We will reduce VAT, cost of electricity, if elected – Dr Friday
Hundreds of supporters of the New Democratic Party (NDP) converged on the Arnos Vale Playing Field on Sunday for the party’s 41st Annual Convention held under the theme “Unifying our nation: Reviving Hope.”
It was a full schedule for the New Democratic Party (NDP) members on Sunday, September 29, as the activities began in the morning with the Conference of Delegates at the Democrat House. All 15 constituencies were represented at the session, which saw the Executive returning to serve for another constitutional term.
The Conference had previously been postponed from September 22 because of the threat of Tropical Storm Karen.
Reports were delivered in the morning session by Maureen Brackin, the President of the Women’s Arm of the NDP; the Chairman, Daniel Cummings; the General Secretary, Tyrone James and the President, Dr Godwin Friday.
Also beginning in the morning was a mini exhibition showcasing local products, such as jewelry, rum, honey, and plantain chips, which took place on the Arnos Vale Playing field. Exhibitors included persons from the West St George constituency as well as friends or associates invited by the NDP team to participate.
The Rally section of the Convention began in the afternoon, and saw speeches from persons such as former parliamentarian Monty Roberts, who announced that he is seeking to come back into the political game after an 18-year break and is hoping to run in the next general elections for the North Windward constituency. Former Leader of the Opposition, Arnhim Eustace indicated his intention to step down come the next general elections and he took the opportunity to thank the constituency of East Kingstown for their unwavering support to the NDP.
More speeches were made by West St George candidate and host of the Convention, Senator Kay Bacchus-Baptiste, Senator Israel Bruce; Vice Presidents Roland Patel Matthews and St Clair Leacock, Representative for the Southern Grenadines, Terrance Ollivierre and many other influential persons in the party.
West St George took the opportunity to honour one of their own, Marcus Defreitas, who was elected as the Parliamentary representative for the constituency in 1984, and served for five years.
DeFreitas, who was present with his wife of 44 years, accepted the award, giving thanks to the people of West St George and expressing confidence in the NDP in the next general election.
Specially invited guests from the NDP’s sister parties in St Lucia and Jamaica heated up the scene before Dr Friday spoke. These were Nancy Charles of the United Workers Party (UWP) who brought greetings from greetings from the Prime Minister of St Lucia, Allen Chastanet, and Robert Miller of the Jamaica Labour Party(JLP) bringing greetings from the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness.
The Leader of the Opposition took the podium when the sun had already begun setting behind the Michael Findlay stadium. In his speech, he stated that the economy of St Vincent and the Grenadines is the worst in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and that the NDP intends to turn this around. The first plan that the NDP has, he stated, is the implementation of a Specialized National Development Bank to make financing more accessible to the people. Secondly, they intend to reduce the Value Added Tax from 16% to 13%. Additionally, they intend to reduce the cost of electricity and ensure that fuel surcharge is never more than the electricity consumption charge, in order to enhance competitiveness in the business sector.