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Opposition Leader and NDP President, Godwin Friday speaking at the NDP meeting in Troumaca on Tuesday, May 7, 2024.
Opposition Leader and NDP President, Godwin Friday speaking at the NDP meeting in Troumaca on Tuesday, May 7, 2024.

Opposition Leader Godwin Friday has urged residents of North Leeward to be patient with the New Democratic Party (NDP) as it selects the candidate for the constituency in the next general election.

First, we in the New Democratic Party, we are putting together the best team ever to contest an election because we want to be able to govern and to transform the country,” Friday, who is also the party’s leader, told a village meeting in Troumaca on Tuesday.

So, … we give you the assurance that here in North Leeward that we’re serious about giving you the best candidate possible to win the election, but also to be a good representative for you,” Friday said.

“You don’t want somebody just to win and then to turn their back and say ‘Yes! Yes!’ and then never show up to deliver what they say yes about.

“You want a representative. And a representative takes care of you. A representative comes and finds out what’s happening in your backyard, where the gutters are overflowing, where the roads need fixing,” Friday said.

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And we will ensure that we get the person best suited that you choose to represent you here in North Leeward.”

Friday was speaking at a village meeting at which former MP for North Leeward, Roland “Patel” Matthews, who was an NDP vice president, pledged his support to the party’s next candidate for the district.

Matthews was MP for the constituency from 2010 to 2020, when Carlos James of the Unity Labour Party (ULP) was declared the winner of the seat by one vote after a controversial recount.

The NDP is preparing to make another bid to unseat the ULP, which has been in office since March 2001.

iWitness News was reliably informed that a number of people, including a senior member of a prominent regional institution, have expressed interest in being the NDP’s candidate in North Leeward.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Matthews suggested that he was navigating the candidate selection process carefully but said he would support the next candidate, regardless of the outcome of the process.

“I have been very cautious in my approach because I know our people, and I don’t want to send the wrong message,” Matthews said.

Friday told the meeting about the NDP’s plans to transform the Vincentian economy by focusing on the central planks of agriculture, tourism, the blue economy and the new economy (creative sector).

He pointed out that under the NDP administration, which was in office from 1984 to 2001, the Vincentian economy grew between 4 and 5% annually.

For the 23 years that ULP been in government, it’s been growing by one and a half to 2% per year,” the opposition leader said.

“You cannot create prosperity on that basis. So, we will transform it, because we know what is required to be done. And we will do it.”

Friday said that changing the government is critical to transforming the country.

They cannot lead St. Vincent and the Grenadines into the future; their best days are behind them,” he said of the ULP.

“What they have accomplished, they can go and brag about, I’ll tell you this, however, whatever good that was done, I will not abandon it. I will not break it down just out of spite to try to say that it wasn’t good.”

The opposition leader said that Vincentians are not left-behind children.

We should not be last in anything of this Caribbean. We are always leading in things like crime and violence and sexual violence and crime and murder rate and all of that. But we want to be ahead of the line when it comes to things like education, productivity, wages and salaries.”

Friday said wages in SVG are the lowest in the Caribbean and that is why many Vincentians look for work elsewhere in the region.

We have to change that. And that is why we work so hard to do it. I go all over the country; I meet people one-on-one. I come to small villages and we talk to people — 100, 200,” he said, noting that the party also has big meetings like in Campden Park last year.

“There are no two ways about it. We have to bring that change in this country, I’m passionate about that. My colleagues have invested their energy and time and expertise and creativity to try and make this happen.”

He said that in the 2020 election, the people said they wanted change when more of them voted for the NDP than for the ULP.

Friday also spoke about the NDP’s Youth Guarantee Pledge, which says that by the end of the first term of an NDP government, every young person in SVG will have the opportunity of a job, a training programme, or a place or an internship with an employer.

I believe that the young people have the future of this country in their hands, if only they will realise it,” Friday said, adding that the young people can make the difference in the election.

And if those young people then take that responsibility and that power into their hands, and they go into the polling station and they vote for the New Democratic Party and they vote for change, and they vote for the prospect of the transformation of this country, nobody can stop them,” Friday said.

So, I say to young people, let us come together and form this alliance, I am willing to put myself at the head of this alliance, I am willing to put the New Democratic Party at your disposal. … I want the party to be a vehicle for change for all those people who are dissatisfied with the performance of the ULP over the past quarter of a century, for those people who now have said five in a row, and they have nothing to show.

For all those people who say too long inna that, we’ve been too far, we have been left too far behind the rest of the countries in the region, let’s try something else” the opposition leader told the meeting in Troumaca.  

“For all those people who say that Ralph Gonsalves and the ULP are now a thing of the past, they are history, not the future, I say let us form that alliance together. The only way we’re going to bring that change is if we work together and do it,” Friday said.  

Believe in yourself that you can bring the change. Don’t leave it up to somebody else, not to your neighbour, not to your friends, not to your parents, everybody. Take that responsibility seriously. Come forward. Let us bring that change that St Vincent and the Grenadines so badly needs and we will let loose the potential of our people.”

One reply on “Senior member of regional organisation among NDP hopefuls in N. Leeward”

  1. Take warning says:

    We truly need a leader who believes that SVG best days are yet to come.. One with good moral, integrity , humble, compassionate, love for people and very respectful. One who will serve and not rule, one that listens and not shouts, one that fight for you and not against you and to provide leadership to everyone and not victimization and that who follows the rules of law.

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