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Opposition Leader and President of the NDP, Godwin Friday.
Opposition Leader and President of the NDP, Godwin Friday.
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Opposition Leader Godwin Friday has appealed to Vincentian youth, telling them that the upcoming general election is theirs to determine the future of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“Don’t let anybody fool you, trying to bamboozle you and make you think that they cooler than you and they’re younger than you when you know better than that,” he said on New Times, his party’s radio show on NICE Radio, on Monday.

“What you want is a job, you want an opportunity to make a living for yourself in this country. That is what I am focused on,” the opposition leader said.

“That is what the new Democratic Party’s focused on. Help us to bring that into being. And when you, as young people decide, that you want to bring the change, and we together decide we’re going to do it, you, in partnership with the New Democratic Party, and placing your trust in me, which I’ve asked you to do, nobody can stop us,” he said.

“Nobody can stop that change from coming. Take my word for it, young people. You decide to do it, and nobody can stop it.”

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Friday said the ruling Unity Labour Party is now “scrambling all over the place …  trying to make it look like they have the real interests of young people at heart, when in fact they have failed them so miserably over the years”.

He said that the NDP has shown this by pointing out the poor state of hard courts across the country and the lack of “any real attempt to develop technical and vocational education”.

Friday said technical vocational education is important “so our young people can find jobs in this economy, not some figment of their imagination or somebody else’s imagination of some economy somewhere else.

“Here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines! Those are the things that we want to do,” Friday said.

“And I think that this is what they’re scared of because the young people are waking up and they say, ‘You know what, this is serious business. Whether I choose to vote or not, it will affect me so I might as well choose to vote. And I must ask myself who I should vote for because who governs the country affects my chance of having a good life in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, of having a job, of raising a family.

“‘And that is what we need to do. We have to do that. And we have to do it now because we can’t wait forever. And this is something that is long overdue and the ULP after 23 years has shown that they don’t know how to do it.’”

The opposition leader said that building a facility without connecting it to the growth, development and productivity of our country shows that the ULP does not know what to do.

“So, we have to do it. We have to do it in conjunction with our local business community. We can’t exclude them because that is where growth takes place, that is where the real economy is.

“Borrowing and begging, as the government does, is not an economy. It helps to build an infrastructure so that our local and foreign direct investment…”

The opposition leader said that the government has to invest in young people, making them skilled, confident and forward-looking “so that they say, ‘Well, this is someplace that we can really develop and have a good life in.’”

Friday further said that because the economic space is so small, “we have to prepare ourselves to compete throughout the region”, noting that the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States is one economic space.

“Make sure that we are in a position to compete throughout that space, but also throughout CARICOM, and even farther afield. That is the vision that we have. That’s the only way we are going to survive as a country, as a place that our people, our children when they are born here feel that this is a place that I can live.”

Friday said Vincentians must feel that they have a future in the country and if they choose to leave, it must be a choice and “not because I’m being forced out of my own country.

“And that is what a lot of people feel now. And we need to change that because this is a beautiful country, we have so much potential; we can do a hell of a lot better than we’re doing now.

“And we have to tell the ULP that they’re tired, they’re worn out. Their ideas, if you come down to the most granular level, they don’t have any ideas and they are just simply following what our candidates are doing in the various constituencies.”

 Friday said the ULP is also copying the NDP’s ideas at the national level, saying a case in point was adopting the NDP’s policy of reducing student loan interest rates to 4.5%.

When the NDP announced the policy in 2020, the ULP dismissed it as political opportunism and said it could not be done, but implemented it in January.

“Now, all of a sudden, it can be done,” he said.

 “It shows that they don’t have any vision. And all they’re doing is trying to mamaguy and bamboozle people. Well, too much has been exposed and the people of this country, they need change, they want change, and they will bring the change,” Friday said.

“And I’m offering the New Democratic Party as that vehicle for all of us to get on board to bring that change about.”