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ULP holds birthday celebration with fireworks, live music, food and dancing

ULP holds birthday celebration with fireworks, live music, food and dancing

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Fireworks, live music, food and dancing were just some of the elements of the 21st birthday party put on at Layou, last Sunday evening in honour of the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP).

Scores of ULP supporters, from various constituencies across the country, journeyed to the Central Leeward town and converged {{more}}at the Layou playing field.

On the way to the venue, the supporters, riding on the back of trucks and in other vehicles, sang at the top of their lungs and waved T-shirts, flags and anything they could get their hands on.

October 16 marked 21 years since the ULP was formed out of a merger between the St Vincent and the Grenadines Labour Party and the Movement for National Unity (MNU) in 1994.

Shortly after 6 p.m., Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves made a grand entrance to the park, waving to supporters around the park, while standing in the tray of a pick-up truck.

In what has now become a ritual, Gonsalves showed off some of his best dance moves, as ‘DJ M&M’ played ULP favourites and the crowd sang happy birthday to their party.

The festive mood heightened when popular pannist Rodney Small and entertainer Shevrell ‘Candyman’ McMillan took to the stage. Small, showing his range on the steelpan, dedicated Ed Sheeran’s hit song ‘Thinking out Loud’ to the Prime Minister’s wife, Eloise Gonsalves.

Small also wooed president of the ULP’s Women’s Arm René Baptiste with Omi’s ‘Cheerleader’ hit song.

However, it was the self-proclaimed crowd motivator Rondy ‘Luta’ McIntosh and James ‘Jamesy P’ Morgan who set the crowd into a frenzy. From the moment they set their feet on stage, they had supporters gyrating, as they sang some of their hit songs from Vincy Mas 2015.

The politicians on stage joined in on the action and showcased their dance moves, but none showed more skills on the dance floor than the first leader of the ULP, Sir Vincent Beache. Now 84 years old, Sir Vincent kept up and even surpassed some of the younger election candidates, as they partied along with the performers.

The Prime Minister and his wife also danced before cutting the star shaped ULP birthday cake together.

Ground Breaker dancers and calypsonian Lil’ Chris were also part of the entertainment package.

Addressing supporters, Gonsalves said it was a night for rejoicing and that he had been told that approximately 20,000 persons were present at the park.

“This is a big park and the crowd thick, thick, thick and we ain’t start yet. Because when we announce the election date, we going have a crowd even larger than this one. And I feel a little jealous. I want to see a crowd like this at Colonarie on the afternoon and early evening of Independence day, because we going there like we went there the last time,” Gonsalves said.

He also thanked all those who have been with the party over the last 21 years.

“I pay tribute to the founders of the former St Vincent and the Grenadines Labour Party. Those who have gone to the great beyond, all of them, I want to call them to remember them here tonight.

“I want to remember all those who have worked in the vineyard of Labour and the founders of the Movement for National Unity (MNU) and all those who have worked together since October 16, 1994, when this great party was launched,” Gonsalves said, adding that the party is for every man, woman, and boy and girl.”

Gonsalves also said that October 16 marks a special day for him.

“Forty-seven years ago, on October 16, as a young man of 22 years of age, I was studying at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. I had been elected as president of the student union. On October 15, 1968, the Jamaican government banned a lecturer (Dr Walter Rodney), who was from Guyana; he had gone to a black writers’ conference in Canada. On his return, the Jamaican government banned him from entering Jamaica.

“I heard the news and I immediately mobilized thousands of students and on October 16, we marched into Kingston… On that day, we, as the students, were beaten and tear-gassed by the Jamaican police. I was the leader at the protest at age 22 and on that day, I grew up as a political activist and I made a personal commitment that the way in which I saw the Jamaican government behave and trampling upon peoples freedoms and rights, that I decided on that day, that I will dedicate my life to the upliftment of the people of the Caribbean and very specially St Vincent and the Grenadines and to further ennoble our Caribbean civilization,” he said.

Many thought Sunday would have been the date that Gonsalves would have announced the date for the general elections, after promotions mentioned that there would be a surprise.

The Prime Minister has, however, assured Vincentians that they will elect a new government before year end.(KW)

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