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An NDP billboard in Villa.
An NDP billboard in Villa.
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Opposition Leader Godwin Friday says Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves is attempting to change the conversation on crime that intensified after the opposition erected a billboard at Gibson Corner on May 16, saying there were 52 homicides in the country last year and crime is out of control.

But he said that the party is planning to erect even more billboards highlighting issues as St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) swings into election mode.

“We will remind the country as to where we are,” the opposition leader said on his New Democratic Party’s (NDP) show on NICE Radio on Monday.

“Let’s hurt up they head. If they think that this is something that is really counterproductive. It is not. This is something that’s constructive; it’s part of communication. It’s part of the dialogue,” Friday said.

“We have the newspapers, we have social media, we have the radio programmes like we’re doing here now, and now billboards like you’ve never seen before.”

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The opposition leader said he was glad that the billboard has attracted the attention that it has and all the controversy that the government is creating about it.

“It’s just making the message cut through even more,” Friday said, adding that people have been telling him that they like the billboard and the fact that it is drawing people’s attention to important issues in the country.

Friday noted that the NDP has erected other billboards.

“We have a billboard that points out that you have 41% unemployment among young people. This is not good enough,” Friday said, referring to a billboard the party erected in Villa.

He said there was also a billboard at the NDP headquarters on Murray’s Road, that points out the four pillars of the economy that the party intends to build, “to grow the economy, to create that hope that I talk about.

“But we have a lot more things that we want to bring to our people’s attention and this obviously is a way that is catching their attention,” the opposition leader said.

He invited people with land suitable for the erection of billboards or property on which messages can be painted to contact the NDP.

“And we need them as elections come up because we will put up these messages.”

Ralph Gonsalves 2
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves speaking at a press conference in Kingstown on Monday, May 27, 2024.

Gonsalves was overseas on official duties when the billboards were erected and since returning to the country on the weekend, has repeatedly referred to Friday, as “a Canadian who was born in Bequia”, a reference to the opposition leader’s dual citizenship.

“He’s trying to change the conversation because the one that we are having regarding crime is uncomfortable,” Friday said.

The opposition leader said that under Gonsalves’ watch, SVG has a “chronically-high homicide rate”.

While the billboard at Gibson Corner said there were 52 homicides in the country last year, there were 55, of which the authorities have classified 52 as murder.

This followed another record year when there were 42 homicides in 2023.

“You’re talking about now in the 50s. And that is one of the highest in the world. And they cannot get away from that and say that somehow this is normal evolution of society. That’s bullshit,” Friday said.

“We have to have policies, social policies that we can use to bring these problems under control, we cannot accept as a new normal, that this is how things are going to be, that we’re going to be deteriorating,” the opposition leader said.

He said that in countries all over the world where that is allowed to happen, they become failed states, and you have gangs and you have governments that collapse.

“And you really don’t have governments, you have essentially warlords and chiefs and so forth, in office. We cannot contemplate that for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. That’s not what Milton Cato and all those people who brought us into independence had in mind. They were hoping that by now we would be truly a sovereign country, enjoying our independence.”

Godwin Friday
Leader of the Opposition Godwin Friday in a Feb. 14, 2023 photo.

Friday said he has repeatedly stated that the security of its citizens is the first function of government.

He said this is why citizens surrender some of their rights and freedoms to the state and give it a monopoly on the use of force “so that they can protect us in return, and when they don’t do that, then who do you turn to?

“A lot of people take things into their own hands, and then that compact is broken, and society itself becomes chaotic.”

Friday said he has seen too much of this.

“I’ve studied it for too long to not understand the consequences of such a trajectory, because it will make St Vincent and the Grenadines a place that our children will chastise us for because we have not given them a better country than we received.”

The opposition leader said his objective is to leave a better country than he received.

“It can’t just be where you have a serious problem like crime, you have a prime minister who will come back to the country after one more of his trips abroad and instead of saying, ‘Okay, we acknowledge that there is a problem, here’s what we’re going to do’, you’re trying to be flippant, again, about it, trying to just pretend it’s not happening.

“Well, it is happening. And it is something that we need to take control of.”

He called on party supporters to also help to fund the billboards. 

“… if you want to help, they cost money, you could contribute something and so forth.

Let’s make this a national campaign to bring the issues to people all over the country because that is how we are going to inform them properly about the state of affairs in St. Vincent and the Grenadines when they come to make that all-important choice at election time,” Friday said.

“That is the only thing that they need to keep in mind what is better for me, in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, what is better for me and the future of my children. And the NDP is that and when we bring the plans of the party and the failures of the government, to the people, they have a clear choice.”

3 replies on “More billboards to ‘hurt up they head’ as PM tries to change convo — Friday”

  1. Roslindale Ryan says:

    PM has narcissistic tendencies. Friday is the son of slaves.PM is the son of enslavers. The Son of Slaves in Vincy is more Vincy than the son of an enslaver.Vincentians don’t understand this ,but,the son of the enslaver is slowly teaching them and, by the grace of the Most High,they’ll one day understand.

  2. As a 19 years old carpenter, st Vincent and the Grenadines needs more opportunities with the online world and entrepreneurs, because st Vincent and the Grenadines is lack of payment gateway for your online business.. plus they need to teach about entrepreneurship more in school so st Vincent and the Grenadines can get some young entrepreneurs and help out more people…. I voting for the first time and I’m voting for ndp to see the difference because nothing not happening for me although I’m a young entrepreneur and carpenter

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