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December 9 is General Elections Day

December 9 is General Elections Day

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Voters in St Vincent and the Grenadines have been asked to stand by the man who has led the country for the last 14 years.

As he announced December 9 as the date for the next general elections, Prime Minister and political leader of the Unity Labour Party (ULP) Ralph Gonsalves urged voters to stay with him.{{more}}

“These are the last general elections that I am offering myself as political leader of the ULP. Please stay with me; please stand by me. I reiterate my request for your support and your vote. With your support and God’s blessings I pray not to leave behind any unfinished task,” he said as he addressed a rally of the ULP at the Grammar School Playing Field on Saturday night.

When the date was announced, the sea of ULP supporters, decked in red, erupted in loud cheers, while some persons gyrated as if at a Soca Monarch show.

The date, announced during a speech dubbed, ‘Forward we go, four inna row with labour love’ was given, according to the Prime Minister, “after prayerful consideration and fore heeding the voice and signs of thy heavenly father.”

“I have accepted his directions,” he said.

Gonsalves, who took a biblical stance on Saturday, said that a number of dates came to him while praying and, “I went to my Bible”. He said that the first clue he had given to persons came from the book of Philippians chapter 4, verses 6 to 7, while he noted that Philippians is the 11th book in the New Testament and the month of November is the 11th month, while the Chapter 4 refers to the fourth term. He hinted that these dates played a role in the dissolution of Parliament and the announcement of the date. He noted that on Friday, November 6, he instructed the Governor General to dissolve Parliament on Saturday, November 7.

The election date was set around another scripture passage that the Prime Minister said came to him – Proverbs Chapter 4, Verse 9. This is the third time the general election is being held on a Wednesday, as it was held on a Wednesday in 2001, 2005 and on a Monday in 2010.

“We going back to a Wednesday because we know what we have to do between Sunday and Wednesday,” said Gonsalves, who also announced Nomination Day as Friday, November 20.

During his presentation also, the Prime Minister asked persons to not become hostile during this election process and stressed that while tempers may flare, persons must restrain from gutter politics.

“These elections are not about lies, nor innuendos, nor scurrilities, nor empty slogan bearing posing as policies, lies, innuendos and scurrilities, empty slogan bearing as policies, that’s the NDP way; we have none of that,” he said.

“We in the ULP, we are not going down that road; you will not hear any of us pulling down anyone on the NDP slate or its platform; we are not going to do that. We will not give you any comess about anybody in the NDP; this is serious business for serious people. We will not make any personal attack on anyone. You will not hear on any platform who is sleeping with whom and who is after this man, woman and who beg who for sex. We are not going to get into anything personal or private business like that. There are too many positive things to speak about.

“We will not go into the gutters with the New Democratic Party,” stressed the longest serving member of parliament.

He added, “These elections are about public policy not about private gossip; these elections are about national solutions, not about personal agendas. These elections are about the public debate of issues, not about private snooping on anybody’s life…these elections are not about dutty comess, who is gay and who is straight, you will not hear any of that.”

The Prime Minister also stated that the election is not a life and death struggle, but a process to select good governance.

“It is not the be all and end all of life,” said Gonsalves, who noted, however, that an election is serious business with consequences and it is also about which group can do better “to lift you up.

“Winning by all costs is not worth it. Win with dignity, good sense and love and let us not forget we are all children of God, one people, one nation under one God.”

Gonsalves, who has been involved in politics for the last 36 years, asked for forgiveness from anyone whom he offended and said also, “I am not a perfect man any more than David and Paul. I do not come to you with any hypocrisy, no holier than thou attitude, I come to you as man who I know is blessed by God, but I am a human being and you have to hold my hand and you have to help lift me and where I am stumbling you do not let me fall. You make me stronger for the journey ahead, knowing that I have been given that obligation which has come from Almighty God.

“Tonight is a night of refreshing, as a party and as a group”, stressed Gonsalves, who also promised that if elected, “At the end of our next term, not one single man woman or child is going to go to bed hungry in St Vincent and the Grenadines.”

The Prime Minister, in his delivery, also gave seven reasons why Vincentians should allow the ULP to run the country for another five years and 20 policies and initiatives that have benefitted the people. These numbers, seven and 20, according to the Prime Minister, are special numbers with biblical value.

“The ULP has the people-centred vision, the philosophy, the historical sensibilities, the policies and the programmes to uplift further the quality of life of Vincentians of all walks of life. The ULP has chalked up a record of outstanding and unprecedented, achievements which have benefitted every family, and the nation as a whole. These accomplishments have been secured in the most challenging circumstances,” stressed Gonsalves who is now the longest serving prime minister in the region.

In power since 2001, the Prime Minister stressed that not only does the ULP have ideas and vision, but a slate of candidates and ministers that can get the job done.

“The ULP has a supremely talented team of candidates, containing diverse talents and a proper mixture of experience and youthfulness. Moreover, we are, and have been, since your election of us in 2001, a united and integrated whole, devoid of internal squabbling and confusion.”

As the crowd cheered him on, Gonsalves, decked in a black suit with a red tie, told persons gathered at the playing field that the ULP possesses a quality leadership, “not just in Ralph, but a collective leadership,” which has been tried and tested in the extremely difficult circumstances of the worst global economic crisis for 100 years, as well as some of the worst natural disasters this country has seen.

“The ULP’s leadership has made an immense difference for the better,” said Gonsalves while adding, “The ULP has kept its promises to the people in every area of public policy and thus has made St Vincent and the Grenadines a much better place in which to live than before.”

The ULP’s campaign is this time around based on the slogan ‘Labour Love,’ and the Prime Minister stressed that his party has a profound love for the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines, individually and collectively, a thing he described as unmatched in our country’s history.

Stressing that he is not taking his supporters’ vote for granted, Gonsalves urged persons to go to their polling stations on December 9 and re-elect the ULP as they are the only party that offers hope while having a clear vision.

“The ULP offers continued hope to the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines accompanied by a reaffirmation of our faith in God, made manifest in the deeds of our people, in tandem with each other and their leadership, so as to enable us to achieve mighty things, individually and collectively, as a nation”, said Gonsalves, also telling listeners that he was not a perfect man, had made mistakes and is now asking for forgiveness from those he may have wronged.

While noting that he was the only leader in history of Vincentian politics to ask forgiveness on a public platform, the PM said that persons must also take into consideration that stronger economies like Barbados, Antigua and St Lucia have not done as well as SVG, although we have faced numerous problems including natural disasters.

“We have made an immense difference; look around the region…if the New Democratic Party was in charge for the last seven years it would have been disaster,” said the ULP leader, which spurred his party to an 8-7 victory at the last general elections in 2010.

Gonsalves, the only member of parliament to have contested every election in this country since 1979, stressed that persons must realize that the ULP has led the country through the storm to calmer waters and we are on the verge of, “reaping a bountiful harvest”.

All the ULP’s candidates and a number of well-wishers filled the platform from which the PM spoke. The PM’s wife Eloise and his daughter Isis were also present at the meeting. (LC)

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