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Eustace changes Common Entrance Day protest date


The New Democratic Party (NDP) is calling for a total shut down of Kingstown on Friday, June 8.

This however is the revised date for the protest, as in an 18-minute televised address to the nation last Tuesday evening, President of the NDP and Opposition Leader, Arnhim Eustace had announced that the protest was planned for June 1.{{more}}

However, following an NDP executive meeting the next morning, the party president announced the new date stating that he had made an error, as he had not been aware that the Common Entrance Exam was set for June 1st.

“We would not deliberately set a march on the day for Common Entrance,” he said on Wednesday on the New Times radio programme hosted by NDP spokesman Elwardo Lynch.

Eustace said that the NDP was concerned about the future of the nation’s children and their education and would never try to get in the way of their exams.

During the televised address on Tuesday night, Eustace said that St Vincent and the Grenadines is declining on the economic and social levels and is lurching from crisis to crisis.

He confirmed what the NDP had threatened to do after the introduction of the $1 user fee at the Grenadines terminal – his party’s lawyers have filed a constitutional motion in the Courts challenging the legality of the fee.

Eustace again called for the fee’s immediate removal, and referred to it as an unfair tax, aimed at people from the Grenadines.

The Opposition Leader also condemned a move by the Physical Planning Unit to destroy eight structures built on government land in Canouan last Thursday May 10, after the occupants had been warned for a number years that the land was to be used for a Marine Conservation Park.

“It was a wicked and inhumane act,” said Eustace. He opined that the government should have helped the squatters find alternative lands and should have given them assistance to reconstruct their homes.

The Opposition Leader, who described St Vincent and the Grenadines as being battered by the waves and winds of “Hurricane Ralph”, also reiterated his party’s call for the resignation of the Supervisor of Elections, Rodney Adams.

Following the discovery of a ballot box on March 31, 2007, outside of the room where it should have been, calls have been made by opposition supporters for Adams to be removed.

“We therefore call for his removal from office with immediate effect,” Eustace said.

On the issue of VAT, Eustace said that he was concerned about the effect the hike in prices would have on the poor and middle class of the country. He further called on Government to add significantly to the list of exempted and zero rated commodities to ease the burden of the new tax system.

Eustace also commented on the issue surrounding the Kingstown Medical College, which is rumoured to be closing its doors after 27 years in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Eustace has contended, and repeated Tuesday night, that his party believes that the Ralph Gonsalves’ led government’s foreign policy; its close relationship with Cuba and Venezuela is mainly responsible for the school’s rumoured withdrawal.

Eustace called on business houses to close their operations and the National Omnibus Association (NOBA) for support on June 8 to facilitate the protest action.