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Baptiste urges ULP women to go out and vote

Baptiste urges ULP women to go out and vote

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As the Unity Labour Party (ULP) seeks a fourth term in office, former government minister René Baptiste says women will be key in the upcoming electoral process, as they have been in the past.

Appearing as the feature speaker at the ULP’s Women’s Arm Convention last Sunday{ at the West St George Secondary School,{{more}} Baptiste, member of parliament for West Kingstown from 2001 to 2010, told the gathering that she was speaking to them with a voice of authority.

“I speak to you upon an anointing. I speak to you because I am empowered to speak to you and I speak with you with a voice of authority because the people gave me that authority.”

Noting that the “tides of the times are shifting,” Baptiste vowed that they would not turn back or look back, but look to the future with fervour to build the country.

The former Minister of Culture and Minister of Tourism urged the faithful not to forget the foundation on which the party is built.

“You have to make sure it is firm and strong. So those who are coming now must know the history and must understand it. Do not cast aside persons who rallied and built and now we have more work to do because it is a different century,” Baptiste said.

She said the role of the women in every stage of the electoral campaign and the strategy that is deployed by the leadership for the Women’s Arm should never be underestimated.

“You must become hard and firm in your support. I don’t want to hear anything else… You must be firm. Never be shaken. Never move. You stand firm.”

Beseeching party supporters to go out and vote on election day, Baptiste urged them not to sit back and believe that the ULP has already won.

She said that the ruling administration won 12 seats in 2001 and 2005 and eight in 2010.

“Why do you want Labour to go back? What do we want in 2015 and beyond? Are we going to make any mistake? Are we going to stay home and say they done win? Are you going to vote Labour?

“I asked that question because you cannot look in the mirror and say it done happen. You have to go out there and ensure we bring in that victory,” Baptiste, a lawyer by profession said.

She spoke of some of the accomplishments that the ULP has achieved since coming into office in 2001, including improvements in housing, health care facilities and education, but added that the journey to success and prosperity is not yet complete.

“So don’t get weary. Tell me honestly and truthfully what you voted for in 2001. Haven’t we delivered?” Baptiste said in relation to the Government’s 2001 manifesto.

Baptiste asked the women if they would have ever dreamed that a secondary school would have been built in the West St George constituency.

“You didn’t have that in your scope. You didn’t put that before you. But you have a leadership and a team that thinks about the people.”

She said were it not for the women in St Vincent, the ULP would not be where they are today.

“Don’t underestimate your value. Don’t underestimate your worth. Don’t underestimate your passion in this process,” Baptiste said.

Baptiste who bowed out of active politics in December 2010, urged party supporters to guard against any wrong-doings that may come their way.

“You have too many graduates in your house. Too many people who could think and analyze and think creatively. Too many people who could argue and argue with substance and ability, to allow persons on the radio to distract you. Know your politics.”

Baptiste said she often wonders why some ‘comrades,’ as supporters of the ULP are called, will hearken and listen to some of the “murky” imagery that is portrayed before them.

“Under no circumstances must we relinquish our hold on government in exchange for that which you heard last Saturday night,” Baptiste said, referring to a rally held by the opposition New Democratic Party at Sion Hill on May 9.

According to the Baptiste, the Women’s Arm has a new role to play in the electoral process.

“I will tell you what it is going to be: we are going to be more proactive, more visible and firm.

“General secretary, and political leader, I am respectfully requesting, and in a way demanding, that this role and focus must bring more prominence for all aspects of the political process in our party, not just radio programmes.

“I want us to be working together on issues of living and production with the elected representatives. I have to see more prominence of some women who have valuable contributions to make at the level of consultation and policy making. More participation in governance. I want to see this backbone…,” Baptiste said.

She urged the women of the party to work hard.

“We can only win when we come together as one with a unity of purpose… I want you to work harder than you worked in 1998 and 2001 and those new voters that join us from year to year, I want to see every registration station in the next couple of months filled with young people lining up, brought there by the women in labour to register to vote.”

Baptiste also said, come election night, failure will not be an option.

“Losing is not an option. What could prevent us from winning four in a row? You think about it carefully; it is more than waving a flag. What can prevent us from winning four in a row? It is in our hands to help to find the solutions, make the amends; we too recognize as a governing party that there is a real difference that has to happen this time,” Baptiste said.

At the closed session of the Women’s Arm later on Sunday, Baptiste was elected president of the Women’s Arm, replacing Nicola Evans, who did not stand for re-election.

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