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Eustace rings election bell for December 15 – but PM calls General Election December 13, 2010

Eustace rings election bell for December 15 – but PM calls General Election December 13, 2010

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In dramatic fashion that had Unity Labour Party (ULP) supporters on tenterhooks for more than an hour last Sunday evening, Prime Dr. Ralph Gonsalves declared Monday, December 13, the day when Vincentians will go to the polls to elect a new government.{{more}}

Gradually building the momentum leading up to the announcement of the date, Gonsalves brought his oratorical skills to bear at the Calliaqua Playing Field, reminiscent of the days when he practised law here.

With Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace, the night before, declaring that the New Democratic Party (NDP) was now in charge, and having announced December 15 as the election day, political pundits opined that Eustace had perhaps stolen Gonsalves’ thunder.

But not so fast, said Gonsalves.

“For all his dramatic posturings, bluff, vanities, and empty boasts, I must tell you simply that Eustace got the General Elections’ date wraaang!” said Gonsalves, to the large gathering.

He contended that Eustace wanted a newspaper headline by announcing at Sion Hill that December 15 will be the date for elections in St.Vincent and the Grenadines.

“Well I give him a choice between one or two. Ah whar see which one SEARCHLIGHT would carry, what The News would carry, what the Vincentian would carry. Ah give them two: ‘Eustace calls the date wrong!’ or if you want another headline ‘Eustace wrong footed by the Comrade’,” said Gonsalves, as he described Eustace as a “foolish and inexperienced politician”.

In a clear indication that the gloves were off and that the battle had begun in earnest, Gonsalves took a swipe at Eustace, calling the Opposition Leader “a reckless bull in the proverbial China shop! He has absolutely no political sense.”

He asked the gathering to ponder the questions: ‘If Eustace is in charge, why didn’t he send the requisite legal instruments to the Governor General? or advise the Governor General on Parliament’s dissolution and activate the electoral machinery for the Elections, if he is in charge?’

“He could prattle; but the power of the Most High fall on I; and it is I who act, not merely talk,” said Gonsalves, as he called his wife, Eloise Gonsalves, to the front of the stage and placed his speech on her right shoulder and dramatically inserted the dates for the dissolution of Parliament, nomination of candidates and General Elections in the speech from which he was reading.

The crowd gyrated in an animated fashion in response to Gonsalves’ antics.

Others chanted: “Ring the bell! Comrade ring the bell!”

Gonsalves continued by stating: “The dates which I chose for the dissolution of Parliament and General Elections were so chosen after prayerful consideration and divine guidance. Before embarrassing himself as he has done, Eustace should have heeded the wisdom of the book of Psalms, Chapter 12, Verse 13: “May the Lord cut off their flattering lips and silence their boastful tongues”. At that point, Gonsalves told the frenzied crowd “Mark my words, before the end of this campaign, at least one calamity would befall the NDP.”

He drew the crowd’s attention to a scenario that took place in Dominica. Gonsalves asserted that the opposition there had hacked into Prime Minister Roosevelt Skeritt’s computer and was able to disclose the date of the General Elections, three hours before Skeritt was due to announce it.

“The Opposition in Dominica, just as in St. Vincent and the Grenadines last night, they revelled vaingloriously in what they thought was a major scoop. In effect, it was of no moment. At the polls, the Opposition received an election drubbing; the ruling Dominica Labour Party, our sister party, won an historic landslide victory. Clearly, Eustace did not absorb that lesson; his recklessness last night shows the desperation of a gambler who knows that he has a losing hand…. In this country, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the NDP will receive the electoral beating of its life. You and I and the Comrades will ensure it!” said Gonsalves.

Announcing the General Elections date, Gonsalves said he had always told Vincentians that he would come to them within five years for a renewed mandate. Secondly, he said, he did not want to be fighting during Christmas.

Gonsalves said by law, after dissolving Parliament, one has to give 10 clear days notice before Nomination Day. He said that he is convinced that the NDP is not prepared.

“Ah not giving them not more than one day wey the law say,” said Gonsalves.

At this point, he called ULP first time candidates Luke Browne and Michelle Fyfe and gave them a calendar to hold. He then counted right down to November 26, the date for Nominations.

He continued counting from November 27, saying that Election Day must be held not before 15 clear days and not after 21 days. The fifteenth day took him to Saturday, December 11.

Gonsalves increased the tempo by shouting: “But ah car hold it on Sunday, because we have to worship. So we go to church on the 12th and we prepare ourselves for Election Day on Monday the 13th of December.”

The DJ immediately blasted the popular ULP campaign theme song “Keep the fire burning” by Sun Blaze.

This sent the crowd wild with excitement at Calliaqua.