].

6 replies on “Here’s why Gonsalves’ ULP must be defeated”

  1. He was ably supported by his medical puppet officers to inflict damage on the vincy populace. This is the time to step up and right a historical wrong Mr PM or are you waiting for the government in waiting to do it. Many leaders have acknowledged that they were wrong and workers have gotten back their jobs and have been compensated. Right this wrong Mr PM. In due time you could be remembered as the worst leader in our country’s history because of you divisive leadership. Remember that.

  2. 1. Many governments around the world introduced vaccine mandates to protect their citizens. If some of these mandates were based on a faulty understanding of this brand new virus, these governments had every legal and moral right in the world to employ the precautionary principle to protect their people.

    2. We live in a tiny, have-not country with few resources capable of lifting us to full employment and a much higher standard of living. This has always been true; this will always be true. This is not the fault of the present government nor of former governments who reigned over a much poorer country with equally high levels of unemployment, underemployment, and emigration of our best, brightest, and most ambitous people.

    3. As for crime, including murder, poor parenting (based on sky-high levels of single motherhood and absent fatherhood), selfishness, and greed are its foundation, features no government has any control over.

    4. If this and previous hard-working governments going back to statehood have been unable to turn our economy around while reducing the crime and violence rates, why should anyone believe that the NDP, a party full of washed up third raters and empty of any developmental ideas save selling our citizenship to sketchy foreigners, would do any better?

  3. Jomo your article is true to the bone. However, The Comrade is not leaving anytime now not because he should not be leaving. The ULP has transfixed the Vincent political landscape where it is virtually impossible to defeat the ULP politically and I will give my reason as follows:

    (1) The ULP has succeeded in creating false dependency . By destroying Agriculture as we know it by taking 200 million out of the economy, farmers who were once independent in the very sense of the term are now dependent on a $350 welfare cheque that comes monthly with conditions. One cannot cutoff ghe hands that feeds you and who pays the piper calls the sound.

    (2) The ULP a Marxist organization used psychology to keep the population improvised to elicit blind loyalty. This has been done in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua with great success. There are indication that the most militant of the population will simply leave the country in droves that threatened state security. The ULP has set up a similar structure in St Vincent in the form of awarding Justice of Peace to its loyalty citizens who acct as vanguard of the revolution. They spy on the population and feed the Comrade with critical information. Julian is a important element of such a structure.

    (3) The ULP has re-engineered the education the education system and replaced it with popular slogan. For example, “being a product of the education revolution “. The brightest/ most intelligent of the population is sought out and awarded critical post as Foreign minister or senatorial jobs. The objective is yo elicit blind loyalty and ensure continuity.

    (4) Bribing the population the ULP pocket is very deep and the sources of the funds are highly suspected. I will leave that one there. The same funds are used to neutraize opposition voters who will normally stray off the loyal tract. One wonders where the funds came from to fund the development of a real estate project that was slated yo happen in Bequia of 40 million for which the individual has never had gainful employment not even one day in his life. You be the judge, the question is not unreasonable.

    (5) The ULP has manipulated state security apparatus to the extent that certain individuals have been awarded to crime fighting jobs tothe most trusted and obedient. How do you rationalize the reason for an individual becoming one of the senior magistrate. How can one reasonably separate the two duties. One day you are the enforcer and the other day the arbiter. Why a significant element of the new police recruits hail from a particular constituency? Is it because they are most qualified? You be the judge.

    (6) I can list about 100 reason but this will be the last. Psychological manipulation of the young mind. What are the reasons why the Comrade show up at the graduation of students to award the $500? Have you ever thought of it?

    Psychological manipulation takes many forms. Private enterprise are expected to be subservient to the ULP to insure they tow the line. Was it sheer coincidence when a comment was made by an architect when can tell you how many of a particular business community voted for him?. He certainly has the data is not by mere coincidence.

    Folks I have to tun but if iwitness news permits me I will continue bpartbteo.

  4. Remember de words , because me na ge ar yo Lumbar, galvanize , steel
    and cement, ar yo na vote fo de covenant wid death. so me gee dem and the stupid people go always vote
    go me . me go hand out money in ah jersey, gee dem pig , love box, toilet , and other goodies, also make promises and de dotish ones again will vote fo me , even dem who me put on the bread line , dem go still vote fo me, and wid the. teefing organizations and rigging technology, what new can anyone expect. some thing is so wrong with the people, seems they are very special set of mortals,. did someone bewitched them??

  5. Where is my response to the Article kenton? If you are not going to publish responses that are so neutral, then no one will contribute eventually.

  6. and is it true dem does pay people passage fo come home fo vote? ah mother told me her son who was studying overseas
    was one ah dem, but dem na vote fo dem, because dem na stupid.

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