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PM responds to People’s Movement for Change


Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has invited the People’s Movement for Change to join his government’s Yes Vote Campaign, while issuing a resounding ‘No’ to the group’s call for a postponement of the November 25 referendum.{{more}}

At Wednesday’s press conference at Cabinet room, the prime minister acknowledged receipt of a letter dated September 30 from the group’s leaders Oscar Allen and Jomo Thomas, which called for, among other things, government and opposition to enter into discussions and set up negotiating teams to try to bridge the divide that could lead St. Vincent and the Grenadines into strife and disarray.

The PMC’s letter, which was carbon copied to Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace, said that both leaders were marshaling their organizations to make referendum war.

Gonsalves in his response said that the government would in no way be prepared to hold discussions with whom he referred to as a “…recalcitrant minority who are determined to derail progress.”

“I cannot accept your suggestion to meet with the parliamentary opposition, with the view to postpone the referendum and reviewing further, the proposed constitution.”

The prime minister in his letter pointed out that the New Democratic Party was uninterested in constitutional reform and national interest, but rather the interest of the party.

He said that this was made clear at the party’s rally which was staged on Wednesday, September 30 at the Sion Hill intersection.

“According to their founder and main spokesperson Sir James Mitchell, the referendum is about three things: ‘No to Ralph’, ‘No to Parnel’, ‘No to the ULP’.”

Gonsalves cited three key reasons why the government did not see it fit to hold talks but rather proceed with its quest to attain a vote of 66.67 per cent for the proposed constitution to pass.

These were: the opinion that the proposed constitution was a better product in many areas than the current constitution which had been used since independence in 1979; that the proposed constitution was a collective product of Vincentians at home and abroad over a six year period and the Unity Labour Party has not and will not participate in any partisan politics in relation to the constitution.

“Though they are obviously political matters, we view them through the lens of our nation – not our party.”

“Our record in this regard in words and deeds is above reproach.”

The prime minister indicated that he would be willing to hold talks with the opposition on other matters, not just the one requested by the PMC.

In his letter, he invited the PMC to join in the cause for a Yes vote.

“I am most pleased that both of you continue to show interest in the subjects,” he wrote.

“Civil Society as part of a most broad based national movement is very active in promoting and advocating a Yes Vote. I invite you to join this national movement actively.”

He closed his letter by saying that the government is confident of success in the referendum. (JJ)