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Dr. Gonsalves still ready for battle after 40 years

Dr. Gonsalves still ready for battle after 40 years

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Viclene Matthews 12.DEC.08

The historic Black Point was transformed into a sea of red on Saturday, December 6th, as supporters and well- wishers of the Unity Labour Party (ULP) turned out in their numbers to congratulate and pledge support to their Political Leader and Party.{{more}}

The event was held to celebrate the 40th anniversary of political activism of Dr Ralph Gonsalves and the tenth anniversary of the Unity Labour Party.

While introducing his father, Camillo Gonsalves, the Prime Minister’s first child, described his father as “one of the greatest, most progressive, intelligent, strongest and courageous political leaders anywhere in our Caribbean Civilisation”.

Not being apologetic, the young Gonsalves, who is this country’s ambassador to the United Nations, stressed that he knows the Prime Minister better than anyone else in the crowd.

He made the point that his father’s first concern is “always the people of the Caribbean Civilisation, more specifically people of St Vincent and the Grenadines, the poor and struggling and the young people in which the future lies.”

The many speakers before him crowned him as a “visionary, great son of the Caribbean,’ and he made his way to the lectern in his usual flamboyant style, much to the delight of his committed followers.

The man of the hour, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, in his address, recommitted himself to service of the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Caribbean.

He described his forty-year journey, which started in Jamaica on October 16 1968, as “long and hard”. “We had many defeats, but also tremendous successes, many set-backs but also many advances,” he said.

He noted that in spite of the many challenges he went through with his political enemies, the love and support of his many followers, were the reasons why he could have turned “limitations into possibilities and possibilities into strengthens”.

Prime Minister Gonsalves said there are those who believe he should not be Prime Minister of this country, but he would be “Prime Minister now and God’s willing, I will be Prime Minister after the next general elections,” he expressed.

The former University of the West Indies Student Guild President, who organized a protest against the Jamaican government in 1968, stated that he has remained steadfast through the principles and ideals which first prompted him to political activity. “Truth and decency were the principles that prompted me to get into public life, commitment to this Caribbean nation especially to the poor and working people,” he reflected.

Although hoping to lead the party into the next general elections, Prime Minister Gonsalves said he is preparing younger people to take over “bit by bit” and he is also hopeful that his constituents will return him for a fifth term. “So long as I’m fit and the people of the North Central Windward would have me, I will remain your faithful servant, even when I’m not leader of the ULP or Prime Minister,” he stated.

He said the many policies and structures that his government has put in place since they gained governance are designed to uplift this country and the poor and working class.

He pointed out that over the next three years, there will be a $47 million information, communication, technology programme in schools to help strengthen connectivity among “ourselves and the rest of the world”.

Prime Minister Gonsalves thanked his wife Elosie for “putting up with him” and described her as a woman of strength.

Several regional and local Ministers’ of Government also made presentations, including Chester Humphrey, of Grenada, Ambassador Joan Williams who spoke on behalf of Patrick Manning, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Mike Browne and Casper London.

The Prime Minister also received gifts from his constituents.