I believe in bipartisan approach – Bramble
by Bria King
Dwight Fitzgerald Bramble, the elected representative of East Kingstown is a firm believer in bipartisanship.
And he strongly suggests that it be an approach utilised by the government of this country, particularly if they are serious about the development of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
After two decades abroad, Bramble, a former national footballer and diplomat, officially returned home and dived headfirst into the local arena of politics as the New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate for the constituency of East Kingstown.
The first-time candidate contested the November 5 General Elections and was able to retain what is considered to be an NDP stronghold, with a total of 2556 votes – 247 more than ULP candidate, Luke Browne, who was contesting in the constituency for a third time.
“I really would like to encourage Dr Gonsalves and his ministers to really make a serious effort at bipartisanship and inclusivity because the people of this country have clearly indicated a preference for the plans and programmes of the New Democratic Party and that must not be ignored,” Bramble told SEARCHLIGHT in an interview on Wednesday afternoon.
Though the ULP has formed government for a fifth consecutive time with nine of the 15 seats, the NDP was able to capture the popular vote with 484 more votes than the ULP.
The newly elected representative of East Kingstown noted that his party has amassed the support and represents the majority of the people in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
And because of this, “a concerted effort must be made by Dr Gonsalves and his team of ministers to include in a very significant way, the plans, programmes and agenda of the New Democratic Party”.
Bramble replaces former opposition leader, Arnhim Eustace as the representative for East Kingstown.
He said that as representative, he represents all the people of that constituency and he expects that the government will work with him, as the East Kingstown representative to deliver to all persons of East Kingstown, regardless of anyone’s political affiliation.
“No representative should be given an advantage over another to represent their constituency regardless of whether or not they are in government, and so I would be pushing very hard for that to happen, for each representative to be given the opportunity to represent effectively. Whether that means getting resources so to do…getting their programmes and their plans prioritized by the government, what have you,” Bramble said.
The East Kingstown representative also expressed his expectations that NDP’s plans and programmes be rolled out as they were the ones preferred by the majority of the people, as demonstrated by his party’s attainment of the popular vote.
He also proffered that the ULP-led administration will not have an easy time if this is not the case.
“I am not making any threats or proposing anything undesirable, but I think the people of this country have gained a level of consciousness that will allow them to demand and to obtain the kind of representation that they demand and that they need,” Bramble said.
Bramble is a trained economist and has served this country as such in the Ministry of Finance and Planning.
He also held the position of deputy ambassador in Washington DC before becoming OAS Director in Suriname until 2011.
Bramble resided and worked in Canada before he returned home some months ago to contest the 2020 General Elections.
In his interview with SEARCHLIGHT, the newly elected representative appeared proud of his campaign, saying that there was no other candidate who ran a campaign as evidence based as his.
“I spoke about the issues affecting our country, poverty, unemployment, all the other socioeconomic issues which are really debilitating to our development,” he said. “All of those issues, when I spoke were based on evidence, on facts and so I think that made some people very uncomfortable, because the truth is always the truth and so I think they just wanted to distract me and throw me off of my game, throw me off of my strategy but it didn’t work…”
The East Kingstown candidate referred to himself as “the most targeted candidate” during the elections, as numerous allegations were made about him – allegations he said he chose to ignore because he “knew the playbook” and strategy of his opponent and the ULP.
He added that it backfired for the ULP because people in SVG are not interested in “slander, lies, libel and misrepresentation”.
“…So the people signalled and indicated their distaste for that kind of behaviour and that showed in the results for East Kingstown,” Bramble said.
Though he still declines to respond to the allegations, Bramble told SEARCHLIGHT that he was pondering whether to take action in relation certain things that were said about him and how he would go about doing so.
It has been said by some detractors that Bramble, who has lived abroad for two decades, has no intention of remaining in this country and carrying out his duty as parliamentarian and representative of East Kingstown, despite his victory in the 2020 General Elections.
But Bramble finds this deduction baffling and said he would not have participated in the electoral process to begin with, if he did not have the interest of the people of East Kingstown at heart.
He added that he has returned home to his country of birth, and would have stayed regardless of whether he had won or lost at the polls.
“I don’t know if people weren’t aware of that or if people are just trying to be mischievous or what have you, but the last time I checked, my birth certificate had a parrot on it so I don’t think anyone has the authority to even speculate whether or not I am going to stay in St Vincent,” Bramble said.
He expressed resolutely “I’m not going anywhere. I have returned home. I have spent the good part of 20 years overseas, most of it representing St Vincent and the Grenadines and I am physically back home to represent the people of East Kingstown for as long as God gives me the strength so to do”.
During his tenure as constituency representative, Bramble intends to implement several activities and programmes within the communities that make up East Kingstown.
He revealed that he had developed a “2020 Plan” for his constituency prior to his campaign, which consisted of 20 activities and programmes that would span the decade from 2020 to 2030.
Bramble also said these plans were developed in collaboration with residents of East Kingstown, including young economists.
Despite his party not forming government, Bramble intends to revisit these plans and prioritise some of the activities for implementation at some point.
He also said he was in the process of putting together an advisory team of constituents to help revise and redevelop his plan as well as with its execution and implementation.
Having played for this country’s national football team as a youngster, Fitz, as he is known, also has plans of being active in the sporting scene in SVG, now that he has returned home.
Bramble told SEARCHLIGHT that he plans to play in the National Club Championship with one of the football clubs from his constituency, if they would have him.
“I don’t want to divulge too much yet, but I have some plans for sports development in East Kingstown including the development of some of the sporting infrastructure in the constituency, the playing fields and so on, so I look forward to that. Hopefully it won’t be too much of a challenge because as an opposition representative, resources can be difficult to come by but hopefully, this time around, the approach will be different but we’ll see,” he said.