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PMC calls on leaders to stop ‘referendum war’


Call a referendum ceasefire for possibly one month and sit at the discussion table, gentlemen.{{more}}

This was the advice to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves and Leader of the Opposition Arnim Eustace on Wednesday from leaders of the People’s Movement for Change, Oscar Allen and Jomo Thomas, who accused the two parliamentarians of leading the country into a “referendum war”.

In an open letter to the two political leaders, Allen and Thomas warned of “disgraceful, unpatriotic and unintelligent” conduct that could lead St. Vincent and the Grenadines into “strife and disarray”.

“We are part of the veritable … community of Vincentians who have an instinctive desire for and calculated commitment to creating and embracing a new constitution for our people and nation,” they said.

“Both of you, sirs, lead our march … towards a new national contract, a new republic, a more deeply democratic governance, and a collectively designed law of laws.

“From our vantage point, now is not a time for dark threats and partisan politics. You must not lead us into the strife and disarray that we see looming ahead as we prepare the ground for our referendum on the constitution.

“To speak frankly, sirs, the manner in which you are marshaling your organisations, the Unity Labour Party and the New Democratic Party to make referendum war is disgraceful, unpatriotic and unintelligent. We ask you to cease. Our love for you and our duty to SVG constrains us to challenge you thus.”

The PMC asked the two leaders to: meet without the media to agree on ceasefire terms in relation to the referendum; clearly identify critical issues on constitution reform that divide the two parties; and set up negotiating teams to try to bridge the divide.

Allen and Thomas also asked: “Will you bring to a … tribunal … such issues that seem intractable?

“Will you both consider the case for further input from the public into the … constitution, now that more widespread, more intense and more creative energies are being brought into the engagement?

“Will you take any further initiatives that you consider will redound to the good of the process?”

The PMC, describing Gonsalves and Eustace as “seasoned statesmen and clear-sighted nation builders”, asked them to “speak with each other” before responding to the open letter.