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Eustace: Why did PM challenge Colombia?

Eustace: Why did PM challenge Colombia?


The decision by the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to defer seeking a non permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council has been commented no by the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP).{{more}}

Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace said at press conference on Wednesday that the proposal to bid for a 2010 seat on the council was not supported by more than the two CARICOM countries Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves indicated during his press conference on Friday.

On Friday, Dr. Gonsalves said that he wanted unanimous support from CARICOM for the bid, and therefore resorted to taking a shot at the prestigious position in 2020 instead.

“I am still of the view that the announcement would have placed the CARICOM Heads of Government in an invidious position since some of them had already committed their support to Colombia,” Eustace said.

“The Prime Minister indicated that he did not wish to challenge other Caribbean and Latin American countries who had already indicated their intention to seek a seat; for example Guatemala…. Why did he challenge Colombia… other Caribbean and Latin American countries had held the seat more than once in the past.”

“In my view, Gonsalves proved himself to be ALBA’s puppet; used by (Venezuelan president Hugo) Chavez, to challenge Colombia on the pain of losing financial support for the Argyle International Airport.”

Focusing on ALBA, Eustace noted that the signing of its manifesto by Prime Minster Gonsalves was a move towards socialism.

“Indeed, Prime Minister Gonsalves is quoted at the ALBA meeting as saying that ‘ALBA is the way out of our underdevelopment.’”

“Gonsalves has no mandate from the people of this country to pursue a socialist path to development. If he wishes to do so, he should call the election now and campaign on the basis of his socialist agenda.”

“Let the people decide.”

Eustace indicated that his party does not support the pursuance of a socialist society for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and that they were of the view that a government’s major role is to create an environment for the private sector to flourish and to create jobs.

“Indeed, the NDP is committed to introducing a Ministry of the Private Sector as one of its major ministerial portfolios.”

“When we say private sector, we want to make it very clear that we are not talking just about big business, we are talking about farmers, fishermen… after all agriculture used to be the backbone of the economy and we believe that agriculture still has a vital role to play.”

“This approach by the NDP is the most fundamental distinguishing feature between the ULP (Unity Labour Party) and the NDP.”