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Unity Labour Party stops Fountain gap

Unity Labour Party stops Fountain gap


This weekend the two main political parties hit the campaign trail again.

It was, for the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), their first mass outing since the launch of Daniel Cummings for the West Kingstown seat in July, but for the Unity Labour Party (ULP) just another in a series which followed the Calliaqua meeting one Sunday earlier to bolster the image of incumbent Clayton Burgin.{{more}}

NDP supporters must have been glad for this opportunity to show that the party bus had not run out of steam and stopped rolling even as the ULP’s seemingly well-oiled train was making another pit stop.

The ULP rested this past Sunday at the Fountain Gap in the constituency represented by newly appointed Foreign Minister Mike Browne who walks confidently these days with the implementation of Universal Secondary Education under his belt as the former Education Minister. Browne was eager to put on his show of strength while the NDP still has not decided which one of its pretenders to the throne Browne now sits on is given the go ahead.

Former ambassador Kingsley Layne has been eyeing the seat for the NDP, even though disaffected former ULP supporter Junior Bacchus coyly conceals his ambitions which frankly speaking, talk show host Frank DaSilva may claim to be his right.

So Mike Browne may feel that he has the upper hand at the moment and his confidence showed as he addressed the large crowd Sunday evening. Browne was supported by a cast, which included South Leeward’s Dr. Douglas Slater, East St. George’s Clayton Burgin, North Leeward’s Dr. Jerrol Thompson, West Kingstown’s Rene Baptiste and East Kingstown’s pretender Julian Francis.

He also had too, the support of party leader Dr. Ralph Gonsalves who wrapped up the meeting chaired by his press secretary Glen Jackson in political war mood.

The meeting started early, so early in fact that mourners may have had to vacate the Fountain cemetery prematurely as booming Soca music interrupted the peace of this otherwise quiet neighbourhood.

The early start, the attendees were told, was because the next day was the first day of school, a not insignificant date for the ULP administration, as it marked the realization of Universal Secondary Education. Both Clayton Burgin as Minister of Education and Mike Browne, who until recently headed that ministry, boasted of the achievement.

But one by one the candidates took to the podium to remind their supporters of their accomplishments in health, education, tourism and works.

ULP party leader and Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves was in bouyant mood as he recapped the plans the government has for the future in order to justify why for him, one good turn deserved another. He took his now customary digs at his critics including those who knocked his leadership during the passage of Hurricane Emily, as he noted the failures of the United States presidency to respond quickly to the plight of the people of New Orleans bashed by Hurricane Katrina. He noted that faced with a storm, he takes to the airwaves himself to announce what steps should be taken by the population. He announced that government was sending US$20,000 to the International Red Cross for the victims of Katrina’s fury.

But overriding all was the boast of the accomplishment of Universal Secondary Education, which coincided, with the opening of four new secondary schools on mainland St.Vincent.

Meanwhile the NDP spoke to its stronghold in Bequia even without their party leader Arnhim who is abroad on family business.