Leader of the Opposition Godwin Friday says his New Democratic Party (NDP) is prepared to put in the work to bring about the change it sees as necessary in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Friday told the NDP’s “Village Stop” campaign meeting in Chapmans on Saturday that he and his team have been visiting various constituencies across the country.
“We understand the urgency of the moment, the call and the cry of our people for change. And we are prepared to put the work in to bring that change about in this country,” Friday said.
“I am here tonight to give you the absolute assurance that as leader of the New Democratic Party, I will leave no stone unturned, no effort will be spared, we will use every resource at our disposal to bring the change that we need in this country,” the opposition leader said.
“I give you that assurance. It is my job as the leader of this party, to bring, to identify all that is necessary for us to form the government and to bring all of those elements together to get the job done.”
The opposition is ratcheting up its campaign for the next general elections, which are constitutionally due by February 2026, but which some political observers have suggested could come as early as this year.
Friday said a very important component of bringing about the change is the team of candidates the party fields in the elections, as well as the support team.
“Our message is simple. This country has been on the wrong path. Don’t let them tell you otherwise. We have been in the wrong direction for some time. This is why poverty has actually grown in this country under the ULP administration. Their own study says this…” the opposition leader said.
Friday noted that one of the young people who spoke at the meeting said she was looking to migrate because she could not find a job.
“A country in which its young people don’t feel they have a future is a country without a future. And we intend to change that.”
He said this is why the NDP has put in the effort to communicate to the young people to say that help is on the way.
“There is hope for you. There is hope for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Never mind last year we had 55 homicides — killings — in this country, a record, making us the worst in the entire Caribbean, one of the worst in the world for killings.
“And you have 41% of the young people who cannot find a job, they are unemployed. Others who they have on the YES programme or some other programme where they can’t even afford to pay their passage and their lunch money to go to work,” Friday said.
He said this has to change and that is why the NDP is “working so hard to bring about that change”.
He said that while the change will come, it will not come only from his efforts and that of the other members of his team.
“Our efforts are important. We provide guidance and leadership and hopefully instil some confidence in you to understand that we know what we are doing not just to bring an end to this government that has brought us to a dead end in this country but also to bring about the change that the country needs to we can go forward.,” Friday said.
He said the dream is that SVG will be known “for something in this Caribbean that is good. Not just for crime. Not just for poverty, not just for low wages.
“We are a beautiful country with talented people. We are not blighted. There are those who in office will let you think that they have all the answers. But we know that is not true. Because look at where we are now.
“They say they built an airport, and they’re building a big port in Kingstown. But the point is, … none of that really matters unless it improves the lives of the people of this country. And we know that is not happening.”
The opposition leader said this is why life is getting so hard in the country, adding that the lament he hears everywhere is that “things are so difficult”.
He said the ULP administration has failed farmers, making them feel that agriculture is a thing of the past.
“‘Why are you bothering me, we’re building hotels, we are inviting people from all over the world to come together and celebrate with us. Why the hell you bothering me about the animals that somebody thief, about the bananas and the plantain and somebody thief and those little things’,” Friday said, summing up what he said is the attitude of the government to praedial larceny.
“But those are the things that matter to you because they are your livelihood. They are the things that put money in your pocket, shoes and the feet of your children, that fix the roof of the house,” he told the farming village.
“Those are the things that matter to me. When I say that, we have to start to talk about a country that looks after its people, that is what I mean. It’s about shiny objects, it is not about big conferences, it is not about big projects.
“Unless those things contribute to a better standard of living for the people of this country, unless those things contribute to a safer community for our people, unless those things contribute to hope for our young people so that they feel that they have a future in the country in which they were born. That is what we are about,” the opposition leader said.
“And that is why we put so much effort into it and so much hope and confidence in the people of this country that they will do what is in their best interest and see an end to this government and say it is time for us to move on. We can do better.”